Friday, April 9, 2010

New New Media: The Cyberspace Circus

Professor Levinson makes many good points in Chapter 11, "The Dark Side of New New Media," even though it was pretty obvious that he fundamentally thinks the positive aspects of new new media outweigh the negative ones. I found his knife and pillow analogy to be very enlightening and wholeheartedly agree that anything humans get their hands on can be used for both good and evil, that the ultimate responsibility lies in the being utilizing the media at hand.

I've expressed my concerns with youth and social media before on here, so I won't repeat myself too much, but I do think that this chapter accurately highlights and affirms my concerns- that who is behind the new media dictates how Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube etc.. are used. Some of the youth today, understandably, lack sound judgment/reasoning skills and ultimately make poor decisions on the sites, decisions that harm both their peers and their personal futures. Growing up, you are taught manners- like not to swear and how to be polite- but these manners have historically been taught to apply strictly to the physical world (saying thank you if someone's parents drive you home, chewing with your mouth closed). Until recently, kids were not taught "technological manners" and since they have not been explicitly told to extend their "real world" manners to cyberspace, it is largely a circus of inappropriateness, full of cyberbulling, gossiping, cursing and explicit photos.

I personally think there are so many benefits to new new media, that it has truly revolutionized the way we communicate and express ourselves and really enjoy it. However, I think kids need to be taught how to use it responsibly. I also think adults need to step back and take a break from it every now and then. Our guest speaker Sarah mentioned her "social media fast" a few weeks back and I know of many other people who have given up Facebook for various periods of time (including myself every finals week for the past three years). I think these "fasts" are refreshing, allow for new found productivity and force you to interact through "old" communication channels, channels that are just as meaningful.


  1. I absolutely agree that parents and adults have a responsibility to teach their children "technological manners," as you put it. They also should be advised not to talk to strangers on the internet without consulting parents and adults.

  2. I remember in the documentary we had to watch for this class, that in one of the countries that the hosts visited, pre-school age children were being taught online ethics. Though they are extremely young, it's never too early to teach them virtual manners in addition to the real world ones you mentioned. This, I think is a great idea. It's what we need more of in America, and everywhere else that doesn't apply it either. I think I've already mentioned this before, but it's too important not to bring up again.

  3. Your points are all very well taken. And it seems that the issue of privacy, especially in relation to Facebook, just keeps coming up over and over again.