Month: March 2015

Man Constructs Technology, Technology Controls Man

Earlier this month I completed student observation hours at my old high school on Long Island. My work was simple—it included taking notes, passing out papers, and witnessing the disorder within an eleventh grade English class. For a portion of the school day, I could discuss Hamlet with a few uninterested groups, but that’s about the extent of the excitement. On my final day, I was rummaging through some papers on an English department desk, and I came across a project rubric that sparked my curiosity. The assignment was titled “Has Social Media Taken Over Our Lives?” After scanning the rubric, I gathered that the students would be tasked with examining their peers’ addiction to social media as well as forfeiting their cell phone for a week (I’m eager to see how that requirement went over). I don’t know which high school teacher organized the project, and I am afraid that I will never learn the students’ results, but the idea pushed me to do some investigating of my own. Over the weekend I conducted short, cross-generational interviews in order to access the control that communicative technology, specifically social media, texting and telephoning, wields over us. I asked my roommate, my mom, and my grandma a few questions pertaining to their usage/opinion of communicative technology and despite severe differences, all three individuals ultimately offered an identical conclusion.

I began with my roommate, an eighteen-year-old female just like myself, in order to represent my own generation. Victoria confessed to spending roughly three hours a day texting, calling, emailing and skimming through social media. Her critique of the technology is that her cellphone/laptop battery dies too often, and that spellcheck/autocorrect fail to aid her writing. She cites many advantages such as convenience, the time-space compression, and the availability of information and exchange. She feels that she could last one day without her cellphone. She answers in the affirmative when I ended the interview with the question, has social media taken over our lives? When I asked whether or not she would change it if she could, she professes that we must learn to take the good with the bad.

Following Victoria, I called my mom and offered her the same questions. My mom discloses to devoting thirty minutes a day utilizing communicative technology. She values the immediate access and the ability to hold multiple simultaneous conversations via texting. However, she hates the absurdity of it all. She uses words like “inane” and “insignificant” when describing how she witnesses a majority of people “walking around with their heads bent down checking things that are probably not that important.” My mom is adamant that social media has taken over our lives, and she states that she could last one week without her cell phone.

Finally, I polled my seventy-nine-year-old grandma. Even though she does not use a cell phone or a computer, she spends thirty minutes a day on the telephone. She enjoys communicative technology in that it allows her to stay connected with friends and family. However, she dislikes how there is no “off-switch” on telephones, because she does not wish to be contacted after seven at night. She thinks that social media is given more attention than it deserves. When I inquired how long she could live without a cellphone she replied “indefinitely”, as she has never owned one.

On the surface, the results are what anyone would expect. The teenage girl has her cellphone glued to her palm, gets a high off of Instagram likes, and is most bothered by the short battery life of her technological devices. The middle-aged woman judges younger people for their obsession with the devices, and utilizes technology for less social reasons. The elderly woman describes social media as, “Twitter and Facebook and the internet and all those other marvelous little acronyms”, and communicates strictly through telephone calls and hand-written letters. Nevertheless, all three subjects censure technology for its distortion of priorities and human social interaction. Victoria is willing to deal with the downfalls of a poor battery life, but she makes a point to mention how disconcerting it is to be surrounded by a group of friends, yet no one is looking or listening or speaking, because everyone is preoccupied with their own cell-phone, silently carrying on other conversations. She admits her own guilt, likening the checking of her screen to a sort of Tourette’s tic. My Facebook-less mom recounted a story of a coworker discussing a Facebook post about Kim Kardashian dyeing her hair, to which my mom thought, “who the f*ck cares?” Additionally, my mom mentioned an interesting qualm she had with the recent resignation of Zayn Malik from the band One Direction. 1D fans are calling in sick to work and reacting like this. Meanwhile, the death of her favorite singer, Jerry Garcia, and the consequent death of her favorite band caused no uproar, because it occurred pre-internet and couldn’t gain such overwhelming media coverage to amplify and prolong the event. My grandma expresses her concern with my generation’s inability to understand boundaries in social situations. Whether it is a friend, a superior, or a stranger, she believes that it is every individual’s responsibility to grant them undivided attention. Watching her grandchildren tap away in front of her, or learning of the amount of phone-use that occurs in classroom settings ultimately pains my grandma, not only because she deems it disrespectful, but because it interferes with true human communication. She views communicative technology as a means of escaping face-to-face contact, and that is a regressive characteristic of humanity.

