Defne Arliel <arliel.d>

Hey Professor,

Here’s the link to my 5 reading responses for the second half of the semester.

[] HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Knowledge Base

Reading Response #1

March 25 - Finding Someone & Living Alone

Online dating has changed drastically over the last decades. The first online-dating service was found in 1965 by two Harvard students, which was a survey made up of 75 questions. Today, there are hundreds of services and applications to find a perfect match for anyone in the world, regardless of location. You can meet anyone, anywhere in the world with the ease of a click. But that’s exactly where the problem starts. This is where all the self-misconceptions and lies come to light. Trying to be the ‘perfect-match’ is so important, people will use pictures from 2-3 years ago, lie about their physical appearance, age, race, job, income, and even ethnicity. As a research from Stanford University states from 2017, 39% of heterosexual couples have met online. The few people who don’t lie and mislead others about themselves in the online community, ends up marrying each other.

According to (OkCupid 2010,) men are two inches shorter than they state online dating sites. This perfectly correlates with my experience in the online dating world. As I mentioned in class, the guy that I considered a potential partner were in fact 3 inches shorter than what he had stated on his profile section. And he totally lied about his age and occupation too. In fact, he was in high school. Even though online dating can cause misconceptions and mistrust, it can be super beneficial too. People who dislike going out and meeting new people, or people who have no/few friends to introduce them to a potential partner, have countless opportunities to find a match online. Lying on online dating sites is understandable, but it must have a limit. Because the sea is enourmous and there are countless other/better fishes in the sea, people want to compete. How can they do that? By lying. However, since the goal is to eventually ‘meet-in-person’ with the potential partner, lying can only get you to a point where you’ll get caught, and the relationships will be terminated.

Reading Response #2

April 01 - Manipulated

If you were traveling this spring break, you most probably checked multiple hotel and flight websites to gather information. I was surfing between Expedia, AirBnB,, Trip Advisor and a couple more prominent websites who are considered ‘trustable’ websites. As an online user, I rely on previous reviews, ratings, and comments about the service that I’m looking for. And this can be extended to all branches of online shopping like clothing brands, grocery delivery services and so on.

For specifically traveling, there are thousands of third party websites that are full of scam, and most probably you will end up paying for a flight that doesn’t even exist. Most likely these websites will offer extremely low the prices compared to actual price to attract people, and get the money and leave you without a flight. In order to avoid situations like this when booking a flight, I need to make sure the information on the third party website matches with the airlines official website. After checking the airlines website, I still wasn’t convinced enough to make a purchase from this website. I wanted to check reviews, ratings, and comments about this third party website. I checked websites like Reddit, Trustpilot, and Consumeraffairs and I wasn’t expecting what I saw.

The ratings were 1/5, others users have only expressed negative comments and how terrible of an experience they had with this airfare search website. That is how I was able learn this website wasn’t trustable and will probably cause a lot of problems.

People’s opinion about a product or a service have never been valued as it now. Since online shopping is in our daily routine now, whether it is groceries, clothing, or home decor, we value previous buyers’ experience and comments to make sure we not wasting our money. Unfortunately, these days fake reviews and ratings are more common than honest ones. 4 out 10 reviews are unreliable according to PCMag’s research in 2019. As Joseph Reagle discusses in “Reading The Comment’s,” this online behavior is well spread over variety of websites. Restaurants, clothing brands, governmental websites, e-book websites, and even high-tech companies like Samsung has found to either pay people or make their employees and loyal customers rate, review and comment in a positive way multiple times from different accounts.

Online shopping is only getting more popular and reliable every day. It is important to realize with this innovation, online shoppers need to be more cautious than ever about which websites, ratings, reviews, and comments are safe to trust.

Reading Response #3

April 22 - Authenticity, Work, and Influence

Influencers has gained immerse amount of power over social media in the last decade, some of them had to fake it until they made it. I’ve always been a fan of that mindset because it made sense. Your audience, your followers, or whoever is being influenced has no idea what’s behind the scenes. They only see the posts and stories… Taylor Lorenz mentioned how transitioning into the influencer life is not easy, and there are a couple of steps to be taken in order to become a successful influencer.

I have a lot of friends from high school who are pushing hard to become known on social media either by Instagram and/or Tiktok. I’ve seen the transition firsthand. First, cleaning out the old, uncool photos on your feed from previous years. Usually this is where people like me- the quiet profiles that post rarely but always watches stories- realizes the postless profiles. I’ve come across so many profiles in the beginning stages of rebuilding their personal brand progress, all of them with the same goal. To fit the aesthetic. Their old pictures don’t fit the trendy aesthetic vibes anymore. The next step is to pick your aesthetic and start posting accordingly. After a while of posting multiple times a day and gaining a fairly ‘big’ number of followers, the desire te be known by brands, and collaboration kicks in. By necessity, online users maintain impressions by balancing personal/public information, avoiding certain topics, and maintaining authenticity.

