Tag Archives: social media

“Toaster is hangry” – The internet of things


There was a time where giving a voice to an inanimate object would be seen as strange and unusual. Social media came along and allowed for people to interact and connect with other people from all around the world – creating a virtual community. Social media (Twitter) and these communities being built led way for people to create accounts that did not represent a person, but an object or a thing.

Looking at Twitter there is an account that represents the Big Ben Clock in London. Every hour on the hour a tweet is made that has 1 – 12 “BONG” in it, representing the hour of day it is, this is all the account does.

BIG ben BONG BIG ben bongingThe Big Ben Twitter account is controlled by a person, but what if it was controlled by Big Ben itself – the clock tower. This can be a possibility. Introducing the “Internet of things” described as giving “things” the power to communicate over networks without the need for human interaction.

The difference from people bringing life into an object much like the Big Ben clock and giving an object life is the independence and freedom that the object has. The Big Ben clock deals with a person Tweeting for it, the Internet of Things does not have the human part. To get objects to have a presence on the internet and other networks it is with the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can be programmed to track any condition.

The use of RFID’s with objects has given way to the Internet of Things. Objects are being engaging with people and other objects. Julian Bleecker writes in “Why Things Matter” that the Internet of Things allows for objects to have a presence on social media to become a more engaging area of social media. When it comes to giving objects the power to communicate with anyone and anything – to have a voice, then there is a need to question the representation of what people perceive as “just an object” and its physical space.

An activist who “likes” is no activist indeed


Social media has allowed for the greater discussion of global issues all around the world. The stories and issues that would be untold or changed by governments is no longer the case, the turmoils and oppression people face from those in power can be shared, questioned and fixed. In a time where social media is a part of everyday life what does it mean to rise-up and do something – to be an activist.

One aspect of social media – particularly seen on Facebook we are greeted by dozens of emotionally triggering images or sayings that promote a cause and “allows” for an action. These pictures allow for an individual to show support – by “liking” the photo and this “like” is seen as a form of respect or a prayer, or seen as a trade-off for a supposed dollar donation. This participation in supporting a cause is limited, what is accomplished from liking a picture? What happens after someone likes one of these images – a sense of contribution and accomplishment for the like, knowing that you made an effort and the world is a little-bit better.

When it comes to issues of racism, abuse, poverty and sustainability, social media allows for these issues to be shared, though the effort of getting people to do something more than just liking a photo is needed. Social media is the medium to get the message across though the effort people are going-to-go-to to accomplish a change deals with more than the liking of a photo on social media.

Evgeny Morozov, in this article proclaims that social media is just a tool to get information and awareness of issues across. The awareness that social media can bring deals with a mass audience, but to get that mass audience to do something, deals with much more than just the awareness social media allows. The example in the article is the issue that happened in the Middle East called on social media as “Arab Springs”. Arab Springs dealt with the oppression from the government and the uprising of the public to overthrow the government. The start and success of the Arab Springs was sought to be because of social media, though the dedication, emotion and government oppression was felt by a vast amount of people that would lead to a change.

When it comes to social media – the intent of starting a protest is something to be desired. When issues are brought to mass attention a lot of people will just be a slacktivist and disregard any idea of creating change. There is something more than just spreading word of an issue to rally up the troops and topple governments. Social media is the tool to get messages across but not the entire reason why change occurs.

Visual essay – Is social media making us [more] racist?


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Slide 2

Zupancic Z, Twitter-logo, February 17 2011, Flickr, Attribution/No derivative works http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazyoctopus/5455530224/

Rizzato R, Fakes on my Facebook “friends” #02, April 11 2010, Flickr, Attribution/non commercial http://www.flickr.com/photos/rizzato/4514629942/

Ergow.com, logo YouTube, November 26 2009, Flickr, Attribution/non-commercial/no derivative work http://www.flickr.com/photos/ergow/4135920041/

Simon, Google search engine magnifying glass browser, January 29 2013, Pixabay, Public domain CC0 http://pixabay.com/en/google-search-engine-76522/

Slide 3

Garber M, Graph, April 5 2013, May 26 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/when-your-facebook-friend-is-racist/274706/

Slide 4

Pareene, Young Republican leader Finds racism LOL-worthy, July 6 2009, May 27 2013, http://gawker.com/5308514/young-republican-leader-finds-racism-lol+worthy

Slide 5

Alexander B, Tweet, 2012, Sunday 26 2013 http://insidepublicminds.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/racism-digitalized/

Blunsum J, 2013, Searching racism, Screenshots – 2 from Google, 1 from Youtube (Personal collection)

Slide 6

Tang A, Boston Marathon aftermath people, April 15 2013, Wikimedia, Attribution http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2013_Boston_Marathon_aftermath_people.jpg

Tang A, Boston Marathon explosion, April 16 2012, Wikimedia, Attribution


Slide 7

Binder M, Twitter Idiots blame Boston Bombing on North Korea, President Obama, April 16 2013, May 26 2013, http://thecontributor.com/boston-marathon-bombing/boston-bombing-brings-out-worst-twitter (all the tweets)

Slide 8

Gabbay T, “Please don’t be a Muslim”: cair, others respond to Boston bombings on Twitter, April 15 2013, May 25 2013, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/15/please-dont-be-a-muslim-cair-others-respond-to-boston-bombings-on-twitter/

Slide 9

Administrator, AIPAC-Jewish Racist “Hopes Boston Bomber is White”, April 17 2013, June 6 2013 http://www.davidduke.com/?p=39309

Digital Activist


Activism and politics for the modern student has been seen as a problem, there is little to no public meet-ups protesting against “the man”, the government or the elitist, so what has happened? Where are the opinions and expressions of “Generation Technology”?


