The Sims of EA has been my Digital Artefact (DA) for BCM 114 which I have been working on for the past 13 weeks. I wish that in this blog post I could be telling you that over this period of time I have been consistently and ruthlessly testing, prototyping and iterating my work. However, since my last blog post Prototyping the Sims of EA I have not further iterated, or even made any attempt to contribute to my DA at all.
Though don’t get me wrong! Earlier in the process of my DA I did cyclically iterate and prototype the ‘Sims of EA,’ and solved many issues such as;
- Text length
- Content Type
- How I source my Sims
- How I collaborate with others
- My branding
- The purpose of my posts
However, due to the unavoidable circumstances of life I have not furthered my DA since my last blog post.
The reasoning as to why can be best stated through Ken Robinson’s video on ‘Flourishing’ which states that “Human life and human communities are much more like organisms in the sense that we flourish under certain conditions and we fail under certain conditions, and our success is always synergistic with our environment.”
I have taken on new challenges in my personal life this semester which has meant that I haven’t had as much time to devote to my university work. Do I regret doing this? No. As some of these decisions have become a part of the best things in my life, however, my DA has definitely suffered from it.
Two solutions to solving this problem which I discussed in my Beta presentation for this project included;
- Consistent Upload Schedule
I desperately needed a better time management system. By creating a consistent upload schedule (as opposed to no upload schedule at all) perhaps would have given me some stability in the project and may have encouraged me to stick with it.
2. I Needed a Team
Turning the ‘Sims of EA’ into a group project sharing the workload, and having others to hold me accountable to the project would have been very beneficial to me.
It is true what Ken Robinson claims, passion does change everything. Even though I mentioned many excuses before as to why this project failed such as being busy, and not having team mates to contribute to the work load and help keep me accountable, I think that the main reason is that I just lost passion for my project. But that’s okay too.
For this type of project failing is just as good of a result as a success IF you learn from it, and can apply the learning curves to your future work. For example, from this project I have learned that;
- I really enjoyed the creative, storytelling part of my DA, and that I could do it quickly and easily.
- I need to make a schedule for uploads and work hours and to stick to because I have a busy life and like having a busy life. Without giving myself deadlines I will forget about my work, or see it as not as important as other things that I do have deadlines for.
- Working on solo projects is very hard for me. As an extrovert I get my energy being around other people, and therefore I can very easily get motivated in group settings.
- Finally, I have learned that sometimes working as a part of a group, and relinquishing some control of my ‘precious ideas and vision’ will have much better effects in the long run of a project.
Yes, this week’s lecture ‘The Internet of Things: from networked objects to anticipatory spaces‘ (IoT) did bring up some feelings of resentment and mistrust that I have towards my boyfriend’s Google Home. To understand why let me first explain what the IoT is, and how the Google Home is related to it.
The IoT in a nutshell refers to a branch of ‘smart technology’ wherein material objects are attached to the Internet. This includes devices such as smart watches, the Amazon Key, home speakers that take orders – like the Google Home, and many other whacky devices.
In order to preform the services that these devices claim that they do they have to be constantly analysing their environment to uncover a triad of information; your location, your identity, and your environment. In this week’s lecture, Ted states that when we invite smart objects into our daily lives we as people become “an additional input into a data stream.”
This notion was further supported for me through some additional reading of Wired Magazine which states that “One study estimates that 35 percent of US manufacturers are using data from smart sensors within their set-ups already.” If this all isn’t freaky enough, the recordings and data from an individuals Google Home and Fitbit have been taken and used as evidence in a murder trial in the U.S. court.
I know, your whole life has been a lie. Kermit is not a hand-rod puppet but in fact…. A mere sock puppet.
In this weeks lecture on the topic of ‘Dark Fibre; hackers, botnets and cyberwar’ Ted introduced the concept of ‘sock puppets’.
Sock puppets are fictitious online personas which are heavily created to look like real people. They use a variety of techniques such as hashtags, automated posts, location settings to achieve the illusion that they’re a real person. Their goal, is to enter conversations and sway public discourse in order to manipulate opinions to suit their agenda.
