Well this is it.
Coming into this class, I wasn’t sure I was going to learn a whole lot because I was pretty sure I was in control of the technology I was using.
Sure, I have a facebook, I have a smartphone, I upload videos to youtube, but from what I could tell, I was in control. I had no reason to think that technology had a hold on my life and I wasn’t the programmer…but I soon realized it was programming me.
What an important class to take. Now that it’s over, I feel like I am walking away a smarter more conscious person. I’m connected to people through my new media devices, but I have become smarter with the the way and how much I use it.
Here’s a list of the 5 most important things I have learned in this class:
1. I have a CHOICE
Rushkoff said, “The digital realm is biased towards choice, because everything must be expressed in the terms of a discrete, yes-or-no, symbolic language. This in turn, often forces choices on humans operating the digital sphere.” This means that I need to not be a mindless drone that allows a computer to make choices for me. Technology is meant to be a tool to enhance what I already have, a brain. It is my responsibility to make my own choices, and stop relying so much on technology to do it for me. I think this is a valuable lesson I have taken away from this class. Reflecting on everything I have done before this class makes me realize that I did click yes-or-no, I didn’t bother to did deeper, or ask the question “maybe?” instead. As a human in the USA, I have the freedom of choice, and from now on I will never forget that.
2. Hackers know what they’re doing
I’ve learned that I need to know how to be the programmer of the technology I use. I need to know exactly how it works, and what makes it so advanced. It’s REALLY important to know how to write in HTML, the underlying code that powers the web. The two readings that really helped me understand this is of course Rushkoff’s book, “Program or be Programmed,” and also “How Digital Technology Found Utopian Ideology” by Fred Turner. When we read about the hackers, it made me realize that THEY are the smart ones. They have it figured out. No technology is too big to be conquered by them.
It makes me feel like I have been very intimidated by the very technology I use everyday. I’ve been a prisoner to something that could someday have a mind of its own. But after class discussions, activities, and reading these helpful articles, I have learned to not be afraid of the new media I am using. I am in control of it and I won’t let it get out of hand. It doesn’t run my life, and I am a real person outside of having a cellphone and a laptop. I really think it’s one of the most valuable things I have taken away from this class because I will be a better smarter person because of it.
3. Seperate Reality from New Media: Human Contact is Too Important To Lose
When I’m sitting on the bus, texting my friend who’s sitting next to me. That’s a problem. When I Skype my roommate when I could just go in the living room and talk to her in person, that’s a problem. New media and technology has wedged a gap between reality and the digital realm. I’ve learned in this class that I need to stick up for my humanity and break down the barrier that is keeping me from participating in real life. Rushkoff’s chapter on Space really made me think about how even though I am “present” in a space, my mind is not present at all because it is sucked into my device and transported to another destination and another realm. Face to face contact could possibly be one of the most important things we can do with other people to keep a strong connection with each other. It’s become too easy for us to just look down at our phones and participate in an alternate reality and escape the reality right in front of us. The more and more we let ourselves do this, the farther we detach from one another, and the closer we become to letting technology control our entire lives. By doing the digital media fast, I learned that I can pull myself away from technology and I won’t die. Human contact is just as important as sending an “important” text in the middle of class. I really just want to stress that I have learned to seperate the two, and focus on making more of an effort to remain in reality and not let technology pull me away from enjoying the aspects of being a human being.
4. Not All New Media is Troublesome
Along with learning how much technology can impact my life in a negative way, this class has brought to my attention many positive ways we use technology and new media to advance in life. After reading the article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid,” by Nickolas Carr, it really made me think about how I use and abuse google. Google really is a great search engine that is designed to help us find the information we are looking for, but most people don’t know the correct way to use it, the way it was programmed to be used. Once I figured out how to actually do credible research through the google search engine, it’s made writing research papers SO much easier. This class has helped me find a way to utilize technology and new media in the way it was intended to be used and I’ve realized that not all technology is harming us. Once we take the initiative to become the programmer, many new media devices and outlets can help us learn and interact with the internet. We’ve talked about anything from ethics behind sites like Myspace to participating in the remixing and mashing up of songs and videos. If technology is used correctly, it really can be a vital tool for us to use, and this class has definately left that impact on me.
5. Keeping Up To Date With New Media is Key
Where would our culture be without social media and the constant development of new technology? This class has helped me learn that social media and new technology are a vital part of our culture. We need to bring it upon ourselves to learn how to use the technology and participate. Before this class, I didn’t know what a stack was or even have a twitter for that matter. As much as I wish it was different, our culture is in a digital age and to continue to be in control of it, we must take control and participate in all forms of new media. Most of the readings we did in this class, warned us of what could happen if we let new media get out of hand, but also gave a lot of great advice on how to use new media correctly and participate. If you want to get ahead in the job world, you need to have social media promoting yourself and your talents. Listening to what everyone has said in class, I think this is a very true and accurate statement, and it is something I have taken away from the class and utilized.
Our Digital Media Artifact
So there you have it, a girl who came into this course believing that technology will take over the world finally believes that if it is used correctly, it can be a vital and helpful aspect to our lives. What we’ve talked about in class really has changed the way I use technology because I’m much more knowledgable of the ways it affects my life and my humanity.
Just when I thought technology was winning…I finished this class and realized I was an equal contender in this new media race to end.