Social media, not just an excuse to play games and watch kittens play (no matter how cute), but an infinite opportunity to create and be a part of something bigger and better than what you could do without the global connection. The internet is where we are all going to have a voice and we are proving to have an opinion on the issues of today, being apart of the “clicktivism” culture. Websites such as Change.org and GetUp! provide a central location to sign petitions dealing with issues of today such as the petition “Facebook: Immediately remove the racist page called “Aboriginal Memes”“, which was seen as offensive and prejudice to Aboriginals. With the collective and active voice of one person, they stood for something and brought it to the attention of others… and they succeeded, the page and any other copycat groups have been deleted.

With regards to the petition sights (Change.org and GetUp) you can view any campaign that is brought up and any campaign that has been successful, however, I do not see any option that shows the amount of issues/campaigns/petitions that failed – trying to put a contrast on what people are interested in and the statistics to show how successful these sights are.

The activism from generation to generation has changed dramatically. Today we are a participatory culture that utilizes social network to voice our issues and concerns with global issues – seen through Kony 2012 and The Occupy Movement, each utilizing social media (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) to get a message across. Then getting picked up by bloggers, television stations and radio stations to spread and emphasize the importance of what is happening and to do something about it.

There are times when the support on the internet and the ideas for change do not cross over to “out-on-the-streets” protests in attempt to get changes, highlighted by this article on the Aljazerra website by Jesse Strauss, establishing that a cause on social media, like The Occupy Movement isn’t always thought through and the idea for an outcome is seen through hope, patience and determination.

To say “Generation Technology” are not in touch with politics and activism seems to be untrue. The dedication and passion is present, the causes are true and the global awareness is possible – just, maybe the execution is off. It just gets done in a different way!

Sensitivity and Memes in the Public Sphere!


Warning: May contain Offensive Material!

When there is a topic that needs to be talked about, where do you go? To the ‘Public Sphere’ – an area, such as a coffee house, for discussion about controversial issues, news or debates. The idea of a Public Sphere gives people the opportunity to converse in a social setting, face-to-face about topics discussed  in media, this has changed to due to the introduction of the internet.

The internet allows for anyone in the world to gather at specific websites such as Tumblr, Facebook and Reddit, to give an opinion on any information that they so choose. The Public Sphere has become a much less face-to-face interaction but a bigger, more social one, thus changing the need for mediation with-in the “Public Sphere”. The websites mentioned have all mediated themselves in some way, usually by having rules – restricting adult content to certain forums or not allowing any at all, placing certain content into categories and allowing certain people to post or the introduction of Moderators to patrol forums to enforce the rules. There are certain aspects of the internet that can’t be mediated as they are produced by users, yet no one can justify owning the content, I am talking about Memes – a short picture, phrase or a combination that spreads around the internet.

I love strawberries BCM110

The above picture, to me anyway, is nothing more than a turtle eating a strawberry with the written words “OH MY GOD, I LOVE STRAWBERRIES!!” as to represent the feelings of the turtle as to show both the cuteness of the turtle in something so absurd but also to express the similar feel that a human can. It is something anyone can relate to by enjoying/liking something very much.

In contrast to the comedic aspect of personifying a turtle’s affection eating a strawberry, there are other memes that bring controversy, such as:

controversy meme BCM110

The above meme, and many others, bring controversy to any place that it is posted. One can be disgusted by looking at a failing attempt at humour on the touchy subject of rape. To produce a picture like this, but to also include the line “It’s not rape. If she really didn’t want to, she’d have said something”, to express the idea if women can not voice her objection, then it is not rape.

When it comes to this meme it brings up the controversy and debate of rape and women oppression against the freedom of speech on the internet. What is considered humour? Can every area of the internet be mediated? Do controversial memes hurt anyone? Are memes used to point fun at sensitive issues or to bring them up and get people to talk?

When there is no claim to creation but a reason for the creation in the first place, it would be easier to just avoid what is portrayed but then conversation and understanding would not ever happen.

All you have to do is send a message?


It starts with one person creating a message, this person sends the message and another person replies and forwards the message to other people, they then continue to spread the single message created. In no time at all, the message has reached a majority of people all over the world. This one simple message can create an infinite loop around the world back to the person that created it.

global network BCM112Welcome to a Participatory culture!

It use to be so easy to just watch television, or listen to the radio with no need for interaction. Oh how times have changed, with some simple clicks and pushes of buttons on a computer you have probably given information about yourself to a collection database. You have participated in sharing music and funny videos, collectively had an opinion on the current music scene or the latest celebrity scandal, or writing a blog for University to be seen as an outlet for understanding or the confusion of weekly topics.

This interaction has lead to the change of people from consumers to prosumers. This is evident all over the internet, this idea of collective creative and expression has been highlighted by specific website ideas such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. A main difference that has created these “prosumers” are the everyday activities that get oppressed by Government censorship such as those in China – when Twitter was able to let everyone know there was an earthquake; and, also with the Egypt evolution in 2011.

With the potential for social networks being used as a platform for the dissemination of issues, there will always be a chance for the mobilization of large groups supporting issues that are collectively disagreed on, this creates a level of involvement that both allows for co-ordination and a civic engagement of people to allow for a chance to be heard. This puts the pressure on government censorship and restrictions, it has yet been understood as to whether governments will continue to censor their people but with the internet and its freedom, are the restrictions going to be lifted or are more is a more harsh censorship going to be in-placed?

political correctness BCM112