“Ideas and practices evolve rather than become displaced…” (Lankshear & Knobel , 2011, p. 52) ia an ongoing theme throughout chapter three of New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. There is not necessarily new technologies but rather a shift it how we use these technologies. For example, the internet is being used to build social identities and connecting people globally instead of just being a location to research or type school papers. People are exploring and building upon various Discourses which engage them in social media.
The openness of engaging online through the use of Facebook, Twitter and blogs is a true testament to the limitless possibilities online. It does not matter if you started Twitter five years ago or last week. There is a certain freedom of expression surrounding social media that lets you choose if you want words, picture, links or hashtags to define your ideas. Although there are some technical aspects such as learning to post effectively (and correctly) it is something that can be picked up almost instantly. The result is a layered and complex web of interactions that overlap and build upon each other.
Instead of just pictures and words, blogs have become sources of inspiration and education. The positive (and negative) feedback associated with engaging with strangers online can be a rewarding experience. A teacher blogging for example can vent or use his or her blog to express new ideas or accomplishments in the classroom. Affiliating with peers in an open collaborative environment promotes personal growth. This is the sharing of Discourses is an ongoing evolving mechanism that is rapidly expanding.
The apparent limitless creativity that can be expressed on the internet does have potential drawbacks. There is a give and take relationship to anything posted on the internet. As a person who is contributing a digital picture to perhaps Flickr, who has the “rights” to your pictures once it is posted? On the surface it appears engaging in social media is open and expressive but there is always the fine print on websites that might even legally own your picture or art work once it is posted to “their” website.
Lankshear & Knobel spoke about the idea of leverage as it relates to individuals contributing to websites. As individuals use a search engine their questions are tracked. It is an important business model to understand because this puts users as an integral part of improving their system. The best part for the business owner is this is done for them for free. This openness of the website contributes to a websites success and success equals money (for the company at least).
When considering how many websites track user’s searches and internet usage, the lines of personal privacy is blurred. I think most people do not realize that websites track their searches (or maybe they do not care). While not every website is doing anything malicious with the information gathered there are now more than ever internet scams and attempts at stealing user’s identities. The more open technologies become the more the cracks in vulnerability exist.
This chapter resonated with me. It makes me question and almost fear the things that I am putting online. Although I have not uploaded any personal pictures of myself I wonder what happens with the ones that I have uploaded. Although Facebook just started to get popular when I was in college, I begin to wonder what college kids do with all of the drinking and partying pictures that get uploaded of them. Do they keep their pictures private? I would be worried about getting a job or my professional career even years later. Maybe this is a thought that has not even crossed their minds yet. In any regard this chapter made me think twice about what my internet setting are and what pictures I will post in the future.
New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel. McGraw-Hill Education 2011.