Faking brand deals, sponsorships, and manipulating stories to make it look like it’s being paid by a brand is a smart strategy in the early stages of being an influencer. However, whenever followers understand that the authenticity of the influencer gets questioned. Authenticity is being what it is claimed to be. Once the influencer is caught with faking their personal brand, lying, and manipulating their followers, the unfollows are inevitable.

Reading Response #4

April 26 - Pushback

In 2017, Statista collected an online survey, and 71% of the respondents have been offended by comments. Quitting social media for a short term has been solutions to many people who are fed up with what others think like Boing Boing’s writer Mark Frauenfelder, Xeni Jardin, and Miley Cyrus. It is important to understand that, there will always be devaluing, undermining, and terrible comments, there’s no way to resolve that as long as comments section are enabled. Big names like New York Times and Gawker media has adapted to Rob Beschizza’s Discourse System, as a solution to get rid of negative comments.

In my opinion, the hybrid system is problem-solving in small picture. Yet, in the big picture, with online communication taking such a big part in our lives, learning to deal with reading bad comments and/or ignoring them would be best strategy. Focusing on using online communinication and comments for it’s bright, improving, and informing side, is the only way we should be using it.

It is definitely possible to opt-out of digital communication. However, it isn’t going to be very easy. Center of Internet and Technology Addiction founder David Greenfield stated that elevated levels of dopamine caused by addictive social media use, can result in withdrawal in an attempt to quit. Anxiety can take part first time quitting social communications, and it could lead to loneliness. This doesn’t mean it is going to be dreadful, quitting digital communication also has it’s beneftts like getting work done better and quicker, better sleep, better mental health and higher productivity.

Reading Response #5

April 19 - Collapsed Context

The concept of role complexity refers to the idea that on a daily basis, individuals are expected to perform a multiplicity of roles while simultaneously functioning in their day to day lives. In addition to role complexity, performing identity refers to the idea that individuals formulate a process through which they show the world and those around them who they think they are. Engaging in different roles in real life and navigating social media accordingly like having multiple social media profiles might be considered being authentic. Nonetheless, having a professional-business Linked-In account, while also posting funny tiktoks, having 2 instagram accounts one for general use and one for close friends which is referred to as finsta, is a way of performing the different roles we engage in on our day to day lives. Being transparent about personal roles on social media creates a sense of ‘connection’ with imagined audience, which makes the person authentic. Being what it is claimed to be, and most importantly being genuine about yourself on online media platforms makes you authentic.

Impression management is essential while navigating through different social media platforms and trying to maintain authenticity. Different imagined audiences require different posts. In sense of appropriateness, I wouldn’t post a funny picture of me and my friends on Linked-In, rather finsta. Formulating posts in regard to the imagined audiences is a way of both impression management and maintaining authenticity. Context collapses when there’s a disconnection between these different selves.

Marwick and Boyd explain how authenticity depends on the mind of who’s doing the judging, I couldn’t agree more. Since universial authenticity doesn’t exist anymore, how authenticity is going to be perceived is dependent on the audience. Perception of authenticity varies between audiences: interests, trends, local events, shocking news are all factors of being considered authentic.

Here are the links to my 4th and 5th responses individually:

4th: [] HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Knowledge Base

5th: [] HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Knowledge Base Best, D

Katherine Copeland <copeland.k>

Here is my completed reading responses document:

Katherine Copeland <copeland.k>

Fixed Responses Page:

Home Page: [] Katie’s Home Page! - HackMD

tags: CDA # Katie’s Home Page! ## Reading responses! - [Reading Responses 1](/i-XjN07NT

McKenzie Hosey <hosey.m>

Reading Responses Set 2 - HackMD [] Reading Responses Set 2 - HackMD Markdown:

April 26- Pushback

The arguments behind limiting internet consumption seem to have come up right before a big boom in technology and the increase in the availability of internet access. Before I continue engaging with the readings, I found it interesting that some of the earliest studies mentioned in the Gomez and Morrison report come from right around the time iPhone began to take hold of the cell phone market. There may be some correlation between the touch screen model and increased use of the internet and all of its facilities. Definitely the most interesting part of the pushback article are the motivations for pulling away from technology. The one that caught my attention the most is definitely the emotional disatisfaction factor. While the internet can be good for finding connections and maintaining them, it can also be a factor in causing anxiety and exaggerating other mental health issues. I also think that this motivation is heavily influenced by one’s personality, as Gomez and Morrison pointed out. Some people may become more drained than others and some may be able to engage with the internet without experiencing these same effects. Some may find it easier and more suitable to come up with a way to balance their screen time better than to completely remove themselves from the internet. In fact, this seems to be the most common behavior Gomez and Morrison observed in their study. People find numerous ways to do this: putting a timer on their phone, seeking friends or family to hold them accountable for their usage, or even downgrading to a flip phone. This is definitely a more reasonable way to find balance in a world that is so dominated by the internet. I also think that this is something that could be beneficial when it comes to creators and how they interact with people in the spaces they have created. So often many people are driven away from creating content because people can be so unnecessarily cruel when it comes to commenting and criticism. It could just be a good way to balance a constant influx of criticism by stepping away for a bit, then coming back once they are comfortable. I’m not saying these creators shouldn’t moderate their spaces, but if things happen to get too tough, this should be an option that they can take without being judged too harshly.

