Smart Fridges and the March of Progress

A recent class discussion over what exactly constitutes “too much” digitization and connectivity, sparked by smart fridges,piqued my curiosity about the conveniences I already enjoy that might be viewed as excessive or unnecessary by previous generations. The smart fridge proposes to ease the burden on fridge-owners by transferring the responsibility for monitoring food levels and…

Battle.net Forums and the “Real ID”

Russett’s article “A Contemporary Portrait of Information Privacy: Collective Communicative Consequences of Being Digital” explores the death of privacy online, examining both the death of privacy and the processes behind it. While reading the article, I was reminded of an incident which may serve as an instructive real-life example on Russett’s discussion, namely Blizzard Entertainment’s…

The Politics of Anonymity on 4chan

Whitney Philips’ article “The House That Fox Built: Anonymous, Spectacle, and Cycles of Amplification” makes reference to the website 4chan’s defining characteristic; namely, that users post under a shield of anonymity. While the vast majority of 4chan users do indeed post anonymously, the concept of anonymity on 4chan possesses a considerable amount of depth. The…

Producer-Consumer Interactions in Valve’s Team Fortress 2

In Convergence Culture, Jenkins raises the issue of media producer accommodation of consumer demands. He concurs with Grant McCracken’s assessment that media producers must tolerate consumer participation in order to remain viable (Jenkins 133-134). As an examination of the benefits offered to producers by a full realization of consumer participation, let us consider the video…

Cybernetic Hate Crimes?

Perlow’s article considers in passing the notion of human cybernetic augmentation. Specifically, Perlow references the question of “Who will the cyborgs be?” raised by Donna Haraway. He ponders whether the better question might be “Who will be cyborgs?” (Perlow 246) While the notion of cyborgs may seem an outlandish concept drawn straight from the pages…

Race in RPGs

“Blacks Deserve Bodies Too” mentions, in passing, the notion of different races in World of Warcraft (WoW) (Kafai, Cook, & Fields 2). Contemplating the notion of choice of race in video games piqued my curiosity. Wildly popular titles such as WoW and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim include multiple playable races for players to choose…