Blog 8 – Response

Facebook’s Success: Fact or Fiction.

 Gehl presents a great argument here. He gives his own reasons for quitting but he uses the opinions and thoughts, not evidenced-based as he indicates, of a very few bloggers. His argument is one-sided. He couldn’t produce the numbers that Facebook does to support his argument. His argument is common sense. The average user of the platform Facebook all agree. Gehl isn’t stating anything we didn’t already know. What Gehl is forgetting to mention, or maybe not even realizing is the era in which Facebook lives. This is an important part of the equation and Gehl fails to even recognize it. If Facebook was born during the time of MySpace, and vice a versa, Gehl would be writing about “Why I Left MySpace” or any other Web 1.0 platform at that time.

What we have to remember here is that Facebook is living during a time when the consumer has changed to producer. We are on the verge of Web 3.0 tools. The digital environment is different now than in the era of MySpace or AOL. Facebook is living in a time where we incessantly carry our devices everywhere. We have access to the Internet 24/7. With MySpace and AOL or in my kid’s time, MSN chat, when you went to eat, or go to the bathroom, or go to work, or go to bed, you were cut off. The participant’s access was restricted. No wireless and/or data on cell phones or hand held devices. Once you got up from your desktop, it was over.

I agree with everything Gehl is saying, but he forgets to comment on the fact that we can cook supper and check Facebook. We can be at work and check Facebook. We can wait in the doctor’s office and check Facebook. It’s about the freedom of access not the platform. Facebook has been allowed to take advantage of it’s platform due to the access given to the participants.

We are at a time that platforms have the ability as Gehl states that, “Facebook is simply a part – albeit a powerful part – of a conglomeration of social media sites that largely monopolize their respective spheres; these sites are interlinked in an array of protocols, APIs, user activities, and trade associations” (p. 225). If MySpace, AOL or MSN chat had the same type of ability or platform to interlink with other social media sites, if would still be the social media being criticized.

I agree with everything Gehl saying, but it isn’t a critique that myself and other users already lament. Gehl needs to look deeper into why Facebook is one of the ultimate platforms of today. When the next best platform comes along during the introduction of a better way of access, we will see the new Facebook of tomorrow. What’s in a name or owner? It might as well be MySpace; it’s the technological devices that got us here.

Finally, let’s look at the current financials of Facebook. Facebook Investor Relations (2014), “Facebook Reports First Quarter 2014 Results – Revenue was $2.50 billion, up 72% vs. Q1 2013- Revenue from advertising was $2.27 billion, up 82% vs. Q1 2013. Free cash flow for the first quarter of 2014 was $922 million. Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them” (Quarterly Report, 2014). You go Mark Zukerberg! I will follow and LIKE you.

Sincerely, Facebook Fan (and the first of my friends to admit it)

Debbie

Creative Assignment 4 – YouTube

Wn. (2013). Live chat, [Online photo].

Izzard and Disney: A Mashup Made in Heaven Part A

In our current digital surroundings, it has become trendy and possibly advantageous to create subversive video mashups. This concept is not new. McIntosh (2012) reveals, “The very first political remixes can be traced back to Russia during the 1920s, when Soviet filmmakers like Esfir Shub began recutting American Hollywood films to give them a sharper class commentary” (para. 2.1). McIntosh (2012) goes on to provide a pre-YouTube chronological timeline, “political remixers relied on community Web portals like the Guerrilla News Network (GNN) and Adbusters to find, share, and discuss remix works, as it was often too expensive for individuals to host video” ( para. 2.5). Moreover, Petersen (2008) comments about subversive creativity, “In general a decentralized system of communication as the Internet, with the low cost of publishing and the ease of violating copyright, creates a situation where subversive thought and creativity can prosper, and especially the system of wealth within the entertainment industry can be broken, by violating copyright” (para. 11). According to Lang (2008) as he writes about the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, he states, Bruns has coined the term produsage to better describe the current paradigm shift towards user-led forms of collaborative content creation which are proving to have an increasing impact on media, economy, law, social practices, and democracy itself” (produsage, 2007). Thus, in our contemporary digital environment, we evolve to produsage by means of a trouble-free and easy on the pocket medium, YouTube.

