Hacker politics and publics

In her article ‘Hacker Politics and Publics’ Gabriella Coleman talks about the different characteristics, that distinguish geeks and hackers and their political significance. Introducing the term digitally based politics she talks about Anonymous (‘digitally based protest movement’) and WikiLeaks (‘tightly controlled organization famous for facilitating whistle-blowing and publishing classified and secret materials’). WikiLeaks is primarily connected and associated with one figure Julian Assange while Anonymous is leaderless movement opened for everyone to join.images

In addition to that she talks about the representation of geeks and hackers by the media. Colman describes computer hackers as skilled programmers, security researchers and system administrators. While in contrast computer geeks tend to be less technically skilled but with great knowledge in digital media and also they have enough technical know-how to develop good video editing skills and designing skills.

Nevertheless both hackers and geeks describe themselves and formulate political claims using words such as freedom, free speech, privacy and meritocracy.

Coleman also describes the different way in which geeks and hackers are engaging with politic by providing us numerous examples. She argues that even if geeks and hackers share ideological sympathies they display a diverse realpolitik.

What I was thinking while reading this article is whether the hacktivism has future or not. And if absolutely anybody (possessing the right skills) could proclaim themselves for a hacktivists, what actually would mean to be a hacktivist?


Nevertheless I agree with Coleman abut geeks and hackers and the unique politics they have to offer us.

Yoanna Angelova


Mobile cultures

Ages ago, cell phones were mainly used to make a call or text someone. Nowadays everyone is using cell phones for different kinds of purposes. We do not need to have a separate camera any more to take pictures, because it is integrate in our cell phones. As well as we do not need a laptop to check emails or read the news as we can use cell phone instead.  These varieties of options create cell phones so successful and used by everyone from kids to adults.

To talk more about teenagers and their performance in cell phones culture I will analyze this week’s article Cell phones and the culture of teenage romance (2010). Even when I was a teenager, I remember that text messages was one of the most common relationships creators.

Jullie Cupples and Lee Thompson (2010) in the article talked that to communicate with each other without having a risk of embarrassment or shame, young people are using texting rather than face-to-face conversations. Young people almost never make voice calls from their cell phones because it is easier to text and avoid awkward silence during the conversation. It shows that teenagers do not feel confident enough to talk straight away without having time to think before saying something. As I was a teenager it looked easier for me as well to text rather than to make a call, which now looks slightly different for me. In my oppinion, it is not completely possible to show your emotions when you are texting, while voice call conversations show your intonation and it is easier to understand what you want to say. Of course, teenagers are using smiley faces, abbreviations which helps them to express themselves.

All in all I think teenagers will always use text messages rather than voice calls because it is just the way they feel confident and it is easier for them to perform their identities. Nevertheless, question is that is it possible that one day text messages will take the place of voice conversations?

Gerda Siauciulyte



The Young and the Digital

This week’s reading We Play: The Allure of Social Games, Synthetic Worlds, and Second Lives by S. Craig Watkins (2009) argues how we as a society not just rely on face- to – face acquaintances to form friendships but we are now looking further, using online gaming to form the basis of lifelong friendships.

Although video gaming has been popular since the 1970s it is only in recent times that it has become a phenomenon and according to Entertainment Software Association “U.S. computer and video game software sales grew six percent in 2007 to $9.5 billion” showing that it is now the social norm to have a gaming console, therefore providing us evidence that the queries we have over online friendships is worth questioning.

We are a generation of active rather than passive audiences; therefore gaming fulfils our need to be interactive. Games have adapted to suit modern times, from single player to multiplayer allowing new friendships to be built. Throughout the reading Watkins focuses on a number of students of who share their thoughts about how gaming is now a social activity. Chase, an avid gamer, plays games not just for fun but claims that they “provide a community aspect and a way to connect to people”, thus allowing people to be part of something with others who share the same interests.

