The Politics of Social Media

During my DH6004 class this week, we watched a film called The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary about one of the founders of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, who sadly died in 2013 aged just 26. Aside from helping to create Reddit, Swartz became a spokesperson for internet users during campaigns to bring in censorship laws like SOPA which ‘is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s proposed bill that aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content’ (SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012).   He was also one of the founders of demandprogress.org which is a project that aims to ‘seek to protect the democratic character of the internet — and wield it to make government accountable and contest concentrated corporate power’ (About Demand Progress – Demand Progress). The conversation about government interference of the internet has been a long one. In the second year of my degree , I wrote about how Twitter was being used as a campaign tool in modern political campaigns.

In more recent years, the Cambridge Analytica scandal had rocked the social media world, as well as the real world.  It was revealed by one whistle-blower that over 50 million user’s data had been mined in order to compile information on potential voters during the American Presidential Election and the Brexit referendum (Cadwalladr and Graham-Harrison). It just goes to show how social media has evolved over the years and how things need to change in order to get back to how sites like Facebook were previously (Mozur et al.).

References

Aaron Swartz. http://www.aaronsw.com/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

About Demand Progress – Demand Progress. https://demandprogress.org/about/. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

admin. ‘Critical Review of Twitter as a Communication Tool.’ Kayleigh Falvey, 26 Oct. 2017, http://kayleighfalvey.com/digital-humanities/write-a-critical-review-of-twitter-as-a-platform-you-may-consider-how-twitter-works-as-a-research-tool-andor-as-a-pedagogical-tool-andor-as-a-communication-tool/.

Cadwalladr, Carole, and Emma Graham-Harrison. ‘Revealed: 50 Million Facebook Profiles Harvested for Cambridge Analytica in Major Data Breach’. The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2018. www.theguardian.com, https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election.

Mozur, Paul, et al. ‘Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web’. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2017. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/17/technology/facebook-government-regulations.html.

SOPA Explained: What It Is and Why It Matters – Jan. 17, 2012. https://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/index.htm#targetText=SOPA%20is%20an%20acronym%20for,the%20trading%20of%20pirated%20content. Accessed 3 Oct. 2019.

The Arrival of Facebook Games

For the past two days, I have been introduced to the magical world of Facebook Games. Now gaming on Facebook is not a new concept, we have had games on Facebook for years, but in the last few days FB has upped its game (pardon the pun!) with the use of Facebook Messenger in order to challenge users and their friends to retro arcade games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man while having newer games like Endless Lake and Words with Friends: Frenzy. What I love about this is that there are no in-app purchases right now!! *CUE Applause* My Bank Balance thanks you Facebook.

The games load super quickly, are super addictive and are perfect for the casual gamers, like me, who don’t really want to spend a whole lot of money on consoles.

Because the games are available through the Facebook Messenger App, both IOS and Andriod users are able to get involved which is fantastic. And because it is the Messenger App, you don’t need to go away and try and download any extra apps in order to play, just head into the app and away you go adding to the already ‘stickiness’ of the Facebook Apps.

Screenshot of Instant Games on Messenger
Screenshot of Instant Games on Messenger

At the moment Instant Gaming is only available in the following countries; Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain, Canada, United States, Japan, Netherlands, Australia, Austria, Latvia, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, New Zealand, France, Singapore, Finland, Hong Kong, Russian Federation, Estonia, Taiwan, Slovenia, Puerto Rico, Cyprus, Israel, Lithuania, Spain, and Italy. Seeing how popular it has become in the last few days I’m sure the update will come for all Facebook users around the world in due course. This innovation on Facebook’s part is very exciting and integrates one of the most popular activities with one of the world’s most popular messenger apps.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to beat my high score in Endless Lake!!

Screenshot from Endless Lake
Screenshot from Endless Lake

Relevant Source:

Facebook Messenger launches Instant Games

http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/29/13769768/facebook-instant-games-pac-man-galaga-words-with-friends

https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Facebook-Plays-Another-Round-with-Games/1014795

A Lookback over Semester One

*In this series, I plan to put content up on my blog throughout the month of December. I am challenging myself to do this in order to fully flesh out what kind of content I want to create on my blog and see what I can come up with.*

Today is the first day of December and it is my second last day of lectures before the semester ends and we begin preparing for our exams. I felt it was a good time to have a look back at how this semester has gone for me and what I have learnt. I’m not going to lie, going to a University was daunting, to say the least, I knew no own on campus and spent a lot of the first few weeks trying to find my way around campus. Now, I’m not saying that I am an expert getting around campus these days, I still need to concentrate really hard in order to remember the directions to the DH Space, but I have a fair idea of where certain rooms are.

Then came the whole academic part of university life. It’s fair to say that whatever I had imagined the course to be when I began was nowhere near as intense as it became. And I couldn’t be happier with how it unfolded. Yes, there were some minor issues and whatever but that would happen anywhere. I got so much more out of this semester than I thought I would, I was challenged to think outside the box in terms of the how our society is evolving along with the modern technology. This course has made me more aware of the updates in the technology world both in Ireland and around the world.

t has also made me think about the fields of study that I want to pursue in Digital Humanities which are Social Media and Virtual Reality. What drew me to these topics was the fact that although the ideals have stayed the same the software and technology has improved greatly over the years. I also love how both of these technologies are constantly changing and are so versatile so that they can be used in a variety of ways. As I mentioned in my presentation, the world of Pop Culture is coming to life through Virtual Reality experiences which I find so exciting as a fan of pop culture. The world of Social Media is also a huge field that I hope to see evolve in the next few years as we see the changing of sites such as Youtube and Instagram.

And it isn’t just the Digital Humanities Modules that I have been excited about, I adore the computer science modules, too,  as I am interested in web design and using the internet for business. And these modules have given me an insight into that along with some other aspects of the internet which I think more people should be made aware of i.e. internet security and hacking.

So yes, I am very excited about semester 2 but just let me get through my exams in one piece!

Social Media, Millennials and the American Election

It’s been a few days since the American Election and it has taken me even longer to try and get my thoughts together in order to write an article about it. And yes, like many of you I was heartbroken with the result; but this is not a post ranting about the result because there is enough of them. No, this is an article about the young people who voted, and their impact on our future.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-12-29-33

To those of you who voted, congratulations! You have made your voice heard. And perhaps the result wasn’t the one you wanted, but apparently if it just up to you guys, Clinton could have won the election, and that makes me very hopeful for the future.

Source: Forbes/ NY Times
Source: Forbes/ NY Times

You went out with such fury and took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to name a few and voiced your hopes and dreams of the future. You were more than likely inspired by personalities online like Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Lady Gaga in order to go out and vote for what you believe in, in the hope that your vote would change things. And in a way it did. By using your Social Media platforms to post about the election and going out to vote, you showed older generations that you are not to be taken for granted and that you do matter. We saw how hard you worked and how much you wanted the dream of a female president to become a reality.

But right now, the worst thing you can do is give up because that it what they want. So, what should you do? Get involved, stand up for what you believe in, educate yourself on other issues you are interested in and help to educate others so that one bit at a time we can help to change our world for the better!! Because as it is said in the Hunger Games series; “Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear’ And right now I have hope in the young people, I only hope that you have the same feeling about yourselves.