One of the most popular topics of mashing is the Disney movies. Many producers of mashups have used the past, Disney movies and the present, specifically Eddie Izzard to create a collection of controversial to hilarious mashups. I’m not sure if Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave but if he is aware of the longevity of his Disney movies I think he would approve. Not only are his movies continuing to be popular in today, but comics and unknown producers are also profiting from such fame.

A popular use of Disney movies is the mashup with the performances of comedian Eddie Izzard.   According to IMDb, Izzard is “Best-known for his cross-dressing stand-up comedy routines”. He has done everything from acting to voiceovers for video games. “Traditionally, Izzard has focused on the creative possibilities of thinking through absurd situations in real time. He also turns much of the attention on himself and his personality, including his cross-dressing (“It is my manifest destiny to wear a dress on all seven continents”). Contemporary popular culture (Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.) is also a frequent subject, brought up both to critique its weaknesses and to enhance his anecdotes´(An Eddie Izzard Fansite), His official website states, “Eddie’s stand up is digressive, surreal and free-associative” (Izzard, 2014).

User, sphinoocipital of YouTube has created many remixes and mashups. More specifically, the user has an array of Disney movies and Eddie Izzard performances. “There’s just something so perfect about seeing wholesome Disney characters bring to life all the sly subversive fun of classic Eddie Izzard bits” (sphinoocipital). Contrary to McIntosh (2012) Sphinoocipital creations of Disney and Izzard are post YouTube. In parallel to McIntosh (2012) many of the Disney movies used by Sphinoocipital are pre YouTube.

Izzard and Disney: A Mashup made in Heaven Part B

Eddie Izzard is a 52 year old stand-up comedian who was born in South Yemen. His credits also include television, movies, stage and voiceovers. “Hailed as the foremost stand up of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion icon. Human” (Izzard, 2014).

Sphinoocipital is a user on YouTube with a lot of uploads to view. This user is imaginative and witty when it comes to subversive mashups. Sphinoocipital, (female or male, not sure) has created six mashups of Disney movies meshed with the clowning around of Eddie Izzard.

In the following mashups created by Sphinoocipital and posted on YouTube, are taken from the comedy feature Dress to Kill (2002). Izzard’s topics range from European history to the growing pains of adolescents. Sphinoocipital has focused on Disney movies and Izzard’s European history skits.

In the interview with Juhasz (2009) with Jenkins, although there is much disdain about YouTube from Juhasz’s students, he concludes with positive comments about YouTube

I am less interested in the fact of who produces, as much as I am how she does so and in what context. I am most interested in media cultures that allow regular people not simply to document their lived experience, not merely to reflect their experience through and to the norms and values of the dominant culture, but to create art and/or opinions about their lives and culture, in the name of a stated goal (of world or self-changing), and to an intended community.

It is interesting to see the context of these mashups by Sphinoocipital. The user is able to mesh the narratives with the movie scenes with finesse. They are seamless. Does this user have a stated goal? Not literally but it seems to be for a community who enjoys the creativity, hilarity and DIY amateur mashups.

Let the fun begin!!

Do You Have A Flag? – Pocahontas.

In the first mashup, “Eddie Izzard get a few visual aids for his classic bit “Do You Have A Flag?” with the help of the cast of Disney’s “Pocahontas” (1995). Chances are this is actually more historically accurate than the original Disney film!” (Sphinoocipital, 2011). In 1998, Eddie Izzard’s comedy act called, “Dressed to Kill” included a vast assortment of jokes including the role of the flag in imperialism. “Izzard jokes about a wide range of topics including…the role of flags in imperialism…” (Video Librarian, 2002, pp. 28-29).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr-Wb8FQ8co&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F&index=2

Cake or Death? – Sleeping Beauty.

