Wikpedia and Online Interactivity – Summative Post

The majority of comments that arose for this weeks blog entries seemed to reflect on the validity of Wikipedia, and how our trust has either stayed the same, been hurt, or has been strengthened by some of the information we digested this week. Using a thought provoking picture, as well as one that uses humour makes potential readers want to read my thoughts on the subject (as some of the comments mentioned).

Wikipedia as a whole still seems to be locked in as a place where we can recieve decent information on almost any topic, but the validity is still not achieved. We all understand that (as students) the ability to edit Wikipedia creates a stigma that will not change within Universities and Professors. Almost every comment I recieved on my post stated that regardless Wikipedia cannot be used as a source for school projects and assignments, and this remains an interesting fact.

One comment that stuck out to me as very important was what one student said about my post. They stated that my explanation of how I use and trust Wikipedia led them to basically read information on Wikipedia (or other forms of information) but take that information with a grain of salt, and employ our own critical thinking when diving into “facts”.

I got validation from the comments that I took a good approach in finding the pros and cons of Wikipedia, and there is clearly a lot in common within our generation of how to approach the information given on Wikipedia, if we should trust it or not. As one of my comments mentioned, it is potentially fear of the unkown that drives the stigma behind Wikipedia and the idea of false information laden across the internet.

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Online Interactivity

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“The Social Life of Documents” does an amazing job at proving how the internet would eventually evolve into a community driven space. This is extraordinary discovery/hypothesis considering that the article is from 1996. The sharing of documents is something the authors cite as evidence that the world-wide web would transition into this type of sharing experience. Basic forms of this community  are as simple as the creation of a nation wide newspaper. Having the internet and the ability to constantly edit and reform facts and documents allows for a longer “”social life”, and this becomes extremely relevant when observing today’s information exchange.

With “Wikinomics and its discontents” we see idea of “peer – production” come to fruition. The authors put forth the idea that information in the future will all be amassed as a result of mass collaboration and creatively sharing information via the internet. This is important because it refelects the possibilities that sites such as “Wikipedia” will run the feed of information in the future. This is becoming an issue currently because some people question the validity of Wikipedia. The problem with dubbing everyone who contributes as “creators” and as adding valid information is that the motivation for adding information is unknown (as well as sources). This relates to the readings included in the last module which discussed the (sometimes random or motivated)identities that people take on in different communities online. Any ‘user’ can become who they chose when adding information to these databases. Even though the information has been proven to be reliable on wikipedia, there is still a negative stigma attached to these sites because of the freedom of computer users around the world to contribute. The authors even mention the attachment of SNS (Social Networking Sites) to the new model of sharing public/private life. They conclude that we must step bravely but carefully into this new world of information sharing, and this is a valid statement leading into the third article “Whats on Wikipedia, and What’s Not…?”.

Prior to these readings I knew that the information on Wikipedia was in some cases reliable, and in some cases not. But the inclusion of so many people and the type of co-creation mentality gives me more of a trust in these types of sites. The recurring problem with the information is that it is a socially created document, and includes bias of the people who create it; no matter what. But is this not a fact of all information? Are the theories included in textbooks not someone’s thought process and bias? We tend to de-value information on Wikipedia because “people create it” it is “free” or because it is edit-enabled. But this is problematic because where does that place other information that we believe is “reliable”?  The idea of the constant scrutiny and observation of Wikipedia allows for accuracy to prevail. This is interesting because in relation to the picture I posted, there are not 100,000 users constantly observing these textbooks and checking for up-to-date accuracy. Sure, some of the articles which may need more information do not have it, but that does not discredit this massively accessible universe of information.

The benefits of this type of information exchange are countless. Drawbacks include bias (in terms of validity, as well as where information is focused) but that does not erase the fact that thousands of users constantly monitor these pages. The type of knowledge accessed definitely also affects validity (some articles on older topics may be less accurate than those on today’s issues for example).

As a final word: Do not be afraid to use WIkipedia as a source of information, but be careful with what you accept as fact.

(I would actually apply this statement to most information available in today’s society)

-Adrian

Privacy and Identity in the Digital Age – Response and Critical Thinking

The image that I used for my initial blog post seemed to tug at some heart strings as well as provide a good example of how the digital age is changing people’s mind structures (specifically what we have to remember, and what we now rely on social networking for). The reading that mentioned different personas via different networking sites seems to be the most relevant. We all agree that we use different networks for different purposes, and that is likely living out these alter-egos.

People have to negotiate and decide where they post certain things, how they word their comments, and what they want to say on certain sites, and are able to go un-mediated on other sites. The fact that these spaces are so present and take so much time to edit and maintain shows the commitment that youth of this generation have to online communities. The comments on my blog as well as my own thoughts agree with the fact that this is a dangerous and encompassing danger for the future of person to person interaction. I do however believe it is less of a threat than some people. The idea that social networks will take over the art of human interaction is a bit farfetched. Instead of observing these social sites as a space to escape permanently from reality, I think they should be considered more of a relief space from reality, or a space to express ones self. If taken in this context these social networks may help certain people with confidence and expressing opinion. Sure the interactions would be online, but if these do really embody a certain reality, why can they not have an effect on real life, if real life is effected by them? In my opinion it is a two way street, even though most agree that the human element is taken away when we type to a screen.

