For me, our class experiment “Wasting Time on the Internet” was fresh, exciting, and something that I’m glad I experienced. The ability to reach everyone in class at once made me feel connected to everyone as I never did in a “regular” class, especially when I realized that I could send ripples of laughter through the classroom as effortlessly as hitting “send” with no worries about the delivery of a joke or the volume of my voice. As our discussion shifted from Buzzfeed to more serious topics, I had to stop myself from continuing to joke around and steer my thoughts toward the readings because I was sure that my professor’s patience with the class clown antics was wearing thin. Once the discussion of the YCHI readings began, I felt that the rapid-fire “try not to miss anything” feeling of the class was mirrored almost perfectly by the frantic, highly choreographed, highly digital style of the assigned YCHI works which gave me a similar feeling to the all-online discussion; a feeling that I’d describe as “fascinated but struggling to keep up”. The YCHI works also require constant attention and only exist online, much like Tuesday’s class discussion.
My browser history doesn’t have much to offer about my activities that day- it exclusively shows the course website, my email, my twitter, and the chat room. I didn’t listen to music or surf around the web- my need to be the center of attention led me to dive into all the channels head first. I did make repeated visits the Sports Illustrated swimsuit twitter page, because the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models were doing an online Q and A at the same time as class and I thought it would be really great if I could get one of them to use the class hashtag and then talk about it. As cool as it would have been, I quickly abandoned the idea when I couldn’t think of anything to say that was clever enough to get a response from a supermodel (a rare problem for me).
When Professor Thomas, in the chat room, began to assign point values to an email, tweet, or chat room response the grade grubber in me came out and I got extremely nervous that I wasn’t contributing in the right ways. From that point on, I began to (or began to attempt to) discuss the readings in earnest and I quickly found that I really enjoyed reading peoples responses to the discussion rather than hearing them aloud. In print, I could analyze each contribution fully and had more time to decide what I was going to say to contribute. Because of the slow pace of the email chain, we stayed on one topic for far longer than we probably would in a normal class discussion. The informal environment led me to say things I probably wouldn’t in class- like asking Professor Thomas whether YCHI were “artsy and weird” and spouting ignorant statements like “made up words make me angry” and “Buzzfeed is trash”, two things I probably would never have said out loud but in the rapid fire and informal dynamic of this particular class, seemed more appropriate.
At the beginning of class, we discussed this phenomenon of people being more open online and why this happens as well as the effect or control that social media has on and over our lives. In the interest of this, I attach a hypebeast.com transcript of an extremely recent LOVE magazine interview with Kim Kardashian. In it, Kim talks about online trolls and how people say things to her online (like that they hope her child drowns) that she knows they’d never say to her face, a concept we explored in our discussion. I think this is highly relevant because it’s an online-only (the issue hasn’t yet hit newsstands) somewhat TMI interview from Kim Kardashian, a woman whose empire is built on online over sharing- this is a woman who starred in a superbowl commercial that parodied how much time she spends sharing her life over social media, how pointless her posts are, and how interested the world is in her online presence, then uses this parody to try to sell cell phones. Kim is a woman who skyrocketed to fame with an online sex tape (is there a bigger example of online oversharing than that?) and has regularly been accused of using Photoshop to project an unrealistic image of herself online. In this way, Kim is both a victim and proponent of doing and saying things online that you never could in real life.
Link: (NSFW for the semi-nude picture from the magazine spread that appears at the top of the article)
And here’s her Superbowl Commercial, in case you missed it