Oh, Snap!

 

 

 

As published in their website, Snapchat is apparently “the best way to reach 13 to 34 year-olds”. They reported having more than 8 Billion snap views EVERY day.

(https://www.snapchat.com/ads)

Snapchat is a one of a kind brand because of its feature that allows only temporary viewing of published material. Opposing tradition in cyberculture, Snapchat made the elusion that things posted online can be erased and that no one will ever get to pin it against them in the future. This is not true. The internet is an encrypted environment of 1s and 0s. What ever is fed to it will cling to it forever.

The idea was to sell “impermanent photos” to the digital society.

Snapchat claims that:

“Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communication the full range of human emotion – not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”

(http://snapchat-blog.com/post/22756675666/lets-chat)

Snapchat opposes the usual cyberculture of using social media to ‘dress to impress’. Social networking sites are avenues for people to get their 15 minutes of fame by posting about the things they do, often to seek approval from their peers.

 

No, Snapchat isn’t like everybody else. (They’re hipster)

This social media platform was conceptualized to be capturing raw moments and maybe attempting to break down the walls of ‘fake lives’. However, that is not the case for all.

Like any social media, Snapchat eventually turned into an avenue to document the seemingly everyday to, as usual, impress others. Rather than making “explicit” posts on Facebook and Instagram, users try to make a sort of “slice of life” feel. Since Snapchat is supposed to capture the raw and everyday, it temporarily displays something supposedly “ordinary”. Ordinary in a sense that a user would say, “I do this everyday”. However, not all snaps are about everyday activities. Some snaps are also about things that are out of the ordinary.

Snapchat has a feature that allows the user to see how many views and who viewed their snaps. Intentionally or not, the app actually interest users in counting their views like a popularity contest. Moreover, because of its fast-capture user interface, it is easy to retake snaps to stage a “better” photo or video.

This kind of social media is actually promoting “information pollution”. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, Information pollution is the “Excessive word count and worthless details are making it harder for people to extract useful information. The more you say, the more people tune out your message.”

(https://www.nngroup.com/articles/information-pollution/)

Users use snapchat to document almost everything they do. Snapchat filters are also used for entertainment. This kind of culture promotes random trolling out of boredom adding to information pollution.

 

 

Another unique feature the app boasts of is its geofilters. According to the Snapchat Official website, they describe geofilters as: “…special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend or adding it to your Story.”

Snapchat has proven to be a fun app for just anyone to use. The culture that the app is promoting is a very laid-back and just-for-kicks kind of randomness. These kinds of cultures are subject to user complacency. Having too much fun on snapping makes room for things to slip through the mind of users.

By publishing the activities of one day is subject to safety and security. By announcing one’s location, sometime even time, will make it easier for individuals to stalk Snapchat users. The app is basically making surveillance easier because it is using others’ resources to their own benefit. There is no need to hide in black cars 10ft away, set-up cameras nor to hack into systems because users do it willingly and “with consent”.

(Article about why parents fear Snapchat: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymagid/2013/05/01/what-is-snapchat-and-why-do-kids-love-it-and-parents-fear-it/#7a00f6882551)

Snapchat boasts of the opportunities for advertisers and marketers have on the app, as well. Although the analytic strategy isn’t as solidified as other social networking platforms, Krystal Overmyer says that ads get positive reactions from Snapchat users. This contributes to the growth of smartphone advertising.

(Krystal Overmyer’s Article: http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/news/snapchat-marketing-analytics-are-still-tricky-to-capture/)

Knowing that Snapchat is selling themselves hard to advertisers and marketers says that they have been using personal user information to attract these advertisers. This is a question to pose to users: Did you consent to this? However, the answer, whether aligned with your actual opinion or not, is yes… in the terms and conditions… when you clicked agree before signing up for an account.

Another questionable feature that Snapchat boasts of is its temporariness. There is no such thing as temporary data on the internet. All user data from Snapchat is saved in data warehouses. This data is what Snapchat uses for their advertising, for their improvement and other activities.

