With the evolution of technology, the way in which we interact with our world has changed. Throughout history we have found ways of sharing starting with the printing press created by Johannes Gutenburg, the first book to be printed was the bible. We have evolved and developed a transmedia world from the basic sharing and talking about our interests using zines to the everyday use of the world wide web. “People have taken advantage of every new technology as it was presented to them as a vehicle by which to participate and to engage with the world” (Jenkins). Henry Jenkins explains how the sharing of information has allowed the formation of what he terms a participatory culture examples of this range from the basic concept of sharing information to the more elaborate such as a gaming website called Lenovo Game State in which gamers are encouraged to participate in the making of a game by voting, commenting and submitting ideas and if they win they get the opportunity to have their own character in the game. Participatory culture continues to grow and evolve. There are many sites and apps that allow us to share in ways that we may have not been able to even predict in the past.
In terms of pop culture this is where the internet thrives. Thanks to the internet we are kept up to date with the hottest apps or viral videos.
It’s not unusual to find a single individual on multiple internet platforms, many of us have accounts with various different social media platforms and the majority of us will make posts on each of these accounts this allows us to have a wider participatory involvement. we use a variety of ways to communicate on the internet humour being one of them, things like memes have become a common sight on these platforms, edited pictures with witty captions.
The internet has revolutionised the way in which we engage with our communities and the world. The internet allows us to share ideas, information, in the form of pictures, videos, music, etc., Although this technology is still evolving and we are still learning to use it in ways that can benefit mankind we are already taken full advantage of it whether it be to communicate with friends, or to upload artwork or to even produce fan fiction. However entrepreneur and author Andrew Keen believes that the sheer volume of ‘social’ sharing is causing us to lose what it is to be human. We are practically living on the internet and sharing every piece of information. There is no longer any mystery or privacy. We are turning into data and becoming corpses. He explains how certain social media sites sell on our information. This information can be used for surveillance purposes to spy on us. He goes on to explain in order for people to fulfil their full creative potential they need to “escape the crowd”.
TEDx Talks (2010) TEDxNYED – Henry Jenkins – 03/06/10. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFCLKa0XRlw (Accessed: 14 March 2016).
TEDx Talks (2012) Digital vertigo: Andrew Keen at TEDxBrussels. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fnb13MII88 (Accessed: 14 March 2016).
We all have an idea of how we see ourselves and how we want others to perceive us however projecting this image of self face to face doesn’t always have the desired affect as our words and actions aren’t always giving out the same message for example a person could be telling you that they are not worried however they are wringing their hands and they look rigid and tense. Verbally they are telling you one thing but their body language is in complete contrast. Or a person could tell you they are warm and friendly but they are not giving off a very friendly vibe, they are not smiling, their tone isn’t very friendly and their body language is guarded for example folded arms. Our audience will not only hear what we say but pick up on messages we give off nonverbally, our audience picks up on both intended and unintended cues, allowing them to gain an impression of who we are.
The internet allows us to edit how others see us. We can carefully and consciously structure responses, comments etc to portray our ‘ideal self’. A face to face conversation doesn’t allow time for this type of analysis due to the time frame. Hancock’s Digital Deception; the practice of lying in the digital age highlights how we can create an image of ourselves, how we can intentionally manipulate and edit the information our audience receives to create a favourable impression. The internet not only provides us with new ways to edit the way we come across to others, it also allows us to deceive others without having to worry about the sign vehicles that would have been expressed in a face to face situation. There are even websites specifically designed to help users deceive. However in contrast to this the notion of anonymity can also allow us to be more open about personal issues as we worry less about the way we come across and the way the recipient may react as the interaction isn’t face to face what we say isn’t affected by the recipients reaction.
Each social situation comes with its own acceptable behaviours and rules and we tailor the way we interact within this environment. The same applies on the internet, we modify our behaviour to fit in with the behaviour expected from us within that particular type of site.
Mikhail Bakhtin is known for his works in which he explores social behaviour and language affected by government, social classes, and religions and the acceptable satire allowed within a carnival setting. The platform of the internet can be compared to Mikhail Bakhtin’s carnivalesque notion in which our actions are not governed. It provides an environment in which we can give off a convincing performance of an exaggerated version of how we want to be seen or who we are. The lack of face to face interaction allows us to discard our inhibitions and act in a way that you perhaps wouldn’t normally act.
