China’s Internet

The purpose of this blog entry is to compile notes on the scholarly essay entitled, From Grass-Mud Equestrians to Rights-Conscious Citizens: Language and Thought on the Chinese Internet by Perry Link and Xiao Quiang.

Example: A Train Wreck

In 2011, a train wreck occurred in China that resulted in the deaths of 40 people with upwards of 200 being injured. Information about the incident was first unleashed onto in internet via a tweet, which caused the government to release a statement asking people not to talk about it. A poll later asked Chinese citizens why they thought information about the incident was being covered up. 98% thought it was to destroy evidence of something while a mere 2% believed official government statements.

Government Control of the Internet

The Chinese government attempts to control the activity of its citizens on the Internet through the use of things such as word filters, hotlines for the public to call to report issues and even an Internet police force tasked with carrying out the interests of the party.

Internet Language

Internet users in China have attempted to fool word filters in a number of ways, including shortening and lengthening words, borrowing words from other languages and using words with a double meaning.

Does New Language Give Rise to New Thought?

Usage of the internet in China is giving rise to new terms as well as new thought. With new words in a language come new ideas and double meanings behind the words themselves.

“Cyber Assembly” On the Internet

The internet has given the Chinese people more opportunities to “assemble”, especially considering how the Chinese government feels about large groups of people coming together without “good reason”. Through the internet, the people now have more of a voice than they ever had before.

New Identity on the Internet

Groups that people become a part of over the internet essentially can become part of their identity. Internet lingo becomes a source of pride and unity.

Internet Disclosure in Perspective

Despite its best efforts, the CCP cannot hope to keep up with and contain all the information that is being shared on the internet in China.

In conclusion, the internet is becoming a platform for the Chinese people to spring board all their ideas and issues that the government doesn’t want them talking about into public view. I think it will be interesting to see how the CCP’s attitude towards the internet changes when they realize that they can’t control it.

 

Cyberspace Helplessness

In Julian Dibbell’s article, “Rape in Cyberspace”, I believe what happened is pretty clear. Essentially, rape occurred. Characters in lambdaMOO were forced to virtually perform sexual acts against their will. While these acts may not have been physical in nature and were instead of the virtual variety, the basis remains the same. It was done without consent to extensions of a person’s being. I believe that the stakes nowadays are about the same. Most of the forums used today like Twitter and Instagram are, by definition, an extension of a person. Same as lambdaMOO was for the victims. I think that anytime something that you take pride in is basically ripped from your control, there will be feelings of helplessness and despair. Just because the platforms are different in nature doesn’t mean that the feelings and emotions will be.

REDDIT: The majority of users of Reddit essentially fall into a single demographic. 15% of all Reddit users are males aged 18-29, a demographic which I am a part of. Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me. The majority of the posts on the front page itself are made by people like me and geared towards people like me.

Madrigal, Alexis. “Reddit Demographics in One Chart.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 3 July 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

Gender and the Internet

The required readings for the upcoming week stuck with me, particularly one significant piece of information: judgement about gender identity is incredibly prevalent in an outlet such as the internet, where information like gender identity isn’t always as obvious as it can be in real life. A recurring theme that I am noticing is that people are much more willing to be insensitive to others online. All because of the fact that it is essentially a faceless crime. It is much easier to get away with saying something mean to someone or harassing someone because you’re physically not there to say it. There’s no risk of immediate retaliation. Without that fear, people will say just about anything. Especially if its about something as personal as gender identity.

The Victims of Trolling

For my project, I plan on using the topic “the Victims of Trolling”. Essentially, I want to conduct research to determine who the victims of trolls most commonly are, and what exactly it is about them that makes them so vulnerable to online attacks. Personally, I believe that all victims of trolling have one thing in common: they aren’t afraid or cautious to put personal information about themselves out on the internet for the world to see.

Bochaver, Alexandra A.; Khlomov, Kirill D.. Psychology: Journal of the Higher School of Economics , 2014, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p177-191, 15p. Publisher: National Research University, Higher School of Economics

Above is part of the evidence I plan to use to conduct my research. Additionally, I would also like to know more about the trolls themselves. Specifically what it is that makes them feel the need to attack, frustrate, and even hurt people they don’t even know. I plan on doing this through a website or a possibly an infograph.

Week 3 Initial Post

After reading the required readings for this week, one question in particular came to mind. Do people on the internet troll more because of the fact that what they say is something they believe in or because they know that they can get away with it, particularly because most chat rooms are anonymous? Online, most people exaggerate and make up facts of their lives simply because its how they wish they really were. I think trolling is similar. People are unafraid to express their deepest and most controversial beliefs online simply because they can paint themselves to be however they want. No one really can tell who they are in day to day life. Therefore, people go against social stigma and say and act however they want to.

Discussion question: How do you picture the average internet troll in your head? What do you think they are really like?

Week 2 Reflection Post

I think the thing that interested me most this week were some of the topics discussed for the term project. I really became interested in the uses of social media based on gender. Personally, I think that it would be a great topic to pick, especially considering all the different ways one could go about presenting that, such as a website or a movie or even a twitter bot.

Constructing Identity

Human nature is not stagnant. The ways in which we explore our environment, make choices, express ourselves and define our beliefs and what we feel strongly about is ever-changing. With each new year, constructing our identities takes on a new meaning, involving different choices and outlets than the year before. Thus, its not far fetched to say that constructing our identities has changed even more dramatically with the turn of each new century. That, in a sense, is what this blog post is all about. How would constructing my identity and defining myself be different if I was 18 in the years of 1705, 1805, 1905, and 2005?

In the year 1705, my options for constructing my identity would be far less than they are today. Essentially, I would be defined by what job I had, the wages I made, the house I lived in, and the amount of children I ended up with. I would be considered a good member of society as long as I made an honest living and could provide for my family if I had one. Beyond that, there isn’t much else that defined a man during that time period.

In the year 1805, I would have a slightly more options to construct my identity by. Mainly, whether I was educated or not. Around this time period, education started to become a necessity to further your position in society. This meant that, for most people, education was rare and unobtainable in some cases. But for those who could afford it, it allowed you to not only better your position in society but also your quality of life.

The year of 1905 brings about many of the same outlets for constructing one’s own identity as years past but does have one key exception. During this time period, the concepts of nationalism, imperialism, and patriotism were on the forefront of the minds of most Americans. Being 18 during this time would probably make me more impressionable and patriotic, which would become another part of my identity; more-so than in years past.

Finally, in the year 2005, the outlets for expression and construction have nearly doubled. Being 18 during this time would mean that I have a healthy respect for and knowledge of one of the most important inventions in human history: the Internet. Now, more than any other time period before, my ability to share what I like and what I don’t with other people around the world is easy. Literally, just the push of a button allows me to make parts and pieces of my personality known. In the modern age, it is those pieces of your personality that define who you are. Not the job you work or the amount of children to carry on your name. You are defined by things as trivial as your favorite movie.

 

Hello There….

Hi, my name is Sam. As you could probably guess, this is my blog. I’m a freshman at the University of Mary Washington. I’m a pretty simple guy who enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends, reading and watching Netflix. Currently, I’m undecided as to what I am going to major in but as of now I am leaning towards History.