One last Hooray!

Well I have not posted in a while and I just wanted to reflect on everything this semester. Think of it as one final farewell. Mobile Media in Society has been a class that I feel has taught me a lot, and I’m serious when I say that. I am not trying to gain any extra points, although that would be nice, I am merely just wanted to reflect on my thoughts.

I think what I really enjoyed the most, aside from the super cool mobile application creation project, was learning about the different sides of mobile media as if it was a person. Bare with me as I process this all. It may sound weird to compare mobile media to a person but it’s true. If you think of a person, they have many sides to their personality. A person can be, tender, aggressive, inviting, fun, organized and assertive and all those qualities make up that person. So just like a person mobile media has many sides as well. Mobile media deals with accessibility, identity, security, health, music, and design and all these topics bleed into mobile media.

I loved learning about how identity fits into mobile media. For me personally the topic of identity is something that I can talk about, learn, and research for hours. So when I had the privilege to lead discussion for class about mobile identity I was super stoked. Being able to learn new information about how a person’s gender identity affects how a they buy a phone or present themselves online was interesting to learn. It was also really neat to learn about religious identity and mobile media.

I really liked the aspect of discussion leaders, but I think that is because I love to lead discussions about topics that I feel need to be hear, like mobile identity. Since, I have lead discussions in the past for small groups being able to use those skills in a classroom as well as be a participant in the discussion was a cool way to learn.

Well folks I guess that’s it. It was nice learning and getting to know you all this semester. Where ever life takes you, whether it is graduation, school, or “real-life” jobs I wish you all the best! Until next time, Amberlynne

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Games?

 

What constitute a game? Playing eye-spy in the car, hop-scotch in the street, Tamagotchi on a key chain, Clue, or Tetris these are all games on all kind of platforms. So who’s to say that games on one platform is better than the other. Like I said in a pervious blog post titled “I’m a gamer too” I’m going to talk about why people game and how it’s evolving.

Well games on consoles have always been a thing, but virtual reality it becoming a hot topic this year. With the release of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR, Samsung Geer VR, and Razor OSVR not only is gaming going to change but so is how people see the world.

Here’s a video about the 10 things you need to know about Oculus Rift.

The main thing you need to know is that you an be there. Meaning that things that you might not be able to do in real life you can in VR. You can jump over hurdles and run from monsters, which for some is a big deal.

Imagine now teaching children and adults how their surgery is going to be preformed. This video shows how much going through the motions could help relieve fear. Now imagine this was VR, because even though these surgeries are fairly routine things can still happen further the kids fear. However, if this was in VR everything would go smoothly and the kids would feel safe and less nervous going into their surgeries.

My life matters

The Black Lives Matter movement is response to the injustice toward the black demographic from police.  Not only does our own implicit bias’ cloud our judgement but now with the tiny computers in our pockets, police need to be aware more than ever.

Yes black lives, all lives – my life matters, but in Stephanie Mlot’s article NJ ACLU App Lets You Tape Police Encountes she writes so clearly that the hope is that with Stop and Frisk Watch, and other apps like it, that police don’t get victimized.

The goal is to hold police accountable for all lives including black lives, your life, and my life. However, if there is multitude of negative police work being released in the media how are police supposed to do their job without fear of getting in trouble. These apps and tiny computers at our disposals should be used to keep police accountable, that means releasing both the GOOD and the BAD that cops do.

Gender Technology: Identity in the mobile life

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of identity for the past couple days now. I was lucky enough to see what identity in the context of Christianity looks like this past weekend with a retreat to a ranch in Port Orchard, Washington. But as I learned about myself I wondered –  I wondered how such a simple word like identity can cause so much curiosity in so many aspects of my life –  from gender, faith, race, class and status; all these things are connected to each other in a mobile identity and mobile life.

So I decided to research and through all that digging I created a powerpoint discussion and wrote a reflection about some of the things I’ve learned.

For example, I am female and am 21% less likely to own a mobile devices than men. My simple identity as female not only affects how I carry myself in real life but it also affects my mobile life as well. My use of technology though my mobile devices an be viewed as an act of corruption to nature because the Western thought is that women are considered the guardians of nature.  (Caria Ganito).

However, if I merely look at mobile devices their design and packaging it seems as though I am meant to own a mobile phone and use it constantly. Phones are pink their packaged in light pastel colors, and even stylish with “purse-styled” or “wallet-styled” cases. With the way the device is packaged you would think that it reinforces traditional gender roles. Well it does, according to one of the first studies by Rakow & Navarro, it significantly reinforced roles, especially the role of women as mothers. More recent studies showed that men will act out their traditional gender identities with activity, technological appropriation, and being more likely to explore new functionalities and features on the phone. With women they acted out their traditional identities through dependency, domesticity, and the tendency to focus on communicational functions of the phone.

This is all very intriguing and makes me think of a simple app called “Motivational Quote Wallpapers.” Bare with me here, this app is literally just a plethora of photos that you can use to personalize your background. If you decided to read more about gender technology from (Caria Ganito) you will read that women are far more likely to personalize their phone, contacts or wallpaper. This app is just another tool for women to reinforce the idea of gender technology.

Social interaction with your tethered self

I believe we all want to interact with those around us. We all want to be a part of each others lives, but do we actual do that well?

There have been many videos that have surfaced on Facebook or Youtube about being tied to our phones.

