Don’t hate the player, hate the game

Image

Our day to day lives are constantly filled with media; cell phones, TV, tablets, computers etc. I had no idea how many people were spending their time online with video games and living in a virtual world. I personally am not a “gamer,” and I rarely play video games but I see how much time my friends spend playing and how addicted they have become.

I think it is safe to say that we are persuaded to do better and be better human beings when their is a incentive. Video games gives us just that. People are intrigued with these video games and want to perform to the best of their abilities because they want to reach the next level and gain as many points as possible. The higher the level and the larger amount of points shows how successful you are.

Jesse Schell discusses how the incentive of the next level and points only urge people to continue to play. Schell also speaks of a professor who turned his grading schedule into a point system in order to get his students more motivated in his class. The professor found that instead of giving a letter grade to his students, they wanted to earn more points and were constantly trying to get to the next level.

People find that they are willing to work harder when there is a chance of winning. It is common to find that people who play video games usually feel better about themselves while playing online. They are able to become someone who they are not seen or known as on their day to day lives. Playing video games is seen as an escape from reality. Ironically they join a virtual reality to escape it. To me, our grading system is already a game. We turn in our assignments, receive a number and letter grade. We constantly strive to earn the highest points possible.

Jane McGonigal talks about the amount of time people spend online. It makes my stomach turn to hear how much time is wasted spending online. While people are online playing games, they are wasting away the sun light, face-to-face interaction, and normal social interactions. The idea of gamification helps non-users and gamers engage and solve problems. McGonigal speaks about how the million number of World of War Craft players work together to fight each level and advance to the next one.

I fear the day that this gaming system becomes real life. The day that our lives are centered around counting points for brushing our teeth, taking the bus to work, or eating a certain cereal brand boggles my mind. Our lives should not be centered around what level and how many points we have. There is no reason for that to leave the virtual world and make it into our real every day life.

 

Jamie Adams

is technology making us smarter?

we have all heard the advantages of the “wisdom of the crowd” and how with the internet and collaborations available to us through social media, we have the potential to converge and come up with better ideas faster. Wikipedia, is an example of the wisdom of the crowds, volunteers sharing information they know and others editing, adding and reading it.

But as much as Wikipedia is an example of technology harnessing the crowds wisdom and giving us a useful tool for learning, does the fact that we don’t have to know the second presidents name because all we have to do is look it up really make us smarter? Yes the internet has almost infinite information that people could learn from and become very wise and knowledgable if they dedicated themselves to reading informative material online, but is that what we do?

In some cases, yes. studies have found that when comparing frequent internet users to infrequent, people who used the internet more had better planning skills, and claims internet stimulates the mind. 

While you can argue that technology has made us ADD, scatterbrained and not able to focus on one thing, and dumber due to reliance, Carl Zimmer argues that these are just fascinations with our fears about technology, not about the reality of the situation. Philosopher Andy Clark claims we are “natural born cyborgs” and that using our technologies as an extension of our brains is natural and useful tool that enhances our knowledge and capabilities. 

fears about new technologies is a recurring cycle in history. Socrates worried that writing would make us forgetful and unwise. People worried that we would become sentient because of television, that cell phones kill brain cells. there is always a push against new technologies and our fears associated with it, but often times these are misguided and radicalized. The mind can  adapt to our changing world, and not using the internet as a source and tool for gaining knowledge would  make you seem “dumb” to others who do utilize such tools.

There are drawbacks to using such technologies, but the reality of the situation lies in how you use the tools provided. If you choose, the internet, and technology could be a vast source of quality information and knowledge, but it can also be a place of closed minded ignorance, depending on how you use it. 

The question is not does technology make us smarter/dumber? the question is: are we smart enough to use technology (in productive ways)?