Hancan Jiang <jiang.hanc>

Home page :

[] Hancan's Home Page - HackMD

Reading response:

[] Reading Responses set 02 - HackMD

Mark down:

Apr 26 Tue - Pushback (5)

Reagle analysis that comment on the internet offer a free public space for users to share ideas and help people gain feedback from othe! rs. But there were many contumelious comment which make the comment harmful for hosts. Then people want to improve the environment— control or filter comments. For example, in 2013 YouTube integrated Google into their system which canceled some limits. The purpose was using social network to control the passive and negative comment. But it led to a more serious situation that the inflammatory comments always attracted more attacks. Now law begin to pay more attention to online comment since such virtual comment can actually lead to real damage, including suicide.

I really agree that it is necessary to apply related law to online comments. Cyberbullying has recently attracted more and more public attention. I searched the data about cyberbullying. The data shows many teenagers are suffering from cyberbullying which will lead to mental health problems like depression. Most of time cyberbullying just come from some passive comments like “Am I ugly” in YouTube. People in the virtual world are more likely to judge others and said aggressive words. And these comments will easily hurt the young people. Therefore, setting a law to manage online comment to reduce cyberbullying is significant.

Alexander Kouyoumjian <kouyoumjian.a> [] Alex Kouyoumjian Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD 

Apr 26 Tue - Pushback

Imagine a world where every action is done through the internet. From the moment we get up our lives are “plugged in.” There’s no escape…

While not exactly the reality we face today, are we headed towards this with the future’s imminent technological advancements. This fear has sparked connectivity pushback– “a reaction against the overload of information and changing relationships brought about by communication technologies such as smart phones, tablets and computers connected to the Internet” (Gomez and Morrison, 2014). A common reason for this is the overarching fear of change. The new wave of technology has brought confusion and distrust to the older and less adaptive generations. However, there are other plausible reasons for a pushback.

Economically, pushbacks question the longevity of each new technology’s profitability. Is it really worth buying the new iPhone when it depreciates in value so much over just a few years? Psychologically, “pushback sheds light on the deeper emotional needs and desires that people seek to fulfill through technology. From a humanist and philosophical position, it suggests that the Internet, accessed in so many ways, is not an easy answer to the human desire for connection with others” (Gomez and Morrison, 2014). Another motivation for the pushback is the myriad of problems directly caused by internet interactions. From trolls and haters to black market activities on the dark web (see this reading response for more), there has been plenty of harm that could have been avoided without the use of the web.

Fake It and You’ll Make It?

The internet’s commercial impact has been immeasurable, allowing products to be picked out and delivered in mere days. However, with this has come the promotion of fake and disingenuous reviews. The law has begun to “take notice as well. In September 2013, the New York State attorney general’s office announced that it had compelled nineteen companies to stop writing fake online reviews and to pay more than $350,000 in penalties” (Reagle, 2015). Pushback from this fake online culture is understandable.

Many advocating for stepping back from the internet argue that life went on fine before integration of such technology. While the internet can be used to make activities easier and more accessible, it should not be relied on so heavily like it is today for so many.

Finding a Balance

How can we make the best of all the internet innovations in the twenty-first century without becoming completely reliant on it? Society contains a broad spectrum of internet users ranging from total immersion to complete pushback. Finding a balance comes down to individual preferences and trust in the online community. For older generations, the web’s foreign and untrustworthy nature makes its benefits not worth the trouble. In younger members of society, the addiction to staying “in the loop” keeps them loyal to their devices. Regardless of where we fall on the pushback spectrum, the internet should be used with caution as it is unhealthy to build a reliance. Some pushback may be necessary.

Grace Krumplitsch <krumplitsch.g>

Hi Professor Reagle,

Here is my URL to the finished set of reading responses: Here is my markdown:

Reading Responses (Set 2)

March 11: Shaped

How does digital communication affect our ability to be mindful? How does it affect self-esteem; is it making us narcissistic?

Take a cute photo, formulate a fun caption, hit “post,” and close the app. Simple, right? Out of sight, out of mind. Yet, that certainly is not the case for many adolescents (especially young women).

I’ve spent years with my best friends who post pictures to Instagram and instantly send a message to our group chat saying, “Hey, go like and comment on my post” or “Peep my recent.” Then, as the night goes on, they refresh their phones frequently, constantly monitoring the number of likes and comments for the dopamine rush and self-esteem boost.

It’s easy to write these people off as selfish and self-absorbed; however, the issue is more profound. Social media has become a colossal determinant of one’s self-esteem.

Admittedly, I even deleted a post a few years ago, hours after uploading it because I thought it didn’t get enough likes compared to my friends’ profiles. I sympathize with people affected negatively by their social media feeds and those struggling to escape the cycle of insecurity. But unfortunately, social media is a numbers game, and amid a self-esteem spiral, it is common to lose track of reality.

