Before watching this video, I had known that campaign ads were meant to make the viewers of the ads to believe that the candidate who was putting out the ad is the one who is best fit to become president. They usually use information that hurts their opponent to make themselves look better, but I had never really put too much thought into the cinematic qualities of the ad that persuade the viewers to think of one candidate as good, and the other as bad. But the discussion of how the video clips and pictures placed in the background was very interesting. Even the way the photos and videos are edited, where the opponent’s images and videos are usually low quality, and have a darker feeling to them than the candidate’s photos and videos, which are usually crystal clear and contain bright lights. The technique is something quite subtle if you don’t pay much attention to the details of the ad, but it makes a big difference on how the audience views each person in the ad.
Anybody can find almost anything they are looking for on the internet. One thing that the internet has completely revolutionized is the way that the world receives news. People want to get the latest information as fast as they can, so they don’t feel like they are being left behind. Unfortunately, many people today are always expecting instant gratification to their need for information and facts, which would mean that reading long news articles is something they’re not willing to do. This is where Twitter comes in. The social media platform allows users to get news and information in 140 characters or less. To make it even easier for the eager news seeker, Twitter puts its top 10 most trending topics on its home page, so users can see what people are talking about the most at any given moment. Topics on the trending list are the things that are popular or important at that time. They are sometimes serious and even pressing issues, and sometimes they are merely the announcement of a new Apple product. More often than not, the trending topics are what people want to see, and not necessarily what needs to be seen.
Twitter users use hashtags which let everybody who searches for something under that hashtag see all posts with that hashtag. People use hashtags to gain popularity, and one of the most recent uses of hashtags has been online activism. People create hashtags for events and tragedies to bring awareness to them on the internet. One of the first major online activism movements was during the Egyptian revolution of 2011. #Egypt was one of the most used hashtags of 2011, and eventually, through all of the awareness to the issue brought up by Twitter, the revolution was successful, and the leader of Egypt at the time was taken out of power. Another example of successful online activism was for the battle against ALS. According to splashcore.com, there are over 4.4 million tweets that contain #icebucketchallenge, and through all of these tweets and even more online outreach, over $88 million was donated to ALS research.
There are a lot of movements that have been successful on social media, but there has also been a lot of talk about why those movements have gotten so much attention on platforms like twitter. According to an article by NPR, Twitter’s trending sidebar is such a hot place to be, that television networks have hired people to figure out how to get their shows on the list in time for advertising a new episode or season. As stated in the NPR article, what’s trending is more “in the now,” and things that have been going on for a while will not show up in what’s trending, even if it is a pressing issue. An example of this would be the black lives matter movement. There have sadly been many times where this hashtag has been trending, but even though that events surrounding this movement occur everyday, #blacklivesmatter is not constantly trending on Twitter.
This is very important to observe, because of the way that online culture is. The idea of “slacktivism,” which is talked about in an article by The Huffington Post is very relevant on twitter. People posting talking about problems in the world, and slapping a hashtag on their post having to do with a current issue. People believe that doing this is helping a cause, or they believe they are doing their part to help change the problem, when in reality, all they are doing is feeding into a trending algorithm. It also has to do with what people want to believe is important in the world. Sometimes when people want to escape from the “real” problems of the world, they go on the internet to just relax and be entertained, so the tendency to push away pressing problems is very high. That is why, such as in another article by The Huffington Post, at one point, it was a very big deal when the internet was interested more in registering to vote, than the Kardashian family. Sadly, this did not last very long, and that has something to say about what people want to see on the internet.
Online activism can be very effective on the internet, and it can help a lot of people be informed with news, and current problems in the world. Before things like Twitter, news on the internet was just a little bit harder to get directly, but with Twitter, news is in your face, in a clear and short way. This tiny section of information can say a lot, and it can say something really interesting and sometimes alarming, or it can be something used for just a good laugh. Either way, Twitter is a tool used by many people around the world, and a lot of the time, unfortunately, it is filled with what the people of the world want to see, and not necessarily what they should be seeing.
I would consider the knowledge of algorithms a part of digital literacy. The reason why I would say this is because algorithms are a big part of what gets our information out to us. For instance, twitter uses algorithms to calculate what is “trending” at the moment, and those things that are trending are what most people who visit twitter will be looking at when they go on the website. The trending topics have a lot of potential to spread quickly and make a big impact on the public. The ability to know what is being “spoon fed” to you through algorithms, and knowing that you are looking for your own information is a very important thing to be able to distinguish when going online, and that is why I think that knowing about online algorithms an important part of digital literacy.
I thought that the game lab was a very cool experience. I don’t think I would have tried a majority of those games if I had not gotten to try them out during our time in the library. One of the things that I thought was the coolest to see for myself was the virtual reality headset. These games got me thinking about the culture of video games and this kind of technology, and what it can do to shape the future of the world. I feel that there is a lot of potential for other things besides just video games with the virtual reality headset. I can see how people can become fixated on it, because it really does make you feel like you are in a completely different world, since the visuals of the game you are playing are all around you. I feel like this could make people who don’t quite fit into the cultural norm of society want to create their own personal virtual reality, to escape from the world that they believe they do not fit into. On the other hand, with games such as the old first-person shooter game, it could be influencing the younger generation that violence is fun and acceptable in society. I feel like this could be an emerging cultural problem, even though we have not seen any direct correlation quite yet in the studies I have seen. There could be advances in gameplay that shifts that mindset of large amounts to violence, to large amounts of problem solving, such as in a mystery kind of game, or other useful skills that kids and young adults can apply to everyday life. So overall, this game lab really got me thinking about a lot of different applications of these games, and where new technology can help make these applications into culture even more prominent than they are now.
Up to now, I would say that many things contribute to digital literacy. The most important thing would be how well a writer of a public internet domain is able to convey their information on their platform. Different social media and internet news platforms have different methods of displaying and conveying information. There is not only the literacy of the people writing the content on the internet, but there is also a degree of internet literacy needed by the people reading the internet’s information. If people don’t know how to receive all of the information that is being given on the internet, then the public wouldn’t be as informed as they could be or should be. Knowing how to navigate sources and platforms is also a major component of digital literacy.