Written word vs. moving images

When we were told we would be creating a video, I automatically knew it would take more time and thought than just writing down my thoughts. I had to reflect on what is a part of my life that I would like to share with others.

Each classmate’s topic may have been selected because the student came across the idea, felt it was what the assignment required or was an idea they could relate to. By having a connection to the piece, it will most likely be a stronger final product. The personal element was shown in Elyssa and Isabella’s videos because they shared something they enjoy. This can’t always be shown through text because the viewer can’t visualize the emotions that the author is feeling.

With these emotions, comes tone. The tone of a piece can create a humorous video like Will’s or more serious like Jessica’s. Their ideas were both able to be conveyed to the viewer but with images and video the tone couldn’t be interpreted differently by various audiences. If these pieces were only written the message of humor is more easily lost. Seriousness can be conveyed through text but with the help of the images, the point was stronger.

In these pieces, still and moving images were typically accompanied by an audio file. This audio is the written text and description of the topic. These videos and other videos don’t typically have the script also written on the screen. With the combination of words and images, it may be hard to separate the two. If the text was presented on the screen like Peter’s was vs. how many of the others were, it is hard to focus on both elements at one time. The audio may distract from the video or the images become attached to the audio. I find myself associating the images with the audio and not being able to isolate them.

Each video has its affordances and constraints, but finding the right medium to use digitally to portray the desired message is the skill we are trying to acquire.

are you who you present online?

As millennials, we know that the internet and technology is complicated. In the early chapters of danah boyd’s novel, these complications are organized and spelled out for the reader to relate to. Privacy, addiction, and identity are only the beginning of these areas of concern for many; but all can be viewed in positive and negative I’ve lights.

During her chapter about creating an online identity, she writes about how individuals have many freedoms when it comes to each social medium but there are expectations as well. On page 49, boyd writes, “Impression management online and off is not just an individual act; it’s a social process”. After this she uses examples of teens from across the country to express many of her points. In the following paragraph, Matthew provided her with insight into how he believed he was maintaining a professional image online but his friends were not. I find this to be a common scenery between friends and managing a professional image. Despite Matthew’s individual efforts to keep his page viewer friendly, he can’t always control what his friends do with their pages. Through being associated with these friends, he could be risking the identity that he has been working towards.

As a teen, I was less concerned with my professional image online because I wasn’t preparing for the professional world. My parents always warned of that whatever is online will always be there and that still sticks in the back of my mind. I now am more conscious of what I post or what I am tagged in on Facebook.

A few pages later, boyd likens the world of the internet to “one heck of a cultural labyrinth” (53). This analogy creates an image of winding through this maze of unknowing what is going to be around the next turn. Online interactions can be this way, even for adults. One post can be appropriate to share according to one’s values but maybe not to your neighbor who is also viewing it. Identifying your audience is important when writing on paper but writing online can twists and turns depending on who the audience actually is versus who it was intended for. For me, hearing a piece of writing out loud has benefitted my understanding of the author’s intent. I found danah boyd reading the preface of It’s Complicated and in hearing her voice, I am now able to read her words with more understanding of her intent while writing.

Each scenario that boyd provides creates a simple image that most millennials can relate to. Just like Matthew, I try to maintain a profile that can be used for professional and social aspects of my life. I’m bet the following chapters are also going to provide areas of teen’s interactions that can be interpreted various ways by various people, while all being highly relatable.

Mindset

Our environment is moving at a pace faster than most can keep up with. This change Carr partially attributes to the changes in the internet. Early in the second half of The Shallows, Carr writes how IQ scores have been increasing since before World War 2. This change may be influenced by technology but there are many other factors that come first in Carr’s mind. The idea that technology can change our minds, in both negative and positive ways, is a concept that I have now been thinking about. Carr writes, “there needs to be a time for efficient data collection and time for inefficient contemplation, time to operate the machine and time to sit idly in the garden” (168).

In this quote, I find that Carr is showing the reader that the internet doesn’t have to be as deep if we do not want it to be. I admire the idea of separating time for one’s own thoughts before using a machine. After beginning this class, I have found myself more aware of how and when I use my phone. I used to respond to Snapchats, emails and texts instantly after leaving class and would continue this until I was home. Now, each time I reach for my phone, I think, “do I need to do this right now?” Many times the answer is “no”. I now put my phone away as I leave the building and admire this beautiful campus on my walk to my next destination.

Since technology is encouraging us to use it, we forget what nature and our own brains can bring us to do also. Nature can trigger us psychologically. Trees and wind and even those who walk by us can change the way our day goes. When looking at technology, we are a horse with blinders on, blocking out everything that isn’t digitalized. We need to revert back to noticing the environment around us and finding a balance between when technology is used and when we think for ourselves before asking those on the internet.

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Our enjoyment of nature through our phones memory. Photo by: Justin Hamilton

Carr doesn’t deny that technology is negative in this section, but just points out the reality that having a balance in life is key. I would like to focus on this balance more in my life to enjoy what is happening around me as well as knowing what is going on in the world I live in.

Progress

Humans tend to move forward. Most of us do not move backwards in life’s roles because there is a clear progression from birth to death. In the opening paragraph of chapter three, Carr writes, “Our intellectual maturation as individuals can be traced through the way we draw pictures, or maps, of our surroundings. We begin with primitive, literal renderings … we advance to ever more accurate and more abstract…”(39). In speaking about humans in our early form, he draws a connection between how a child’s drawings of the sun and house may not be perfect but as they grow older those images may become a measured blueprint.

Technology has progressed in a similar way to how humans evolve.  A baby is planned and thought about before it is born just like the creation of the mobile phone. There may have been a rough plan at first but eventually that technology has evolved to being a computer in a child’s hand.

As we have advanced and so has technology. To live in this world, one must adapt to their environment to allow for future progress. Technology has to adapt as well so it can progress to the future. Where some elements may disappear overtime, they are usually for the better. Throughout history, humans have evolved to adjust to the ever changing world. A New York Times article speaks to this idea of technology extinction. It mentions how technology can avoid becoming extinct if humans learn to interact with it appropriately. Manjoo writes, “technologies have always gone belly up, but tech extinctions may become even more common over the next few years.”

While, yes, some tech companies are not going to have as great an understanding of their customers, Manjoo discusses how the top 5 companies will out last the others. To be a part of that, he suggests, “the point is to minimize the danger of getting locked in to any one company’s ecosystem.” By having a stake in most of these five companies, the chances of your technologies staying relevant are much more likely.

Carr uses this comparison between human development and technology development to express how some traits will come and go and others will continue to develop through our life. Because technology isn’t run on its own, as humans adapt so does technology. With these changes, the brands are what need to continue to change to not become extinct.