February 19, 2004 (Central Time Zone)
John BAKEN here--here are my reseach ideas:
1) I'd like to survey American Indians regarding their Internet behavior/habits. I made connections with about 10 tribal librarians in the Fall of '02, and it'd be nice touching bases with them again (in the form of a letter and short attached survey that would aid me in my research). If I get it sent out soon, the return rate might be high enough to get somewhat of a representative sample.
2) My other choice would be with the same "marginalized" group of users, but this time I'd use a survey to get at how the Gates Foundation Grants providing electronic access (e.g. free computers, printers, servers, training, etc. in reservation libraries) have made the respective communities better for the opportunities the computers have provided (plus questions on survey re: how computers are being utilized). Or perhaps some feel the communities haven't necessarily benefitted from the bequests.
BIG QUESTIONS, REGARDING THE COMMUNITIES IN CYBERSPACE READINGS:
1) Because I'm from Montana, the "huge and sparsely populated state" in which the Big Sky Telegraph project was conducted (Ch. 1: Communities in Cyberspace, Introduction), I was curious about the results of this particular study. As you'll recall, there were 114 rural, one-room schoolhouses attempting to be connected via the Internet; yet with equipment provided and system in place, only 30 of the 114 schools were active on the network two years into its existence. What reasons might you give for such a poor showing, percentage-wise, for technology linking these remote locales?
2) From Chapter 2: Identity and deception in the virtual community, we learn all about Usenet and its users, esp. regarding "identity" and possible deception of identity. On this subject: when my first son was born, I e-mailed pictures of him "in the buff " to several friends, without a concern or second thought about it. Some time later, I received a warning from (what I thought was) the FBI, warning me that I was under surveillance for distributing pornography involving children over the Internet. The return address was faked but read as the actual FBI.gov or whatever.. it had me scared!! Of course, it turned out to be my friend/former colleague from Japan, who was computer savvy enough to pull it off (didn't take much to fool me). Whew..
But, MY QUESTION: Have you been victim or have you been culpable in any similar schemes, regarding a faked identity and/or other type of deception? Explain.
3) From Chapter 3: Reading Race Online, I am reminded of an instance or two where race came up in online discussions (mainly through e-mail correspondence). When do you feel it's important to reveal one's ethnicity/race to someone else online? Perhaps you don't feel it ever is necessary, or shouldn't be necessary. Let's discuss it in class tomorrow, and I'll relate the few instances (maybe just one?) that I can recall asking my correspondent to identify their race.
That's all. See you later today (Greg, will we be meeting until 4:00 PM only, since you have that Cluster Group Discussion thing-y?). Thanks.