March 9, 2011

Making the World Beautiful Again

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 1:47 pm

Life Is/Was Beautiful by Banksy. Photograph by the author.

By Phillip Schaefer

In the last week, I have seen works by Shepard Fairey and the identity-elusive Banksy for the first time.  The Shepard Faireys were located here in Cincinnati, both on the side of a building downtown and on display at the Contemporary Arts Center.  While I was in New York City this weekend, one of my main goals was to find a Banksy.  In Chinatown, I finally managed to stumble across two stencils of Alfred Hitchcock, one holding a film clapper that read, “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL” and the other with the “IS” crossed out and replaced with “WAS”.

Street art is often part of daily life for urban dwellers, as they will most likely pass some form of graffiti in their travels.  However, graffiti has broad and often contradicting definitions, defined differently by city governments and the public.  The government’s opposition to the art form stems from associated criminality and the fact that they do not make revenue from the works, neither of which is completely true.  This art form is used as a means by the anonymous to share their views on the conditions of the world.  It turns up the volume on the vox populi that is normally drowned out in the overwhelming screams of advertising and media.  I hope that since we supposedly live in a democracy, by supporting public opinion in favor of street art, we can change the laws so that these art works become legal.

To start out, there are many different forms of graffiti, the most common and basic being tags, or graf.  A writer will use tags to throw his or her name out into the public sphere to search for fame and notoriety.  It is usually not respected or treated as street art due to the widespread self-centered principles behind it and a lack of aesthetic appeal to a broad audience.  Since graf is usually associated with gangs and juvenile delinquents, it is not often accepted by the public and almost never by governments.

Other types of graffiti include writing, sticking, stencil, poetic assault, and urban design, according to Anderson, et al, (a very informative and well-written article if you have a few hours to kill.  It will be the main source of information for this article).  But let us focus on sticking, stencil, and poetic assault.  These are the forms most accepted by the public as street art.  Sticking stickers and spraying stencils are self-explanatory but poetic assault involves spraying a usually sarcastic poem upon a highly visible surface.  Very often, these works result in beautiful (and valuable) works of art that are often relevant to meaningful social issues of the time.

Unfortunately, governments of the world almost unanimously outlaw graffiti.  Much of this is because of the Broken Window Theory, developed by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in 1982.  The theory claims that if a window is broken and not fixed, petty crime will rise in the area, leading to serious crime and a decline in society.  Graffiti was considered one of those petty crimes.  Unfortunately, street art in its modern definition has been caught up in the eradication campaigns of cities.  As quoted in Anderson, et al’s article, the London Underground transportation system has stated, “We recognize that there are those who view Banksy’s work as legitimate art, but sadly our graffiti removal teams are staffed by professional cleaners not professional art critics.”

Sensory overload from advertising. Photograph by the author.

On my trip to New York City, I witnessed the intimidating, massive quantity of advertisements that were everywhere.  I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without being forced to see imagery trying to sell me something.  Times Square put me on sensory overload due to the flashing colors and lights.  While advertising can seem unimportant, it leads to stressful urban environments and a hyper-sexualization of society.

These are the deeper issues in the government’s opposition.  There is the fact that street art serves a nihilistic approach to advertising and the system.  Assuming that politicians in general are in the purses of big business, they try to shut out anything that does not contribute monetarily to society.  Street art provides no immediate profit to anyone, so it goes against the accepted institutions of government, advertising, business, and the major galleries.

An example of businesses employing graffiti to reach out to a younger audience. This tag is located in the restroom entryway in the M&M store in Times Square. Photograph by the author.

This is not entirely true, due to the fact that prominent street artists’ work can increase housing prices and draw business to districts and neighborhoods.  These result in increased tax revenues for the government and a better local economy.  In an unlikely turn of events, advertising has taken up graffiti to reach out to people in an attempt to seem cool and hip.  This is extremely hypocritical due to the fact that they would never allow real graffiti near their businesses.

Many of the manifestos of street artists claim that art is for everyone.  There is nothing stopping you from being an artist.  As Banksy declares in Wall and Piece, “A wall has always been the best place to publish your work.”  To a person with no influence in the political sphere, a can of spray paint can send a very powerful, anonymous message to the world.  The mystique of street art is that anyone can make it, whether the angry son of an unemployed GM worker or the disillusioned daughter of a CEO finding her own voice in the world.

