Author Archives: amar12

My Final Post

Like others have expressed, I’m extremely saddened by the fact that this class has come to an end. This class was great in every regard. The readings were informative and interesting, the class-discussions were awesome and thought-provoking, and (most of) the projects were tons of fun to produce.

I found it incredibly valuable to have both the theory and production sides of digital media covered in class. I feel that both sides complemented each other well. As we discussed the future of publishing and books, we were also able to experiment with technology, like Sophie, that might very well come to replace what we consider today to be “books.” Similarly, as we learned about Web 2.o and Youtube, we created our own contributions to Web 2.0 in the form of websites, podcasts, and Youtube videos.  

I have a feeling I’ll be using more of Audacity this summer, as I find myself bored at home and wanting to have some fun making silly mashups. I’ll be interested in seeing if I feel motivated to maintain my website, and try to find new and interesting ways of getting my friends to visit it–they got a kick out of the conspiracy theories. I hope to continue to experiment with film, although I can’t imagine myself continuing to use iMovie–it’d be really nice to learn to use Final Cut Pro. I don’t know whether I’ll ever go back to Sophie, but I wouldn’t want to completely deny Sophie a second chance, once it gets some bugs fixed.

Anyway, this class has been great! You all have been great! Professor Fitzpatrick, you have been great! Thanks for a great class!

Facebook Does it Again

Facebook has once again pulled a fast one on all of its members.

Today I signed on to FB, only to discover that I had two choices–link all of my silly interests to their FB pages, or have all of them disappear from my page. In other words, if I claim to like “crashing white house parties” in my activities section, FB is forcing me allow those words to link to the page of other people… who like crashing white house parties.

It seems that FB is working under the guise that anyone who likes the same band, or movie, or book must feel a need to be automatically connected to people who share those same interests through profile pages for everything–even crashing white house parties. But I honestly feel no need to know who else thinks The Iron Giant was a cool movie, or know how many FB users also think Lost is a cool TV show. This change doesn’t only seem unecessary–it seems kinda dumb.

By the way, there’s only one other person on FB who enjoys crashing white house parties. Do we really need to have a page dedicated to this silly, outdated joke?

Rights of Bloggers?

Recently, the popular blog ONTD reposted a blog post from Womanist Musings, in which a blogger wrote about Sandra Bullock’s adoption of a black child. The blogger on Womanist Musings argued that the act was in fact based on racism, and ONTD reposted the blog in its entirety. The Womanist Musings blogger posted a response, in which she claimed that ONTD has stolen her post and infringed on her copyright. 

Whether or not you approve of Sandra Bullock’s adoption, this story does bring up some very important questions about the rights of bloggers. Should ONTD’s reposting of this blog be considered an infringing of copyright? Is it unfair to remove the blog from the context of Womanist Musings, which focuses on social issues from a very progressive angle?

Gamer Theory

Prior to this reading, video games were approximately the last place in the world I would look to for critical social commentary. This is probably because the only games I’ve ever really played are Mario Bros.’ games, Pokemon, and a little bit of Ocarina of Time. Even once I started reading Gamer Theory, I found myself wondering what the point of all it was. I doubted that most gamers would care about something like Gamer Theory, or whether it could even enhance one’s gaming experience.

This led me to think about more traditional modes of media, such as film and television. I assume that most people that watch TV on any given night have never taken any media studies courses, but are still completely capable of enjoying what they’re watching. Still, it’s hard to argue that having an understanding of media theory won’t greatly increase your critical understanding of the TV show you are watching.

What is it about film and literature that seems to encourage more of this analytical thinking?

Sophie Project

Here is my Sophie book, on The Long Tail!

http://pages.pomona.edu/~at012009/longtail.pack.s2

Reading Response April 19th

While there were many intriguing parts to this weeks reading, one thing in particular caught my attention while doing the Galloway reading. Mainly, I found myself wondering how many gamers actually consider the four different types of gaming moments that Galloway discusses while they’re playing their video games. I thought back to my own experiences with video games and realized I’d never even considered things such as diagetic or non-diagetic aspects of a video game. Do taking these things into account in any way better the gaming experience, or can most gamers go on without ever learning these distinctions? And if the latter is the case, why do we find ourselves trying to analyze video gaming? Is this intellectualizing (is this even the right word?) even necessary at all?

Fan Fiction vs. Terrible Sequels

While on FB earlier today, I happened to find this link posted by a friend:

http://www.cracked.com/article_18413_the-6-baffling-mistakes-every-horror-franchise-must-make.html

The article lists the 6 most common tricks used in sequels to horror movies, specifically movies that have spawned entire franchises. The article is pretty hilarious, especially if you’re a big horror movie fan, but it also got me thinking about our discussions concerning fan fiction. Why are sequels (usually made by completely different sets of directors, producers, actors, etc.) usually considered to be more legitimate forms of entertainment than fan fiction? It seems to me, and probably to the writer of this article, that sequels are typically awful, souless attempts at milking a franchise for all it’s worth (I mean, how many more Saw installments do we really need?). A lot of the time I get the sense that the makers of a sequel hate the original so much they NEED to damage the name of the franchise permanently. With fan fiction there seems to be a lot more postive energy put into the creative work–the writer cares about the characters and about the world the characters come from. The only reason I think it’s valid to compare these two types of derivitave works is because it seems that a lot of fan fiction is written off precisely because it’s derivative of an original. Meanwhile, Saw VII is coming out this October, and will likely be a box office success.

April 12th Reading Response

Jenkin’s article made one point clear to me that I think I’ve always kind of recognized, but never fully understood the repercussions of. Culture today is created and appropriated through consumerism, rather than creativity and democratized channels. Our heroes and villains are predominantly the kind protected not so much by their super strength or alien powers, but by copyright laws. Superman, Batman, Harry Potter, etc. are all examples of this. Fan culture, however, allows the public to claim these figures as our own. And in a lot of ways, at least in my opinion, this is a good thing. Once a fictional character becomes such an iconic piece of our culture, shouldn’t that character belong to the public? I certainly think so.

I think it’s interesting that a lot of the videos mentioned in Jenkin’s piece are parodies of the original they’re based on. While I assume that a large portion of fan writing is serious, what is it about film that invites parodies over serious reimagining?

Compartmentlized Living

For the most part, the statistics given in Wednesday’s reading were not all that shocking. The one factoid that seemed strange, or at least interesting, was the high percentage of adult users of social networking sites who maintain multiple profiles online, specifically using one profile for professional purposes and another for personal ones.

This shouldn’t seem strange, but it just seems so different from anything I’ve ever known. For the brief time that I was keeping up my Myspace and FB profiles, they both functioned entirely for social reasons. I wouldn’t even think to pursue any kind of professional business through FB–that’s like giving potential bosses a reason not to hire me.

I wonder whether sites like LinkedIn, which is customized for more professional use, will grow in the coming years. I feel so comfortable with social networking sites, as I’m sure most college students nationwide do, that it might be nice for them to become the place where we conduct more professional affairs. If this does one day become the case, I would obviously find myself a part of the percentage of people using separate profiles for separate purposes.

Reading Response April 5th

Something about the idea of “parasocial relationships” thoroughly freaked me out. Not out of fear that people could develop such a relationship with me, so much as the fear that I could be unconsciously developing those relationships with others. I mean, I won’t try to hide it–from time to time, I do a bit of FB stalking. I like to think that it’s never that intrusive, and most of it occurs when I’m online and bored, and  something pops up in my News Feed that seems interesting. “Why is Friend A asking Friend B what happened last night?” Suddenly, I’m reading wall-to-walls, checking tagged pictures, reading other’s wall posts on Friend A and Friend B’s pages. All the while, Friend A and Friend B have no idea that I’m paying them any attention. Is this a  “parasocial relationship”? More importantly, do these types of relationship spread me so thin that I’m left without the energy or time to develop deeper, mutual friendships?

About a year ago I joined the Pomona College Class of 2013 group of Facebook, and began adding friends like wild. Before even moving in, I had probably near 100 new friends. This was great! I was going to be the most popular freshman IN THE WORLD! Until I got here and realized FB friending was only half the battle–maybe even less than that. Despite having talked to tons of people, it was just as awkward and fumbly meeting these people in real life as it would’ve been having never known each other through FB. What’s worse is that all the great conversation starters (“So what kind of music do you like?”) had been exhausted over the net. We all knew each other’s favorite directors, high school extracurriculars, home towns, but we hadn’t really learned how to interact as real life friends. Today, most of the people I spend my time hanging out with (with a few exceptions) are people I hadn’t friend requested before meeting in person. I’m sure the experience was different for other freshmen, but I almost wish I hadn’t rushed into trying to make a million friends online.

One of the great things about this class is that so much of what we read is completely pertinent to my life as a 21st century college student. This week’s readings were probably the best example of that thus far. And it wasn’t a particularly nice feeling.