On the upside, digital communication and social media can positively affect our ability to be mindful. So much of our digital routines consist of writing emails, sending messages, posting Tweets, and documenting our lives via social media. All of these things require some form of reflection to be done effectively. The more reflective we are, the more in tune we can be with how we come across to others. Yet, the quality of self-reflection is a double-edged sword. Too much self-obsession can result in narcissism and ignorance of the bigger problems of the world.

Digital communication, although we are “connected” online, is very isolating. At the end of the day, it’s just us and our screens. It is important to remember that we have lives beyond our online profiles and not be so easily swept up into a narcissistic bubble.

March 25: Finding Someone & Living Alone

How has digital communication changed the relational landscape?

Swipe left, swipe right, swipe left again. Isn’t that so romantic?

Online dating shifted the ways people find love in the 21st century. Instead of going out to a restaurant or a friend’s dinner party in hopes of finding that “special someone,” all you need to do is pick up your phone and tap, tap, tap away. Why be chivalrous with a memorable first impression when the mirror selfies of your #GymBod do the work for you?

As said eloquently in the OkCupid article, “the Internet is a great place to pretend to be someone you’re not.” While I understand that using dating apps to branch out and meet people is convenient for many, it makes me question how it will affect my generation in the long run.

Will we all become digital pathological liars, or will we eventually grow up and learn to leave lies in the past? Okay, maybe I’m a bit of a pessimist about online dating, but I feel that initially judging someone from a few photos and a cheesy pickup line in someone’s bio is a horrible idea.

Aside from convenience and the potential to “meet” many people instantaneously, the most significant shift in the relational landscape is the demise of the actual first impression. Unlike older generations, most young people don’t have that “first glance at a local coffee shop” or a “blind date coordinated by mutual friends” because 48% of Gen-Zers use dating apps.

Digital communication is no longer a “networking tool” for communication in the way it is in an academic, social, or corporate context. It’s changed the way we seek romantic interests and connect with potential romantic partners. While it’s not inherently a bad thing, it is something we must be critically mindful about how we judge and perceive others online.

Ads & Social Graph Background

What are the main types of advertisements available online? This will be relevant to our algorithmic discrimination, online manipulation, and privacy discussions.

Online retailers, marketing agencies, and large tech corporations thrive off the teenage girl & female, young adult demographics. After all, we are the most impressionable demographic as we spend lots of money on merchandise, clothing, and other non-necessity items.

After learning that in a seminar a few years back, I became more conscious about online advertisements’ role in my spending habits. For example, a solar sunset lamp went viral six months ago, and it skyrocketed in popularity on Tik Tok. I googled it out of curiosity before gawking at its unreasonable price and closing the tab. However, I saw ads for the solar lamp seemingly everywhere on my laptop and iPhone for the next four months. It became so bothersome that I eventually caved in December and ended up ordering the solar lamp (okay, I admit it’s a pretty cool gadget).

I knew that our devices track our online footprint and keep tabs on our demographic information, digital habits, and frequently visited websites. Yet, until today’s readings, I never understood the severity nor how our devices track nearly every detail of our online lives. So when we learned about cookies, I took them at face value and thought to myself, “Woah, that’s pretty cool… why would sites even ask if we wanted to disable them?” because I didn’t understand that think critically about the potential negative impacts of digital monitoring.

The Vox video clearly explained how cookies play a role in advertising, with the example of J-Brand jeans. While watching the Vox video, a light-bulb went off in my head. The solar lamp I caved in and purchased was just like the J-Brand jeans. Cookies were responsible for the constant resurfacing of the ad until I finally caved.

I’ve never thought twice about clicking “accept cookies” when visiting a new website because I only considered the convenience factors, such as remembering my language preferences. However, moving forward, I need to be uber critical about how cookies affect my life, especially since tech conglomerates know so much about most of the population because of them.

April 19: Collapsed Context


What does it mean to be authentic online? Is it possible anymore to have more than one persona online?

When I think of online authenticity, I immediately think of Carrie Bradshaw typing away about love, self-discovery, and relationships in her Upper East Side NYC apartment. Granted, she IS a fictional character, but she consistently blogged candidly, honestly, and vulnerably for her audience in the pre-Facebook era. Carrie Bradshaw is authentic.

Online authenticity is a rarity these days. This is partly due to how social media platforms are structured to be very “audience-focused” with user feedback. Authors Marwick and Boyd touched upon this in their 2010 research paper by expanding upon the idea that users are writing for an imagined audience, not themselves. In doing so, users become less authentic and increase their levels of self-censorship because networked social sites have such heightened importance on followers’ reactions and feedback.

Social media sites that emphasize audience engagement have been around for nearly two decades. Instagram likes and comments, Twitter replies and retweets, Facebook timelines, and friend counts are the features that define our online lives. We no longer post for ourselves. We post to be provocative and engage with our followers.

That is not to say that authenticity is impossible in the digital age – it is still the reality for many users who make the active choice to share their real experiences with their friends online. Honestly expressing one’s emotions and experiences, posting unedited images, and refraining from Facetune are some ways to maintain authenticity online.

