shift three

Something big was happening to me during the time that I was @tumblesweed and writing on this new blog at wordpress: I was becoming more digitally literate than I’d ever have been before. The very reason I started this blog was because I was a student assistant in my mentor’s English 240 class, Writing in the Public Sphere.

This was a class basically designed for my own history with composition. I had been writing in the public sphere for years already (with little knowledge of how I’d read myself from then now). To add to this, I was also heavily interested in studying social movements and writing about global social issues. I had done some venturing in this direction back on my livejournal. Starting a blog for this form of my work felt completely natural.

And then I met @somenode.

My active engagement with twitter and studying Occupy Wall Street led me to meet someone who will have forever shaped my understanding of technology. The first few months of 2012 began a period where I learned more about computers and Internet infrastructure than I could ever imagine.

I learned about encryption and privacy by instant message and email on/through Cryptocat, pidgin, and a few other Internet clients and programs. These things gave my digital knowledge growth and depth; I didn’t know such privacy was possible.

My phone also played a big role in my work. It connected me to all of the discourse communities in the Internet: instagram, twitter, wordpress, tumblr, and email all on my phone. The iPhone screenshot has been my way to document my work as I see it stream onto my screen. Activism made easy. Or easier. My phone also let me document my experiences, which often show how I use technology in my everyday life. Without a doubt, most of what I do is with the help of a machine.

Then my digital literacy brought a machine into being. I learned how to code my own program with the help of one of my bosses at my tutoring job. Hello World is just a simple little program that starts a conversation. It is caring, and concerned with the user’s wellness. In fact, I named the string “wellness” for that reason. I wanted a program that shared feelings. Reflective of all my cyborg theory? Yes, I guess so. Nevertheless, this experience helped me to understand that coding a program is completely rhetorical. The programmer has to be aware of what the audience will say in response—all possible responses—in order to preemptively write code that will allow the program to continue to interact. In this case, my program only accepts one word responses. If more than one word gets inputted, it doesn’t read the extra terms. I will have to edit accordingly, which creates more exciting complications. Coding, just like writing, is never finished.

The title of my program reflected my acquiring knowledge of a new discourse community:

The Internet is here, and I wanted to know more about it. April 2012 became an instrumental month for me where my interest in the Internet collided with my graduate career. I decided to study the idea of Anonymous. I wrote this post because something took to itching in my mind.

In June, I decided to go fully unidentified self. I became @soundb0mb3r.

There were several reasons for this alternate identity. I had to quit being @tumblesweed because of my own discourse communities smashing together. My personal friends at this time were highly conservative. Many disliked my constant retweeting of Occupy and Anon. I also felt the pressure of having my actual self being known to those willing to exploit identities at will. I wrote a bit about this later, once I reconciled my selves.

It seemed like creating an identity to speak into the activist community was a good idea—one that would keep me safer than the one I had connected to my profession and articulations of motherhood. And there are always conversations with the ninjas to be had there. Words that don’t make sense make the most sense. soundb0mb3r lent my voice some anonymity.

{But no one is anonymous from Anonymous.}

I began making places for myself in other spaces where no one knew where I was. You may now enter the place where I didn’t want to be me.

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