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Second Life Experience

It was 9am when I decided to explore SL. Our class wasn’t meeting until 10am but I thought since I was new to SL, I should go around and explore. As I was walking around Help Island, I befriended a lady who showed me around and tried to help me change my appearance. She took me to the Freeby store and told me what to do. Next thing I know it was 9:45am, I began to think to myself ‘Wow, time has flown by.’ Then I started reflecting back on how our class discussed how kids can spend 6-8hours on the computer. I can see why now, time literally flies by when your on the Internet.

After realizing what time it was, I decided to look for Furee Pawpad. I was flying for about 10mins and I couldn’t find him. While flying I was looking for a woman with a ponytail and cape, but I couldn’t find Furee anywhere. It was then that I spotted a man hovering above with a white long sleeve and jeans, with the name Furee Pawpad. At last I found my teacher, I was so relieved the entire time I was flying I thought maybe I was in the wrong place. I was the first person to meet with Furee, because the Help Island was so packed, he had us move to the roof of the Freeby store.

As class started it was very chaotic and weird. Weird in a sense that there was no order. I have never been in a class room where there wasn’t any order. When I think of class my initial thought is order. There most be order for class to function (my opinion). In addition I think it was chaotic because you can’t really control the stream of comments and all the commotion. When we started discussing flash mobs, people were talking about random things and it was difficult trying to read everyone’s comments. I started thinking that SL is not a good place to hold class.

Overall I think that SL is a good place for socializing and experimenting with virtual worlds but when it comes to class I don’t really think it is the proper place. I enjoyed this experience but I honestly don’t see myself going on SL again.

Medical Websites Presentation

                From this presentation, one fact caused a red flag to go off in my head; that some doctors use Wikipedia for health information. Now, it wasn’t the fact that 50% of doctors turn to internet to get health information but it was the fact that they used Wikipedia. In high school, I was taught that Wikipedia is not a reliable source; teachers constantly emphasized that the usage of Wikipedia will lead to an automatic F. I began to question, if we pay doctors thousands of dollars to treat us, why do they need to rely on the internet to give us a diagnosis. Is there something wrong with their Medical books?

                Because our society is so reliant on technology, I think that the numbers presented in class about people who visited Medical websites were not shocking. 95million is a huge portion of the American society. One question that I think we must address is why there is such a huge number of Americans who use Medical websites. From this question, I immediately thought of how there is a large portion of Americans who are uninsured. Could the lack of Medical insurance be the reasoning for Americans usage of Medical Websites?   

Synthesis of Weeks 1-3

                As I am looking at the synthesis of the past 3 weeks, I find it quite amazing how we have touched up on so many topics. Before, taking this class I never really looked into or even thought about the internet or identity. I figured that the internet was mainly for research, socializing and entertainment; I never saw it as a community or culture. From the synthesis outline I feel that three topics are highlighted throughout; Prensky’s terms, community and culture.

                Marc Prensky’s terms “digital immigrant” and “digital native.” This discussion about how people fall into two categories made a lot of sense. I feel that Prensky underlined two very important aspects of our society, you are either native to technology or you are an immigrant to technology. I think that we addressed a very important question in class; can there be a “digital tourist.”

                 As for community, I think we discussed some very important issues. Throughout time society’s definition of “community” has changed. I feel that we as a society have forgotten the key components in community, physical interaction, face-face interaction and social interaction. Yes, the internet has social interaction, but it lacks face-face and physical interaction, which are components of community. Can there really be a community without physical and face-face interaction?

                Finally the issue with culture; can the internet be viewed as a culture? I feel that society again has neglected the definition of culture. I have always thought of culture as being the behaviors and beliefs of a particular ethnic group, in no way did I correlate it to the internet. Not only did we discuss the properties of culture but we also discussed the issues of whether culture is prevailing or emerging. I think until we address the issue of whether the internet is a culture, we can then discuss if it is prevailing or emerging.

Virtual Communies as Communities

Barry Wellman and Milena Gulia’s article Net Surfers don’t ride alone: Virtual Communities as Communities, has a huge connection to Amy Bruckman’s article about the nature of community. However Wellman and Gulia’s article seems to address more of the psychological aspect of community. One question that they seem to propose is whether online communities can create realistic relationships or just imitate them (reference to strong ties vs. weak ties). Not only do they address this issue but they also discuss the controversies behind human interactions in virtual communities.

Like I mentioned in my last blog, I truly believe that communities need that face-to-face interaction. Some may argue that today’s society is very different than 10yrs ago and that face-to-face is not as important but my response to them is that face-to-face communication is a MUST; it keeps us in tact with “real life.” In virtual communities you are unable to sense emotions and physical contact, whereas in real communities you can sense emotions and physical contact. I feel that emotions and physical contact connect back to the issue of realistic relationships vs. imitated relationships; how are members certain that emotions portrayed through the Internet are “real” or “not real.”

A New Perspective on “Community” and its Implications for Computer Meidated Communication Systems

Now, Amy Bruckman addresses a very important question within her article A New Perspective on “Community” and its Implications for Computer Mediated Communication Systems. She proposes the question; what constitutes or defines community? Not only does she explore the controversy behind community but she goes further by uncovering the various issues behind online communities; whether it is or is not a community.

