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Best Blogs

Now that our blogging for this class has come to an end, it’s time to reflect on my best blog posts.

One of my strongest posts is Sick Dance Moves. This post actually made it to be a Post of the Week! In this blog, I made sure I was using a lively voice and tried to use a less formal voice and writing style. I connected the topic of this post, viral dances, to our readings on what makes stories go viral. I also tried to use a catchy title that played on the viral aspect of dance videos. I made good use of lists which are easier for the audience to read and focus on the main points. This was also one of my more focused blogs where I stayed on topic throughout the entire blog unlike other posts I made. The media I used of the video and picture related well to the blog topic and encouraged discussion. At the end of this blog, I made sure to ask questions to the audience to encourage more discussion.

My second strongest post is Reliability and Equality in Wikipedia. This is one of my posts with the most comments. In this post, I made use of the Wikipedia article we read that week as well as our work with infographics. The infographic was a good visual to use to hold the viewer’s attention as well as provide information about the topic. I tried to incorporate links in this blog similar to Wikipedia articles. I made discussion with the audience and tried to be relatable. I used quotes from the readings that added to the topic of whether Wikipedia was reliable or was equal. Similar to my other blog, I continued to ask questions at the end to encourage discussion.

Overall, I have enjoyed the experience of writing blogs and might write more in the future!

 

 

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social media, Weekly Blog

I Dare You

Have you ever heard of the #icebucketchallenge? It was a viral challenge where people dumped buckets of ice on their heads. Why would people do that you ask? Well, this challenge is also tied to charity. According to this article,

“The challenge is simple: Either donate $100 to a given cause, or douse yourself with ice, film it, and pass the challenge on to others via social media.”

Many people chose the latter due to the amount of videos created. The challenge became tied to ALS and was often called the #ALSicebucketchallenge. It wasn’t long before the videos raised money. In the span of two weeks, $1.35 million was raised for the ALS Association. Although the challenge was raising money, the author of this article thought that people should just donate money instead of filming the videos altogether.

The author stated that one of the original videos

“was  just about getting their friends to film themselves doing something dumb for no reason.”

So would people do dumb things on the internet without the incentive of helping charity? The answer is yes.

Take a look, if you dare, at these viral challenges.

As you can tell, a lot of people post videos of themselves doing very dangerous things. Many of the people participating in these challenges are just teens or children. Social media only enhances their want to participate in these challenges. Why are social media challenges so popular with teens?

This article states that teenager’s brains

“are programmed to seek out new experiences to encourage learning, but unfortunately, teenagers don’t yet possess the ability to make rational choices”

Teenagers also like the idea of a few seconds of fame and will try anything to obtain it.  Teenagers have a large amount of dopamine which causes them to seek out anything that makes them feel good. With viral challenges, they enjoy the thrill and attention.

Have you participated in a viral challenge before? What do you think of challenges that people that participate in some life threatening challenges? Would it be better if all viral challenges people do were tied to a charity? Let me know what you think below.

dance, social media, Weekly Blog

Sick Dance Moves

Whip, Dab, Nae Nae, Dougie.

To some these may seem like random words but most likely, you recognize these as popular dance moves. Some might even say viral dance moves.

We all know that stories can go viral. According to this article, there are six things that make stories go viral.

  1. Social Currency
  2. Memory-inducing Triggers
  3. Emotion
  4. Public
  5. Practical Value
  6. Quality of Stories

The article described speech as “‘persuasive and memorable, so that its ideas would pass from person to person”. This idea can also apply to the viralness of stories and even dance.

Another article by Michelle Castillo describes how one company has been able to make many dance videos go viral.

DanceOn is a dance entertainment programming company that is known for making dances go viral. In 2015,  the site came together with 50 influencers on its network to make dance-based music videos for artist Silento’s song, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” Just three months after this occurring, the dance videos gained a collective 250 million views. The official music video to date has over 1.3 billion views.

That’s right billion!

With the help of DanceOn, which promoted and helped create the official music video, the video became the most viewed YouTube video of 2015.

So how do dance moves go viral?

