The main theme of the technobiophilia lecture was that we seem to constantly be connecting our technology to nature in some way. By making our background a picture of the ocean, or naming a storing device a “cloud”, the lecturer argued that we use these means as venting methods for the mental fatigue that we get from using technology. As #metaliteracy increases in our lives, we have more and more opportunities to experience this technobiophilia (we have phone bachgrounds that can be set to nature in addition to our computers, contact pictures in our phones, adds on apps on our phones). The major idea that clicked with me personally is that this idea of technology needing to connect with nature, to “give us a mental break”, cannot be a good sign. It must be a repercussion of technology being all around us in every aspect of our lives, to the point where it never stops and we need a subconscious break by having relaxing nature filled names and images integrated with our technology. This idea of technology being every where, and so wide spread, relates to the conversation we were having in class about music and who owns the rights to what content. With information and technology being so wide spread, it seems as though it is very hard to make sure that nothing of what you “create” or use in your work is from something else. There are so many similar sounds in the music world, catchy melodies and rifts, that it seems as though musicians who have no intent of taking someone else’s work may still mistakingly do so because the information out there is far to vast to check everything in order to make sure you did not copy anything. Given this problem in the music industry and the way technobiophilia engulfs technology due to our needed “mental breaks”, it seems as though #metaliteracy increasing is not always a good thing as a “break” or reduction in technology and the use of it could sometimes serve to make these types of issues less of a current issue and problem that needs to be addressed.
The MOOC talk was quite the eye opening experience given the instant feedback towards an online “lesson” on a given topic. The discussion was able to evolve from a simple “lecture” to end up going places that were very different than where the conversation started. For example, someone ended up commenting on the MOOC talk about the new call of duty game and how it copied another call of duty game (from different makers) in it’s editing. This was a big deal in the tech world, and being a gamer it certainly peaked my interest. Someone mentioned in class that it would have been cool to be able to pose questions, or talk about this while we watched it after, and this mention of the gaming copying was one of those moments for me. Bryan Alexander talked about how “people love to recycle stories”, which is certainly true. The nature of telling a story is that one person hears it, then they pass it on to someone else, much like the old folk lore stories that were passed down through oral tradition. I found this interesting because on one hand it is alright for stories to be retold or “copied”. Yet, when it happens in the context of the new call of duty game copying the old game this is not okay. Fundamentally, what is the difference? Both instances someone is taking information that they did not come up with and passing it on to someone else. I suppose in the instance of call of duty, they are profiting off of someone else’s story and in oral tradition they are not. Either way, the concept of retelling or copying stories is an interesting one to explore when you view it in the context of ethics and morality and trying to define when it is right to copy a story and when it is not. In copying a story through oral tradition, or passing it down to other generations, the story tellers are increasing #metaliteracy by effectively sharing knowledge. The video game editing copying is not so much about enhancing metaliteracy, but rather more about just being lazy and copying the work of others.
As we have discussed throughout the semester, #metaliteracy is about using media in many different ways to convey information efficiently and effectively so that it is understood. To put this more simply, Digital Storytelling and Metalitracy described this exchange of information as “everyone has a digital story to tell”. Personally, phrasing the sharing of information this way really made the concept click. When we share things online we are not only sharing information, we are sharing the story of who we are through our interests, activities, sense of humor, etc. This “story telling concept” made even more sense to me in class, when we were brainstorming about the types of articles to use to convey media bias. I was sharing with my team a news article I had come across in a public finance class last semester regarding an incident when a hacker group Anonymous hacked the AP twitter account and tweeted that President Obama had died. Computers that conduct micro trading on a level of nano seconds, reacted to the news and the stock market crashed 400 points in 15 minutes. Once it was found out the tweet was untrue, the market rebounded but none the less there was money lost and damage done in that short period of time. The point of the story was that information can have far reaching impacts and spreads extremely fast. However, to share this story in our group discussion in class I did not pull up the news article and share the information with them that way. Rather, I told a story that summarized what happened so that they would understand the information just the same. This goes to show that an age old method of enhancing metaliteracy: story telling, is still a highly effective tool for sharing information even in the digital age. Rather than sharing simply digital information on digital tools such as social media and videos, people are able to tell both new and old stories using these digital tools to spread them faster.
