Final Touch Ups – or so I thought

It was the day of the presentation and up until now after the few hiccups that the team has had everything was going smoothly. We all have planned out what each person will have completed for the day of presentations and how it’ll be presented.

Fayebubba was in charge of the video that was meant to be created which would’ve included the clips that I myself have recorded of writing key quotes on a whiteboard and rub them out and slides of information which would help the viewers to stay focused throughout the presentation. However, unfortunately Fayebubba was unable to do compile the video that we spoke of doing so I took it under my wing and an hour before the presentation had to redo the entire presentation.

This is the nature of team work, when work is divided between the team members and the communication is lacking, the final outcome will not be the best of its potential. This is something that Armsite Madonna has mentioned in his presentation on team work and this incident has proved it to be correct.

The lack of communication in around the period of the presentation was mainly because of the time in college it fell around. It was a time when all of us had a lot due and because of the virtual nature of this module and our poor communication and organisational skills the final visual outcome has suffered.

During the class LauraGarner’s microphone was not working so as a result I stepped in and offered to cover the part of the presentation because Laura was getting flustered. Surprisingly I was extremely nervous to present, usually I am fine with presentations and don’t get too nervous but with this presentation I was extremely nervous. I can’t help but to think that it was possibly because of the fact that I was unable to see the reaction I was receiving to the presentation and the fact that I was talking to people whose real identity is unknown to me.

Overall I felt like the presentation has went very well and that despite the few incidents that myself and the team have encountered throughout the process we all found it extremely enjoyable. Most of all I learned the one main thing why I chose this module, how to collaborate with individuals in the online environment. Initially going into this module I thought that online collaboration can’t be that hard but boy what I wrong, it takes so much more clear and precise communication than real life collaborations do.

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Team Work isn’t Easy

As a part of this module I have been put in a group with people who I have never met before, very reflective of how the design company works, once I leave college and hopefully get a job I will have to work with people that I have never worked with. I’m finding this exercise as a very beneficial one because I’m noticing how difficult it is to collaborate on something over the internet. I usually don’t mind team work but having to communicate over the internet is proving to be a lot more difficult than I originally expected.

Everything began rather smooth and we kept in touch through FB messaging however last week when we all finally settled in and started organising how we will tackle the brief and have a presentation at the end some hiccups happened.

LauraGanter aka Laura was up to her ears with college work and as a result the research aspect of the brief was delayed which in a domino action delayed me. I was given the role to visually communicate the information that we have found out as the aesthetic for the video that we originally wanted to do was along the lines of ‘draw my life’ that is currently circulating across YouTube. This aesthetic is composed of a person drawing simple quick drawing on a whiteboard, rubbing it out and moving along. This would have been a very good idea to present the information that we have collected in a very interesting way.

However, since the research was delayed I was forced to improvise as I had only one day on which I could film the videos. As a result I have illustrated some main quotes and imagery about #metoo and how it and the internet have influenced out culture.
Along with the role of having to illustrate and film the information I now volunteered to do a part of the research too as LauraGanter wasn’t understanding some aspects of the brief.

Fayebubba, is a lovely easy-going individual who can step in whenever some tension arises within the group as it did at one point. Faye stepped in and found a middle ground as a solution for what can be done with the delay of research. Faye was assigned the role to edit the video as she has previous experience with video editing.

Importance of Digital Identity

Class 7 main focus was online identity, how we perceive ourselves on the internet and how it may affect our professional life.  The main thing to remember about the online world is that everything is stored so unlike one-on-one face to face conversations that reside in our memories once concluded, digital communications have an almost eternal life.¹ Over the weekend there was an incident that showed just that. One contestant, Jack Maynard on I’m a Celebrity was forced to leave the show due to tweets that were racist and homophobic that he posted five years ago.² Digital identity can affect the real professional life of people. So, should we be more careful in how we perceive ourselves on the internet? Most definitely, nowadays it is also a very common for employers to go through potential employee’s social profiles to see what their personalities are and the connections they have.

