Selfie Pedagogy I – IV

Selfie I
Starting with the first link, it is evident that academics have begun to follow and study online culture, particularly the culture of selfies. I was surprised to find an entire syllabus surrounding selfies as a university course. I thought it might be by a bunch of Californians, but that's not the case. The people spearheading the project are from all over the globe. And I got to see their selfies.

One great thing about the selfie project is the sharing. If it's going to be considered scholarly, you have to convince skeptics. The way to do that is to share what you've learned.

 “I benefitted from their syllabuses and their scholarship,” Posner said. “I felt I was entering into a community that had done this for a long time, and they were generous enough to share what they had learned.”

Selfie II
Marwick wrote a paper on the "duck face."
Marwick, the Fordham professor who shared the Selfie Course, talks about how people are able to disseminate information to a much wider audience than ever. Before, only celebrities or politicians had access to the media that we all now have access to. Also, she tries to study what leads to popularity on sites such as Twitter and Instagram.

...she resigned herself to accepting that there might sometimes be “no reason,” because “popularity begets popularity.” 

  “Whenever you have a topic that is intrinsically sexy, it gets a lot of media attention. Social media scholars have been looking at this stuff for over a decade.” 


Interesting that she collaborated on the Selfie Course through Skype discussions and google docs. I think that's pretty mainstream now.

As an “old school web geek” with a “year 2000 understanding of HTML,” she liked having “more freedom to put up my own site. WordPress is relatively unfettered, and I was lucky to have the infrastructure, so I didn’t have to find space on a university server or a commercial site, where we might have been more regulated in what we can post.”

"Year 2000 understanding of HTML"--that's me. Seems it served her well today. I wonder if I should put my hybrid course up on Wordpress instead of NJIT site. It will be MY course, after all. I can put it where I want it, no? Need to think through the pros and cons.

Selfie III
The Association of Internet Researchers wanted to bring scholarship to the selfie phenomenon, and wanted to use the writing of young researchers and/or bloggers who hadn't been published yet, because the work was not considered scholarly.

“There’s not a thing called The Media. I’m part of it.”

Terri Senft of NYU discusses camgirls, slut shaming, and girls' need for self-expression. Then she addresses political and civic engagement. She says pictures of the dead put a human face on issues.

Selfie IV
Concerning digital pedagogy and teaching selfies in the college writing classroom:

National and international news organizations have been reporting on his recent work at the University of Southern California, but unfortunately this coverage has sometimes reinforced generalizations about the supposed superficiality, narcissism, and anti-intellectualism of young people, stereotypes that he had hoped to dispel.

Mark Marino says his students thought that selfies were about narcissistic young women, but instead, he teaches about all kinds of historic and modern modes of self-representation. The assignments he did with selfies, Facebook, and Vine all include critical thinking and reflection. Oh, and his classes did netprovs. Cool. He uses the topic of self-representation as a springboard to talk about privilege and access and inequality.

Selfie Pedagogy I – IV

Selfie I
Starting with the first link, it is evident that academics have begun to follow and study online culture, particularly the culture of selfies. I was surprised to find an entire syllabus surrounding selfies as a university course. I thought it might be by a bunch of Californians, but that's not the case. The people spearheading the project are from all over the globe. And I got to see their selfies.

One great thing about the selfie project is the sharing. If it's going to be considered scholarly, you have to convince skeptics. The way to do that is to share what you've learned.

 “I benefitted from their syllabuses and their scholarship,” Posner said. “I felt I was entering into a community that had done this for a long time, and they were generous enough to share what they had learned.”

Selfie II
Marwick wrote a paper on the "duck face."
Marwick, the Fordham professor who shared the Selfie Course, talks about how people are able to disseminate information to a much wider audience than ever. Before, only celebrities or politicians had access to the media that we all now have access to. Also, she tries to study what leads to popularity on sites such as Twitter and Instagram.

...she resigned herself to accepting that there might sometimes be “no reason,” because “popularity begets popularity.” 

  “Whenever you have a topic that is intrinsically sexy, it gets a lot of media attention. Social media scholars have been looking at this stuff for over a decade.” 


Interesting that she collaborated on the Selfie Course through Skype discussions and google docs. I think that's pretty mainstream now.

As an “old school web geek” with a “year 2000 understanding of HTML,” she liked having “more freedom to put up my own site. WordPress is relatively unfettered, and I was lucky to have the infrastructure, so I didn’t have to find space on a university server or a commercial site, where we might have been more regulated in what we can post.”