Media Convergence

Media Convergence

As I sit here writing this I am watching a show, chatting with a friend, and listening to music. I’ve also read the daily local news, ordered food, done research for a paper, and shopped online. The twist? I am yet to leave my bedroom. I can do all of these things from the comfort of my own home. In this digital age we all know how technology can isolate us from the outside world, but what I have found is that I am becoming increasingly isolated from other technologies. Every single one of the activities previously listed was done on the same machine: my personal computer. This is an example of media convergence- how all information can be accessed from the same medium. The technical definition of media convergence (according wikipedia) is “the tendency for different technological systems to evolve towards performing similar tasks”. These new technologies we have developed are putting each other out of business because they are all doing the same thing.

While thinking about media convergence and how it effects my every day life I find my mind wandering to Steve Jobs. I found out about his death on twitter through numerous people talking about it. I also saw it on the news, read about it in the paper, and saw numerous blog posts about it. All of these technologies performed the same task: to report on Steve Jobs death. Ironically, almost everyone I know (including myself) found out about his death on a device that he invented.

Image

This cartoon, found on (http://hoseaputera.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/cartoon1.jpg?w=523) gives us another example of how our technologies perform the same tasks, and how they are putting each other out of business. People go on the internet to chat, read the news, watch TV, shop, or do just about any other thing imaginable (short of actually leaving the house). I can’t help but have a lingering anxiety when I think about this. The Big 4 Media Conglomerates (Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, News Corp) already control what information is given to the public, but now we have to worry about how we get out information too. Media convergence is a scares me because what is next?

 

Grace Marlette

Comm410

Is Technology Making us Dumber?

Image

As I type a text message to a friend to say that I can’t make dinner, I of course type in cant. I know auto-correct will put in the apostrophe for me. Lazy am I? Oh most definitely. The concern today isn’t about laziness of spelling out a word correctly; it is the issue of children growing up using auto-correct and then never realizing how to spell something in the first place. Annie Paul of Time Magazine wrote an article about this topic and researched how technology is hurting today’s youth:

“A study led by researchers at the University of Coventry in Britain surveyed a group of eight- to twelve-year-olds about their texting habits, then asked them to write a sample text in the lab. The scientists found that kids who sent three or more text messages a day had significantly lower scores on literacy tests than children who sent none.”

Scary statistic? I think so. All these new technologies are created to make our lives easier, more efficient, but does it ultimately make us smarter? There are many doubts. The simple pleasure of sitting down and reading books and newspapers has been replaced with televisions, iPads, and video games. Ever start browsing the web for no purpose and all of a sudden you are blurry-eyed and notice two hours have past? Well, I will admit, it has happened to me. I feel frustrated and stressed because nothing was accomplished. I got sucked into the web atmosphere and couldn’t find my way out. Did I learn anything educational, one may ask…. nope. I found out shoes I couldn’t afford are now on sale and I still can’t afford to buy them. Not left with a good feeling after a supposed “relaxing browsing session.” Concentration seems harder now then it used to. Nicholas Carr wrote a controversial article for The Atlantic stating that:

“Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self.”

This new kind of reading is quick, not anywhere like reading a novel. We skim, click, and open multiple tabs all before realizing we are on a tangent. Links go to different webpage’s and your breezing through page after page and before you know it you forget the main point of research. Jeez this is exhausting.

So does technology make us dumber? Perhaps it does a bit but it’s a double-edged sword. Without it we would appear lost and with it we take it for granted.

Loren Springsteen

virtual worlds: a new reality?

