Our digital & data literacy advocacy work
Throughout this course, we have been investigating life online rather closely. We have been examining issues of digital citizenship, participatory culture, networked learning, and identity in the digital age. We have been “lifting the veil” on the realities of the attention economy, the ubiquitous algorithm, and data surveillance.
Simultaneous with this ongoing investigation, we have been hit with a global pandemic – a crisis that has upended our lives. And as we struggle together, we discover that we must rely even more heavily on the very technologies we are tasked to scrutinize and critique. One thing does remain clear. If our devices are mediating our engagement with the world around us, then now, more than ever, digital literacy is a critical concern and should play a key factor in the way we figure out how to move forward.
The Data Detox Kit
The Net Mirror community is committed to the notion of improving our collective digital/data literacy. This week, we will highlight and consider some basic steps to improve our own digital and data literacy. Please take some time to explore the DATA DETOX KIT. This kit offers everyday steps you can take to control your digital privacy, security, and wellbeing in ways that feel right to you.
And we will also share some material in the virtual Research Days Forum. Originally, we were planning to participate in this special event (that was to be open to the public) in order to showcase our advocacy work via an open and interactive installation. We were slated to curate an interactive exhibition on data and privacy that would different ways of understanding how technologies are changing our lives. We now know how much websites, apps, social media, and ‘smart’ devices all thrive on our data. Our open interactive installation was originally an invitation to the Kean Research Days community to explore how society is dealing with the growing dependency on data and technology, and the normalization of monitoring and surveillance. We now plan to take that work online and share some of this (as well as strategies to cope with this reality) via a brief advocacy video.
The seeds of storytelling in the Net Mirror
When we started the Net Mirror journey, we began with a provocative question-prompt:
“When our devices/screens are turned off, those screens emit a black reflective mirror (the metaphor for the series Black Mirror). When we look closely at our screens, what do we see, both in ourselves and in our society? And are the screens and networks behind it seeing us back? What do our reflections behold, and what stories still need to be told?”
We will spend the remainder of our time together this semester developing some story “seeds” for a final Net Mirror story collection. We ask you to continue thinking about the aspects of your everyday life (work, shopping, graduate school & university life, entertainment, travel between locations, visits to the doctor, conveniences at home, etc.) that might become a plot point if there was a surveillant technology at work. We will “workshop” those ideas in our next class.
Your to-do list
With the video clip for our Research Days Video in the can, we are now entering the home stretch for the Net Mirror journey.
Your blog writing for the week should include a reflection of your exploration of the Data Detox Kit. What steps have you incorporated? And what aspects of these recommendations do you feel are worthwhile moving forward? What concerns and considerations remain after exploring these recommendations for privacy, security, and wellbeing on the open web? (**Please remember to tag this blog post under the “Data Detox” category when you post.)
I will be completing our Research Days video submission shortly, which will include our “prompt questions” regarding data literacy issues, along with information about the Data Detox Kit for our viewers. It will also include a link to your forthcoming blog posts about these suggestions.
For next class, we will be workshopping your story “seeds”. So keep brainstorming those “lists” about those moments in your life where you think you could tell a compelling story about your relationship to technology. We will conduct a mini “Net Mirror Writers Workshop” which at it core, will be an exercise in drafting speculative fictions.