Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Tangled Wed - Media Ad

We live in an age where digital technology is key to surviving; we Google, YouTube, Facebook, poke, search, tweet, pin, and post minute-by-minute accounts of what happens in our everyday lives.  The above movie poster shows how we have become chained to our phones, hyper-connected to the devices meant to make our lives easier.  I can hear the narration now for the trailer.

Next summer, Baldowski Films in association with Media Literacy Productions brings you the next phase in suspense.  Imagine a world where the technology that normally relies on us for survival suddenly becomes in charge.  Don't hit send just yet, because you are in... A Tangled Web!

            We have become so tangled up in our technology that we sometimes forget about the real world happening around us.  As a media psychologist it is important to understand how we use our technology, but also to make sure that our technology is not taking over our lives.  As an experiment when creating the above poster I took a week and examined not only my own behavior with my technology but also those around me. 

            For me, Facebook and Yahoo News were the first two things I looked at before getting out of bed.  I needed to see what I missed in the few hours I was away from my phone while sleeping.  During lunches, those around me would text, tweet, and update statuses online instead of talking to the company sitting in front of them.  I found that I and many around me had become so attached to our mobile devices that it was hard to break free of the chains we head placed on ourselves by using the device.    Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post wrote, "We are totally, hopelessly addicted, so much so that there is now even a term for a fear of losing one's phone: nomophobia."

            When plugging my phone in to charge one night and having to step away from it because the battery was dead, it had me asking:  Who's really in charge?


Gilbert, J. (2012, April 16). Smartphone Addiction: Staggering Percentage Of Humans Couldn't Go One Day Without Their Phone. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Lesonsky, R. (2012, March 23). Nomophobia, Fear Of Being Without A Mobile Phone, On The Rise: Survey Says. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Media Persuasion

The discussion this week opened my eyes not only to the bias that can be found in media but also to my own bias when examining what I am watching.   The ad chosen to show bias in advertisement was one from the Yes on 8 campaign in 2008.  This ad used fear and misinformation to sway undecided voters to their side and was successful because of the political climate at the time. Many did not understand what the proposition truly proposed and relied heavily on what they were told to make an "informed" decision. 

The interesting part of this assignment was how my own bias started to shine through in my writing.  My experience led me to the ad I found because of the obvious bias I witnessed during that campaign and I overlooked how my personal feelings affected my view of persuasion and bias in media. As someone who has worked in the entertainment field, I forgot to look outside of my own expereinces and instead into the bias of the field itself.  Movie trailers are a great example of how persuasion in media can be effective in drawing in an audience.  

As a media psychologist, examining how persuasion and bias is present in everyday forms of media is important.  During an election periods, bias is easy to detect but not so much other times of the year.  Using my own experiences to draw on observations will be important but I will also have to learn how to set my personal bias aside for the good of the audience I am presenting or consulting with.

Image References

Boyle, A. (2009, September 24). Independent movie trailer reviews to premier Friday - Raleigh Indie Movie | Welcome to | Retrieved from

Patel, N. (2011, November 16). 6 Ways to Be More Persuasive With Social Media. Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Retrieved from 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bias, the media, and me

Everyone is plagued by his or her own bias.  Whether we are discussing politics, religion, sexuality, movies, or food we all perceive in a unique way and we all believe what we feel is true.  Our biases can help us as we ask questions, but if we are not careful they can also hinder our evolving thought process.  We must understand that bias is a constant in our lives and that we can never truly rid ourselves of this.  What we can do is gain an understanding of where our bias stems from and be cognitive of its existence. 

Our experiences will help us as media psychologists to be in control of our bias and constantly being aware of its existence will allow us to understand how the media we use affects us.   Taking an inventory at what media we consume in any given day will help us begin to break down our own bias.  For me, I found that most of my consumption comes from online, which needs an added sense of bias detection, because of the ease in which stories can be fabricated on the Internet.  

I try to gather material from various sources and varying viewpoints.  This will allow me to gather as much information as I can, and sift through the bias to get to the facts.  To understand how bias we works we also need to understand how we consume our media.  We need to ask questions of the sources and look inward to see how much of ourselves we are putting into our research and note any bias that might be shining through. 