The link below from The Guardian supports this weeks reading, it describes how “social networks don’t replace offline friendships, or turn users into basement- dwelling zombies, unable to converse face- to- face” showing that maybe how we can communicate online and perhaps making us more confident in real life situations.

The argument that Watkins has raised is of something that we can all relate to, gamers or not we all involve ourselves with online platforms where we can communicate with either existing friends or where it has the possibility to make new ones. Furthermore we use technology not for what it is, but its ability to connect with those we may never meet in our lives but can share a portion of it over the web. Although there are many suggestions on how gaming has the ability to ruin social lives I feel that it can bring the most timid person out of their shell and help them become sociable.

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Kirsty Paine

Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life

The main argument raised throughout the chapter of ‘Everyone is Watching’: Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life in Understanding Digital Culture by Vincent Miller is of the fine line between caring for safety and invasion of privacy through surveillance of our digital and everyday life.

Miller uses the example of e-Blaster, software which enables you to look upon your children and employees. This technology allows you to report, record and alert on the chosen devices. Children are now subjected to endless information online and many of them are still unsupervised when using the internet therefore is only for the child’s safety. Lyon (2001) suggests that our public sphere is for work only and our private sphere is meant for home, although this has been altered due to media invasion and in regards to what is public and private has now merged. Furthermore the e-Blaster proves that there is no privacy whether at home or work.

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Although we choose to share our lives on social media we do it according to our own terms and when that is violated we doubt how safe we are on the web. Lyon (2001) also argues how nothing anymore is face to face, the physical proximity is lost. It has been found that of 2001 27% of online users already had their email monitored (Schulman 2001). Below is a link of how internet tracking via social media can be used as advantage for safety against terrorist attacks.

Our once private world is no longer our own. The UK is one of the most surveillance countries on the globe and it is found that a London resident is pictured 300 times per day. I agree with the argument we are being watched constantly and although it can sometimes feel like an invasion of privacy on the streets it is for our own benefit and safety. Surveillance works as a perfect crime prevention. The positives of having such advanced technology are endless but it has the power to expose us and strip us of our personal identity. It is almost impossible to become invisible as we are watched everywhere and everything we google is noted. But how long can this ‘Big Brother’ society last?


Kirsty Paine

Creating ways Teens maintain social privacy with social media


The reading ‘Creative ways teens maintain social privacy with social media’ by Jacqueline Vickery. Talks about teens today and the privacy that comes with the different technology and also the different social networks, privacy as in what these communication apps provide and the privacy that teens want from their friends and family and how there is different privacy settings on all social networks ( Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler).

Within this reading I think privacy is and can be interpreted in many ways from the teens, parents and owners of the apps perspective. These social networks are designed with a privacy setting that also comes with trust from the user, but these privacy settings aren’t always teen friendly or parental friendly, as some posts are still open to public for example Twitter saves posts including ones that have been removed but are still stored and are able to be in somewhat ‘leaked’. Which then I think puts the term privacy aside as it isn’t doing what we the users of these social apps would expect privacy setting to do, which is to keep accounts and certain information private from other or outside users.

Jacqueline Vickery talks about the research that was taken place in 2011, collected data that showed 61% of parents who monitor their kids mobile and social networks accounts. This then can create many opinions on how this act taken place from the parents is beneficial. Jacqueline then discusses how most teens are well aware that their social accounts are being watched closely and how this makes teens become more private in their way of what they will share and what they won’t. Personally I agree with what Jacqueline is explaining in this part of the reading of how teens are being “creative ways to manage their privacy”. Teens of today know how easy it is for posts on social networks to be accessed to, whether that’s by the network itself or the users, and with that in mind they know that they need to keep their account private. This is a reason why I think Jacqueline’s argument, point and examples are important because privacy on mobile devices and social networks are vital, especially with what’s being shown on the news of hackers and leaks of young teens accounts


This link is about the recent leak of images on different twitter accounts including well known celebrities. This is a good example that relates to the example in the reading of privacy that Jacqueline explains.IMG_5832


One question that I would ask is will there be regulation put in place to restrict what the younger generation can post and see on social networks.


