I’ve been chewing on some random thoughts lately and thought I’d put it out there and see what other people think.
- It’s ambiguous where and how companies like Nike and Gap make their clothing. In order to consume responsibly, people would have to consider what the conditions are in factories, whether workers are properly compensated and the environmental effects of the production process. Those who are undaunted by the task take great pains to buy sustainable and sweat-free articles of clothing—alternative brands, bamboo fiber, hefty price tags… Some people try to dodge the bullet completely by not buying new. But if you buy clothing from a second-hand/thrift/consignment shop (especially if it comes from a brand not known for sustainability or fair practices), does it redeem that piece of clothing?
- A certain friend of mine from a working class background used to have many discussions with me about privilege and poverty. He always asserted that nobody who comes from a fairly secure background could ever know what it’s like to be poor or struggling, especially social activists. To which I ask the following questions: Can those who have safety nets ever really understand what it’s like to be in poverty? And if those who come from impoverished backgrounds had a safety net, do we believe they wouldn’t take it? How do those who volunteer to be in relative poverty fit in, especially if they have a safety net?
- As part of the CTC VISTA Project, my job is to help in the effort to bridge the Digital Divide. This usually refers to different social groups—low-income, rural, immigrants, minorities—who do not have access to or savvy with technology or the Internet. In many academic spheres, the Internet is regarded as revolutionary because it has given many people the power to create content and participate, in some ways dethroning many traditional fields—advertising, television, print newspapers… Much of this activity is categorized under social media. So having Internet access is one thing, but are there still social groups falling through the social media cracks?
- Television, papers, etc. have long been criticized as finding the lowest common denominator to attract the largest audience. There has been much criticism about how this leads to unoriginal content. This leaves out a lot of subcultures and social groups, and in that absence, cable access, HBO, LPFMs, Internet news mix-and matches and alternative mags (many of which are nonprofits) have cropped up. The Internet hasn’t entirely addressed the inclusion of various groups of people, but what I love about Twitter as opposed to any other social media tool is this: It uses the lowest common denominator in technology and time, and still the content is unique.
- Given the ubiquity of online foreign language news sources and the rise in foreign language television channels, do immigrants still buy foreign language papers at the same rate as previously? If not, is there as steady and accelerating a drop-off for foreign language papers as MSM?