most people like to get on their computers and surf the web after a long day at work or at class. It is a stress reliever and a way to escape reality, if only for a while. Virtual worlds, such as world of warcraft, second life and others can be that escape for many people. Massively multiplayer online role playing games have become increasingly popular with new innovations in 3D simulation and graphics. With so many people being active members in these online communities, people are investing time, energy and emotions into their avatars, and have a real emotional connection with their online persona. As with the articles by Dibbell and Gelder proves, the lines between “reality” and “virtual reality” become blurred when peoples emotions are invested. People begin to care just as much about their reputation and status within their online community as they do with any “real” social interactions (face to face). This brings up interesting questions of codes of conduct within virtual worlds, and has also brought up issues with how those forms of conduct translate from virtual worlds into real life (violence with video games). Do avatars have to conduct themselves in the same fashion as in real life? That depends on what type of virtual world you are participating in. In World of Warcraft, rules about violence and killing obviously don’t translate into that type of online atmosphere. This brings up the issue of violence in virtual games affecting violent tendencies in children who participate in those types of virtual worlds and bringing that into their real life relationships. Other types of communities, such as Sims, Second Life and LambdaMOO (from Dibbell), expect a certain level of “civility”. As with the case from Dibbell about online rape, the emotional trauma is real because the person is invested in their avatar emotionally and mentally. People in virtual worlds usually form a sort of community or group of people they associate with in that community, and can be a helpful type of support system for some, but for this relationship to be healthy and beneficial for all involved, people participating must have the same level of investment. As we discussed in class, when one person thinks of the virtual world as just a game or a joke, while another cares deeply about the community and their status in it, people can be hurt, which does translate to real emotional distress. Because by design there is no form of bureaucracy or government in virtual worlds, who is to say what is “right” behavior from wrong? Isn’t the point of a virtual world the escape from the constraints of society? For some however virtual worlds is just another type of society they live in.

Are Privacy Settings Enough?

Image

When you join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, and every other social media website, the first thing that you set up is your privacy settings. You can select what information is shown, who can search for you, what pictures can be published and so on. Essentially, you can have any information you want on your Facebook or Twitter page, but if you are a private user then only the people you allow can access that information. But is that true? These days, it does not matter what your privacy settings are. People are constantly uploading statuses, photographs, and location updates. You do not have to be directly connected on Facebook or Instagram to know what people are doing.

Nick Bilton, a writer for The New York Times, tells the story of his own trouble with media privacy. He held a dinner party with a few friends, when he received a text message from another friend who was not invited stating “Hey, I see you’re having people over. O.K. if I stop by?” How did that person know about this party? Bilton looks up from his phone to see his guests taking pictures, updating their Facebook statuses, and tweeting about the dinner party. It then dawned on Bilton that even though he was not posting any news about his small get together, his friends were. His friends could  tag him in a post, or in a picture through multiple media outlets. It occurred to Bilton that his media privacy was no longer in his control. Read the full article

Although individuals have their own personal privacy settings, it is never enough. Media is constantly keeping people up to date on what is going on around them. While friends update their Facebook, tweet about their daily activities, and Instagram pictures of their food, they can tag you in all three of these outlets. Is there even a chance to accomplish complete media privacy? I do not think so. It is sad to admit, but with the constant updating and uploading, people will be able to find ways to see what you are doing, who you are with, and where you are.

Jamie Adams

The Deceiver or the Deceived, Who’s to Blame?

Although it seems like “Catfish” is a new phenomenon it really has been going on since the beginning of the internet.  Catfishing or being Catfished is when a person claims to be someone or something that they are not while on social media.  Most people think about being Catfished in terms of romance but in 1983 Van Gelder wrote an article “The Strange Case of the Electronic Lover.”

Although the title says electronic lover it wasn’t exactly about someone trying to get romantically involved with someone by using lies.  It was more about a male psychiatrist trying to get the full experience as a woman online where no one could see what he looked like.  There was still plenty of deception in how he got people to open up to him by making them believe he was a mute and paralyzed woman who was making a difference even with her struggles.

Now fast forward to today and being Catfished is the topic of plenty of conversations.  No one wants to be Catfished, and with all technology we find it crazy that it is even possible.  One of the biggest Catfish storied happen this year and involved Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o.  He  entered into a relationship with a woman that lead him to believe that she had leukemia and ultimately died from the decease.  Come to find out this was all a hoax and the girl that he had been communicating with for four months straight didn’t actually exist.