It is odd to find that such different people from different times can agree that we should shed the pretense of social media, disregard vapid pop culture, and devote more time and consideration to our physical present. Communicative technology is beneficial, far-reaching and impossible to supplant. Thus, it remains a personal choice whether to moderate your usage, or live at the mercy of electronic devices.

BeeLine Reader

For this blog post I knew that I wanted to talk about online-reading vs print-reading but I wasn’t sure where to start. So I searched the internet and found a few interesting articles about the topic. The only issue was that this is a big question to talk about in just one post. I needed some way to narrow down my topic and I didn’t know what to focus in on.

But then I took a step back and looked at my screen, which looks like this:

beelinereader

That’s when it hit me – my blog post topic was literally right in front of my eyes the entire time.

What you see on my screen above is browser plug-in called BeeLine Reader. BeeLine Reader is a free service that turns the words on your screen into various shades of red and blue creating a color gradient. It can be turned on and off for each page, as shown below, or just disabled completely in your settings. It can be used directly on a webpage or on PDFs and there’s even a mobile app for when you’re reading on the go.

Without BeeLine Reader:

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With BeeLine Reader:

Screenshot (49)

 

Beeline works in an interesting way. Our minds process colors faster than words, which is why almost all traffic signs have a distinct color in addition to the words (stop signs are red, yield signs are yellow, one-way signs are black and white, etc). The color gradient helps make transitioning from word to word and line to line much smoother. Using BeeLine Reader, you’re less likely to skip words or repeat lines (otherwise known as “line transition errors”).

Also, in the photos above showing BeeLine before and after, I changed nothing else. So clearly, BeeLine makes the words slightly larger and centers them on the page. I’m not sure if this happens for PDFs or on mobile because I haven’t tried it yet. So if anybody gets on their smartphones or downloads a PDF to read, try it with BeeLine reader and let me known if there are any additional changes other than font color!

BeeLine is helpful for everyone including readers with dyslexia, ADD or other vision issues. BeeLine was recommended to me by a friend. Then I recommended it to my sister, who suffered six concussions over three years back when she was a softball catcher. Ever since her concussions she’s had difficulty reading for long periods of time and online-reading was especially difficult for her. She’s only been using BeeLine Reader for a few weeks but so far she thinks it’s helping her read quicker and more efficiently.

I don’t know of many people that use BeeLine Reader but if any of you try it feel free to share what you think!

 

 

 

Who Writes … Wikipedia?

It’s 2015 and I’m a college student. Naturally, the first place I go with any question on the signatories of the Treaty of Westphalia, a quick biography of Robert De Niro or a quick history of Tesla Motors is Wikipedia. wikipedialogo

Indeed, in writing this post, the first place I went to for information on Wikipedia was Wikipedia itself. The second place? Google, of course.

Given the dominating presence of wikipedia in my own life, epistemological questions about who writes, or perhaps who edits, are of significant concern.

Wikipedia is huge. in 2014, The New York Times reported that “With 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors a month, according to the ratings firm comScore, Wikipedia trails just Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, the largest with 1.2 billion unique visitors.” Wikipedia then, has become a central source of information for huge numbers of people worldwide. Google’s statistics indicate 1.2 billion unique visitors searching for anything; Wikipedia has nearly half as many unique visitors a month searching specifically the encyclopedia-esque content available on the site.

What’s more, Wikipedia has significant repeat visitors. Wikipedia’s own metadata from 2011 indicates that nearly half of those 500 million unique monthly visitors revisit at least 5 more times that month.  So for 250 million people a month, Wikipedia is a primary source of information, which they visit at roughly half the rate they Google search. For anything.

All of this means that Wikipedia’s impact on knowledge, who has access to that knowledge, and especially the quality of that knowledge is massive.

Wikipedia's editorship has resembled an "S" shaped curve
Wikipedia’s editorship has resembled an “S” shaped curve

A bit of background on the way encyclopedias function: In their early stages, and this is especially true of an online crowdsourced encyclopedia that started from nothing, the growth is similar to a sigmoid function. When the site starts, edits happen slowly at first, then rapidly as the pages are added to create a corpus of information until a climax point is reached, at which point essentially everything worth creating has been created, aside for new pages whose necessity emerges over time.

This understanding was confirmed by Wikipedia’s most prolific editor, Justin Knapp: “The number of editors as such is not necessarily a problem — eventually, the content of the encyclopedia will become more-or-less complete and what’s required is curation and maintenance. By the time you get to 4 million articles in one language, it’s close to done in terms of adding new articles.”

Still, this only answers questions about the statistical patterns in editorship. What of the people who are doing the editing?

