Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reddit, Online Hubs, and Street Gangs

Yes, yes, sensational title. Today's thesis is completely crazy and unlikely to actually be correct. But hey, I thought it might be interesting. Of course, this post's written mainly from an American perspective.

Reddit has a multifaceted reputation. As one of the most popular websites on the Internet, the online hub has earned a name for itself as a place where you can find funny pictures, personal insights from celebrities, and atheists. Lots of atheists. As we've also seen, however, it has its seedy underbelly, harboring MRAs, racists, and literal pedophiles.

The things that lurk behind that friendly gaze...

We can praise or condemn the site as much as we want. Reddit's existence, for better or for worse, has overtaken the role of the traditional internet forum. Sure, social media has played a role in the decline of online forums in general, but Reddit is easily the most forum-like of the big sites today. Reddit's features make a lot of smaller forums redundant, and over time, forums have been dying out.

What can we learn from this? Let's go way out into left field and talk about street gangs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Race and the Internet

Let's talk about race.

Well, this'll be good.

The Internet is an arena where we are disconnected from defining physical characteristics. Things like race, gender, and other personal traits are only a part of your online identity if you want them to be. But of course, race still matters online despite being invisible.

How has the Internet impacted racial identity? How does race emerge on the Internet? As someone who couldn't possibly do the subject adequate justice, I will try to explore these questions.

Monday, November 11, 2013

War of the Gatekeepers

Although the Internet encompasses many things, we often colloquially use the term 'Internet' to refer to what is known as the Web. The Web is the specific part of the Internet where you have web pages and web sites (aha, it all comes together!). The interface that most people use to interact with the Web is a web browser.

You know what's nostalgic? Market failure.

Your web browser is one of those things that you tend to take for granted. They're sleek, they're nondescript, they're just a natural part of our online routine. Being your browser of choice, however, is like getting to be your personal gatekeeper to the Internet - all web traffic must go through you first.

Naturally, many have vied for being the gatekeeper of choice. The so-called "browser wars" unwittingly became one of the most visible business struggles on the Internet - as well as a business struggle that would likely color all online business struggles to come.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Death and the Internet

A family member turned 50 a little while ago. I don't really keep track of family members' birthdays outside of those in my immediate family, so I happened to find out about my cousin's birthday on Facebook. It was a little unsettling to see, because this cousin also happens to be suffering from a very terminal stage of cancer. There is a chance that it would be the last opportunity for our family to wish him a happy birthday.

Not to start the blog post off on a low note or anything...

Facebook wouldn't know that he died right away, though. My family isn't particularly tech-savvy, so it's possible that his Facebook page would persist in its current form for a while. Around the same time next year, Facebook might tell me that my cousin, though possibly passed on, is celebrating his 51st birthday.

My cousin's situation is not the first of its kind. There is a diverse range of traditions around the world for dealing with mortality, and the Internet has begun developing traditions of its own. With so many of our life experiences cataloged online in various ways, it seems almost expected that these windows to our lives would also provide constructs for our deaths.