Since many users have niche accounts or profiles for a particular demographic, they begin to develop a specific persona that only captures one aspect of their identity. However, that does not make someone a “fake,” they can still be authentic and genuine to themselves. We see this with people who have accounts for specific interests like art, activism, fitness blogs, and other passion projects. Ultimately, as long as a user stays true to themselves with a truthful message, their authenticity remains intact.

April 23: Authenticity & The Age of Influencers (Part Two)

Self-guided question: Are “fake” influencers really that damaging?

Influencers, they’re just like us… right? They candidly share their life stories on social media, give advice to their follower base, and chronicle their daily routines online. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a relatively easy and mindless job with enormous benefits. For the greatest successful influencers, the role comes with numerous perks: Lavish brand trips Free merchandise from companies High commissions on sold products High-paying brand deals for social media posts

Many people see influencing as a “dream job” — just ask any group of adolescents, and I guarantee a large handful will say they’d like to become social media influencers. (In fact, 98% of surveyed teens said so in a recent Bloomberg study).

In the past decade, there’s been an enormous surge in interest & popularity in the influencer industry of social media marketing. Addison Rae is the new Jennifer Aniston. Kids these days dream of being influencers more than actors or singers because it’s a lot easier to shoot a 45-second viral Tiktok than go through the intermediaries at casting agencies who determine their worth. Additionally, influencing is an independent job as content creators can take matters into their own hands by directly engaging with an audience.

Unfortunately, there isn’t room for everyone in the industry, and many aspiring influencers are faking brand deals to have a leg up on their competitors.

While it may seem harmless, the mindset of “fake it until you make it” can only last so long before it causes severe and long-term damage to the social media marketing industry. It harms legitimate influencers and cheapens brand reputation.

Legitimate influencers who have earned their careers by starting small and garnering a following over the years are the most at risk. For example, let’s say two influencers are vying for one position as Dunkin Donuts ambassadors. The chances are that the influencer with the most brand deals will land the role, even if some posts are inauthentic and falsified because they are viewed as “more legitimate.” Unfortunately, it’s hard for the average user to determine what is real and what is a fake sponsorship deal. As a result, work opportunities are stolen from those most deserving.

Another damaging aspect of aspiring influencers faking sponsorship deals is that it may cheapen a brand’s image. Most companies have a legitimate ambassador program for brand deals where employees monitor influencer-made content to ensure it’s up to their standards. This vetting process allows brands to put their best foot forward in the eyes of their audience. If a fake influencer posts poorly-made content and the consumer associates said content with the brand, it is terrible for their reputation.

To ensure the future and legitimacy of the influencer industry, it is up to the “influenced” audience to think critically about who they choose to support and why. The tag “#ad” and “#sponsored” in the caption of a post is not enough to determine the authenticity of an influencer’s post.

Grace Krumplitsch Honors History, Culture, and Law major Class of 2025 Northeastern University

Nai'a Peterson <peterson.n>

Reading Response Set 2: [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD Markdown of Response #5:

April 26 Tues - Pushback

As defined by Gomez & Morrison, “Pushback is a growing phenomenon among frequent technology users seeking to establish boundaries, resist information overload, and establish greater personal life balance.” Immediately after coming across this definition, I associated pushback with “social media breaks.” When someone takes a “social media break” it is usually because they are too overwhelmed with the digital world or are just feeling down and need to disconnect for a while. However, social media breaks are common and range from the most private users to the most public influencers. Sometimes you’ll see famous people take social media breaks after a huge scandal, or influencers take it when things just get too hard. For me personally, I would occasionally take about 1-2 weeks off social media to either focus more on my academics or give myself a break from all the negativity I was feeling when scrolling through Instagram.

Gomez & Morrison also discussed that the main primary motives for pushback are “…emotional dissatisfaction, external values, taking control, addiction, and privacy.” One of my best friends at home is notoriously known for deactivating her Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter for months at a time because she “hates the idea of something controlling her and her time.” She’s a prime example of the taking control motive. The issue with the accessibility of all of these social media apps, is that 1) all of our friends and family are on it for the most part, so we feel compelled to join to stay connected & 2) besides Tiktok (which was a recent update) none of the apps tell you when you’ve been spending too much time on it so you can easily waste hours scrolling through IG, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

To answer the question: is online communication so awful? To me, no. I think online communication is a much more convenient and efficient way to contact friends, family, and colleagues. I honestly don’t know how else I would get in contact with people without the use of technology. However, those who genuinely find online interaction insufferable, yes, they can “opt-out” of digital communication. Although, I can guarantee that they will lose many relationships because they won’t be able to tend to them as often as before. They’ll also most likely become the P.I.T.A. (pain in the butt) of their friend group for becoming “so difficult”.