In the last two years, there have been three episodes in particular that have called into question the biases of Wikipedia.

The first, an op-ed posted by New York Times writer Amanda Filipacchi entitled “Wikipedia’s Sexism Towards Female Novelists,” pointed out the flaws in Wikipedia’s list-based organizational system. The second big issue was the “Gamergate” controversy, centered around sexism and “gamer” identity in the video game community. Finally, the NYPD’s edits of Eric Garner’s page was met with some serious criticism.

In the first two instances, Wikipedia’s gender bias is of primary concern. Wikipedia itself has admitted to being composed of anywhere from 87-90% male editors, which have led to claims of systemic male bias on the site. Wikipedia has identified the issue, and notes it on its own “Criticism of Wikipedia” page.

Two major publications have taken on the issue of gender bias on Wikipedia, and what the Wikimedia Foundation and the Arbitration Committee, as well as outside groups, have done to try to remedy the issue. I could summarize the process, but instead I recommend checking out these two excellent pieces:  The Atlantic on the issue. MIT Technology Review on the issue.

The MIT Technology Review, in particular, points out the problems with the democratic ideals that spurred Wikipedia’s creation. Unfortunately, Simonite claims, closing the gender gap has been complicated by “The loose collective running the site today, estimated to be 90 percent male, [which] operates a crushing bureaucracy with an often abrasive atmosphere that deters newcomers who might increase participation in Wikipedia and broaden its coverage.”

Throughout my academic life, when teachers and professors advised me against using Wikipedia as a source, these issues of systemic bias and the complications they have to the question of “Who Speaks?” never crossed my mind. Instead, I was instilled with a hesitation to take Wikipedia as fact. Ultimately, I have found, the issues with editorship on Wikipedia are not of accuracy, but of equality and government intervention.

Digital Witness

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of seeing Grammy-Award winner St. Vincent perform in Rochester. After the opening act an seconds before the performers took to the stage, an automated voice requested that we refrain from digitally recording our experience so we could thoroughly enjoy it. This is presumably related to their hit song, Digital Witness, (listen below!) which was ranked 24th in Pitchfork’s top 100 songs of 2014. The catchy tune conveys a darker, relevant message about technology’s way of taking over our lives and turning us into iPhone zombies, as you can see in the video below. 

 

The idea of technology taking over our lives is prevalent in pop culture other than music, presented more humorously in Portlandia. This clip shows how greatly invested in technology we are as a collective society, that if we were to separate from it, we’d almost cease to exist. Portlandia is a funny show, but here it got #real. Another recent presentation of technology taking over our natural lives is the 2013 movie Her, where a man falls in love with his operating system. It has clear parallels to Kurt Vonnegut’s older short story EPICAC (summary), yet it is still relevant enough to be made into a movie today. In this media, technology is shown as a substitute for actual human relationships, which social media facilitates today.

Over spring break, my brother introduced me to a British television series entitled “Black Mirror.” He called it the British Twilight Zone. Sounds pretty cool! Google provides a concise and spookyimage-1 summary: “Suspenseful satire with a techno-paranoia bent, the ‘Black Mirror’ is all about personal technology.” Even cooler! I watched the 6-episode series in a day. The irony of being hooked to my laptop watching a series about our future damnation due to technology was almost unbearable, but log onto Netflix and I bet you’ll do the same. I found these futuristic societies simultaneously familiar and foreign. Each episode, in some way or another, revolved around a screen. The abilities of technology exceeded our own, but the interaction of people with their devices was no different than the typical individual with an iPhone.

The three episodes that in particular haunted me the most were S1E1, “The National Anthem,” S2E1, “Be Right Back,” and S2E2, “White Bear.” “The National Anthem” explores the idea of cyber terrorism in what appears to be a modern day UK. If you asked me to define cyber terrorism Black-Mirror-s2e22prior to watching, I would’ve guessed hackers or a virus. Something regarding information or money, maybe. This episode explores humiliation and a life-or-death kidnapping situation as a method of promoting cyber terrorism. Technology is a weapon in the digital age and we need to be aware of the danger that lies in the internet’s anonymity. “Be Right Back” seems more futuristic than the previous episode. The young couple featured regularly use social media, as many people do today. The information they shared via social networks is able to help recreate the husband after his death by reading through old messages, learning how he types, and automating a response. To me, the eeriest aspect of this episode was not the life-like robot, but that programs like this seem feasible in the future. Sending automated messages is already possible, tailoring content from existing users doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch in the near future. What I find to be to most intense episode, “White Bear” shows how maxresdefaulttechnology inhibits us from being helpful, and actively illustrates technology users as useless, mindless zombies. I don’t want to spoil any of the episodes, but if you choose to watch them, you’ll see! I find social media and technology today helpful, but often see instances where it can become a crutch for actual interactions or weaken our abilities. Would cyberbullying, isolation, increased aggression/violence or decreased sense of boundaries/social skills could make a compelling episode of Black Mirror? Yes, probably. And they’re all effects technology has on us today.

