Assignments

 

Mini Assignment #1 – Meme

Mini Assignment #2 – Ft. Deadpool

My name is Deadpool and welcome to my blog… or I mean… Eldinn’s blog but I’m here making a post! I

I just came back from fighting some supervillains and saving the world, no big deal. It’s kind of funny because I’m practically invincible, so the enemies are probably better off just not fighting me honestly. You could almost say that I’m the same as Wolverine, since neither of us can die, except that I’m way cooler.

It’s pretty evident, at least from my movies, that my girlfriend Vanessa holds a very special place in my heart. When she died in one of my fights, I was so disappointed. She was so amazing because she accepted me for who I was, even after my ugly transformation. We had plans to get married and start a family together but that was all taken away in a matter of seconds.

Luckily, I was able to repair cable’s time travelling device to go back in time and rescue Vanessa. Additionally, I was able to kill a younger version of me before I was able to film Green Lantern. Thank God! That movie was so bad and honestly, I’m just glad it could be erased from my IMBD profile. Someone else can take the hit, not me, as I’m an A list celebrity obviously. Now with all that off my mind, I can finally focus on fighting crime!

I know I don’t have a lot of friends, but I know I have a lot of fans, which I’m thankful for. You guys are the best. I am certainly the funniest, best looking, coolest superhero out there, so it is a no brainer that I would be anyone’s favorite superhero. So, this is why I wanted to post on Eldinn’s blog, because I know he is a die-hard fan himself, so naturally, his audience must like me too, right? Hopefully someday, I will be able to write my own blog.

Essay #1 – Do Social Media platforms create democratic spaces for dialogue?

In today’s society, we have access to many forms of social media which allow us to voice our opinions however we want to. This promotes the idea of democratic speech in an online virtual world that can be accessible by anyone. Due to this autonomy, it’s not uncommon to see things like frequent censorship, fake news, public shaming and so forth. However, are there consequences for voicing these kinds of opinions in the cyberspace? If there aren’t, which tends to be the more common case, then have we achieved true online autonomy to say whatever we please? Today, I will be looking at how social media platforms create democratic spaces for dialogue and what allows these people to have the confidence to voice their opinions. I will also look at a recent example of how the slander and public defamation of an online content creator severely damaged his career.

In John Suler’s “The Online Disinhibition Effect”, John defines the “disinhibition effect” as people who “say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world” (Suler, 2004). He attributes this sort of behavior to a few factors that interact with each other and supplement each other. One of the first factors John mentions is that whenever we are online, the people we encounter cannot easily tell who we are. When people have the opportunity to separate their actions from their true identities, they start to feel invulnerable about opening up as there is no accountability. Additionally, in many online environments, other people cannot see you. Even when one isn’t anonymous, say you are messaging through Facebook messenger, you still don’t have to worry about how others look or sound when you say something. Lastly, in John’s “minimizing authority” section, he states that  if “people can’t see you or your surroundings, they don’t know if you are the president of a major corporation sitting in your expensive office, or some “ordinary” person lounging around at home in front of the computer” (Suler, 2004). What this means is that we are all the same in the cyberspace, no one person is higher than another. So as a result of this anonymity, it’s common to see people say things they normally wouldn’t because our real life titles don’t matter. So, what mostly determines our influence is our “skill in communicating (including writing skills), our persistence, the quality of our ideas, and our technical know-how.” (Suler, 2004).

When it comes to online hate speech, one of the most common areas where this occurs in is towards celebrities and professional athletes. The official term for this herd mentality towards these people is known as “stan culture”, which is described as “extreme actions, generally committed by a minority within the fan base, such as harassing and threatening others, treating certain celebrities as if they’re demigods, sports riots (particularly soccer hooliganism), and basically just doing anything and everything for attention” (Watson, 2018).