We all have our own idea and concepts of utopia, our perfect world. Harry Mac McClintock wrote a song in 1958 entitled Big Rock Candy Mountain about a hobos vision of utopia it consists of a land where cigarettes, food and alcohol are plentiful, “cops have wooden legs and bulldogs have rubber teeth”. Another example of utopia is depicted in The Land of Cockaigne a painting by Pieter Breugel the elder in which men are laying stuffed with food and contentment and animals come ready to be eaten.
Steven Gough otherwise known as the naked Rambler is a British ex royal marine that believes that it is his right to be naked and that he should be allowed to be naked even in public situations. His idea of utopia would be a place were being naked would be acceptable. He has served several prison sentences because of this.
Thomas More wrote a book in 1516 called Utopia in which he describes his idea of utopia, a fictional book about an island and its societies in which he discusses the ’best state of the commonwealth’. He used the fictional story to suggest idealistic changes regarding society, religion, customs, etc.
Thomas Hobbes was an english philosopher who believed that no matter who rules us we should always obey government authority. During a time when political theorists were asking questions as to whether they should obey their ruler. The divine right of kings theory was the theory that god had appointed the king and that we should obey these kings because it was gods wish however when this theory came under scrutiny Thomas Hobbes came up with the social contract theory. The social contract theory is based on the theory that without a central government there would be anarchy therefore the government is needed to protect people but in return everyone needs to comply to the rules of the government.
What is the link between networked society and the idea of utopia?
A network society can be defined as changes brought about with the aid of technology. For example a widespread use of information technology to affect changes on a social, economic and political level.
The creation of technology/internet formed the notion of ‘peer network’ as although the idea was government funded the actual research was conducted by a collaboration of people. This formed the basis for Steven Johnson to come up with the term peer networks which are decentralised collaborations of individual sharing information/ideas and working together to initiate changes or make something happen. Peer networks have a utopian concept as it’s a collaboration of people that take something in society or life that they are unhappy with, that they want to change and set about to change it. The internet can prove useful with informing a peer network due to the sheer volume of people it can reach however Evgeny Morozov a researcher and writer believed that the internet could be exploited by the government for example they can remove negative information and can be used to spread propaganda.
The School of Life (2015) POLITICAL THEORY – Thomas Hobbes. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i4jb5XBX5s (Accessed: 13 March 2016).
Counter culture can be described as a way of life adopted by a group of people that rejects and opposes normal societies values, beliefs and behaviours.
Counter culture has always existed long before the introduction of the internet. One such example of counter culture was the formation of the beat generation. In the 1950s there was a social movement which consisted of writers who’s ideology went against conventional norms. At the centre of this movement was Alan Ginsberg a poet who’s work challenged the conventions of normal society. Among his work he produced writing that contained vulgar language and explicit homosexual content. In the 50s homosexuality was illegal. Although this particular work was not intended for public exhibition it was published, however the publisher was arrested.
Following on and perhaps initiated by the beat movement in the 1960s we saw the uprise of the Hippie movement another example of a counter culture. The movement grew in opposition of the American involvement in the Vietnam war but they rarely engaged themselves in politics. They rejected social norms and chose a more unconventional life living in communes. They believed in peace and free love. Often called flower children they promoted open sexual relationships and used hallucinogenic drugs such as marijuana and LSD in order to expand their consciousness.
Before the internet there were many different counter cultures. We identify with specific groups or cultures that share our values and beliefs. The internet has made it so much easier to find like minded individuals, compared with the past when people had to actively search for others that shared the same interests or beliefs.
There are many different examples of internet enabled counter cultures regardless of what your values and beliefs or interests are, the web is so vast with so many users it is inevitable you will find like minded people. Bronies would be a good example of a counter culture in todays society. Although a very distinct culture in that it was all started by Hasbro’s leading 1980s toy brand My Little Pony the animation. It has created a large cult following of members termed Bronies it’s not just about the infatuation with colourful ponies or the animation but its also about the inclusiveness of belonging to a group with shared interests. It has quite a large following and continues to grow with events such as Ponycon.
