It’s 0500 in some foggy, foreign foxhole far away from home — some dark pit reeking of gloom and forfeited humanity — when a bone-rattling boom thunders accompaniment to Hades’ golden flames.  The smell of death and defeat burns away any memory of the sweat from toiling  heavy baggage; the cool mud sirens with promise of rest , answers, and catharsis. Yet this is no old hero’s tale. It’s yours and mine.

Cyberspace is available to the majority of us 24/7 and thus digital media has become an integral part of daily life.  Each day, we fight the war against ourselves: to better understand who we are, to strive for what we desire, to find our niche in a nasty world. O’Brien has told of the ghosts we carry, and how our war cannot be fought alone. With our internet friends and communities, we are not alone.

A powerful individual is not so simply because of superior armory or popularity — a blade in the wrong hands can do as much evil as good. Sun Tzu has proven the fickleness of battle and its inherent dependence on human society. The screens before us embolden us for our Internet selves are not us — they are bound not by the chains of humanity, nor by the laws of reality, nor (unfortunately) by the stain of King Duncan’s blood. It is through these cyber personas that we wield the power to influence others and to be uplifted by our peers. Choosing how to portray ourselves and communicate with others has become more than a bar one-liner.

My name is Alex Yu and my weapon of choice is contemplation. Inspired by my Digital Frontiers in Social Media class freshman year at the University of Maryland, I seek to explore the human networks that have spawned across cyberspace and how individuals gain power and lead in these communities. Understanding the difference between leadership styles in different digital communities and in real life will accentuate the fundamental and often subtle effects of digital networks on human social interaction.

It is still morning, and the day is young. Will you rally your friends toward tomorrow? Will you take shelter and aid your friends in the shade of the foxhole? Or will you step beyond the foxhole and stand hero as you explore no-man’s land?


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The battle beyond the screen

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