mscandura

Archive for November 2011

I’m somewhat proud to say that I’ve resisted the four square trend, and I rarely check-in on facebook. However, why should I even be proud of resisting internet trends when my major is EMAC? So I kept an open mind while reading these articles regarding location awareness, knowing that after reading them, I could very well become a part of the growing trend..

“Location Literacy and Four Square in the Classroom” both surprised me, and didn’t surprise me at all at the same time. I was surprised to see that Dean Terry would actually require his students to use Four Square. To me it seem invasive, and even dangerous. However, I can’t help but agree with his reasoning. Especially for EMAC students studying this emerging media, four square is one of a kind. As he said, it can only be used (or only makes sense to use) on a mobile device. And using it really is an adequate way to familiarize yourself with it.

The New York times article drew out my own personal concerns on the issue of location awareness. By having these phones with us all of the time, wherever we go, they’re a prime outlet to be used to track us. And they’re doing just that. This really didn’t surprise me.

On my own Iphone 4s, I’m perfectly aware that my dad installed a program to see exactly where I am all the time. My name will show up, and say “University of Texas at Dallas”, or “24 Hour Fitness”. Though I feel a little bit too old to be subjected to this treatment by my parents, it also scares me. If my parents who really don’t know a darned thing about programing a mobile device, or networks can install this feature to track me at all hours of the day, who else can be doing it? Or for that matter, already is?

This same program that my parents use on me has been accused of breaking up marriages when spouses follow their significant other to the unrecognized location that shows up on their iphone, and it turns out to be their boyfriend/girlfriends house. I feel like it’s almost an ethical issue when it invades our privacy this much. It’s highly invasive, and I don’t think it’s a necessary part of out new emergent media. And I still find myself not willing use Four Square.

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Last week, when we were covering accessibility I found myself sort of blind sided (really, no cold-hearted pun intended). Disability, and economic incapability is something that we do encounter in our every day lives. It comes into play in post every aspect of life. But for some reason, I didn’t even consider how it effects the use of internet.

I have considered before hand how economic capabilities effect the internet. I do recall living in New York growing up, when computers and the internet first started being used in schools. We mostly had to do everything that required working on a computer there in school, in the computer lab. Though my family had a few computers since my parents had a home office for the business that they owned, many of my peers didn’t have computers. They were just too new, and too expensive. Even though that computers are much more mainstream now, there are still plenty of people that simply don’t have the economic capability to purchase them. Of course there are libraries, and public internet cafes, but I don’t know if we’re doing enough to make it as accessible in ones home who isn’t as economically well off.

As for physical disability, I really never even considered it. When we used the screen reader in class, I was so thrown off by it. It was annoying, it was wordy, and for the most part, it didn’t even make sense. It would often just say “html”, or “web homepage”. It wouldn’t read tweets, and it said all sorts of strange things with tumblr. Obviously, my opinion is biased because I have had the ability to actually see a computer screen my whole life. So perhaps my experience would be far different if I really were visually incapacitated? Regardless, I feel like this technology has a lot of kinks to work out. I feel like it’s not easy to follow along no matter what you physical state.

Over all, this lesson has been enlightening for me. It’s made me look at the internet in a whole new light, and see that its accessibility really needs to be improved.

I found reading the digital divide, very unsettling. The reading discussed statistics and stereotypes against minorities in relation to the internet. Such as calling myspace “ghetto” only for the reason that young african american girls are using it, and how less likely minorities are to purchase things like smart phones. Also, we see popular trending topics on twitter that are geared towards segreating groups, and reinforcing stereotypes, which I have often seen myself.

With how far we’ve come in racism, and sexism, it’s incredibly troubling that people still have these separations. Personally, I don’t understand what race, or sex has to do with effect of how we use phones, and websites like twitter. We use our phones for entertainment. We use of phones to communicate. We shouldn’t be using phone user statistics as a way to divide and segregate groups.

These groups are what we make them, and what we define them. In my mind, perhaps the only segregation that we can make for something like technology is economic. Only because it effects what one can afford. However, I think that the digital divide is something that we could do without. I’m sure we all look forward to the day that no matter what race, or gender we are, we can all enjoy the same products, and the same opportunities.