What Makes an Online Community?

November 12, 2017

We live in a generation where it seems as though someone’s worth is based on the number of likes his or her photo gets or the number of Facebook friends they have. It’s these numbers that make social media and other online platforms so popular because it relies on its users to keep it going. Without its users, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram would probably be extinct. Interactions and connections make social media “social.” With that being said, I believe what makes a virtual community is having a participatory culture where users are not just users, but also producers of content. Take for instance, Youtubers, they are more than users of the platform, they are content creators. If nobody made Youtube videos, there would be nothing to watch. Remember back in 2013 the 6-second video app, Vine became so popular? It seemed like it grew over night. The number of users just kept growing and growing. While the app was an original concept at the time, what really made it so successful was the content their users were creating for each other. In 2016, the app officially closed down because Vine couldn’t keep up with competitors such as Instagram, which led to their users moving over to Instagram. This shows just how powerful and valuable users are. Users have more power and influence than they think. In addition, we as people like to feel a sense of belonging, which is why I think online communities allow like-minded people to share their thoughts and ideas with each other. For instance blogs or forums cater to a specific/niche demographic, which means its users already share something in common, creating a sense of community.

Reading Response: Hero or Villain?

November 12, 2017

While reading more about Anonymous and what they do, I kept thinking to myself, "are they the good or bad guys?" This answer isn't so simple and straightforward. On one hand it does seem like Anonymous stands up for injustices - for instance their response to the shootings of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice. On the other hand, it seems like a cyber attack when they shut down servers and websites or hack into sites. I think that's where it gets a bit tricky. I understand that they are using their online presence to raise awareness of issues, but I think there's a way to do that without breaking any laws. Personally for me, if there was an issue or topic that I felt needed awareness, I would do so in a legal manner. For that reason, I'm going to say villain. 

Due to Snowden's job history working for the CIA, he had access to highly confidential information. As Snowden stated, what compelled him to leak documents from the NSA was the fact that government officials were lying under oath to the public. Snowden believed that releasing the documents to journalists would be for the greater good because the public would finally know the truth. That makes me want to believe that he is a hero, but then another part of me is conflicted. In the eyes of the law, he did violate the Espionage Act, therefore he did commit a crime. But the leaked documents not only made the public aware of these surveillance programs, but it also made the NSA more accountable for their actions. 

Similarly to Snowden, Manning felt that she was doing a public service by leaking military documents. Some say she's a hero, some say she's a traitor. Manning had to face the consequences of what she did, even if she believed she was doing the right thing. She served her time (although she was released from prison early). Even if I had access to confidential information, it's not my place to leak that to the public. It's confidential for a reason. If there is a law in place, I am not going to go out of my way to violate that law.

I'm going to straight up say, I believe Assange is a villain. Prior to creating the site, WikiLeaks, he had a track record of hacking the Pentagon, the military, and large corporations. Just knowing that there are people out there who have the power and ability to hack someone's computer terrifies me. So the thought of someone being able to hack into highly classified information, is even more terrifying. I personally feel, Assange had bad intentions creating WikiLeaks - he basically created a space/community for hackers and leakers to share their information. Obviously this is illegal, so that is more reason for me to believe Assange is a villain. 

A little bit about me

November 10, 2017

Left photo is of me and my twin with our sister, Stephanie  ---  Right photo is me and my twin with our sister, Stacy

Hi everyone! My name is Sydney Jones and I am a senior at UWT. I have two older sisters and a twin sister, Sinead, who is also taking this course. Funny enough, my family is predominately all female. As I mentioned, I have three sisters and I also have two nieces, who are the most adorable little girls ever (I might be bias lol). I give my dad major props for raising four girls!

I was born in Tacoma and raised here for most of my childhood. In 2008, I moved to Maryland due to my dad's new job. I just recently moved back to the pnw in 2016 to finish my last two years of college. Living on the East Coast was a refreshing change, but I'll always consider Washington home.

I am a huge dog lover! I have two german shepherds, who are both rescues. Scarlett is now three years old and Leo is two years old. They are inseparable, always together. Scarlett is definitely sassy and assertive in what she wants. Leo on the other hand, is such a love bug - he loves to cuddle.

Random facts about me:

  1. I get cold easily (I'm usually always cold)
  2. I can't eat raw sushi (but I love California rolls)
  3. I switched places with my twin when we were in kindergarten (we were inspired by The Parent Trap)
  4. My favorite color is turquoise
  5. In my family, every girl's name starts with 'S' (including my dog, Scarlett lol)

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