Author Archives: Skylar_Elis

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted, but Tweets Alone Do Not Make the Revolution

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 7.56.11 PM

The title was a heading from the Out of the Shadows. It’s something I agree with and represents a similar idea. For example, the strongest friendships in my life, have less carry over in social media presence. Meaning our friendship is only strengthened in person and occasionally posting on their wall or a photo with them. It’s almost a silent understanding that its tacky and superficial to over-present a friendship online. Private text messaging aside, perhaps those who do heavily communicate via public scope of the internet, are friends that haven’t yet crossed that threshold of sincerity and depth. Sincere friendships may be tweeted, but tweets alone do not make sincere friendships. 

If this indicates anything about social trends online, it can relate to political activism too. The real issues and passionate discussions happen in person, face to face. Our generation is quickly annoyed with “comment wars”, or heated political debated in the comment section of a Facebook post or any post for that matter. The mental reaction when watching a comment war unfold is typically “woah, calm down, it’s just a facebook post”. However that reflex says a lot about online activism and debate. It is something that isn’t rally taken seriously. Neither party in the debate is really going to change their mind or be in a position to learn something. The memes in this post are a comical way of showing how unproductive comment wars may be.

Maybe thats an indication of authority online, and our ability to take peers as a legitimate source. But in any case “What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson”, brings up a good point about the difference between Facebook and Twitter as algorithmic filters. Facebook is too personal and Twitter offers a global perspective that is short and to the point. In either case, there are perks to simply having a discussion rather than it being invisible. However we must not mistake activity with accomplishment.

First World Problems

I would hope that anyone who watches this hears the echo of their own complaints and realizes how silly it is to be frustrated with things in our day to day life. I remember a conversation with a friend on campus while eating at a dining common buffet style. Imagine how you would describe a buffet to a third world person. “there is a room where you can take any food and as much food as you want, until you’re full.” And that we clean a gallons of water just to use in a toilet .. I may be getting side tracked from the point of this weeks readings but I think this video still ties into a larger theme of social privilege that devices give us. The poor without technology are becoming even more distant socially than ever before.

In order to break down stereotypes, we must bring them up.

Charlton McIlwain explains why: “not only is racism a pervasive social construction, race is also a powerful way of organizing community, both as a technique of oppression and as a strategy of resistance and community among people of color.”

This video is a compilation of, admittedly very funny, racial stereotypes portrayed in short 6 second videos via Vine. While our readings “Race and Social Media” didn’t cover the app Vine specifically, I feel that it is a good conversations to have. Senft & Noble do a good job of covering the topic of humor and it’s relationship to racial stereotypes online.

I remember a while ago Oprah interviewed Jay-Z and she was curious why he uses the N word in his lyrics so often. While Oprah stands on the side of abolishing that word all together, JayZ feels that by using it and owning it, it diffuses the meaning. I’m not sure where I stand personally. But when you look at it historically, it has devalued human beings. However, we live in a time now where the word’s value is being diminished. Artists like Jay-Z, comedians and so on use the word with the intent of desensitizing.

Similarly actors on Vine also think it is important to have these stereotypes played before us. Many of the clips on the video are too taboo to speak about for most people. Yet by showing how completely silly they are, it then becomes a device to disprove stereotypes; thus a “strategy of resistance”.

Over the summer at camp, (detached from online world) the counselors did a program with our teens called “gender-bender night” Boys dress as girls, and girls as boys. Most of the kids got really into it and made silly/inappropriate jokes as they were getting dressed. T

he boy in my cabin who chooses to dress as a girl and is in the process of changing gender, instead of resenting the mocking stereotypes of his cabin-mates, he was glad we did the program. The night would conclude with a serious program/discussion about gender roles and stereotypes, and they took it seriously because they saw how much they subconsciously stereotyped.

Given this, I think I stand with this idea.

In order to break down stereotypes, we must bring them up.

