An Addition To DCI

Nerve (2016) IMDb.

I think the 2016 movie, “Nerve” starring Emma Roberts should be featured in the DCI curriculum because it shows the power of the internet and its ability to make people obsessed with their online appearance and inability to take defeat. This online truth or dare game becomes very personal for many of the high schoolers involved in it to the point that money is given as rewards and taken directly from bank accounts for failure. This movie fully depicts the idea that people desire fame through social media and just like in today’s world, going digitally famous is something that every teen wants in order to become more popular and accepted by their peers.

I think it would fit really well with the discussion we had about the impact technology has on one’s desire to uphold an accepted, sometimes fake appearance to claim respect and popularity from others. Similar to the Black Mirror “Nosedive” episode that we watched for class, “Nerve” depicts the negative impact digital culture has on one’s ability to separate what’s truly important to them versus what they want people to think is important to them, two things that seem to be very different for most people. This transparency is often masked by the world’s technological growth as there are so many ways to indulge in every aspect of our digital culture, particularly for the worst. In addition to the “Nosedive” episode this would also connect well to The Guardian article, “Facebook Told Advertisers It Can Identify Teens Feeling ‘insecure’ and ‘Worthless’” by Sam Levin, as it demonstrates a group of teenagers who continue their participation in an online game that they are aware is dangerous, yet continue to play anyway in order to avoid feeling worthless.

This episode further covers topics we have discussed in class such as online surveillance. Throughout the truth or dare game, every action, both physically and digitally, undertaken by the “players” is monitored by the “watchers” with the internet being the main source of communication between these two groups involved in the game. Just like social media platforms have for many people around the world today, this online truth or dare came has too, become an obsession amongst the players.

I feel this addition to DCI180 could be very beneficial as it is yet another media source that explores our digital culture’s ability to promote self-indulgence. The situation described in the movie is definitely an example of something that could potentially occur in today’s world and is something that should be recognized in order to prevent such thing from occurring.

if prohibition was happening now…

Looking back at an event like Prohibition makes me realize just how different it would be for something like it to take place in today’s world. News is easily spread throughout the world through social media, providing people with information within minutes and a space where people can share their ideas with one another.

Rewind a decade…

The ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution on January 29, 1919, resulted in Prohibition, banning the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. Following the United States’ entrance into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary ban in hope of saving grain for the production of food, however it became a more long term ordeal. Enforcing prohibition was difficult and many people took part in the illegal manufacture and sale of liquor, giving way to a significant amount of crime. By 1932, the country favored the end of prohibition to create more jobs in response to the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was running for president at the time, said he would appeal prohibition, and by 1933 after becoming president, a 21st Amendment was proposed to appeal the 18th Amendment.

 

Fast forward to now…

Twitter is the main platform for the Government to deliver messages to its citizens. The Presidents themselves connect with their constituents through their tweets that they update frequently. Citizens join through social media to speak out against prohibition and build a network of anti-prohibitionists in hope of ratifying the 18th Amendment to bring back the alcohol rights they feel they deserve. Through groups on facebook or being able to comment and like twitter posts, the country unites as one to show their stance on this issue. Additionally, citizens find alternative ways to protest against the ban, such as posting snapchat stories of them illegally consuming alcohol or starting live instagram videos of them at  local speakeasies. The National Government contacts the different social media platforms, requesting blocks on certain accounts, and in return those blocked accounts sue it for breaching on their rights to freedom of speech.

Social media has become an incredibly important aspect to the political and social scene in today’s world. It is the home to endless groups that come together to discuss common beliefs and interests about certain issues. Unlike 100 years ago when it was physically impossible to know what was happening across the world or even the country, today we are able to inform ourselves of events at the time at which they are taking place, as well as connect with others who share the same interests in an event.

The Dirty Facts Behind Snapchat’s Privacy Statement

As a Snapchat user myself, I can assure you that when I downloaded the app back in Sixth grade, I spent zero time looking over the privacy policy and terms of agreement, and instead scrolled right to the bottom of the page to accept the terms that were “unknown” to me at the time. I bet that I’m not alone in saying this, and that most other people have done the exact same thing for Snapchat or some other social media platform they have joined. Snapchat’s privacy policy is relatively easy to understand, however, I believe its length is responsible for turning people’s attention away from it. Who wants to spend twenty minutes reading something that will probably have little to no effect on whether or not they resist from using the app? As we have discussed in class, as well as in Heidi A. McKee’s “Policy Matters Now and in the Future: Net Neutrality, Corporate Data Mining, and Government Surveillance,” privacy policies are often very difficult to understand. Heidi states, “these ‘transparent’ statements are too often anything but, so the fact that companies are required to report how they manage their networks does not seem, ultimately, that helpful for the typical consumer,” which seems very accurate having looked at a few privacy statements myself. Such language comes over as “foreign” to a typical user, but perhaps this is purposeful to prevent users from turning away from a site solely because they feel uncomfortable with the privacy agreement. After analyzing Snapchat’s terms of privacy, I imagine that I’m not alone in wishing that I had read the terms prior to downloading the app, as I find a lot of the things included in the statement to be uncomfortable as a frequent user of the app.