Rebecca Fox

Finding a Twitter Identity

This week’s article focuses on the way people use twitter to communicate with an audience while bringing into discussion notions of authenticity and balanced or self-censored content. The article I will be referring to is d. boyd and A.E.Marwick’s journal article I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience (2010).

The article mentioned above investigates the techniques Twitter users use to produce content according and appealing to their audience, while maintaining a sense of authenticity. For some users, tweeting is an activity used for the self. By that the authors mean that some users do not tweet as much for an audience as for themselves, which in this case indicates that Twitter may be seen as a public diary for users to purely express themselves. In this case, inauthenticity appears to be consciously speaking to an audience and therefore the idea of self-censorship is not important. However, for other users, it is precisely because Twitter is a public space, that it is important to filter the information they post. For example, some of the people asked in the article said that they would not tweet something they would feel uncomfortable sharing with their parents or employees, in which case self-censorship becomes very important. Furthermore, it acknowledges a sense of audience. When asked who their imagined audience is, most users say they imagine talking to friends, family and in the case of large numbers of followers, fans. It is also important to mention that users tweet what they find of interest and believe their followers will also find of interest, which suggests that the audience can be perceived as a mirrored-self.

However, censoring what you tweet is for some people a matter of safety. Here is a case in which people fear that if they say whatever they want to say, they might get in trouble.


Since social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to analyze the way and reasons people behave and communicate the way they do, which is why boyd and Marwick’s article is important to look at.

Personally, I believe it is hard to maintain a sense of authenticity when users have thousands of followers. Authenticity, of course, can be defined in a certain context, but generally I find that people tend to behave a certain way when they are by themselves and differently when they are with other people, whether virtually or “in real life”.

It is interesting to see whether people communicate the same way online as they do offline. In other words, when people tweet 140-long character messages online, would they say the same thing to a person seating next to them? Is it the same bit of information or is it changed?


Irina Jurj

The Rise of the Selfie: Performing the Self Online

Nowadays social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are taking a huge place in the majority of people’s life. Performing the Self online is a huge tendency now, but I will discuss more about audiences and how people create relationships using their Twitter account. Also, the article I will analyze is “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience.” (D. Boyd, A.E. Marwick, 2010)

Everyone who is using social platforms has their own audience which depends on their own purposes. In the article the authors mentioned that people are using Twitter account to ‘follow’ other people and be ‘followed’ by others. To increase your amount of ‘followers’ you need to imagine your audiences which are argued in Boyd and Marwick article. When your profile is public it is obvious that ‘anyone’ can see it and then you need to “choose the language, cultural referents, style, and so on that comprise online identity presentation” (D. Boyd, A.E. Marwick, 115p, 2010).

To talk more about audiences which people expect by having a Twitter account, it is worth to add that the posts you write are really important for your own image on the social platform.  For example, celebrities who are posting private things could be more interesting because usually people love to know news about their personal life. In other words, intimacy and the private information you post is a kind of communication that creates relationships with people. (This is some of the examples from the Twitter accounts: K.Perry, Lady Gaga, Emma Willis ).

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To add more, in the article the interviewee was activist Brandon Mendelson with more than 700,000 users. B. Mendelson said that he focuses on subjects who are connected to social networks and technology but he tweets about what he wants because social networks are personal platform: “By not sharing personal information I’m not building strong relationships with my audience” (B. Mendelson, 2010). On the other hand there are people who share their personal information as strategy. For instance, in the article Soraya noted that personal posts “may look good for professional purposes” (Soraya, 2010). So, by sharing personal information you are more interested about the person you are ‘following’.

To sum up I would like to say that social platforms let us create our own digital image by writing posts. They could be private, less private or not private at all. Everything depends on our own purposes. But my question is, why people use their private life to build stronger relationships rather than find another way to do it?

This is a link connected to the topic of intimacy and privacy on social media.


Gerda Siauciulyte