Online communities are of great interest to me because I like contemplating how it is that we find ourselves alone but together at the same time. As online networks grow and are traded in for real relationships, we still manage to feel as though we are apart of something even if it only exists in a digital world. Since coming abroad I have felt extra passionate about people who are constantly on their devices, posting and commenting, not realizing the damage happening to their physically relevant relationships. I understand keeping in contact with loved ones is important while far from home however I see a huge issue in sitting on the phone to stay connected to them while out for food or drinks with a group of new people, actually experiencing a similar world to the one you are. I appreciate many of the points brought to our attention during the lecture on “The Networked Self and Idea of Community” such as the concept of disembodiment meaning that going online means leaving our bodies behind. It offers the ability to create a sense of self through textual performance. I also like the idea of people presenting and negotiating their identity due to the ability to constantly self reflect and record ones life. I see the pros and cons to this idea. I think self-reflection is important and necessary to human development however I think social media has given us the power to become obsessive compulsive about how we used to be or who we need to become.
Ebscohost is a source I use often in my research at my home university and often times I come into contact with documents that will not allow me to have access without paying a fee and even then I will only have access for a short period of time. If these documents were shared with fewer restrictions under a Creative Commons License I would have had more support for my research and could have gotten the job done in less time with more supporting evidence. Advantages for authors to having strict control over their work is that people can’t steal It and take credit for their hard work however, if their work is too expensive and under recognized this may result in nobody knowing about their hard work in the first place. I wish their could be mutual respect amongst creators and borrowers that everyone acknowledged where work came from and gave credit where credit is due. It seems as though that would make the process of writing scholarly articles much easier. If we can all share ideas and develop off of each others, I think the capacity for growth is boundless. I understand the desire writers and creators have to protect their work but if they took on a different perspective, they may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Online I assume I am more visible than I think I am. I have a profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress and Pinterest. The information about me varies depending on the site. LinkedIn in a website that I try to blend in with everyone else and don’t put much energy towards fancying up. Because I am not yet trying to enter the workforce and am not actively seeking a job, I do not express very much about myself on LinkedIn. My activity on Facebook has changed since becoming a study abroad student. I have gone through many phases of self-expression and friend acceptance on Facebook. In my teens, I accepted any friend request I received and would make albums of photos for the different experiences I had. Now I have put all those albums on private visibility so only I can see them. Periodically I will go through my friends and delete people I have no contact with or was never very close with. Sometimes when people make radical posts voicing their opinion inappropriately (in my opinion) I will unfriend them too because I don’t need to subconsciously absorb negativity that way. Instagram is where I allow a little more of my creativity to shine through. I enjoy the creativity of enhancing the quality of an image that means something, the capturing of a memory, to me. WordPress is my most vulnerable site because it is where I express thoughts I have that might not be similar to anyone else’s. I also don’t understand the settings to WordPress very well yet (I am new to the site) so I am sure more people can see it than I would like. It didn’t help that my sister had a proud moments and shared access to my blog on her Facebook Timeline… Pinterest is a website I used to use much more frequently than I do now. It gives others an idea of what I would have if I could live in a dream world and some quotes I find interesting. Other than that, it gives no indication into the type of person I am, the things I actually do or wear on a daily basis. It is a place to share ideas of beauty, decoration and dreams. Although all my sites are on private settings, I understand there are ways for that to be manipulated and even though I have the ability to deny people from following me, it doesn’t ensure their friends or someone else who does have access to my accounts won’t share access.
When we log onto our WordPress accounts, we are prompted to pick which site we want to be on (if you have more than one site). Each site indicates a different community one would find themselves in. In one of my WordPress communities I am given a topic to write about and expected to comment to two other posts. The other community I am a part of on WordPress is for a creative writing class where I can write whatever I want, whenever I want and some of my friends and family back home see my posts because they want to know what’s going on in my life while abroad. I think with a community such as WordPress we can even take a step back and look at it as a whole. Within the WordPress community there are tons of subgroups. People are given permission to follow topics and bloggers that interest them, giving bloggers the power to create their own communities through the topics they write about.
Online groups can be considered communities because they display psychological and cultural qualities of real life communities we live in. They have shared space, practices, identity, resources and support, and interpersonal relationships. I think WordPress is a positive online community because people are allowed to personalize their content and specify what they want to consume. It isn’t a community that forces all to follow the same heard or divides anyone into a community that would make them feel alone. Challenges and limitations come in the form of controlling self expression. It is important that people can still be understood by their audience but also blogs are personal. Where the line is drawn could get confusing.
I’m not a huge gamer but I have little cousins that are. They spend hours on end each day watching Youtube videos of even bigger gamers recording their performance and adding commentary to help viewers advance in the game. This is an example of the content of the game being modified by the audience. Then on top of that already modified content, the viewers make comments on the video offering extended advice and input on the content they see. Video game tutorials actually make me laugh. Don’t people play games to overcome challenges on their own? This is cheating for video game players.
The audience has participated in its creation by adding their opinion and suggestions to the content. The video helps the player but then they can make comments to each other on how to do it even better. Or if a problem arises that isn’t addressed in the video, the comments help solve their problems too. The significance of the participation is huge in this context. Without the audience influence on both the video and in the comments, it’s worthless. Anyone with access to the game can try to play it and continue to die but when given the proper instructions which they obtain from the audience, it gives players the opportunity to succeed.
The blending of boundaries into one digital form can be seen all over the Internet these days. We see examples of media convergence when Facebook offers news articles, Instagram shows promotions and ads in every other photo on our feed, news television shows all have their own website where web browsers can search for specific articles, twitter has become a platform where political candidates and news broadcasters share their knowledge and opinions for people to absorb even though that wasn’t it’s original intention. Media convergence is everywhere and as media consumers we can’t avoid the implications.
The implications for media users are constantly absorbing information that they may not have been seeking out. With media convergence, we have all the more reason to be constantly connected because we can be gaining more from less. In the same regard, having the ability to turn to one medium and gain a multitude of information from the source could mean spending less time on our devices. Media convergence gives us the opportunity to go to one place to collect different kinds of information.
Facebook has become a place where media, news and publishing sources such as Elite Daily can make posts that flow right along in our news feed with the cat videos our aunt feels the need to share. Elite daily’s Facebook page is an example of media convergence because they are using the medium of Facebook to share news and other stories they see as relevant to their viewers.
In regards to Network Society and the Media in particularly, Forbes is an online resources that is useful for students. Some of Forbes headliner stories today are their plan on Ad Blocking, Twitter, and updates on the site LinkedIn. As students who are studying the network society and as daily web users, these are all relevant topics to us. Forbes is a leading Internet media company, they are one of the most trusted resources for business and investment leaders. Their online website includes original reporting in real time on business and technology, among many other things. They have a wide variety of interactive tools including calculators and databases according to forbes.com.
In the search bar if a user were to type in “social media”, the top stories that arise are regarding Facebook statistics, Politicians ability to post on twitter and diversity in the media. I think it is important as people who seek to grasp a better understanding of the changes happening in the world around us that we rely on secure websites such as Forbes to obtain that information. I found it interesting that during one of the first modules we discussed ad blocking and their headline stories for “social media now” was “Inside Forbes: More Numbers On Our Ad Blocking Plan – and What’s Coming Next”. This goes to show that they are with the times and understand what their users desires and needs are.