Affordances and Constraints of using video vs. text

There are many differences between the two mediums of video and print. Making the Concept in 60 video really highlighted these affordances and constraints since we have been writing blog posts all semester and have been asked to jump into the new medium for this assignment. For the most part, relaying a concept in video format can be a lot easier since you can use different elements that you can’t in writing. The creator can speak instead of write, which makes their meaning and interpretation of what they are saying clear to the audience, which is done by tone of voice and where they place emphasis. With that being said, the use of audio is a great affordance in using videos. There can be sound effects and music which can bring out a certain mood of the viewer. Visuals are what makes a video really stand out. These can be used so the audience gets the rights images and scenery in their minds, while also bringing the whole story together. Videos tend to get a message across quicker than reading a chuck of text can, and can be more entertaining, both of which can keep the audience engaged in their work a lot longer than reading text does. Some constraints of using video vs text are that is does not leave much room for the viewer’s imagination, as everything is already laid out for the viewer. This does alter the viewer’s perception and experience of the text because it leaves less room for the viewer to really make it their own.

Graham’s video is almost a perfect example of the affordances of video that I just explained. While his video does not have any speaking, it really highlights what video can do to add effects. He uses various combos of different types of music with different filters/visual effects. Even though he is not doing anything in the video, you can still get a certain tone from it based on these effects. In text, you would have to write sentences in order to attempt for everyone to get the same intended vibes that can be effortlessly achieved through video.

Another example of great use of these affordances is Sam’s video about how to make a grand entrance. Trying to effectively turn this video into text and get the same message across is nearly impossible, or at least very difficult. Sam uses every affordance simultaneously throughout his whole video. His tone of voice and visuals form the actors clearly indicate humor, the grand entrances are nicely complimented by the sound effects, and reading the actors faces throughout the video really adds to the experience.

Will’s video is yet another great example. His video starts off with future him talking to present him. He is using a tone of voice that would be difficult to describe accurately and effectively through text, so the use of video really highlights the humor and tone of Will’s piece. The visuals and facial expressions seen that were added by the use of video makes the intended tones a lot more clear.

Are Parents Going Too Far To Check In On Their Kids?

So far, It’s Complicated by Deborah Boyd is very interesting to me because I have never read a piece of text like it before, especially written by an adult. Boyd is defending teens and appears to be battling parents who disagree with, argue, or dislike how teens in modern day society are using the internet. Many parents feel that teens are “addicted” to the internet and that they are being brainwashed and kept from seeing their friends in person. When in reality, teens would much rather see their friends in person; it is just made much more difficult today due to lack of transportation, busy schedules, parental concerns about safety, and property owners having a distaste for teenagers hanging around on their property.

One main concern among parents that Boyd brings up is that teens are now living in a whole new world that is blocked off to them. Since children are living these separate lives that are not willingly shared with adults, parents get the idea that teens are actively making efforts to hide what they are doing online and get the assumption that their children are engaging in inappropriate and dangerous acts on the internet. This causes friction and distrust between parents and their children and ultimately leads to parents snooping around, by any means possible, to find out what their child is doing online because they feel they have the right to. Boyd explains that “teens are not particularly concerned about organizational actors; rather, they wish to avoid paternalistic adults who use safety and protection as an excuse to monitor their everyday sociality” (56). There is a vicious cycle of teens using the internet to communicate with friends they cannot see in person, teens not wanting their parents to read their private conversations, parents misinterpreting this desire of privacy and interpreting it as their children putting themselves in danger, and parents snooping in their child’s personal life as a result.

Many of the teens Boyd interview expressed a huge desire for trust form their parents. Boyd brings up the important point that “there is a significant difference between having the ability to violate privacy and making the choice to do so” (74). As seen by the many examples of parents prying in on their children’s internet activity, it is very easy for a parent to see what their child is doing. But just because it is easy, doesn’t mean there is an entitled right to do so.

Teen Safe news segment (Scoundcloud)

I have pulled the audio from a clip on a news show that discusses this program called “TeenSafe” that allows parents to see all the activity on their child’s smartphone. This discussion really highlights the lengths that some parents go to in order to pry in on their kids and how they feel entitled in doing so.