One might ask “How does such a huge deception like this happen when there is Skype, and Facetime?”  and that is a great question.  How does this happen when there are so many different ways to “see” the person you are talking to.  We tend to direct these questions toward the deceiver, but maybe it would be just as good a question for the deceived.  Are the deceived putting entirely too much trust and faith in the internet?  Based on the popularity and many people on the show “Catfish” we might be lead to believe that they are.

Another question that we might ask, “is it alright that people use the internet as a means to escape from their everyday lives?”  At times it seems we take the internet so seriously that we get upset when someone deceives us, but are they in the wrong?  Who said the internet had to be serious and that one couldn’t use it as a means to escape from their everyday life?

-Allisha Hemingway

Future Technology-live hologram from your phone

In class we had to come up with a technology for the future that we would want to see come out or be designed so our group came up with using your cell phone to have a live miniature hologram of the person you are talking too. So basically have a live feed conversation similar to Skype but more digital, if that makes sense! So when someone calls you or leaves you a voice mail you have the ability to see the persons full body but miniature like the size of a water bottle. You would be able to have a conference meeting in 3-D across the country without actually being there in person. We also thought that with something like class if weren’t able to physically make it (like if you are sick) you could be present with the hologram of yourself in the class. It could work for professors too in a similar way. 

This alters social and cultural relations by having face-to-face contact without leaving the house. International travel would no longer be needed because you could use this technology! Economically speaking it might affect travel costs, gas prices and things of that nature because people would not need to do it as much. It would have a negative impact on planes, trains and other forms of transportation though. Although it might be able to help the environment in that sense if people are not traveling as much. Cell phone bills would probably be higher and batteries may have to be bigger to support the hologram usage. 

We also came up with the idea that with the hologram you could have a digital closet or digital house tours. The digital closet would be nice for everyone and you could pick what you want to buy/wear through that! Or you could pick what you are digitally going to wear, so it would show up on your hologram self. For the digital house tours if you were looking to buy a house and didn’t have time to make a trip somewhere you could do it through the hologram or something like that. 

We also talked about how this would probably be like any other new technology that comes and is met with resistance because you really would not have a need to ever leave your house or office so to speak. Which is what we saw as a potential downside to this because you might not ever actually meet in person face-to-face again. Other obstacles could be bigger phones and the longevity of the batteries. Also having to get the other products that you would need in order to make your self a hologram. And factoring in the costs of these products. 

About the Bloggers!

I am Allisha Hemingway, a senior Communication Major with a Theatre Minor at the College of Charleston.  I am originally from South Carolina, but Laurel, Maryland is where I consider home.  I hope to pursue a career either in Public Relations or working in the Communication field of the Air Force.

Hi! my name is Ali Ramee, I am a senior at the College of Charleston with a major in Communications and minor in Spanish. I am from Savannah, Ga, but I also live in Maine during the summers. I hope to pursue a career in PR, but only after sailing around the world for a year on a sailboat as a stewardess.

Hello! My name is Grace Marlette, I am senior at the College of Charleston majoring in Communications. I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY (Go Bills!) but plan to stay in Charleston after graduating in May. My dream is to work as an on-air broadcaster for the NFL or NHL.

Hey! My name is Loren Springsteen. I am a senior Communications, Media Studies major at the College of Charleston. I am from Bay Head, NJ and currently am the style assistant for Charleston Magazine and Charleston Fashion Week. I hope to continue to travel and expand past the 22 countries I have visited.

Hey! My name is Stephanie Benner and I am a senior Communications, Media Studies major at the College of Charleston. I am from Charleston, SC (I loved Charleston too much to leave it!) I’m not exactly sure what I would like to do after graduation but definitely doing something where I can be really creative!

Hey! My name is Jamie Adams and I am also a senior Communications major at the College of Charleston. I am from Richmond, Virginia. I love weddings, and have completed three internships in the wedding industry here in Charleston. I hope to stay in Charleston after graduation and continue to work as a wedding planner!