Every day the amount of digital media we encounter increases. Through the internet we can read the news, watch tv and movies, listen to music, play games, and communicate with others. Our cell phones have transitioned from merely a portable phone, to sending text messages and e-mails, and now with smart phones they have become a portable computer and communications device. In fact the first computers took up many rooms of a building and are now nothing compared to the average smart phone which can fit neatly into someones pocket.
I remember having to explain to my parents when I was younger how to connect the red, yellow, and white adapters from my Nintendo to the TV, even though they were color coded. Then when they got wifi and had problems with it I had to explain that when the tech support person on the phone mentioned an “internet gateway” he wasn’t talking about the Gateway brand of computers with the box that looked like a cow. These days my dad has a laptop, iPhone, and iPad and has no difficulty using them. My mom is a music teacher and uses her laptop for all of her work. The more people are around digital media and devices the more they are able to easily use them.
With that said the truth is that the world around us remains analog and our digital media and devices reflect this fact. We prefer hearing sounds relating to a mechanical action when using a device even if it has no real mechanical parts so we have designed our digital media and devices to reflect this. The most successful devices use sound effects which have a tactile resonance and an origin in the real world. We click on a website link and we hear a sound like we pushed a physical button. Video game system controllers vibrate when the game implies that you would feel impact if it were reality. When turning off an iPhone or swiping the screen to unlock it, the sounds of vice grips opening up can be heard. Any good touch screen device will have realistic sounds synced up to play when objects are selected.
In essence our connections to the digital world must have real world origins. The world we live in is analog and when the digital interface is completely devoid of tactile or non-synthetic sounds we can still operate them, but we are not as happy. We are more likely to respond to digital media and devices which fall in line with this rule, and if creators of digital media hope to be successful it is a rule they must follow.
For my website project I wanted to make something that would be funny to read and fun for me to make. I settled on making a non-serious survival guide for the amateur DJ at a party. Some friends and I built a tiki bar a couple of years ago at one of their houses next to a pool. As a result the last two summers consisted of us having pool parties with the highest number of attendance at one point roughly 70 people. There were usually a minimum of 20 to 30 people every time and I was always the best at playing music based on what everyone was enjoying at the moment. Thus I was deemed the DJ for all of the parties. Usually for the first two hours I would be by myself as I picked music to keep everything going. It was rough at first to figure out, but eventually I found a rhythm to being the DJ. As a joke I decided to focus on the irritating aspects of performing this task and blow them way out of proportion. In no way shape or form am I as jaded or paranoid as the text from the website says I am. It’s all for fun. Enjoy.
Here is my Project C video. It is a quote by Henry Rollins with the song Eruption by Van Halen playing behind it. The final image presented is the ridiculous final screen from the NES video game Werewolf: The Last Warrior. The American versions of many video games on the NES and in the arcades were made patriotic for unknown reasons. It has nothing to do with the game itself and I always thought it was hilariously weird. I thought it would be amusing to throw it at the end of my video since it already says “The End”. Enjoy.
This project was to put up signs in a public place and see what happens. I made six different signs of all different colors with words saying “By the time you finish reading this sentence you will have imagined” then the sentence ends with something like “a taco” or “a sandy beach”. The point is to make the person reading the sentence imagine the thing at the end of the sentence merely by suggesting that they will. Its a very dry sense of humor thing. I commute to school and my other classes ended up being cancelled for this week so I had to find a place close to home to document the project. I live in a suburb of Arnold, Maryland and so the only public places available that aren’t homes are in the shopping center by my house and gas stations nearby. The other places nearby have security and asked me to leave. In fact every business I went to either ripped down my signs or sent me away. As if there was something offensive about them. So what I ended up doing was finding an electric breaker on the corner of the street by a grocery store. Lots of people drive and walk by it every day. I put them up on Tuesday evening.
Then it decided to rain all day on Wednesday which caused all of the signs to lose most of their color. Plus someone took the sign ending with “Bears Fighting” that was brown. I then replaced the signs Thursday and I will see what happens to them.
Some interesting points are made about generations growing up with computers and digital distractions all around them in Chapter 5: The Dumbest Generation. I got kind of carried away with my last post because I already knew a lot about the topic so I will keep this one short. I think that while there are real concerns with not switching off from our digital devices and spending more time in nature and with face to face normal human communication, the way the world has developed the advantage lies in staying connected digitally to each other. While it is true that some people spend all their time playing games, watching videos, or wasting time for hours and hours on the internet, Many people use their time online constructively by working and learning. The educational system especially has been greatly improved by online courses and providing help at home for students. The fear that this generation will be increasingly unable to focus on one thing at a time due to excessive multi-tasking is up for debate. What we do know is that human beings are very good at adapting to their environment especially when it is what the person grows up with. If the environment is not very connected and requires focusing on one thing for a long time then we adjust to that kind of schedule. If on the other hand the environment is very digitally connected and requires multitasking then we are able to adjust to that schedule. Whether or not the fears proposed by the book are true remain to be seen and will be proved or disproved over time.