CEO of DanceOn, Amanda Taylor launched DanceOn in 2011 with the intention of increasing popularity of music videos through dance.

Taylor has discovered 5 things that make dances go viral.

  1. A catchy song
  2. Dance moves that are challenging enough to be fun but easy enough for the public to copy
  3. The song “queues” up the next move by mentioning it lyrically
  4. The video for the song has to go into the dance moves right away
  5. The dancers look like they are having fun

Some of these relate to the 6 things that make stories go viral. Catchy songs can trigger memory. Dance moves that are easy enough for others to copy relates to the public. Depending on the video or song, the dance can play to your emotions. Whatever the reason behind creating popular dance videos, it is no doubt that they end up going viral.

Check out this video below showing viral dance moves from this past decade.

Are there any you have heard of? Are there any you are surprised aren’t on the list? What do you think of this video not actually playing the actual songs?

I would love to know what you think and also what your favorite viral dance move is.

Image result for dab dance memes

 

social media, Technology, Weekly Blog

Digital Afterlife

In class we watched a video titled Mostly Human: Dead IRL. This video described different outlets for those that have passed. One of them was a digital bot that took your social media and would respond similarly to how you would. Before watching this, I thought that this was some freaky futuristic stuff that couldn’t actually happen in reality.

Turns out I was wrong.

While watching the video, I thought about a Black Mirror episode, Be Right Back, that similarly used the social media of someone that has passed in order to make a bot you could talk to.

SPOILER ALERT: The show took it to the next level and actually made a realistic version of the person that passed that extended from the initial bot. I know, crazy!

Simulating someone that passed is one thing but surely people aren’t thinking about literally bringing the dead back to life.

According to this article,  people are trying to create a way to continually live on in a computer after death. Again I thought that this was only something in the world of science fiction.

SPOILER ALERT: There is another Black Mirror episode, San Junipero, that actually creates a technological space for the dead to live on.

The author asked the question “Is it even technically possible to duplicate yourself in a computer program?” He answers his own question with “Probably, but not for a while.”

Our brains are complicated structures containing neurons which pass signals to each other, allowing our brains to work. Artificial intelligence already exists that can simulate the neural network system and human behavior in the form of deep learning. Just look at Google and Siri.

In order to actually duplicate your brain, a complicated scanner would have to exist. Not only that but “If you want a copy of your brain, you will need to copy its quirks and complexities, which define the specific way you think.” If scanning your brain perfectly were possible, there is still the question of whether this “brain” would be conscious or just a computer crunching numbers.

Image result for brain computer meme

This is all a bit much for me.

I personally would not want to live on forever through technology. There is a quote by John Green from his book The Fault in Our Stars, “Funerals, I had decided, are for the living”. I agree with this and that people are creating technology like death bots for the living rather than for the dead.

 

What do you think? Do you think that people should virtually live on after death? Would you want to communicate, in a virtual setting, with someone that has passed? Are there any other Black Mirror fans reading?

 

Technology, Weekly Blog

Take a Moment

The challenge I chose to attempt was Challenge 1: In Your Pocket on Friday, October 13th, 2017. This day I left my phone in the glove box when I was riding passenger in the car. Normally, I would be on my phone looking at social media or playing games for a majority of the time. This time, I was content sitting back and engaging in conversation or observing the scenery outside. That day I went to Turkey Run and kept my phone in the car because I knew I wouldn’t need it. I also didn’t have any pockets so there was no reason to hold onto my phone. Spending the morning not looking at my phone constantly carried on throughout the day. It felt great not having to worry about my phone or feeling the need to look at it constantly.

