Author Archives: Warning: Low Battery

Week 8: Remixing and Choosing

So for the mini assignment this week was about remixing something. At first I was very interested in the smartphone trends. For example, Tik Tok is gaining popularity over here in North America where you can post a video of yourself acting or lipsyncing to a song and someone can add onto yours or remix it. I thought that would be a great idea to do a remix, but it would just be copying someone else.

But just a few days ago, my girlfriend was in an elevator when these 2 dogs were interacting with each other. The Shiba Inu in the picture was very affectionate to the other dog, and the dog was quite hesitant. We exchanged a few edits back and forth then that gave me the inspiration to make my own.

While it was focused primarily on what I feel in studying, I guess I should give some background too. The courses that I’m taking in my last semester are heavily involved in technology. Sending in assignments, writing emails, and writing blogs. Mixed in with what I have to check for things I bought, my work schedule, updates on graduation, etc. it becomes exhausting. The Shiba Inu is representative of that. And I, kind of just taking it. I’m not claiming my remix to be deep, but a better context to how it fits overall!

Essay 2: Reflecting as A Blogger

When reflecting on my own blog, I see a stark difference on what I expected and what the course has taught me. In the beginning, I had an innocent idea of blogs. It’s an online space to express yourself and connect with people who have the same ideas. I still keep that idea when I write on my blog. However, throughout the course, I have changed my perspectives because I am more conscious on how it affects cultures, individuals, and workers. As ‘neutral’ as my content is, I don’t feel ‘safe’ because I am vulnerable with my content. Anybody can find my information and turn it against me or misuse my words to feed their own narratives. I want to explore this ‘fear’ and how the course has made me more careful about what I post and what I share online. It doesn’t necessarily discourage me from using the internet and social media. But my awareness has allowed me to be more appreciative of the people who create ‘controversial’ content that can endanger them or the people around them just because one person on the internet does not agree with it. My goal is to express my self-awareness in an active role. It’s not enough that I consume media writing about someone’s demise to the pitchforks of the internet. I want to be aware of that in my daily conversation online and offline.

Alice Marwick and Rebecca Lewis writes about media manipulation and the dissemination of disinformation online (2017). They discuss the events revolving around Wikileaks’ distribution of the hacked emails of John Podesta, Hilary Clinton’s campaign chairman (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p. 2). Users from the message board 4chan quickly spread misinformation about the emails and how subcultural groups such as the alt-right groups who have given this scandal greater media attention than Trump’s own allegations (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p.2). These groups leverage their online presence and take advantage of the ‘vulnerabilities in the news’ and increase the coverage of their messages (Marwick & Lewis, 2017, p.3). This topical example has impacted U.S. politics today and in my opinion, gave voice to the hateful and divisive groups in America. I am reflective of how this affects my own online presence. It’s good to be knowledgeable and aware of the power of these groups, and I want to be more conscious about that in my own online interactions. In my blog, I speak about productivity and the impacts of smartphones on our day to day lives. I address the conflict between our attachment to our phones and this growing dependency to it. I think part of this conversation that I learned from the course is also the responsibility of the user. I cannot mindlessly use my devices and ignore what exists in the same spaces I connect in. I try to have ‘conscious’ content and express that throughout my blog.

Mike Caulfield writes a thought provoking piece on Digital Literacy and what we should follow (2016). What I found relevant to my reflection is his example of the Tree Octopus. These digital literacy acronyms and rules that are commonly shared to schools are useless in determining what is real or fake on the internet (Caulfield, 2016). The tree octopus is a fake cephalopod with a fake creature page that shows it has evolved into an amphibian and survives on land (Caulfield, 2016). What Caulfield found was they did not distinguish this by using acronyms to detect fake news, but just by knowing and learning that it’s impossible (2016). This leads to his proposal that to be digitally literate, you must know the web (Caulfield, 2016). What I think he means by this is that we must be aware and critical online as we are in our day to day lives. There are going to be groups and individuals who will misguide users because they don’t know anything better. Dissemination will be used for political gain or to harm minorities. I want to continue practicing these conscious ideas online. My blog is as vulnerable as anyone else’s. But I try my best to learn more and carry that knowledge with me.

I am reminded of UCL’s social media discoveries and why it’s important to be conscious of how it is affecting our day to day lives (2018). Discovery #12 writes that social media has a profound impact on gender relations (2018). This is a small example on this bigger picture of bettering myself in the online space. They find that users have benefits in using real or fake accounts to express sensitive topics and coming out against heteronormative relationships (UCL, 2018). Even though I am still cautious of my own personal information, I think there will be ways in which I can express myself. Knowledge and discussion will better me as a blog writer or an internet user. While I still carry this fear, I want to play an active role and this course helped me prepare for it.


