Digital Activism

Digital activism, what does that mean exactly?  I honestly have never heard the term before, but found it an interesting subject to read about.  Digital activism is “where digital tools (the internet, mobile phones, social media etc) are used towards bringing about social and/or political change.”

There are six functions of digital activism.

  1. Shape public opinion- where the oppressed inform others
  2. Plan an action
  3. Protect activists (anonymity)
  4. Share a call to action
  5. Take action digitally (petitions, donations, etc)
  6. Transfer resources

Digital activism can be used to raise awareness or to support change in things like women’s rights, elections, bullying, and so many other topics.  According to Alexis Manrodt, most digital activists are between the ages of 13-25 and anyone above the age of 25 is considered “old.”  I’m 30, and there was anything like this when I was a teen or young adult.  Social media was not around yet.  We didn’t hear about events moments after they happened and we weren’t able to connect with people all over the world.  Alexis also points out that digital activism could also be known as “slactivism.” I had to laugh a little when I read this term and when you pair that with the 13-25-year-old age group I can see where that comes from.  It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and voice your opinion, but if you asked kids that age to go to a city council meeting and voice that same opinion they probably would not go.

I see my Facebook being flooded with digital activism when it comes to our current election.  Not just our presidential election, but even the election being held with our school district.  I don’t mind most of it, but there have been a few times that it gets a little old.  I myself have participated in digital activism when it comes to car seat safety, the right to breastfeed in public and other topics that involve children.  They’re issues that I’m directly involved in and things that are important to me.  There are no geographical limits when it comes to digital activism as it can reach everyone around the world.

Bill Ferriter says that digital activism gives kids more power, and that because of digital activism they don’t have to wait until they are older to make a difference in the world.  I like this idea and I like how he used it to teach his kids about things that are important and relevant to them (sugar content in their snacks, for example).  As I was reading about Bill I was thinking to myself what things I can get my own kids involved in.  What is important to them and what issues are they passionate about?

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I didn’t realize we were supposed to blog them, instead I tweeted them.  Oops

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A large field of giant orange pumpkins, leaves wilted to the ground.

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Babies

Laughter, smiles

Learning through adventure

Trial and error

Pure innocence

The Golden Hour

The golden hour…it sounds like something from a Lord of the Ring movie but it isn’t.  It’s very definition sure lives up to its name though.  The golden hour is known as either the first hour after the sunrise or the last hour of the day before sunset.  Sunlight produced during these times is much softer than the sunlight of midday, and it’s very useful and beneficial when taking pictures.

I blogged about the temperature of light and of pictures before, and golden light provides such a great example.  Golden light is warm, which means it provides a more yellow/orange tint instead of cool lighting which provides more blues.  Warm lighting is so much more flattering on people while cool lighting is not.

Since October is almost over, I’ve really been thinking about Christmas shopping.  One of my “traditions” is to buy my parents and my husband’s parents photo gifts of our kids.  Last year I killed two birds with one stone and used my daughter’s newborn photo session to take a few pictures to include all of my children and I used those photos for gifts.  This year, I’m feeling very frugal and just can’t afford to dish out a fortune for a photo session when all I really want is a few good pictures.  So, this class and my independent learning project inspired me to take matters into my own hands.  I did a little research and found the perfect time of day to take my pictures using this nifty golden hour calculator and we arrived to take pictures at about 5:30 pm.

I am so pleased with my results and I cannot wait to have gifts made for our parents this year.  I did cheat a little though- at the beginning of my independent learning project I said that I wanted to learn how to use my camera in other modes other than auto.  For this experience I did decide to use auto because, well I challenge anyone to take four children out after a long day of football games and expect for them to cooperate while you’re busy changing camera settings.  The following pictures are unedited.

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Now, I did decide that I wanted to enhance them a bit because I just love beautiful pictures so I downloaded a free trial of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  I know I said that I wanted to be frugal but after my short experience with this software I may have to bite the bullet and purchase the full program, especially if I’m going to be taking more and more pictures.  Lightroom does more than just your general photo editing app or website.  You can change basically every single dimension of light and color which is pretty amazing (see below).  I’m still playing around with it, maybe I’ll have something awesome to share next week!

Reflecting

Upon registering for this class I really had no idea what I was going to be learning about and how I’d be learning it.  I even double checked with my advisor because there wasn’t a text book listed for the class.  So far I’m happy to say that I’m enjoying the class, even though I was apprehensive about some of the requirements (twitter and the daily create to be specific).  I think I may have ranted to my husband a few times and used a few words that were not very nice, and it was because I was frustrated with whatever program/technology that I was using- or trying to use I guess I should say.

I’ve learned that there’s so much involved in digital literacy and how important it is to not only learn about it ourselves, but to teach it to our students in the future.  I’ve learned a few ways to keep my children safe while online and I’m very pleased with that.  I never thought I’d be a blogger, but so far it seems pretty easy for me.  I’m used to formal writing (college English class essays, etc), so for a while the informality of blogging was kind of hard for me to grasp.  It almost seemed too easy.  But so far I’m on the right track with that and that feels great.

I’m still a little unsure about the daily creates, I hope that they eventually come as easy as blogging and that I’ll be able to step more out of my comfort zone with them.  I’m also loving the ability to communicate with my classmates, to give and provide feedback in all aspects of this class.  That’s something that I’ve never had the opportunity to do with other classes and I think it’s a wonderful tool to have and use.

Another thing that I’m really enjoying about this class is that the directions and assignments are very clear and easy to understand.  I’ve had a few classes that the instructions are not very specific and it’s really hard to know if you’re doing things correctly.  The feedback from the instructor, and the rest of the class, is so valuable and so appreciated.

So, I Googled myself…

And I don’t know if I should be happy or a little disappointed with the fact that I didn’t find much.  The first result that showed up was a baby registry that my husband and I created for our almost (in 18 days) one year old’s arrival.  The next results that show are mostly Facebook pages and groups that I’m members of.  One of them is the La Leche League so I guess that might say a little about me.  A few links down is also the Presidential Honor Roll list at Eastern Wyoming College.  I’m very proud that shows up.

Since my husband and I have only been married for a little under 2 years I decided to check my previous name and there wasn’t a whole lot that showed up there either; wedding registry and another honor roll.  To me this shows that there isn’t a whole lot of information available to me and I’m happy with that.  That means that no one could get much information about me (address, phone number, etc) and there isn’t anything negative about me either, so this is good when it comes to college and future employers.

I am also happy that there are no images of me that come up with the search.  The closest one is a picture of my grandparents and that only shows up because I started a GoFundMe account for them after my grandma had her stroke. There are also no pictures of my children.  There are also no images of anything related to me when I search  my previous last name.

I then decided to Google using my maiden name and am a little bothered with one search result.  It lists my parents names, our ages, the address and phone number of my mom’s house.  But again, there are no images.  While I am glad that there really isn’t any information for potential employers, I am a little bothered with even just the smallest bit of personal information out there that’s available to anyone.  Although it isn’t recent information it does make me wonder how I can prevent my current information from ending up on the internet.  I have always tried my best to keep my name clean online.  I’m careful about what I post on Facebook as I’ve already had the experience of a potential employer looking at that.