The example I will use is that of digital content creator, Jared Knabenbauer, or better known as “ProJared”, who was recently accused in May 2019 for “having an extramarital affair with another gaming YouTuber… and soliciting sexually explicit photos from his fans” by his wife, Heidi O’Ferrall on Twitter (Screenrant, 2019). ProJared, who is a prolific gaming Youtuber, had a sub count amassing well over 1 million people, which plummeted to 700,000 subscribers when the accusation came out. His personal image and brand were also affected. During this outrage, “stan culture” was especially prevalent, as although most people started to turn against him, saying negative things about him, there were the few people who made death threats. ProJared decided to vanish from the internet unexpectedly, leading us to think he was guilty, when in reality, he was gathering receipts. Upon his return 3 months later, he released a video on his Youtube channel addressing these claims. ProJared was quick to dismiss the allegation of him cheating on his wife, as he “attempted to end his marriage before engaging in romantic activity with anyone else” (The Daily Dot, 2019). As for soliciting sexually explicit photos from his fans, he claimed the accusers, identified as Chai and Charlie, did so for “attention and social capital” (The Daily Dot, 2019). ProJared’s main defense was that he always asked the fans if they were of age before doing anything. He also acknowledges that what he did “wasn’t predatory but it was unhealthy” (The Daily Dot, 2019). The accusers for pedophilia, Chai and Charlie, have locked their social media accounts, with Charlie putting in his bio that he did so because he” doesn’t want more death threats” (The Daily Dot, 2019). It’s interesting to note here that “Stan culture” can work both ways and the tide can sway almost immediately. Relating this back to Suler’s article, these people feel comfortable making these threats because they were anonymous, behind a screen and authority was minimized. To conclude the video, ProJared asked his viewers to get the full story before jumping to conclusions. He said that the truth didn’t matter in this case because as soon as a mob was beating him down, everyone jumped in on it too.

When it comes to defining democratic speech, we must take into account whether or not things like slander and hate speech in the cyberspace, that yield no consequences when spread with bad intentions, provide a true democratic space for dialogue. Does this mean that I can say anything I want without having to face the consequences? If so, then this would meet the definition of democracy. In the case of Projared, it only became clear after some time that Projared was not the person everyone thought he was, after everyone had already resorted to labelling him as the bad guy. However, because of the spreading of the mostly false news, his image took a big hit that he has yet to still recover from while the accusers, being his wife along with Chai and Charlie, get to walk off scotch free. We could therefore make an argument that social media platforms do provide areas for democratic speech because one could say, or even make accusations as they please.

What if we were to look at the case of someone bigger than a content creator, like Donald Trump? Donald trump, who is notorious on Twitter for his rants and sometimes hate speech, most notably for trying to justify the need of a wall for the safety of America, illustrates that social media platforms do create democratic spaces for dialogue. From his words alone, it seems that big influencers are less likely to be locked out despite their controversial opinions. I believe it is solely their power of influence that allows them to do whatever they desire. It would be hard to imagine what would happen to Twitter, as a company, should they lock Donald Trump out of his account. It’s important to note that based on a study done by Pew Research Center in 2018, about 43% Americans get their news on Facebook, while the next most popular site is Youtube at 21% and lastly Twitter at 12% (Pew Research Centre, 2018). On that note, we should be very careful with what we read online, especially if it’s our primary source for news, as we will often to see hate speech and fake news that we should not allow to influence us.

Academic Sources

Mini Assignment #3 – A Story

For my mini assignment, I decided to do a highlight reel of a game in NBA 2K20. This isn’t just any game, however, as I utilized the “MyLeague” feature to generate my dream team and took this team all the way to the NBA finals.

Here are the highlights from the championship game from the perspective of my team, the Golden State Warriors. Hope you enjoy!

Mini Assignment #4 – Remix something

For my remix project, I decided to do a montage remix of some clips from my first couple of days playing the new Call of Duty! I usually do this in my spare time anyway and enjoy compiling clips like this as opposed to dragged out gameplays.

Enjoy!

Mini Assignment #5 – Infographic

Mini Assignment #6 – GIF

Caption: When you have the long weekend and it’s double xp

Essay #2 – Self Reflection

            I’m glad I have taken PUB 101 this semester because of the skills I’ve acquired throughout the creation and management of my website: AllAboutzKovy.com. Prior to taking this course, I had no clue how to make a website, and now that I’ve learned how to create one and how to manage it, I hope to be able to apply these skills to my field of studies in business. Even if I don’t end up using these skills, I’m glad I was able to create a following for my passion of gaming.

         My publication focuses on the world and business of gaming. It’s intended for people who enjoy reading game reviews but are also inclined to learn about their business model. Gaming is no longer the way it was 10 years ago. You no longer get the full product when you pay that $80 at the store because companies are so concerned with yielding ongoing revenue from their customers now. I started this blog with the intention of simply reviewing games and looking into the world of streaming as well. However, I decided to switch the secondary topic to the business of gaming because of how a game that I had loved was ruined through micro transactions. That game was Apex Legends, which was my very first blog post where I went in detail about how EA had put a “paywall” behind all of the cool cosmetic items. If you hadn’t read that article, then I’ll summarize it in one sentence. EA all of a sudden essentially implemented a micro transaction system where players had to pay up to $200 in order to acquire the most sought after limited time cosmetic item. This was the driving force that made me decide that I wanted to put these companies in the spotlight. Unsurprisingly, this is a fairly common practice in games nowadays. Not all games have micro transactions, but most of them do nowadays. Although it’s safe to say some companies are more ethical than others. Therefore, I wished to be able to expose some of these companies and to educate my readers. I feel strongly that the value I provide to the audience is the knowledge of the business models of these gaming companies. Even if someone does not necessarily care about gaming, but is interested in the business aspect, they will surely find value in my blog posts as I break down the intricate details of the micro transaction systems across multiple games.