Caulfield, M. (December 19, 2016). Yes, digital literacy. But which one? Hapgood. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from

Marwick, A. & Lewis, R. (2017). Media manipulation and disinformation online. Data & Society. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from

UCL (2018). Social media can have a profound impact through gender relations, sometimes through using fake accounts. University College London. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from

Week 12: Online Shaming

In our second to the last week, we got to watch Jon Ronson’s TED talk When online shaming goes too far. He gave plenty examples of people who got affected by people who take the original post’s context or message out of proportion. The talk was compelling because it’s telling of how mob mentality can be dangerous in social media. I’ve seen many examples where even sharing from one account to another already leads to problems. It can ruin people’s lives. This is the world we live in. Information feels infinite and we take these small, consumable tidbits of information and blow it out. Jon Ronson did a great job presenting the helplessness that these people feel. Justine Sacco intended to mimic Americans who were ignorant of Africa as a whole and tweeted this:

In context, it makes sense. It makes sense to her friends and the people who know her but once it was shared by strangers, she was part of a social media crucifixion. They were ready to see what happens to her when she gets off the plane. She received the most unbelievable hate speech despite not knowing who she is. Her life has changed because people held on to this small piece of the Internet and created their own narrative. Online shaming reveals the human nature of being a part of something, but for the wrong reasons.

Week 11: Remarkables

Darren  Barefoot from Capulet Communications accompanied by Sarah came into our class and talked about remarkables. For those who are unaware like I was, Capulet explains it well: Remarkables are high impact digital marketing campaigns meant to attract attention. These are the campaigns you remember even if you are not the target audience. These are the campaigns that stand out because they can easily take a simple idea and turn its head to be memorable. What I appreciate most about this presentation was that it gave context to how impactful it can be. Despite it being rooted in capital and business, the messages and content can easily transcend that.

For example, the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice provides pediatric palliative care to families across British Columbia. This can be a stressful and depressing place for everyone because it’s taking care of very sick children and making their end a bit easier. Capulet did a fantastic remarkable where they created a blanket fort with a complete library and toys for the kids to play just for the afternoon. This gave such a positive environment for everyone involved. For a grim place, they turned it to a place where they can be happy in.

It’s a great example in how it reaches multiple channels and then getting their messages across through these. The local news channels started covering it. They were posting in social media. It is posted on different blogs. Different people and networks are talking about and that’s powerful. They don’t have to be vested in the hospice or the people who are involved, but a remarkable can transcend the oversaturation of media content felt by many online users. There’s enough “feel good” on the internet but there’s also too many depressing topics and articles. Remarkables can leave an impact and be spoken above these.

Peer Review 3: Taking Life by the Love Handles

For my peer review, I am reviewing Jenella’s blog titled Taking Life by the Love Handles.

A quick glance of her homepage, I know why she chooses this theme. The pink tones and colorful photos of food are welcoming. The white is a nice contrast to highlight her blog content and it helps accentuate the colors of her photos. It’s appealing and easy on the eyes. It compels me to read more!

As you scroll down her homepage, her social media pages are easily available. To me, this is showing that she markets her personality with her blog. They go hand in hand and I believe she includes her own ‘self’ into her content. Where she eats tells something a little bit more about herself.

Food is the center of her brand, and she makes it clear. On her About page, she explains why she loves food and why it’s important to her. This idea and how she presents it is creating a space where she expresses herself and why she writes about food. She even addresses this when she shares her personal experience on doing something other than food on her Food and Friends blog.

These ideas are present and explained danah boyd’s It’s Complicated where she writes about the feeling of togetherness and through networked publics, communities can be connected through technology. For Jenella, she is creating this blog of togetherness. Almost all her times eating out are with friends! She shares her physical experiences through this network and her other channels.

She does a great job showcasing this physical space too. With her social media presence and her appealing photos, she is spreading wide on multiple channels. The pictures serve as a tangible step to a purely networked space. As seen in the Youtube stars’ trend on publishing books,  it’s good to have a balance of online and offline content. Her blog posts have a balance of media and text. It’s a bonus that she takes great photos!

I do want to suggest a way to have these ideas better presented in her blog. I feel that she has a lot to say, and it doesn’t have to sacrifice the content she already writes.

Hot Ones on Youtube

Hot Ones is one of my favorite web series because it brings a fresh take on interviews; eating very spicy wings and talking. What I want to highlight for Jenella’s blog is the fact that some guests do a great job conversing about the wings and about their careers well that it becomes an interview for both. Alton Brown comes to mind. Each restaurant she goes to does not necessarily need a ‘deep’ or ‘introspective’ conversation with her friends, but I see her as being part of the content too. I’m curious to see why she chooses this restaurant or what is exciting or familiar about this restaurant? These elements would give more ‘food’ to the readers about who she is and exemplify the reasons she loves the food.