Will we become more alienated if we continue to rely on social networking online? Or will this allow us to communicate with people all over the world in an attempt to create a more open society? One of the blogs I had the chance to comment on told stories of Facebook connecting long distance family. This is no doubt a plus of the ability to connect online.

The only way for the final judgement to be passed on this issue is to allow time to do it’s work. We will see within the next 20 years if the encompassing nature of social network sites take over the use of human interaction. Will our Facebook accounts threaten our chances at jobs? Or will job interviews be done online in the future? Only time will tell.

 

 

Privacy and Identity in the Digital Age

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This set of readings is one of the most relevent groups of readings I have done at my time here at Brock. The fact that we are all expected to blog our reactions and connections to these readings, (as well as comment on eachothers observations) ties directly into this growing connection without physically interacting.

In these networks that we are all (I’m sure) deeply rooted in, we make certain decisions about how to balance our own privacy with the identity we would like others to percieve. Each network also allows for a different type of mediation and negotiation with ones self. This relates to the “Cyberspace and Identity” reading. Personally I negotiate most of my online time between two networks – Twitter and Facebook. On each I take up a different identity, with facebook being a “more private” version of myself. I include family in my facebook network, wheres as I feel more exposed to the world on Twitter. We learn through the “Social Network Sites” reading that this is an illusion, and part of the strength of these sites. On facebook I am Adrian _____ the Brock University student, who probably includes one too many pictures of himself having drinks with friends. On Twitter I am AD_ANC the hip hop artist from Toronto who speaks his mind, in a sometimes vulgar manner. The negotiation between the two, and creation of identities in these spaces is what we may rely on too much in the future (according to the article “The Flight from Conversation”). In fact, we already often forget birthdays, or of social gatherings unless our iPhone or Blackberry reminds us from facebook.

There is no doubt that we are marching away from the satisfaction of face to face conversation, but there will always be need for these interactions, and the cell phone, or facebook will not change that. People will however always be lonely at times, and they will try to curb that feeling with the small screen in their pocket that says they have 750 friends. Just be careful what you post, you never know who is watching (Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance). At least my grandmother doesn’t follow my twitter feed. At least she remembers my birthday without a facebook update!

Websites and Hashtags related to Canadian Sex Work

WEB

http://www.spoc.ca/ (Sex Professionals of Canada)

http://www.firstadvocates.org/ (Feminist advocates of Sex Work)

http://maggiestoronto.ca/ (Toronto sex workers action project)

http://www.bigsusies.com/ (fighting for sex workers rights in Hamilton and surrounding area)

http://www.sexworkersproject.org/

TWITTER HASHTAGS

#sexworkers

#sheparty (feminist action discussions)

#whenantisattack (discusions of encounters with sex worker abolitionists)

#radfem

#takebackthetech

#16stories

Thanks! More to come.

My Blog introduction – Sex Workers in Canada

WARNING: THIS BLOG MAY INVOLVE TOPICS, TERMS, AND LINKS TO OTHER BLOGS THAT MAY MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT IT IS STRICTLY FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES

 

“About”

This blog is going to revolve around the misconceptions and difficulties that face sex workers in Canada. Defining “Sex Work” as well as breaking down the statistics, facts, and media portrayal of sex work will be key to creating a more realistic representation. Not only is this a massive industry that pulls in more  revenue than the four major sport leagues combined per year, but it effects much of the labour and economy of Canada (not to mention worldwide). There are many issues that affect sex workers, specifially in the avenue of prostitution that can lead to harmful situations. An example of this would be the fact that postitution itself is legal in Canada, but many of the acts that lead up to prostitution are illegal. Also media continuously portrays a terribly negative image of prostitutes (as street -walkers who are constantly killed or kidapped) but fails to discuss the women who work indoors  (in brothels or hotels and casinos) that make much more money, and are exposed to far less violence. In fact, 80% of prostitues are of the variety that work indoors.

Before the course gets into full swing, and I am blogging about this issue regularly, I want to make the point that as of this moment (the beginning) I am not on a specific side.  Though my statistics and self-banter may seem like I am advocating sex work, I am not. At this point I am merely observing facts and laying them out. As I have a chance to get more information, and apply myself to researching this topic, more of an opinion will grow, as I am sure my posts will reflect. As of now I stand neutral, and hope to find the most valid arguments, and form my own opinion of what should be done in the issue of sex work in Canada.

Bio

My name is Adrian and I am a fourth year student at Brock University in General Studies (with a focus in Humanities). This is a topic of interest for me, as I am simultaneously working on a course that revolves around sex work.  Thanks for taking time and reading my blog, I am SURE that this will get intresting. Here are five blogs that relate to sex work specifically in Canada

BLOGS

1. http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/04/23/sex-workers-an-invitation-to-tell-your-stories/ (entries by sex workers)

2. http://www.pivotlegal.org/sex_workers_rights (blog outlining sex workers rights)

3. http://www.theinternetescortshandbook.com/notebook/ (blog about knowledge on escorts)

4. http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2013/04/04/Sex-Worker-Ruling/ (blog outlining Canadas upcoming ruling on sex work)

5. http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2013/02/there-no-feminist-war-sex-workers (blg discussing the “war” on female sex workers)

There are hundreds of other blogs that also cover this topic.

In the next 2 days I will post another entry with webites related to this topic, and twitter hashtags where information on this topic can be found. 
Adrian