That voice, the vox populi, is the reason public space is transformed when street art is created to fill the void or respond to its surroundings.  Let’s take the example of graffiti on a blank, grey wall in an urban environment.  As a wall, it serves its purpose to provide a barrier but serves only that purpose.  With the addition of street art, the wall becomes a gallery for common folks.  It transforms into a work of art that anyone can see and experience, not just the super wealthy in the Gogasian down the street, conversing about the stunning achievements of Jeff Koons.  Because the work is in the public sphere, the public owns it and the ideology in the piece.  In addition to theoretically changing the wall in an important public space, street art physically makes the space more aesthetically pleasing.

The downside of legality that I can foresee is that rebels now would have their methods of expression become meaningless to them.  Where does one turn when the means one was using to resist become legal?  It is not an accident that the artists conveying subversive messages use an illegal means of transmission.  I would hope that the legality leads to a massive outpouring of artistic creations from both street artists and regular people and not a dangerous or violent form of expression.

Many street artists, particularly Banksy, wouldn’t be nearly as famous if street art was permissible.  There is an almost superhero aura about Banksy due to the fact that we can only guess his identity.  Maybe he would still be the anonymous hero if street art were legal, wandering about cities at night and still hiding his identity.

Many graffiti artists strive to transform the world into a more beautiful place in which to live.  Street art provides us the means to fight back against the onslaught of advertising and offers up a platform upon which to protest anonymously.  Anti-graffiti laws should be amended to allow street art for these purposes, while still keeping graf in check.  What’s wrong with a world covered in art?  The world could use more artists.


Female and Male College students use Facebook Differently?

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 1:39 pm

By: Chamilka Gunasekera


Almost every college student in the world has or has heard of the social networking site called Facebook. Facebook is the second most visited site on the internet, second to Google, and is continuously growing every day. Today Facebook is available all over the world and has more than 500 million active users. Facebook not only targets teenagers but people of all ages use the site for various different purposes. It is available in seventeen different languages and is one of the most visited sites on the internet. However there are many aspects of Facebook that have not been thoroughly researched including the gender differences on the site. There are many differences amongst teenage girls and teenage boys seen in the real world, so do these characteristics transfer onto their Facebook pages?

After researching on the topic of the use of Facebook amongst college students, males and females, it is obvious that both genders use the social networking site differently. Firstly research shows that females in general use the site more often than males. Statistics show that 55% of Facebook users are female whereas the other 45% are male. The number of female outweighs the number of males in every single age group. When looking at specific users from ages 45-54 the number of female users is close to double the amount of male users (519,180 females to 316,700). Although this gap is much smaller in the age group of 18-25 (9,113,120 to 7,649,520) there is still a significant difference. Just these statistics alone show that Facebook is used more commonly among females.

Research also shows that females spend more time on Facebook t.han males do each day. For part of my research I conducted a survey on the University Campus. I asked 10 males and 10 females various questions about Facebook and how they spend their time on the site. After interviewing the twenty college students, results shows that on average females spend more time a day on Facebook than males.  On an average everyone interviewed stated that they checked their Facebook more than once a day. Females however stated that they used Facebook almost two hours every day (with the average being one and a half hours) where as in males the average was an hour. Statistics show that in every age group, female users check their Facebook much more frequently than male users. However how exactly was this time spent?

When viewing college males and females on Facebook it is evident that females edit their profiles more. The results of the surveys taken showed that when asked the question “Do you spend a lot of time changing your profile?” Eighty percent of females answered yes. When asked what they do to change their profile the majority answered that they changed their profile picture. When the same question was asked of the males, ten out of the ten responded no, meaning that they did not spend time changing their profile. In addition to the surveys I also spent some time viewing ten college students Facebook profile pages, five male and five female. When viewing the sites it was clear that Females had many more albums and uploaded pictures than most males, showing that they spend more time updating their profile. Statistics show that females also write on their profiles more than males. In the information page containing general information such as favorite movies, favorite books, activities etc. more females divulged more information than men. Another interesting difference amongst the two genders was the use of time on Facebook. Many males stated that most of their time on Facebook was dedicated to chatting with others and looking at others profiles. Females agreed that they did spend much time looking at others profile and chatting but an equal amount of time was also dedicated to using different applications. Finally the overall question was asked “What is the most important reason for using Facebook?”  Sixty percent of males answered that they used Facebook mainly to “creep” and “stalk” others. The majority of females however answered that they used Facebook to stay connected and for communication.

