Hi Evan, I’m Evan and this is Evan.

The first time I left my trace in the digital world is when I first created my email address. Believe it or not, evancedric@yahoo.com was made in the year 2001. Thank God, the 7-year-old me did not think of stupid usernames like cute_evan_2001 or megadragonfart69. I had an email at a very early stage in my life because I often see my parents use the computer a lot for emails. So as any kid would be, I was curious and joined the online community for the very first time.

It’s kind of awesome to know that my email has been existing for more than a decade now and I’ve used it for practically everything web-related. These include but are not limited to academic web tools, games and social networks. In my opinion, digital footprints are most evident in social networks. This is because social networks give you more options to express certain characteristics that usually differ among other people. You don’t see JSTOR asking you what your favorite movies are.

My first social network involvement was in Friendster. If I remember correctly, I joined it when I was 12 (the required age was 16, so I’m considering myself a badass) because my cousins forced me to, so that I can give them what Friendster called “testimonies”. Sadly I can no longer access visual traces of my Fs account. But from what I remember, my name there was Qt Evan. I’m not sure if this is obvious but Qt is short for cute. From that you can deduce that my 12-year-old self was weird and jeje. I had a whole album dedicated for anime wallpapers. Thinking about it now makes me feel silly about my past self.

Facebook came a lot later. I joined when I was in 4th year high school. I was encouraged to join because of the games. But later it was for more than games. You can use Facebook to represent your identity as if it was you in real life (more than Friendster could anyway). As much as possible, I try to stay true to how I represent myself online. Through a very limited screen capture of my Facebook profile, one can already deduce things about me:

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  1. In the profile picture, I am obviously the one carrying the baby since babies don’t use Facebook; they’re underage, it’s against the rules.
  2. My cover photo is JL8 – mini justice league characters. From that, you can say that I am a Justice League fan, a DC comics fan in general or a pedophile.
  3. The “About” on the lower left shows that I am taking BS MIS in Ateneo and I live in Manila; Tondo, specifically.

Let’s try this with my Twitter profile:

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  1. My header shows a picture of Stitch, so that means I am a fan of Stitch. This is wrong. In actuality, I am OBSESSED with Stitch.
  2. The background is Flash carrying Iris West away from danger. Clearly I am a fan of Flash. But the presence of the overly-obvious romantic essence of the picture could mean that I am a hopeless romantic. There’s also the chance the whole thing means that I’m a Flash wannabe fan.
  3. The photos and videos category shows 6 panels of videos that are game trailers. That could mean I like playing games or that could also mean that I just like watching games being played.
  4. I used effin’ as an adjective for the blog. No offense though, I hate acads in general.

 

A lot of different things can be derived from the little details that are shown in social network sites. These are not just from photos, videos or descriptions but also posts, comments, tweets or even likes. Little as they are, they are all part of what defines oneself.

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However there are times that people take advantage of how social networks are not that transparent to show themselves as people who they’re not and as people who they want to be. If there’s a possibility to hide aspects of yourself that you do not want to be seen then why not? I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Sometimes it is just a way to compensate for something that one cannot be or do in real life.

 

Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/evan.cedric.07

https://twitter.com/evangoessnap

 

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RPG: Male? Oks. Female? WEH?

My topic for discussion in critical theory will be gender as a form of identity in online games (I really hope online games will NOT be the majority of the class’ blog topics). I’ve played a lot of games, but the games that I spent a lot of time and money on are Ragnarok Online, Freestyle, Dragon Nest and Grand Chase. I also specifically chose these four examples to reinforce my would be claims.

The kind of games I noticed was most feasible for this study and responsible for this gender swapping culture is massively multiplayer online role playing games. The first and obvious reason would be because it is massively multiplayer. Second, it is because MMORPGs usually provide the freedom to customize your avatar with the basic sex-defining traits – male or female. Lastly, it is only in role playing games where one can truly immerse in the presence of gender freedom in that particular culture. No, it is not the online presence which was in my first point. More of this will be discussed later on.

Ragnarok Online is the very first MMORPG that launched in the Philippines. Unsurprisingly, it was a hit and is still alive after a decade. Since it is the first of its kind, the point of the game is its online presence wherein you can interact and play with other people; customization of character was just a bonus feature. But now, the choice of gender, a mere variable that only depicts 2 options, became a game changer… literally.

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I was a kid when I started playing, around 10 years old I think. My point of view before was that if you’re a guy, you play as a guy and if you’re a girl, you play as a girl. NEVER have I been so WRONG. I see these people who are guys that play as girls and girls that play as guys. I soon found out girls play as guys to avoid being harassed, unless they want to do the harassing (haha jk). And guys play as girls just for fun or to scam other clueless people. This made me curious, so I tried it. I played as a girl… a pretty girl :”>. I made my persona one of those girls that typical men usually like at the time –the pa-cute, caring, friendly, crush-ng-bayan type of girl. I couldn’t believe the feedback. I get a lot and I mean A LOT of attention. I think it came to a point where I had a groupie. Although I don’t think these kinds of things happen if you’re don’t spend a lot of time in the game and if you sucked at it. These people think that my real identity was a female and they become attached to this belief.

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Freestyle was an online basketball game wherein you can also choose your gender. In this game, I took my female character “role-playing” further. I went as far as to take advantage of other people’s infatuation over my virtual identity and stupidity, and received in-game currency and items. I know it’s evil and twisted, but it’s not my fault they fall for it. The best things in life are free after all. All I had to do is pretend to be a girl and flirt.

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My claim earlier was that RPGs are the ones responsible for the culture that gender freedom creates in online games. With the previous two games I’ve used as evidence, you might say that it’s not RPGs but the ability to choose your gender in the game that allows for this culture to develop. Now let’s take a look at Dragon Nest.

Dragon Nest is an MMORPG where the roles are gender locked. For example, a mercenary would force you to be male and a magician would force you to be female. The most logical objectification I can think of this is that males are tough and females are squishy, thus the roles of front liners and “sa-likod-ka-lang” respectively. You have no choice; it’s a package deal (haha package).  Even with this gender lock, you can still customize your character’s appearance. Your avatar is able to interact with other people’s avatars that have their true identity concealed from you. Interact in a way that it is not just talking to each other, but also do things together. It still delves within the context of gender swapping cultures.

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You can be stubborn and say that even with gender locking, there is still the choice of gender regardless of your interest in the role it plays. Here comes Grand Chase. In this game, they also have gender locks for each role. However it is not an RPG, it is an arcade game. It is where you go on dungeon missions together or you play PvP. Both require you to accomplish the task as quickly as possible. Moreover, since it is a matchmaking system, there is no place where you can make tambay. This removes the interaction that is needed for the gender free culture to survive. The only possible interaction you can have is through chat rooms which prove to be less effective in portraying a virtual gender-based identity. There is also the lobby where both avatars are present but so is everyone else’s; and I doubt you want your private conversations to be public.

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It is through an RPG that one can be more affected by the virtual gender of a person. One can argue that is the online presence that allows this. Yes it does, but it only contributes to this culture. You don’t get to know the person just by purely talking to them (only feeble minds fall for that). It is through the role you play that makes your gender identity believable. An arcade game fails in this because it only makes you focus on the task on hand. To differentiate games, this culture is more effective in games that allow more social interactivity. It is through the activities that are done together by 2 or more people that allow them to immerse into the identities of one another; just like in real life.

Forgive my lack of personal screenshots my characters in the games. I don’t like bragging my accomplishments in games coughnakatoptenakosamonthlypvpnggrandchasecough.

Sources:

http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/genderswap.html

http://clrn.dmlhub.net/content/gender-and-sexism-in-online-gaming-communities

http://mmohuts.com/wp-content/gallery/ragnarok-online/ragnarok-online-character-creation.jpg?ec9f9b

http://ro.tahadi.com/sites/default/files/GMs-Female.png

http://calsmash.up.seesaa.net/image/080719.png

http://download.gamezone.com/assets/old/gamezone/29/3/31/s29331_pc_27.jpg

http://play-free-online-games.com/listmachine/uploads/image_freestyle_street_basketball_1.jpg

http://s.cghub.com/files/Image/565001-566000/565227/998_max.jpg

http://image.offgamers.com/gameguides/dragon-nest.jpg

http://www.multiplayergames.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/GrandChase10.JPG1.jpeg

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sabi ng wordpress optional ang title, edi ito na.

Old media:

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Newspapers these gigantic pieces of paper on top of one another that you flip around to gather information that you may or may not need in the course of your life. They are a fantastic way to learn more about current events that you are actually interested in. You can just choose whatever you want to read and skip out on the boring things. Downside is that you don’t get much visualization from the (usually just) one picture you’re looking at or what you’re reading especially if your imagination sucks. It sucks even more if you’re the type who’s too lazy to read.

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Televisions are these boxes that magically show moving pictures. TVs are an effective way to deliver news to (mostly) lazy people and it is a better way to get the audience to understand the current happenings because it uses tons of visual aids to its audience. It gets plus points because the message is mediated through sound. So all you have to do is listen to the person talking, it’s like the reading is being done for you. Admit it; listening is a tad less exhausting than reading.

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New media:

Computer screens today are considered new media. For me, media through the computer screen is a combination of both a newspaper and a TV news report. You can just take a pick at whatever you want to know about, whether be current or not. You don’t have to watch through stuff that you couldn’t care less just to watch the only thing that you couldn’t care more. If you’re interested about something, you can watch videos about it. If you’re still interested after that, you can read articles that talk about them in more detail. If you still are after that, congratulations, the internet officially did not creep you out! As a bonus feature of the internet, your interest can also be done in reverse order – reading first then watching.

I personally approve of this new type of culture. Aside from the above-mentioned reasons, new media provides more perspectives about the matter. It is faster now unlike newspapers where the news is already a day old and local TV news air mostly during evening. This puts old media quite in an ironic place since their so called “news” is not that new compared to new media’s wherein an article can appear within an hour of its reporting event. Statuses from Facebook and tweets from Twitter can be about the events happening seconds after, if not during the occurrence.

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A disadvantage is that the authenticity of this plague of information is very much doubtful. There’s also the existence of people who have learned the ability to do real world crimes in the virtual world. Another is that some people consider social media, a virtual world, to be real world. The problem with that is the two seem to be connected with each other. Yes it should be in a way, because the virtual world uses the real world as its basis. But it should not be to the point that the virtual is overlapping the real. The bigger problem here is that there’s really nothing we can do about it. The scope new media covers is too large to reverse (assuming that it is reversible and we actually need to reverse it). After all, if you ask me, the good outweighs the bad by a landslide.

So if you don’t mind, I have to take an Instagram photo of me doing this blog at 3 in the morning while eating instant ramen with raw egg and posting it on Facebook and Twitter.

blog by: Evan Cedric Tan

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_media

http://www.randmediagroup.com/new-media-vs-old-media

https://sites.google.com/site/bhsdigicitizenship/social-media/pros-cons-of-technology

http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/newswire/uploads/2009/01/newspaper.jpg

http://clrvue.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/old-TV.jpg

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/10/08/acer-windows-8-touchscreen-laptop.jpg

http://www.athgo.org/ablog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/social-media-hand.jpg

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I’m rich! not really…

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A few months ago, I bought myself a Samsung S3 because I was fed up with my candy phone – it was slow as hell. Before the S3, I use phones simply for calls and texts only. But now, I find it very useful. It’s easier now to keep track of the things I’m doing. I’m now easily updated with recent events. Playing games has never been the same for me. *Insert more satisfactory statements of all the other amazing-but-not-really-that-useful smart phone features here* This phone changed my life. Pwede pang-commercial diba? Haha. Kidding aside, it’s really useful.

 

The first-released factory technical specs that most people pretend to understand are:

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 4.8″ Super AMOLED 720 x 1280 resolution display
  • 1.4 GHz quad-core application processor
  • 3.8V, 2100 mAh battery
  • 8 MP rear-facing and 1.9 MP front-facing cameras
  • 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal storage

 

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And here’s the specs on the motherboard that nobody even pretends to know about anymore:

 

I’m actually putting these up in an attempt to look smart. I have no idea what most of those are. The point I’m getting at is that a lot of these components are manufactured by Samsung itself. Samsung has factories in their mainland, Korea. However as I mentioned, these are most and not all. Some of the components are manufactured/outsourced in China (duh, where else?) and occasionally, Taiwan.

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You may ask why China? The simplest answer to that is why not? China has the cheapest labor in the world. An entrepreneur will always value the principle “the lower the cost, the better”. This impacts positively on China of course because not only Samsung but most other companies out there outsource to China. One may argue that Korea benefits as well because most of the components are manufactured there. True, however more and more of these components are being outsourced to China. It is possible that in time, the whole manufacturing process of future Samsung products will be in China. This negatively impacts everywhere else though; since everywhere else is being overshadowed by the cheapness of China.

 

 

The direction of wealth skews to China and Samsung as well as other big time companies from all over the world. Yes, it does give out jobs to the lower class people; but even if they work here for decades, they would still be in the lower class. On the other hand, Samsung gets richer than you’ll ever be by the second. This trend shows that the rich become richer and the poor stays the same, if they don’t actually become poorer.

 

 

 

 

blog by: Evan Cedric Tan

 

Sources:

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Samsung+Galaxy+S+III+Teardown/9391/1

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/30/us-samsung-labour-idUSBRE8AT09220121130

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Electronics#1995-2008_-_Component_manufacturing

 

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