Kolton's ideas, thoughts and opinions

29 Jan

Love Online and It takes a village to find a phone review

Love Online

Henry Jenkins’ article Love Online takes a deep look at his son’s online relationship. The article was written in 2002 so I feel like it delves into a lot of stigmas and problems that are no longer true when it comes to online dating.

First, Jenkins talked about some of the problems his son had with connection. For example, he talks about the first time his son and his girlfriend confessed their love for each other. During this first confession, his son’s internet disconnected causing an awkward interaction between the two. This is an issue that is not nearly as big of a problem in today’s internet space.

In today’s day and age, I feel like there isn’t as much of a negative stigma around online dating. If someone told me they met their girlfriend or boyfriend on Tinder, eharmony or anything of the sorts I, and most of the people I know, would not judge that relationship any differently. However, I do feel that long-distance online relationships are met with more superstition in today’s age because of TV shows like Cat Fish and high profile cases like Manti Teo.

It Takes a Village to Find a Phone

The story ‘It Takes a Village to Find a Phone’ is about a woman, Ivanna, who lost her phone on a taxi cab in New York City. The phone that Ivanna lost was a smart phone that contained very important information so she contacted a fried, Evan, to send an email to the phone offering a reward. After a couple days no one responded to the email and Ivanna was forced to buy a new phone. Upon purchasing the new phone her old phone’s data was wirelessly synced to the new phone. During this process Ivanna saw pictures of somebody who appeared to have her old phone. Along with the pictures Ivanna got the name and email of the girl. Despite asking nicely to get the phone back the person was not willing so Ivanna’s friend Evan put the girl who refused to return the phone on blast on his website. The post gained traction and eventually it seemed like Evan had gotten the entirety of New York City on his side. In the end Sasha was confronted by the police and forced to return the phone.

This story really shows the power of communication and more specifically online communication. Without the internet Evan and Ivanna were powerless in retrieving the phone because Ivanna had already filed a lost claim and there was practically nothing else she could do. The internet and websites like Digg came together and provided assistance. Eventually the internet audience turned on the NYPD forcing them to make a move and assist. Without the power of communication or the power of the internet Ivanna would not have been able to get her phone back and that power has only gotten stronger over the past 11 years. Now, especially with websites like Kickstarter and Patreon that allow large groups of people to support causes financially and benefit those who normally would not be able to gain financial independence from things like publishers and manufacturers that had traditionally been needed. This makes me think that there have been so many stories like the one in It Takes a Village to Find a Phone that the internet has helped out someone who just 30 years ago would have been helpless.

Discussion Questions


  • Provide a brief overview of each article


      1. Village to find a phone- lost phone, set up blog that put pressure on NYPD and they ended up recovering stolen phone
      2. Love Online- Father explores online relationship between son and girlfriend that he meets for the first time in person and wonders if it is any different than meeting someone for the first time


  • How does new technology enable a new kind of group-formation?


      1. It enables people to communicate with people who, in years past, they would not have been able to communicate with each other


  • On page 17, Clay Shirky refers to Tim O’Reilly’s concept of “architecture if participation.” What does that mean in the context of these two articles.


      1. The transfer of these capabilities from various professional classes to the general public is epochal


  • “When we change the way we communicate, we change society.” Discuss this statement by making reference to the contents of the two articles.


      1. Love Online- internet has led to the change of social norms such as how we date, communicate, what’s acceptable, who we communicate with and how many people we can communicate with
      2. Village to find a phone- Articulates how the internet can give power to those who would have otherwise been powerless.


  • After reading these two articles, what do you think motivates people to share information? What is the source of trust, for example, when sharing information on an online dating site? What makes people take the risk?


      1. Love Online shows that people are willing to put a lot of information on the internet in order to find companionship. For example in the town that I grew up in there were only 60 people in my high school class. So if half of those are girls and half are boys, and you assume there will already be 10 or so couples that left only around 20 or so girls my age from my hometown that I could get companionship with. But with things like facebook and text you were able to contact people you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to contact with. People are willing to put themselves out there because I feel sometimes they think it is the only option.
      2. I think It Takes a Village to Find a Phone is more of a risk versus reward situation. In that story the girl lost her phone, which is already expensive, but it also had important information on it that she needed. So I think in this case the girl felt that the reward of getting her phone back outweighed the risk of people stealing her information off the internet.


  • What are the most important lessons you have learned from these two articles about communication technologies and their effect on our society?
    1. I think my biggest takeaways from these articles is just grasping how much more powerful NCT have become since the pieces were written. When you think of Love Online, at this point, in the day and age of eHarmony, Tinder and all other dating sites people no longer bat an eye at online relationships. However I do think that since the time of this article there has been an increased stigma on long distance relationships because of shows like Catfish and high profile cases of catfishing like Manti Teo. And in the case of It Takes a Village to Find a Phone I don’t think this would even be a story anymore. If you look at things like Patreon and Kickstarter people help out others on the internet all the time so I don’t think this story would have been as big of a deal if it happened today, but that is a good thing.


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