Forum 2

First, please post here by midnight on Wednesday October 11th a 500 word response on any particular aspect of the reading we’ve done for class since the last forum post. Keep in mind that more specific responses are nearly always more compelling – try, if you can, to quote or refer to particular passages to support your point.

Second, make sure you provide an engaged response to at least one classmates’ post by midnight Thursday October 12th. Feel free to respectfully disagree with each other if it’s in the interest of probing into an issue more deeply!

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32 thoughts on “Forum 2

  1. For my second forum post, I want to discuss specific excerpts from Battelle’s The Search and Vaidhyanathan’s The Googlization of Everything. One quote that made an impression from Battelle was “In the past few years, a good portion of our digitally mediated behavior–be it e-mail, search, or the relationships we have with others–has moved online.” Another was from Vaid that stated, “Googlization affects three large areas of human concern and conduct: “us”… “the world”…and “Knowledge”… as it catalogues our individual and collective judgments, opinions, and (most important) desires…” Both quotes remain pertinent in the search for the idea of what is known as the collective consciousness. According to the Wikipedia defining, collective consciousness means: “is the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society.” There is also what is known as Virtual Collective Consciousness which, according to Yousri Marzouki and Olivier Oullier means, “An internal knowledge catalyzed by social media platforms and shared by a plurality of individuals driven by the spontaneity, the homogeneity, and the synchronicity of their online actions.”
    With the sudden onset of social media in all of its many different forms, the world is now much smaller than it has been before. Small communities with like-minded beliefs are now being merged with larger communities with similar and different beliefs because of the World Wide Web. Our interactions with one another are no longer segregated. And, as stated by Battelle, even our relationships have moved online. Family or friends we don’t see often, or even strangers. And with social media comes the onset of instantaneous communication whether it be through news articles, or personal stories. This knowledge is being shared with almost everyone. This shared knowledge and forced communication over social media forces people with different beliefs to engage in dialogue. This is usually done through comment sections (which we are often better off avoiding because of their infamous negative nature). But it is here that our beliefs collide in ways that were never possible before the web. It is here that the virtual collective consciousness of a group of like mined people begin to merge with the concept of collective consciousness. It feels abstract, but it is through this that we will (hopefully) reach an understanding by challenging and educating those with views that may not always see the larger picture of society or even the world. By the glacial removal of ignorance, we, as a society and world, will hopefully one day reach an optimal level of consciousness on a collective level. While our dialogue on social media may feel forced and negative, we have to remember that the internet is merely a blip on humanity’s radar. I personally believe that the web and our merged interactions with people all over the world with different beliefs will one day lead to a greater understanding of one another and I don’t believe this would have been possible without something like the web to make our world feel smaller and more interactive. In order to “operate as a unifying force within society,” we need the web and we need to interact in this way even if it’s behind a screen thousands of miles away.

  2. For my second forum post, I want to discuss specific excerpts from Battelle’s The Search and Vaidhyanathan’s The Googlization of Everything. One quote that made an impression from Battelle was “In the past few years, a good portion of our digitally mediated behavior–be it e-mail, search, or the relationships we have with others–has moved online.” Another was from Vaid that stated, “Googlization affects three large areas of human concern and conduct: “us”… “the world”…and “Knowledge”… as it catalogues our individual and collective judgments, opinions, and (most important) desires…” Both quotes remain pertinent in the search for the idea of what is known as the collective consciousness. According to the Wikipedia defining, collective consciousness means: “is the set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society.” There is also what is known as Virtual Collective Consciousness which, according to Yousri Marzouki and Olivier Oullier means, “An internal knowledge catalyzed by social media platforms and shared by a plurality of individuals driven by the spontaneity, the homogeneity, and the synchronicity of their online actions.”
    With the sudden onset of social media in all of its many different forms, the world is now much smaller than it has been before. Small communities with like-minded beliefs are now being merged with larger communities with similar and different beliefs because of the World Wide Web. Our interactions with one another are no longer segregated. And, as stated by Battelle, even our relationships have moved online. Family or friends we don’t see often, or even strangers. And with social media comes the onset of instantons communication whether it be through news articles, or personal stories. This knowledge is being shared with almost everyone. This shared knowledge and forced communication over social media forces people with different beliefs to engage in dialogue. This is usually done through comment sections (which we are often better off avoiding because of their infamous negative nature). But it is here that our beliefs collide in ways that were never possible before the web. It is here that the virtual collective consciousness of a group of like mined people begin to merge with the concept of collective consciousness. It feels abstract, but it is through this that we will (hopefully) reach an understanding by challenging and educating those with views that may not always see the larger picture of society or even the world. By the glacial removal of ignorance, we, as a society and world, will hopefully one day reach an optimal level of consciousness on a collective level. While our dialogue on social media may feel forced and negative, we have to remember that the internet is merely a blip on humanity’s radar. I personally believe that the web and our merged interactions with people all over the world with different beliefs will one day lead to a greater understanding of one another and I don’t believe this would have been possible without something like the web to make our world feel smaller and more interactive. In order to “operate as a unifying force within society,” we need the web and we need to interact in this way even if it’s behind a screen thousands of miles away.

    1. I do agree with you that the internet is certainly a tool to remove ignorance and make a more unified society, but I am uncertain if the internet inherently leads us towards this type of social perfection. I think that a lot of the anonymity that the internet affords leads people towards more ignorance occasionally, and that a more unified effort must be taken to use the internet as a tool for destroying ignorance rather than perpetuating it.

    2. I agree with you that social media makes the world seem a lot smaller than before social media was a huge deal. Personally, I think that this is a good thing and as you said, can connect like-minded individuals and communities together, which I think is really unique. This is something that only social media can do. I really like when you said, “our interactions with one another are no longer segregated.” This is really important when talking about social media that we talk about this. I also agree with you and Battelle that our relationships have moved online. I think this helps our connectivity throughout the world especially.