Along with clear differences on the use of Facebook features, there are also many differences in privacy concerns amongst the two genders. When searching through the site I found that more females had their profiles set to a private setting than males did. Many males’ sites were accessible whereas in order to access many females’ profiles a friend request approval was needed. The video titled “Only Hot Girls Care about Facebook Privacy” is a parody on the idea that nobody really cares about Facebook privacy except females. The video shows females fighting for privacy rights while males just brush the issue off. This parallels the idea in society that females tend to care about Facebook privacy more than males. Also when surveying college females, ninety percent stated that they cared about who was viewing their profiles, whereas only 40% of males said that privacy was a major issue for them.

It is obvious that there are many differences when comparing the use of Facebook amongst college females and males. Dissimilarities between the two genders are seen in everyday life including habits, views, etc so it is only normal to see these differences on Facebook. These distinctions are seen when viewing how much each gender uses Facebook, the different features and applications used by each gender, and the privacy concerns amongst both groups. With this information more knowledge is known about the variations between college females and males and the distinctions among the two on Facebook are now more prominent.




Smart phone apps, NOT worth it

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:37 pm


Over the past decade smart phones have become the newest and most popular form of technology a person can have. Smart phones provide thousands and thousands of applications that can do almost anything for a person. People of all age groups use these apps to do tasks that go from games to managing a portfolio. These applications are extremely dangerous for a person’s privacy and can leak personal information to the public.

Take into account Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane’s Wall Street Journal article. Every time somebody buys or downloads an application, they agree to a contract and agreement that explains to them that their private information will be sent to various places. A very little amount of people actually read the contract before clicking agree, and now they wonder why the world knows about their private life. Another reason this is such a problem is that some of these companies do not even send contracts; they just do as they please with the information without the users’ knowledge. Even when they do know what is being released, people express that more personal items are being sent than they wanted or expected, according to Poremba’s article.

Many personal traits are being sent all over the country. Thurm and Kane discuss how with a simple touch or click, people can send their name, gender, age, location, contacts, and phone identification number. Parts of this information may not worry some, but I know I don’t want a complete stranger and company knowing this. The main reason I wouldn’t want this is that I have no idea what they are actually going to do with the data. I don’t know if they are keeping it safe or if it is getting into the hands of the wrong people. There is no way of knowing, and the fact that some person knows my location at all times is just too creepy. Also, if I was a parent and my child wanted a smart phone, there is no way I would allow it, knowing the potential risks. There are way too many criminals in the world that would take someone’s private information and commit frauds with it that can ruin someone’s life. The safety of my life and the lives of my family is way more important to me than getting the most popular application.

YouTube Video

Most of time however, the private information gets sent to an advertising company. These companies write smart phone companies huge checks just so that they send them this information. What they do with this data is review it and get to know the basic personal traits of a person. Now, they can send advertisements to these people based on that information. Everyone has received these ads and pop ups, and I think I’m safe to say that people do not like them, and that it is an invasion of privacy. It all comes down to the fact that the cell phone companies only care about money. They do not care for their customers’ feelings or privacy. I don’t want to buy these phones and applications from a company like this. All people should use phones for are calling and texting. A case study  performed says that most people have cell phones because they provide people with a certain personal safety at all times. This is what cell phones are for. They are not so that people can play games or be on Facebook all day.

This website explains many more dangers that are associated with smart phones. In my opinion, the number one reason is these applications.  They are just not worth the risks that come with them. Overall, people will always own smart phones and continue to download applications. The increase of new apps is huge and will continue to rise. With this increase comes the possibility for more “dirty” applications and more dangers. What people need to do is always read their agreements and know what privacy policies the companies provide about collecting data. Knowing is number one. If people do this, they can decide whether the application is worth the risk. Personally, the apps are not very appealing, and I am perfectly happy with my normal Nokia cell phone.

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 1:32 pm

By: Jenna Coffey

Facebook has become a profound feature of many individuals lives, actually encompassing over 600 million users.  With Facebook’s weighty influence on today’s culture many people are utilizing the social networking website’s features to release private information generally not expulsed to the public.  Facebook has made this information release an effortless tactic, through such features as statuses, pictures, notes, and even contact information sections.  With such easy release, Facebook has become a feeding ground for information, both for good and evil, a sort of public resource accessed by many outsiders.  Facebook has, thus, become connected to ideas such as with educational investigation and business ventures.