In a paper by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue about how terrorists use the internet they write “it has made it easier to find people and create networks among like minded individuals, across great distances and beyond national borders; and it has lowered the threshold for engaging in ‘risky’ or ‘embarrassing’ behaviour because users can interact anonymously.” this not only shows that we are comfortable on the internet but we are also more likely to search for like minded people as you don’t risk the ridicule you might receive in public situations due to anonymity.
britbluesfan (2011) ALLEN GINSBERG interview BBC 1994. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H45-s9EMYKg (Accessed: 15 March 2016).
Inc, J. (2011) The beat generation – literature periods & movements. Available at: http://www.online-literature.com/periods/beat.php (Accessed: 15 March 2016).
Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher and social reformer who believed in modernistic utilitarianism which basically means he believed in using the best moral action to maximise the well being of people. Bentham believed that the prison system wasn’t to reform prisoners but to act as a deterrent. This design was adopted by many states to house their prisoners. The prison was designed to form a circle of cells that orbited a central tower, the central tower had lights that shone directly into the cells therefore making each cell visible but the towers occupants were obscured by darkness. The cells could be viewed from outside.
In 1975 Michel Foucault wrote a book based on Jeremy Bentham’s design of Panopticon. Foucaults book builds on Benthans original idea and discusses the theory that the prisoners believed they were always being watched either from the tower or outside spectators, this was termed the gaze in which Foucault describes the notion of the light of cells creating the power through transparency. Therefore prisoners adapted their behaviour appropriately and adopted the notion of self policing.
We can apply the panopticon theory to the internet and social networks. The internet/networks we use are our prison and other users are our prison guards and public spectators. In order to project our ideal self we post things that we know others will like or will work well in terms of others forming a positive opinion of us. Public opinion plays a huge role on the way we conduct ourselves on the internet just as Foucault suggests we self police we alter our behaviour to be seen in a favourable light. For example some people wont post what they really think or feel because they worry that people will form a negative opinion of them. The internet is not dissimilar to the panopticon as we don’t know when we are being watched or by who.
When we compare our behaviour on the internet to that of real life there are similarities in the fact that personal opinion does affect our behaviour. In real life day to day situations or encounters the same rules apply as we want to come across in a good way. We want people to like us and have a positive opinion of us. We are careful with what we say and try to synchronise our body language and gestures to be in harmony with what we are saying verbally however our audience can pick up on clues and tell tell signs that are at odds with the image we are trying to portray. Real life doesn’t have a panopticon element, in everyday life there isn’t an unseen god or power surveilling our behaviour. In real life interactions our responses are more instinctive and reactive and aren’t as easy to police. On the internet we have the luxury of time in which to carefully correlate well thought out comments and responses and our audience doesn’t have the advantage of visual sign vehicles.
Of all aspects of art and design one of my favourite aspects is typography.
i find typography very important within the graphic design industry as it our primary means of communicating with the general public but can have a huge impact on the overall finish of a product, publication, or advertisement. for example if i were to design a magazine or newspaper i would probably use a more professional or serious typeface such as times new roman, the last thing i expect to see in a publication of this sort is a typeface such comic sans as it doesn’t look as professional and tells me that they don’t really take themselves too seriously within the industry.
i personally describe typography as the relationship between positive and negative space as letters are basically shapes that use similar elements in order to follow suit for a certain typeface.
In this lecture we explored the relationship between line and memory. i found this lecture quite interesting as it made me question how much a line can communicate to certain people and made me think more laterally about the use of line within our society and our everyday lives.
we also looked into the different types of line for example metaphorical, physical, and lines used to guide.
one of the things we were asked to do during this lecture was to draw a map that would show the journey to uni from home. I found this part of the lecture interesting as it made me think of ways to symbolise a certain activity or emotion for a relaxed bus journey could be a a slightly wavy line whilst a bad bus journey could be a zig zag line this also meant that we had to think about shape and how different elements can have certain emotions or attitudes attached to them for example zig zags are aggressive whereas a wavy line would be considered soft.
we come across lines everyday and most of these lines have different meanings for example there are police “do not cross” lines, road markings that dictate whether or not we can park on a road, lines that tell us when lanes are merging, lines to dictate where we can and cannot go. lines are used a lot within our society and we’ve become used to it to the point where we barely recognise them, we know they are there and we usually understand the reason behind why they are used.