Week 10: Internet For All

I remember seeing the advertisements on the bus stops. They were everywhere. It was a call to have internet for all. I remember the ad wanted to give voice to areas that didn’t have internet. It wanted to connect the great minds and make it an equal field for the passionate ones. Until I read Mike Elgan’s The surprising truth about Facebook’s for the class this week that I was reminded of that advertisement and, knowing Facebook’s reputation, I’m not surprised to find out the truth., instead of connecting people with harder access of the internet, is actually just bringing in more people to sign up to their platform. They’re not interested in connecting people. They’re interested in the data that’s being surrendered. Now called Free Basics, Facebook targets countries that charge internet by the minute. They also take these users away and put them in Facebook’s own servers as a way to ‘save data usage’. They keep the users in Facebook in disguise of connecting them because they want to take complete control of their internet use and box them in using Facebook services. I like the metaphor that Elgan uses. It’s like giving a poor person a free sesame seed and claiming credit for giving them a free Big Mac.

This is important to speak about because these are multi billion dollar companies playing with user information. There’s no reason to fully trust these companies because they’re in for the business. If they claim some altruistic interest, it’s probably going to earn them money. Social networks have been controlled by capital and it will continue to take advantage of our use if we don’t question it. When I read this article, I consciously forgot the good and hope I felt when I saw the advertisement. I needed to be critical and realize that the ad played on my emotions and feel goodness. It just wanted to take my information. And by being critical and aware, I remember the ad for what it is, not what it was selling to me.

Week 9: My Infographic

I had very little experience with creating infographics. I’m not capable of making one from scratch so I opted for the free ones! Thankfully, I’ve used Piktochart to create mine and it’s very simple. With free software (and limited knowledge of the software), I came up with a very simple one.

my desktop screen

I wasn’t comfortable showing who I am online because I still have this unfamiliarity with blogs. So, I focused on my own online activities and how that represents me.

Discord and Reddit are big time spenders I have online. I like to be on Reddit because I can browse for news and find updates on topics that I follow. I don’t usually engage because I’m content with reading. I occasionally comment, but I prefer to stay anonymous. I use Discord because a few of my close friends are on there, and it’s an easy way to communicate when we play games online. These 2 are part of my online self. I am active in my own circles, but curious in others.

Instagram is the closest platform for me that represents my ideal online. I also want to create content that’s eye catching and interesting. I do have pieces of my personal life on there, but I try to keep it vague. I use it the most often because it’s a good aggregation of content that I want to see (especially the many dog accounts). All this combined represents who I am online, and I kept the theme neutral to focus on these aspects.

Essay 1: Social Media is Capitalistic, Not Democratic

On February 2014, Facebook introduced an update called the real name policy (Bivens, 2017). This introduction increased gender identifications from 2 to 58 (Bivens, 2017). As an attempt of inclusivity, Facebook is perceived to be giving a democratic response to a growing concern of minorities in online spaces. More users can now choose who they identify themselves as without compromising their self-identity. However, after the policy has been implemented, many queer and LGBTQ members reported that they can no longer access their profile because their names do not fit with their supposed identity (Bivens, 2017). Facebook may be giving power to its queer users, but I argue that’s not the case. I argue that social media is capitalistic, not democratic. LGBTQ users’ names and genders are to fit in the heteronormative standard in order for marketers and the state to keep track of its citizens through surveillance and protection (MacAulay & Moldes, 2016). Non-binary users are always recoded back to the binary system, exposing the inauthentic gesture of Facebook as inclusive and democratic (Bivens, 2017). LGBTQ users’ fluid and changing experiences cannot be truly represented online. Thus, hindering their entrepreneurial pursuits and community building (Lingel & Golub, 2015).

On Facebook’s Help Center, there is a section that acknowledges names on Facebook (Facebook, 2018). Aside from the things to keep in mind, the standards specify that the name should appear on and ID or part of their ID document list (Facebook, 2018). This means that an expected first and last name must be created for the user. This may not necessarily reflect on queer identities and that already causes conflicts. 

The PEW Research conducted a survey on 1197 self-identified LGBT adults 18 years or older asking about their online use (PEW, 2013). Eighty percent of respondents use sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but the survey shows prohibiting behaviours online (PEW, 2013). Fifty six percent of surveyors said that they have not revealed their sexual identities online, and 83% do not regularly discuss LGBT issues online (PEW, 2013). LGBT groups experience different treatment in these online spaces, but still continue to use it. With Facebook’s real name policy, there was an attempt to be inclusive. Facebook is now in support of these minorities, and empowering them through their profiles. But as seen in MacAulay & Moldes, Bivens, and Lingel & Golub’s works, Facebook is driven by capitalistic notions, disguising their authentic gestures to mask its market driven responses.