Sock puppets haven been known to be used for cyberwarfare. For example, sock puppets have been used by governments to search the internet for news that makes them look bad, then to join the conversation disguised “as a regular citizen” in an attempt to manipulate the public opinion to change.
What are your thoughts on sock puppets? Does it make your second guess anyone that you have met on the internet before? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
Hacktivism, a reckless or heroic act?
This week’s remediation is based off the film ‘War Games’ which was shown in Ted’s lecture as a representation of the danger of the hacking subculture. The remediation represents the idea of ‘playing’ with very dangerous systems, and how perhaps what might seem as innocuous hacking to one person can be incredibly damaging to another.
It’s important to remember that ‘War Games’ a fictional film. However, it raises the question of what are the moral and legal implication of hacking? This brings us to the concept of ‘Hacktivism,’ a scenario in which a person hacks for social or political means.
Many Hacktivists feel that whilst their actions are illegal, that morally they are doing the right thing for the greater good. Hacktivism has been known to fight for information freedom and to reveal and share information that has been wrongfully kept from the general public.
But do we really have a right to this information, is it right for us to expose a person or organisation like that, and if so where do we draw the line? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Connectivity is an inherent part of the internets nature. It enables us to have instantaneous global access to like-minded people, which is a pretty powerful phenomenon. The internet is dialogic by design, and has proven to be an excellent tool for starting revolutions for this reason.
We have seen this in cases such as the Arab Spring, Mena and Maiden. However, as the internet grows older and we all become more experienced in it’s use cracks begin to emerge in it’s use. An article by WIRED which can be accessed here, outlines some of the obstacles in using social media as a revolutionary tool. For example, governments have access to prohibit and block access to connective social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter making it hard to spread messages. Furthermore, governments can also have a hand at spreading misinformation.
In summation, it’s important to remember connectivity gives us power. However, it’s also important to realise that governments and other sources have the power to break that internet connection.
As you all know, for the past 10 weeks I have been working on my Sim photoblog, ‘Sims of EA’ -inspired by ‘Humans of New York.’ Over this semester I’ve had a lot of difficulties with this project, however I have also managed to hit some milestones along the way. For example, I had a follower directly submit a Sim to be featured on the page which was not something that I was expecting to happen at all this semester.
…And I hit 100 followers! Which allowed me to view my demographic insights.
Throughout my struggles of time management skills, story and character development and scouring Reddit and Tumblr for sims to feature I have learned a lot about my audience’s likes and dislikes about the ‘Sims of Ea.’ Here are some of my most valuable learning moments that have helped me develop this project…
#Hashtags are a god sent
An obvious one, but very important! Hashtags give Instagram posts so much traction. They allow your posts to be viewed by so many different accounts which helps connect your content to people who will like it, which therefore allows you to reach a larger audience and gain a following. Through some trial and error I have established my core hashtags which relate to every post, such as #sims #sims4 #thesims #thesims4 #simstagram, along with this I also use a variety of other hashtags which are relevant to the individual posts. [Input: Hashtags. Output: More followers and engagement.]
People don’t necessarily like long text
As I’m using Instagram (a photo heavy platform) for my DA I’ve realised that people don’t necessarily want to read long amounts of text. I’ve discovered that I need to have really captivating images to draw people into my post, and that I need multiple images that tell a story visually to allow for less text. [Input: Engaging photos, less text. Output: More likes, more views.]
…But at the same time they like a story
However, having no story at all wasn’t well received. Finding a happy medium between a short, sweet, yet in depth look of a character/storyline that’s enough to capture the moment and bring some inspiration without being too long and rambly. [Input: Medium length text. Output: More engagement, more likes.]