In the same comedy routine, Dress to Kill, Izzard mocks the Church of England, specifically fundamentalism. Izzard explains that the Church of England dogma of fundamentalism could not possibly exist because you would be shouting out, “You must have tea and cake with the vicar or you DIE!” and “CAKE OR DEATH?!” The latter phrase has become so well known that it is now the name of an Eddie Izzard fansite (IMDb, 2014). The creator writes, “Some good ol’ Disney magic comes to Eddie Izzard’s classic bit, “Cake or Death” as Church of England is taken over by Maleficent and the Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty (1959). Perhaps they CAN have extreme points of view!” (Sphinoocipital, 2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37ALyR3kwqw&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F&index=2

Covered In Bees-Aladdin

Sphinoocipital (2011) mashes Aladdin and Eddie Izzards routine called “Covered in Bees”. “The ambition and thievery of Aladdin (1992) brings Eddies Izzard’s “Beekeepers” bit to life, as Aladdin finds out how difficult it is to flirt when covered in bees!” (Sphinoocipital, 2011). In 1997, Izzard does a routine called Glorious. This routine follows the bible, starting with the beginning of Genesis to the end, Armageddon. The line that becomes famous from this skit is, “I’m covered in bees”. Of course, Izzard is referring to what a beekeeper would say.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAxKY6gKp0Y&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F&index=3

Hitler

In this creative mashup, user Sphinoocipital is intuitive to the meaning of the dialogue of Izzards routine and by meshing the correct parts of the Hunchback, it’s synchronization at its best. “What with their mutual fondness for murdering gypsies and conquering Paris, The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s Frollo seems the perfect casting for Eddie Izzard’s brilliant summary of the life and times of Adolf Hitler. Also with some cameo appearances from other notable mass murderers!” (Sphinoocipital, 2011). Just as creative is the get right to the point fowl language of Izzard in the routine when mocking Hitler and other mass murderers. It’s a touchy topic, but the rawness of his presentation makes it hilarious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMtek9G74Yc&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F&index=6

Criminal Justice – Beauty and the Beast

Part of the Dress to Kill routine Izzard discusses his life, The History, as a Brit and how he ended up in the Americas. He is trying to choose a career with his high school advisor but everything he wants to do he can’t. “Yeah, so, yes, so that was it. There was a spirit of ex-empire, this thing of “things can’t be done,” whereas in America, I thought there was a spirit of “can be done!” The pioneer thing” (Izzard, 2014). The conversation leads into discussing all of the empires of Europe. In his mockery of the empires he talks about Pol Pot. Pot was a Cambodian communist. During the ‘70’s under his dictatorship, 25% of the Cambodian population die due to executions, poor living conditions, forced labour camps and malnutrition. In the mashup, “The cast of Beauty and the Beast (1991) teaches us some valuable lessons about the criminal justice system and mass murderers, as described by Eddie Izzard”. (Sphinoocipital, 2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK08nasPCt8&index=4&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F

Tangled bag

Izzard is famous for his comedy style that, “takes the form of rambling, whimsical monologue and self-referential pantomime” (Wikipedia, 2009). In this monologue Izzard rambles on about an unattended bag at a train station. It seems to be an uninteresting situation, but he creates hilarity out of nowhere. Just as clever, is the user, Sphinoocipital to mash the routine with a Disney movie. “The cast of Tangled (2010) has a run-in with some incompetent security when they come across the ominous unattended bag from Eddie Izzard’s reminiscences” (Sphinoocipital, 2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J0s0ku0ND0&list=PL08689D2B21976A2F&index=5

References

Petersen, S. M. (2008). Loser generated content: From participation to exploitation. First Monday: Peer Reviewed Journal on the Internet, 13(3). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/article/view/2141/1948

Prosusage.org (2007). About Axel Bruns. Retrieved from http://produsage.org/about

An Eddie Izzard Fansite. (2014). The man, the myth, the shoes. Retrieved from http://www.auntiemomo.com/cakeordeath/themannew.html

Blog 7 – Response

#Activistism vs. #Slacktivism

twitter-featured1

Levinson (2009) writes about Twitter, “Welcome to the burgeoning world of microblogging,” (p. 133). Microblogging may be a simple and polite way to define the tweets of an egotistical user that feels they need to share they are eating a grilled cheese sandwich. In the world of tweeting, most people are lead to believe they are participating in a significant way. Twitter users believe that what they have to say about themselves in real time is noteworthy. Agree or disagree? Well, Levinson (2009) states that according to The New York Magazine (Leitch, 2009) and The Time Magazine (Johnson, 2009), “there is much that is complex and profound about tweeting” (p. 134).

