White Until Proven Otherwise

It tends to to be that unless a race or ethnicity is specified, it is presumed that the assumed race is “White” or “Caucasian”. When physical appearance is absent, concealed, or inexplicit, the assumed race is White. Similar to racial controversies that have occurred during the castings for films and interpretations of novels, the issues…

Your Identity as an Avatar: Our Perception of Perfection and Race

In new media, there are numerous methods of self presentation, through Facebook, various virtual reality platforms and through, of course, written communication. It has been a while since I stopped to think about the way people present themselves and whether this has any correlation with reality, but it has always been a question sitting on…

Virtual Normality

We happen to live in a world of stereotypes. A world that itself is slightly in part responsible for these stereotypes, but it seems as if society refuses to make it easy to break these boundaries. The social hierarchy and cultural injustices are seen consistently in our society, from the workplace to neighborhoods, perhaps all…

Commodity Fetishism and Phatic Culture

We ended last week’s class with Vincent Miller’s essay about phatic communication “New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture.” Miller defines phatic exchange as “a communicative gesture that does not inform or exchange any meaningful information or facts about the world. Its purpose is a social one, to express sociability and maintain connections or bonds” (393-4).…

There Are Other Fish in the Database

In today’s class, while attempting to decipher the term “phatic communication” brought about by Vincent Miller, I couldn’t help but recognize a rather large paradox. With our “flattened” means of socializing,  our online society of phatic communicators greatly challenges the goals of online dating. “From Single to Soulmate: Get Deeply Matched with singles based on…

Online Sharing, Changing Culture

Marshall Mcluhan believes that extensions, or new technology that enhances and expands a limited human function, influences culture. Social media then, as an extension of physical human interaction, could certainly change our culture, although he says there is a risk of over-extension, meaning there are potential downsides to over-use. Rachel Botsman’s TED talk on collaborative…

When Virtual Reality Becomes Real

Though Manovich never explicitly discusses a world with gestural-based devices, he does assert that space has become a type of new media. The media of space which he speaks about, however, is far less limited than that over the modern-day; he talks about spatial media in computer programs and games with three-dimensional navigation and visualization.…