We can laugh about this, sing about it, cringe at it or even turn it into a twisted romance. From all angles, it’s clear that technology is taking a bit of us from ourselves. Technology is supposed to simplify our lives, not control them. And while it’s easy to blame this problem on technology, why do we keep using it? Maybe the problem is with us. Are we an addicted generation that will spiral into an uncertain future?

The True Definition of Happiness

I think it is very difficult to define “happiness” in today’s society. Typically, people believe their happiness depends on their income or whether or not they have the latest version of technology or how they look. The amount of money a person earns in order to buy new technology or the latest trends is becoming the root of all happiness.

I recently watched the documentary “Happy” which follows various people in different regions of the world to see how happy they are. One story in particular made me question the true definition of happiness. Manoj, a rickshaw driver, lives in a slum in Kalkata, India. Although he lives in extreme poverty and pulls a cart of people everyday, he is considered to be as happy as the average American. He lives in extreme poverty, works through intense heat and monsoons, and has little to eat, and yet he thinks he is one of the richest people in the world because he loves his family and friends.

While watching his story, I felt sorry for the conditions he was forced to live in, but as his story continued, I realized he was rich, just in a different way than the typical American would agree with . He has the love of his family and friends, he considers his neighbors as a part of his family, and he considers himself lucky to have any shelter at all. If any American had to live this way I highly doubt they would consider themselves “rich”. I think that this is the perfect example of how peoples’s happiness today is too dependent on social conformities. People are in constant competition with one another to prove whose life is better, rather than living deliberately and for themselves. I believe this is what Henry David Thoreau’s ideologies were founded on: the concept of living for oneself and un-materialistically.

Manoj seemed happier than many people I know, and he has so much less. Because he feels that he is not in competition with anyone else, he works to provide for his family, but not so they can buy the new iPhone or latest trend, but rather so they can continue to live their lives. Thoreau would believe that Manoj’s lifestyle is ideal in order to live his life for himself instead of for the approval for others. Manoj is rich; he is rich with love and happiness for the life he lives.

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Can Biology Catch Up to Technology?

As we read Walden and followed Thoreau’s journey through living in the wilderness, we heard how he used his natural senses–sight, sound, smell, touch, taste–to understand the natural world around him. He saw animals, felt the air, tasted berries, listened to the sounds of the forest, and smelled the foliage. There were some things, however, that he couldn’t learn using his most basic senses. He couldn’t sense how deep Walden Pond was or how its shape changed. He obviously didn’t sense that the Feild family wasn’t interested in his advice before he gave it. His sensory perception was limited to the elements of nature that his senses were designed to understand, as it is with all people.

But what about those things that nature didn’t create? What about the things that are undeniably part of the human environment–the internet, the economy, the machinery that we use daily–that doesn’t respond to the senses that nature gave us? Can our biology catch up to technology?

I watched a couple of Ted talks that suggest that not only can our senses be modified to adapt to the technological environment, but that this process is already in the makings. Take this talk by David Eagleman, for example:

His experiment started as an attempt to allow deaf people to feel the words that the people around them are speaking via a vest that created vibrations on the subject’s back. These vibrations, with some practice, would be subconsciously understood as words by the subject’s brain. Eagleman and his team took this technology to the next step and tried to see what other senses they could add to the human repertoire. They took a subject and used the vest to stream information from the internet, information that the subject couldn’t make sense of, and train the subject’s brain to gain a sense of it through a series of tests. The subject would receive the vibrations, then make a seemingly arbitrary choice, and then recieve positive or negative feedback. Little does the subject know, the information being fed to his brain is from the stock-market, and the decisions he is making are whether to buy or sell. In this case, Eagleman’s team is trying to develop an entirely new sense–a sense of the economic environment.

Another Ted talk, by Michael Rubinstein, involved a sort of enhancement of senses that humans already possess.