One of the readings that we were assigned to read was an article about Amina, a gay woman living in Middle East who blogged about being homosexual in the Middle East, and ended up being kidnapped. It did turn out that it was a ‘social experiment’ by a 40-year-old American man who lived in Scotland.³ This classic example of catfishing because there is nothing else it could be called made me think about how catfishing is popularised in today’s show business, two prime examples that come to my mind are Gossip Girl and the MTV TV show Catfish.
Gossip Girl’s plot is based around an anonymous individual who exposes the secrets of the elite teenagers in New York. Gossip Girl turns out to be m=one of the main characters, Dan Humphrey, an outsider who wanted to write himself into the story of those elite teenagers. This is a classic example of someone who took on an anonymous digital identity to on purposely harm other people just so that he could write himself into the story so that the girl that he is attracted to would notice him. Why would we popularise such behaviour? Why make it into a romantic tale as if that’s making it appropriate? Catfishing is a cruel act of stealing someones identity and using it to impose that you ar that person just to hide our true identity for all different reasons. This can be seen the best in the MTV TV show Catfish which deals with people who have been catfished by people to such extends that they even fell in love with the identity of the digital person.

Digital identity is something that all of us up to this point have taken for granted, “it was just a bitta’ banter” is what people reply hen asked about their old posts, comments or even photos. However, that ‘bitta banter’ can cost us our reputation or even the dream job in the future. I now am very weary of what I post on the internet and how it may come across, are you?

 

 

 

 

 

¹Digital Identity Development is a Process [accessed 28 November 2017]
²Jack Maynard leaves I’m a Celebrity [accessed 28 November 2017]
³Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man [accessed 28 November 2017]

Opacity or Transparency ?

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Do we even have any privacy anymore? Myself and my friend getting a coffee at Heuston Station.

Is being transparent a good thing? This was one of the questions brought up in this week’s class. The debate began by Glen introducing one of the texts that were assigned to read; Opacity. Opacity is a theory based academic essay written by the philosopher Édouard Glissant who argues against the need for transparency and instead  “clamor for the right to opacity for everyone.”¹  Glissant comes from a small Caribbean island that was colonised and as a result the privacy of the tenants was disturbed. Even though this theory of opacity was developed in the 20th century, it is relevant in today’s world more than ever with the rise of data sharing platforms.

This conflict is evident in the TedxOxford ‘Fake It’ talk delivered by Pernille Tranberg and the documentary ‘Power of Privacy’ by Aleks Krotoski. Both of these videos do an excellent job at describing the conflict between opacity and transparency. They also explain the dangerous dark side of transparency and how the data that we share online can be used against us.

During the debate in class a lot of opinions have been raised and one point that I myself made was whether we have any choice in privacy anymore. Where ever we go there are CCTV cameras for our ‘safety’ just like it can be seen in the photo above, before getting the train back home my friend and I decided to get a coffee for the journey and we noticed the CCTV camera screen recording us as well as the cashier and the person preparing our drinks, it seems that we are constantly being watched by the CCTV cameras that are technically there for our safety.

Our phones track our location constantly right now and we all allow them to just so we can take a pretty snapchat with a nice geo-filter to show our friends where we are right now. On the note of Snapchat they also recently introduced a map that allows everyone see where exactly you are and whether you are on the move or not. Once I saw that option I immediately turned it off as I felt that I was being stalked by my own phone. Phones became such necessity in the 21st century, when I forget my phone I will force my parents to drive back home so I can get it because without it I feel like a part of me is missing. Phones allow us to keep in contact with our friends but they also make us vulnerable to hacking, stalking and abuse.

Another subject that touches on opacity and transparency that was mentioned in class was the software terms and conditions that nowadays we have to accept when we even set our phone up. However do many people read those ? In class it was said that they are on purpose written so long so that people wont read them and the size of the text also discourages people from reading them. I know I myself am guilty of not reading the terms and conditions and quickly pressing ‘accept.’ But when this was mentioned in class it made me curious in finding out how many people do actually read the terms and conditions and I found out a study carried out in 2010 on the licensing terms and conditions of software and it was found that no more than 8% of the public reads the terms of conditions, so if barely any of us read them what are we signing up to ?

