Historical Remix

For my fifth digital culture blog post I’d like to pick a pre-web event, in this case the Vietnam War, and imagine how the web may have changed the event. To give some context, the Vietnam War was a conflict between the United States and communist forces in the southeastern country of Vietnam. The Vietnam War was the first war in which unfiltered information flowed to the general American public; citizens could practically watch the war on the evening news. Not only was the war the first of its kind in terms of public information, it brought a unprecedented level of domestic conflict as well as mistrust in the government. The war completely shifted almost everything about American culture, society, and government – one can only imagine how social media and the internet at large may have changed the war and surrounding topics.  

One of my first thought on the possible combination of the Vietnam War and social media was the recent Arab Spring. It’s very possible that if social media exists at the time of the war, the communist forces, or “Viet-cong” may have used it as something to organize their forces as well as spread propaganda for the cause. The Vietnamese were subject to decades of colonization from western powers and were eager to rule their own society through communism. Its very possible that social medias like Twitter and Facebook could have been organization centers for these freedom movements within Vietnam. In the case of the Arab Spring, social media was essential in rallying oppressed people across the middle east. Social media also would have the opinions and rationales of the Vietnamese much more public and known to Americans, just as we could directly monitor the social media posts of oppressed peoples in the middle east.  

The second thing that came to mind when I thought about the combination of the Vietnam War and social media was how it could have affected the domestic issues within the United States during the war. Opposition to the war steadily grew once American forces saw major causalities with no real progress being made. A major part of this opposition was the military draft, which required military service for those chosen. I think social media would have only added to this frenzy. People would able to share their opinions, as well as organize much more easily. Not only would their be more organization and sharing of opinions, I think that social media would have resulted in much more significant change with a possible sooner end to the war.  

This blog post reminded me of the recent article we read for class, “Facebook broke Democracy”. Social media has had such a significant effect on democracy because of the raw numbers of information and opinions flying around on social media and the internet at large. Democracy is not as simple as it used to be.  

 

*the social media generator I tried to use almost gave me a virus so it didn’t workout*

Professor Abdoney (Blog 2)

This week, students in DCI 180 were tasked with “stalking” our professor online to the best of our ability. This entailed googling or using any other means to know her social media presence as well as we could, and in turn get a better grip on her entire life. From a basic google search we can find several things like her current employment description from W&L, her LinkedIn, her DCI website, and of course her Twitter. I also dug into some deeper google pages and found a Flickr and some people who referenced her as their aid in some reports and books. From these pages I can find a scary amount of information. I now know Professor Abdoney’s educational and work history, for instance she attended U of F then University of South Flordia. She then moved on to work at Eckerd before moving to work at Washington and Lee. From her twitter I can find a lot about her opinions on various aspects of life, especially her political views. Professor Abdoney tends to enjoy satire humor making light of the dramatic events occurring within the Republican party and during the Trump presidency. She also enjoys using twitter and social media for getting information from colleagues and other academic sources that apply to her professional life. For instance, the other day in class she mentioned that she used Facebook to discover a new conference that she wanted to attend. Finally I can find some information about her personal life on Flickr, like pictures of her husband, children, and her garden.  

All of this information tells me plenty about how Professor Abdoney chooses to mold her online presence through filter bubbles. Professor Abdoney obviously has no issue sharing her professional information, most of the links on a google search directed me to something related to her professional life. She does however, keep her personal life pretty sheltered. While I could find some images on Flickr, I couldn’t find her Facebook page or and Instagram page. This activity made me think about several things, first being my own online presence. When I do a google search on myself, I don’t love everything that shows up. The worst part is that a lot of it is out of my control. This activity also made me think about some of the recent readings, particularly the reading that related the data we can find online to power. Once I find information about someone online, its possible to have some sort of power over someone. Information online gives a ton of power, and could influence something as serious as a college admission or a job opportunity. This activity aslo relates to the reading about branding online, everything we put online counts towards a brand we are building for ourselves. Even if we are different than the person and brand we build online, that rarely matters.