Sunday, December 20, 2009

Here's My Presentation

I know the video's kind of big so here's the link on youtube

Facebook Podcast

Hello Folks!

Below is the link to view my podcast about Facebook. In this podcast, I address these questions:

Does technology shape us or do we the self and society determine the shape of our technology? What is the role of social media? Are we making healthy decisions about the use of technology?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Facebook Tech, The Self & The Berklee Student

Here's Madvan's final project video questioning Berklee students in regards to their personal usage of facebook.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back around to the beginning

As we come into the home stretch of the semester, we circle back around to the beginning, to ask again the questions with which we started, hopefully with some new answers, and hopefully with even more questions. After one of our early discussions, I took some photos of the whiteboard, and here they are.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everybody Dance Now!

We have been doing experiments with being in class in person and meeting in Second Life. One day, a student was sitting in class but her avatar was dancing in our class space in Second Life. As she stopped her avatar dancing, she muttered, "If I could dance in class, I would!"

I started thinking about this and haven't stopped. Why not dance in class? What would be the differences between dancing in SL and dancing in our classroom? (We are musicians and artists, remember, so this is not as strange to us as it might be to others!) So we have been. Twice now, half the class has been only in SL and the other half in the classroom, with me and one other person in both the virtual and physical class spaces. And we have been dancing! I am going to invite my students to talk about that experience first, and then I will chime in. But in the meantime, consider getting up . . . . putting on some music . . . . and dance!

Technological Advancements are to Social Displacements?

I think there is definitely something to be said about the discussion (in chapter 6) on the comparison between the pioneering of the new world and the exploration of the "land" of the web and discovering new uses for it, and uses for us on it. Also the talk about displacing the native people/displacing the use for person to person interaction made me think a lot about where our society is headed. It is my hope that we can find a medium and that many of the sci-fi movies about tech. taking over will not turn out completely true. Our society is shifting technologically. Though many are not wealthy enough to be able to afford an iPhone, many are able to afford somewhat older but still useful forms of similar tech. This is something I think is very important. The link between people, I think, has and is going to become much more critical in work environments and also in many social circles.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An extension of our life?

"As we become accustomed to new things, they are woven into the fabric of daily life." This is a very true statement. I personally am very excited about technologies, new and old, and I really can't think of a technology that I've crossed paths with that I don't use. The examples given in the book really demonstrate this idea of how becoming accustomed to new technologies weaves it into the fabric of daily life. Phones, computers, televisions, electricity... I use it all the time. I use it without even thinking about using it! It makes me wonder about how we've evolved as a society and maybe how dependent we've become on these kids of technologies. Life would certainly be difficult with some of the technologies I listed. Just like my body requires certain organs or parts (technologies), my job "life" requires certain "parts", my social life would be pretty hard without the important "parts", even worshiping at my church would be incredibly different without certain technologies. Not to say I wouldn't be able to do some of the things I do (with the exception of maybe my job), it just be incredibly different and I'd have to adapt to social life and worshiping without the technologies, just as your body would have to adapt to having only one leg or one arm.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Technology Becomes "Natural"

"As we become accustomed to new things, they are woven into the fabric of daily life. Gradually, every new technology seems to become 'natural', and therefore somehow 'inevitable' because it is hard to imagine a world without it... Western societies have naturalized the radio, the mobile phone, and the television, and most people do not think of them as social constructions" (Nye, 65). Nye mentions the invention of flush toilets and how the outhouse now seems "disgusting and unacceptable". It's these technologies that I believe most people tend to forget about because they have become such a natural part of our daily lives. Other technologies, such as e-mail and the cell phone, have also developed an important role. I am aware that the mobile phone is constantly improving, but adding more applications to it is causing us to feel a little lost or anxious if we do not have this technology with us. I constantly rely on my phone for the time, and actually stopped wearing a watch once I bought a cell phone. And sadly, if I forget my cell at home, I am constantly thinking that I am missing an important call or text, when usually I come home to see that I haven't missed anything. People survived just fine without a lot of the technologies that we have today, yet we still think that life is better, or maybe easier now, and have come to highly rely on technology for getting daily tasks done.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being “in class” on a Skype and Second life it has been an interesting experience.