#metoo

Once the class was over myself and my team mates for the #metoo project have met up on Facebook and spoke about the project through group chat that I have created for us a few days prior to that.

Bearing in mind that we are all total strangers to it I have to say that it was a very pleasant chat about what we’d like to do for the project. It seems like people who have similar interests and the same aim can also colab online just as well as in person.

We have decided to go with the medium of a video to explore the project and as it was already late we have organised to meet another day to divide the work between us and organise how we’re going to achieve the final goal.

 

 

 

 

¹Opacities [accessed 21 November 2017]
²Do Users Read Licence Agreements [accessed 21 November 2017]

 

Medium is the Message

The start of this week’s class was a little bit rough. We originally decided to meet on Wednesday at half 8 however unfortunately as it often happens life makes funny turns and Glen was locked out of his house and was unable to join us for the class, so the class was rescheduled to Thursday.

The class is still very shy to speak using the mic, the BAVA students are much more open with the mic, possibly because they have more experience with Second Life and the class.

The main focus of the class was a text written by Marchall McLuhan ‘Medium is the Message’, after attempting to read the original text I could it extremely hard to understand as from experience I found out that theories and philosophy are not my forte. However the blog post that John also asked us to read came to rescue. Medium is the Message deals with how the way information is delivered is just as important as the content it bares. TV one medium that is used to deliver information demands your entire attention, radio a different medium which is not as demanding can be on in the background and people can multitask and society has gotten used to the radio. The radio divided the day up for people. It didnt really interfear with family life, not the way that TV did. TV disturbed basic human interactions such as dinner, the introduction of TV led to inventions like TV dinners. People have migrated from the kitchen to the living room and as a result of that the layout of the living room also changed.

The example of the TV and radio both relate to the idea of ‘sense ratios’ that McLuhan developed which simply put is the idea that human beings receive information through a ratio of senses such as hearing, touch and sight and a change to this balance has consequences. The example that Mclouhan uses is the example of the alphabet and how it shifted the humans from being mainly hearing dependant species to a more visually oriented culture. This is very well described in the blog that we were assigned to read. This theory of the ‘sense ratios’ can be applied to the shift that occured when the TV was invented which allowed the information to be delivered in a visually pleasing manner comparing to the previously only means of recieving information that was the radio.

McLuhan’s theory states that the ability to develop tools that humans have is what defines the mankind. The tools that we use as human beings shape how we communicate as human beings, for example the hammer. The tools that we begin to use begin to have an impact on the society. The impact is very often invisible, it may be hard to identify the impact the medium is having on our society. This leads to the belief that the tools that we use to carry the messages have a greater impact on our society than the message itself.

Teamwork

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Team Operation Tips presentation – Armsite Madonna

This weeks class we were joined by the BAVA students who took this module last year and have decided to take it again cause they enjoyed it so much.

This class’ main objective was to teach us about teamwork in both real life and online. For this topic John invited Armsite Madonna who talked to us from his own experiences. The presentation that we were supplied with was packed with tips, facts and it also explaied how important the roles in teams are in order for the team to work to its full potential. At the end of the presentation I asked a question that I felt like it would apply to a lot of people, if an argument arises in the team how to go about solving it. John answered my question by saying that especially in the online environment we have to be extremely clear in what we say and how we say it, the punctuation, capital letters and language all play a big part in how a person will interpret the message. This question also related to what Glen has said about the use of voice and the tone of voice in the online environment as we cannot see the body language in Second Life to deepen the interpretation of what a person is saying.

The concept of how clear we have to be in the online environment is something that has sticked out to me as I related to that in a very personal manner. I prefer texting over talking on the phone for the simple reason that I feel it is more private as people around me in real life don’t hear what I’m saying, however with that comfort there is a consequence, very often the tone of my voice or the meaning of a simple message such as “great” has been misinterpreted and I always wondered why so after today’s discussion I decided to do an experiment to see how different the word “great” looks and feels when accompanied by other words and punctuation.

