Creativity and New Media

When I was younger I played a game called VMK (Virtual Magic Kingdom). It was a MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) created by Disney, and was a virtual world that mimicked California’s Disney Land almost exactly. You could interact with players, create your own themed ‘guest rooms’, and trade things with players. I was an avid player when I was around 10-13 years old, and made many online friends in the game. They never became my friends outside of this virtual world, but it was fun to interact with them and make trades.

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Another virtual world I participated in when I was in middle school/high school was Puzzle Pirates. It was an MMORPG where you were a pirate, and could join a crew. Your crew had ships that you would go out on and pillage and fight with other crews to pick up ‘loot’ another items. You also had your own home that you could build on and buy new furniture for. I used to be an avid participator in many MMORPGs and virtual worlds. They were a big part of my childhood, and I think played a role in my choice to pursue graphic design as a career path.

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Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds can be used for creativity, for friendship, for romances, for work, among other things. Pros and cons vary depending on the virtual world being used. Pros include avoiding ever being alone again and offers people ways to socially connect with others. It also allows us to use video conferencing and virtual worlds for education. The cons include crippling our communication skills in the real world, and the dangers of not knowing who we are really talking with.

Minecraft is one of the many virtual worlds today, and it is a world for kids. It allows children to express their creativity and imagination in a safe environment while interacting with others. They get to build things and explore a world within their computer. “After Second Life, Can Virtual Worlds Get a Reboot?” by Diane Mehta at Forbes discusses how no one yet has been ‘creative enough to think beyond what’s already out there’ and how we need to figure out what else virtual worlds can offer us.

“Going to the virtual office in Second Life” by Mark Tutton at CNN discusses the plans Second Life has of creating an environment where businesses can have virtual offices and work environments so people all over can connect and ‘go to work’ with their avatar and have a conference. IBM is one of the companies which used this program, and had about 350 of their technical leaders from around the world meet in this virtual world to discuss new technology. Rashes Parmar, IBM’s chief technology officer for Europe told CNN, “We had a whole range of environments, from auditoriums and collaboration pods to social areas where the avatars could pick up a beer around a log fire, or walk around a sculpture park and talk”.

I think the future of virtual worlds will be more immersive. People will use virtual worlds to do everything. We will become more connected to society yet more disconnected from reality simultaneously. It is an interesting and terrifying thing altogether.

Creativity

New media fosters creativity by allowing people an outlet to express themselves. Social media sites and applications like Instagram, Vine, YouTube, and Snapchat allow us easy ways to share our creativity and thoughts with others we don’t even know. As shown in the article “Disney Tolerates a Rap Parody of Its Critters. But Why?” by The New York Times, people have created many mash-up videos of cartoons set to popular rap music among other songs. Winnie the Pooh and Spongebob are seen on YouTube set to “Crank That”. It’s interesting how big companies like Disney or Nickelodeon will sometimes choose to allow this to happen due to it bringing attention to their cartoons.

Social Networking Sites

The three social networking sites I’m most familiar with are Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, however I was never a fan of Twitter. For me, my Facebook account has become mostly a way of seeing interesting videos posted by friends and also a way of staying in contact with relatives who are far away. Also it has become a source to local news.

Instagram is mostly used for sharing adventures through images, and a way to explore what people around the world are doing visually. It’s also a good media site for advertising products like jewelry and clothing to potential customers, because there isn’t a way to really be bombarded. Instagram consists of pictures and videos, so ads don’t seem as annoying as they are on Facebook or twitter. Instagram also makes use of #hashtags which makes searching for things easy.

LinkedIn is my source for finding jobs and making professional connections. In my opinion it is used more for ‘social networking’ than are the other popular media sites. Here your professional side is the main side of you people see, and you have access to helpful tips and information regarding the business world.

Twitter is very interesting and I can see how it is useful to many, but I don’t think I would ever use it personally. I’ve noticed that a lot of people use it to share either what they’re doing throughout the day or to retweet things they find interesting. But it’s also a good way to complain about companies and their wrongdoings. Because it’s so public and because it can easily drag down a brand’s reputation, they seem to handle issues right away when contacted through twitter. Like instagram, twitter uses hashtags which makes searching for anything in particular easy.

Out of the four social networking sites I’ve listed above, my favorite and most used is primarily Instagram. I like to have a place where I can quickly and easily share images of what I’m doing and the adventures I go on with friends and family.

Social Networking

Social networking is both helpful and harmful.

In the business world it can be quite helpful. “Social Networking Technology Boosts Job Recruiting” by Frank Langfitt at NPR speaks about companies have began searching for new employees through social media. Sites like LinkedIn offer both employers and job seekers the opportunity to better match up with each other.

“Antisocial Networking” by Hilary Stout at The New York Times shows how all of this ‘interconnectedness’ is actually making us more antisocial, and how it effects kid’s social development. We’re forgetting how to talk to people; I believe this is the dark side of social networking. We have become too comfortable without actual human interaction, and I think it’ll only get worse from here on out.

 

Blog v. Wiki

A wiki allows multiple users to create and edit content in a collaborative way, while a blog is a personal website that has a chronicle of information posted in an ongoing format. Wikis are used more for sharing knowledge, while blogs are used for opinions.

In today’s networked world convergence is import. As stated in the article ‘Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on making the most of company wikis’ by Gardiner Morse at Harvard Business Review, “Thousands of organizations, from Microsoft to the FBI, use wikis to aggregate the knowledge of their far-flung employees, creating a place for them to electronically converge and collaborate on everything from planning meetings and documenting best practices to brainstorming about new products and processes.” This article shows how wikis can be used for many different things. An important aspect I gathered from this article was that wikis help people quickly come to a consensus on something. I think this is something of great importance in a work place.

Although blogs are typically used for opinions, and not in a collaborative manner, they can be used this way. The article from The New York Times written by Michael Wilson, entitled “Brooklyn Blog Helps Lead to Drug Raid” shows a very interesting situation. A community collaboratively posted on a blog about their neighbors suspected of operating a ‘crack house’. This blog helped bring together a case to the attention of the community board.

I’m unsure if I can think of a completely new idea for wiki use, but I think I would use a wiki as my own online workspace. Since you can access a wiki from anywhere, and store a lot of information on it and different types of media, it seems like a good place to keep different works for brainstorming and a way to organize your information.

Social Networking: Better or worse than the real thing?

My class term paper will be written on social networking, and will analyze whether it is better or worse than the real thing. I will discuss this topic from a sociological, moral, technological, and education perspective. I wish to show how if relied on heavily, social networking through new media can have negative impacts on us all. However if used in moderation it can be used to our advantage. The positive and negative effects on society will be analyzed in depth, and I will study the impact of new media on the world of graphic design, a field I am quite familiar with.