Thursday, 19 May 2016

Progress Report

So a few days ago myself and Gary discussed on Facebook the direction of our presentation project. We both separately wrote a script, Gary sent me his script and I combined the two so that they would flow well and be in order, we then decided to take on half of the presentation each, I will take the first 3 slides and he would take the last. I then did a quick powerpoint presentation summarising each of our sections to display to the class. I feel that we made a good team and were able to communicate easily in regard to the project. I mostly used videos to research my end of the project which I found on YouTube. Videos make things more interesting and are sometimes easier to understand than reading a complicated article. The most difficult thing about organising it was combining the two scripts and sending the files back and forth, especially since I was using a Chromebook to do everything, it was difficult to figure out how to share through Google Docs, also Gary had some images he wanted to add to the slides so I had to send the slides to him to add them and have him send it back so I can upload it. If we had of met up in person and sat there with the computer it may have been slightly easier to do things like that as opposed to sharing files online. I also didn't realize that the slides themselves had to be in jpg format so I had to format all the slides in powerpoint on a different computer so that they were suitable to upload, I couldn't fit some of the images that Gary sourced which was disappointing but thankfully it won't affect the presentation too much hopefully, he was helpful and sent the script on in good time as well as offering to help with the slides.
Gary also asked me to meet him in SL earlier that day to do a run through, we timed the presentation and found that it was working well and went according to plan. All in all it was quite easy to communicate and work together as a team by using Facebook and Google Docs.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Researching for the Presentation

This week I began researching for our virtual environments presentation. I wanted to find out about the future of technology and where it was taking us as a society before looking at how it will effect the workplace and workplace relations. I began by looking into opinions on the positive and negative sides of technological advancements. We live in a world where everyone is constantly connected online through social media and social networking, young children are being given tablets and i-pads to play with, virtual reality is soon to become a readily available household means of entertainment, most people have one or many social media accounts through which they communicate, gather information like news, and even do the majority of their socialising.
There are sure to be some negative implications. What I have found so far is that yes, there are many advantages, for instance people who live in isolated locations can conduct business and socialise through sites like Second Life and other online communities, we can get degrees online, education is more accessible than ever. People have the ability to research any topic they like, yet if we become more dependent on technology, does that mean we could potentially become less human? Can technology be distracting for us by preventing us from focusing on more important things? There are other negative sides of technology such as the fact that it is incredibly difficult for parents to monitor and censor what their children are able to access online which could mean exposure to graphic or unsuitable content. I found an interesting article related to this aspect of my research here:

This made me think about things like how it is great that children can sit inside and play xbox games with graphics that would have been unfathomable ten years ago, they can play online with other people from all over the world, however when children have access to this kind of technology they may go outside less, socialise less which means less exercise and less development of their interpersonal skills. I wish to elaborate on these ideas for the presentation.

Another issue is the ever expanding world of social media and how it effects our work ehtic. As a student I am constantly searching online for college related information, for instance I had an exam on film criticism this week. After doing my relevant reading (which I accessed online) I then began to explore podcasts and YouTube videos in order to expand my knowledge and gather a variety of perspectives on the topics I was studying. It provided me with far more insight than I would have had years ago when the college library was the only source of information. However, lately while studying I have noticed it is very difficult when connected to disconnect from the more distracting elements of the online world, for instance, the social media apps and websites that are so accessible to me.

I would like to find out more and weigh up some of the pros and cons of technological advancements for us and our day to day lives.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Presentation Progress

Myself and my team mate Gary have been assigned a presentation for our Virtual Environments module. We have used Facebook chat to organise a meeting in Second Life this weekend where we will hopefully figure out how to go about using the Powerpoint style presentation technology available to us in our virtual classroom and discuss in detail which one of us will be discussing what aspects of the presentation. I have offered to organise the sections and create the slides for our presentation while Gary will be taking on providing a rough script which we will then elaborate on in our own time. We will meet up during the week, again in Second Life and do a practice run of the presentation in order to guarantee that things run smoothly. It is incredibly efficient and effective communicating through Facebook as both of us are often online and it sends notifications to my devices when someone contacts me, meaning that having a chat about the project is easily accomplished.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Reflection on my use of Online Social Media

