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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Shawn Steiner at 3:08PM
Dr. Zimmermann stands with new media scholar Ulises Mejias before his lecture. Photo by Shawn Steiner

Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Blogger, Elkridge, MD

Welcome to FLEFF's opening day and the first of many live blogs of the week. 

We have concluded our discussion, but at 10:00AM-10:50AM in Park 220 Ulises Mejias will lead a discussion about Augmented Reality Games



"Networks increase participation, but also increase inequality."


"It's not if we shape our tools or if our tools shape us, but how."

Mejias' agenda includes "thinking the network" and then how we are to then "unthinking the network" to get us to move beyond network logic through many strategies, like intensification.

First, what is a network?

1. Nodes (each one of us)

2. Links (similar interests)

The problem with this type of "nodocentrism" is that a node cannot connect to anything except other nodes. Take your friend who refuses to make a Facebook page, you may realize the trouble they have getting party and event invitations since people only invite people currently on Facebook. This is an issue with social networking.

And, while those with few connections still grow (the poor), those with large networks (the rich) will rapidly gain more connections. This is a preferential system where Mejias says "the rich get richer."


"[Networks] are shaping the way we think about friends."

A network in Facebook or media terms is something very specific. It is a template created that is altering the way we think about things like friends and likes. It is software and programming that is reprogramming our mind based on algorithms.

It has moved from a network as a metaphor to a network as a template.

Mejias also explains the change from old media as a "one-to-many" monopoly to a new media "many-to-many" perfect competition.

However, monopsony is the economics of new media, it is a "many-to-one" approach.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Can these metrics help us catch terrorists? How?


"The sacrifices in privacy may not be worth the gains."

Inequality through participation takes many forms. This includes surveillance, filtering, blocking, psyops, spambots, and the loss of freedom of speech.

This is done by organizations and companies that run social media networks. Using fake accounts to spread propaganda, deleting so-called "problematic" accounts, and simply shutting off the network are all possibilities that can limit the people utilizing the network.

QUESTION: What are the power dynamics between activists, hackers, and the media?

SHORT SCREENING: Virtual Revolution, a BBC documentary.


"Dissent will only become possible in the spaces outside of the social networks."

We need to look into the spaces between the nodes. We must see the paranodes are the resisters, the rejecters, the expelled, and the excluded.

Paranodality: the outside of the network is not empty but inhabited by multitudes that do not conform to the organizing logic of the network.

And once we reach these paranodes and maintain a MOBILITY between being in a network to being outside of it we can find power (intensification).

QUESTION: Is it easier to express dissent inside or outside the network?

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