            Due to its new uses, Facebook has become linked to old ideas, it has now overtaken such websites as Yahoo and Google in the arena of background checks.  This allows people from potential employers to criminal investigators to use user’s individual, private information for their public benefit.  Many career centers view Facebook background checks as the next step up from “googling” a candidate.  This is a clear drawback for the avid Facebook user who enjoys posting comments that could be considered racy or extreme, seemingly limiting their ability to speak freely.  This even puts some individuals at greater risk who view Facebook as a private entity that can not be accessed by such professionals.  Facebook can thus affect our ability to get a job, hold a job, be admitted into an educational institution, retain a scholarship or athletic status at an institution, and so much more.

            One of the major uses Facebook has become linked to is certain business ventures.  Facebook has allowed many potential employers get to know their candidates before the interview process and outside of the applicant’s resume.  Through this new access, employers have found many disturbing facts causing them to remove these candidates from consideration, such threatening ideas include blowing things up, smoking blunts, and shooting people.  This ease of access has allowed corporations to discover the applicants deemed “immature and unprofessional” before they must waste their time in the interview process.

            Along with the workplace, educational institutions have also begun using Facebook as a sort of watchdog.  School and universities have especially put this surveillance into place upon their scholarship students and athletes.  Student’s posts have caused them a wide range of disciplinary actions, ranging from losing positions in a club to expulsion from the University and being denied their professional degree to getting investigated by the Secret Service.   Due to all of these consequences suffered by students many institutions have placed mandates on their students, requiring athletes to maintain a sterile profile or even disallowing their use of Facebook altogether.  These precautions have proven to be successful in limiting the release of private information.

            Facebook has put many people at risk due to their disregard to private information.  Facebook has ultimately lowered people’s privacy concerns and increased the amount of trust we put in technology.  The information an individual releases on their Facebook profile can greatly affect their existence not only online but also outside of their online community.  Many individuals have already suffered the consequences from releasing too much information online or posting inappropriate data that can never actually be erased from the internet.  Much of this discounted information release is due to individual’s unawareness of Facebook’s allotted privacy settings.  To help Facebook users become further acquainted with the privacy settings, we all need to read an article entitled “10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.”  This article not only informs the reader about potentially unknown privacy settings but also allows the reader to understand how to tighten these security settings through Facebook and thus secure their use of the website.

“Bugs” on the Wall……Or in Your Pocket?

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:30 pm

By: Daniel Latz

Cell phones are perhaps one of the greatest inventions in the last century.  Today, people use them for everything, from telephones to PDAs to alarm clocks to even game consoles.  A large majority of people do not realize however that the more that a cell phone is used, the more susceptible the user becomes to being tracked by an outside party.

Something that some people do not realize is that there is a GPS in most phones that can track a phone wherever it goes.  The few people that do understand this fact are not aware of how this can be and is used.  I hope to make people more aware of how this technology can hurt them, and to make people understand that this technology is not a great thing after all.  The other way that cell phones are tracked is by tracing any calls or texts made by the cell phone to the nearest phone tower. 

One major agency that has total access to this feature in cell phones is the government.  The government can use these methods to keep track of where its citizens are at all times.  An article by Newsweek writer Michael Isikoff highlights this fact.  Although this can be used for good, it is incredibly invasive of people’s personal space.  It takes very little for the government to establish probable cause and obtain the cell phone records.  As I read this I could not believe my eyes. To me, this should not be allowed to happen or at least there should be a more difficult process through which the government has to go to obtain the records.  The FBI could establish probable cause on a mild offense, such as not paying a traffic ticket.  The reason this alarms me is because sooner or later, the government will have ultimate control, because they will know where everyone is at any given time.  Imagine sitting at home on a Sunday, enjoying your weekend when all of the sudden, the FBI comes to your front door, just to make sure that pay for the parking violation you had a month ago.  This notion alarms me.

It is scary to see how easy it is to track a cell phone as a regular person too.  Upon searching Google, I found an incredibly large number of how-to articles on how to track a cell phone.  One such popular site, eHow, gave step by step instructions on how to do this.  I found this to be incredible.  Now, an untrusting spouse can use a cell phone to keep an eye on a cheating spouse.  A school bully can spy on the kids that he picks on in school.  Although these examples may seem extreme, these are actually very realistic situations.  New Standard News writer Catherine Komp exposes some of the possible misuses of this new technology; Newstandardnews.  There are many ways that people can abuse this technology.

The availability of this cell phone feature has become even more accessible with the new smart phones.  Many of these high-tech phones can download programs that track the GPS of another phone.  This is very concerning, but it seems as though little is being done about this problem.  This problem needs to be corrected in a timely fashion, or else the GPS in phones will be used for the wrong reason.

If Your Relationship is a Blazing Fire, Texting Makes a Great Lighter Fluid

Filed under: Cell Phones — publicandprivatespace @ 1:26 pm

The text message. Until just recently, this noun had hardly been heard of and only ten years ago, it did not even exist. And yet in the past five years, the text message has exploded and become one of the most popular mediums of communication. Almost everyone in America is familiar with the distinct sound of a vibrating phone in a front jean pocket or the faint beep that comes out of a modern mom’s purse at the grocery store. With its use being nearly invisible and silent, texting has entered into realms where other modes of communication were politely asked to leave (such as the movie theatre and occasional chess tournament viewing) or incapable of communicating (like a New York Stock Exchange or public transportation). It is for these very reasons that texting has become so popular and desirable and it is for these same reasons that teenagers have made it their number one option in starting relationships.

For most people over the age of forty, it has always been believed that body language, tone and inflection in voice are critical to the understanding how a person is feeling, and therefore, a healthy relationship. And indeed this premonition is well found.  “The face and the body both normally contribute in conveying the emotional state of the individual” says one study. Without this body language, the seductive wink, the occasional eyelash batting, relationships could not achieve the emotional fortitude that would normally occur if a relationship began with a face-to-face interaction. However, many recent studies show that the building up of, or as the kids say, “talking” period, prior to the first encounter often lead to a stronger initial relationship.

In research done by McKenna and Bargh, relationships that began on the Internet, relationships that began online and then transferred to a “real-life” aspect had a much higher success rate than if they would have just began with a face-to-face first date.  While although the pseudo-safety provided in anonymity is forfeited during texting, the time provided to create some sort of bond prior to going out, a “talking” period, relationships are able to have history before being thrown into the fire. How much more enjoyable the conversation between the newly acquainted people can bypass the boring common questions of “What’s your major,” “How many siblings do you have,” “Where are you from?” What if we could begin a relationship without the awkward small talk, accidental touches, or the dreaded Freudian slip? Now a first date can feel like more like a third or fourth date.

As a person receives a text message he or she is allotted time to respond and think about his or her answer. This extra time can allow for more time to correctly voice their opinions so that a rash or inappropriate statement can be stifled. As McKenna and Bargh note in their paper, “These differences and timing and pacing provide an individual with a great deal more control over his or her side of the conversation.” This allows for the person to truly voice their opinion in an uninterrupted forum. They get to “hold the floor.”  We can sympathize with the person who has been on the date and said no more than two words because our date really enjoyed hearing themselves talk. Or the person who asked you to repeat yourself after every sentence, giving you all the evidence you need to convict him/her of being a bad listener. With texting, each sentence is literally spelled out for the other person and up for multiple reviews if the texter has forgotten what was said prior. This gives people like “talks-too-much-Tim” and “never-listens-Nancy” a chance to not waste our time on a date.

The real reason that teenagers find the thought of texting to be so mouthwateringly good is that you can do it without anyone even noticing (unless of course you want people to notice). Besides the obvious switching your ringtone to silent and switching your phone to vibrate, touch screens also have eliminated the sounds of button mashing. This makes texting the stealthiest forms of communication ever invented. Communication can now be done anytime, anywhere. As Timo Kipomaa so eloquently puts it, “Free from the limits of time and space… text messaging… is used typically in some urban environments: on buses… in cafes, and in extreme environments of communication (such as noisy rock-concerts, silent libraries, or dark cinemas full of people.” This kind of stealth is beneficial and desired for teenager and single adult alike. As a teenager, it allows you to stay in contact with your significant other during class (although this is frowned upon by many institutions) or perhaps just to wish him or her good luck right before their big game against the in-town rival. And what better way to stick it to the parents than texting under the table at dinner or telling Billy to not pull his car up to the house because the “rents” are still awake (sorry mom and dad)?  Silent. Stealthy. Perfect. College is an extremely busy time for most young adults as well and a conversation on the phone is not always appropriate or wanted. Thanks to the flexibility in access that the texting provides, one can multi-task while still attending to the needs of his gf/bf (in text lingo, this means boyfriend and girlfriend).

This type of conversation has drawn attacks from critics because it does not offer, as Ilana Gershon, a professor at Indiana University, puts it, “the broadest bandwidth of information.” However, the conversation that does exist thanks to texting is better than the conversation that didn’t before texting was created. Texting has allowed for communication to proceed in places that before were unreachable, even for the cell phone before the innovation of texting.

Texting is no golden goose. As mentioned earlier, texting does not allow for that personal one-on-one contact that is necessary for a proper relationship to unfold. There are many warning signs and issues that can accompany texting such as the over-texter, the ambiguous text, overstressing texting, and the classic complaint of “they’re a completely different person in-person.” For the person being over-texted, this is no new problem. There have always been clingy boyfriends/girlfriends and this is just another example of that. For the person who is stressing over every text message, we find again, another old problem. In the eighties it was waiting for the phone for two hours and in the 1800’s it was waiting for that letter via pony express. However, the other two issues can be serious hurdles to the beginning of a relationship. A text message misinterpreted can lead to hurt feelings, distrust, and possibly the ending of a relationship. For the person who acts differently when you are actually speaking with one another, it may need a little extra attention like actually (gulp) talking about it face-to-face.

Nonetheless, texting is a great way to “get the party started.” Whether it’s that cute girl who sits in the front row in English class or the boy who’s always outside playing soccer, text messaging acts as the perfect buffer before things escalate to a date. It allows for a person to learn whether or not they’re actually interested in a person they might’ve never talked to otherwise and eliminates a majority (but not all, unfortunately) of the awkward first encounters that we have accustomed ourselves with when we gone on the dreaded first date. We can hold our heads high knowing that their favorite color is orange, they like to listen to Paramore and No Doubt and they have 2 brothers and sisters. With this kind of small talk out of the way, it’s easy to go straight for the good stuff like their favorite food. That way you know exactly what to make them on the second date.

-Will Paton

The Dangers of Online Games (by Michael J Harrington)

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 1:18 pm

Michael J Harrington

Nearly everyone (everyone reading this) has used the internet, whether it is for getting information, doing work, or just wasting time.  An increasingly popular trend, however, is beginning to overtake the internet, quickly becoming a leading form of internet entertainment.  Online gaming has become immense; there are approximately seven million World of Warcraft players and Call of Duty: Black Ops has an online population greater than all but two real world countries. This new form of entertainment is taking the world by storm, partly because it offers a new way to play and interact with one’s friends.  On most online games one has the option to either play cooperatively with their friends or against them, but either way there almost always is some way to communicate with one’s teammates.  If the game is a computer based one then generally the method is through a chat box, although sometimes a microphone can be used, but in console games most likely there is only way to discuss tactics with one’s teammates, through a microphone hooked up to the console.  But what kinds of things are said in game?  Do we really know who’s on the other side?  Are we giving away our privacy through these games?

Chatting in a video game helps to build trust between strangers enabling them to more fully carry out their objectives.  But this trust is not always a good thing, you wouldn’t want your twelve year old son talking to every random stranger online and gaining mutual trust, mainly because you cannot truly know who anyone on the other side of the TV really is.  They could be another nice twelve year old playmate for your son, or they could be a raging pedophile, of which the latter would not be a suitable playmate for anyone’s child.  But when we play games online often times we develop fairly close relationships with our teammates.  In fact, 75% of online gamers report that they have made “good friends” while playing.  But these friends are only friends in the sense that they spend a small amount of time killing zombies or earning goldwith you.  These people might be burglars waiting until you go to your piano recital or pedophiles trying to get close to you.  It’s hard to know for sure who you’re talking to online, but oftentimes people tell online strangers facts that they shouldn’t.

But this issue is more complicated than people simply trusting people and telling them intimate details inappropriate for an online relationship.  There are several  factors that affect how deeply this trust can go.  One such factor is the method of communication being used by the players.  As mentioned before, oftentimes computer games use an chat box as the prevalent method of in game discussion for players, and console games only utilize microphones.  This distinction is important however and tends to make console games more dangerous to our privacy, since talking is a more powerful tool of communication than typing generally.  In fact, one study found that although players who used a microphone didn’t develop trust any faster than their keyboard bound peers, they did gain a deeper level of trust than would normally occur using a chat box.  This is very important because console games are now more popular than ever and this demand is only growing.  With this more developed from of trust cybercriminals and other miscreants listening in to your conversation could very quickly develop a close enough relationship with you that you would tell them everything they wanted to know.

Also, there are various methods of chat in some games, for instance in World of Warcraft there are several channels one can use for communication.  There is a server wide channel for general questions, specific regional channels for forming parties and trading objects, guild, party, or raid channels (if you are a member of the guild, party, or raid using the channel), and user created channels, which include channels in a radius around the player (like speaking out loud) or private channels (like whispering).  On these channels anyone with access can listen in.  This is reminiscent of eavesdropping, except in the real world there is normally at least a chance to catch an eavesdropper, whereas in the virtual world they can literally be invisible to you.  This several channel system is actually good for privacy though, as long as all players are aware of how far their conversation really goes.  If you want to tell your friend something private do so on the private channel, not the guild wide one.

This is a problem that affects everyone, not just gamers.  Communication in game is reminiscent of everyone’s daily activities, talking to family and friends, discussing problems with one’s employer, and arguing with the checkout worker.  In order to understand our own dealings in the real world we can study online interactions and analyze the problems which are inherent to them.  Although there are serious privacy issues concerning online games a major one, privacy problems concerning online communications, can be fixed fairly easily.  The main way we can combat this problem is through being aware of what we say and who we say it to online.

“Messed up Mondays, Toasted Tuesdays, Wasted Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, F***ed Up Fridays, Sloppy Saturdays, and Sometimes Sober Sundays”

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 1:11 pm

It is commonly known that many college students have the opportunity to drink alcohol and many seize this opportunity. I’m sure that anyone who has been through college or is currently in college has seen or heard of or been the guy who passed out in the bathroom. Just check out Asher Roth’s “I Love College” music video; alcohol in college is a popular subject in media. The rise in the number of people who drink on a regular basis results from the social dynamic that exists in colleges that the students have never experienced in high school.

Our friends and peers have a large effect on the choices we make through the direct influence of peer pressure and indirect influence of social norms. Drinking alcohol is an activity in which social influence has a dominant effect on. People will put pressure on others to drink for so many reasons, some just for fun others have more malicious designs. If you meet one of your best friends at a party and he is having a good time drinking, chances are he is going to encourage you to drink to have fun with him. Many of us have been in that circumstance at some point in time where a friend is pushing us to try something we don’t really want to do. At some parties that guy offering the younger girl drinks intends to take advantage of her in a more vulnerable state due to alcohol. While people are subjected to a great deal of pressure from the friends to drink, people will subject themselves to an ever greater amount of pressure because they want to please the right social group. Some students will drink alcohol to fit in with the popular group; if Johnny drinks beer with the star athlete then he must be cool. While some drink to be included, others will avoid alcohol because they don’t want to be associated with people whom authority figures label as troublemakers and future washouts.

In the high school setting, the availability of alcohol is limited compared to that of the college environment. Walking around your neighborhood in high school to find a random party would be much harder than walking around a college campus looking for a place to party, especially frat row. The effect of social influence is greatly pressure dependent. Those who do drink do so to be part of that group because only that group has access to alcohol. Often many high school students fear to join the circle of those who drink because of fear of repercussions set by parents. Parents and other authority figures such as teachers impress on their children and students the negative consequences of drinking. Bad decisions will be made, grades will drop, and success will be one step further away for those who choose to drink in high school. That is the impression many students got from their parents. The choice to drink on a regular basis in high school is heavily affected by the pressure set by others directly and indirectly. Often the overpowering pressure of authority prevails, and students choose not to drink.

In college the social atmosphere consists of a freeing and enabling influence contrasting the pressure based environment of high school. College students are liberated from the close authority figures; this along with the greater number of more diverse people, students can pick and choose which social group to be part of. Often every group in college is more developed than those in high school which results in either older members who can buy alcohol or connections to those who can purchase alcohol. With the majority of college groups having alcohol access there is no pressure to be involved in a certain group to drink. According to an interview with Bieberman, (name changed for anonymity) students can drink with people who are similar to them and that they actually find to be cool, compared to high school where the people he would like to hang out with don’t drink. Elimination of social pressure against drinking and making drinking with students who the students would enjoy being with, results in the environment of college that supports drinking which enables a greater number of people to drink on a regular basis.

The college setting offer many new opportunities for students to experiment and indulge in new ideas or practices. Drinking is not an exception and a large factor for the opportunity to drink results from how the liberated and diverse social dynamic of college works. Understanding the risks of drinking and being aware of the numerous chances of drinking, students can be better prepared to drink responsibly.

Drinking is not an exception and a large factor for the opportunity to drink results from how the liberated and diverse social dynamic of college works. Understanding the risks of drinking and being aware of the numerous chances of drinking, students can be better prepared to drink responsibly.


David Luken *edited


Say Cheese! You’re on Facebook!

Filed under: Facebook — publicandprivatespace @ 11:48 am

By Haley Cator

As Facebook’s popularity increases, we need to be careful as to what information we make public because businesses, schools, and our families are responding to it.  We also need to realize that others can see our information and know that it may be used to help or harm us.  A comment on a thread of the Huffington Post states, “If you publicly post embarrassing things about yourself, don’t be surprised when they come back to haunt you.”

John Hechinger writes that no company wants to hire a person who is willing to publicize the fact that they’re drunk every night because that may diminish the “core values of the corporation.”  On the other hand, he also reports that one woman would rather not see that side of the applicant, but does that result in a fault of the company?  If someone is posting pictures of their self holding a gun and the company chooses to ignore that, then that could turn into a huge problem of which could have been avoided.

Also, Alan Finder writes that no school wants to admit a student who laughs at their arrest.  When it comes to scholarships, one counselor said that, “No one wants to be on the front page of the newspaper for giving a scholarship to a murderer.”  Because insight like this is now public to the whole world, schools are being very cautious about admissions to protect themselves.  Not every school uses Facebook as an admissions tool, but the ones that do are weeding out the people who do not uphold the characteristics of which the school wants to display. In fact, a Kaplan survey recorded that of the schools that use Facebook, 38% of them said that it “negatively affected” their attitude towards the applicant.  This staggering statistic should open the eyes of young people who use Facebook in order to urge them to revise their public page.

            Along with businesses and schools, parents and other family members are now using Facebook.  Actually, more than half of all users are now over the age of 25 and out of college, which is the parental range.  One journalist interviewed several people whose parents are on Facebook, and their responses were surprising.  Most of them don’t mind their parents being on Facebook, but they also don’t allow them to see their entire page.  “Students say a little fiddling with the privacy controls, and those pictures from Saturday [night never] existed.”

Because Facebook used to be strictly for college students and is now open to the general public, it went from being a private space to a public chat room. “It’s like having [my parents] walk into my room,” one girl says.  This has created some potential problems between the parents and the kids, but some of them are now, “used to it.”  For those who are still upset, one man suggests that there are rules set in place- not for the students’ behavior, but for the parents’ once they’re online.

            Conclusively, we all need to be careful about what information we’re making public on Facebook because it could affect the way businesses, schools, and our families view our behavior and result in negative outcomes.

Shyness: Social Expectations

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 11:47 am


Markus Lackey

Being popular is a goal for many high school students in America. Their goal is to be well liked, having high social status and be socially accepted by a large amount of people. Often times these individuals possess high levels of confidence and can make friends easily without feeling humiliated once they do something wrong, their peers very well respect them. Many times, they are loud to gain attention and often times follow careers in management or politics. They have the ability to introduce themselves and start a conversation with ease. For them being outgoing is natural, fun, sometimes energetic that does not take much effort. What if you are one of these Americans that is not popular? What if your peers feel that you are socially awkward? Do their peers feel envious towards them because they are too smart, or are their shyness mistaken for being unapproachable and unfriendly?

The social expectation for people is too much for a shy individual, and is often times expected to do more than he/she can overcome. Those who lack the confidence may be unable to succeed all the social expectation that has been put in front them and often times can aggravate their self-esteem. The risk and the fear of feeling humiliation by their peers make it difficult to achieve in the social world. The risk and the fear of feeling humiliation by their peers makes it difficult for them to achieve in the social world;  it also make it difficult in dating situation and other social environment, parties, where you have to interact with their personality. A self-destructive behavior leads to avoidance of social encounters; and become unable to function with today’s social norms.

They do demonstrate strength when they are limited to a small circle of friends, a place where faces and attitudes does not change; they feel a familiarity with these people. They know that their small group of friends will not insult them, or harm them in any way. With their friends, they are not force to be in uncomfortable situations, and find it comfortable to talk.

The majority of people only view the negative of being shy such as:


  • ·         Not being confident and assertive
  • ·         Can be seen as being weak and easy
  • ·         Difficulty to ask questions and for help
  • ·         Difficulty to make friends
  • ·         People take you for granted
  • ·         Insecure
  • ·         Being ignored


However, many people do not see the positive in being:


  • ·         Listen to friends more closely
  • ·         Sensitive to those around you
  • ·         Easier to get along with others
  • ·         Avoid fights
  • ·         Use as a survival mechanism


These are just a few examples of the negatives and positives.

                Some social expectation is surviving and working up in your career. In order to receive promotions you must demonstrate the kind of confidence to be noticed and leave a positive impression. But with their shyness often times they come off as untrustworthy or suspicious. How do you combat shyness in your first impression and beyond how do you come off as personal how do you get your point across? How do you show your authorities when your shyness is the first level of personality that people see? For outgoing people speaking up and voicing their opinion may be easy while for others it could be painful.

« Previous PageNext Page »