In the New York Times 2009 the article How Tweet It Is by Will Leitch, discusses his visit with the Twitter “guys”, the culture and the company experience. “These guys are smarter than we were” (Leitch, 2009, para. 3). In 2009, Stone, Twitter’s co-founder, states Twitter is “like a flock of birds choreographed in flight” (Leitch, 2009, para. 7). The article concludes with a profound realization for the reader about the potential mode of critical participation. When Leitch was at the Twitter office for the first time, the Twitter employees were discussing some type of “mumbo-jumbo” (Leitch, 2009, para. 22). Leitch then noticed on the Twitter search that a user named “manolantern” tweeted and posted a picture about a plane that had just crashed into the Hudson River in Manhattan. This user tweeted 15 minutes before the New York Times was even aware. This was Janis Krum, and he was able to get to the plane and lend a helping hand. Leitch (2009) writes,

“His is a culture of sharing information. This is the culture Twitter is counting on. Whatever your thoughts on its ability to exist outside the collapsing economy or its inability (so far) to put a price tag on its services, that’s a real thing. That’s the instinct Stone was talking about. If the nation has tens of millions of people like Krums, that’s a phenomenon. That’s what Twitter is waiting for” (para. 24).

This is the epitome of critical participation afforded to us in a digital media environment.

Digibuzz. (2012, August 8).  Funny Twitter Bots You May Not Have to Block, [Online image].  Retrieved from http://www.digibuzzme.com/funny-twitter-bots-you-may-not-have-to-block/

Digibuzz. (2012, August 8). Funny Twitter Bots You May Not Have to Block, [Online image]. Retrieved from http://www.digibuzzme.com/funny-twitter-bots-you-may-not-have-to-block/

Twitter Bot — You could say it’s a cyber human pretending to be a real person to get in on the action of tweets. In general they are made to boost the followers for a certain brand or companies. There is a Twitter bot site that swears to raise new followers by 1500-3000 per week. Twitter does not keep an eye on content, so these software programs get overlooked (Digibuzz, 2012, para. 2). “However, spammers aside, some of these twitter bots can provide an amusingly unexpected mention in your interactions tab” (Digibuzz, 2012, para. 2). In this context, a Twitter bot can be a form of critical participation. On the other hand, Twitter bots are as annoying as the telemarketers that call us during the dinner hour.

Social Daily. (2014). Hashtag (ab)use [Online picture]. Retrieved from http://in.socialdaily.com/articles/2014/03/25/hashtag-ab-use

Social Daily. (2014). Hashtag (ab)use [Online picture]. Retrieved from http://in.socialdaily.com/articles/2014/03/25/hashtag-ab-use

Hashtags are influential: beneficial and constraining. Brooke Fou­cault Welles, a professor of communication studies blogs, “Hashtag activism is becoming more common, with #BringBackOurGirls and #YesAllWomen specifically garnering a lot of attention recently” (Welles, 2014, para. 1). It gets many people around the world coming together to recognize a world issue. Yet, this brings about the term “slacktivism”. This term, possibly coined by political commentator Dan Carlin, defines the constraints of hashtags. It is not enough that the world is recognizing an issue but there needs to be action. Hashtags get us excited about a cause but can die a quick death due to the constraints of physically helping the cause. Barnaby Feder (2002) of the New York Times cites Barbara Mikkelson who runs www.snopes2.com when describing the term slacktivism, “”the desire people have to do something good without getting out of their chair” (Feder, 2002, para. 13).

 

 

 

 

Blog 6 – Response

MY PLATFORMS ARE KILLING ME!