Christine Purschke <purschke.c>

Home Page: Reading Responses (Set 2): [] Reading Responses: Set 2 - HackMD


4/26/22: Conclusion: Commenterrible? (Reagle), Pushback (Gomez/Morrison)

In 2015, middle schools across America were swept by the Summer of TBH. The trend manifested itself in multiple forms, but the most popular, at least at my school, lived in Instagram captions. You’d post any random picture of yourself, living your best life on summer break, with a caption such as “comment [insert random emoji here] for a TBH.” For self-conscious preteens looking for validation in any form, this was liquid gold, and we all rushed to the comments to receive a compliment from the poster. But of course, there always loomed the presence of the formidable foe: “TBH, nice.” This TBH was considered the cop-out; it meant you were unimportant, irrelevant.

The TBH trend on Instagram eventually led rise to multiple apps and games, though in 2022 the trend has pretty much faded. However, comments on social media sites are often still as worthless as they were back then, as summarized in “Conclusion: Commenterrible?” But unfortunately, attempts to filter out inappropriate or useless comments often only serves to make these users even more angry, and they have a habit of returning with keyboards ablaze. As usual, I have to wonder if there is even anything left to be done. My faith in the digital future of humanity is, unfortunately, pessimistic.

I was also able to connect my own digital life to the Pushback piece. In my own efforts to set healthy limits with technology and social media, I have certainly implemented elements of behavior adaptation. For example, I have had my Instagram notifications turned off for going on a year now, except for a few weeks when I turned them back on because a group I was in for a project used the app for communication and I wanted to make sure I received their messages in a timely manner. Though it’s such a small change, it has really kept me off the app; I’m not jumping every time I see a notification, and when I decide to post every now and then, I can shut the app and just let myself respond to comments later rather than anxiously monitoring likes. However, there are definitely other apps that I am okay with keeping in my life, such as TikTok. Though I’m aware I spend quite a bit of time on it, watching silly videos helps me release stress and unwind from the day. It’s also an easy way to keep in touch with my friends who are not in Boston. Just by sending my friends videos that make me think of them and vice versa, it helps us both get a laugh and makes me remember that there are people who care about me enough to want me to see these things.

Alexandra Riihiluoma <riihiluoma.a>

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April 26: Pushback

I fondly remember the days of sleep-away camp in Northern Ontario where I spent my summers as a young teen. My days were filled with sports, canoeing, camp songs, and most importantly device-free connections.

“I don’t even want my devices back”, I remember saying.

After 3 weeks of unplugged summertime bliss, the thought of transitioning back into the digital world seemed exhausting, even for a 14-year-old. My post-camp mindset supports the idea of “Pushback”, described by Gomez and Morrison, which is “a reaction against the overload of information and changing relationships brought about by communication technologies” (2014). Their study focused on five motivations for pushback: emotional dissatisfaction, external values, taking back control, addiction, and privacy. Technology has an addictive power over users which can be uncomfortable and frustrating for a person; these feelings are the predominant drivers of pushback. The increase of the pushback phenomenon has led to 61% of Facebook users taking voluntary breaks from the site (Gomez and Morrison, 2014). Emotional dissatisfaction was found to be the largest motivation for pushback, which may relate to spiteful communities online.

Joseph Reagle discusses the implications of comment sections which can easily transform into worlds of their own (not in a good way). Emotional dissatisfaction as described by Gomez and Morrison can arise out of comment sections because “the deluge of hate leaves a much stronger impression than even the kindest expressions of encouragement” (Reagle, 2015). Disagreements about the correct way to approach comment sections have some people arguing for free speech, and others strictly prohibiting open comments. Even if I am not a subject of a comment section, reading through post after post becomes exhausting yet I cannot put the phone down- It is like watching something so terrible that it isn’t possible to look away. I believe the addictive qualities of technology was unhealthy for myself, which is why going to summer camp and being forced to leave it all behind was so exhilarating. A “desire for connection is what frequently drives people to remain tethered to their devices, despite the feelings of dissatisfaction with technology” (Gomez and Morrison). At summer camp no one had their phones, but in the real-world it is honestly way more difficult to be offline than on. This battle is constant, and one that will unfold in the future as digital natives reach a breaking point.

Vicente Sarmiento <sarmiento.v>

Homepage: [] Adrian's Home Page - HackMD

Reading Response: [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD

tags: CDA

Reading Responses (Set 2)

Reading Responses:

April 26th, 2022 - Pushback

As someone who can barely take criticism from a friend or mentor, I understand the appeal of silencing everyone on online platforms. In his book, Reagle (2019) couples logic with concrete examples of both the benefits and harms of public commenting without the threat of monitors or disabling comments. The two most prominent examples of intense comment filtering were the company Stack Exchange and the mentioned Atwood article. Stack Exchange’s main goal in commenting was to “supports the absolute minimum amount of discussion necessary” through comment upvotes remaining public and the rest being hidden. Atwood seconded this method as their article explicitly said online communities have a responsibility to moderate the community. Conversely, Reagle proposes the possibility of filter bubbles due to comment filtering. He states that there will be little privacy and people will only see what they already believe in, which discourages the free flow of thoughts and discourse.