While bias can never fully go away, we must learn to use it and control it as best we can.  Am I reporting only on what helps my argument? Am I pulling from sources that only side with me?  While this may be a constant in an every day setting, we must be cognitive of the types of bias we have when trying to pull information especially as media psychologists.  If we are to truly use our knowledge of media and technology to explain how they impact and affect society, we must put our own biases aside for the betterment of those we are helping.  

Image References

Ollman, G. (n.d.). I don’t need a signature to know it’s going to be bad… « The Day Before Zero. Damballa. Retrieved from

MCLAUGHLIN, T. (2010, January 7). Family Security Matters. Family Security Matters. Retrieved from

Smith, N. (n.d.). Reflective Practice in Higher Education Instruction - The EvoLLLution | The EvoLLLution. The EvoLLLution | Attracting Adult Students. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being a "De-Tech-Tive"

Understanding how and why technology impacts our lives is crucial to being affective digital citizens.  Today, we have access to more electronic technology than ever before, and this access allows us to reach further than science fiction writers could ever have dreamed. This electronic technology has provided access to higher education for those not able or not wanting to attend a traditional brick and mortar institution.  But where did this technology start, how does it help us today, and where will it take us in the future? To answer these questions we must become "de-tech-tives," a process described by Jason Ohler as, "focusing on the details and impacts of the technology that permeate our lives." (Ohler, p. 107) What permeates our lives more than the technology we use to better ourselves?

Gone are the days of the one-room schoolhouse.  Today the classroom has evolved out of the physical confines of a four-walled room, through the digital realm of cyberspace, and into the comfort of our own homes.  We have access to more educators, information, and each other than ever before, and yet there is still a disconnect between the physical and online community when it comes to connectivity.  In the classroom, we can discuss, ask questions, and interact in a real time setting with those in the same physical space. In regards to online, often those with questions have to wait for a response, will never meet their fellow peers, and in many ways teach themselves the material.  So what if we merged these two worlds into one?

The "Holo-Class," a virtual, holographic classroom, that projects the "classroom" into the student’s home, allows each user to interact in real time with their instructor and their fellow classmates. Of course this technology is a pipe dream so we must instead use our "de-tech-tive" skills to understand how this new system could help advance the world of online education. 

Just as a real detective would do, we must "investigate, analyze and make recommendations about how to address the personal, social, and environmental impacts of technology." (p. 111) We know how the traditional classroom works and we use this knowledge to form the online platform.  By investigating the successes and failures, along with the social impacts of online education, we can begin to look ahead at how to improve upon this technology.  Online education extends our minds into fields of study most might never have an opportunity to experience. It also can diminish how we connect to the real world and the experiences a traditional university can offer, such as student connectivity and instructor interaction.  This investigation will lead us to understand how to use technology currently available to us (i.e. Microsoft Kinnect, inferred cameras, and 3-D modeling) to start building a new form of the online classroom.

After we investigate we must begin to analyze the data to debate the pros and cons of this technology.   To do this we must find people on both sides of this debate, along with impartial judges to listen to both sides.  Once the debate is done, recommendations for this technology can begin.  For the "Holo-class", the debate revealed questions about the practical access students would have to technology advanced enough to project a 3-D hologram of a classroom.  One answer was, we already have access to this, just not in the same place. Another problem that arose, was the question of cost?  Wouldn't it be unreasonable to expect the average student to incur such a cost? The cost of this could be built into the tuition, allowing schools to send the appropriate materials to the students.  It can also reduce the number of on campus buildings the school will require which could offset the institutions overhead, allowing the cost of this to be minimal to the student.  A downside to this could be a loss of jobs, which would be antithetical of what the "Holo-class" would provide.  The idea would be to offer a better involvement in online education to expand the knowledge and reach of those wanting to further their careers. 

If the "Holo-class" were to take off, the analysis portion of the "de-tech-tive" process would need to be more involved.  As a media psychologist, this technology is exciting, simply because it allows for greater access to the world via new forms of media.  The minds of scientists have already bred life into the ideas put forth by science fiction writers such as blue-tooth, touch screen, and voice-activated technology.  Why not begin to advance the immersive qualities of 3-D to allow the next wave of these great minds to begin the cycle again?  

