Digital Identity Analysis

My most prevalent presence online is probably on Facebook, which is one of the few social media accounts that is directly linked to my name.  I also contribute content to YouTube under the username UvaSEP (I currently have 78 videos uploaded and almost 80,000 views).  My UvaSEP profile is also connected to a Xena fan forum where I contribute some memes (new as of this semester).  Most of my interactions involve uploads and posts (rarely do I comment on items).

Conducting a Google search of my name yields a YouTube presentation covering my senior culminating project from last year, followed by a scholarship profile and another link to my culminating project (uploaded by Jim Groom).  Also on the first page of search results is my History of Genocide subdomain and main domain.  The presence of my main domain is new (as I had not developed it at the beginning of the semester).  A google image search presents two pictures of me from the World Boardgaming Championships, and an image from my Great Minds article.  Interestingly, a search on Bing yields my domain and subdomain as the first results, while an image search brings up one picture from WBC.

The most noticeable change over this semester is probably the development of my main domain.  Being able to shape this platform to convey the polished image I want to present digitally is important, and furthermore, appears to be working.  It is most telling that a search of my name on bing immediately brings up my main domain.  Essentially over the course of the semester, I have been better able to shape my presence online.  Rather than the top search results being information other people have written about me, some of the top results are platforms that I have created and have direct control over.  Hopefully this will continue to evolve as my professional career develops, allowing me to adjust my presence as necessary (uploading resumes, etc.).  Learning more about my ability to directly shape this digital identity has been the most valuable lesson I have taken from this semester.

Xena Fandom

Xena: Warrior Princess quickly introduces a strong rapport between its two leads.

eye contact

The LGBT community quickly found the show

by the gods

And embraced it.

reverent kiss

The fandom quickly created websites, fanart, and fanfiction.

I have many skills

The fandom was especially revolutionary in the area of fanfiction, helping to establish terms such as femslash, and genres such as uber and altfic.

eyebrow raise

Though be careful.  Stumbling upon fanfiction you’re not prepared for…

uncomfortable

While Xena/Gabrielle was the most popular ship, others existed.  The community’s general response to Xena/Ares shippers…

looking around

After all, the community is very protective of their ship

protective

And intense shipping wars can ensue.

throwing chakram

15 years after the show ended, development plans for a reboot were announced.  Xena/Gabrielle shippers upon finding out that the new show will fully acknowledge the relationship.

I win

 

Adaptations, Remixes, and Mashups Module Reflection

This particular module was very product-oriented, and as such my primary goal was to create some form of mashup.  I was able to successfully combine House of Cards with Donald Trump’s campaign (which can be found here).  My goal was essentially to parody the rise of Trump while also comparing him to a fictional individual who perhaps shouldn’t be in power.  The video was immediately flagged for copyright.  While still available, it was blocked in one country and on some platforms.  This is largely consistent with my previous experience with YouTube.  Usually some aspect of my videos will be flagged (often for music content).  The end result is that the company in question usually has the right to place ads on my video, and occasionally blocks my video in certain areas (such as Germany, which apparently has very strict copyright laws).

I researched some of the mechanics of this process by examining YouTube’s copyright policies (they provide some very detailed pages explaining this).  The “Content ID” alerts that I often receive are issued to YouTube by the company that owns the copyrighted material.  YouTube gives great freedom to the copyright holder, who gets to decide whether or not the material can be used by others.  Generally a nice win-win situation occurs, where the copyright holder opts to let the video remain live, but takes in some revenue from ads.  The copyright holder thus gets  financial compensation, and my creative product remains public.  But what particularly interested me was the process of disputing a claim.  If a claim is disputed without a “valid reason” the content owner can take down your video, and you receive a copyright strike against your account.  This seems like harsh retaliation, and an easy way to dissuade people from appealing a Content ID label that may be questionable.  Overall, I think YouTube tries to keep a good balance between encouraging creativity and honoring the rights of copyright holders.  But the harshness of disputing a claim concerns me, and seems unreasonably weighted in favor of the copyright holder.

Adaptations, Remixes, and Mashups Module Progress

This particular module was very product-based.  As such, my goal was to produce a mashup (preferably a trailer mashup given my video-editing experience).  Over the holiday, my brother happened to see my dad and I watching the Sunday talk shows.  He commented that the rise of Donald Trump reminded him of House of Cards.  I decided to take this idea and run with it.  I viewed recent trailers for the show, and decided to use the song from the third season called Counting Bodies Like Sheep by A Perfect Circle.  I then searched for various clips of Donald Trump, including ones depicting protests against him, Rubio’s concession speech, and Chris Christie’s famous facial expressions.  I then combined these in a trailer-esque video (taking maybe 4-5 hours) and uploaded it to YouTube.

YouTube immediately tagged the video as having copyrighted content.  As such, it was blocked in one country (Germany), and blocked on mobile devices.  In addition, the claimant will be able to place ads on my video.  While these restrictions are somewhat annoying, the video remains largely available.