Are we in control as much as we think?

Here’s a scary thought: a world in which human beings are no longer the most intelligent lifeforms, and in fact are now subservient to a new dominating “life form”- one that they invented themselves. Many of you already have an answer in your minds to the question “what is this new species that could overcome humans?” because with every new invention and improvement, that world, although still avoidable and many, many decades (or centuries) in the future if it does occur, is becoming more and more real. The answer is technology.

Nicholas Carr, in the last half of his novel The Shallows, talks more about present technology and the future. He touches upon subjects such as the dominating presence of Google, artificial intelligence, how our research and thinking patterns are affected by the Internet, and briefly looks into what the future may hold. Since technology has advanced so much and has made (arguably) the largest impact on human life and societal development, there is no going back to the time before it was invented. It has simply become too beneficial and integrated into our lives. We rely on some form on technology for almost everything we do.

Carr quotes Frederick Taylor saying “in the past the man has been first, in the future the system must be first.” Taylor is referring to his “system” he invented for increasing productivity among manufacturers, once it had been globally adopted, claiming that it would bring about a “restructuring not only of the industry but of society.” Although Taylor did not have modern day technology in mind, his words can be easily applied. Taylor quoted this over 100 years ago, and man is still in charge of technology, although technology is becoming more advanced and man is becoming more reliant on it to continue to progress at anywhere near the same level as we have been. If you take Taylor’s words in the context of modern technology, they ring quite true. It is slowly becoming more true that technology (“the system”) must come first in order for humans to continue developing at the same pace that we are.

There has even been attempts to create an artificial intelligence that has a mind that can think on its own, independently of algorithms that tell it how to process information. Some people find this close reality frightening, because what will happen once man creates something that doesn’t need man’s help to survive?

How Our Brains Have Come Full Circle (In a Sense)

One quote I liked in particular from The Shallows was from page 63: “The natural state of the human brain, like that of the brains of most of our relatives in the animal kingdom, is one of distractedness.” A few sentences before this quote Carr wrote about how “readers didn’t just become more efficient [over time]. They also became more attentive.” The second quote acknowledges how the human brain is evolving overtime to accommodate the complex activity of reading. The first six chapters of The Shallows roughly outline a brief timeline of the human brain: distracted and scattered in the time of ancient civilizations and cavemen, more developed and focused at the dawn of the invention of writing, and then rapidly becoming more sophisticated and complex as reading and writing became a necessary element to everyday human life. This has been proven true on many accounts, looking back on how the works produced by humans over the years and how they have been getting more complex and sophisticated. With the emergence of modern day technology, humans have evolved more than ever. Our brains have rewired over the decades to adapt to constantly reading in small snippets, very quickly. Our intake of information has dramatically increased due to the greater ease of access to information on countless different topics, aiding to monumental research and general public knowledge. Almost 24/7 we are gathering and processing new information in our brains from all the screens and various signs we read, so of course our brains had to adapt to this new lifestyle that technology has led us to.

This constant intake of information in small bursts has, in a way, brought our brains back to the very distractedness that is mentioned in the quotes. Before the Internet gave us the ability to find new material to read and things to learn, humans had to go to libraries and to research in physical books, sitting in front of books for hours at a time. In order to extract information and learn things from text, readers had to immerse themselves in what they were reading. Today, the opposite is true. If we see an article online of more than a few paragraphs in length, we generally tend to try and find a shorter article on the same topic. Since the emergence of the Internet, we have become accustomed to finding what we need in a few paragraphs or less. This has lead us to become more distracted when presented with a “lengthy” piece of text. Even modern day research suggests ways to cope with the distractedness of our brains while studying (bullet 2, 4, and 7).

While modern technology and the Internet did bring positive monumental change to the world, and our way of living, it has taken a toll on our brains in the form of distractedness and the high demand for quick intake of information. The benefits of this technology does far outweigh the costs, but this proves to show that nothing comes without consequence.