“The democratization of social media allows for more participation and interaction related to the news than ever”
We live in a world that could not be conceived a couple hundred years ago. In the past there was not, and could not have been, the advanced spread of knowledge, media, and ideas that there is today. Back in the day, the telegraph was revolutionary because it allowed text communication faster than sending physical letters previously would have even once the use of trains as mail transportation was introduced. The text on Media and News Literacy, discussed how the world we live in today allows us to share all types of information and media faster than ever before. It went into further detail to discuss how #metaliteracy allows us to use this information effectively while gaining a greater understanding of information than could have been had before the new methods of social media and information sharing arose.
One of the positive sides of this information sharing is that people today get to see things that would not have been possible without physical travel in the past. For example, I can use Google Earth to view pyramids in Egypt and gain knowledge about what they actually look like. However in an age before the internet, this would not have been information that could be gained unless you received a photograph or went to physically see this site yourself. In other words, information is readily available at our finger tips. Another positive of this increase in metaliteracy would be that information sharing, and communication in general, has increased exponentially in its speed. Where letters used to take months or weeks to reach across the country/world, we can now communicate with anyone who has internet access in a matter of seconds. This allows us to build personal bonds with people from other cultures and walks of life. It allows us to stay current on the news and world events within the day that they happen, just like the article Media and News Literacy talks about.
However, I view this rapid information sharing as a double edged sword with a negative side also. This rapid information sharing, allows for a growth of knowledge but it can also create massive problems when information is spread that is not correct. I remember reading an article a while ago about a hacker group called Anonymous that hacked the AP Associated Press twitter account and tweeted that President Obama had died. This caused computers that control micro trading on the stock market to react and the market crashed 400 points in 15 minuets (a massive drop), once the mistake was realized they made other trades that caused the market to rebound. This shows a clear problem on the reliance of a perceived metaliteracy, where people think they can decipher information correctly and use it properly, but in reality they simply believe anything they hear or read and this causes problems as demonstrated before. The second negative would be that the social aspect of this information sharing through enhanced metaliteracy. Having personal relationships via Facebook, Twitter or other wise seems to degrade real relationships in person. You are able to learn so much about a person online, without ever meeting them, almost making it awkward to talk to them in person for how much you know. You can know what they had for dinner, where they’re from, who they are dating, all from simply looking at their profiles without ever communicating with them. In this way, increased metaliteracy has become about strictly information sharing and has been lacking greatly in the communication aspect between human beings.
Metaliteracy represents everything around you, and your ability to not only understand and interpret what you see but also to use that information wisely. Francis Bacon once said “knowledge is power”. I feel that this describes Metaliteracy because the more you understand, the more you are capable of. You could be a master of quantum physics but it you do not know how to convey that knowledge to anyone else, thus rendering that knowledge useless. On the other hand you may have no knowledge of something like quantum physics, yet if you are information literate you will be able to find that knowledge, comprehend it, and use it for the purposes that you need to. Being Metaliterate opens the door for endless amounts of opportunities because they information you can have is endless.
Taking this information and using it for an end to a means that is desirable to you, would allow you to reach any goals you wish in life. An understanding of how to use information, and tools to get information can also open up doors outside the academic world. Socially, the ability to use this information opens doors to meet people with common interests personally and professionally. Through networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook we can meet people who share hobbies or are in the same things we are. This allows us to learn more about other cultures and come into contact with people that it would not have been possible to have the same bonds with a hundred years ago. We are living in an unknown and unique era. Yet I believe this represents a unique opportunity moving forward for me to be unlike anyone ever was and have bonds that previous generations were unable to ever have. Instead of being overwhelmed by this information, I choose to be excited by the opportunities it presents. For this reason, I hope to learn how to find, share, and utilize information more effectively and become more Metaliterate through taking this class.