Blog Post 1: Not “Always-On”

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Danah Boyd’s viewpoint on the “always-on” lifestyle in her article “Participating in the Always-On Lifestyle” is quite optimistic about the social media reality that we live in today. Boyd has an almost cheery tone of how she depicts always being on your phone and other electronic device scrolling through the endless amounts of information and data. I do not quite connect with Boyd’s outlook of the “always-on” lifestyle. Boyd believes that people are always on their technology because humans are passionate about it due to their craving for connection and curiosity. However, with my experience I noticed that many are always on their phone because they believe that it is too awkward to make simple human contact. If you are not seen checking a text or your social media then it appears that you have no social life. People are jarred sometimes when a stranger tries to talk to them in situations like being on an elevator or waiting in line instead of being silent and looking at their phones. I agree with Boyd that technology has helped us connect with the world but it has also inhibited our daily connection with the people around us. On the other end of the spectrum was the Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” looking at the dangers of an “always-on” lifestyle. The dystopian look of constantly being rated and it actually affecting your socioeconomic status was quite a terrifying re-imaging. The episode depicted social media leading to a “dolled up” society with no true substance. Though quite extreme in its portrayal, I do think “Nosedive” showed how the “always-on” lifestyle would more likely lead to in the end.

Patrick Davidson’s “The Language of Internet Memes” seeks to get to the fundamentals of Internet Memes. He breaks memes into 3 components: the manifestation, the behavior, and the ideal. “The Waldo Moment” episode follows the three components laid out by Davidson:

Manifestation: Waldo was a cartoon that had portability through a van that carried the equipment to animate him while also having a screen on the outside to interact with others on the street. The animation equipment was easily moveable between TV sets so he could appear on multiple shows increasing his presences on TV and the Internet.

Behavior: Waldo was animated and throughout most the episode, could only be operated by one man, Jamie. He was intended to harass the local politicians who were running for election but he became a political figurehead as he ends up becoming a candidate because he appeared more honest than the actual candidates.

Ideal: Waldo conveyed the message of anti-establishment through most of the episode. He was an ironic character because he was a cartoon bear running for a political election but yet seemed more real than the candidates who were pretending to care about the people they were running for. Towards the end of the episode it seems that Waldo’s message is reversed, as he becomes the symbol of establishment.

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