An alarming issue that arose in this culture is the sexting. Users snap private matters, thinking that it can only be viewed that one time and it will never get a chance to be spread. *ANNOYING BUZZ SOUND* WRONG!

(more about Snapchat sexting culture as a norm: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/11868102/Will-Snapchats-new-update-stop-people-from-sexting-using-the-app.html)

There are many third party apps that can access user snaps multiple times without the user even knowing it. Moreover, users can just always screenshot each others’ snaps. Although there is a notification that your snap has been screenshot by this specific person but what more can you do if that person already took the screenshot. The most you could do is ask the person to delete the screenshot but that is also out of your reach because the person can opt not to.

I find this feature dangerous because of the culture it promotes. The generation today is less and less careful about what is posted online. There is no responsibility because it has become the norm in internet culture to post about your everyday life and random trolls. This is in the spirit and defence of having the “right to free speech”. However, there should still be responsibility. There should always be a critical thinking culture. These posts may subject users to security breaches or cyberbullying.

Millennials might take posting their opinions, emotions, personal information… in fact their (our) whole lives lightly because this is the culture that they (we) have been accustomed to. But just the movie plot of the social network horror story, Unfriended, the effects of posting online can lead to dangerous things (not necessarily paranormal activity) like suicide, depression, deep hate, etc.

(Trailer to Unfriended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Vjb4qn7B8)

It is important to always be critical in assessing the advancements in technology. Although Snapchat is a great app that was conceptualized from a great idea, there will always be consequences, intended or unintended, that come out. More importantly, in everything, not just in Snapchat or social media, it is important to have a critical thinking mindset to question the things that might harm society. With this, it is also important to be aware of the issues that rise from the different things we interact with in society. Finally, as individuals, we must always think the things we do (post) before doing (posting) them. We (the millennials) have to learn how to take responsibility for our actions (postings).

(More about Snapchat Privacy Issues: http://www.informationweek.com/software/social/5-ways-snapchat-violated-your-privacy-security/d/d-id/1251175)

 

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Buy Air to Make Air Free for Everyone

People online seem to have a culture that separates classes. Those who have unlimited access to the internet is called the digital elite and those who don’t are considered the digital underclass. But what happens if you make internet available to everyone?

The Philippines is adapting to this digital culture rapidly. Statistics from the start of 2015 showed that there is really a boom in digital transformation.

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Looking at the numbers, there is a big difference from 2014 to 2015 and all the more with the this year.

It is observed that there is potential in the Philippines for a bigger digital culture. Although it is still in it’s infancy stage, it will not take long for the country to adapt. 46% of the population are active users of the internet. This is almost half of the population but the question that should be asked is what to do with the other remaining 54%?

From a businessman’s point of view, this 54% is opportunity for money to roll. 54% is a lot of people. As statistics show, it would seem that it would not be hard to drag this 54% into the light of the screen-culture. With the local and Chinese brands making affordable smart phones sold at p200 at the lowest, it isn’t far for the 54% to have the means to access the internet

refer to link below for list of smartphone price rankings:

http://ph.priceprice.com/mobilephones/lowest-price-ranking/

However, the issue of enterprises of the Philippines is that they don’t want to give this kind of liberation to the people. The data industry of the Philippines is handled by Telecommunication companies namely: PLDT and Globe Telecom. Obviously, if they do give free internet, they will not be able to earn from subscriptions anymore.

Although there are some attempts to make internet “free”, they are usually limited. Facebook, together with Internet.org launched their “Free Internet” app with the help of Smart Communications under PLDT. Yes, this is somewhat revolutionary, especially considering the risk of giving something free to abusive freeloaders common in the Philippines, but it is also not enough.

refer to link below for an article about Facebook offering free internet to the Philippines:

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/03/20/1435536/facebook-offers-free-internet-access-phl

This app is limited to specific sites only. Not only that, but what a free Facebook user would see on his or her Cherry Mobile would be totally different, and by different I mean lacking, compared to what a paying iPhone Facebook user would see. The free Facebook UI usually shows text and some images. Other media like videos and links to other websites are not options, or not FREE options, that is. One can argue that it would only be fit for a p200 smartphone to have limited access considering the specs of the phone. However, adapting to digital will never be the same if one may not be able to engage in the full experience that technology has to offer. This shows an obvious and intended separation of classes. Enterprises must be so scared to lose its money if they give the whole package for free to consumers. Free internet means no subscriptions = no customers = no money inflow.

