Digital Family, Week 2
Either “Medusa” or “Sybil” could be representative of my electronic extended family. My “inner circles” include family and my military family which is like having a split personality. My children are adults and seldom intermingle with my military family. My family and I usually communicate via the phone. We save the digital communication for use when I am deployed or have an overseas assignment.
The military family is a digital community and citizenship comes with the territory. We share information on Facebook, Twitter, through emails, or any number of sites. Military relationships often depend on the digital community because we work together, deploy, train side by side, and are extremely mobile. We are often separated by long distance and the best way to keep in touch is through a digital medium.
It is very difficult for me to separate members of my military family, military professional circle and the remaining circles of country and global because they impact each other. The digital community begins to grow and have a stronger impact upon my real life. There are more digital communities to interact with and some of the communities deal with very specific areas of knowledge. Global events or events that impact the US may initiate new global communities that require our participation. At this point, I realized my community membership diagram is more like figure 2 (Ohler, 2010, sec. Part 1).
What I found most interesting about my electronic extended family is the closer a group is to me the fewer virtual communications were maintained. As the “circles” extended so did the requirements of virtual communication. I found one commonality throughout the extended electronic family. The initiation of digital communication and communities was the result of real world requirements.
Clay Shirky discusses the creation of Ushahidi as the result of software creators reading a blog that need their skills. The reality of the collaboration resulted from the violence that occurred in Kenya. The blog site did not appear prior to these events.
Ohler discusses the crucial points to being a global citizen (2010, sec. Part 1). The first point is we don’t live in isolation in our physical communities and digitally we can travel anywhere and become more multi-cultural (sec. Part 1). The second point is the merging of our identities to create alternative views (sec. Part 1). Even with these points, the initiator was a real world event.
During our discussions on FELIX, we attempted to create a line between the virtual and the real. The truth is we cannot have the virtual without the real world interaction. In each of these cases, reality created the virtual. Can the reverse action occur, yes. This is easily seen with the demonstrations that occurred at the American and other western embassies. Ohler stated, “we can collectively build bridges and develop resources in the Virtual Reality that could help us in the Real Life” (2010, sec. Part 1). The application of virtual to real world mentalities could be the change that gives humanity were it is missing.
Shirky, C. (n.d.). How cognitive surplus will change the world. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html
Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital community digital cititzen (sec. Part 1). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin-A Sage Company.