Superstock. (2014). Foot massage, [Online photo}. Retrieved from https://www.superstock.com/stock-photography/feet%20massage

Superstock. (2014). Foot massage, [Online photo]. Retrieved from https://www.superstock.com/stock-photography/feet%20massage

Similar to the platforms that I used to wear in my younger days, the platforms on the Internet are killing me. Well, a little dramatic but there is a great parallel here. They look great in the store window or on someone else’s feet, they are the latest fad and everyone is wearing them and they are only popular until another platform comes along. Some of these platforms will rise above, no pun intended, the competition, but I will have to upgrade and pay for extra features of an old style platform. Furthermore, participation may be equated to peer pressure. The platforms hurt like hell but everyone else are wearing them so I will suffer the trade-offs.

Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued.

Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture

Although I would like to think of my participation within the digital environment as unique, I am sad to come to the realization it is not.  Just as if I was to quit work tomorrow, the organization will survive without me.  The world will go on.   If I could label my participation I would say I am a minimalist. I like to participate, sparsely and simply.  That’s not to say that I don’t want to participate, but I personally feel that participation on platforms means making a difference or being heard.  Mind you, I continually think, if I don’t go on Facebook daily will the comments, likes, notices, statuses and messages still go on? Well of course they will. But Facebook needs me. They need me to be a participant for their platform to remain viable. Although they don’t really care what I do, they just care that I am a participant. Understanding and recognizing technological determinism, I am just a notch in the belt of the media, and I must conform in order to communicate with my so called friends.  Whether I have something profound to say or I commit social suicide with a girl’s night out picture, (thank god I couldn’t upload pictures in the ‘80’s) Facebook doesn’t care as long as I log in and keep my account active. As Jenkins says, “but all must believe…”

My participation is self-serving. It cannot be quantified.  Participation on platforms equals communication.  It is a two-way street. You need to talk and listen to someone else talking and listening. This is only measured by meaningful and inspirational communication. I am contributing but not really participating. I believe I can only measure my participation if it is meaningful and inspirational, not predetermined, (insert don’t like button here).  Measurable participation occurs by the many committed and knowledgeable bloggers that I have come to follow. That is who I would aspire to be in order to make my participation measurable. (NOW, insert you have a million followers here).

Arts Marketing Association. (2014). AMA Conference, [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.a-m-a.co.uk/page.aspx?id=399

Arts Marketing Association. (2014). AMA Conference, [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.a-m-a.co.uk/page.aspx?id=399

Freedom to participate is subjective for the people formerly known as the audience. I believe I am not restricted by the many free platforms that I can register for, but these platforms will predetermine how I can participate; that is far from being emancipated. I have become a slave of the many platforms available. I suffer with anxiety as I try to ignore the constant push notifications on my smart phone.  I turned off the push notifications from my Gmail account in order to sit down and eat supper in peace. I was having anxiety every time a sound alert or light flash came from my cell phone.  The more platforms I participate in the more I become a slave to the media. Many sites are now asking users to login with Facebook, Twitter or Gmail accounts. If I’m not  careful, and I am quick to click, the new platform has all of my information and the old platform is advertising to the world that I just signed up for a new account. UGH! Where does it stop? I am participating for the media and I don’t even know it. In the words of Roy Orbison, “I am working for the man”.  For these reasons I have become an immeasurable, pensive participant. I am careful, safe, slow, and apprehensive about the many platforms available to me as a digital citizen.

Watts, J. (2013). Overwhelmed by the Internet [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.jonwatts.com/2013/12-peices-of-advice-for-bringing-your-ministry-online/

Watts, J. (2013). Overwhelmed by the Internet [Online photo]. Retrieved from http://www.jonwatts.com/2013/12-peices-of-advice-for-bringing-your-ministry-online/

So now the question is; do I want to participate on Youtube to complete assignment 4…HELL YA!