I Dare You To Watch This Entire Video

I clicked play on the video and immediately opened up two tabs on my browser as the audio played through. One to check the midterm description for this class and one for email. In the first 18 seconds the guy in the video as if speaking to me, dares us to “not open a new tab and let this play in the back ground”, but to sit still and simply watch the video. I clicked back on the tab and quickly scrubbed forward to see if there would be something interesting happen in the little thumbnail but there wasn’t, just his face. So I let the video play. He continues to challenge us to simply watch the video! I hear vibration sound and check my phone, nothing, it was the video. At one point it even freezes for 10 seconds and I checked to make sure the video was working or loaded. That too was part of it. And like that I realized I’m a part of the game and he’s playing me like a puppet.

Our reading this week on Moral Panic tended to emphasis the physical dangers and treats of predators and bullies. But I think another panic that adults have is the concern for immediate gratification and shortening attention span. This is something I have felt about children, however this video made me realize I’m just as guilty. The time-saving tools that we have adopted to make our lives more efficient, are little tricks like checking the progress bar thumbnails on a youtube video for interesting clips, or opening a new tab and simply listening to the video. These same tips I believe are also adopted on social media as a filter and way to validate of certain people and profiles we encounter.

“re-gain control of the one truly un-renewable resource in life, your time.”

But in that same desire we are getting lost. Overall, as a generation we feel that our time is precious and little tricks to squeeze the most into our day is mind-numbingly habitual. But it gets to the point where a 10 second freeze in a video creates stress, because it seems out of our control. I think another very real Moral Panic is the struggle to enjoy the little things in life.

Go write it in a journal and mail it to your grandma.

There are several accounts of celebrities sharing their thoughts on resisting active social media presence. The reasons can be supported by many of the topics and key terms discussed in class. Most notably the term super-publics and selfie, seem to fuel the celebrity fire fight against social media and dana boyd’s “digital architectures”.

In Vanity Fair’s article, over a dozen opinions are cited and all generally conclude to a level of self discipline and disinterest in the selfie.

One of the key concerns with the “super public” is the unknown audience you reach. Now as a 21 yearold non-celebrity, my personal audience is pretty much limited to people I have allowed in my circle online. However, in the case of celebrities, they have an immense magnified surveillance in both public spheres. 

Kristen Stewart, the lead actress of the Twilight movies comments, “Twitter f—s me over every day of my life. Because people go, ‘I’m sitting next to Kristen Stewart right now’ and then [the paparazzi] show up.” In this example, the online super public is a parasite that feeds off of tangible public space.

Chris Hemsworth would argue that a narcissistic and selfie filled online presence, is abusing your success as an artist. “I think there’s a danger of being overexposed with that stuff. The mystery of who you are is what keeps people interested in wanting to see you on the screen. Also, it’s easier for them to believe you as that character if they don’t know too much about you. It’s hard not to be overexposed these days with the Internet.”

On the note of selfies, I’ll let Amy Poehler have the final word.

“Most people are so f—–g boring that they should shut up, and you should have to get a license. And I’m volunteering to be in charge of the licenses . . . Go write it in a journal and mail it to your grandma.”

Filter on Insta – Filter on the Streets

The site is rooted in the idea of filtering out negative ideas and keeping an eager enthusiasm for life a common trend in their posts. The intention of the site is to post content that “matters”, things that are purely inspiring, motivational, happy or simply supporting great causes. I have found out about dozens of fascinating things happening in the world and drawn to continue surfing through the site because of captivating title lines like, “A Girl Comes Up On Stage And Destroys All We Assumed About Kids” . How can you not be interested in clicking on that? It’s also frustrating, because every video tries to be the most important video. One may argue that these are creating high expectations and filter the way in which we perceive and interpret the videos we see…. Anyway.

The video I found is simply an interesting application of Instagram and hash-tagging. Jill Walker Rettberg would site the Litterati movement as positive effects of accounting, habit tracking, and digital history. I see the implications of “Litterati” even more interesting in contrast to this weeks readings, in the sense that a filter on Instagram attempts to glorify encountered trash on the street. It’s a total criticism and backwards use of a “filter” as Rettberg defines it as “the removal of unwanted content or impurities”. In this case, it serves as an aesthetically pleasing documentation of littering and environmental harm, yet in an effort to clean the world around us. 

In addition to challenging the simply word “filter”, Jeff Kirschner is using the data collected by Instagram to make a difference in city planning and reaching out to brands to consider changing the way littering effects brand-ship. Filtering on instagram, to filter the trash in the street. 

While I support this cause, I will most likely do so as an observer rather than a contributor of #litterati data: as I am terribly guilty of strategically filtering my own posts on Instagram. 

How China Deals With Internet-Addicted Teens

Danah Boyd grapples with the use of the word addiction in reference to teen’s online activity, and unrolls a few attitudes towards the dominantly adult anxiety of children’s overexposure to media. In her book, “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens”, Boyd references dozens of interviews and examples of teens who share their story of online activity in an effort to catalogue healthy and unhealthy use of online communities. In the chapter about addiction, we learn that most clinical discussion surrounding addiction of any capacity is derived from an “overuse” or “misuse” of given behavior.

I discovered a video recently, revealing a institutionalized response to “Web Junkies”, or those who are addicted to the internet in China and it brought up several issues that Danah Boyd touched on, in psychological analysis of online addiction. The video is a bit disturbing at times and shows extreme institutionalized treatment facilities that wouldn’t be allowed in the United States for many reasons. Yet, even in my discomfort of viewing there are moments that I find myself agreeing with the intention of a treatment center.

Tao Ran, the addiction specialist at the treatment camp, works with kids who strategically wear diapers as a way to avoid using the restroom during binge gamming episodes. Every kid shown in the video shares a similar story of being brought by parents against their will, parents are still encouraged to stay and learn from Tao. Perhaps the only part in this video that Danah Boyd would remotely agree with, is when Tao explains the addiction as a manifestation of loneliness.

In our reading, Danah discusses the challenges of teens freely hanging out in person as a result of fearful parents and a dangerous society. This I understand firsthand as my parents were very protective and wouldn’t allow me to bike to my friends house “because something may happen”. So in an effort to appease my parents, I would stay in and satisfy my social desires online.

Teens are inherently social beings, and Danah Boyd makes a good point that, “being ‘addicted’ to information and people is part of the human condition: it arises from a healthy desire to be aware of surroundings and to connect to society.” However I think the teens depicted in this video have a lot more than just an addiction to gaming that needs to be sorted out, attention on healing a personal sense of connectedness may be the most important step.

“Youngest Choreographer” \\ Infantry guides Adulthood?

אתם עומדים לחזות בכוריאוגרף הצעיר בעולם >>

אתם עומדים לחזות בכוריאוגרף הצעיר בהיסטוריה – צפו בסרטון >>You are about to witness the youngest choreographer in history – Watch the video >> Have a GREAT weekend

Posted by ‎Suzanne Dellal Centre מרכז סוזן דלל‎ on Friday, January 2, 2015


I discovered this video on my Facebook newsfeed and neglected to read the caption “Youngest Choreographer” before I clicked play.

At first I watched a little boy as he seems to follow and emulate the adult dancers around him.

However, soon I realized after stumbles and expressive gestures, that the dancers were in fact following the little boy’s movements!

The dancers are constantly looking towards the little boy for direction, and would add mature isolation technique and form to the child’s moves. All the while, careful in their movements, to be playful and lighthearted, not to distract or scare the boy from continuing his dance.

Why was I quick to assume that the child was following the adults?

Rarely do we see this type of physical interaction between innocence and maturity. However it certainly exists. The Readings from the potato board are more of an explicit parallel to the video. The Potato Board, made up of corporate adults, are frequently checking and revising economic decisions based on the movements of the younger generation. It is a fragile dance to somehow sustain interest from an attention-deficient generation, without scaring them away with eager persistence.

In light of the Potato Board example, the most relevant metaphor for this video may be from an economic standpoint. From personal knowledge, I know that millions of dollars are spent annually on researching trends in millennials and frequently adapting marketing strategies to their ever-shifting interests.

This video can both challenge and support Stanley Hall’s theory of adolescence, the idea that adolescence parallel’s human race’s growth and evolution. We can see the puppetry between infantry and adulthood. Yet, in the video infantry guides adulthood. Which could be argued as cause and effect of growth, while an unrealistic method of individual nurturing.

My idea of adolescence and healthy upbringing stems from the mature technique added to the boy’s innocent expression. This way the older generations continue to learn from the younger generations, and foster wisdom and experience to push them to become a more creative and innovative generation.