Most people first downloaded the app in response to the new idea that anything sent or received using it would immediately be vanished, however this is not the case. Snapchat explains in its privacy policy that any “snap” or “chat” sent or received is recorded, not only by itself, but third parties are also able to access it for their own purposes. Additionally, in cases of legal matters, Snapchat is able to present content from your activity on the app without your permission. Although this seems fair for the purpose of the Law, I feel it should be our right to decide what can and cannot be shared. It also explicitly states that they “are not responsible for how those third parties collect or use your information,” however they are the ones leaking this information to begin with so this doesn’t seem plausible. I think the thing that seems most discouraging to me is the idea that they are constantly collecting and updating information about our likes and dislikes based on our content and engagement with the app. Collecting content such as custom stickers made through the app seems like a breach of privacy to me as I feel I should be able to use the app knowing that pictures that I am taking are being used for my purpose only. Although I will more than likely keep using the app, analyzing Snapchat’s privacy statement has definitely made me more skeptical of what happens behind the scenes of the app. I find it genuinely creepy that Snapchat has access to my pictures and conversations, which I had thought for all this time were “gone”.

Below is an interview with a fellow student about her awareness of Snapchat’s privacy policy.

 

 

stalking made easy

In the technologically-advanced world we live in today it is very hard to keep a low profile, while also enjoying the benefits of social media. Everything we post, or anyone posts about us, ends up becoming what is known as our digital footprint. As discussed in the HuffPost article we read for class, “a passive digital footprint is created when data is collected without the owner knowing,” and it is because of this that personal information can get out so easily. Not only do we have to worry about the things we are posting and what people could potentially do with them, but we also need to remember that we don’t always know what is being released by others about ourselves. As discovered by my stalking abilities, it was incredibly easy to find information on the Internet about my two professors, Professor Teaff and Professor Adobney.

 

Born on June 16, 1974, Professor Teaff was raised in Gloversville, NY. It was here that she attended Gloversville High School, where she graduated with the Class of 1992. Following her High School career, she then attended Fulton-Montgomery Community College for two years, followed by the State University of New York at Potsdam for another two years. After graduating in 1996, Professor Teaff continued her education at Virginia Commonwealth University for two years in 1997. Her work experience began with a two year venture at VMI before heading back to school in 2003 to study Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. In addition to attending USC, Professor Teaff began at W&L in 2003 where she continues to work as a Librarian today. Professor Teaff can be described as a quiet, quirky, spider-loving person who has loved Duran Duran since she was eight years old. She also demonstrates her support for Ohio State Football through the many pictures she has previously posted to her timeline. 

 

Although it was fairly simple to find information about Professor Teaff, it was even easier discovering information about Professor Abdoney’s personal life. Professor Abdoney was born on June 16, 1976, which I may add is the day as Professor Teaff just two years later! Raised in Tampa, Florida, she attended H.B. Plant High School. In 1996, Professor Abdoney began school at the University of Florida, where she studied Philosophy, Anthropology, and Secondary Education, and was a member of Alpha Xi Delta. She continued her education in 2000 at the University of South Florida, where she too, studied Library and Information Science. In July of 2001, Professor Abdoney became a Science & Interlibrary Loan Librarian and Assistant Professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She left in May of 2005 to become an Instruction Coordinator, Science Librarian and Associate Professor at W&L in February 2006, where she has been working since. Both Professor Abdoney and Professor Teaff actually gave a lecture together at the Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference in May of 2019. In addition to her work, she also enjoys crafts, making bags and clothing out of different fabrics and including a signature label that says “made by mary” with a picture of scissors below it. Living at 112 Myers St Lexington, VA, she maintains a vegetable garden, in which her son Emmett enjoys helping her with; they have recently grown pumpkins! Also, it seems that her and her husband enjoy spices, as seen in a picture of their spice cabinet on Flickr.

 

I have only known Professor Teaff and Professor Abdoney for the two weeks since classes have started and I feel like I already know so much about them. In just thirty minutes of searching for them, I was able to discover so much. This demonstrates just how powerful the Internet can be and how much is out there that I, and probably many others didn’t know existed.

my digital life

Within a single day I find myself using technology mainly as a source of communication. I begin my day by checking my social media accounts. It has become a natural habit to do this as soon as I wake up. It allows me time to catch up on all the things I missed while sleeping, while also giving me an extra fifteen minutes or so in bed. I scroll through my feed on both instagram and facebook and respond to my snapchats. I then check my email, both my personal and school one, to make sure nothing important was sent to me. This is just the beginning of my web interactions for the day. Throughout the day, I find myself on canvas and Sakai checking assignment due dates or opening powerpoints that professors have uploaded for us to use as a study tool. I also found myself today emailing a professor with a question I had about an assignment that is due next class so I used my W&L email account for this purpose. Additionally, I had to log on to sapling for chemistry to complete an assignment due this week, as well as open padlet to submit my discussion questions for this class. Social media is my main tool of communication throughout the day, so in addition to my morning routine, I find myself scrolling through my phone when I have down time in the day. Our networked world clearly has a positive effect in my life as it makes it incredibly easy to access school-related materials with a click of a button, and it also makes it very easy to stay in touch with people without having to put in the effort to call or text them. I think I would say it may even encourage me to stay in contact with people more than I generally would as I am constantly kept in the loop about what people are doing with their lives. Although I find myself generally drawn to its positives, I definitely think this networked world also has its drawbacks as it can become incredibly distracting at times. For instance, I can often get lost in facebook’s feed when I could be doing more productive things with my life. I also think people are less inclined to meet up with one another face to face as it is so easy to stay in touch over these easy ways of communicating. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it has definitely changed how people interact in the world today, compared to back when computers were first becoming a big thing. Overall, I find myself using technology a significant amount throughout the day, marking my digital trace in this networked world and finding it difficult to imagine a world without such ways of communication.