As a young adult in 2016, it is almost impossible to avoid using social media. For example, one of my favourite forms of communication is quickly becoming SnapChat. This app allows myself and my peers to send short videos and pictures with an extremely limited amount of text to one another within seconds. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is questionable. Although we are technically saying less to one another, the fact that we can send pictures and videos efficiently allows us to communicate much more in a short time than before. For example a clip from a holiday, a night out or a gig.
It is safe to say that without sites like Facebook, I would miss out on a lot of useful information. Particularly in regard to college. Not only do myself and my closest friends have a group chat in which we organise events, meeting up and discussion, my BACCI class have our own Facebook group chat (another incredibly useful aspect of Facebook). In this chat we share notes, useful information about classes, cancellations, updates on assignments and help for one another. It is easy to see how without subscribing to these social media and networking channels we would be left "out of the loop". Although I don't use Twitter and rarely post on Instagram, I often use them to see what others have posted. Social media is where I get the majority of my news, it's where I learn about fashion, culture, music and the world around me. Without using Facebook we may not learn about interesting cultural events or even relevant protests we may wish to attend for example. It allows us to create discourse around topics that are relevant to us. It allows young artists and musicians to get the word out about their events. We can get our art out there, into the public eye effectively and efficiently. I feel as though this will only progress with time as social media grows and becomes a more important aspect of our lives. Although there are of course negative aspects to this on-line, image orientated culture, the benefits and opportunities are endless in regards to expanding our knowledge and even our career options. This is particularly true for those of us contributing to the cultural industries.

My Experience of the Consumer Economy in SL.

It is easy enough to purchase items in Second Life by teleporting to shops or by searching the items we wish to purchase. Today I decided to treat myself. Fortunately I was given a gift of some Linden Dollars, from our Second Life tutor. As we know, Second Life is created by it's users. It is interesting to see how many things are available to purchase here. I have heard in the past about many people making a career out of designing things like clothing and properties to be placed on the Second Life market. It is nice that people are interested in using their creativity to provide cool experiences for those involved in the community, allowing them to enrich their Second Life experience. If I wished I could purchase items such as a car, to explore the world more conveniently. We can use items we buy in Second Life to express our individuality, for instance by choosing certain clothing or accessories. We may also have the chance to engage in role-play by purchasing the suitable items. While I may not be able to afford a new hairstyle, or to own a car, castle or swimming pool in real life, Second Life may make it a (virtual) reality. :)

Monday, 11 April 2016

Clubbing in Second Life

So this evening I had my first experience in a dance and electronic music club in Second Life. First I visited Ambrosia Club where there was a live DJ but it was empty. It seemed more like a store than a club as there were many shops selling clubbing attire. I then visited The Blok, which although attracted a friendly crowd was still pretty dead. I hope if I go clubbing again at a different time I will get to socialise more and make some Second Life friends. I then visited Opaque which was by far the coolest of the clubs. It was impressively large and there was live music and really cool remixes. I was able to click on the sound system and choose what kind of music I would like to listen to which was interesting. Other SL dj's had contributed their own playlists. I would highly recommend this club to SL friends. It's certainly a good way for DJ's and musicians to have the opportunity to get there music out there into the virtual world. I can also see how people who live in isolated scenarios such as those who are say disabled or those who live inconveniently far from civilisation to get a taste of what it may be like to be immersed in a social situation such as clubbing. I can see how if the place was busier it may be an appealing way to spend time socialising.
It is easy to see the benefits of using something like Second Life to explore our ability to share art, music and other things, particularly for those working in creative and cultural industries or new media jobs.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Meeting others in Second Life

So today I visited five locations in an attempt to talk to someone and make some friends. Ahern, London Mayfair Club and Rocket City didn't seem to have many chatty people hanging around, in fact there weren't many people there at all. People seemed reluctant to answer me. I told them that I am new to Second Life and asked about how long they had been on it and did they think it was fun and easy to make friends in Second Life. Eventually when I visited Social Island I had to opportunity to talk to many different people. A group were sitting on the couches having a conversation about artificial intelligence. They asked me about what Ireland is like and seemed very friendly.  Over all it was a positive experience.
One person stated that they love Second Life and spend all their time online. Others were having an argument with a person or more so a glowing ball of light (pictured below) who claimed to be an A.I. themselves.

Here is an example of the kind of responses I got, generally it seems people wanted to make friends and meet new people.

Has everyone been members of Second Life for a long time?
[11:39] Stephmeagher: What do people get up to on here for fun?
They do their own thing.
[11:39] KROKODIL Camel: That question has never crossed my mind before.
[11:39] KROKODIL Camel: I like to meet new people.

Below are two pictures I took on my visit to Social Island :)