One of my favorite things coming out of this project is the reminder that the internet, and broadband specifically, is not a one-size-fits-all approach to life in the 21st century. I do have a question, the quote highlights the fact that these hub communities allow for indigenous peoples to communicate on their own terms. Does it also allow for individuals to pool resources to enter into these national conversations on the use of this new land? If they are interacting in their own language online, are there individuals translating that work into advocacy programs? I would love to hear about one of these projects as well.
I like your approach to the plurality of digital divides. It seems like a useful heuristic when considering what the best practices are for addressing the challenges we face. Avoiding a monolithic construction of the issue presents more manageable and addressable concern that we as scholars can engage.
Addressing how to instruct students to engage with digital texts—whether they be linguistic, visual, or multimodal—is a concern that I share. Asking students to "create a Powerpoint" to go along with their presentation is something that I learned to avoid without dedicating at least 45 minutes (probably more) to basic "good" design principles when building a slideshow. I have found that connecting the knowledge of how to use technology in the classroom to the business world that a majority of the students aspire to join helps contextualize the practices in ways that are pragmatic for them.
I feel one of the exciting things about new media studies are some of its greatest struggles. There are apps that are purposefully exclusive (Grindr) and open (Facebook). Augmented space apps are something I have a great deal of interest in, especially in how they change the way we see our offline space and neighborhoods. At the same time, how do we study it? With some of these issues that you discuss, though, our own security often comes into question and our understanding of how that information can be used against us never comes up. I think about running apps, do people who run the same route and the same time every day understand the consequences of publicly posting that information? Thanks for bringing up these issues.
Kris, I enjoyed your post despite my limited gameplay and equally limited scholarly framework surrounding this discourse. Regardless, I am intrigued with your critical analysis of the power struggles and hierarchies within the games you mention. I am also interested in your working assertion that players' innate tendency/need to negotiate power (Nietzsche for further framing?) may obstruct game designers'/developers' rhetorical intentions of raising the players' awareness of "social, economic, or cultural" issues.
It seems that despite designers' rhetorical aims, players/users have the final say in constructing textual meaning(s) (should we invoke Barthes here or does this just go without saying?). I suppose I have more questions than I do an ability to expand on your post, Kris, and this is likely given my lack of gaming ethos, but I would like to hear more about what you (or others) mean by "distracting players from the fact that they are engaging in gameplay," as this seems like a fundamental appeal for persons who invest their time, energy, and money in gameplay. If this element is removed, what will draw players in to the world of the game?
Also, I'm wondering if anyone can share any insights/scholarship on how game design acts on users' need to negotiate power (though not intentionally in prosocial games?) in terms of gender? In other words, how does this need to negotiate power look different for male and female players or does it? Finally, to what extent has games studies relied on theories of visual rhetoric and design to negotiate some of the narrative/argumentative issues related to the rhetorics of gameplay Kris discusses in this post?
Great post from a different perspective! Your assessment of many of these game is spot on. I also thought of September 12th where the only way to 'win' was not to play. It's intro reminds us that this is not a game. However, that is a big oversimplification of global networks right there.
I did not play Phone Story as well and my inability to beat and shoot miners meant I didn't learn much about how phones are made. The set up, with us as oppressors while playing from our cell makes it hard to identify with the victims.
I did want to lift up Urgent Evoke, which was a 2010 project by Jane McGonigal where the way to complete quests was to write a reflection or do a task that did make some small difference. I played it a bit when it came out, but am unsure of it's success. It was definitely more of a learning game than the more ludic, play based games you have listed above.
Frustrating consumers and capitalizing on emotion and anxiety is a traditional marketing tactic used to prod less profitable consumers into purchasing more expensive products and services.
I think we see a perfect example of this in the tiered packaging of broadband services and the practice of "throttling" where ISPs reduce a customer's upload and download speeds if a disproportionately large amount of bandwidth is being utilized. As our instruments of access multiply (smartphones, tablets, consoles, televisions…) our medium of access is becoming a bottleneck. We begin to realize our internet package isn't adequate anymore and begin justifying paying $20-30 more a month for a few minutes of convenience.
This is an informative look at the rhetoric here of the government as rich beneficiary and it being our own fault if we don't work hard enough in our own communities to get broadband. It's a kind of win/win for the broadband providers. This also seems like a blanket proposal that attempts to solve financial issues in rural areas, but will education, industry, and further infrasturcture follow broadband and is this something this community even wants? This talk of anchor institutions implies a lot about infrastructures at a time when the government is simultaneously pulling infrastructure out of these same areas (thinking of the debate to close rural post offices, which often serve as community hubs in very rural areas).
Likewise, the idea that broadband can only improve one's life is definitely an ideology we (as a society) don't seem to want to think too critically about. At least three of the posts in this first week address the fact that the decision to live outside of network access seems unfathomable.
This sounds like a project that is long overdue. In the past, the popular interpretation of the digital divide has always seemed to be much more benign and somewhat humorous - a way to describe why grandma can't figure out how to get her pictures to print or why the VCR clock is still blinking 12:00. As research has been focusing on the more insidious connotations (and grandma is now more likely to be as savvy as her grandkids), this might be an opportunity to transform - or discard altogether - this outdated concept.
On a more serious note, I look forward to your project's results. How have you and your colleagues factored access into your data?
Thankyou for that comment. Indeed that is my point - that presence is confused for access - but also that access is confused for sustained empowerment. "Micro" empowerments occur - yes.
But the spectacle of empowerment enables the telling of the Success story of digital financialization and globalization even as digital platforms where identities are staged are produced through specific mystified literacies and tools.
We assume that calling up someone into our frame of reference - where we can see them and "understand" them - somehow transforms them into participating citizens of modern democracy.
"I blog therefore I am. I take your picture and blog you, therefore *you* are"
This reminds me of how we often mistake digital presence for access and are so distracted by our own privilege that we consider our electric interactions with the Other to be legitimate. The most frightening aspect of this is the fruition of Debord's fear about the spectacle in a hypermediated society. With the means of production residing in very few hands (backed by particular ideologies and conveyed through rhetorics), the Other is more distanced having been removed from the ability to reconfigure the spectacle.
Thank you for this provocative post Radhika.