  3. Since the reading from the Googlization of Everything is currently really on my mind because of my presentation, I figured I may as well write my forum post about it too. I’m currently thinking a lot about the main idea of the book, which I felt was to be more critical about the information we receive from the web, whether this is from Google or other sources. I find this to be particularly interesting because I know that I am not nearly as critical of information on the internet as I should be. Reading all the different ways that Google controls information and knowledge, especially in the Google Books chapter I read, was illuminating, and the passage where the author mentioned Google’s inherent bias (popularity, relevance, etc.) was surprising as I thought of Google as neutral and without bias.

    The idea of search as a biased function played into his deconstruction of Google Books as well, which I found to be the most interesting of all of the downfalls that he outlined. He states that through faulty metadata, the search engine could potentially provide information that will be highly misleading to the audience. One example he brings up in the text is the keyword “Holocaust” – any book written regarding the Holocaust will come up, even those denying the Holocaust if they are popular enough. Because of this, the idea that the Holocaust is not a true event may be spread to unknowing audiences who will take it as fact.

    I definitely think that this lesson about Google’s bias can be applied to my everyday web searching. When I search through Google, I almost exclusively choose results from the first page – whether or not these are truly the answers to my questions is unsure. I would like to be more critical of what results I am receiving, and why they might be so popular as to rise up to the first page of Google. Perhaps this will provide information that simply reading the web page would have been unable to do.

    Obviously, this extends beyond Google search results to other parts of the web as well. When browsing Facebook, I have certainly had times where I have had information supplied to me which I blindly accepted as fact without trying to critically assess why it was being provided to me, both on the parts of those who created the information and those who shared it. I think any Facebook user has probably had this phenomenon happen to them before. This particular issue brings up an important facet of the net experience: two fold bias/intent. With a share-heavy culture currently propagating throughout the internet, we must now evaluate both the content creator and the content sharer.

    I was thankful to read the Google Books chapter, because it brought these issues to the forefront of my mind that will likely inform my net browsing for a long time. I think it’s very important for individuals to be critical about their environment and what is supplied to them, and it is becoming increasingly important for us to apply these critical thinking skills to the internet environment that we are beginning to live our days out on.

    1. First to touch on your presentation, it really had me thinking at the end of class, so good job! I agree with the idea you brought up about searching a book on the holocaust and not really knowing which are fiction or non-fiction. I have looked up books plenty of times in google books and honestly not really put much thought into if they were factual, I read the summary and personally made a mental choice on if it was factual or not. Obviously this can be very misleading because now I may believe that there an event that happened that never truly did in our history. When you walk into a library the books are laid our and labeled very clearly to what kind they are. Also on social media, we don’t really stop to question the news that’s presented to us, its such a bizarre concept that we’ve agreed to believe most everything put in front of us.

    2. I completely agree that you have some great points. I especially need to become more aware of the information that google can receive from me and also the things that I believe from google to easily be truthful. It is interesting that you relate this to facebook and really only paying attention to the first few things that pop up on your page. We often accept any information we see on the internet without really questioning it, and when we do question the validity of it we result to googling it and still not leading us to the real answers.

    3. I would like to first thank you for the amazing presentation and you had, and now your blogpost which really made me think about the way I also use search engines and social media. Another format bias that I think google presents is the use of a list for the results. Now that many articles are formatted as lists, we are trained to believe that there is a ranking order that identifies which topics are more important. I completely agree that we are conditioned to accept the first article that comes up, but I do not feel confident that I would scan through the pages to find more sources. I am sure that it is out of pure laziness but it is definitely intimidating when google comes up with about 100 pages of search results. Ultimately, I think an effective strategy in exploring results might be to rearrange the questions we ask and find multiple articles in that sense.

    4. I think the ideas you’re talking about are especially relevant in today’s political realm. With all of the fake news circulating and one sided news articles, it’s hard to know what to believe. I think that we’ve become so complacent as a society that we take anything were given and working on this moving forward could help us on not only a societal level, but also a political (and even potentially an economic) level.

    5. First off, I enjoyed your presentation immensely. Well, perhaps enjoyed isn’t the right word. I thought it was very, very good, but very disturbing actually. Both your presentation and his book were very, very well thought out and very enlightening, but it was a bit disheartening to become aware of all of these things. The thought of the “fake Holocaust” idea getting around because of Google’s adherence to the popular is sickening. These concepts reminded me of when I was a kid, and I used to blindly accept everything that anyone ever said to me. Santa Claus? Must be real. Tooth Fairy? All of my classmates believed it, so it must be true. The dog got sent to a big farm where he can run around forever? I’ll believe it! In a way, we’re still connected to this childish naivety when consulting the internet, and especially Google.
      I’m grateful that I take everything with a grain of salt now that I have matured, and I’m very grateful to have read this passage. Your presentation made these concepts even easier to understand, so thank you.

    6. I really like the ways in which you are criticizing your own searching and other ways you are getting your information. Especially when talking about facebook and how we kind of accept a lot of information on there as fact or truth; which I think further perpetuates our bias as well. I choose to surround myself with certain people, and I am hearing those voices specifically when I use that site. I am not hearing the voices of people I disagree with because I choose not to allow their information into my everyday life. This kind of skews reality for me and how and what I believe everyone is thinking, just because it is what I am seeing. I think this is another way that the Google Book article’s bias is relevant to my everyday life. Furthermore, I loved your example of the google search for “Holocaust” because it really made me reflect on what made me consider something fact and how this may not be true, even if it should be obvious to me. Right now there is so much exhausting and loud talk of “fake news” and I think it is mostly just people’s mistrust of certain media because of the fact there is so much information out there and we are not fully questioning the source or reality behind it.

    7. What you said about evaluating the content creator and sharer resonated with me. I’m fortunate enough to know that I have friends who do check their sources and thus the sharer becomes more of a non-issue. While I do not condone the false messages Donald Trump has spread regarding many issues, but specifically “fake news,” I do think that it has created a journalistic culture on the internet (since that’s where we get our news sources now) where not only the reader has to fact check but the creator is more apt to do it as well for the sake of their own integrity. Especially if there is a source that has less integrity, people may be less likely to use things like Fox for their news sources. However, while this sounds like the common sense approach to information sorting, it is far from the truth as so many do not fact check and only frequent news that resonates with their beliefs only, again, Fox News or any other bias news source. In other words, it’s scary but it’s true that it’s so easy to look at a news article through a google search, click on one of the first hyperlinks and say, I agree with this one because it aligns with my views therefore it is fact.

  4. John Battelle is an entrepreneur, author, and journalist. He is best known for the work he has done creating media properties. In 2005, Battelle published his book titled, The Search: How Google and its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. After reading the first chapter in class, my eyes were opened to several new perspectives. Battelle argues for what he calls “The Database of Intentions”. This is his idea that each new search and click is building one of the largest and most significant cultural artifacts in the history of humankind. He defines it as “the aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result. When you step back and think about how much data Google, as well as other places like MSN and Yahoo, truly holds, you can be taken aback. Battelle essentially says that the best way to understand current culture is by looking at their searches. People pour their desires, wants, fears, and needs into these outlets. He is intrigued by the thought of being able to understand the modern Internet era through search; this includes the beginnings in the early 90s, and the potential future. Being able to track culture can be extremely beneficial, however, you start to run into some negatives when using programs like Google and Yahoo. Battelle writes that “search will also be the way we rewire the relationship between ourselves and our government”. As people search more and more topics, we start to run into problems with tracking and monitoring. These days, nothing you do on the Internet is private. You are essentially signing a contract the minute you begin searching. Of course, our relationship with the government will change, but this does not mean it will change for the worse. Safety is priority. All too often, information ends up in the hands of dangerous people. I would like to know that the government is keeping an eye out for those people. How much privacy do you really need? Sure, there are times where what you are searching may be embarrassing, but it is likely that you do not personally know the individuals who monitor your searches. Tracking people’s searches can prove to be extremely beneficial. Take a look at human trafficking: Colorado has some of the highest rates for human trafficking. During these cases, homeland security relies heavily on being able to follow someone’s searches. Sometimes simple things like monitoring the type of pornographic video someone watches, can lead police in the right direction. All this to say, the government needs to draw a clear line between safe tracking and invading privacy. As long as the intention behind watching one’s searches is safety, then there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.

    1. I think you made a really good point about our relationship with the government and how it will inevitably change as they are able to collect more information about us as people. I would hope that the government only tracks us and what we search in order to create a more safe and secure society, but from what we have been reading recently and from what I have observed from my internet usage, I think that Google and other huge corporations use our search results and data that they track in order to make us better and more efficient consumers. They want to make more money off of us by tailoring our browsers to show us ads that we will be intrigued by and distracted by enough to click on them. I would like to think that I am a pretty rational person and I don’t usually buy into conspiracy theories and things like that, but in this case, I believe that the government is using us as tools in the greater event of making money and with making money off of clueless consumers comes mass corruption and the invasion of privacy that we may not even know that we want. It’s not even that we may have things we want to hide, but what if we just want to use the internet to make ourselves more intelligent and aware humans as opposed to soulless spenders?

  5. In The Search, John Battelle, discusses the current and ever evolving culture of the internet and searching through browsers and how it is altering our future. He says that, “Google knows what our culture wants!” Everyday, millions of people use the internet and search for answers, products, and information. Within the things we search on any given browser, Google being the most popular, there is so much hidden and undiscovered information about the human race. How we think can almost become available to the entire world, if we tap into it. Battelle states, “Every day, millions upon millions of people lean forward into their computer screens and pour their wants, fears, and intentions into the simple colors and brilliant white background of Google.com.” People don’t even realize that they are constantly feeding the government information about their private lives, every second and through every search. Ten years ago, everything was different. The internet is changing rapidly and at a pace at which we cannot catch up with. Battelle says, “In short, before the Web, we could pretty safely assume that our digitally mediated habits–rummaging through our hard drives, checking our e-mail, or looking up our contacts–were ephemeral, known only to us (and soon forgotten by us, to boot). But now, details of our lives are recorded and preserved by hundreds of entities, often commercial in nature.” Through our own clicking patterns, companies can figure us out, maybe even know us better than we know ourselves. The mystery of the internet is gone, now we know that when we search for jeans on Urban Outfitters, the next time we go on Facebook, the ads on the side of the screen will be for jeans from Urban Outfitters because the internet knows us and tracks what we do and then we are involuntarily subjected to the consequences of our searches. Everything we click, search, type, post or enter is saved and stored and compiled in a virtual file of ourselves. The internet has become easier, more personalized and much more helpful, but at what cost? Our privacy, that’s what. But, not only is the internet aware of what we are doing at any given time, it is also forcing us to become better and more efficient consumers. Without us even realizing it, we are buying more things on the internet, viewing more ads and taking in information about large corporations which will be imprinted in our brains and then spit back out when talking to friends or family members, or even in class. Even things we deem as “free,” on the Web, are in fact, not. I personally love to watch Youtube videos, a free website that anyone can watch videos on, but before any given video there is at least one ad that you are rarely allowed to skip. So, then you are forced to watch the ad and take in information about some product you should buy or consume and get your friends to buy it too. Even if you are allowed to skip the ad, in the five seconds before you can skip it, you will still see the beginning of the ad and it will still be marked in our minds, without a doubt. Nothing is free anymore. In this world, it is almost impossible to live without the internet, so if everyone needs to use it, how could it possibly be free? The internet is both evolving us and enslaving us. It is ridiculous to think that we can live our lives with privacy and without a paper trail that has been collected by non human intelligence.