My biggest takeaway from the reading was finding a balance between filter bubbles and Godwin’s law. Filter bubbles may feel safe, and I personally love the online bubbles I run in, but I realize that the periods of most growth in my life are when I leave my safety bubble and venture out to new horizons. This can be applied to new ideas found on the internet through comments that may never be seen if everyone lived in a bubble. However, Godwin’s Law which states that internet discourse always leads back to Hitler/Nazi’s still exists. No one wants to see harmful rhetoric or other offensive language that always occurs without filters, but as a society we need to be pushed with new ideas and people. Reagle does an amazing job at laying out this dilemma and I can now see that this will be the biggest point of contention when free speech concerning the internet is discussed.

Nandi Sibanda <sibanda.n>

Evening Professor Reagle,

I have attached my final reading response with the link to the second reading response set.

Have a good evening, Nandi Sibanda

Mon 25 April 2022 - Pushback I always have to have some medium of technology with me and on. Whether that is my phone, my iPad, or my laptop, something is always on and entertaining me. I guess you could consider it an addiction. Growing up part of Gen Z, it’s easy for people to disregard the harms of being addicted to technology. When I was 7 years old, I was gifted my own laptop. But before that at just 5 years old, a Nintendo DS was already being toyed around in my hands. My parents thought that this was acceptable, and so did everyone else. I wish that when I grew up a lot more discipline was instilled in me. I was not allowed to watch TV during the week, and only had access to it on Fridays after school until Sunday before my bedtime. I got my first phone when I was 11 years old. However, I still managed to find loopholes in the disciplinary system my mom was trying to teach me. And now at nearly 20 years old, the first thing I always take with me, no matter where I am going, is my phone. This is why I could relate to the statement that “people have become unable to shed their media skin” (Gomez & Morrison, 2014). In my last two years of high school, I decided to disable all of my notifications. At first, it was nerve-racking not being able to view or respond to a notification once I heard that magical ping. But eventually, it led to me barely being on my phone and led to me “responsibly managing technology use in a rational, more efficient, more ‘mindful’”(Gomez & Morrison, 2014). But when my mom found out that my notifications were off, she encouraged me to turn them back on in case of an emergency. And just like that, I had relapsed. Two years of peace and being able to enjoy real life were all gone by the flip of a switch. I was push backed into the world of technology. Again.

Julieta Silva <silva.ju>

Jules Homepage:

Reading Responses Page:


There are two outcomes of having plenty of readily available information at any moment: it can be “thrilling” or it can “become a glute” that makes people double guess themselves (Reagle, 2). This last reading discusses the toxicity comments in online forums contain, and how their impact affects the user. For the most part, online comment sections reveal the not-so-good sides of humanity when left unsupervised. To deal with this problem, “moderation is now a central tenant of successful blogs” (Reagle, 7). The mentality that less is more on forums such as Stack Exchange is positive since they use the minimum amount of tools to carry a conversation to avoid spam and other problematic comments. Nevertheless, big players that foster online conversation want more tools available for users to comment on and keep their sites with traffic to generate a profit, but when negativity happens on those sites, the attempts these companies make to decrease the negative impact only help them make more profit and not tackle the problem itself. An example of this was discussed when Google integrated Google+ with YouTube when commenting to give haters an identifiable face. The results backfired when loyal users showed their discontent with this solution, as it “outed people” out of anonymity even on safety issues and they treated Youtube as a social networking site rather than a video site.

There is a problem with online commenting platforms. Small platforms don’t have the funds and hacks to sustain themselves and large platforms are in the business prioritizing profit. They sell users’ information to advertisers disregarding privacy, advertising groups like-minded people together and echo chambers can be created. What people want out of online commenting is the opportunity to foster “intimate serendipity” (Reagle 11). However, when people reach communities that embody these desires, this perfection often doesn’t last long, as was explained by the Twitter example. When people put themselves out there and express vulnerability online and then that’s met with negativity and unsolicited feedback, this brings a long-lasting impact on its users.

Some of the insights that the reading leaves me with is how people ultimately want to cultivate intimacy and create lasting relationships. Two new sites that can fulfill these wants are BeReal and LockIt. Both sites ask the user to post what they are doing at the moment and share it with their friends. These apps have the option to comment, but it’s not the priority. Ultimately, creating a community where commenting has a positive impact more so than a negative one is very difficult, but some alternate options such as the apps mentioned above are an attempt to do so through pictures. — Julieta Regina Silva​ Northeastern University, Class of 2025 (she/her/hers) | 956.525.0688

Sarah Tyner <tyner.s>

Most of the world is connected through online services like email and social media, according to a curve by Reuters, 85% of people around the globe who are connected online send and receive emails and 62% communicate through social media.

There are so many ups and downs to online communication.

On the positive side of things online communication is convenient and easy, and it also is easily accessible. But online communication opens doors for people to be nasty to each other online.

Comments have the power of being very uplifting or very hateful, and there are a lot of nasty and hateful comments on the internet. Regale explains how it tends to be surprising because of the extent of the awfulness and how intense it is. Hate comments also tend to be the ones that stick with people after they are said.

But that doesn’t mean that the web is completely bad. Like what Walt Kelly said, the web can still be a place of thoughtfulness and creativity.

