Teresa Ovalle

Welcome to Me

It’s Only Forever

I regret to inform you that the photos you posted last weekend of you and your buddies doing something stupid will prevent you from getting that awesome job for which you’ve been hoping. Your resume was fantastic – the best of the bunch according to your would-be employer – but she was not impressed with what she found online about you. Sad. You would have been perfect for the job.

You’re not the only one. There have been others.

Private First Class Tariqka Sheffey is a young Soldier who decided to stay in her car and take a selfie rather than to get out of her car to salute the flag she joined the Army to defend. Her posting experience is a good example of how the internet does not forget. The photo went viral and has made her life a bit more challenging. Her investigation is ongoing. (armytimes.com)

Another example includes Air Force Staff Sgt. Cherish Byers who posted a photo of herself tongue kissing a POW/MIA emblem. (Harper) Outrage ensued over this photo, as it should. The reason I share this example, is that this was not a recent photo. Byers took this photo three years ago. The internet does not forget.
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My ICM 501 Reflection

When I learned that one of my first two classes for the Interactive Media program would be a theory class, I thought, “Bummer. This is going to be a boring class.” From previous theories classes, I assumed that this class would be equally as boring.

I was in for a wonderful surprise. I found ICM 501 to be very interesting. I think partly because I have an under-grad in psychology and most of the theories I learned about throughout the semester were based in psychology and sociology. I found this fascinating. I enjoyed the reading materials and learned a tremendous amount about issues I’d never considered before, such as ratings and recommender systems, copyright and copyleft, algorithms and ambient awareness.

A requirement for ICM 501 was to create a personal blog to where I posted my weekly assignments. I had never blogged before, nor had I any intention of blogging until it became a requirement. It was a learning lesson that I will not soon forget. I chose a simple, but colorful layout; one that I could manage easily and enjoyed visiting. I also learned that I enjoyed writing the posts. Although the weekly posts were an assignment, I was proud of my writing and the work I did. Each post was not created equal, but some of them are dang good.
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Keep It Open, Please

Many years ago when there was a choice of Sony and a number of other brands to choose from for my electronic needs, I rarely chose Sony because of their proprietary issues. The only chargers and accessories that worked with Sony were other Sony products. This annoyed me so much that to this day, I do not buy Sony products.

Years later, Apple has done a very similar thing. Most, if not all, Apple products require Apple accessories. I must have an Apple charger to charge any Apple product. It seems that most people do not mind the proprietary issues with Apple. I use a few Apple products myself, but I do have a preference for other non-Apple items, as well, and I enjoy the fact that those other products use universal accessories to keep them running.

Apple was not always a proprietary company, however. Originally, the Apple II computer would allow the user to run software from just about anyone, anywhere. It was a clean slate. (Zittrain, pg. 2) With the advancement of third party software, the Apple II was a hot commodity.
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The Mobility of Socializing

Meetup.com is an awesome site that allows the user to easily find like-minded people in their area. The user signs up for an account, she types in the type of group she would like to find and a number of great opportunities populate the screen. She then takes a look at the groups that interest her, and off she goes. Meetup.com brings local people together to do things they enjoy.

Meetup.com claims to be “the world’s largest network of local groups.” It has 15.92 million members and 142,319 groups in 196 countries. A person can find just about anything she wants to do via Meetup.

Meetup’s mission is to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.”

The Meetup mission statement ties directly in to an article I read by Lee Humphreys titled Mobile Social Networks and Urban Public Space. Simply put, this article is about how people use telecommunications to find each other in the local area and meet up to socialize.
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Nielsen Ratings

In my house, the TV channel is usually glued to FOX News. It’s my husband’s favorite background noise. We do not watch much regular TV, but we do enjoy watching our favorite shows via DVDs. We’re always at least one season behind, which can be frustrating, but it’s always worth not having to watch the commercials. Neither of us enjoys commercials.

I recently read an article about the Nielsen ratings and learned that, “TV ratings don’t just measure how many people watch a TV show, they measure how many people watch the ads in TV shows.” (Engler, pg. 3) I wasn’t sure how the ratings worked, but I did not realize that Nielsen was monitoring the commercials and not the actual shows. I found this very interesting. Especially considering DVR and online viewing is so popular today.
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Don’t Play With Me

I recently read an excerpt from a book by Steven Johnson. The book was titled, “Everything Bad Is Good For You”, which Johnson does his best to convince me that playing games is actually good for a person. I think there is some merit to this book, but before I begin, I want to share a childhood story.