I really enjoyed the mindfulness activity from last Tuesday. Sometimes you just need moments to breathe and not think about everything that is happening around you. I feel like cell phone activity can be overwhelming with all the notifications you receive and all the apps to keep track of. I downloaded another app on my phone, Moment, to track my phone usage. Unlike other apps, this was not an app I was spending large amounts of time on but rather an app that was telling me which apps I was spending too much time on. It was really mind opening to see how much time I spend on my phone. The day I did the Bored and Brilliant challenge, the app said I spent less than 20 minutes on my phone. This was quite the difference compared to the 1-3 hours I normally spend on my phone. I thought that it felt great to not be on my phone but later on, I felt like I missed out on some things. I wasn’t on Snapchat as much as I normally am which is how I keep up to date on what a lot of my friends are doing or share what I am doing. I liked not having to take pictures of everything I was doing but I still would have liked to know what other people were doing. Similar to the video we watched, I believe that our phones have become an extension of ourselves. We use it to know what our friends are up to or what is happening around us that we are interested in.

moment

Above is a screenshot from the Moment app of my screen time. I think that this challenge and this past week in class has made me more aware of my cell phone usage. Moving forward, I want to try to reduce the amount of time I spend on my phone. That doesn’t mean I won’t post the occasional Snapchat or Instagram post because I am still #basic.

 

Equality, social, social media, Weekly Blog

Ban the President

What could the president possibly do to get banned? According to this article,  “nearly 72,000 people have signed an online petition” demanding to ban Donald Trump from Twitter. Even though many people have signed the petition and Trump “consistently violates the site’s terms of service, up to and including the incitement of violence”, Twitter is not going to ban the president.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey believes that Mr. Trump is having a real-time conversation with the world and that, through his tweets, more people are aware of what is happening in the world. Basically, Trump is good for Twitter as a business because he brings about uproar.

Image result for meme banned from twitter

Trump’s Twitter behavior reflects that of Milo Yiannopoulos who has been banned.
Twitter has banned people in the past for inappropriate behavior on Twitter, from threats to harassment. Charles Johnson was finally suspended from Twitter for threatening a civil rights activist. This article describes how Johnson accused Twitter of “censorship” and going against his First Amendment right. Turns out, the First Amendment only protects against the relationship you and the government. It does not cover a relationship between you and a private corporation or you and your university. Although it appears that if you are the government, the same rules do not apply.

Image result for first amendment meme

When Twitter was asked why they allow Trump to continue to use Twitter the way he is, they responded with: “We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.” It seems as though people are letting the President slide for his actions on social media. What do you think? Do you think that freedom of speech laws should not apply to the president? How do you think other people will act if they see the president is able to say whatever on social media? Should equality apply on social media?

 

Equality, Weekly Blog

Reliability and Equality in Wikipedia

I am sure many of you are familiar with Wikipedia. I use it whenever I want to learn quick facts about something. The question is whether the information on Wikipedia can be trusted. “Because Wikipedia is open to anonymous and collaborative editing, assessments of its reliability often examine how quickly false or misleading information is removed”. Accuracy, quality of writing, and appropriateness are all factors that go into how reliable the article is. Despite reliability questions, many people still use Wikipedia.

According to this article, Wikipedia was number 6 in the top 10 most used websites in 2013. The fact that Wikipedia was a volunteer edited site was something new and intriguing. Other services also use Wikipedia, such as when you use your phone for Google or Siri for information, since there are no other free sources like it. Although containing a lot of information, the site has some skewed coverage. This could be due to the demographics of the editors. Check out the infographic below:

Observe how two of the sources of this infographic are Wikipedia.

“Because Wikipedia has failed to replenish its supply of editors, its skew toward technical, Western, and male-dominated subject matter has persisted.” Wikipedia needs help in this aspect of increasing the number of its editors for more diverse information.

Despite fewer editors, Wikipedia’s articles continue to grow. This becomes a matter of quantity over quality. “With its middling quality and poor representation of the world’s diversity”,  Wikipedia is still thriving do it’s little competition in the world of free encyclopedias. And with that, I have some questions.

Do you still use Wikipedia? How long do you think Wikipedia will be relevant? What do you think Wikipedia can do to increase the diversity of its editors? How reliable to do you think some of the linked Wikipedia articles in this blog are?

 

 

 

dance, Weekly Blog

A Muted Artform

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”  Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche  is credited for this quote which could not be more true considering what dancers have to go through in order to share their work. Imagine if all dances were performed in silence. It would probably be the equivalent of all paintings being painted in one color.

