Links to Readings

Aug 31, 2011 by     5 Comments    Posted under: Course Readings

Here I will post links to course readings and other relevant projects around the web.

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 6:

Week 7:

Week 8:

Link to LA Flood Project:

Link to Twitter Archive for #dcc208

Link to PowerPoint PDFs (Zipped File, 30MB)

Week 9:

Week 10:

Link to MLA Student Electronic Literature Gallery Submissions (proposals due Nov. 10):

5 Comments + Add Comment

  • While reading part three of “Constant Touch,” I was struck by a quote I encountered at the end of Chapter 13. “What Cellphone,” who was reporting on the new Nokia 3210 phone, interviewed Janice Caprice, a London beauty therapist. Caprice and her friends were infatuated with the ability to change the color of the new phone simply by selecting another “Xpress-on” facia. Caprice said, “It’s got to be eye-catching, anything from the British flag to a flower. Most of my friends buy a phone because they can get a cover for it. I bought an Ericsson PH337 for that very reason but that’s old now so I’m saving up for a Nokia next.” I not only agree with Caprice’s point, but I feel that it might be an interesting cultural topic to address in our upcoming essay. The design of phones, and the ability to personalize them with items such as covers and stickers, is very popular among cellphone users. Cellphone covers are not just a way to protect the phone from being damaged; they are now a way for people to make a personal statement about themselves through their technology.

  • In the “Nonverbal Cues in Mobile Phone Text Messages” reading, Doring and Poschl discuss how “Extended response times can be perceived as creating an uneasy silence, while short response times might nonverbally communicate thoughtfulness, eagerness, or closeness.” While this might be the case with the average phone-obsessed consumer, I would like to argue against it with my own method of responding to text messages. To me, being on the phone is time that could be spent doing other things. When I’m spending time with friends, in class, or doing homework, I put my phone out of sight. I essentially forget I even have it. That way I can focus all of my attention on the subject at hand. Not to mention, it’s polite and tactful when in the presence of others. I’ve been known to respond to a text two days after receiving it simply because I have a physical world to tend to before checking my phone. I only respond to texts immediately after receiving them if I’m bored or I want a distraction to keep me awake and engaged (for instance, to pass time in transit or a lengthy academic reading). So while this philosophy may apply to mobile phone users without limitation on when and where they use their phone, it certainly does not apply to everyone. And that is why it is dangerous to infer emotional generalizations about such a common practice because it can lead to unspoken miscommunication, ultimately shaping impressions of people without their knowledge.

  • While reading Constant Touch I became very intrigued with the idea of how television and movies have affected the way we see our mobile phones. Agar describes how phones are advertised through film, for example the Nokia 8110a that was an advert in The Matrix in 1999. Since 1999 many more phones have been advertised through television and movies. One such phone is the Windows Phone 7 that was advertised multiple times in “Castle” on ABC as you can see in this youtube clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFPcvcTzdYY&feature=relmfu
    These adverts are often times so obvious that they are annoying and take away from the show. Even though they are for cell phones it is just as bad as hearing your favorite actor tell you that he loves Dr. Pepper. For more product placement specifically cell phones watch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrPV9o8HXvs
    The other way that Agar says mobile phones are used is to “cause the uncanny.” He gives the example of how a phone call is used to scare victims in the Scream movies. However I believe that Agar missed a newer way that cell phones are used to scare people in films. Instead of someone using a cell phone, the cell phone has its own spirit/mind so that it can control peoples’ lives. There are two such movies both call Hellphone. The first is an American film, consisting of a spirit that has come back to haunt a town through a cell phone. The second is a French film that consists of a teenager who has a cellphone with a mind of its own and whoever it calls will have consequences to deal with.

  • In their essay “Nonverbal Cues in Mobile Phone Text Messages”, Döring and Pöschl manage to accurately identify the thoughts that every cell phone user or email-sender has when communicating digitally with another individual. I ALWAYS read meaning into the length of time from when I text someone to when they reply. I usually expect that they’re ignoring me, or that they don’t want to talk to me for some reason, but usually it’s just that they didn’t receive the message in the first place. Döring and Pöschl are generally accurate with their description of “emoticons” but some specific examples are not widely used (this one about hugs, I don’t know, I’ve never heard of it). I also know the feeling of freedom people feel when hidden behind a screen, such freedom is what gave birth to today’s “internet trolls” who say whatever they want under the veil of anonymity. The sub-dimensions they breakdown also seem accurate in defining how people relate to each other through digital messaging. Their theoretical subjects are fascinating, but the laboratory studies go WAY over my head. After all, I’m just a lowly humanities major.

  • In the Globalization chapter of Net Locality, Gordon and de Souza e Silva discuss how location influences how people use their mobile devices. In certain areas this is clearly the case, specifically Asia. The authors analyze Japan, China, and Iran’s unique implementation of cell phones, email, and social networks. My brother, while living in South Korea for a year, bought a phone there and it had a South Korean to English translator. Clearly LG was taking into consideration the presence of English in their culture and perhaps making an effort to be more inviting to English-speaking visitors. This type of function is a perfect example of net locality. The United States is where I struggle on determining net locality on a national level. It’s hard for me to think of a way that Americans use their media in a unique way that’s different than other nations. Feel free to tweet @agray1 if you can think of an example, I am legitimately curious. I will say though that I had a concern about the Japan section of the reading, where the authors emphasized how the Japanese use their phones in several facets of their day-to-day life (e.g. concert tickets, cash, credit, etc.). I think that it’s dangerous to rely on technology to this degree because if the phone happens to die (because of constant use or other reasons) you’re without a backup plan! So while many of these ideas are innovative and clever, I just believe that people should be wary that technology is not foolproof. Hacking, sudden battery failure, or simply losing your phone are all possible and could be detrimental.

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