Mapping Your Device Reflection

Our tear-down product was a 2013 Nintendo 2DS.  The process required some finagling, as one of the screws was stripped, but we were eventually able to open the device and begin examining individual components.

teardown 1

The research process was very interesting.  I actually couldn’t gain much information from my particular assigned components (a lithium ion battery and the 3D camera).  The camera had only one serial number, and internet searches yielded no results (other than replacement information).  The lithium ion battery was produced in China, which is not known for being particularly transparent, and much of the information was written in Japanese.  However, I began researching the CPU, RAM and GPU, and those yielded much better results.  Internet searches took me to various articles that allowed me to identify production companies, and I was able to find websites for each of these companies (the ones based in Japan were the most difficult).  This allowed me to locate the street locations of their headquarters (including those based in Japan, thanks to Chrome’s translation abilities).  However, I was not able to narrow down factory information.  I tried going to Nintendo’s website to see if I could gain some more insight, and found that all of their production is outsourced to other companies, creating a layer between Nintendo and the actual factories.  In fact, it wasn’t clear to me whether or not Nintendo even has a record of all of the factories indirectly working for them, and that information was certainly not available.  Since most of the production companies appeared to be based in Asia, where working conditions are not known for being particularly good, I wasn’t too surprised to find that most of these production companies were not forthcoming with their factory information.  However, because I wasn’t able to find factory information, and none of my components had four digit dates, I was unable to pinpoint the exact time of production for my components, but would estimate them as 2013 products.

Overall, my particular contribution to the research was very location based, and it was interesting to see the wide range of contributions that led to the creation of the 2DS, with input from areas as far flung as Britain and Japan.  It also indicated to me that many companies are not very transparent.  Nintendo stated that they conduct tours of facilities to examine conditions, but does not provide factory locations allowing independent entities to confirm these results.  The fact that I was unable to find street addresses for actual production facilities makes me personally question the quality of those facilities.  If the information isn’t public, there is probably a reason that it isn’t…

The full results of our tear-down can be seen on our StoryMap.

Digital Archaeology Reflection

Our group worked well together to accomplish our goals.  Brooke provided the Nintendo 2DS and tools necessary for the physical teardown.  Danielle provided much of the documentation of the teardown by taking pictures and posting them to a slack group for this project.  Ahad actually called Nintendo to try to gain information from them, and went to the ThinkLab to get some help with the device teardown.  Everyone divvied up the component pieces for research in a divide and conquer manner.  We all worked together through Google Drive to create our presentation, and used a joint gmail account to create a StoryMap that we could all edit and contribute to.  I think there was a fair amount of procrastination in updating the StoryMap, but I know everyone was doing research.

Debate

I volunteered to give the speeches given my previous debate experience.  Since I was familiar with value driven debate (Lincoln-Douglas style) that was the framework I approached the resolution from.  I argued four main contentions. One, utilizing these products while knowing that they have been produced by slavery condones the slavery and perpetuates it by contributing to the very profits that drive it.  Two, we live in a capitalist society driven by profits.  This means that buying these products directly encourages slavery, and, in contrast, redirecting these profits to clean products can lead to meaningful change.  Three, consumers have power in a capitalist society and have a moral obligation to use that power.  And finally, humans have an obligation to improve the quality of life (“conditions which contribute to making life more than a struggle for survival; elevating life beyond a needs-only existence” (angelfire)) for all through act utilitarianism, which “contends that on each occasion one should do whatever act will produce the greatest good” (angelfire).  In this case, redirecting our purchasing habits is the act that will produce the most good, due to consequentialism, which argues that an act or rule is acceptable or moral because of the outcomes incurred by that act or rule.

During the rebuttals, I argued that these choices won’t lead to economic collapse.  Rather, companies will adapt, which is the beauty of capitalism.  Furthermore, the affirmative position has proven feasibility.  Nokia is a phone company that our group found which has been clean since 2001, indicating that it is quite possible to redirect our spending habits to facilitate companies that do not utilize slave labor.  The negative side argued that we cannot implement change all at once, and cited historical examples from Cuba and the Middle East.  But each of these were interventionist top-down policies, whereas the affirmative position is a bottom up, consumer-driven change, which negates our opponents’ counter-point.  The negative position argued that we should support activist organizations and raise awareness.  I argued that this is an excellent idea, but this doesn’t negate our moral obligation to change our spending habits to maximize the quality of life through act utilitarianism and consequentialism.

Interestingly, I actually personally agree more with the negative position.  I’ve previously participated in discussions about the economic utilization of slavery in the world in my human geography class.  While I think it is important for individuals to try to change their spending habits when possible to discourage slavery, oftentimes this isn’t possible.  Many don’t have the financial flexibility to shop around for clean products, and I find it infeasible that enough people can change their spending habits to make slavery a non-profitable venture.  In this manner, I agree with the negative position that argues that we should instead work to support activist organizations and raise awareness.  This can bring these issues to the attention of more powerful entities who can try to target the underlying causes of slavery (corruption, lack of a stable government in these areas, etc.).