People like empowerment
Diversity and representation is important, I think that using ‘Sims of EA’ as a medium to represent and empower minorities will be better received than ‘just another joke page,’ or ‘just another cliché Sims storyline filled with cheating, backstabbing, teen pregnancy and killing off spouses for money.’ (Trust me, I tried this with Simulation Mindy and she wasn’t well received by non bcm folk!) If I peel back some of the layers of this DA and shift towards a heavier ‘Humans of New York’ influence by giving ordinary people a voice (but through fictional characters and storylines) my DA will flourish. Rather than creating inspiration for Sims 4 gameplay. [Input: Representation of minorities. Output: More engagement, more likes, more comments, more reach.]
My digital artefact is still in the very early stages of it’s development and there is a lot more that I want to do with the page before it even gets close to reaching it’s full potentials. This includes, creating a regular upload schedule, finding the perfect mix of images and text length OR find a platform that better suits my DA, and most importantly, I want to create a strong sense of community through my digital artefact. I want it to be a space where people feel as if they are represented, and feel that they can send in sims, suggestions and storylines that resonate with them.
In recent years Journalism both as a profession and as an action has undertaken a transformation due to social media. As a result of everyone having access to a portable camera and multiple platforms to upload content to, the act of citizen journalism has emerged.
Citizen journalism is simply the act of the general public uploading content on current events to the internet. This sharing of knowledge is often done through platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and is usually shared by citizens who happen to be witnessing an event taking place in real time.
These pieces of knowledge that the general public uploads often includes a mixture of Tweets, Facebook statuses, images and videos which accumulatively put together the whole picture of the event. This phenomenon is often described through metaphors such as “Bridges made of pebbles,” to depict the whole product being contributed to by thousands of smaller sources.
So really, by being in the right place at the right time and documenting information that you witness, you yourself could contribute to this new form of Journalism.
Closed vs Open sourced software… a debate that has often been narrowed down to the two powerhouses of mobile technology; iOS vs Android. This week we discussed the differences, the benefits and the limitations of open and closed source software. Here are the main differences between the two:
-Apple has total control of iOS
-iOS controls, monitors, censors, and can remove any and all apps on the app store
-Only Apple developers can work on iOS
-There is only one hardware manufacturer; Apple
-Google gave away the Android coding for free
-Allows for independent app markets
-Many independent app developers contribute to Android
-There are many competing Android manufacturers; including- Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, and more!
Ted ended the lecture for this week asking us to think about what was more important. Having the comfort of the easy to use interface of the closed software. Or having the freedom to make your own choices with the open software. This is the idea that I based my remediation on for the week.
As you may recognise, I decided to add to my walled garden remediation from last week by using it as the example of closed software, otherwise known as the ‘comfort.’ I then expanded on this remediation and imagined what the same image would look like as a representation of open software, or ‘freedom.’
Let me know- Are you an Apple or Android user? And has this blog post changed your perspective about it!?
The Feudalisation of the internet, otherwise known as iFeudalism is a current Social Media centred phenomenon. It’s name is based off of the Medieval European structure of Feudalism. iFeudalism is the concept where Social Media organisations such as Apple, Android and YouTube are closing off sections of the internet by creating “walled garden” structures.
The internet is decentralized by nature, meaning that every individual user has the power to unrestrictedly add content to the internet. However, when companies create walled gardens on the internet they have the power to control what content is contributed to that garden, and what content should be censored.
As you can see, in the image above is my beautifully Poke-fied representation of iFuedalism. In this representation we have Mimikyu who is the Lord and surveillance manager of the walled garden. Mimikyu controls which Pikachu’s can enter the garden, what the Pikachu’s can post, and will censor any content made by the Pikachu’s that it doesn’t like. Whilst the worker Pikachu’s are technically free to roam about the garden, they cannot leave without Mimikyu’s permission. Furthermore, they have to pay rent to be a part of the garden. This rent can be paid in two forms. Firstly, they may have to pay in the form of in app purchases, licensing fee’s or subscription fee’s. Or secondly, they may be paying by providing Mimikyu with their own personal information that Mimikyu can use to expand the walled garden.
Let me know what you think of my cutesy representation of iFeudalism in the comments below!