Reddit is a social media/forum website full of collections of discussions and shared online content. The website has been around since 2005, but has recently become progressively popular within the last couple of years. The website was founded by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, with the intension to create an open platform for “disparate communities all bound together by one common theme: the need to connect with others”. The website is unique, because it allows people to post content freely, without fear from social norms or pressure, which websites like Facebook are known for. Almost like the Guttenburg press, this digital platform not only encourages free speech and expression, its also sheds light on new ideas and collective information from around the world. Another benefit to this website, is very grass roots oriented, as the site doesn’t contain that much advertising and the layout and design of each page is fairly minimal and basic.
While reading a story about a recent lecture by one of the Reddit Founders Alexis Ohanian at McGill University on TechVibe.com (shared by O’Reilly Media). One thing that stuck out in the article was a quote a by Ohanian stating that “anybody who learns how to code can play a significant role in building the new digital world. In essence, anybody with an internet connection can change the world.” Most of us don’t realize it, but our interactions with mediums, such as the internet impact change in the world and to those around us. Whether it is sharing information on a cause your passionate about or something minor, such as letting someone know you love them, help bring change big or small to peoples lives. Websites like Reddit are ultimately changing to not only the way we interact with one another, but also educating us on things that you would have considered.
According to a blogpost by author Jacob Sheehy shared by O’Reilly Media, Sheehy argues that the human lifestyle has become more and more demanding and as a result the world can’t keep up with those demands. The future is becoming less and less sustainable. Time is ticking and Sheehy points out that we are taking too long to come up with better solutions for sustainable living.
One of Sheehy’s solutions, is to encourage modern science to lean towards open source or crowd sourcing platforms to help increase efficiency and speed for problem solving. He explains new technologies have made data collection a lot easier, however it is not very accessible to everyone. In other words companies and organizations are working as independent entities and not as a collective group to achieve common goals.
Sheeny’s proposal can almost be compared to Marxism. The idea looks good on paper, however it does not take in the consideration the economic consequences. Crowdsourcing does bring multiple insights and solutions to problems, but unfortunately exploits free labour, which does not sustain a capitalist society.
In our class, we’ve talked a lot about how online and social media platforms are changing the way we see labour. how companies, such as Facebook depend on free labour and content. Crowd sourcing can only go so far, before it gets abused, copied and under appreciated. For the past year, I’ve been apart of a Design Crowd Sourcing website called 99Designs, where designers dedicate hours of work on things, such as logo and packaging design and only get paid a fraction of how much work they put in if they win. Most of the time on these websites, designs are sometimes copied and stolen and the likeliness of winning is very slim.
So no matter how great Open Source platforms sound, they are not economically sustainable and have the risk of promoting and exploiting free labour.
On Facebook a recent trend has emerged and is virally spread across the world. The so-called Neknominations, which was supposedly started in Australia is a drink game played over social media. People in their teens and early 20s are submitting videosof themselves doing ridiculous stunts while consuming alcohol. At the end of the video, the person must nominate other friends to do the same within the next 24 hours.
This might seem typical to teenage behaviour, but unfortunately many of these videos are becoming more and more ridiculous and dangerous. Most recently taken the lives of four people in the United Kingdom.
Has social media caused us to become more and more insecure about ourselves? The crave of attention to one up someone for bragging rights isn’t worth it. The sad part is that people participating in these events don’t understand the consequences these videos might play in things, such as future employment. The disturbing thing about this situation is that people are continuing to participate, regardless of the recent deaths and ignoring the fact that these video might come back to hurt them.
On a more positive scope, in response to the stupidity of these videos, others have created other types nominations, encouraging those to do something thoughtful for their communities, like donate handmade sandwiches to the poor or bring awareness to world-wide dilemmas, such as the war in Syria. I’m glad these nomination are taking a positive turn, taking stupid behaviour (which you might regret later on) and transforming it into something meaningful.
I know this isn’t directly from my paper.li, but while I was cruising around youtube, looking at comedy clips, I came across a video of famous late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live. Jimmy Kemmel is know for his many online and social media stunts, such as the famous viral twerk fail video, and the most recent video of a Wolf going through the Olympic dorms in Sochi by Olympic Athlete Kate Hansen. He also does a lot of special segments on his show using social media. The one I’d like to talk about is the popular celebrity Mean Tweet segment. On this part of the show, famous celebrities, musician, actors, and comedians read out loud mean tweets about themselves by anonymous fans.
When this segment first aired, it was to promoting Twitter’s 6th birthday. Now the segment has had regular appearance and popular among viewers. Although it can be funny and entertaining, after watching it, it made me realize how the web has allowed us to become more ignorant and filterless. Allowing us to say whatever we want and remaining anonymous. The most ironic thing about these tweets read on tv, is that these celebrities on an on going basis have to live with constant criticism and hatred. Some celebrity do just fine ignoring what other say about them and laugh it off, however some celebrities take it personally, which often leads to depression and on an extreme case, drug addiction and suicide. Not only does this affect celebrities, it also affect ordinary people young old, especially those affected by cyber bullying.
