Portfolio: Global Awareness

The sixth communication outcome within this program is global awareness, of the understanding of how communication affects and is affected by cultures from all over the world. This phenomenon has been sped up significantly with the proliferation of the World Wide Web. Ironically though, by the time we reached this portion of our studies, most seen in Comm 624, we were no longer required to maintain our graduate blog. Therefore, I have few if any posts from that particular class. We were, however, tasked with writing a series of Short Papers that had us examine a different topic nearly weekly, ranging from emergence of information technology to the reshaping of identity, how these transact to alter city operations, and more.

To provide an example of one of these essays, I will place the introduction from one I was to write on a specific virtual community: From its inception, the Internet has been seen as a way to bring together a culture or community with common interests, but widely varying geographic locations. In the initial days, this was accomplished primarily via text-based bulletin board systems, (BBS) and related user groups. An example of this among blind individuals, the sample group primarily discussed here, is The Zone BBS, where people could log in from their PC’s, send Quick Notes to each other, and play relatively simple games.

As time and technology have progressed, however, the emphasis has shifted toward audio-based platforms that can be accessed via smartphone apps. This essay will examine the relative communication, cultural, and identity aspects of one such virtual community: Vorail.

As a heavy Internet and smartphone user, I am well aware of the global nature of communication in modern society. Still I learned a lot about how the kinds of choices I and many others make, such as a constant upgrading of smartphone technologies, can have bad effects on our environment and on those who are tasked with putting these products together, often residents of so-called “third-world” or less developed nations. I also learned that global distribution of these products is not yet equal, and that we should be aware of the kinds of cultural hegemony that can be imposed simply by forcing others to use these things that are regularly only viable in English.

Going forward, I will continue to realize the importance of having a perspective that advocates for others’ cultures, languages, and traditions to continue to exist. Because it is my belief that as a worker on the grand stage of producing consumable content within the Internet space, our experience is enriched when others are able to contribute to it in whatever way they see fit. And that is to say nothing of the idea that diversity should just exist for diversity’s sake, as a basic foundation of the human experience.

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