"Year 2000 understanding of HTML"--that's me. Seems it served her well today. I wonder if I should put my hybrid course up on Wordpress instead of NJIT site. It will be MY course, after all. I can put it where I want it, no? Need to think through the pros and cons.

Selfie III
The Association of Internet Researchers wanted to bring scholarship to the selfie phenomenon, and wanted to use the writing of young researchers and/or bloggers who hadn't been published yet, because the work was not considered scholarly.

“There’s not a thing called The Media. I’m part of it.”

Terri Senft of NYU discusses camgirls, slut shaming, and girls' need for self-expression. Then she addresses political and civic engagement. She says pictures of the dead put a human face on issues.

Selfie IV
Concerning digital pedagogy and teaching selfies in the college writing classroom:

National and international news organizations have been reporting on his recent work at the University of Southern California, but unfortunately this coverage has sometimes reinforced generalizations about the supposed superficiality, narcissism, and anti-intellectualism of young people, stereotypes that he had hoped to dispel.

Mark Marino says his students thought that selfies were about narcissistic young women, but instead, he teaches about all kinds of historic and modern modes of self-representation. The assignments he did with selfies, Facebook, and Vine all include critical thinking and reflection. Oh, and his classes did netprovs. Cool. He uses the topic of self-representation as a springboard to talk about privilege and access and inequality.

Selfie Blog

((I will start this blog by declaring that I was taking selfies long before I was posting online, simply by focusing a regular camera at something an arm’s length away, then turning it around. I was doing that as far back as 1999.  The proof is somewhere in a shoe box :))

Back to the assignment at hand: In reading about selfie courses overall, I was interested to read that the classes and the discipline they belong to is purposely amorphous. As we have seen in our own class, it’s difficult to define the digital age and the changes that we are seeing in out culture while we are still in the midst of the transition.

It seems to me that there’s an element of urgency to all of these studies, although it may simply be something I’m feeling personally because I see my kids at an age where they are on the precipice of having to define themselves digitally when they haven’t even defined themselves to themselves. How can you be conscious of how you come across online when you are still trying to figure out who you are inside? This is a concern I know we talked about a bit in class, but I think is clearly something that the parents in the class have on their minds. It is hard enough to figure out who you are and what you are doing in the relatively tiny cultural fishbowl that is your local high school. Adding a worldwide audience to your awkwardness seems almost unfair. As Posner points out, we have to be aware of the fact that an image meant to circulate in one community can travel elsewhere (and really, anywhere). It’s a lesson that shouldn’t be confined to college students but stressed at the earliest ages when kids begin to form their own digital identities.

I find the New York Times link  interesting in the sense that it stresses the role that “celebrity” plays in the selfie. As Alice Marwick points out, selfie models are “media driven”. So, if we follow that to the next logical conclusion, one of the basic building blocks of our digital identity (the selfie) is based on a celebrity ideal. That is a dangerous precedent and one that is addressed in the Selfie Course (as seen in the syllabus a few links away from the original article). It points out that celebrities can also become the model of online interaction – not just selfie images/modeling. The worry for me is that the strategy that people are adhering to is about commanding the largest possible audience – not something that’s necessarily healthy for the average person. Obviously, as a celebrity, the job is to draw eyeballs and to collect tweets and clicks. But we have to wonder what kind of tactics the young person might resort to if the only goal is to command eyeballs. Something dangerous? Something overtly sexual? Something that potentially compromises their own future? This is where the biggest worry about people putting out images or messages that they will one day regret comes in. Young people have to be taught that celebrities are modeling behavior driven by their own personal gain and consciously considered goals. Such goals are not necessarily relevant for every person, even those trying to make their mark online.

Of course, if we look at a selfie as a cultural artifact, it can be informative – something we are already finding when we look back several years and see memes or fashion or events that timestamp those particular images. As Alice Marwick points out, there is an element of self-representation that is culturally important in that it not only provides a “visual artifact” on (digital) life in 2016, but it also provides evidence that can be mined to discover more about what is popular, what is celebrity, etc.

One of things I’ve found interesting about the selfie is how often it escapes it’s original medium and makes it’s way into others, particularly the so-called mainstream news. . For instance, in the past few days, the New York Post carried this story about a Khloe Kardashian selfie and the NY Daily News had this one about a Twitter photobomb at the Oscars. More and more, these pictures become news well beyond Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. The ability to reach an even larger audience than the one that’s tuned into the actual online platform will likely only fuel the lengths celebrities (and others) will go to get themselves noticed. (Both the New York Times and Washington Post posted articles last week that underscore that point, discussing the number of people that have been killed trying to take a great selfie.)

This point is advanced in the third selfie article, in which it talks about how digital self-representation and the use of the images of real people can provoke or advance a discussion. I’ve seen this over and over in my line of work.  One thing I think would be interesting to examine would be how these kinds of stories play out inside the digital media and how that contrasts with how they play out in the mainstream media. Which one is more nuanced? Which one has more “analysis”? Which one includes more voices? As an example we can even look at this story about selfies – a rash of them that saw people taking pictures of themselves at disaster scenes (or suicide scenes).  The mainstream media’s take is here.  And (an example of) an online take is here, through Reddit. It’s not quite slut-shaming, but the idea that these people put themselves out there and were then called out by lots of other people online (as well as the media), not only spurred action (and an apology) but also awareness of what was going on, hopefully stopping others from making similar stupid decisions. One other note – that the idea of an image carrying more weight than messages is a timeworn notion, so the fact that images may be taking a more prevalent place in our methods of communication may be seen as a good thing in that it allows people to see what folks are talking about rather than allowing others to interpret it for them. Over and over last year, for example, I wrote stories about the refugee crisis in Europe and failed to come up with one sentence in all those months that communicated as much as the single image of that one little Syrian boy who drowned and was washed up on the beach. It was worldwide news. Didn’t matter what language you spoke, you understood the message of that one image. (By the way, there were 742 comments on that one article and (if the comments are to be believed) it remained the top story on WSJ’s website for three days. I can imagine it was the same for publications around the world.)

As for the final selfie article, it’s certainly worth exploring how we compose selfies and what decisions go into it, which is part of what I think Mark Marino is talking about. The essay he assigns tells his students to examine their own selfies for representations of race-ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality and gender.  But I think you could also go further and ask people to look at what it says about their mood, their outlook, the way they see themselves in relation to others or the rest of society, etc.  This also makes me think about people that use avatars as their personal representations, or those that use their pets or kids or any other objects. I know a woman who was promiscuous back in high school and was interested that when we linked up on Facebook years later, she was represented by a a picture of her pooch and had NO pictures of herself at all on her Facebook page. Is it because she’s ashamed of what she looks like at 40? Or maybe she doesn’t want to be found by those from her past?  I guess your choice of how you represent yourself can include no representation at all.

One final point: I have been thinking about what types of social media I would like to learn for our class final project and after completing this blog, I’ve decided on Instagram and/or Snapchat.  In addition, I know both of my kids want to learn these as well and so I’m wondering if I can do a project in which all three of us (or two of us) are videotaped trying to learn (in doing so, we can compare digital learning in two different generations).

me

 


“Hour of Code” Results: Keeping My Day Job

Here are the results of my experience with the "Hour of Code" on Khan Academy. I thought I'd give it a go before we continued to discuss including it as an option for the final project. I'll walk you through my hour, and you can decide what you think.


Starting the Tutorial.


She wants to play, not code.

Got it right.
Having trouble.
I finished the hour. It took a whole hour. The thought process needed for coding is very mathematical. Not sure people will like it. Also, like math, it would take lots and lots of practice to get good at it. Here is the fabulous code I wrote to create my first solo masterpiece. It's a selfie:


 And here's the result! I decided to smile, because the code for duckface was beyond my capabilities.

Based on this experience, I think Dr. Zamora's idea of trying new software and documenting the process might be a good path to consider. Focusing on final product, mmmmaybe not. What do you think?

Networks & Net Smarts

images-3Thanks Debbie for spurning a great discussion of the way online networks (and our social practices) have shaped the interconnected world.  From SNA (Social Network Analysis) to networked individualism, from PLNs to social & knowledge capital, Rheingold’s text has continually prompted us to see the difference between empowered participation verses passive reception.  At the heart of this sentiment is a hopeful understanding of what it takes to build a dynamic democracy and a more thoughtful society, one in which each individual can play a role.

Thank you Debbie for connecting our contemporary new media reflections to the universal human condition and the concerns of the past.  Indeed the ancient Greeks were also interesteUnknownd in the social practices of community.  We had a bit of fun when we read our chorus lines from Lysistrata.  Like Rheingold, Aristophanes too had a few ideas about the public good, and he often made (bawdy) jokes about the gullibility of fellow citizens.  In this sense (in some uncanny way) both Net Smart and Lysistrata share the timeless provocation of asking how collaboration may (or may not) add up to change that matters.

Finally, it seems that you have the beginnings of a final project design.  Next week, I hope you will all pick up on that conversation, and start to pin down some parameters in order to move forward.  I will help scaffold such a task once you have really settled on your vision.

Next up:

As we continue to reflect on that key question:  “Is life online eroding or enriching our embodied lives?”  we enter into the next phase of the course which will be an extended consideration of “selfie” culture.  Next week Matt will walk us through a discussion of four scholarly blog posts by well know digital media scholar Liz Losh:

Selfie Pedagogy I: The Digital Humanities and Selfie Culture

Selfie Pedagogy II: Internet Identity and Selfie Practices

Selfie Pedagogy III: Networked Spaces, Slut Shaming and Putting Selfies in Dialogue with Theory

Selfie Pedagogy IV: Diversity, Netprov and Service Learning

Please read all four blog posts (taking care to link out and read via the hypertext affordances of the blog genre).

For next week:

-Blog a thoughtful response to the four readings.

-Again, remember to tweet your blog and share/discover through our #NewMediaStudies hashtag and network.

Great class last night.  See you next week!

Dr. Zamora

 

 

blog 4

Net Smart - Ch 6


"Apply crap detection when you encounter political assertions" this paragraph about politics and the public sphere was pretty helpful to me actually. My main social media site is supposed to be a photography blogging platform, however, many of the users have turned it into a political discussion board. Furthermore, many of the users I follow have opposing political views than the ones of my family (isn't that always the case between generations?). The biggest problem I have when going through my social dashboard is "Who do I believe?" I have a bare-minimum understanding (and interest) in politics, while the blogs I follow are highly involved (I'd go as far as to say obsessed). So I am constantly torn between "well, I was raised believing X, so I feel that is my gut belief, but the majority say Y, so am I wrong?" For me, the paragraph served as a reminder that I cannot take everything at face value, especially when the scale of opinion is tipped so severely in one direction. I have found that, regardless of the topic, the extremist opinion is never right.

"conflicts over intellectual property" this is actually very funny to me. When I think back to how limited the Internet used to be, I wonder how much intellectual property was really out there in the early stages of the 'net that people were already arguing over about it? That issue seems more relevant than ever, especially with the past threats of "Internet censorship." Which, to me, that whole endeavor just seemed like a big waste of time. Like there are so many other topics that need attention. The Internet is like the final frontier for the government. (If that makes sense.)

"Napster" I remember having Napster on my (desktop!) computer. And then Lime Wire and Frost Wire. And when he mentions Apple making it easy to buy music, I am reminded of when songs were 0.99 instead of 1.29. But I guess we have ourselves to blame for that. If we didn't pirate the music (or convert Youtube videos to audio files) music might still cost 99. Or maybe not. The most surreal thing knowing that I lived through this. I saw this change in the industry happen. I was PART of this change. I remember when I found of Lime Wire was illegal- I was only 10 or 12 when i used it - I was terrified that I was going to get caught and go to jail. As if I could conceptualize that a 12 year old couldn't go to jail. And now this period of time is written in a textbook. And in my mind I'm saying, "hey, he's writing about me!"

"criminalized an emerging culture" wow. That is a really powerful assortment of words. Is there where "sampling" in music came from? (Probably not. I'm sure that existed long before the Internet.)

"endanger growth of scientific knowledge...already shaky economics of education" the way he is describing the spread of information here sounds apocalyptic. Like when in 1999, people thought the computers were going to crash because they weren't programmed to reach 2000. I guess at the time, because the threat of "not knowing" where something came from was so new, it sort of was apocalyptic. At the very least, it was an epidemic. And yet today it is so commonplace it is assumed a source is no good until proven otherwise.

I don't have much insight into the paragraph about "free culture" "commonists" and re-balancing the copyright/ profit scale, but I really like all of that.

I didn't know the right to the property has extended to beyond the life of the person. Although I shouldn't be surprised. I learned recently that the rights to "happy birthday" (the song) were finally released- only 70 years after the woman who composed the song had died. 70 years. That's insane.


Feb 24

With Chapters 5 and 6, I feel like I finally got vindication for all my yelling about this book, as well as a glimpse into why it might actually be worthwhile after all. Below, a quote from Chapter 5.

None of the is rocket science. Indeed, Wales told me that most people learned on the playground most of what they need to know to be good Wikipedians.

This is what I’ve been frustratedly growling into the pages of this book for weeks, that I believe that so much of what we’ve been reading about should have been skills learned through life experience, and being a person and interacting with other people both for fun and profit. I also think that something crystalized for me while I was reading these chapters that has been bothering me this whole time. This book, and especially chapter five, is full of tips for how to use the internet, how to game twitter, how to develop your brand and expand your network- presumably for personal benefit but conceivably for profit- but it never suggests why. Why is the author advocating for people to learn these skills? To what end? The obvious answer is that it’s 2016 (it wasn’t when the book was written, mind) and that everything is online so it is to everyone’s individual good that they be competent and literate in using the internet. But that isn’t necessarily a good reason for everyone to learn about the politics of forums, the etiquette of sharing research on twitter, and the value of linking different groups of people together. Yes, it’s a benefit to everyone to be aware of what Facebook does with our information, and to be able to vet a website, but what about the other stuff? It looks like learning to network for networking’s sake. Why are we telling people to do this stuff? I’m not talking about practically, or what good it will do them. It might well help almost anyone in some way. But ethically, what is the point of this? What philosophy is backing up this enterprise? I think that’s why I’ve felt like a lot of what we’ve been talking about has been so empty. Because I haven’t detected anything behind it, underneath it, that makes it worthwhile. I’ve read a lot of this stuff as a pretty straight correlation to “how to be popular,” “how to get people to like you,” “how to ingratiate yourself to people in advance of the zombie apocalypse.”

It was only in Chapter 6 that I felt like the author came through with what I thought was a much-needed dose of humanity. The need for people to mind their Facebook privacy settings. The acknowledgment that his positions are (apparently widely) viewed as rosy and optimistic, that paywalls are dividing the free and open web, and the nefarious forces at work on the internet- from trolls to corporate entities to shady government initiatives- are formidable and many. These are things I needed to hear, because these are things I believe are integral to the fabric of the kind of digital networked life that Rheingold is advocating for. I do feel that the book stopped short of really digging into the issues of the internet’s corporate gatekeepers, like the the cable companies that have been working for a while to privilege internet access by speeding up or slowing down various connections. But I did see the author take a stand, and let the reader know that although all of these negatives are realities, that doesn’t seal our fate. That to keep a thing free people have to organize, to cooperate, to believe that it can stay free, and then we have a chance, and with that we have a point, a reason why anything in this books matters- because the internet is kind of a goddamn miracle, and if any of us have the slightest hope of preserving what’s good about it, we have to know how to use it. It’s a good message. I wish he’d lead with it.

Matt


Chapters 5 and 6 of Net Smart


Chapter five of Net Smart, “Social Has a Shape: Why Networks Matter”, begins with this idea of human social networks and how the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts because the group’s properties are different from the individual’s properties. According to Rheingold, we need to understand some things about how network nature affects us are: 1) Networks have structures that influence how we as individuals behave. 2) New forms of sociality are possible because technological networked communication extends the reach of traditional networks. 3) Online networks that support social networks share properties of general network structure and specific properties of human networks.

The theory of six degrees of separation is really interesting, and I found it fascinating that when the original study (Milgram and Travers study which involved letter forwarded by mail) was given digital framework and the number of participants greatly increased, the results remained similar. The study done by Milgram and Travers resulted in an average “path length” of 5.5. When Watts recreated the study using email in 2001, the average path length was again around 6, and a 2010 study also found that 98% of people on Twitter are only separated by 5 steps. Similar results were found in a 2007 study by Leskovec and Horvitz: the average path length of Microsoft Messenger users is 6.6. It made me start to wonder how this applies to me and the people I know…

Rheingold later talks about networked individualism, and how the focus of technology has shifted the center from community to the individual. Rheingold writes that in the early years of cell phones, many conversations began with “Where are you?” It made me think about how today, so many people think that everyone is always available just because of cell phones. Some people actually get offended if you don’t text or call back in a certain time frame, but we shouldn’t have to be available to everyone all of the time. It also made me think about disappearing landlines. How many people still have one at home? (I haven’t had one in over 5 years!)

The section on Facebook use was also really interesting and thought provoking. Rheingold begins the section by saying, “Keeping track of our social relationships is a serious piece of work”. He also mentions that Facebook has caused us to form a redefinition of what the word friend means. There is definitely an etiquette to using Facebook and handling friend requests. Like Rheingold writes, there is social pressure and reluctance to hurt people’s feelings. However, this leads, in many cases, to “friending” people that you may not really want to be friends with. Which is worse: denying a friend request or ultimately realizing that you made a horrible mistake by accepting and then unfriending them? I have a few friends that I wish I had never accepted…

My experiences with Facebook also came to mind when I was reading Rainie and Wellman’s description of people who will thrive in this environment in which networked individualism plays a strong role. One of the characteristics mentioned was, “Those who learn to manage their boundaries”. Rheingold asks, “Does a person want all 300 of her friends to know what she did last night?” The “overshare” is popular on Facebook. There have been many times that I have asked myself why my “friends” (those regrettable ones) would want to post some of the things that they are being seen or read by perhaps hundreds of people. I get that your ex-husband isn’t going to win father of the year, but do I really need to know that. Just today, one of my friends posted a close-up picture of her crying child because she wanted help identifying the rash-like marks around his mouth… Call the doctor.

Chapter six is titled, “How (Using) the Web (Mindfully) Can Make You Smarter”. Again, Rheingold notes the emerging divide between those who know how to use social media for individual advantage and collective action, and those who do not. The section on parents was relatable. Rheingold says that “teenagers need to experiment with who they are and play with different kinds of identities”. The problem is that now, everyone is watching. I don’t even remember how many “phases” I went though as teenager (but some of them are definitely mortifying to look back on). Boyd encourages parents to focus on the underlying issues that worry them as parents instead of focusing on the technology aspect. My son is only three, so I don’t yet know how I will react to his life online. (Actually, I don’t even want to think about this yet.)

Two quotes/ideas that stood out the most in these chapters:

--“Although the Web affords a large audience to only a few, that audience is quickly accessible to other publishers when the conditions are right.”

--Knowledge can spread through online networks as swiftly as any viral videos do.

As far as what I want to learn/take away from this class:

-Think more critically about digital interactions

-Use new tools/ learn how to work with digital tools

-Find new ways/ become more comfortable being creative in a digital context

Thoughts regarding the learning outcomes for our class

I’ve been thinking about our final project all week and noticed that I found myself almost confused about what’s old vs. new media. I think that we are in an era where the two are still being used nearly equally (at least in my world) so I had to take a step back and reflect to separate the two from each other. In my reflection, I noticed that I still carry around a planner where I write all the things I have to do but I also constantly use my reminder app on my phone to help me remember all the things I have to do. Another thing I noticed in my reflection was that by working HR I’ve been able to see how we used our LinkedIn page to recruit but we are still paying for our ads to be placed in the Sunday’s paper and this showed me how we are still using old and new media.

So in thinking about what do I want to learn in New Media Studies I think that it would be great to learn new tools that can show me how much better it would really be to use more new media in general as opposed to old media and I would like to learn how much more effective is that if it really is more effective. I hope to learn new skills that I can put into practice with my academic, work, and personal world. More importantly, I would love if what I learn in this class could somehow be incorporated with my thesis work. I’m not sure yet if it’s possible but I would like my thesis to end up being in a digital form rather than just a 30 page paper. So I’ve I can learn new tools here or just expand my knowledge about new media then that would be helpful.

Comp Theory and New Media 2016-02-24 19:53:00


I just want to start off by saying I think it is really interesting how previous class discussions in several of my classes can somehow always be tied to the readings. Something I found particularly interesting in chapter 5 of Net Smart is the “research results” by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis which said “people’s happiness is influenced by how happy their friends, neighbors, and coworkers are” (qtd. in Rheingold 197). I have always noticed that about myself, but I honestly just thought it varied depending on the person and their personality or heart. I agree “The surprising implication is that at least part of your happiness might depend on people you never met” (Rheingold 198). Maybe that explains why I cry so easily when I see strangers sad or crying. But, one of the most important points made is “network awareness might be vital to health and happiness” (Rheingold 198). I definitely agree with it having a connection to happiness. You can find yourself in stressful situations when your class and even society nowadays revolves around technology and you just know basic information. Which is why, I wanted to take Composition Theory and New Media Studies. I wanted to become more familiar with technology and that is what I thought would happen when I became a part of this class. I would like the final project to be a combination of my strengths and weaknesses. Like Dr. Zamora mentioned in class, I want to “learn new tools” to improve my weakness, but I also want to display my strength. Since I want to become a teacher, “learning new tools” would be beneficial to me, but I also agree with Maria “we should write.” Dr. Zamora and my class discussion on Monday taught me you should never get too comfortable in anything and there is always room to grow. Even Rheingold points to never knowing everything or enough in chapter 6.  With that being said, there is still a lot I need to learn when it comes to writing, and I would like for this project to somehow build upon networking.