Don’t worry, I’m not actually getting naked for this.

It’s our inward post of the week! Today, we discussed cyberinfrastructure, and the types of worlds that are created through social media.

As a Gen Z kid, I was pretty much raised online. My parents did their best to shelter me, but how do you protect someone from something so new? By high school, I’d made my way around the block: Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, several smaller forums…

In many ways, it’s like a world tour, going to different countries and drinking up their culture. What’s the norm in one place is a major faux-pas in another.

One example? Grammar.

No, really.

On sites like Twitter and Tumblr, grammar is optional. Everyone is extremely informal, and they like it that way. If you end every sentence with a period, people will think you’re mad at them. If you type like I’m typing right now, you look incredibly serious.

Then you have sites like Reddit. On Reddit, everyone uses grammar. EVERYONE. You will be mocked if you don’t. On Reddit, it’s considered a cultural norm to, while responding to a post, also correct their grammar or point out a spelling error.

If you did this on Tumblr or Twitter, you’d be considered a condescending weirdo and get the virtual equivalent of being shoved into a locker.

Truthfully, part of why this class is so wild to me is that this is a social media platform without rules. I’m… just fairything. No main site attached, just fairything.net. There’s no obvious network, and therefore no obvious rulebook.

It feels like I’m naked. Really. I’ve spent my whole life under the norms of larger sites, and now I’ve been thrown out into a barren field without so much as a guideline. It’s terrifying.

According to my prof, that’s a good thing. I’m supposed to be terrified. That’s part of the course, having your own space to create what you want.

But also, this terror exists on multiple levels. This isn’t just a new social media experience, it’s a new social media experience for school.

It’s strange, too, because school has in many ways become another social media platform. Look at Canvas! Already, guidelines are being formed: people are a bit more casual than they’d be in full-on academic spaces, but there’s still a legel of formality expected. For example, one of my profs will accidentally spark a whole discussion about her “Doggo,” but we’ll all banter about it with proper grammar.

This particular class, meanwhile, is even more alien. I mean, I literally got told I can write about whatever.

Did the education system fail me if this stresses me out as much as it does?

Because this stresses me out, if the nudity and barren field analogies weren’t enough for an indicator.

Again, though, my prof enjoyed hearing all of this. It’s a good thing to see a barren field. Barren fields can be built upon.

We talked about how every website is like a house, so I suppose I’m building a house. I’m also buliding how others perceive me, which is where I guess the clothes in this analogy come from. There’s too much figurative language flying around.

I don’t know exactly what it’s gonna look like, but I know what I’m building towards. This is a space for a love of art, both the creation and consumption of it. It’s a space for reflecting on the how and why of that love.

Basically, it’s where I can infodump to my heart’s content.

The closest I’ve gotten to this before, this level of freedom, was probably when I used Tumblr in high school. There were a LOT of unspoken guidelines to the site’s culture, but you could really personalize! I spent hours customizing my blog themes.

This is one of very few screencaps that exist from that era of my life. Don’t let the cute graphics fool you; it was a dark time.
  • But this kind of learning is honestly really important. It’s a sad thing that I have all this open space and get terrified, isn’t it? Some of the week’s readings were about that, actually. How the education system failed in preparing us for what a resource this can be. How much can be done. How giving us this kind of domain and telling us it’s ours is a radical act.
  • We’re just going ham. I love it. It’s terrifying, and I love it. So, cheers to personal cyberinfrastructure, am I right?
  • I’ll more succinctly express this in my meme assignment. Brace yourself for that.

Everything aside, this kind of learning is really important. It’s a sad thing that I have all this open space and get terrified, isn’t it? And this isn’t an uncommon phenomenon. Actually, a lot of our readings this week were about how the education system failed in preparing students for what a resource the web can be. How much can be properly done with it.

How giving us this kind of domain and telling us it’s ours is a radical act.

I love it. It’s terrifying, and I love it.

So, cheers to personal cyberinfrastructure!

This was a whole ramble and a half, but if you want a good sum-up, great news, we had our meme assignment this week! It’s a pretty good TL;DR. Here ya go!

Anyways, until next time!