When I was young, I visited my Uncle Jim and we often played a game called Scan. It was a card game that had a stack of large square cards that we spread across the floor and another stack of cards that we mixed up and put facedown in a holding block. Each card on the floor and in the stacked deck had four squares, each with a different set of colors and patterns. Before my uncle or I would flip over a card face-up in the deck, we had to distinguish which square type we were focusing on, color or patterns, etc. Once the card was flipped, the first person to identify the same pattern on the cards spread on the floor won that round. To me, Scan is an older version of Tetris.

In the article, Johnsons says, “Researchers have long suspected that geometric games like Tetris have such a hypnotic hold over us… because the game’s elemental shapes activate modules is our visual system that execute low-level forms of pattern recognition – sensing parallel and perpendicular lines, for instance.” I vividly remember looking for similar shapes and color patterns and knowing the reward in finding it first was winning the point and ultimately beating my uncle. I also remember my love for the game. I’m not sure if it was because of the time I spent with my uncle, or if it was the joy in being good at the game, but I do remember being hypnotized from the beginning of the game to the end.
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I Know I’m Right – There’s No One to Tell Me Differently

Imagine surrounding yourself by people who believe what you believe.  You think alike, and you have empowering conversations as to how to change the world for the better.  Nothing can stop you as a group.  This group has a way of thinking that you’re very comfortable with, with little to no outside disruption of countering thought.  You have found your niche.

As Sunstein states, “With just a few clicks, you can find dozens of Web sites that show you are quite right to like what you already like and think what you already think.” (pg. 1)  This is true.  I belong to a couple of niche groups that I find appealing because the group members have similar thoughts as I do.  It only took a few clicks to find what I was looking for online.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who felt familiar to me.  That’s a good feeling.  My ideas were validated, and I realized how right I was.  Or was I?

Through my travels, I’ve met people who knew everything and were certain that what they knew was absolutely right.  There was no room for speculation.  They had statistics to back up their facts and quotes from famous people who thought the same as they did.  They could be right.  That I cannot refute, but were they right because the facts presented were fair and impartial, or were they right because their enclave of like-minded people gave them boldness to declare them so?
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The Ambiance of Social Media

When I think of the word ambiance, I think of a soothing place to relax or unwind, perhaps indulge in a glass of wine and chat with family and friends.  The lighting is comfortable; the mood is light, and people are glad to be hanging out with me.  This is a good place – wherever this is.

This is online.  This is me – and you – and the other ‘reported 2.7 billion people – almost 40% of the world’s population’ (Elephant Creative) hanging out in our cyber worlds, ready to engage in conversation from the comfort of our own lives.  This is social ambiance.

The ambiance is the setting or the mood of our surroundings.  In this case, we are in the privacy of our own homes in close proximity to our 2.7 billion family members and friends; they are only a few keystrokes away.   The air is thick with anticipation of the joy of communicating and connecting with a lot of people at once.  The news feeds are active, friends are tweeting and the amount of information you are receiving is almost overwhelming, but it’s not.  You’re used to the feeling of being connected to a lot of people at once.  And it feels like you know them.
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How to Become a Groupie

Becoming a groupie used to be a challenge. You had to do research by talking with people you knew about the group you wanted to find – which could be awkward – then you had to participate physically in the group. That can be a daunting task for the shy, quiet type and time consuming for just about anyone else. Thank goodness the internet has taken care of that for us.

The internet offers us a safe place to interact with others from where ever we may be at the moment. We can join a number of groups at any time and participate as much or as little as we’d like. As Wellman and Gulia say, “People can easily participate within the comfort and safety of their own homes or offices, for any length of time they choose at their own convenience.” (pg. 4) This makes becoming a groupie very easy. With only a few keystrokes, we’re connected and ready to observe or to participate in our groups.

Groups are a way for people to connect and feel connected to others. McKenna adds that, “One of the most basic interpersonal needs is to “belong,” to feel that one is a member of a group of others who share similar interests and goals, and to feel that one is a valued (and unique) member of that group.” (pg. 116) Whether you’re a shy, quiet type or a party animal, human connection is important to our lives. Online groups are a great way to fill that need.
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You Will Not Be Forgotten

Country Singer Brad Paisley sang a song called Online about a kid who was everything you didn’t want to be, but when he was online, the kid was everything you wish you could be.  Here is a verse of the song:

“’Cause online, I’m out in Hollywood

I’m 6 foot 5, and I look damn good

I drive a Maserati, I’m a black-belt in karate

And I love a good glass of wine”

The song was written in 2007 when people still managed to have an offline persona and an online persona.  People could be who they wanted to be, not who they really were.  This is a good example of the hyperpersonal model – people could self-edit their online personalities to be who they wish they were.
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