Ohler, J. (2010.) Digital Community, Digital Citizen. CA: Corwin. 

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Media Mantra

As a media psychologist I want to use media to bring awareness to material that is not looked at as the norm in society.  Filmmakers have more than just the silver screen, writers have more than just paper, and musicians have more than just radio to share their ideas. Jen Carter of PBS said, "All of these stories were centered on how each person used or views social media as a cultural tool used to stimulate and cultivate communities around an idea, interest or goal." (2012) With the technology we have, connecting with others through social networking, and the ease in which we can communicate I hope to share ideas and start a discussion with the help of various forms of media. 

Media Mantra:

To use media as an educational tool so that I can bring awareness to the public about subject matter hidden in the shadows of acceptance.


Carter, J. (2012, July 23). PBS Station Products & Innovation Blog: Part Two: Connecting Through Social Media. PBS Station Products & Innovation Blog. Retrieved from

Image Reference

Social Media Tree Icon (PSD) | Psdblast. (2012, August 14). Graphic design, PSDs & Free Icons for Download | Retrieved from

Sunday, October 28, 2012

McLuhan and Media Psychology

Understanding media does not have to be complicated and methods have been created to reveal simple this understanding can be.  McLuhan created a tetrad that breaks down our media and technology into their simplest form. Jason Ohler says, about the tetrad that "every new technology or medium does four things," enhances, obsolesces, retrieves, and reverses. (Ohler, p. 134) To understand better how media has impacted our lives, we look at the four aspects of McLuhan's tetrad in an aspect that impacts us as media psychologists.
As pointed out in Ohler's book, "this is not an exact science," (p. 135) but it is a useful way to show how media impacts our lives in a structured and semi-basic manner.  As media psychologists there are many forms of media that will be impactful in our professional field, but social media seems to be one that touches everyone. 

 Globally both Twitter and Facebook are used to share stories, daily events, and personal information with their friends, families, and online followers.  One such aspect social media allows, is a safe place for a person to "come out."  There are many forms of coming out and most of us do this on a daily basis without even realizing it.  Of course, when hearing the phrase "coming out" most people infer the person coming out is gay, but what if the person is undocumented, Transgendered, alcoholic, or Atheist. 

Historically the term "to come-out" has been associated with the gay community but today this term has been expanded to other avenues of the human experience.  Coming out simply means that people have disclosed something about themselves that society deems abnormal, and in many ways this is a life long and risky process.  Society does not like what it does not understand so the fear of rejection, abandonment, and physical harm are real concerns when one "comes out." While these possibilities do not disappear, social media has provides a place for people to come out in the comfort and safety of their own home, and allows their friends and family time to process the information on their own, rather in the moment of when they were told.  

To better understand how this form of media impacts us, let us look at McLuhan's tetrad for Facebook and Twitter.  With over 1 billion users signing in monthly to Facebook and over 500 million on Twitter, these two forms of communicating are now woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Social media has become one of the fastest ways for people to connect and control the flow of information.  By using the four aspects of McLuhan's tetrad on Facebook, I propose it would look like this:

While Facebook and Twitter are very common forms of social media they are not the only choices.  Many turn to blogging sites such as Tumblr, video sharing sites such as Youtube and Vimeo, and networking sites like Linkedin and Pinterest. All of these share the qualities laid out in McLuhan's tetrad. (see above image) Social media allows the user better control over who they reveal information to, the privacy of these options is still not that strong.  Privacy settings can be worked around and information is sold to third party users. The only true way to stay secure is to keep the information to yourself. 

There is a perception around social media that the ramifications of releasing information online will be minimal, but what many do not realize is social media is the equivalent of using a megaphone to whisper a secret. As media psychologists, it is essential to understand and apply the information we gain  about social media in terms of where it came from, how it impacts us today, and where it could possibly take us in the future.  