Throughout the article Bruckman introduces various experts and their thoughts about “community.” One expert by the name of Teresa Roberts has stated that community “does not have a precise meaning.” This statement kind of caught me off guard because for so long I have been familiar with one definition of community; basically a group of people who share a common interest and who are located in the same area. Not only did this satisfy the word community for me, but there was one more aspect to it; community must consist of human interaction (face-to-face). I believe that human interaction is the core component of community because it is how the people within the community create strong ties. So, without face-to-face, there really is not a community. I think this is where the whole debate of online communities began. Yes, there is communication online; however it is mediated through the computer. So, one question that arises is whether communication through the internet satisfies the term(s) human interaction.

Reading Response #2: Prevailing Culture and Emerging Culture

Prevailing culture and emergent culture; from a technological stand point. Based on the information from Rohaan Solare’s post, Emergent Culture as Regenerative Dynamic Culture, I believe that technology is a fast pace culture that is emerging from the culture we have today. It appears that Solare’s post ultimately describes the various types of cultures in today’s society and their principles; prevailing and emergent. Although Solare does not touch up on the rising issues of cyberculture I think that it is fair to acknowledge that technology is on its way of becoming a prevailing culture, but how soon is the true question. It is obvious that cyberculture is emerging from the wood works but another question that must be answered, is it possible for cyberculture to be dominant? It is hard for me to imagine a society dominated by a cyberculture where everyone is operating their life through computers. Another question that arises, is will society make the transition to cyberculter even if the transaction is already occurring?

Reading Response: Digital Native, Digital Immigrant and now Digital Tourist!

When I need information I “b. Google it on the Internet,” if I need to install a program on my computer, I “b. Pop in the CD and let the installer wizard show you.” Based on the quiz from Cheri Toledo’s paper Digital Culture: Immigrants and Tourists Responding to the Natives’ Drumbeat, I am a “digital native”…hooray! Now, should I really be happy about this? When I think of “digital native” I not only think of tech savvy but also laziness. Being that today’s society is so technologically advanced I think that there is a huge lack of human interaction. For instance I never stepped foot on campus when registering for classes, and if I chose to I wouldn’t even have to step foot on campus to take the classes; I could do it online. It seems as though technology has made life very convenient for people. Reflecting back on Toledo’s paper, she goes into more detail about Marc Prensky’s terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant.” Not only does she address the concepts behind Prensky’s terminology but she goes further by addressing some of the differences between the terms. In addition, she introduces a new term “digital tourist.”

Since the beginning of our class my mind has not stopped thinking of the Internet and the various discussions we have had since the first day. Now I can cope with Prensky’s terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant” but now “digital tourist.” It all seems like a bit too much. Yes, there are those people who choose not to adapt to today’s culture (digital culture) but I think in time they will eventually make the transition to “digital immigrant.” So, in essence I think there is no need for the term “digital tourist,” particularly due to the rising advancements in technology. Technology, is growing and will always be present!

What is Online Identity?

MUDS, Sims and avatars; can these virtual worlds/characters sum up our online identity? In many cases I think not, but for those who choose the fantasy world over actuality this may be there online identity. Online identity is a very complex subject; can you create it or is it predestined? Based on the Personas launch, it would seem that one’s online identity is predetermined from information available on the web. However in some cases YOU are the dictator to how much information is available of yourself on the web; MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and many other social networks. Yes, there are situations in which you cannot control what is on the web, but in many cases that information can be irrelevant.

When it really comes down to it I believe that online identity is what a person wants available on the web of themselves. In addition it could be how a person wants to live in reality. This is in reference to the “Who am We” article; most of the people mentioned used virtual worlds and their online identity as an escape route from the real world. There are limitless possibilities of online identity, it is entirely in your hands; how do you want to be viewed on the web?

Online Identity and Online Presence

Online identity, when these words scraped the back of my mind I did not know exactly what to expect. I knew that it dealt primarily with the internet. So after reading a bit about Personas, everything began to make sense. I thought that online identity referred to Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. But once I tried to launch my Personas on http://personas.media.mit.edu/ I was very wrong. I was wrong in the sense that the Personas is not based on just a persons’ social life. Instead I found that it bases your Personas on other resources, such as articles. I discovered this by typing in my younger brother’s name. It was able to create a Personas for him based on sport articles and other social networks. But when it showed my results it read “no digital traces found.” I wasn’t really surprised at these results because I typically use the internet as a research source, communication medium and entertainment.

In addition to launching my Personas, I also accessed the Online Identity Calculator. I found this site to be a little more conclusive than the Personas. I found it more conclusive because there was more than one step in calculating your online identity. When I typed my name into Google I was very surprised at what I seen. My Twitter was available for people to see. I honestly use twitter on a daily basis. It is kind of scary knowing that people have access to my Twitter page if I do not add them as a friend. Although Google had many connections to an “Alysha Saulo” the only one about Twitter was truly me. When looking over my results from the online identity calculator I was taken back. It stated that I am “digitally disastrous” meaning that there is much information about me on the Web. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, it was very overwhelming. I am the type of person who prefers not to place any type of information on the internet. But as I kept reading it said that there could be another person with a common name and that the information had no real relevance; I felt reassured.

When I think back on our class discussions over the past few days, I can honestly say that my online identity does not reflect the person I am. Yes, Google had information about my Twitter, but I can honestly say that Twitter is more of a stress reliever for me. However if people ever want to find out who I am as a person, Google will not suffice. Instead they could communicate one-on-one with me to reveal my true character. Like I mentioned before my online presence is typically for research, communication and entertainment.

In regards to identity, I believe identity is something that is developed through time. It is the distinction between one’s self and others. The internet can conjure up as much information on a person but it will never really understand the depth of a persons’ character.

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