Blog Posts


Hey everyone! Welcome to my first blog.

Today I will discuss the most important things I have learned in the course WRI227 (Social Media and Content Creation).

This course has been exciting so far and inspired me to go and create this website from scratch. In this blog post, I will be listing my top 5 favorite things I have learned, as well as going into a bit of detail about each topic, so I hope you enjoy reading through this.

Origins of the Web

Now from what I have seen, from talking with people around the same age as me, there is a lack of understanding of the history of the Internet. I mean most people of my generation's first experience with the internet was probably early YouTube or using Google to find clipart for their Elementary School presentations. In reality, the history of the Internet originates from the communication between large US Universities, through what was known as ARPANET. The Internet soon evolved to be more publicly accessible through technologies such as Usenet forums in which users could communicate regarding specific interests, Internet Relay Chats which is the predecessor to the Instant Messaging of today, and even the first Internet Browsers like Mosaic. In regards to my history on the internet, I remember being a kid and watching my sisters use our old Windows XP computer to message their friends on MSN Messenger or playing Escape the Room Flash Games. Later in the lecture, we went into more depth about Web 2.0, and the rise of user-generated content. From here we learned about Geocities and even viewed Cameron’s World which was a love letter to the internet of old. This was a key reason why I decided to create this whole site, as I believed it would be more fitting to pay homage to the old Internet than to just host this blog on a pre-existing site.

What is Pornographic?

In the lecture Porn and Political Economy, we were tasked with identifying which images we believed were pornographic and which were not. Throughout the slides, we found that most of the images, if not all, were not pornographic and were mostly used for artistic purposes, yet after being told this we realized that sites like Google would still blur these images as if they were. This showcases the standards of many Search Engine Algorithms in how they discern what they find to be pornographic. Most people would agree that a famous painting such as The Birth of Venus is a work of art, yet can still be flagged and censored by SafeSearch due to its depictions of nudity. Now all of this may seem logical to some, as they may say any form of nudity should still avoid being shown to those who do not want to see it such as children, as it may enforce something much darker, which is censorship. Censorship done by an algorithm such as Google does not take into account Context or human nuance. When we look at certain artistic pieces, we can we may be able to interpret the meaning behind them and understand them beyond what is directly shown to us, but an Algorithm will see a Nipple and immediately blur it from public view. This slippery slope can cause many striving artists to be unseen and in my opinion, is an aspect of Algorithms that needs to be worked on.

You Wouldn’t Steal A Car?

Piracy is something many people on the Internet have heard of, but some may not know some of the history of Internet Piracy. In the lecture Takedowns and Thieves, we began by having a class debate over what we would do regarding certain motions (i.e. Would you steal a CD from a local shop?, or Would you steal a CD from Walmart?). It was found that many people believed that it was more morally justified to steal from a large corporation than a smaller company, but there was also a skew towards stealing things that were digital only like music files, in comparison to physical products such as CDs or Cars. Originally Piracy coincided with File Transfers, primarily through Internet Relay Chats, and was quite slow as it relied on the host computer that was transferring data’s internet speed. Later through the advent of Torrenting which seeds off of multiple hosts to create pieces of a whole, thus reducing download speeds substantially, we saw a new wave of Piracy hit the web. Many sites such as ThePirateBay sprung up to host many of these torrent files for users to download.

Porn and Tech Evolution

Another topic discussed in the Porn and Political Economy lecture that I found interesting, is just how tied the sharing of pornographic material led to many aspects of technological progress throughout history. During the Format Wars of VHS vs Betamax, one key reason for VHS’s success even though it had less visual fidelity, was because of its lax rules on the production of pornography, and in a funny repeat of history the same thing happened with BluRay vs HD DVD. In regards to the Internet, the distribution of pornographic material was key in developing file transfer systems in IRCs and Usenet. It was also vital in popularising Video Streaming, which previously was used to watch a Coffee Pot get heated. In recent years, we have seen some technological developments that have been used for more legally questionable things. For example, AI recently was creating pornographic material non-consensually of Taylor Swift, and it is something that lawmakers are beginning to take notice of to create stricter AI Policies. What comes of this, we have yet to see.

Fair Use Laws

Before attending this course, I had seen many YouTubers complain about their content getting unjustly copyright-takedown notices, even though they believed their content was transformative. From this, I had a vague concept of what Fair Use was, but after our lecture on Takedowns and Thieves, I had a better understanding of what the law entails. I also learned that Fair Use is actually a US-only thing, and here in Canada, we have Fair Dealing, which means that if you use copyright material for specific purposes (parody, research, education, etc.) as well as including proper credit, you will be fine. This was quite interesting to learn about, as I assumed from previous classes that Fair Use and Fair Dealing were the same thing, but it is nice to know the difference now.