DeGroat, T. (2012, September 26). Coming Out as Undocumented: How Social Media Gives DREAMers a Voice | WaPo Labs. WaPo Labs | Focusing on digital innovation for The Washington Post Company. Retrieved from

Dimitri (2008, September 7). Media : McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Media: McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Retrieved from

Fowler, G. (2012, October 15). When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook - Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo! Finance - Business Finance, Stock Market, Quotes, News. Retrieved from

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Kristina , K. (Producer), & undefinedundefined (Director). (2007). McLuhan's Wake. [DVD]. Canada.

Lunden, I. (2012, July 30). Analyst: Twitter Passed 500M Users In June 2012, 140M Of Them In US; Jakarta ‘Biggest Tweeting’ City | TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved from

Ohler, J. (2012). Email communication. Retrieved October 23, 2012.

Image References

Amanda (2012, June 25). She's "off her meds". You can tell by her Facebook posts. | Thinking Of You Ecard | Free Ecards, Funny Ecards, Greeting Cards, Birthday Ecards, Birthday Cards, Valentine's Day Ecards, Flirting Ecards, Dating Ecards, Friendship Ecards, Wedding Ecards, Anniversary Ecards and more at Retrieved from

Amerland, D. (2012, January 15). Is Social Media Really Overrated? Technorati. Retrieved from

Crew, N. (2012, October 17). Coming Out | laFraise Blog. laFraise Blog. Retrieved from

Sunday, October 21, 2012

McLuhan and Media Psychologists

Technology advances at a rapid rate, most of the time as a help to society but at times can also create a hindrance to societal norms. McLuhan's ideas of the "medium is the message" and his views on "the global village" are great examples of why it is important to understand various forms of technology not only as citizens of the world but also as media psychologists. 

McLuhan said, "The extension of any one sense displaces the other senses and alters the way we think, the way we see the world, and ourselves." (Youtube, 2006) This is what technology does to us.  We focus our attention, thoughts, sight, hearing on a piece of technology, sometimes distracting and impairing our senses.  This does not mean that all technology is bad, however.  While using a cell phone when driving a car can impair one's reaction time, the car itself is a piece of technology important to society. 

McLuhan used the phrase "the medium is the message" to show the importance of context in the materials we take for granted.   The car allowed the development of highways, which allowed for people to move into suburbs.   To understand the meaning of the car, you have to look at everything together, such as the environment and the car. According to the Library and Archives of Canada, "McLuhan greatly admired important modernist art...because their work reconfigured the figure-ground relationship in ways that offered a critical commentary on culture and society."  This last statement is how media psychologists need to view their field. 

In order to properly examine how technology, new media, electronic media and so-on impacts or affects society we need to understand the message found in these various mediums.  In McLuhan on Youtube, he said, "I think of technologies as extensions of our own bodies, of our own faculties, whether clothing, housing, more familiar kinds of technologies, like wheels and stirrups and such are of various parts of the body.  The need to amplify the human powers in order to cope with various environments brings on these extensions, whether tools or furniture, these amplifications of our powers sorts of deifications of man I think of as technologies."

We use our phones to connect with people in the same room, find comfort in an online game when we feel uncomfortable in our real life, and want convenience over function when choosing the next thing to buy. His previous statement is a good example of this.  We want to "amplify the human powers in order to cope with various environments," and use technology as an extension of ourselves.  The way use technology creates what McLuhan calls a "Global Village."

It's an interesting concept, of course. We are connected in a broader, faster way and Eric McLuhan says it describes "the effect of radio in the 1920's in bringing us in faster and more intimate contact with each other than ever before in human experience." Where radio brought us together, for example families gathered to listen to shows, today it seems that technology drives a wedge through personal contact while enhancing a digital one.  According to Nielson, the average American home has three or more televisions and I know in my home, each member is watching something different, only occasionally gathering to watch the same program. Smart phones are also great tools that are used to connect digitally, but we also hide behind them with social networking and texting becoming a critical part of our everyday lives.  The fact that we can connect, digitally, using several different electronic mediums does create a global village, but as media psychologists we will have to examine and understand if this technology has or will affect the social and cultural construct we have built. 

 Marshall McLuhan on YouTube. (2006). Retrieved from

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 Wolfe, T. (1968). The pump house gang. New York: Bantam Books.

More than Half the Homes in U.S. Have Three or More TVs | Nielsen Wire. (2009, July 20). Retrieved from

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Rebecca (2010, March 30). Face Book and the “Global Village” « Rebeccamarie3's Blog.Rebeccamarie3's Blog. Retrieved from

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Advancing Online Education through New Technology

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and our daily lives rely on much of this new technology.  We use it for business, to connect socially, and as an educational tool, but while the demand for technology is on the rise so is the need for greater utilization. Education is the cornerstone of civilization and community, and during this current economic and unemployment crisis we have the power to utilize our technology to advance peoples lives.   By combining the technology of the Microsoft Kinect and holographic virtual reality, we can take the 2-dimensional online education experience and augment it into our 3-dimensional world. 

Advanced technology is no longer a thing of science fiction.  Primarily used for video games the Microsoft Kinect uses "a highly innovative combination of cameras, microphones and software that turns your body into the video game controller."  (Crawford, n.d.) These combinations in conjunction with virtual reality or holographic technology can be used to help advance online education. 

As a throw back to the Holodeck of Star Trek, the device in question is called the Holoclass. By combining the functionality of the Microsoft Kinect with the illusionary realism of holographic technology, the student can step outside of a 2-dimensional box and into the 3-dimensional world of a physical classroom.

A study done by Abigail Hawkins and Charles Graham indicates that, "teachers in distance education had to assume a greater managerial or technical role in online learning environments than in traditional classrooms to prevent students from getting lost or forgotten." (2012)

While not every student wants the connectivity this could provide, some do, but are not able to relocate to the school they wish to attend.  The idea behind the Holoclass came from hearing complaints about students feeling disconnected in their current online platform. This got me thinking, what if we could virtually bring the classroom to them.  Imagine that the student could turn on their computer and have the classroom and those attending the class, get projected into the comfort of their own home. This would allow them to attend live lectures, ask questions in real time, and present work for critique in a live setting. It is "critical that teachers avoid the assumption that online learners are those who prefer less personal contact with instructors, are independent learners, have high motivation to learn, are self-disciplined and have high personal self-efficacy." (Hawkins and Graham, 2012) By bringing the classroom to them, they will not only get a sense of connectivity but  could also get time with their instructor not found in the traditional virtual platform.

This of course does not exclude those who want the anonymity that online offers.  If the student wishes not to attend live lectures, the instructor can prerecord a lecture that the student can access.  Like in video games, the student will act as the remote and interact with the material the instructor is presenting.  In regards to the Kinect technology used in video games, Eddie Wrenn (2012) says, "Instead of being tied to a controller, players could use their body to control the action in a myriad ways - for instance virtually pulling back a bow and arrow, or dancing as the console rated how good (or bad) you are at copying on-screen celebrities."  This idea could be translated into the educational system.

Hearing there is a disconnect between my class and myself, can be unnerving. Since reaching every student is not possible in the online world, the Holoclass is a way to offer more connectivity.  Of course, as advanced as the technology is, it is still up to the individual to access the materials given to them.  During the discussion of this technology Rori Paul mentioned, "From being able to "be in" the classroom for a more interactive experience to being in a meeting to "feeling" an experience while remaining safe from its true effects allows us another level of understanding and interaction we currently do not have."

The reach of this technology can and should reach more than just those seeking a degree in higher education, but for the moment the focus is just on them.  With the unemployment rate staying high, many people are seeking degrees to better themselves or compete in the job market, but are finding cost to be preventative. If we fold this into the cost of attendance and give more people accessibility to the classroom experience, college can become a reality for everyone.

Crawford, S. (n.d.). HowStuffWorks "How Microsoft Kinect Works". HowStuffWorks "Electronics". Retrieved from

Fahey, M. (2010, November 3). Holographic Technology Is the Next 3D. Kotaku, the Gamer’s Guide. Retrieved from

Wagstaff, K. (2011, October 20). Microsoft Comes Closer to Star Trek’s Holodeck With Its Holodesk | Techland | Techland | News and reviews from the world of gadgets, gear, apps and the web | Retrieved from

Wagstaff, K. (2012, August 16). The Technology Behind the Tupac Hologram at Coachella | Techland | Techland | News and reviews from the world of gadgets, gear, apps and the web | Retrieved from

Wrenn, E. (2012, September 12). Microsoft files patent to bring Star Trek's 'Holodeck' to future Xbox consoles | Mail Online. Home | Mail Online. Retrieved from

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Digital Citizenship

In the world we live in today, it is almost impossible not to have some sort of digital presence.  E-mail has replaced snail mail, texting has replaced phone calls, and Facebook has replaced conversations.  As sad as this is, I am finding it to be true, especially after looking at my own digital footprint.  I am connected.  My phone is always with me and I check it a 100 times a day.  It has become an extension of my right arm, but I never fully realized how "plugged-in" I was until sitting down and looking at how I connect with those around me. 

I live in a state that has no connection to my family.  My immediate family lives in Georgia; I in Florida, and my extended family reside in West Texas.  I stay in touch with my childhood friends through Facebook, my college and industry colleagues through Twitter.  I met my fiancĂ© on an online dating website and I work with a few warm bodies, but teach online. After college, my world went physical interaction to nearly all digital and with the exception of the occasional national session, I attend school in an online platform.  However, with as much as my life is online, I feel more connected to people than ever before.  According to a study done on Facebook and the relationship it has to social capital, "It is clear that the Internet facilitates new connections, in that it provides people with an alternative way to connect with others who share their interests or relational goals."

I do not believe the Internet has changed how we connect with people but rather the ease in which it happens.  You no longer need to ask a person what their interests are to get to know them, but rather can click on their interests, join a site, or receive updates from like-minded people by simply clicking a button. To give an example of this connectivity outside of the typical e-mail or tweet, I will refer to the online petition site  According to Reuters, via, "The mother of a gay California Boy Scout denied an Eagle award because of his sexual orientation is fighting to overturn the decision before he turns 18, the cut-off date for the organization's highest honor,” they go onto say, "A petition launched by Andresen on, an Internet social change platform, calls on his troop to reject the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory policy against gays and give the California teenager his Eagle rank." I use this as an example because, while the online world is a way to stay connected with those closest to us, it is also a way to spark social change. This is an area of the digital world that has just started to take hold.

Like in any society the advancements made can be used for great things, but they can also become a hindrance.  At a Ted Talk in February, Sherry Turkle talks about how technology has become a way for us to be together without being together, "People text or do email during corporate board meetings. They text and shop and go on Facebook during classes, during presentations, actually during all meetings. People talk to me about the important new skill of making eye contact while you're texting," she adds, "We are getting used to a new way of being alone together."

As I mentioned in a discussion post from class, "with great power comes great responsibility." (Spider Man, 2002) Ok so I quoted rather than mentioned, but this idea fits with what I have been talking about.  There needs to be a balance between how we juggle our online persona and our real life persona.  In his book, Ohler mentions (p.55), "a mediated culture changes a number of traditional roles, causing "'a very discernible rearrangement of the social stages on which our roles and [that causes] a resulting change in our sense of 'appropriate behavior'" (as cited in Meyrowitz, 1985, p.4).

This change, if not recognized can send us down the wrong path where we are alone. However, if we recognize it, we can use it to our advantage and become successful digital citizens.  We need to balance how we act online and not ignore the real world around us.  Clay Shirky, in his TED Talk tells us about two values, Civic value and Communal value. The former is the "value created by the participants but enjoyed by society as a whole." and the latter is the "value created by the participants for each other." In certain ways we create material (i.e. pictures of cute cats, the new apartment we just moved into, and emails to a far away relative) to stay in touch just for each other.  In other ways, as in the online petition and social issue blogs, we create material for ourselves that will help society as a whole. 

We live in this world, both physically and digitally, so as citizens it is up to us to take care of it.  We need to understand our physical world to participate in the digital one, which means finding a balance between the betterment of ourselves and the betterment of society.  We should transfer what we've learned in the real world and apply it to the digital realm and become citizens of both. 


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