Rubinstein’s team used cameras to record and magnify the things that the human eye normally can’t pick up on. This included changes in a person’s face color that corresponded with their pulse, the rise and fall of a baby’s chest as it slept, the movement of a person’s throat as they sang, and the vibrations that sound waves caused in a chip bag. They were even able to take the images of the chip bag and reverse the process, analysing the movements to remake the sound that had caused them. Rubinstein points out that this magnification process can be used to find problems in modern machinery and analyze how buildings and architecture sways in the wind.

These two talks open a whole new world in sensory perception. If the natural world and the technological world are as separate from each other as some–including Thoreau–might think, perhaps the importance of having technological “senses” is something that deserves more attention.

This I Believe

I was going to blog about a specific essay, but I think I should just talk about the source.

If you’ve never been on thisibelieve.org, it’s time you checked it out. It’s a compilation of essays by regular people who have a point to make. If you spend an hour perusing this site’s contents, you may find new ideas you’ve never thought of, you may hear stories that shock or inspire you, and you may get a sense of what’s out there in the world today. You can listen to the authors read their own work if you’ve got about 5 minutes. The essays are organized by topic, so you can go straight to whatever interests you and hear some opinions on it, whether it be education and knowledge (my personal favorite), the environment, freedom, or government and constitution. I list these because they are some of the more Thoreauvian topics, but there are many more.

this-i-believe

You can find some wonderful, vintage essays straight from the 50’s, and see how thought has changed and how it has remained the same. You’ll also notice some very influential authors mixed in among the names you don’t recognize which may belong to someone halfway across the country who lives a completely different life from the one you know, but who wants to tell you what gets them out of bed in the mornings. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even submit one yourself.

It’s a great trait of our techy culture that everyone can get on their soapbox just as Thoreau did in the 19th century, and there are some excellent writers and thinkers out there. The kind of individuality you see on this site, every man getting his say and making his mark, can be looked on as a sign of living deliberately. These people broke out of the thoughtless routine of day-to-day life and took the time to organize their deepest, most personal beliefs and take a stand. The results are entertaining, inspiring, and powerful.

Censorship (or lack thereof) in the Digital Age

More and more information and literature is available to us through only few clicks or swipes thanks to resources such as the Digital Public Library of America  and Project Gutenberg, but today’s ever-evolving technology can also allow for censorship of these materials. Clean Reader  is a fairly new e-reader app that allows readers to censor swearwords and other offensive phrases from books purchased through the app’s online bookstore. A recent article from the Guardian goes into further depth about the app, created by the mother and father of a young student in Idaho.

clean-reader1
Expletives are replaced with less offensive alternatives in the Clean Reader app.

 

While the app received positive feedback initially, as indicated in the initial article, the tide soon turned as authors began to notice that their work was being censored. Less than two weeks after the publication of this article, another was posted about the outcry from the censored authors. Fittingly, most of the protests came from Twitter and blogs, as has become the norm in today’s digital world.

 

 

These very public objections have led the founders of Clean Reader to remove the books that belong to the Inktera and Smashwords bookselling systems, as well as those of several other authors, from their bookstore. The removal of these books has been seemingly swift and fairly painless. Author Joanne Harris, one of the app’s biggest opponents, considered this a win, telling the Guardian, ” It is a small victory for the world of dirt. And a wise move on their behalf. I think somebody would have proved how fundamentally illegal it is, and would have taken them to court … it’s interesting to see how pressure from the internet has done it, and how widespread support is for the integrity of books. A lot of people don’t want to see books tampered with.”

Authorial intention seems to be an underlying issue of the controversial Clean Reader app. Many of the supporters of the app don’t believe the author’s intentions are significant in reading a book, and feel that once a book is published, readers can do with it what they please, and this apparently includes changing words in the text. Most of the authors seem to align with Harris, whose opinion is clearly the opposite.  Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and other forms of social media have made knowing an author’s intentions much easier than in the past. While we rely on Thoreau’s journals, correspondence, and revisions to attempt to understand his intent in writing Walden, many authors today will directly answer questions from their readers through various social media platforms. Whether or not this is a good thing is debatable, but in the case of Clean Reader, I feel it is a positive.

Do You Really Need To Post That?