The point of the internet is that it is supposed to be accessible to everyone and anyone. Thus, the FREE factor is very important. If there are limitations in terms of infrastructure, it can be made up for with proper applications towards the base.

It is clear that there is a conspiracy going on inside the politics of giving free internet. Because the industry is pretty much monopolised by one corporation, they call the shots. They have the access to the data, the infrastructure, the means and the money. It will be hard to compete against that.

On the other hand, imagine a world with free internet for everyone. In some ways, there will be a levelling of the field because information and knowledge will be available to everyone. This will give people from the far ends of the world a lot of benefits and opportunity. They will be informed with current events and existence outside their own little world.

Imagine what it can do in terms of education. Kids today can teach themselves how to dance through continuously watching YouTube videos. Who says it won’t be the same in learning math, arts, grammar and language and other subjects.

Imagine the liberation for the poor. They will know what the world is like and feel that they are not confined to their circumstances. There is more to the world and it is not impossible to try and be something more, as well.

Considering this, there will be a big change. Culture and society will be different. It would probably be the end of the world as we know it, nearing the image of flying cars and space homes. There will be a lot of politics and governance that needs to be handled. By then, we would go back to critical theory asking whether this is a good idea or not and what the implications are. But the world needs to continue to progress, there is no backwards motion. Eventually, we will reach this state.

The question now, given that information will be available to all, is: What to do with it?

This is a similar question asked by Data Analysts and Data Scientists. Data comes from everywhere. This is knowledge. Knowledge is power. The one with the more knowledge has more power. But the upper hand will always go to the one who can gather information and make something out of it. Data is being gathered everyday and it usually stays in the computers or drawers of some offices. There are many uses to these data. Data coming from all places, different data that mean different things when segmented and presented to different people. Data that can be manipulated in so many different ways. Society will never be the same.

But ultimately, it will all boil down to access to information, access to the internet. Classes will always be classes but there are ways to play with the number of people inside the classes and this can simply be done by giving free access.

bro.

 

Work on my screen

 

Honestly, I could not live without my screens. I am highly and intensely attached to my iPhone and Macbook. The main reason why there is this attachment is because I engage in many activities that rely on the use of social media. My work lives in my gadgets. Under work, I categorize schoolwork, extra curricular work and my sideline work.

In most schools today, it is almost a requirement to have at least a Facebook account and internet access. The use of websites like turnitin, plagiarisma and the like are becoming more and more common in classrooms to aid teachers. Websites like these are a good way to keep track of the submissions of students, monitor plagiarism, and it is paperless.

Facebook is also one of the main means for students to get in touch with each other. In my university, all of my classes have Facebook groups. This is because it is easier for the instructor to give announcements. It is also a good place to expound on topics because it is easier to send links, images and videos to information from the internet.

the link below is a blog with testimonies of school teachers, ranging from kindergarten to university, using Facebook for as a tool for teaching.

http://www.emergingedtech.com/2011/03/facebook-in-the-classroom-seriously/

Teachers are now shifting from e-groups to Facebook groups because Facebook is just much easier. Facebook was programmed in such a way that makes people’s lives easier, faster and more efficient.

Social Media is not only popular for classroom purposes but also in the workplace. Again, it is an efficient way to inform office staff about events, memos, etc. about work. But companies do not stop there. Companies, businesses and offices now are challenged to make their own Facebook Page. This is not only an avenue for customers or clients to see their ads. This is also a place where clients can easily contact the business regarding complaints, comments and suggestions. This is why jobs like social media analysts or social media managers are very much in demand.

