What did Digital Culture taught me?

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This century is seeing exciting changes in media and technologies, and with the help of the digital technologies we managed to achieve the rise of globalization and more others. This course helped me understand the development of digital technology and also the role and consequences of it. Also it showed me how digital culture is shaping the modern society and what is the role of technology in our life.

This blog helped me develop my communication skills and to get connected with other people interested on the subject of digital culture. Also I think that this blog helped me to express my ideas over a subject on the internet and sometimes even get appreciated by other people over my thoughts. Which helped me build up my confidence.

This course helped me see the impact that technology has on us and on our culture.

Cyberwarfare is actualy becoming a problem.

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Before this course I thought that cyber warfare is not actually that a big problem, and that I have to wait a couple of years to see the technology used so well in wars. I knew that we have all that technology, but I didn’t know that is was used for actions of terror against governments and indirectly affecting us the normal citizens. After researching stories like “Operation Orchard” , South Ossetia war, Operation “Aurora” or “The bronze night“, I realized that technology is not always used for good as Lech Janczewski & Andrew Colarik said in their book “Cyber warfare and cyber terrorist” :

“All the technology we have created could be used for the benefit of all of us, but could also be used as a tool of attack/destruction against all of us”. (Janczewski and Colarik, 2008: X)

Cyber attacks have a huge impact the world today, especially economically. Governments try to prevent this kind of attacks but it is hard with the technology that evolves that fast and hackers finding new ways of breaching everything from banks to official websites and classified data.

How digital culture is changing our brains?

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Obviously the 90′ generation has grown and evolved in the same time with the technology boom. But how is our brain reacting to all the technology that surrounds us? Recent studies show that more than half of teenagers aged 13 to 17 spend more than 30 hours a week on computers or web-connected devices. Compared to an old persons brain, teenagers brains are more unlikely to get damage from long exposure from technology. As Proffesor Michael Merzenich, of the University of California, San Francisco says ”There is a massive and unprecedented difference in how [digital natives’] brains are plastically engaged in life compared with those of average individuals from earlier generations and there is little question that the operational characteristics of the average modern brain substantially differ,”

But how is a normal persons brain react to the long exposure of technology? Nowadays cause we have such a huge amount of data and information at our fingertips we become to lazy to research our information or even to learn it, cause “why should you remember it if you can access it at anytime?” as a technology junkie would say. People who are using technology for a long period of time also suffer of memory loss caused by the stress of sitting long hours just staring at their computer or playing video-games. Another disadvantage of the technology is auto-correct. We no longer struggle to remember how to spell words correctly just because auto-correct will revise our grammar mistakes, but in time we’ll forget how to write with a proper words. In my opinion the saddest part of technology addiction is that people started to avoid face to face interaction. More and more people prefer to talk through technology and most of them have became to shy to talk face to face to a person they never meet.

This century and the centuries that will come are dependent of technology but we should never forger how to be a real human being and socialize normally not through technology.

How could cyberwarfare change war as we know it?

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Cyber warfare has been defined by Clarke and Knake as the “actions of a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks for the purpose of causing damage or disruption” (Richard Clarke and Robert Knake (2010) Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to do about it).

Since the technology has evolved this much internet-based attacks are the most efficient way of disabling a country way of communication. Cyberwarfare attacks can steal crucial data, disable essential services, hack official websites and even cripple financial systems.

A great example of cyberattacks can be found in 2008 during the South Ossetia war when numerous websites were swamped or disabled. During the cyberattacks  the websites of the Parliament of Georgia and Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were hacked. The hackers replaced the websites with images comparing Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili to Adolf Hitler. Also during the war numerous servers of news agencies were disabled.

Just knowing that one person could stay in one part of the world and just press a button and have a massive impact on the other side of the world, could gave anyone chills, and probably the attacker would never be found. Banks could be hit , and telecommunications industry can be seriously damaged. This war would be silent, but hit us twice harder that a normal one.

Newsgames

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Journalism had to find a way to still survive in the modern age, and to do this it embraced the digital media. Journalists started using social media, blogs, online videos and a lot other online mediums. In his book “Newsgames: journalism at play” Ian Bogost “describes newsgames that can persuade, inform, and titillate; make information interactive; recreate a historical event; put news content into a puzzle; teach journalism; and build a community.” as he sais on his blog.

According to Wikipedia “Newsgames are a genre of video games that attempt to apply journalistic principles to the creation of a game. They can fall into multiple categories, including current events, documentary, simulations of systems, and puzzle and quiz games.”

Have you ever dreamed to be a modern day pirate? In 2009 Wired magazine launched a game named Cutthroat Capitalism that served as a journalistic purpose about the Somalian pirate raids. According to the official Cutthroat capitalism the goal of the game is “to leave the port of Eyl with your pirate crew, attack and capture a ship as it exits the Gulf of Aden”. Ian Bogust argued that “A smart player will rarely fail–and that is the strongest rhetorical point presented in the negotiation process,” and always if you capture a ship the cargo and the hostages worth something. This newsgame presented the somalian pirates like never before and it helped the story to go viral all over the internet.

Newsgames usually cover real concepts, stories and issues and tries to rise awareness about subjects that people don’t take seriously.

How games could change our lives?

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Games have become an important part of our Digital Culture. I think that nowadays any human being has played at least a video game in his life. Anyone has heard of Mario, Crash Bandicoot or Sonic the Hedgehog. Now, most kids have at least one console in their home, or a PC that they use only to play video games. But how would our lives improve if some aspects of it would be modelled as a game? As Jane McGonigal argues in her book “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” 

“We can take what we’ve learned by making games and apply it to reality, to make real life work more like a game – not make our games more realistic and lifelike, but make our real life more game like – so that when people all over the world wake up every morning, they wake up with a mission, with allies, with a sense of being a part of a bigger story, part of a system that wants them to be happy.”

Just imagine, how would it be if you would wake up every morning, and you have a panel with the missions for that day. And as you accomplish more and more mission you would gain experience and new free items that could improve your lifestyle. Or when you stay in a long queue, you would play some games like TicTacToe with other customers or the longer you stay in the queue you gain different prizes. Even registering to university would be more entertaining if they could create a game of it, with achievements and small prizes like coupons or vouchers.

Our life would be much much easier if games would be introduced more often in it. I think that people could be more calm, relaxed and socialisation would be funnier this way.

 

Hashtags and Folksonomy

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Nowadays folksonomy has become a new way of collaboratively creating and using tags to make categorization of the online content easier. According to Oxford Dictionaries, folksonomy is “a user-generated system of classifying and organizing online content into different categories by the use of metadata such as electronic tags.” Basically folksonomy is usually used on most social websites nowadays , blogs and photo albums. Any user can create his own set of tags and anyone who searches for that particularly set of words could find it online. On some websites like Twitter you can find the most popular tags on the main page, so that you know what is trending at the moment. So, how are tags helping journalists and other media professionals? If you are working in media nowadays is mandatory that you have a Twitter account, and as a journalist or any other media professional you will use Twitter’s hash-tags to find tweets relevant to you or to help other find your tweets. Hashtags could help you find information about events, breaking news, music, movies and more other. A lot of the musicians use hashtags to announce their new albums and to create “hype” around their fans. A recent example of great use of the folksonomy is rapper ScHoolboy Q, who used the hashtag #OXIMORON in almost every tweet since he announced his new album, which called as the hashtag. This helped his to advertise his new album only using social media, and with the help of his fans he managed to sell thousand of copies.

Hashtags have become an important way of categorization the online content, but sometimes tags are not enough to organize the web, and slowly people will realize that there is a huge amount of data that needs to be organised without the help of tags.