Great
Great!
GREAT
…great
…great…
oh that’s great!
well that’s great
greeeat

As it can be seen each and every one of those words looks different with the simple use of punctuation and addiotnal words. For example “Great!” sounds excited, happy, and uplifiting where in comaprison “great” sounds and feels sarcastic, pessimistic and negative. Of course the context of the message in which both of those have been used would also add to the sound and emotion that the word would be associated with.

This simple experiment highlights the importance clarity plays in how we communicate when we can’t see the person. Clarity in the online environment is extremely important for your point to be understood the way that you originally meant it, and if it isn’t there is nothing wrong with explaining your meaning because at the end of the day we all interpret everything differently and something that to me might sound happy another person could take offence to it.

This wraps up the blog post on this class, it was a very informative one and one that defintely made me thing for the several days after it, and one that I was constantly reminded of when I was interacting with someone through technology.

Stranger ? Who is this ?

Welcome to the continuation of my venture into SL. It sure has been a journey and I have some new news to share.

To begin, last Wednesday a second class of Is One Life Enough was held. During that class John mostly tied up some loose ends such as explaing to people who didn’t make it last night what they have missed. We did however were surpised by two strangers in the class, after a while of letting them sit and listen into what was happening John made a conversation with one of the strangers who went by the name Shymus Roffo, Shymus is a web devbeloper who worked in SL for 10+ years and owns his own business there too. Shymus claimed that many people in SL are “toxic” which was a very strong word to use and it shocked me as I myself from the very few that I met (will go into detail later) have been helpful. I will say that the sense of humour is totally different to the one that we are used to in real life. It is far more open and from the people that I have met a lot of sexual jokes have been made, which is something that not many of us are used to in real life.

Once Shymus and his friend  (didn’t catch their name) left we began out elevator pitches. The idea of an elevator pitch comes from Hollywood, it is a roleplay where you’re put in a scenario in an elevator with a film director and you have 30 seconds to pitch your idea to the director. The elevator pitches were a way of us becoming more and more accustomed to speaking in SL, as that’s something that the class seems to be struggling with. Throughout the class I myself became more comfortable with speaking to a computer.

As for the work that we were assigned to do for this class we discusssed the different blogs that we were asked to look at and pay attention to the tone that the writers used.
Dolce Merda is written by a creative individual who is friendly and bubbly.
Brain Picking, is a blog that is a collection of articles on different but all creativity-related topics. The tone of that blog is not very personal as it is not written by one person.
Illustration Friday, is a collection of artwork that is shared to a large audience. It doesn’t use a very personal tone but they do interact with their audience through weekly competitions.
Chris Brogan, is a blog that uses a personal tone as it is ran by one person. It reminded me a lot of marketing as the author shares ways of how to make your blog more succesful.
We also briefly discussed the article that we were asked to read which set out guidelines on how to make your blog more succesful.

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Group exploration

Once the project groups have been announced my groups and I decided to log into SL to explore the place together. Trying to meet in the same place was much more complicated that I originally expected, the teleport wouldn’t work for us for some apparent reason and then we kept loosing each other and also at one point Laura’s computer crashed so she was unable to continue exploring with us.

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Paris 2000

To continue the exploration and meeting new people on SL I have logged in myself few days later. It is SO hard to find people in SL, I went through several locations such as Hawaii and Moma, and I finally decided to go back home to Dublin, this is where I had luck on my side.

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Awaiting for that prince in shining armour – Hawaii.

In Dublin I came across a pub where a few people came togehter, it was very nice to be greeted by a person who was already there. I explained that I’m on SL as part of a module and the guys asked me what would I like to know. I asked the question that I was most curious about “what brought you to Second Life?” as I still can’t wrap my head around as to why people would spend their time and even money there. The answers I got didn’t really help me to understand why. The people there were open and helpful but also did make a few inappriorate jokes that I am not used to.
I sended out friend requests to a few of the people that seemed the nicest from the nearby chat and I did manage to befriend one person, Londoner who turned out to be a fairly nice person. Pretty awkward and shy but I did keep on asking him a lot of questions so it is understandable why he’d get awkward. His reason for coming to SL was that a friend of his is on it too and they introduced him to the place. After a while of awkward conversation more and more people kept coming in, the place became very laggy and as a result my SL crashed.