 

Creative Assignment 3- Part 1

TECHNO-TRASH EVERYWHERE

TOWERS OF TOWERS

TOWERS OF TOWERS

What is a technological device? According to Merriam-Webster the word technological is an adjective defined as “resulting from improvements in technical processes that increase productivity of machines and eliminates manual operations or operations done by older machines” and the word device is a noun defined as, “an object, machine, or piece of equipment that has been made for some special purpose”.  I know that according to the study of this particular course it is referring to computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones, but what about the other technological devices that we use, acquire, change, update, dispose of and maybe consider the social and environmental impacts? Do they not warrant some discussion? Well, if I was considering the word count required for this post, I could waste a lot of space doing so. But if I really wanted to make a point about all of the “techno-devices” causing “techno-trash” and impacting our society and environment it would be a travesty not to mention them. “Microwave, icemaker, airconditioner, DVD, HDTV, alarm system, garborator, underground irrigation system, hair straightener, blow dryer, washer, dryer, gasfurnace, garage door opener, BBQ…POINT MADE! You’re welcome world!

                      MY iPhone 4

MY iPhone 4

Seriously, on a daily basis, I would say I use more techno-devices than I realize. My personal cell phone; (iPhone 4 on its last legs), my notebook, (which I call a laptop, because that is where it lives), a desktop computer at my home work station and at my place of employment work stations, a real sized laptop in the classroom that I teach in, an iPad in the dental clinic (mainly for Facebook, but my boss doesn’t know), wireless speaker on the deck(hey, it fits the definition), and of course our PVR box from our local cable company (it’s cheap because my husband works there, and we have 5 in our house). Let’s not forget the cheaply made and only works for 6 months cordless phones from Canadian Tire. Obviously some of these devices belong to my place of employment, but they are only used by me, and if they break down I am out of commission at work until Mr. Techno-guy calls me back. I can honestly say that I was coerced into getting these devices and still being honest, I was glad after I got them. My phone, laptop, desktop, wireless speaker and PVR boxes were all acquired through my husband because he believes in the importance of buying the newest technology. It keeps the people working and helps the economy. However, in my mind, I feel like we can’t keep up. As soon as you get a new device, there is a newer one on the horizon…PRESSURE! I try to use up everyone’s techno-trash when a birthday or Christmas presents with a new one. The latest notebook I own brand new because my used techno-trash (3 old laptops) went KAPUT! Shoppers Drug Mart had a notebook on sale (CHEAP) so I bought it.

I don’t like change. I don’t like to change my furniture around and I don’t like to change my devices.  I like familiarity. I get comfortable and the older I get the more I become a creature of habit. I can use my devices with my eyes closed and very little brain power, so when I am forced to get a new device it is only because my husband can no longer fix it or simply is tired of trying (honey, it’s old, give it up).

I really do want to get rid of the techno-trash in my spare room. It is a tower of towers! A lapful of laptops! I’m not even sure anymore if it is a pile of computer mice or real mice. As much as my husband loves to upgrade, he also loves to keep everything. He might be able to use it for something else. I think if I dig deep enough in the furnace room I would probably find our desktop from 1992!  I know I have a kitchen drawer full of Blackberry’s and iPhones. I actually still have my first cell phone in my desk drawer in the spare room.  Come to think of it, I don’t think we have disposed of anything, and if we have, I don’t even know how or where. Maybe the dump; I do see that happen every spring, but I try to stay out of the way.

KITCHEN E-WASTE

KITCHEN E-WASTE

Before this post, I hadn’t reflected on the social and environmental impact of these devices. Socially, I do feel more connected to my family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances. I can Tweet and “go on FB” whenever or wherever I want. I will be the first to admit that I enjoy keeping in touch or reading, liking and tweeting with people. As for the environmental impact, I am disappointed with myself not to take notice of the pile of techno-trash that has accumulated and how I am going to dispose of it. I think I have seen signs from companies to call to pick up old computers and the like. But can I trust that it still won’t end up in a third world countries green space? Hmm…I’m past my word count…to be continued.