While I’m on Skype I have to be more aware of what it’s going on. Being in front of the teacher helps me a lot to understand the subject of the class and makes me feel more relax and confident. Once I’m on Skype and I get a direct question from the teacher there is not escape. When I see myself reflected on the blackboard I feel like I’m the focus of the class and it feels weird.

Second life is a different story. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Boston or China, I’m in the same situation as everybody else in the class. I can get away with flying, dancing, laughing and still be part of the class and even watch Miss Lori dancing in a club or dressing really nice.

I have to thank technology. I never though I was going to be in a class while being thousands of miles away and still be able to participate and feel like I was part of it. So far it has been a great experience.

Selling Stories

Technology Matters, pg. 35, middle of the page.

"All technological predictions are in essence little narratives about the future. They are not full scale narratives of utopia, but they are usually presented as stories about a better world to come."

Stories of a better world is to me, what gives humans hope. This hope has a very strong emotion that we humans must have had to have in order to perservere through the early times of humans and now as well. We've done it through technology and music as well.

This is why I think music is so important because songs are essentially stories which are emotions. Imagine what life would be without stories of hope? If they were all stories of despair would we have continued on as a species? And back to technology, if people forecasted technology with the emotion of doom would we want it to be made or would we want to suppress it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Technology Matters

A few quotations from David Nye's book, Technology Matters: Questions to Live With, to use in our discussion:

Historians contend that " . . . new technologies are shaped by social conditions, prices, traditions, popular attitudes, interest groups, class differences, and government policies" (19).

As we think about our experience of being in class in SL, as avatars, in comparison with being in class in person, let's think about how Nye summarizes Marshall McLuhan's ideas about communcation media:

"For McLuhan, innovations in communcations, notably the printing press, radio, and television, had automatic effects on society. Unlike Ogburn, McLuhan paid little attention to reciprocal effects or social inventions. For McLuhan, not only did the media extend human sense organs; each new form of a medium disrupte the relationship between the senses" (27).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Technology Matters, chapters 1-2

What I found to be most interesting in these first few chapters of Technology Matters, was the idea of certain societies rejecting modern technology. Thinking about my own technological usage, I can't really imagine not using technology. The author writes, "Students have often told me that the spread of television or the Internet was 'inevitable.' Likewise, most people find the idea of a modern world without automobiles unimaginable" (Nye 17). Reading about Japan's rejection of the gun and the Amish and Mennonites' overall rejection of modern technology provided a whole new prospective on the necessity of technology. I still feel a dependence on technology, personally, but what do you guys think? Does technology play a huge role in your lives? Or do you prefer to limit your technological usage, maybe not to the extreme extent that the Amish do, but still limit it?

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Crazy Ending...

By the time I finished chapter 38, I felt like Gibson had completely turned the story around. Everything after that chapter seemed to move so quickly, and the circumstances/ situations that Cayce found herself in were extraordinarily strange and crazy. The amount of knowledge and abilities that Cayce had towards the end almost seemed supernatural. After being drugged by Dorotea/ Mama Anarchia, Cayce found herself in a hospital/high school/prison, which strangely enough, she was able to escape fairly easily from. Then, after hours of walking in a Soviet eco-disaster desert drenched in Titanium, Cayce was rescued by Parkaboy, who she found out was Peter Gilbert in real life. The other relationships with Volkov, Bigend, and Boone came into light, and Cayce ended up being honored and was given gifts.
I like that Gibson ended this story happily, in a strange way, for Cayce. She found love and a little more answers to her father's disappearance, and was given a lot of cash which she shared with her friends and mother. I just feel that after finishing this book, I want to re-read the beginning to see if I can catch anything that I didn't before. Does anyone else feel this way??

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Russian mafia has no sense of personal space

At the end of the book, the reader finds out that Cayce's apartment had been monitored by the Russian mafia from the moment she first mentioned the possibility of its involvement with the footage (even if only in jest).

She asks, towards the beginning of her interest in the footage, the other members in the footage forum, "Why couldn't it [the maker], say, be some Russian mafia kingpin, with a bent for self-expression, a previously undiscovered talent, and the wherewithal to generate and disseminate the footage? That's deliberately farfetched, but [...]" (Gibson 277). She's only kidding about the Russian mafia's involvement with the footage, but she turned out to be spot on.

From that moment on, which it is implied to be some time ago (way before her involvement with Blue Ant or her trip to London), the Russian mafia had kept tabs on Cayce by invading her apartment to monitor her phone calls and emails. They also stole her psychologist's records and had Dorotea keep track of her, even in New York.

Cayce seems to take all of this information without of a reaction.

My question is: How would you feel if you found out you had been monitored and watched for months, possibly even longer? What aspects of yourself do you think might change after hearing about being watched? Would you feel violated, as I believe I would, or would you take all this information in without much of a reaction, like Cayce?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's Up With Mama Anarchia??

Just a few chapters ago I felt like I was starting to trust Dorotea when she was hired by Bigend. Not complete trust but more than I've felt so far. And now.....what's up with Mama Anarchia! We learn that she and Cayce are not friends. Parkaboy has this hatred toward her. Ivy is being falsely befriended by Mama to get info about Cayce. With all this said I smell... a Dorotea! Do you think Mama Anarchia and Dorotea are the same person or closely connected somehow?

Maybe she's not Dorotea but it does go to show that you just don't know who the person is online. You can't always know what someone looks like or what their intentions are. By the middle of pg 224 (hardcover) "At best they have exchanged a few strained messages.......Although Mama Anarchia has no way, that Cayce knows of,......... Creepy. She takes a deep breath." She comforts herself with "He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots." At this point Cayce is feeling creeped out and wondering, what's up with Mama Anarchia?

My, how our communication has Changed?!?...

I thought that it was interesting how they were so fixated on the laptop and getting this important information from it. Certain phrases like "He told Keiko he'd given it to you, so I wasn't worried. E-mail me." Click. (pg. 165)

After reading this, it really made me wonder and have some self reflection on how often I say to people, "E-mail Me" just to avoid personal conversation.

"I want to talk, but it has to be later. I'm sorry." (pg. 165)

Statements like this make me wonder how our natural way of communication is dying.

So I must ask How has our communication changed? And which type of communication do you prefer? And why?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Internet Relationships - Pattern Recognition

"She looks at the phone and wonders who Parkaboy is. Other, that is, than Parkaboy, acerbic obsessive theorist of the footage. What does he do when he's not doing this? She has no idea, and no idea what he looks like, or really, how he came to be as devoted as she knows he is to pursuing any further understanding of the footage. But now, in some way she can't quite grasp, the universe of F:F:F is everting. Manifesting physically in the world" (Gibson 206).

This part of the book really caught my attention, especially with all the online dating services that are out. Even myspace and facebook have been used to meet people, maybe for a possible relationship. In my own experience, I have met people in person that I met online, and they never look the same... Similar to SecondLife- you can make an avatar that looks nothing like you. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced some sort of online relationship, like Cayce, even if it is just friendship. Would meeting that person face to face change that relationship? In what ways is the technology of online relationships affecting how we relate to people face to face in society? Do you act the same?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pattern Recognition Blog 2

Since I've been reading this book, 'Pattern Recognition' I am noticing how many labels and logos there are.....and they're everywhere! Trademarks have alot of research and development that have gone into them. So much psychology that has been taken into consideration so that humans will behave in a way that makes them identify with the product and continue to buy it over a long period of time. Given all of the nuance that is associated with these labels I can understand how a person such a Cayce could be so overwhelmed by certain symbols.

What is Gibson saying so far about 'pattern recognition'? What does he mean by this?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blogs We Like!

Find a blog that interest you and post its url here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1st reading - Patten Recognition

Gibson blends technolgy, society and self until there’s no separation. The self has found comfort in forums and chat rooms (pg5). Life, love and business takes place in the “mirror world” which closely resemble objects and behaviors taken place in the real world.

On (pg8) Damien labeled Cayce’s fashion sense as, “CPU’s” Cayce Pollards Units. That’s the type of clothing she wears. CPU’s are either black, white, or gray and ideally seem to have come into this world without human intervention.”

While Cayce works in the world of marketing, branding and logos, why does her character make it a point of being a minimalist by having all the trademarks sanded down on jeans and watches?

Teleport your Soul

 “Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.” (Pattern Recognition, pg 2)

Genius Gibson.  Imagine if we could Teleport ourselves to any place instantly. Do you think that we would have the same relations between humans? Would feelings like fear, or loneliness, or attachment be found so frequently in our lives? How would it affect our souls?

…October 5th. She woke up in a dark street in Italy. The day before, she had lost her purse in a coffee shop in Paris. Without her home keys, she kept going back to this one place where she thought that she would have lost it, a furniture store in Budapest.  Back home, in Chicago, she didn’t find any sign of life from her husband, and she imagines where would he be? His phone was off. Maybe he was in a conference in one of those countries that did not have the facilities of Global Signal. They haven’t seen each other since her birthday in July, and she wondered how nice would be if she could see him everyday. They were married in a contract of physical freedom, and for the first time, she regrets it…. 

Pattern Recognition ch. 1-2

I find it very interesting how Gibson shows the relationship between the self, society, and technology. The narrator often refers to the "Mirror-World," or the new society (England) where everything is different for Cayce, the main character. A lot of the differences described in the "mirror-world" that feel "alien" to Cayce are technology related: how the plugs on appliances are huge, cars are reversed, telephones feel different, lamps click on in a different way. Interestingly, it is also technology that brings Cayce a sense of home: "It is a way now, approximately, of being at home. The forum has become one of the most consistent places in her life, like a familiar cafe that exists somehow outside of geography and beyond time zones" (Gibson 4-5). That last line is what really stuck in my mind. In what ways does technology allow you to feel as if you're home when you're not? Are there certain technologies that have become consistent for you, such as the forum has for Cayce? Why?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pattern Recognition: Reading & Blogging Schedule

Week 6: W Group A blogs

Th 10/8 Reading: Pattern Recognition, William Gibson pages 1-25 (chapters 1-3)

Week 6:


W Group B blogs

Th 10/15 Reading: Pattern Recognition 26-141; ch. 4-15

Week 7:

W Group C blogs

Th 10/22 Reading: Pattern Recognition pp. 142- 262 ch 16-31

Week 8:

W Group D blogs

Th 10/29 Reading: Pattern Recognition pp. 263-367; ch. 32-end

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TECHNOLOGY/SELF/SOCIETY: Towards Some Definitions and Questions

Here are some definitions to get us started. Let's consider them, argue with them, and come up with something better.

is it knowledge? It must be more than that, because it encompasses the tools and practices of applying knowledge. Here is a working definition: technology encompasses "tools and practices deliberately employed as natural (rather than supernatural) means for attaining clearly identifiable ends." (Maurice N. Richter, Technology and Social Complexity, p. 8)

Society: a group of people who share a common culture or civilization, who are organized into social relationships

Self: What does it mean to say "I?" "Me?" The self is the entity--both subject and object--through which we experience the world.

OK, have at it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


This course explores the relationship among technology, the self, and society. Students explore the concept of the self as it has evolved over the course of the romantic, modern, and postmodern eras, and as it has been affected by technology. The course explores the realm of technology and science as features of everyday life, and as a means by which subjects reproduce their identities. Students examine the ways in which different technologies (e.g., the telephone, the radio, the television, the Internet, the automobile) shift our conceptualization of the self and reconfigure our relationship to society. Students critically examine the world around them and the ideologies of the self, of society and of technology that determine the ways in which we interact with each other in the world.

In particular, this semester, we'll focus on social media, mobile technology, and virtual worlds. How do these new technologies create new senses of self, subjectivity, relationships, communication, presence, and being?