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Conversation with a stranger, Dublin.

This brings me to the end of this blog! Hope I didn’t bore you to death, see you soon!

Venture Into VR

As the time passes more and more technological inventions are discovered, we now can even check our blood pressure on our phone! With the entire world going digitalised it’s time for me to venture into the virtual reality, do achieve this I have joined Second Life.

I have began my journey in second life with the dilemma of what I would like to look like in such place, the world is my oyster one would say but if only it was as easy as that. I believe that many of us are prisoners of the society that has been constructed years ago, society full of flaws but that particular society is buried so deep into our subconsciousness that even when I was choosing my character I instinctually chose the male persona. But why ? Isn’t gender a social construct after all ?
I was expecting the character customisation to be the very simple and straight forward like in Sims for example, but boy was I wrong. It took me several days of constant changes to finally stop and ask myself the question, “why do I care so much?” is this just another flaw of our society creeping in? This led me to the decision of leaving my avatar as it came to express that I’m the same as the person next to me, no better or worse.

First ‘Is One Life Enough’ class:

As part of my venture into the VR world I have chosen a module in college named ‘Virtual Environments: Is One Life Enough?’ This is a module which is entirely ran through Second Life, where we meet one a week and discuss different topics.

Last Wednesday, the 11th was our first class, it ran fairly smoothly and John introduced us to the basics of Second Life and the module itself too. During the class we had to choose a social media platform on which we’d share information about the class, Facebook was the winner and I volunteered as a tribute to create the group for the class.

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‘Second Life’ Facebook group I have created for this module.

During the class John mentioned that it’s a good thing to use a username that is not your real life name on Second Life to keep the sense of anonymity. That was on my mind for the days after the class and I tried to change my username but unfortunately I was unable to and the best I could do was to change my display name, but my real name is still below that name…

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Screenshot showing my avatar display name and username.

Time to explore what Second Life has to offer!

As I still am getting the hang of Second Life and how it operated I googled ‘great places to meet new people in Second Life’ in hope to give me some places that I could visit and interact with people on the same mission as me.

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Mission Impossible; easier said than done.

After googling places that I could visit was a bit of a fail I have went into the destination discovery bar and chose the Bay City as my first location to explore in Second Life. Straight away I noticed that Second Life is not what I thought it would be. I imagined it to be a place crowded with people but its quite opposite, at least at the time that I went on it. It’s a quite quiet place which a few locations where people gather to spend some time together, its the dystopian world that I imagined.
Also as you can see in the screenshot that I attached my avatar kept going invisible which I’m blaming my poor internet for and I also joined some random group to see what would happen.

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First location; Bay City

For my second location I chose a random one, Big Daddies 80’s Club… The name says it all. Big Daddys Club is a place that I wish not to visit again… I went in with the innocent idea that it’d be a club with 80’s music but no. It is exactly what the name says… One main thing that is clear from such location is that in Second Life everyone can find a place for themselves and don’t feel judged for. Maybe for some people Second Life is the only place where they can express who they really are, maybe Second Life is their first life, and their real life is their second life ?

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Big Daddys 80s Club

My third chosen location was Miami Beach, a place that I can definitely see myself go back to. Miami Beach reminds me a lot of the holidays I went on this summer to Tenerife. A nice quiet and chill place where one can relax and unwind. I am aware that such statement can be argued as it can be said that the reason why people go on Second Life is to relax and unwind but to do so there are all those locations where one feels at home and for now Miami Beach seems like that is the place where I feel at home.

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Miami Beach

Thanks a lot for taking your time to read my first ever blog! I’ll be back soon so stay tuned!