Another “screen” tool that promotes efficiency online are the Google tools: Google Drive, Google Slides, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Photos, etc. These apps are available on both mobile and desktop. These tools are helpful most especially because of the cloud. Because everything can be stored in the cloud, I am able store ALL my files, it easy for me to access anywhere and it is easy for me to share my work with people concerned.

I am aware that the new media culture has many cons. But right now, I am able to work so many things at the same time anywhere I want because of these tools. In a world that is so fast paced, I am kept busy. I, in turn, demand things to be quicker, as well (this is a common trait of millennials). I am not complaining about the things that I can efficiently do because of the help of these apps. I do know that there is a sense of attachment/addiction/idolatry in the pace that I am going. But hey, I’m using an app to do this blog.

 

 

3D Printing for everyone

As seen in history, printing has shown it’s own way of making change in the society. From woodblock printing to the development of the printing press and so on. 3D printing has been around for quite sometime now. The difference between the first models and the ones today is the availability and accessibility. 3D printers would only be found in manufacturing factories in big scales that required a long process. Today, 3D printing has been made available for commercial purposes for anyone to use as easy as writing on a piece of paper.

3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that changed 3D printing in society by making it available for anyone and everyone. It is easy to use and is a good way to let your creativity go wild while having fun with all the different colors they offer.

Below is a video of the world’s first 3D printing pen:

 

3Doodler started as a Kickstarter project back in 2013. Now, it has an online storefront where you can order your own unit, plastics and other accessories.

visit online store here: http://the3doodler.com/store/

In the website, you can also find a community of 3D artists sending their own works of art, showing the world how they make use of their 3D artwork. By showcasing their projects, they are giving access to funding or selling their work through an online setup.

Some of the projects include home decor especially for the Christmas season

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Project by Cornelia in CRAFT (view project here: http://the3doodler.com/stencils/snowflake/)

Others use them to create fan art

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Project by Community in Design (View project here: http://the3doodler.com/stencils/bb-08/)

And some use them as accessories to other everyday objects

Mixed-Symbols

Project by Community in Decorate (view project here: http://the3doodler.com/stencils/badges-symbols/)

 

3D printing is now very commercialized with 3D printers available in affordable prices for consumer use. Printers can be connected to your home desktop for your own use. Retail price ranges from $249-$5000 for home use. Usual manufacturing printers cost more, up to almost a million dollars per unit.

This is a link to give you a picture of how easy it is to own a 3D printer at home: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/affordable-3d-printer/

The process of 3D printing using a desktop 3D printer doesn’t take much, as well. But this might be more appropriate for those who are familiar with 3D programs. Before you will be able to print your piece, you must first model it using any 3D program you are familiar with.

 

The link below will show what 3D printing really is and the processes behind it: http://3dprinting.com/what-is-3d-printing/

As you can see, there are many factors to consider before you can print a perfect piece using a printer. The 3Doodler has more control and literal translation than that of a desktop 3D printer because of the structure inside a piece.

Do not Fret!

For those who are not very familiar with all the processes and complications that come with 3D printing but still want to print their own pieces, Shapeways is the company for you.

Shapeways is a 3D printing service and marketplace company in New York where you can easily send your 3D model designs and place an order for them to create your piece and make sure it is in its best shape. They exist to serve you and your design, as a designer or even as just someone with an idea.

 

3D printing has evolved much from where it started. It has adapted to the wants and needs of this generation by coming up with different ways of utilizing it. These are only a few of the simple ways an average person can use 3D printing. The groundbreaking technologies are now of use in the medical, military, educational and other fields. I, on the other hand, do not like to underestimate the power of an “average person”. They often come out as the underdogs when they can easily produce income from the comforts of their own home. 3D printing has affected many sectors in society. As seen in this blog, it has affected even the most untraditional parts of the world like the service industry and stay-at-home individuals.

 

Sources used:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing