This blog post will examine Dobush’s argument for free wi-fi networks for refugees in German shelters.
In a world where the internet seems to be king, there are still spaces where individuals are “internet starved”. The public library I work for has issued over 500 Chromebooks and hundreds of hotspots for city residents that go without. This article jumped out to me because of the title. How many of us have been out in public and searched for that beacon of free wi-fi only to be disappointed? What does that mean for Germany?
There was once a time without Wi-fi. I remember as a child and early teen not being consumed with the internet. In fact, I was a skeptic. Dial-up tones did not aid the internet’s emergence making it impossible to really get work done and keep the phone line free for a parent to talk to their neighbor. Wi-fi seemed too good to be true. Now like a coffee fiend I make my public eating choices based on who has free wi-fi I can use while in their establishment. “Amy Cooper, a 20-year-old SPRT employee who moved to Germany from Britain last June, complains that Berlin's Internet speed is so slow, it feels like the old dial-up days she has heard her parents reminisce about.” (Nicholson, E. 2019)
It is surprising to find that Germany, a country with many advancements are behind with free and open wi-fi networks. “As Bloomberg reported last year, the law means that Germans and travelers hoping to get work done in cafes, public spaces or hotel lobbies often find themselves out of luck.” (Dobush, G. 2016) I frequently travel outside of the country and one of the things I do take for granted is my access to the internet, especially 5G, my phone has an excellent connection in the states most of the time. Once I leave the country and have to conduct business or have an artistic project with a deadline I take into consideration a countries connectivity. “Germany is Europe's largest economy, but business leaders warn it is in danger of losing its edge because of sluggish Internet connections.” (Nicholson, E. 2019)
What we learned this past year is that we can stay connected while locked in our homes, but the truth is that there are still people without access to what many assume is basic comfort. “The issue of Internet access is especially important for refugees in Germany, according to Heise. The country took in 1.1 million refugees in 2015, and expects a total of 3.6 million by 2020. When refugees arrive in German shelters, they often have trouble finding an open connection. Heise reports that Freifunkers have set up more than 340 networks in refugee homes in the past month.” (Dobush, G. 2016)
This is the narrative of students, workers, refugees, the homeless and many more that just don’t have the access to a free network. “Trapped between the financial hardships of the pandemic and the technological hurdles of online learning, the millions of low-income college students across America face mounting obstacles in their quests for higher education.” (Levin, D. 2020) The same is similar for high school students. “Some 4.4 million US households with school-aged children did not have consistent access to a computer as of September 28, and 3.7 million did not have regular internet access, according to an analysis of US Census Bureau figures by USAFacts, a nonpartisan data site.” (Forde, K. 2020)
Having been homeless relying on the public libraries’ internet access I can understand why having free and available networks for people is extremely important. It is fortunate that some library systems can provide hotspots, however, I know there is always a fear of liability with these things. Germany is cautious because they don’t want to be liable. “The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Störerhaftung, a German law that makes the owner of a wi-fi network responsible for any illegal activities conducted on the connection.” (Dobush, G. 2016)
At the end of the day, laws must change to meet the people. China is leading the industry with hotspots per person, Germany falling shortly behind that, and the USA just behind Germany. In what are supposed to be the top countries they fall short in access. Only time will tell if they will ever catch up.
Dobush, G. (2016). Why is it impossible to find free wi-fi in Germany?. Quartz. https://qz.com/694618/why-is-it-impossible-to-find-free-wi-fi-in-germany/#:~:text=The%20blame%20rests%20squarely%20on,with%20your%20open%20wi%2Dfi.
Forde, K. (2020). No access: Remote learning widens US digital divide for students. Aljazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/23/covid-exacerbates-us-digital-divide-for-students-without-inter
Levin, D. (2020). No Home, No Wi-Fi: Pandemic Adds to Strain on Poor College Students. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/12/us/covid-poor-college-students.html
Nicholson, E. (2019). Berlin Is A Tech Hub, So Why Are Germany's Internet Speeds So Slow?. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/03/678803790/berlin-is-a-tech-hub-so-why-are-germanys-internet-speeds-so-slow
This blog post will examine innovation in the video game industry based on Everett Roger’s argument of the five attributes of innovations.
Since quarantine, I have found a reignited passion for video games. Automatically, "Nitendomania" caught my attention. This brief section discusses the five attributes of innovation that garnered success for Nintendo where Atari failed.
In the Teen Lounge of my library, it is part of my job to keep up with video games. We have a Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and an Xbox One. It is the fun part of my job knowing the ends and outs of these game systems and being able to play them with the teens that come into our space. Additionally, I have to make sure that my staff is trained to use these systems as well. I found it fascinating that video games are such an integral part of teen’s lives, but in the beginning, there was a search for diffusion. We see this now with games that use servers and the cloud as opposed to a system itself.
How fast can a new wave be adopted? “This chapter suggested five attributes of innovations by which an innovation can be described, and showed that individual receiver's perceptions of these attributes predict an innovation's rate of adoption.” (Rogers, E. M. 2010) The book mentions the rate of adoption, relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability as the five attributes of innovation. I think these same things can be seen with the emergence of things like Roblox or EA Games.
The cloud is the future of videogaming, and it could arrive sooner than many players expect, with important implications for investors. (Hough, J. 2018) Phones and computers now come with hardware and software that only game systems used to monopolize on. Even the chapter mentions that Nintendo had the capability to use a keyboard they just didn’t advertise it. “As in Japan, the little gray box did not come with a keyboard or a disk drive (although a panel m the bottom can be removed to reveal a port for a cable connector to a keyboard, modem, or other computer equipment)” (Rogers, E. M. 2010)
These attributes are extremely relevant today. However, there is always something better around the corner. “New competitors entered the market with better graphics, less expensive games, and standard hardware that could be used for more than gaming. Early attempts to challenge Nintendo had failed, and as a result, Nintendo grew complacent. However, before long companies like Sega, Sony and Microsoft were coming out with better consoles that offered more features for about the same cost.” (Wesley, D., & Barczak, G. 2010)
Technology is always changing and advancing, as we see the market transition the truth is video games aren’t going anywhere. They are becoming more and more a part of everyday life. With things like serious games also coming into classrooms. It may leave some games behind. “Lego used to compete head-tohead with Mattel and Hasbro in brick sets and action figures; now it has to come to grips with the latest digital device or online offering from Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts.” One thing is for sure innovation will transform as well.
Hough, J. (2018). Gaming the cloud. Barron's, 98(35), 16-20. Retrieved from https://login.proxy.lib.utk.edu:443/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.proxy.lib.utk.edu/trade-journals/gaming-cloud/docview/2093182186/se-2?accountid=14766
Julian Birkinshaw, John Bessant, & Rick Delbridge. (2007). Finding, Forming, and Performing: Creating Networks for Discontinuous Innovation. California Management Review, 49(3), 67–84. https://doi.org/10.2307/41166395
Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. Simon and Schuster.
Wesley, D., & Barczak, G. (2010). Innovation and marketing in the video game industry : Avoiding the performance trap. ProQuest Ebook Central https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy.lib.utk.edu
This blog post will examine Mia Lovheim’s argument to understand blogs that have become ethical spaces for young women in Sweden. I’ve included some Swedish women’s blogs alongside some African American blogs I follow.
As a woman that blogs, this topic stuck out to me. Lovheim’s article takes a look at how new media technologies have provided new avenues for women to have ethical spaces that engage readers and create new social norms. Through a study of some of the most popular Swedish blogs written by women she analyzes the representation, content, and engagement they facilitate.
Through blogs women are taking over the discourse on social norms and cultural ideas. This interactive platform is making women the producers of culture and by using new technology. They are able to shift boundaries and power dynamics in a creative platform once led predominantly by men.
The phenomenon of personal blogging is something that a lot of women pick up. I know that amongst my creative circle most women have their own blog space and they are for the most part women of color. The article hit the nail on the head when it comes to what issues most blogs raise. Why blog? Women who have been voiceless and only seen as domestic partners or workers. Blogs allow women to be empowered and gives them a voice. (Chen, 2012)
I know that before I started blogging I felt that most only saw my stage persona, but missed the person. Blogging allowed me to approach topics that I wouldn’t/couldn’t express in a bigger profound way. But let’s be honest. Men were thought to be the leaders in blogging when it came to topics of ethics, politics, and finance. (Lövheim, 2011) Then women started to explore personal blogging and found the heartbeat of readers. Readers started to engage in this interactive platform by not only reading, but by commenting. Bloggers were giving invitations for confessionals, asking readers to make a statement, and offering space to share in personal experiences. (Lövheim, 2011) Women bloggers were also able to create a space of entrepreneurship. Stay at home moms, women of color, and college women now had an outlet that could also generate income and they could do so from home. Though this article primarily focuses on Swedish blogs it did make me want to examine digital entrepreneurship amongst African American bloggers. There was a study where personal blogs, women digital entrepreneurs, and black female identity were all examined to gain a deeper understanding of how African American bloggers created a one person digital enterprise. (McDowell, 2020)
Similarly, young Singaporean women have used lifestyle blogs to create rich media content that has changed women’s consumerism in Singapore and their expression of citizenship. (Sinanan , Graham, & Zhong 2014) By appealing to popular culture and being brand ambassadors women are shifting cultural trends and norms. It is true that with the many things that blogging brings, some discourse gets lost with product placement. Paid content removes the sense of voice that personal blogs seem to give. For example mommy bloggers that were originally thought to give a voice and camaraderie to hard working moms that want to share and lament could also charge to post product reviews. Canadian mommy bloggers were called out for charging upwards of $2000 for product reviews. (Lindell, 2021)
Overall, personal blogs are here to stay. We are entering into a new era where women’s voices are heard and supported by followings on social media unlike ever before. These bloggers are setting the tone for new ethical spaces and I am excited to see where this could lead us all.
Chen, G. (2012). Why do women write personal blogs? Satisfying needs for self-disclosure and affiliation tell part of the story. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1),171–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.08.024
Lindell, D. J. (2021). Brands vs. babies: Paid content and authenticity in Canadian mommy blogs. Journal of Professional Communication, 6(2), 63-85.
Lövheim, M. (2011). YOUNG WOMEN’S BLOGS AS ETHICAL SPACES. Information, Communication & Society, 14(3), 338–354. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2010.542822
McDowell, M. (2020). African American Women Bloggers’ Lived Experiences with Digital Entrepreneurship: A Transcendental Phenomenological Study. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Sinanan, J., Graham, C., & Zhong Jie, K. (2014). Crafted assemblage: young women’s “lifestyle” blogs, consumerism and citizenship in Singapore. Visual Studies (Abingdon, England), 29(2), 201–213. https://doi.org/10.1080/1472586X.2014.887273
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I'm Sahara (Sista SOLS) a information professional that has working in public & academic library spaces. Currently, I am a library resident at Clemson University. Here you'll find my residency experience, thoughts on articles, research findings, and story files from what I hope is a fresh perspective.