The last thing I had expected was to be watching an anthropology professor build his case on how much the Internet and connects us as humans. I assumed that as a anthropology professor, Mike Wesch would be all about the face to face interaction, yet he wasn’t. He advocated for the world wide web and making a tremendously compelling argument about how it links people.
Wesch stated during his presentation that media is not just a tool or a means of communication, in fact, he declares that it has changed how we connect with each other. He’s entirely right. As technology progresses, there are more and more creative and new ways to communicate. I’ve sent texts that are almost entirely made up of emojis but that was still me communicating with someone. That type of communication would never have been considered 40 or 50 years ago, probably no one would have understand what it meant either. It is similar to when everyone used text abbreviations (lol, brb, nm). There were times when I had no clue what someone was trying to tell me because they were only using abbreviations, but that was just the type of media changing how we communicate and connect with one another. Now thanks to the invention of spell check, most of us stopped using abbreviations and started spelling out actual words. That was the media changing once again how we communicate.
Not only did the professor demonstrate how media has changed how we communicate, he also showed how rapidly information can be exchanged and equally how rapid it can cause change. He did this by showing a Dove commercial about how the entertainment industry body shames women, then he showed a remake of the Dove commercial showing how Dove’s industry destroys acres upon acres of forest in Indonesia. Wesch mentions that shortly after the commercial about the Indonesian forests came out, the two creators of that video were asked to visit Dove and discuss solutions to the deforestation. In a matter of days, a step towards change for a better future occurred and it was due to the readily available platforms like YouTube that exchange information quickly.
The way Professor Wesch sees the Internet, is how I see the ds106 course. It is linking people together, not just students from Mary Washington, but people from many other places with several different professions. The ds106 course is also similar to how Wesch teaches his courses in Kansas. In this course we are all connecting on several different platforms, and the assignments we receive require us to evaluate the world around us and the world right in front of us on our computer, which shows that ds106 is not your typical online class. The only thing I had to do in other online courses I’ve taken is to memorize the information, but that doesn’t apply to this course and I believe Professor Wesch would greatly appreciate that.
It’s truly incredibly how connected we all are by the Internet and how much of an impact it has made on the world. As Professor Wesch points out, the Internet is not just about entertainment. It is about the meaningful linkage between billions of individuals and the kind of change that can occur with that. I’m looking forward to the meaningful exchanges between others in this course and the potential change that can come of it.