         The use of Google Analytics in this class also taught me a lot about distinguishing whether my website is doing well or if it is on a slump. I’ve learned about the “bounce rate”, which is the percentage of visitors to my website who navigate away after only viewing one page. My bounce rate was 70% at the time of writing this paper which isn’t the best, but I have about 10 active users which is great. Learning about Google’s Adsense was also crucial. I had previously used it on my YouTube channel, but now I’ve learned how to also link it to my website. I’ve made a whopping $0.02 cents thus far. All jokes aside, I ultimately value the knowledge here rather than the numbers. As for comments on my site, I have collected only one on my Call of Duty blog indicating that it was “interesting”, courtesy of fellow classmate “Krowmeat”. I’ve received a couple more comments on my YouTube channel for the PUB 101 assignments I’ve posted on there, which have also been positive. Fortunately, there wasn’t anything bad, but of course since this is for a university course, there shouldn’t be anyway. However, as per my community guidelines that I’ve created, ongoing violations will result in the removal of these comments and bans. Although like Konnikova mentioned in her article, “removing comments also affects the reading experience itself: it may take away the motivation to engage with a topic more deeply, and to share it with a wider group of readers” (Konnikova, 2013). At this level, it would be very easy to manage my comments because I barely get any. However, hopefully as I expand, I will get more comments but at that point, I will have to be more careful managing my comments, especially towards trolls. Though we all know to not feed into the trolls, this can be “challenging to the type of people used to expressing their opinions” (Stein, 2016). If someone genuinely feels my blog was poorly written, they can express their opinion and chances are, I wouldn’t ban them but would rather take the constructive criticism and build on it on my next article. I would only consider something like this to be trolling if someone was spamming the same comment and annoying everyone. Distinguishing trolls may be hard, so ultimately, I just have to be careful with what I deem to be violations or trolls and what to remove as I want to be careful as to not offend any of my readers.

         Looking back at my time in PUB 101, I only kind of knew what to expect in terms of creating a website, but I did not know what “blogging” truly entailed. It’s not just writing whatever we want and smacking it onto the website, which was what I initially thought. We really have to consider a lot of aspects of our website before even starting the writing process itself. Picking a topic was the hardest for me, but I ultimately decided to write about something I was passionate about, which was gaming. Once I got the ball rolling, however, and as the weeks went on, I started to learn more and more about what publishing entailed. Reflecting back on what I’ve created in the end, I feel that I’ve always had a louder voice on the internet. Similar to what was mentioned in Suler’s article in that “sometimes people share very personal things about themselves…” by revealing “secret emotions, fears, wishes” (Suler, 2004), I feel that I have been very personal when talking about the business of gaming because I’ve been around long enough to see what things once were and what they are now. And so, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people saw my articles as a sort of plea to revert back to the way things used to be. In the end, I learned how to tailor my blogs to who I felt my audience would be, tweaking my overall website design, and creating transmedia strategies that I could implement in the future. As stated earlier, publishing isn’t just writing and then pasting it on a website, as there are so many moving elements to make a blog successful. My goals for my online presence in the future is that I will probably not be renewing this website domain next year. However, my YouTube channel remains, and over there I will definitely be posting gameplay clips and some commentaries too, which I had already done previously. The reason I will not continue to blog is that it takes up a bit too much time to do both YouTube and the website. If I were to choose, I would choose YouTube. Why? It’s because editing videos together isn’t as time consuming as writing daily or weekly blogs. With YouTube, I can still give my game reviews and discuss business models through my commentaries. Overall, I very much enjoyed everything I’ve created during this course and had a great time.

References:

  1. Suler, John. (2004). “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Retrieved from: Cyberpsychology & behavior 7.3 (2004): http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
  2. Konnikova, Maria. (2013). “The Psychology of Online Comments”. Retrieved from: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-psychology-of-online-comments
  3. Stein, Joel. (2016). “How trolls are ruining the internet”. Retrieved from: https://time.com/4457110/internet-trolls/