 

There have even been amazing photo collages that depict when and how much we look at our phones. Eric Pickersgill showcased this idea with his collection called Removed.

Most of the time when we are on our phones we are communicating with our friends or families. However, what happens when we create a whole new life? Second Life is an online game that offers users the possibility of an online parallel life (including a virtual body, wardrobe, real estate, and paying job).

People can be who they want to be, always dreamed of being, or their self. This online social interaction can be a nice break from the mundane worries of the real world. In the chapter Always-On/Always-On-You:The Tethered Self, Maura a a thirty-seven-year-old housewife from the Boston suburbs, finds Second Life as pleasurable escape from the routine of her life at home with two toddlers.

‘‘I know it gives me something of a reputation, but there are always new people. I don’t stay in relationships long.’’ Maura continues: ‘‘There is always someone else to talk to, someone else to meet. I don’t feel a commitment.’’ People who have deployed avatars on Second Life stress that the virtual world gives them a feeling of everyday renewal. ‘‘I never know who I’ll meet,’’ Maura says.

Who are you?

Going through life and school the issue of identity comes up more often than not. Throughout my field research I found some crazy similarities among the people I interviewed. All my interviewees asked to stay anonymous, so in order to protect the identities of my participants I’ve blurred out their faces and will reference them as person 1, person 2, and person 3.

When I sat down with theses people I asked them to take out five items that they carry with them daily that really reflect who they are are their core. Now some of these items might seems ordinary but they hold some true meaning for these participants. The photos are as followed:

In my paper and presentation, I will diver deeper into the meaning of their things and why they chose to stay anonymous, but for now a quick recap of my interviews.

Person 1 and person 3 for the most part are concerned about what others think of them. Person 2 chose items that really spoke to their sense of security and simplicity. When asked about their mobile life all participants said that an easy to use, low maintenance app would be great. All the participants agreed that they enjoy the community and sharing social media allows, but get concerned about the superficial or judging aspect of certain apps.

They all expressed, especially person 3, that being ok and accepting their identity is crucial; living in that identity however can be a challenge.

Unexpected Ideas

In our reading materials this week we talked extensively about building and creating mobile apps. In the chapter titled “Discovering what to build” emphasis on initial research for creating a mobile app was explained. Just like the TedTalk video where both research and interview people about their belongings, the book goes in-depth with the actual research process.

Once sitting down with an interviewee, asking probing and broad questions will help to uncover unexpected findings that can lead to novel design ideas for an application.  An example of an app that might have come from unexpected findings is an app like student agenda. Even though that idea seems useful and obvious, this agenda app doesn’t have to be used for just students.

Student Agenda

Yes, this app is geared toward students planning out their classes, exams, homework, etc. However, working professional can use this app to schedule their “homework” if they had to take work home after the initial workday. Professionals can also use it to add to-do-lists, upcoming events in a calendar, and reminders of important things.

My guess is that researchers sat down with a focus group of students to see what would make their day to day life easier, through questions this idea came about. Then maybe when they were creating the app working professionals found this tool helpful as well. I’m just dialoging and can’t speak for the research team behind Student Agenda.

I can give insight to my application that I am working on. After reading the chapter and watching the TedTalk about mobile anthropology, I came across an idea that I wouldn’t have thought of through talking with these students.

I’m a gamer too.

The term gaming or gamer has many meanings to different people. For some it they define it as computer PC games like World of Warcraft or even Minecraft. I have even come across gamers that define gaming as playing on a console like the Xbox, GameCube, etc. However, many people forget about the social games on our mobile phones, games like Heads Up!, Candy Crush, Temple Run, Clash of Clans, etc.

I, like others really enjoy those social games. My personal favorite is Heads Up! It’s just so engaging. Getting together with a bunch of friends or family and essentially playing charades, Pictionary, and karaoke all in one app is a huge time saver. Imagine the creativity and innovation that had to go in to a game like that, all the different categories and images people cam up with. You create sort of a community around the app. It may not be as big of a community as say Clash of Clans, where you build a village, train your troop and battle others, but still a community.

clash-of-clansPeople worldwide can communicate with each other through these virtual realities like in the Clash of Clans app. The games we play on our mobile devices can bring us together through face-to-face interactions like Heads Up! or allow for an online interaction like the Clash of Clans.

TalkBack

I never realized how difficult it might be to communicate with those around you without a voice, sight, or ears. Aside from just the social aspect of mobile apps, apps like Skype, Facetime, Sign Smith ASL Essential, and more really aid in our everyday communication.

For those who can’t hear, what is the point of a mobile phone when calling is pointless. Of course there are messaging apps one can use, but you can’t read excitement, sarcasm, sadness or lies. With the addition of emoji’s, it has made it a little easier to bridge that gap but it’s still not the same or as effective. However, being able to see the person I communicate with face-to-face as if I right there is a game changer. I can see their excitement, how crisp or sloppy their signing might be and even read their facial expressions.

I know, like me, not many people thought about the importance of accessibility on their mobile devices. I may not be hearing impaired or visually impaired but using the accessibility features on my mobile device, whether through an app or on my phone is awesome.

On my mobile phone I use TalkBack when reading. I can hear my technology read back to me pronouncing words I wouldn’t know how to read. Even though I am not the target audience of the accessibility features on phones I find them extremely useful, like when I need to increase font size on my screen so that it is read easier.

And even though I don’t have a Windows phone this Youtube video shows all the accessibility features that are available.