Some people have been trying to opt out of the negatives of digital communication by turning off comments. Xeni Jardin wrote that “that just as there is value in connecting, there can also be value in disconnecting and just dealing with what’s going on inside our bodies and inside our minds’’.

But although a lot of websites are getting rid of comments to avoid the negative outcomes, nasty comments still seem to slip through the cracks since they have become a normal part of life. But as Reagle states, there can be benefits from comments. Like well-intended constructive criticism.

Sean Wilson <wilson.sea> [] Reading Response Set 2 - HackMD

Pushing back against technology isn’t this new idea for us tech natives, we have always been told to push back. Parents and adults have been telling us technology is rotting our brains since I can remember, “go outside”,” get off the games” are the classic lines I’m sure plenty of zoomers can relate to. I’m not saying any of these statements are wrong. In my opinion you should get outside and play and not spend every day on video games, but we have never really had the option to do it ourselves until now. Gomez says,”“digital natives,” were not suffering from technology fatigue or information overload,””(2014 pg.7) They also mention the idea that our generation suffers from different types of anxiety due to our complete integration into technology and the internet. This essay focuses on pushback happening because of addiction, as well as information overload, which Gen-Z supposedly doesn’t have. Personally, I don’t really get information overload, new tech comes out every month, a lot of it is initiative and learning it isn’t hard. What I do get anxiety about is the addiction and social aspect of the internet. Gomez references the book Alone Together which perfectly describes how many feel today, unlimited connections to others at the tip of our fingers, but ever persistent feelings of loneliness.

To touch on the final chapter of reading the comments, the line “moderation is now a central tenant of successful blogs,” is extremely relevant to today’s social media. Twitter was purchased by Elon Musk today, and he vows to make is a “safe haven” for free speech by not moderating tweets as much. As said early in the chapter, a blog cannot be successful without moderation of comments. This idea translates to social media sites as well, if anyone can post anything, the site will devolve into insanity. I am very curios to see how Twitter moderation is changed by the change in leadership at twitter.

Samuel Winter <>

Dear Professor Reagle,

For the final time…

Here is the link to my home page: [] Sam's Home Page - HackMD

And here is the link to my 2nd set of Reading Responses: [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD


Apr 26 - Pushback

“Commenting is as ‘commenterrible’ as we let it be” Joseph Reagle, (2019). This statement defines the relationship of communication between people online.

There are many positives and negatives to communication on the internet, especially in terms of commenting. Some positive aspects of commenting are well intended and constructively criticized comments. In addition, reputable and trustworthy reviews as well as feedback if it is constructive are positives of online communication. These things would not be nearly as possible if we did not have such advanced technology, where you can communicate from virtually anywhere in the world.

Although, as with everything there are negatives to communication on the internet. If the comments are rude and degrading, they can be harmful to people’s wellbeing and mental stability. Comments as well as reviews can also be manipulative and get people to buy something they don’t want or get people to do things they don’t actually want to do, for example black mailing. This can shape people to be worse and affect how they approach relationships for the future.

I am not sure it is possible to opt-out of digital communication. In our world today, it is very hard for kids to not be on their phones, and it seems as though they are on their phones more often than they are not. Therefore, it is hard to opt-out of digital communication, and thus important to understand what goes on online and how to deal with online communication in order to not have communication be so “commenterrible”.

For me, even though I try to opt-out of digital communication, by deleting a lot of my social media, it is harder than one thinks, and you realize you miss out on a lot of things that are going on. The challenge is understanding if it is worth missing out on those things in order to be free of digital communication.

Timothy Wong <wong.tim>

Homepage: [] Home Page - HackMD

Markdown: [] Reading Responses (Set 2) - HackMD

April 26th - Pushback

“I just commented on your post!” “I’ll go like it!” Today we trade likes, shares and comments like currency. Many confound it to be a physical representation of people’s love and admiration for you. The whole intention of having a comment section is so that people can reply to you otherwise posting would be just like shouting into an empty void with nothing in return. Comments open up a platform for communication no matter where in the world people are. In that sense comments on a post are identical to conversations in person.

If we begin to frame online communication as a different variation of discourse the question of “Is online communication so awful?” and “Is it possible to opt-out of digital communication?” Become somewhat easier to answer. In everyday life there will be conversation that you don’t enjoy or don’t want to have. People will say and act in ways that you do not like. Now going back to whether online communication is bad, personally, I think it’s awful and horrendous but it can also be uplifting and helpful. Just like any real conversation.

Ultimately there is a difference between online communication and in person communication and it is that online you can choose not to read the comments or even disable them if you wanted to. However, as Reagle says that although you can disable comments as some sites have “it is not easily escaped.” If there’s a will there’s a way. With online communication it is hard not to leave yourself at least a little vulnerable. There will always be a platform where people could find you and in that sense it makes it very hard to completely not engage in digital communication. The fact is that with technology rapidly advancing and integrating more and more into our daily lives it is almost impossible to not participate unless you want to be ostracised by society.