So while its funny to laugh at these mean and hurtful comments, I think Kimmel is trying to show audiences the ironic views of the online world and how anonymousness has create more arrogant comments and behaviour. The rights to free speech is very important, but what is the point of arguing and critiquing if there’s no real name attached to it. The web has not only helped connect us, it has also removed our vocal filters and our direct association from our comments, allowing us to say whatever we want, without the emotional consequences of face to face conversation.
There are many benefits to social media. It keeps us connected to friends, family, and help others keep up to date with whats happening in our lives. From achievements, parties, and other events, social media allows us to showcase a mirage of how wonder someones life is. Unfortunately for those who don’t participate or receive acknowledgement can often be left feeling sad, lonely, and inferior to others. Websites, such as Facebook can almost be considered a comparison/attention contest, where everyone screams “Look at me, I’m better then you or look at the amazing stuff I find online”. Looking through my newsfeed and seeing all the wonderful achievements, epic parties, and sun soaking holiday vacations can sometime make you feel left out and make your life seem dull and boring. According to study by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan, people who visited websites like Facebook felt unhappy, especially for those who rarely post content or receive recognition for posting. On the contrary, the article also explain that people who were actively posting and interacting with others were a lot more happier.
In class I remember someone, mentioned during a discussion in class that “people who constantly post content must be really boring people in real life”, which could possibly be true. I think as humans, we naturally compare ourselves to others, but I think social media websites, such as Facebook help over emphasis and dramatize someones life.
The article concludes is that as human, we naturally crave attention. We strive to be included and connected within society. Our dependence on Social Media and technology have increased dramatically over the last 10 years. This has allowed us to become uncomfortable with boredom and has allowed to forget how to deal with it.
It is funny how we use Social Media tools, like Facebook to feel attached and connected, when most of the time it can feel isolating. Most of the time everyone cares about themselves and do whatever it takes to gain appreciation through likes and followers. Social Media is an illusion of ego, where we can control and over exaggerate how everyone sees us.
Today Fox News posted a video about a man who’s life was saved by social media. This may seem to good to be true, however with social media sites, such as Reddit and Yahoo Answers users are able to ask, share and notify us of early problems and symptoms, such as cancer. Taylor Tiree from Colorado was on Reddit and came across a post, which showed a picture of someone with the early signs of testicular cancer. Tiree noticed that he had similar symptoms and quickly got himself screened. Luckily the cancer did not spread and if Tiree never came across this post, the result might have been much more serious.
It is amazing how the speed of social media can help us solve and be alerted to certain issues before they become serious. Almost like a guardian angel, New/Social media have allowed us to shrink space through time, allowing us to be alerted to take action well in advance before its too late. Issues, such as self screening for cancer and other diseases are often ignored and rarely talked about in a face to face conversations and among friends and family. It is good to know that there are resources out there on the web, such as Reddit, which allow these uncomfortable topics to be addressed and allow those with common insight and knowledge to help others like Taylor Tiree. Most medical appointments can take several days to be arranged and with a growing population, its very difficult for early symptoms to be detected and alerted by medical professionals. With the help of New/Social Media treatment times can be saved and become more efficient. The spread of information and insight can be very powerful tool and in this case has helped save someones life.
Today I came across an article/videos from the BBC asking the question What does freedom look like in 2014? The article and videos, are interviews with popular world figures, such as astronaut Chris Hadfield, Peace Activist Norman Kember, anti-FGM campaigner Layla Hussein, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Artist Jess Thom, who suffers from Tourettes. All of these individuals discuss what freedom means to them. From books to walking through your garden to being able to be free from restrictions you can’t control. This article/idea is to help encourage BBC viewers/readers to share and to create their own images, art, and illustrations of what freedom looks like to them.
After looking through this article, it made me think of how New Media represents a form of freedom. From chat forms to editorials to social media, people have more access to communication opinions and thoughts than ever before. I could not imagine what it would be like, if these services did not exist. For example: without Facebook, citizens in Egypt would have never organized a rebellion to over throw their long holding government. As Hadfield mentioned in his interview “Freedom is the absolute ability to choose and you don’t… really appreciate freedom until its gone”. In a way living in Canada we are often oblivious to having basic rights and free opinions and speech. We do not fully appreciate them and dismiss their importance. Same with media, we completely forget about how most second and third-world nations do not have the same opportunities to have a voice and be heard as we do.
I feel that with the slow, but quiet increase in corporate ownership of media is a problem and that as active citizens, we must remember how lucky we are and to make sure media continues to be regulated and challenged by the public. Jimmy Wales, who is the founder of Wikipedia, fears that countries like the United States is becoming more and more involved in government monitoring and surveillance. He mentions that one of his biggest inspirations is Thomas Jefferson and that his ideas and quotes, such as “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” are the pure definition of freedom and lead him to creating Wikipedia. All in all this article reminds us how fortunate we are to able to express our views and that we should not take them for granted.