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Digital Media in a Participatory Society.

The TED talk we watched, by Henry Jenkins, got me thinking.

Digital media, particularly social media, is a wonderful thing for participatory societies. Using the example of “Peter,” a young man living with his aunt and uncle who is active in his community via social networking, always works to make it a better place, and is an amateur photographer, he illustrates that anyone can be a “superhero” in this day and age. The Peter he was talking about is, of course, Peter Parker, and it would stand to reason that one does not need to be bit by a radioactive spider to be a hero anymore.

Social media allows us to organize, to familiarize ourselves with millions of people from around the world with common interests, and to bring them together to achieve a common and singular purpose. It has been said that the sinews of Democratic power is collective action. Whether collective action is taken to mean a Political Action Committee, a 501c3, or just a large group of Harry Potter fans working to better the world around them, said action really is democracy at work.

As a proponent of Democracy and a lover of freedom, seeing such organization happening gets me absolutely giddy. The level of action that can be taken, the protests that can be brought about and the intelligent debates that can be had… it’s all quite wonderful. However, as That Mitchell and Web Look pointed out, the opinions of many of the internet’s denizens essentially equate to beating their fists on their keyboard and screaming in a guttural tone about how angry they are that someone else has an opinion.

Just as well, schools and businesses seem to not be huge fans of social media. They ban it relentlessly. Whilst I can see their concern, I must state my personal opinion: Blocking a website is pointless. We’re too smart. We break these blockers with the finesse of a locksmith. Stop wasting your time and money and spend it somewhere else.

10 Page paper for FYS

Just assigned a 10 page paper for my FYS class… on any topic of my choosing.

Part of me is terrified, another part of me is in love with the possibility of prattling on endlessly on a topic of my choosing.

Perhaps I will write on Ancient Roman or Greek military strategy. Perhaps I will write on Ancient kingdoms or societies… we’ll see. The possibilities are endless, and I am looking forward to this, over all.

Mojang v. Bethesda Softworks

It’s Elder Scrolls v. Scrolls in the court case that is heating up between Minecraft creators Mojang and Elder Scrolls creators Bethesda Softworks.

Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax filed the suit in Swedish court on September 27th, claiming that Mojang’s upcoming title Scrolls is infringing the trademark of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series.

I’m not going to get into the legal technicalities of the case, since it is kind of a mess, but if you’d like some details about the case, here are some good sources of information:

The fact of the matter is, this case is exactly as Kotaku described it: Mommy and Daddy fighting.

In addition, in our FYS class, we’ve discussed the importance of avoiding copyright/trademark issues, and this struck me as relevant to that discussion. The use of creative commons in everything we do likely keeps us safe from legal ramifications. A lawsuit over one word in a title of a video game just goes to show that things like this DO happen, and that no one is safe; least of all a tiny little Swedish video game company.

For my part, I’d love to see them throw the thing out of the Swedish courts, but in all likelihood, this will be a long and drawn out (read: expensive) mess for both sides to overcome. It’s sad, in a way.

I still love you both, mommy and daddy.

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