My word cloud

The text I chose is from the 52 lore entries from a video game called Destiny. These lore entries are rewarded one-by-one from collecting secret items scattered around the game called Calfcified Fragments. In video games, lore is used to explain the backstory, and if used properly, can provide essential backstory to characters in the game. Essentially, the lore here provides us with an understanding of one of the villain’s back story to understand how far they have come.

While some of the entries follow a close narrative, others make time jumps, but all follows similar themes and show the journey of loss and gaining of unbelievable power. The story follows “Oryx” and his two sisters who go from being extremely vulnerable and weak to obtaining god-like power through making a pact with the “deep”. Those words are some of the biggest ones here. I remember reading this when I was a kid and I was so amazed at the capability of world building that this game could do. To me, it it peak storytelling through lore.

I chose to use a scroll for my page since some of the text uses antiquated words and can read like an ancient scripture. Some words give the idea of obtaining influence such as “king” and “power”, but other words are specific to the game, and do not exist outside of it, so it definitely conveys a sense of mystery. The font I chose also reflect an old looking font, while at the same time, the colors are also the same colors of the items in the game. Overall, I feel like I did a good job of representing the mysterious and powerful theme of these lore entries. Now, the next question is how I could represent other significant lore entries in the game, especially those longer than this one.


The death of analog tech?

First of all, I want to address my experience with analog technology. Sadly, I have not had too much experience with this form of technology, but my love for old-school techniques has always been there. This is evident in how I prefer to have physical books. In his book, Mod addresses how much of what an average person reads is formless, meaning it can be transitioned to other mediums. While I agree with that assertion, I also see how the digital medium is less comfortable than the traditional printed type. While I have read books online, especially during the pandemic, I find often find it to hurt my eyes after a while. To me, nothing beats a printed book since I can comfortably hold it in my hands, and not have to go through many hurdles to access it. Maybe it is because of how I was raised with print books and I have gotten used to and feel nostalgic when I use them, but I do not think that current digital technology can outdo the print medium.

However, it would be wrong to admit that there are clear advantages to digital books. The biggest advantage is more about its ecological footprint than about aesthetics. Print books are taxing towards trees and are a big reason why I will switch to digital options eventually. Nostalgia, however, will be the death of us…

Nostalgia plays a key role in why we will never exist in a purely digital society. What I mean by this arbitrary term is completely relying on digital technologies as a medium for expression. We see this now with the resurgence in analog technology in areas such as film. I find the argument of nostalgia used in the context of humans always looking back at “simpler times”, and wanting to travel back in time. It is also important to make sure we remember how these older technologies work in order to appreciate how far we have come. While looking back may seem redundant, it is important to see the evolution of a field and nostalgia is important here since, with it, we can use these older technologies to create new products or expressions of art.

Lastly, this debate reminds me of how my mom always has a paper copy of everything, just in case if digital technology fails her, a practice that I have also adopted recently!


We the Commodities

One of the important ideas expressed in The Attention eConomy chapter of Reality Lost is commodifying the users’ information does not only serve make consumers victims of predatory marketing tactics. But it also, equally as important, creates a political dilemma where the online public become targets of political micro-targeting. The book briefly mention the idea of developing countries falling victim to data misuse. In these countries, nefarious data collection can lead to abuses which threaten the development in the political sense. Based on all of that, I believe that this phenomenon is only bound to get worse. Unlike the United States, where rights tend to be explicitly defined, these developing countries tend to be more unstable and the looming threat of fake news, is not to be taken lightly. This is because it is disinformation can quickly lead to human rights abuses, due to the unestablished government and/or lack of peoples’ rights. Another important issue, is that on top of dealing with state development, the people and the government have to deal with external forces spreading disinformation. An important point in your lecture that applies here, is that in responding to disinformation one gives it a platform no matter how illegitimate it may be. In effect, this may continue the erosion of trust in the developing government and may even undermine its authority since they are responding to such outlandish statements. Lastly, I also believe that this phenomenon will only continue to grow in developing countries as access to the internet in them increases. I say this because one may just be gathering information online, but as we see in this course, it I important to be a good digital citizen and know how to defend oneself from disinformation, which is easier said than done.


“Bad News” and communication through video games

Bad News is an interesting game that takes an all too common sight on social media and makes it into an interactive simulator for spreading disinformation. The game had simple mechanics, you can choose from 2-3 options on the type of disinformation you want to spread, then you then get feedback and are judged on the amount of followers you can accumulate. In the end I accumulated 12,616, although I do not know if that is a good or bad score. Many of the options on there, while not being word for word mirrors of what I can find online, echoed similar sensational headlines that I could find on almost any social media sites to lure people into clicking on their article.

This takes me to the question proposed: Are online video games an effective tool for social change? Why or why not? After playing this game I feel like video games can be adequately used to send a message to its players. While this game’s message of why disinformation is not a good thing is probably common knowledge. There are many other games that are examples which can convey ideas ranging from political messages, themes of addiction and loneliness, and to social commentary. This can be embedded in the game’s mechanics, narrative, and even easter eggs which may take players much time to find. “Bad News'” message is clear in the highly sensationalized options we can choose from. We, the player, are meant to see the interaction between those who spread disinformation and those who consume it. While we cannot see the full effects of disseminating disinformation, we can clearly see headlines that we may have seen before. Therefore, in a game that is meant to satirize the producers and consumer of disinformation, we are playing from the point of view of the troublemaker through which we can identify certain words and styles that those who spread this use.

Furthermore, video games are a clever medium through which we can communicate messages. Looking back, easier in the semester, I recall an article which looked into how we are dissuaded from reading long portions of text due to the way we read online. We are now getting used to reading shorter lengths of text such as small articles, or tweets. I know that I have sometimes fallen victim to this since I may shy away from reading long blocks of text. Therefore, I believe that a video game may be an interesting and effective way of sending a message to a public who may have difficult keeping their focus on a long novel or journal article. While the video game may not be able to convey the large amount of information that a books or series of books can it can still give useful information with relatable characters and through offering a larger degree of interactivity learning said message. One of the greatest ways to achieve this would be to use Virtual Reality. Using these types of games, the player can actually feel like they are full immersed in the video game, thus having a better interpretation of the message. For all of these reasons, I believe that it is very important to recognize how video games can act as a vessel for change through all of the unique ways that they can send a message to the player base.


Terms of Service

I have almost never tried to read the terms of service of any app, website, or game that I use. Although, one time I did try to, I ended up just doing a quick skim. I feel like there is just so much information and it is so wordy that I feel disconnected from any information it is trying to convey to me. One interesting portion that I found in both the Medium and TikTok readings was the presence of arbitration consents. I was learning what this meant in my intro to legal writing class, and both texts lay out the process that parties who have a grievance against the company must go through. They both make similar points by saying the arbitration is the only way to go and that they cannot seek class action lawsuits. They also state specific parameters that govern the process of arbitration, emphasizing the fact that they must remain confidential. Apart from all of the terms that govern out day to day use of these platforms, I feel like this is also important to know since it outlines the process those who have formal complaints must go though and the legal implications of pursuing one. While there would be almost no way to establish TOS’s that are the same for platforms across the board, I hope that companies would at least try to make them a bit shorter, although I guess it is not in their best interest to.

The other site that rated websites by outlining important parts of their agreements is a step in the right direction, since it condenses the terms into pros and cons and gives an overall rating as to how safe it is and what the site does with your information. On there I saw some sites that I use, who utilize my information in ways that I did not like. But in this case I feel powerless since if I do not agree to their terms, then I cannot use their sites. We do not have much bargaining power since we cannot regulate them as consumers, so I wonder how much these companies would be willing to change about their structure of TOS.



Rebuild the Internet!

First of all, forgive my artistic skills…. Anyways I had a bit of trouble deciding how I wanted to express my view of the Internet. It was not until yesterday where I decided I would try my best to write a comic. I have always loved to read comics since they usually include deeper themes than what meets the eye. The meaning of the internet that I decided to go with is the idea of our own “personal internet”.

The comic I wrote starts off with a boy who just had his first class of DGST101 and was struggling to answer the question of. What is the internet? He asks his father who gives him a very complex answer, and then his sister who gives him a much more simple yet interesting answer too. Despite having this information, he feels that both their answers do not apply to him. So what better to do than sleep on it!! In has deep sleep, he find the creator of the internet, and repeats the same question to him. The stranger gives him a 5 word response, IDK what’s it to you? Before the protagonist could respond, he is abruptly awakened by his alarm. He sits on it, and reflects in the answer until he finally understood what the response meant. He was so caught up in getting others’ answers that he never looked inside himself for his own. Looking at it now, he uses the internet for very different reasons while using very different “parts” of the internet, when compared to those he asked. As a result we each have a very different interpretation of what the internet is, causing us to have different answers to the same question!

The internet is vast and contains an immense amount of knowledge that useful to some but useless to others. To think that one day someone could explore its entirety is highly improbable. That is why we have our own personal internet. Each of us uses the internet for various different things. Some use it for their job to attend meetings and work from home. Others like me, use it for school and for entertainment. Furthermore, if I were to ask you, what the internet means to you, you would give me a different answer than I would give. Therefore, this is how we create our own personal internet. It is like a room in our mind, where we store all of the information that is meaningful to us that we find on the internet. I may find a forum here I can talk to other people that have similar interests to me, so I would store that in my personalized room. It is this idea, that prompts the “creator of the internet” to answer the protagonist’s question by saying “IDK what’s it to you”. We have to ask ourselves that question in order to find what the internet means to each of us, and the injects of our “room” is based on what we value from the internet, not on what others do.


What is the internet?

To me the internet is a “place” where you can roam forever and find an infinite amount of information, useful or useless. The term place is in parentheses, since the Internet has no control center, no on/off switch, and is in constant flux. The nature of the internet never in a set or fixed position which provides us the freedom to contribute from any access point, mainly our phones and computers.

Nominally there is only only one internet, although one can argue that there are other internets consisting of the dark web. However, to me there are multiple internest, or should I say multiple realms of the internet, and they can be accessed instantaneously. Even if they can be access in mere seconds, it would be nearly impossible to not only visit every site on the internet, but It would definitely be impossible to truly experience each area. There are simply too many places on the internet to fully immerse yourself and feel like it was worth being on there for each one, therefore I believe that each one of us have varying definitions of the internet, based on what we access and how we consume such information we see.

This leads into my next point: the analysis of the readings. I too resonate with Carr’s belief that taking in information from the web, changes our ability to take consume information in more traditional ways through books and articles. While I do not agree that the internet is making us dumber, it certainly may have damaging effects in other aspersions of our lives. For me, sometimes I find it difficult to read long passages of texts, more often that before. While I feel like it may have to do with the difference in the way I read online, I also feel like it has to do with the topic too. This phenomenon, to me at least, is only tied to reading, but to others may also affects the way they listen to music or podcasts, or how they watch movies. I feel like only time will tell the extent of the effects of the consumption of information via online resources. Instead of making us dumber, it is just changing how we think, while at the same time exposing us to many more sources of information.

The other article by Shirky to me shows how the introduction of such a large amount of resources, will only result in a change and development of institutions needed to support it. I think that is one of the foremost reasons why I am taking this class and why it exists. We are acquiring knowledge in digital literacy, interpreting our digital footprint, all while learning to navigate and make the most out of our experience. That is why I love the internet, I can never stop acquiring more knowledge in it and about it. It is ever changing which means that ethics and definition will always be changing which encourages me to look back and see how things have changed, and learn new things.

Brandon Rojas




The “Antiquated” Internet

This week’s reading provides a look into what one person thought of the web in its early stages in the early 2000s. It comes off as very relatable, since the prologue consists of a person being shown something new, which is told in a narrative style. The article itself, isn’t over analytical, and instead uses examples of stories and explanations that are explained in lay terms, which also comes off as funny at times. The first chapter explores the web as an unexplored land, in which every user is using it in a different way with different expectations, and outcomes. He provides stories of his own adventures on the web consisting of looking for a quilt on e-bay, looking at another person’s quirky profile, and recounting another young man’s actions which landed him in trouble. Weinburger, uses these examples to illustrate his point of everyone creating a “new” identity online by meeting others, using different services, using such a variety of tools, and meeting different people from various areas of the globe. Thus, fulfilling the title of his work, a variety of loosely connected different interactions, transactions, and experiences that occur on the web that come to form our web persona and change the way we socialize.

The second chapter serves to paint the picture of what the web actually is. There are two examples of what the web is, the first one consists of looking down on multiple layers that show the connections between technical portions of the web. On the other hand, the second description provides a more spatial comparison to that of a map of the world. It joins together areas that share similarities and demonstrates online searches, which he emphasizes. He later draws comparison between searches in person and online. He states the idea that the web is spatial, which forms the mental image of us navigating through a sort of “shopping mall” of products and ideas so that we can get information. He also really emphasizes the notion of “visiting” places on the web, even if we are not actually moving to those places. The web, in his eyes, also allows us to participate act in ways that we would not be able to in a traditional sense. Moreover, the web allows us to visit a multitude of other sites that we may like through hyperlinks which ties back to the notion of the web being lonely connected pieces. All in all, this was a very neat way to look back on the web before some of us were even born, which also allows us to see how far we’ve come and how some norms and functions of the internet were viewed upon on in their infancy.

Logo of the famous video platform: Youtube.

I believe that my artifact, Youtube, relates to the reading in the sense that we can create a new identity for ourselves, while also reffering to the author’s method of explaining the web where it is a place that is spatial where we can see items that we like close to us. Moreover, by interacting with them, we are recommended other things that may suite our taste. It relates to my first point since. this video streaming platform took a step forward by allowing a higher degree of interactivity than just a profile online. Users can create channel and look for videos that they may enjoy or even create content, thus reinventing themselves into a new identity which may not be accepted by their in-person peers. Furthermore, anyone could make comments on these videos which could lead to meeting new like-minded people. The second point relates to the book in that Youtube recommends many other videos that we may like, ultimately putting us “closer” to creators we like, and giving us a chance to discover other content creators that have similar interests. This artifact reveals that people during this time wanted to do more than share short videos, or pictures on the net. Instead, they sought to create bigger content whether it be a vlog or a play though. Those who create this form of content also desired to provide services and entertainment, while at the same time the users wanted an escape or a simple pastime when things get slow in their daily lives. As an avid user of this platform (I am currently listing to music on it right now!!), I look back at the beginnings, such as the first Youtube video, and think how far the site has come. The small idea of a website where people could make and share videos, has branched off to so many genres, where you can look at videos ranging from DIY’s to horror game walkthroughs to sponsored advertisements. It has become a platform of entertainment for some, an outlet to express oneself, and a source of news which to others may be hard to come by. I use Youtube, mainly for entertainment, but writing about it as my artifact and reflecting on all of the other uses has really made me realize the values that this website holds. Overall, I think that Youtube has helped us from curing boredom to assisting us in an foreign tasks; and therefore we should be grateful on how it has developed in less than two decades it has been alive.

By Brandon Rojas

Blog Post 2 9/2/21



Reflections of a dystopian future.

Hello everyone! I remember reading the Veldt as an assigned reading sometimes back in middle school (so depressing IKR). Afterwards I read Fahrenheit 365 which was one of my favorite books for a while, because of the way it painted technology as this tool that will one day use us instead of us using it, rendering us useless due to our reliance on it. I feel like both stories carry this message. The family in this story uses their house, more specifically the nursery, so much that that in return they become so reliant on it that they cannot live without it which causes their downfall. The kids use its innocent use to commit a horrid act. Because of that, the technology uses them as a means to be there even if their owners are gone, in this case after their death. This is similar in the case of There will come soft rains, the technology of the house is perceived to be an eternal entity, that can survive whatever the humans do, in this case the nuclear Holocaust. The human conflict, whatever its origin, used their advancements in technology, the bomb, to lead to their ultimate ruin, and still the technology had the last laugh, or so we thought… However one of the bigger differences is that in the second story, the one force that can trump technology is that which humans cannot but seek to control: nature. The ferocity of nature disrupted the eerily harmonic routine that the house followed, and in the end took back what once belonged to it. The context of this story is interesting as they were both written at the beginnings of the Cold War after the destructive nature of the nuclear bomb was shown to the world. Therefore it is understandable why the tone towards technology seems to be pessimistic in these short stories. The idea of technology leading us towards such a dystopian future, can make one think that anything in excess can lead towards an unwanted result. This is especially true when it has to do with tech, since nowadays it has capabilities that parallels what is seen in this story. Another interesting takeaway is that even if we have all of these technological resources at our disposal, it cannot save us from the forces of nature, which to us may seem destructive and primitive, but in the end is fair. I am glad that I read these short stories because it rekindled my love of Bradbury’s works.

Tags: #Dgst101