YouTube has become an outlet for many choreographers and dancers to share their artform. With dance comes music and many choreographers have faced the problem of copyright issues. Dancing to clips of music and posting them on YouTube can lead to dancers’ videos being taken down, muted, or blocked in some countries. I have experienced this when trying to post videos of dances I choreographed on YouTube.

 

In the video above, choreographer Matt Steffanina intended the dance to be viewed accompanied by the song “This is What You Came For” originally performed by Rihanna and Calvin Harris. Similar to Steffanina, a lot of dancers do not create their videos to make money off of music but to share their art. It is also not intended for the dance to take away from the music. Blocking choreographers’ videos due to music copyright seems to stifle artists’ creativity.

Rights Management Specialist Jessica Meindertsma wrote a piece about copyright and fair use stating, “copyright is actually intended to promote progress, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of society as a whole.” She states that people prosper from new creative works which then inspires others to produce something new. Fair use allows some exception to copyright without the need to seek permission to use copyrighted material. I think this disagrees with Lessig’s view that remixing should be allowed and that it benefits the community. Copyrights seem to go against the idea of  remixing and fair use leaves little wiggle room.

In a chapter from Lawrence Lessig’s Remix, he  has the following excerpt:

“Why did we have to use the actual original…the actual thing? Well, it’s because the actual thing has a power about it. It has an aura. It has a magic to it.  And that’s what inspires the work.”

Choreographers are inspired by the music they hear. It is the original song they hear that brings about their movement. Dance can be a form of remixing with music. Watching a dance performed to a song can make you think of a song in a different way, adding another layer to it. When I watch a dance to a song I sometimes catch elements of the song I didn’t know was there before because I saw a move that perfectly hit that note.

Lessig asked the question in his writing “… should the norms of ‘quoting freely, with attribution’ spread from text to music and film?”  So what do you think? What is so different about taking a quote from a book versus taking an excerpt of a song? Do you think that choreographers and other artists should freely be able to use music?

 

 

 

 

dance, social, Weekly Blog

Connectedly Disconnected

Cell phones. Almost everyone has one and uses them to stay connected to those around them. A text message can quickly let someone know that you are “on the way” or “want to catch up sometime”. In David Crystal’s Txtng: The Gr8 DB8 chapter How weird is texting? , he wonders if “it too early to say just how much impact texting will have on speech” (page 33). He was speaking to the theory that texting will affect our literacy skills and cause us to use “textese” in school papers or say LOL IRL. Instead of worrying whether people will lose their literacy skills, people should be worried about losing our social skills.

Choreographers Keone and Mari Madrid artistically express what many people are subject to doing – being on their cell phones while being with other people.

“In front of school, junior Daniel Epstein and his girlfriend lounge on the steps, each with a cell phone at their fingertips.” This was stated in  Jennifer Ludden’s Teen Texting Soars; Will Social Skills Suffer?. Teenagers cannot get enough of their phones and use texting as their preferred mode of communication. This article touches on how students have texted so much that some schools have banned cell phone use during certain times. Students are losing the ability to speak face-to-face and are most comfortable when behind their screens. Parents struggle with wanting to have easy access to contacting their kids but notice that they are texting too much and sometimes take away their cell phones as punishment.

In Ludden’s article, a teacher noticed “bad spelling and writing that seems to worsen as texting becomes more widespread” which relates to the argument in Crystal’s book  on whether texting affects literacy. This same teacher also noticed a trend in texting among their students that “finds them increasingly shy and awkward in person”.  Students are texting so much that face-to-face conversations become difficult. From the article, “Teens admit they use texting to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable situations”. Teens are hiding behind their phones in situations that should be face-to-face and therefore losing certain social skills.

The fact that people use their phones in social situations does not help that their social skills are lacking. We are so used to being on our phones that we cannot put them down for long amounts of time. I have witnessed parents telling kids not to use their phones at the dinner table. I have seen people watch full concerts through a small screen. At movie theaters people cannot resist sending a quick text. In this disconnected world,  cell phones have become our lives and texting has become our voices.