  6. For my forum post I decided to write about Remediation by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin. When we discussed this piece in class and lecture, I was kind of confused by what the authors were trying to convey across to the reader. In turn, the meaning was a little tough to decode. This piece was meant to describe a complex relationship between different types of media. Rivalry and cooperation is also super important in this relationship. If there isn’t healthy competition in practically anything you do, you won’t be able to see how you compare and contrast with other competitors in your same field. Bolter and Grusin then go on to explain that new media doesn’t come out of nowhere. New media comes out of old technologies, techniques, and practices. This is so important and crucial in understanding new media and what it stems from. For example, the updated MacBook pro was obviously built on past versions and past ideas. If we didn’t have old technologies to build on, we would be stuck in the same place technology wise. What I found particularly interesting in this piece was the fact that they pointed out that in every act, there is an implicit claim of improvement. Designers of new technology always say that their product is better than the older one. Who would blame them? One example of this implicit claim of improvement is the new iPhone X. Even though we don’t even know how the new iPhone works yet, we are still claiming that it’s bigger and better than the last one. This new technology is said to hide how the media you have really works. One example of this is the new and improved MacBook. We obviously can’t see how the software really works because it’s hidden in the computer. When we looked at the Babbage machine in past classes, in images, we can clearly see the software and how the computer operates on the inside. When we went to the Digital Archeaology Lab, my group & I got to play around on one of the oldest machines in the building. All of the software was visible and it was really interesting and interactive compared to modern technology. Bolter and Grusin then go on talk about 2 general strategies that designers of new media use. One is the strategy of immediacy and transparency. They want to make their media seem as transparent and immediate as possible, but they are only claiming this. One example of this is virtual reality. The second strategy is hypermediacy. This reminds you that you’re actually using a form of media, and in turn, makes the multiplication of media a lot more present. They then go on to talk about premeditation. This is how popular media try to anticipate and predict future events. One really good example is hurricane reporting and how reports try, to the best of their knowledge, to predict what’s going to happen because of the hurricane. Bolter and Grusin say that these reporters are trying to lessen the potential trauma and political backlash that is going to potentially happen because of these future events.

  7. Analog and digital are two very different forms of media, but is it right to say that one is more effective or as enjoyable as another? Is it necessary to put one above the other in a hierarchical fashion? In this forum post, I will explore the pros and cons of each using two different examples.
    As mentioned in “Analog versus Digital,” by Jake Buckley, analog concerns “all that is continuous, fluctuating, and qualitatively variable within communication.” Furthermore, analog media may have a power over us that digital media simply cannot replicate. Vannevar Bush’s Analyzer is a great example of this: “The analyzer, in other words, made its audience feel mathematics in action amid mathematics’ arbitrarily conventional, rule-bound (digital) array of symbols, which is one reason why this analog device continues to fascinate long after its replacement by powerful digital computers following World War II.” In other words, by operating or implementing the analog medium, we are able to “feel” what it’s doing, making it a much more personal experience. (Bear in mind, when I say “feel,” I refer to physical touch, not necessarily emotions.)
    Digital media in itself does not have the power to affect us quite as physically, but it does serve as an effective platform for analog. As we search over the internet and slide deeper and deeper into the World Wide Web, our bodies begin to react. Our lips may purse, our brows may furrow, our backs may begin to hunch over and destroy our posture, and our eyes may flick from side to side. In this way, digital makes our bodies feel the medium, thus becoming analogous. Our eyes move continuously, the movement of our fingers on the keyboard fluctuate, and our face can make variable expressions in a form of communication to others or to ourselves.
    However, this does not discredit digital media’s usefulness. Where analog is continuous and fluctuating, digital “concerns all that is discontinuous, boundary marking, and quantitatively controlling within communication.” This particular passage is not a description to pronounce digital’s faults, but simply an introduction to a different approach to communication. Controlling communication is like writing an essay or a forum post; you can control precisely what words you put down on paper, or on a word processor, and it has a higher probability of being accurate and more comprehensible and error-free. You’re more likely to get all of your ideas out writing. You are not bound by the faults of human speech, nor are you at the mercy of hand gestures and other physical indicators to get your ideas across. Therefore, digital also has value as its own being apart from analog.
    I believe that a war between analog and digital is futile and unfair. We have already seen so far that the two do compare differently, but they also overlap (e.g. the body becomes analogous as you use digital media). They each have their own values and uses for different settings or purposes. Among other things not mentioned, analog is better at the feeling and physical aspects of media, and digital is better at precision and accuracy.

  8. For my second forum post, I’ve decided to write about Jessica Pressman’s article “Old Media/New Media” because I found it to be one of the most thought-provoking readings we’ve done since Marshall McLuhan’s piece. Pressman’s article centers around the dichotomous relationship that exists between old media and new media. She begins explaining said relationship by clarifying that the term “new media” can only exist within the confines of its relational position to whatever we consider “old media” to be. She goes on to say that “this paradox renders it vital that we rigorously and repeatedly examine the ways in which new and old are used.” What I find especially provocative about Pressman’s piece is that she is not concerned with the customary orientation of this relationship that most people deliberate over, which is how old media affects new media. Instead she turns this age-old question on it’s head and utilizes a completely contemporary approach to ask the question that will be central to her essay: how does new media affect old media? In attempting to answer this question shrewdly, it’s essential to begin by considering the significance of the question. Pressman illuminates the importance of the term “new media” itself by saying that “the designation of “newness” indexes an act of mediation and a shift in perspective from a previous cultural norm. It thus invites investigation into how culture operates and operated.” In order to make this idea of a cultural shift more tangible, I’ll provide some of the examples Pressman uses in her article. She gives the example of Tom Standage’s idea about the telegraph being “The Victorian Internet” and David Henkin’s belief that the American postal service served as a sort of prototype to our modern social networks. Pressman goes on to explain that “media do not replace one another in a clear, linear succession but instead evolve in a more complex ecology of interrelated feedback loops. ‘What is new about new media,; Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin write, ‘comes from the particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media.’” This quote beautifully elucidates the relevance of remediation. I actually think that remediation is the key to answering the question of how new media affects old media. An example of this that Pressman provides is how the new layouts of news broadcasts have a tendency to mirror what the interface of a website might look like. Katherine Hayles coins the term “intermediation” as a replacement for remediation because she says that it better reflects the “recursive nature of the feedback loop involved in generating the medial ecology between old and new. Bending the line into a circle illuminates the bidirectional impact of old and new media and exposes the ideological interests at work in claiming newness.” I find myself completely agreeing with this idea. While it’s interesting to look exclusively at how new media affects old, or vice versa, what is the most beneficial is looking at the symbiotic relationship of the two together.

  9. For my second forum post I decided to write the exerpert from Vaidhyanathan’s writing, The Googlization of Everything. One quotes that really grabbed me was, “Overwhelmingly, we now allow Google to determine what is important, relevant and true on the Web and in the world. We trust and believe that Google acts in our best interest. But we have surrendered control over the values, methods, and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem.” (Vaidhyananathan XI). In today’s life we can type anything into Google and get a result, especially when it comes to any events in the news. Never have I once looked up a recent story in the news on google and said “that’s definitely not true”, because I whole-heartedly trust google to give me true, factual information. In all reality not only Google but internet leads our reality.
    Vaidhyanathan states that we let Google determine what is important. When you type something into the search bar and press search, millions of results appear, for example I looked up “old computers” and 113,000,000 results were collected. For the most part, everyone who uses google usually clicks one of the results on the first page. By doing so we are putting our trust in Google to give us trust worthy information without looking further into more results. Further in his statement Vaidhyanathan says that we’ve “surrendered control over the values, methods and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem”. This concept was a bit difficult for me to grasp, but I believe the argument here would be that by using and relying on Google we really lose any control and understanding we have on where this information comes from. I personally never think about where Google gets all of its information or how it knows what I want so quickly, so there for I’m completely blind to the process by choice.
    I also want to draw some attention to one topic we talked about in class, we discussed how the search databases have ultimately altered the relationship between us and the government, and also the public and private. The internet holds one of the highest- all knowing powers that’s known to man. The reason being that we are never private. Sure, you may click open your safari browser and click on the “private window” to search things we don’t want our parents to know about. But do you really think it’s that easy to be invisible? As I stated earlier we have completely let go of our control over the process of things such as Google and because we did that, we no longer have say in our privacy. The search engine society has made us all knowing of other members of society, and vice versa, so there really isn’t any boundaries between public and private any longer.
    I was curious when learning about these concepts in class so I looked up “Lacey Porter, Colorado” and sure enough a few results down the list appeared “Lacey Rebecca Porter”, the thoughts in my mind were, “No way, that can’t be about me.” Sure, enough I opened up the result and it was from my voting registration, and it pinned the exact location of my house where my family lives in Pueblo, Colorado and also stated my phone number and birthday. My sense of privacy was lost in that moment but then I realized that it was never there to begin with the moment I put my information out there. Let that just sit in your thoughts for a minute.

    1. Hey everyone sorry for the typo’s in my forum, it I accidentally pressed enter while I was reading through it and can’t figure out how to edit it!

    2. I have never thought about doing a Google search on myself. After reading your post, I can’t say I am not curious what would come up. I personally like that Google keeps up with what is relevant. As a lazy typer, I appreciate when Google fills in the rest. I think it is incredibly helpful that the most relevant articles and resources rise to the top of the search. However, I do question how reliable the articles can be. Nowadays you can pay to have your website rise to the top of the searches. So anyone could pay to get their information noticed more. This makes it hard to know what is reliable. It makes you question if Google is concerned about what is best for the community as a whole, or if they’re simply operating as a business for money.

  10. For my second forum post, I decided to write about the piece I did my presentation on, Michael Fuller’s “Microsoft Word: It Looks Like You’re Writing a Letter.” What was interesting about this piece was it got me thinking about the nature of products and writing. Fuller worried that the amount of shortcuts for writing in the word processor Microsoft Word would lead to a lack of spontaneity and increased formalness and blandness in writing. This raises a lot of questions as to whether or not great writing comes from a lack of limits and the challenges of having to create something truly by one’s self. Fuller worried that content of what people were writing would be lost to the more formal elements of writing, himself saying his fears were that the writing would become “peripheral to the processing”. This is why Fuller found himself so against Microsoft’s Word consistent upgrading and additions of new features. Word would add so many features that within 7 years it had nearly doubled its amount of toolbars. Many of these features were seen as either useless, difficult to use, or sometimes both. Fuller himself said, “After version 5.1 the program seems clearly to have made a break with being simply a clean, easy-to-use word processor. It became something else. The constant accrual of new tools and functions by a software bent on self perfection means that there are no commands that will ever die in Microsoft Word, no function will ever be lost.” He felt that Microsoft Word’s policy of quantity over quality in its features marked a de evolution for the product instead of an evolution. This makes me wonder if constant upgrading in technology is a good thing or a bad thing. We always wanted to better ourselves, but do we just keep chasing perfection, or does constantly adding things to “better” lead to it feeling overstuffed and increasingly bland? Fuller saw the original Microsoft Word as a way to help aid the basic computer user of the mid 1990’s in their understanding of this type of computer technology. But at what does the product go from bridging the gap to creating work for it’s users? This also all brings to mind the question of whether or not a word processor like Microsoft Word, even with all these features and updates, could truly one day mimic autonomous work like Fuller wondered if it could one day do. Fuller argued it couldn’t, as natural language, that is language spoken naturally between two people that one would see in an everyday conversation, has a particular flow to it that a program, no matter what it was processed to do, could never truly mimic it. Fuller explained that Microsoft Word wanted to bridge the gap between that natural language and formal language, which is more like written language than natural language which is more like spoken language.

    1. In response to your question regarding Fuller and his assertions about Microsoft Word, I believe that Word could never take into account all human creativity and autonomy separate from “the worker” due to the split decisions that only a human brain can accumulate. This argument falls under the issue of Microsoft becoming an engineering problem because Fuller argues that culture, for us, ought to be free flowing, creative, and unlimited. He suggests that Microsoft Word attempts to create a life similar to those of robots where everyone blends in, diminishing the artistic ability and drive that everyone is supposedly born with before predetermined choices were prompted by technology’s effect on culture. However, I feel that as a result of the variability of human nature and emotion, humans are too in flux to reduce to a program and therefore, technology could never mimic that behavior independently. Fuller also proposes that Microsoft Word shapes what we do and doesn’t take away autonomy in the sense that the human feels like they are not the thing in control. In his essay he states that, “a program like Word doesn’t deny autonomous work or the desire for it, but parasitises it, corrals and rides it at the same time as entering into an arrangement of simultaneous recomposition of scope,” (140). In this sense, Word gives the illusion that “the worker” has unlimited freedom because they are directing what is appearing on the screen. However, the machine is actually the one in control because the human has no idea how the computer operates or functions, therefore leaving the human powerless if it doesn’t complete a function the way it was programmed to do. The human is not taking on as much as the machine as the machine is taking on of the human, but I do not think that a machine could ever reach the capacity to mimic human behavior to a point out of human control and to the accuracy of the constantly-evolving nature of human behavior.

  11. I have chosen to discuss John’s article “writing” for my second forum post, he discusses “the written form of language can contain intelligence that its spoken version does not.” (Peters, pg 15). He argues that the written form takes authority over the spoken. I completely agree with Peters here no matter what form the writing is in, more people will believe and article or writing on a paper than a story someone is relaying on to them. Seeing a story or information in writing makes it seem much more reliable than if someone were to say the information to you. When hearing a story from someone there is a need to question the truth behind it, but with text there is a natural way of expecting truth from this author that we don’t expect from speakers. Writing has a feeling of permanence that no other type of communication really has. Once something is written it can be erased but it will still be there in the background or in the memory of the computer. Often with people and spoken word the story is morphed and changed or forgotten along the way so it is not usually the same as it was the first time it was told. “Writing is itself the bias through which we read history; our access to the history of writing – and the history of almost anything else – comes from the medium of writing itself. “ without writing our histories would be hard to truly trace and explain to future generations to come. Writing holds a very important role in explaining history and the stories of our cultures. Whether this be text on a computer or a history book written text changes the way we explain our history to the future and will have an effect on the decisions we will make in the future.

    1. Hi Aspen,
      I thought your post was really interesting and insightful, I never thought about the way spoken stories can become transformed. I was wondering how you felt about stories that are recorded in other ways besides writing. Such as; broadcast journalism (the news), podcasts, and other various formed of recorded sound bites or videos. I would argue and say these spoken stories such as these often times take authority over written forms within our society. People want more convent means of getting to the news or other stories and so if you can listen to them while doing something else instead of reading it, people choose to do so. Wouldn’t this increased desire in spoken reporting result in more of a push towards reliable spoken stories? And since these are recorded stories, i’d think they would also be telling the truth because the videos, like everything else posted on the internet, can not be deleted. Both written and recorded spoken stories have a sense of permanence that demands accuracy and honesty.

  12. Talia Watrous
    Introduction to Media Studies
    Dr. Emerson
    12 October 2017
    Google and the Government

    Battelle’s introduction to his book The Search, explores the complexity of Google’s impact on our society. He writes, “Every day, millions upon millions of people lean forward into their computer screens and pour out their wants, fears and intentions into the simple colours and brilliant white background of Google.com” (6). My personal experience affirms this opinion for me. In fact, Google has become so hegemonic, that “Google it” has become synonymous with the vaguely annoyed refrain, “look it up (in the dictionary.)” Google is our new dictionary, meaning it gives the indisputable truth. At first, Battelle seems in awe of Google as an archeological artifact. And I cannot agree more. In my Anthropology class, we are learning about the laborious tasks researchers go through to learn about past people’s everyday lives. Google is a practical gold mine of human experience or as he says Google is “jacked into the culture’s nervous system” (2). How wondrous! We have limitless knowledge at the click of a button, but not quite. As Battelle suggests, there is a dangerous side to our beloved Google God.
    He argues that Google has changed the citizen’s relationship to the government, especially since the Patriot Act. This act ensures that companies like Google, when called upon by the government, will give search histories and emails as evidence in trials. Further, monitoring of personal data will be used to protect against terrorist activities. Measures like this have led Battelle to believe that, “Search will be the way we rewire the relationship between ourselves and the government” (9). Right now, the government has access to our personal information and desires more than any other time in history. Google is a new repressive state apparatus because all our actions are being watched, tracked, and maybe even used against us. My initial question for Battelle was how will we ever remain safe, if the government does not keep a close eye on what we are searching? How can we keep a nation safe if we have unlimited knowledge?
    Especially as a supporter of gun control, how can I support freedoms at the expense of our safety? How can preventing violent crime online via search would be different than keeping people from arming themselves? Both seem like arguments for freedoms in listed in the Bill of Rights. However, the problem lies with the difference between knowledge and a weapon. Once a government has limits access to weapons, you are inhibited from committing violence. But with online search, once an authority has control over the knowledge you are able to possess, it has control over your mind. Battelle seems concerned with Google giving the government permission to corral our minds, and thus our personhood. This power that Google gives the government is very different than inhibiting violence. Additionally, according to the Washington Times, internet surveillance has stopped zero terrorist attacks. The FBI has stated that they have no cases where their online involvement has helped stop or even found potential leads to inhibit terrorism (Maggie Ybarra, 1).
    Thereby, despite using Google docs to type up this essay, I think we need to be wary of Google’s unquestioned authority. The internet should be a beautiful, unique library, where we can be curious and ask questions. If everyone was given a platform where they felt sure that no one was watching or interpreting, I believe that would not only give the individual more security, but powerful creativity. In our lives, we are shaped and controlled by our peers, our friends, our families, our authority figures, and our teachers. If the internet were a place where people could shape themselves through personal discovery, I imagine that the sheer amount of innovation would be astounding. Taking away this avenue for individuality and safely exploring one’s curiosity is nothing short of the oppression that Battelle outlines.

  13. The concepts of analog and digital spread far beyond the realm of technology. According to the text by Jake Buckley called “Analog versus Digital”, analog is defined as all that is continuous, fluctuating, and qualitatively variable within communication. Buckley also defines digital as all that is discontinuous, boundary marking, and qualitatively controlling within communication. These concepts are not strictly bound to technology; they can be applied to theories in fields such as linguistics, literature, and philosophy. Gregory Bateson and Anthony Wilden were two men who applied these concepts of analog and digital to language. Bateson and Wilden say that analog communication is the way we convey meaning through gesture, movement, and other varying physical qualities. Whereas digital communication is linguistic elements such as pronunciation of words and letters and grammar. Bateson and Wilden argue that analog and digital communication are always working together to ensure a speaker’s intent or meaning is conveyed correctly. Some may argue that digital language does exist on its own through typing, texting, and writing and it can cancel out analog language because of the flexibility of letters, words, and sentence structures. However, Bateson and Wilden believe that they are interminably interacting because we are constantly interpreting facial expressions, gestures, and inflection that go along with digital communication factors such as letters. I agree with Bateson and Wilden’s idea that in order to create a greater technological future, analog and digital must interact; purely digital communication is “lifeless, immobile, and devoid of sensation, change, and spontaneity”. They give the example of shouting explaining that when shouting occurs in a conversation a few things can happen: the topic can increase in seriousness, physical distance between participants could increase/lessen etc. In digital communication, these interactions with words and volume of speaking cannot be conveyed therefore lessening it’s meaning or intent. I believe that without the features analog communication provides that communication would become uninterpretable to a certain level because we would lose those features such as expression, body movement, and inflection. Analog communication is continuous therefore continuing into the present as we begin sharing our experiences of going digital with one another. I think that it is important to understand the constant interaction between analog and digital because we are moving forward into a technological world and as a society our day-to-day interactions are becoming vastly affected by digital media technologies.

  14. One of the new concepts that stuck out to me the most in this unit was Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin’s idea of remediation and how this is displayed in the media. So, for this forum post I think I want to just explain thoughts I had in the class at how these concepts relate to other things we’ve been discussing. In the first chapter of this piece, the authors introduce us to the concept of hypermediacy and immediacy; something I have never reflected on nor taken the time to understand. Immediacy is a way in which media intends to erase all awareness of using media from the user’s mind. I think the earliest memory I have of something like immediacy is first 3-D movie I ever saw, “Spy Kids.” I walked out absolutely amazed at how realistic it felt to be sitting in the movie theater and feeling like I was fighting alongside my childhood heros. And since then media has stepped up the game; from virtual reality and 360 views on facebook, I am still amazed at the feeling immediacy gives me, and this article gave me a name and context to this idea.
    The article goes on to discuss how our culture interacts with remediation, or the combination of multiple media, new and old. In my experience, I find people around me fascinated by every new piece of media invented, be it social, a new iPhone ect. We, as a culture, seem to be impressed with immediacy but also appreciate hypermediacy as well. I like how the authors stated this that, “our culture wants to both multiply its media and erase all traces of mediation,” because although this article was written in 1951, it is still relevant and will always be becuase media will forever be evolving and adapting and these terms will stay important. (Bolter 5)
    During a class discussion on John Bastille’s The Search, we discussed a concept called the Turing test. Because of the way this test is interpreted, it reminds me a lot of the idea Bolter and Grusin introduced to us. The Turing tests essentially tests if an Artificial Intelligence is as smart as a human by testing its ability to have a conversation with a real person. I think our fascination with Artificial Intelligence also comes from the same place as our interest in immediacy. We are trying to create something so lifelike that even we couldn’t tell it is media or artificial. Artificial intelligence is both immediacy, hypermediacy (knowing it is a robot, not making it look or feel human) and remediation because it is combining all types of media and knowledge into one source.
    Relating these ideas back to Ong’s that “technology shapes the way you think,” I think now knowing more about Bolter and Grusin’s theories of media has shaped the way I see it. I find myself constantly questioning the language used around technology, especially modern day immediate remediation. Now that I have these words to understand the way media is influencing me it has made me understand the form of media in a new way.

  15. One analogy that particularly stuck out to me from “The Googlization of Everything” was Vaidhyanathan’s comparison of the internet to the automobile industry. He talks about how when motor transportation first came along it took the world by storm. Now we live in a world dictated by cars, trains, and planes and do not think twice about them. It is nearly impossible to imagine living in a world without any of these vehicles, and not many people would want to. However, there is a downfall to all of this transportation as well. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death around the world, killing millions of people each year. The effects of global warming have exponentially increased in the past couple decades because of the surge in commercial flights and personal automobiles. People are just now trying to mend all of these downfalls with the help of self-driving cars and eco friendly vehicles. Even all of these new developments cannot undo the lasting damage that has already occurred.
    Vaidhyanathan is worried about the same thing happening with Google. If we do not predict the impeding dangers that could come from this monopolizing search engine then we run the risk of letting it shape our culture and lifestyle without consent. Just like roads were built around the accessibility of automobiles with little thought towards the pedestrians, it is possible for the world to become shaped by the demands of Google over the needs of the consumers. Vaidhyanathan’s argument is that if we do not anticipate this restructuring then it could blindly overtake our culture. Of course the web is not going to kill millions of people or deteriorate our environment, but it does raise worries about the ignorance that could result from blindly trusting in one overarching company. Once the public unquestionably accepts Google as fact, it limits any other better options that could arise. This depletes the market because competitors have no way to infiltrate this line of business. It leads us as consumers to missed opportunities and possible innovation.
    I agree with Vaidhyanathan’s statement that Google is not inherently good, bad, or neutral but has various aspects of all. It is up to the user to be proactive and educated when using these services, and not swept away by the wave of Google. Vaidhyanathan brought up the point that technically we are not the consumers but instead are the product. This is extremely thought provoking and should be a more widespread ideology. Google excels in giving its users a false sense of control when operating their services. Most individuals do not realize how much of their privacy is compromised when making a seemingly obsolete Google search. In order to squelch the apprehensions of these forward thinkers consumers need to ensure that they are being responsible and inquisitive with their online activity. In addition to the public holding themselves accountable, Google also needs to attempt to increase their transparency when communicating with their users.

  16. In Matthew Fuller’s essay “It Looks Like You’re Writing a Letter: Microsoft Word,” he introduces an effective critique that raises problematic arguments concerning the Microsoft Word application. Throughout this essay, Fuller evaluates the effects of Microsoft Word and its ability to transform culture into an issue of engineering. By examining Word’s functional abilities and available features, he reveals how these “software studies” encouraged screen essentialism, something Fuller strongly opposed, by only using the functions that Word offers instead of interacting with the code and the processes involved in creating that particular feature.
    A prominent issue Fuller proposes is that Microsoft Word transforms culture into an engineering problem. In his essay, he claims that, “the disappearance of the worker is best achieved by the direct subsumption of all their potentiality within the apparatus of work,” (139). In regards to Microsoft Word features, Fuller is emphasizing that “the worker,” or the ordinary individual, is naturally an artistic creator that the excessive features consistently updated by Word are produced in order to gain profit and maintain a dominant brand status. He also argues that as a result of these two factors, the worker’s creativity and imagination is disabled. People would rather rely on the easy-to-manage features (toolbars, etc.) instead of extracting and examining the inner parts and functions of precisely what it is that they are using. In reference to previous theoretical ideas in technological history, taking old media and recreating it into new media wouldn’t be possible if the ins and outs of the technology they are using is unknown. Microsoft Word features induce people to make predetermined choices subsequently leading to a loss of creativity. For example, if you were to paint a picture of a sunset and saw an exact replica of that sunset in a nicer format than your original one, according to Fuller, your desire to paint will be damaged. Instead of painting your own sunset, it would be easier, faster, and more convenient to just use the one that Microsoft Word offers.
    I agree with Fuller in the sense that the excessive Microsoft Word updates to provoke predetermined choices and shortcuts for people that discourage the desire to look beyond the surface level of the piece of technology that is being used. Humans present the idea that they are in full control over a computer, for example, when in reality, this is untrue. When referring to the Word feature of bolding a particular letter in a document, most people just click the button instinctively instead of educating themselves on the many steps that their piece of technology just took in order to make that simple function possible. In this instance, the computer has control over the human because when you bold a font on a word, the algorithms that many toiled over to create in the past are unknown and unacknowledged. The issue is that yes, today we can just click a button and bold a particular letter, but humans have no idea the steps the computer went through to produce that feature. The computer controls the human because the human knows nothing about its operations, therefore creating an alienation. I agree with Fuller’s overarching belief that technology should reflect human experience.

  17. For my second forum post, I will be focusing on The Search and the Googlization of Everything. Both articles focus extensively on Google’s monopolization of the internet and people’s unwavering belief in Google always being correct, however, it fails to look at the social repercussions of such a reliance. First, there is the idea that Google is viewed as an all knowing source of unlimited information. This idea is taken so far to the extreme that when one goes to Google something, they often fail to stop and question whether the results showing up first are showing up because they are the most accurate and reliable, or because Google receives a lot of profit from these specific sites. By failing to question Google and its motives for presenting its users with specific results, we as a society are blindly allowing capitalism to reign supreme. Google has gained its monopolization over the internet by driving out any competing search engines and owning a majority of the other options out there such as bing, ask.com, and many more. As a result, we end up unknowingly using google even when we try to venture outside of our comfort zone that is Google. Google has completely taken over the internet to a point where, we have no other option but to use Google and their various websites. Not only are we failing to question the reliability of Google, but we also aren’t even aware of our need to check who truly is running the websites we choose to frequent.
    While Google’s monopolization may not seem too disconcerting at first glance, upon further reflection, one is able to see that Google has carefully worked on reaching a point where they are able to take away our free will and choice when it comes to our internet usage. What makes this lack of free will even more frustrating is when thinking of internet and what freedoms we have in regards to our usage, everything we do while on the internet is monitored. So, even if we are somehow able to escape Google’s clutches, we still have some other organization looming over our heads. With everything we do on the internet being observed, this results in some boundaries being overstepped pretty frequently. If you’ve ever been on facebook and seen an ad for something you had been looking at earlier pop up, i’m sure you were a little confused at first about how that happened. The answer is Google, they monitor your searches and use that information to create ads catered to your interests on every site you visit.
    With the issue of never being able to escape Google, one can look at it from the other side of things as everything on the internet being connected as one. Often times, when people talk about the benefits of the internet and social media they discuss the idea of being able to connect to others online. While this is a great benefit of the internet, it brings about the question of “Is this lack of privacy and trickery worth being able to tag each other in photos on you wall?”. When thinking of the benefits of an Internet, one must really examine what they are gaining and losing from this advancement. Often, people bring up the argument that we are losing our ability to connect with others due to our reliance on technology. I feel this is true as in our class discussions, many people have mentioned being uncomfortable talking on the phone and prefer to text instead. So while we think we are gaining more opportunities to connect through technology and the internet, in reality, the internet is just creating a false sense of connection just like how Google is creating a false sense of impartiality and the image of a competitive market among the internet.

    1. Melissa addresses the potential problems in Google’s monopolization of search engines. She goes further to explain that even if Google fell through another looming organization could rise to the top to track and cater to our consumerist needs.The problem here does not seem to be Google, but the relationship between capitalism and privacy. As long our society is founded in an advertising culture, our intentions will be mapped by companies. As Melissa points out, the insidious nature of Google lies in the fact that we do not recognize Google as a potentially biased company or even as a company. Instead the normalization of Google has lead to complacency and the search results seem perfectly impartial.

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