When you walk down the street what do you see? The sun shining through the leaves along the sidewalk, a hint of a breeze flutter through a woman’s hair, two friends reuniting after a long separation. Or are you even looking up at all? These days most of what I see when I am walking around is people disconnected from the world around them. Instead there are men and women walking around with their heads down and eyes staring into the florescent light of a cell phone screen. It’s a fact that technology has become a very strong presence in the world today and we have seen many great things come from it. Now if a kid is abducted the police can track him with the cell phone that is on him, or the fact that soldiers who come home from overseas with lost limbs have a chance or regaining what they lost. We can watch the sun rise on Mars and a woman who has been deaf her whole life can now hear her child’s voice for the first time. Technology is a beautiful thing, and we need it, but with something great there is always a limit, some act of self-control that is necessary.
Although there are great aspects of technology there are of course some disadvantages that accompany the perks of doing things electronically, the greatest disadvantage being the disconnection of people from the world around them. Technology has become such a large part of our world now that some people have chosen to live in a virtual world instead of try to connect with the real one. Instead of taking the time and energy to struggle through school people can get degrees even PhD’s online. Kids are spending hours playing video games with their friends instead of going outside and enjoying the fresh air. Technology is destroying human communication; people are slowly losing the urge and ability to speak to other people face to face instead of through a screen. Now this may make me sound like I was born in the 1920’s, preaching to little kids about how “back in my day” we couldn’t go online and use the land line at the same time, but after doing some research one would have to agree that there is a problem here, maybe not with all people but with a large part of the human population. In an article by Carolyn Gregoire for the Huffington Post, she writes about the decline in eye contact and how it is connected to the increase in digital use. “An adult makes eye contact between 30 and 60 percent of the time in a typical conversation” she writes “but emotional connection is built when eye contact is made during 60-70 percent of the conversation. In other words, the less eye contact, the less of a connection is made”.

How Technology Is Killing Eye Contact

Possibly the greatest improvement that we have experienced in our daily lives with technology is the different ways we can keep in touch. When we meet people we like or friends with whom we wish to stay in contact with or even those with whom we have lost contact, Facebook aids us in making sure we keep those people in our lives. Of course, there is such a thing as over doing something. “The Anti- Social Network” is a short film on YouTube that explores the idea of taking Facebook too far, and how it affects the way you connect with people in your life. There is a big difference between connecting with people on Facebook and spending your whole life telling those people what you are doing. We all have one of those friends who posts everything they are doing on Facebook every five minutes. There is something that can be said for maintaining some level of privacy.

I am of course guilty of all the things I discussed in this post. I myself friend people on Facebook and sometimes there is a lack of eye contact in my daily conversations. I check my phone to see if I have any new text messages, and when I’m feeling like a true techie I might even take a picture of my food if it looks really good. I am not trying to say that technology is the enemy and that the Terminator movies are based on the future of our world. What I am saying is yes, technology is amazing, but we all need to learn how to have it in our lives without letting it dominate our lives. Sometimes it’s good for us to just be able to sit and not do anything but think, or to have a conversation with the cute guy on the bus instead of texting about him to a friend. We all have a timer on how long we get to be on this planet, and when we are connecting ourselves to the wrong world we lose the precious time that we are given in the right world. So the next time you take your phone out to snap pictures of that beautiful sunset from the gazebo, or tweet about the cute girl you saw in the library, stop. Enjoy those last rays of sunshine before they disappear behind the mountains, ask that girl about the book about coffee she’s reading and ask her if she wants to grab a cup. Think of it this way. Life is a cup of tea and technology is the sugar. You want a cup of tea, not a cup of sugar. Let technology do what it was made for, that is to act as an aid throughout life, not a chauffeur.

Facebook and its popularity

Image result for facebook

With all of our class discussions recently dealing with webpages, command line, and other advanced features like those, I could not help but think of the movie The Social Network that shows us how Facebook was created.

It is very interesting to think about the fact that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook when he was in college. Originally only a Harvard networking site, it quickly expanded to other campuses, it gained immense popularity quickly. From there any user with an email address could register for Facebook. It then began to spread worldwide.

Something that started out as a small university social networking site is now one of the most popular sites used by people all over the world.

Keeping that in mind, it is very interesting to think about just how much coding and webpage knowledge went into making such a popular social networking site. People are always frequenting Facebook in their spare time, checking their notifications and seeing what their friends are up to.

People frequent Facebook so often in our society today that it caused a writer from the New Yorker to write an article arguing that Facebook is making us unhappy. I will admit, if I have free time I find myself checking Facebook. More than I may like to admit.

Image result for facebook

Whether you have positive or negative things to say about Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg created an immensely  popular social networking site with his webpage and other computer skills. After being enlightened on some of these skills and their uses by practicing with some of them in class, I can definitely gather it was an extensive process he went through to make Facebook as the movie the Social Network shows.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y2DbqtpDno

source: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia