Cyborg anthropologist Amber Case explains how humans are already cyborgs—that by virtue of using computers and mobile devices, we have external brains. Case argues that all tool use is a modification of self, designed to help humans do things better. However, Case points out that we are now experiencing not modification of physical self, but of mental self. She also points out that we now have “second selfs” that exist online and can be interacted with, even when we are not present. This TED Talk is thought provoking in that it reminds the viewer that time away from technology is an important part of being able to use the tools now available to present an authentic digital self.
[TED]. (2011, January 11). Amber Case: we are all cyborgs now. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1KJAXM3xYA
A PechaKucha presentation explaining Christine Hine’s theory of the E3 internet.
Hine, C. (2015). Ethnography for the Internet: Embedded, embodied and everyday. London: Bloomsbury.
This documentary is the result of ethnographic research conducted by cultural anthropology professor Michael Wesch and his students. In this case, students used digital tools to convey results of on-ground ethnography in a retirement home. The class sought–and found–community inside Meadowlark Hills and then used video to convey their findings: what life is like for residents when creating community is intentional. Wesch says about the project, “Students had to face their own fears of death, they had to grieve for those they lost, and they had to overcome their insecurities to reach across a generational divide that was both wider and narrower than they had imagined.”
Wesch, M. [Michael Wesch]. (2013, June 14). Smile Because it Happened. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/68388753.
The documentary Second Skin lets players of various role-playing games (RPGs) tell their stories in their own words. While the director presents plenty of evidence–both anecdotal and qualitative–to demonstrate that gamers come from a wide range of backgrounds, most of the story Second Skin tells does come from “stereotypical” gamers. Included are couples who met while playing online and a discussion of addiction among gamers. Anyone interested in online gaming will likely find this film interesting, but it won’t shed light on what a viewer likely already knows.
Pineiro Escoriaza, J. (Director). (2009). Second Skin [Motion picture]. USA: Pure West Films.
Ethnographer danah boyd has ideas for parents and other adults to help teens navigate social media in this video. boyd describes the ways interactions can happen in public without being public and how teens accept that public is default and private is something that must be chosen. She also addresses social etiquette and ways teens try to separate online social situations. Parents and adults who work with kids can learn a lot from boyd, especially if they’ve experienced conflict over “public” posts that teens don’t want parents to see.
[National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)]. (2013, March 19). danah boyd at the 2013 NAIS Annual Conference. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YOR69TBxBA