Blog 5 – Response

Be Techno-Savvy with your Techno-Trash

Overwhelmed. (2011). Techno-trash [Cartoon]. Retrieved from http://www.underwhelmedcomic.com/2011/11/18/techno-trash/

Overwhelmed. (2011). Techno-trash [Cartoon]. Retrieved from http://www.underwhelmedcomic.com/2011/11/18/techno-trash/

As of today, I refuse to upgrade my old iphone 4. I disagree; my personal technological use is not political or is it? Unfortunately and embarrassing to admit sometimes I have acted in harmony with the interests of status rather than a matter of principles. Let me explain. First of all I didn’t want a cell phone to begin with. That was 4 years ago and it was a matter of principle. Everyone had one and I didn’t want to succumb to the pressures of a material society. It wasn’t a necessity. I was determined to could get along in the world without it. I have a computer closet in our spare room and it was taking on a life of its own. However as my children acquired their own cell phones they refused to use a land line to check in as they had been trained since the days of leaving the house on their own. So, lo and behold my girls bought me a cell phone for Christmas. “Mom, the only way we will stay connected is by text. We aren’t going to call or use a landline. That’s what the cells are for. You’re old school, so give up and just use a cell.” I was forced to give in to the humans that possessed more of my spirit than I cared to admit. “Fine”, I grumbled. Exactly one year later, my husband comes home with 2 new iphone 4’s. UGH!! “I don’t want a new cell, I just got used to this one!” “C’mon honey, get with the times, that cell phone is outdated not to mention you don’t have data.” “What? I’ve only had it for a year and what the heck is data?” Then he said we have a new contract that allows us to upgrade our cells every two years for free. (Hmmm, free, not sure about that.) This time I didn’t even have a choice as he already changed everything over and my year old cell phone wasn’t going to work anymore. This was 2011. From 2011 to 2013, I witnessed the loosing, cracking, dropping in toilets, not to mention the onslaught of upgrades to keep up with the newest releases. I have a landfill of techno-trash in my own kitchen drawer. Certainly, not as large as the illegal secret dumping in third world countries, but for a kitchen drawer, close enough. However the biggest tragedy with the phones was the thefts. As soon as someone in the house got the newest release, within a week it was stolen. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t believe it. I even encountered a theft of my husbands iphone 4S and then the thief wanted to sell it back to us!!! It was then that I declared to everyone in the house, “I am not upgrading my crappy iphone 4 until it breaks down. I don’t care what kind of deal they give me. No one wants to steal an old iphone. I am not upgrading my personal technology to keep up with the latest just to turn around and have it stolen. I refuse to worry about and hide my iphone every time I use it in public. Take that family!”
Watching the documentary on Planned Obsolescence solidified the comments I made to my family. When my iphone 4 breaks down, I am not upgrading to the latest release, I am getting an older or used cell. I will not succumb to the material society and let them dictate my personal technological use. I will not let cell phone companies force me to contribute to the billions of techno-trash being dumped in someone’s precious land, river and backyard. In my own small way, I want take back some control and make my own decisions that are based on principles and are not politically motivated by the Planned Obsolescence.

The “light bulb conspiracy” is not the plotting of an idea against a person, although that’s what it sounds like. It was a group of people trying to preserve their interests by purposely forcing the consumer to renew a product with a planned date of expire. Decided by an international Cartel called Phoebus, the idea was to develop a bulb with a shortened life span in order to remain profitable. If the light bulb needed to be replaced more often, it would sustain the company by increasing the demand, thereby increasing the profit. Not so different today with many of the items that are purchased for digital use. Many of the products we buy for digital use cannot be repaired thus making the consumer a slave to the producers of these products. In the documentary about the “light bulb conspiracy” we follow a young man on his quest to find a fix for his printer. As he takes the time to search for an answer, we see his persistence to make this printer work by not giving into the Planned Obsolescence of the printer. He finally discovers a program that resets the counter on the printer and it works perfectly. This is the type of thing that companies don’t want us to do. Companies rely on the fact that consumers are busy and not tech-savvy enough to repair a product thus sending them out to buy the same or better product. Companies know that we live in a disposable society and are delighted with the fact that we can buy bigger and better. As consumers we need to stay informed about our digital usage before our planet is one huge techno-trash site.

Marketoonist. (2012). Planned Obsolescence [Cartoon]. Retrieved from http://tomfishburne.com/2012/04/planned-obsolescence.html

Marketoonist. (2012). Planned Obsolescence [Cartoon].
Retrieved from http://tomfishburne.com/2012/04/planned-obsolescence.html