MacAulay & Moldes acknowledges that Facebook uses the real name policy to justify legal precedents and cite harmful actions towards others such as harassment, impersonation and trolling (2016). While these seem legitimate concerns, they find that they’re less interested in protecting them rather than making the users ‘transparent to the market and the state’ (MacAulay & Moldes, 2016). A key concept they identify stemming from queer theory is normativity (or heteronormativity). This is described as a regulatory system that naturalizes sex and gender (MacAulay & Moldes, 2016). This process of normativity means that agents and groups take the effort to impose and force individuals to fit into existing systems to keep order or regulate easier. Heteronormativity then entails that binary systems (male and female) are the correct and only way to follow due to economic and legal precedents. This means that anyone who deviates from it are not ‘performing correctly’ (MacAulay & Moldes, 2016). Data collection is another issue that they bring up because this forces users who actively avoid as part of Facebook’s marketer aggregation. They have to choose between binary choices that will not fit them, and that can result in their accounts being banned or ultimately not use the service anymore. A democratic practice in social media will allow any individual to self-express and create within their own public spaces, but the notion of heteronormativity does not give that space to queer users. It simply favours what funds the company running the service. They also cite the increase of market shares that occurred in 2014 after the real name policy was introduced. Market shares in 2011 decreased to 19.82 USD after reports of fake users on Facebook surfaced and after the real name policy was implemented, the shares rose to 78.02 USD in December 2014 (MacAulay & Moldes, 2016). The theory of normativity serves as a great interest to what can be marketed and how that affects minorities who want to use Facebook. And these experiences continue to exist.

Bivens examined Facebook’s gender coding system and found that when coding the genders, females were assigned 1, males were assigned 2, and the ‘undefined’ were assigned 0 (2017). This undefined category has been the standard for coding non-binary genders and how that allows Facebook to include so many gender options. On one hand, the number 0 allows for the existence of non-binaries, but does not exactly fit into the binary code (Bivens, 2017). Bivens found that later updates to the code see that newly assigned genders and their code will default to the undefined because the codes were not established since creating it (2017). The 56 additional genders are now, in the back end, defaulted to 0 even if it is given a defined gender (Bivens, 2017). This allowed Facebook to easily aggregate data that can be sent to marketers who are only interested in the binary genders (Bivens, 2017). The nuances and multiple gender identities have been devolved to 0 and continuously will not receive the technological support on Facebook. These regulations are masked as authenticity, and it does not seem democratic. Rather, it forces its users into shaping to what is acceptable online and what numbers can be easily assigned to them so that it can be quickly shared and sold online. 

It does not support the lives and work of other members of the community too. Drag users are greatly affected by restricting user information flexibility to fit with their fluid and changing personalities to continuously be entertaining drag queens (Lingel & Golub, 2015). Online identity work has become an extension of their own work, and that continuity allows them to stay connected with their fans and fellow queens. It supports them in a capitalistic sense that allows them to advertise their shows and market their identities, but it does not allow multiple identities (Lingel & Golub, 2015). This, again, falls into the notion of normativity where they are forced into one trackable identity. Facebook acknowledges an inclusivity of users, but does not acknowledge multiple and fluid online identities (Lingel & Golub, 2015). Instead, it advocates a unifying and unitary profile (Lingel & Golub, 2015). While drags do not represent the majority of the LGBTQ community, these collective experiences contribute to a shared, limited, and constrained online experience that does not allow the desired expectation to freely express themselves. Rather, they have to fit the normative mold to appease Facebook’s marketers and regulators. The real name policy is just another example in online social spaces that operates to generate revenue. Facebook acts for money, not for its users.


Bivens, R. (2017). The gender binary will not be deprogrammed: Ten years of coding gender on Facebook. New Media & Society, 19(6), 880–898.

Facebook (2018). What names are allowed on Facebook? Retrieved from

Lingel, J., & Golub, A. (2015). In Face on Facebook: Brooklyn’s Drag Community and Sociotechnical Practices of Online Communication: IN FACE ON FACEBOOK. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 20(5), 536-553.

MacAulay, M., & Moldes, M. (2016). Queen don’t compute: Reading and casting shade on Facebook’s real names policy. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 33(1), 6-22.

PEW Research Center (2013, June 13). A survey of LGBT Americans: LGBT adults online. Retrieved from

Mini Assignment 4: Remix Something!

Hi, my girlfriend took a really cute interaction of 2 dogs. We both love a Shiba Inu so this is extra great to me. She did her own edit to it, but I wanted to make my own remix to it. This is my mood for how aggressive all this productivity is to me. I chose the biggest looming figure over me that’s intimidating me. It’s not the smartphones that I’m writing about. It’s this: