Monday, December 1, 2008

Social Networking Through MySpace

When Web 2.0 had made its arrival, life on the internet was about to undergo a dramatic change. The user-based feature of Web 2.0 is an important aspect in its success. The participation of users helps to create and maintain the effectiveness of these new applications. The access to information became easier and interaction between others started to become more vital. A new form of social networking became possible through the use of the Internet. There was a new way to connect with family, friends and others from the seat in your own home. With the increasing amount of users, the creation of MySpace helped people interact from all over the country. MySpace implements many creative features to help people make unique profiles and network themselves through a crowd of millions. Many perceive the person to be who they are by the way the present themselves. MySpace generates a tremendous audience which can create an overwhelming tension of how the user participates within this new online community; whether the participant uses the website for social networking or creating a profile for personal use.

I will start with a brief history of MySpace and how this Web 2.0 application came into existence. Although Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source by many, the website did provide a great detail of the history and the beginning of MySpace. MySpace was born in the fall of 2003, as a new and improved version of MySpace was launched that November with the help of Chris DeWolfe (CEO) and Tom Anderson (President), both were employees for eUniverse. MySpace originally was owned by, Inc. The purpose of the website was for MySpace to be a data sharing site. Within two years of its creation, MySpace quickly became one of the biggest and most successful social networking websites ever created. EUniverse took the liberty and the incentive to make 20 million of its users and e-mail subscribers aware of the new creation. In the spring of 2005, MySpace had successfully obtained 27 million users and a growth rate of 400 percent since the start of that year; MySpace also surpassed with more hits and number of pages viewed per month, not forgetting that the average viewer spent one hour and forty three minutes on MySpace per month (New York Times). People can sit distracted for hours looking at profiles of friends, local bands, or even search for people with common interests. It is no wonder why people have gained such a fascination with MySpace; you are connected to practically everyone by the click of a mouse. Less than two years after MySpace made its explosive entrance into the Web 2.0 world, it was bought by Rupert Murdoch (Chief Executive of News Corporation, parent company of Fox Broadcasting) for $580 million dollars. No matter how much MySpace was sold for, it still remains free of cost for its users. The amount of users can dramatically decrease with a financial fee for its services. Less people will be reluctant to try it if they have nothing to lose. This idea of free participation led to the large community that began and still exists today. Since MySpace has been purchased, Fox has moved it to a larger global scale. It is now possible for users in Europe, China and other countries around the world to participate in this social network.

Now that you may have a better insight of how MySpace was originated and who created it, I will explain the functions of MySpace, how it works and what you can do to create unique profiles. First things first, you have to sign up and then create your own person profile. Most would start with the basic demographic information you can fill out. You can start with the title name for your page and your name or nickname that is viewed by others (for example, my nickname is “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch).You can even create the name of the link to your page. After that, you can fill out more personal profile. People vary in the information that they disclose in their profiles, you can include: your interests, hobbies, music, movies, books, heroes, about me, and just any other general information that you may wish to include.

You are also entitled as the sole designer of your webpage. The way this functions is through Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). HTML is a series of texts that explain to the profile what functions you want to use. For example, “font-size: 14px” would tell the profile to use font size 14 when presenting my text to other viewers. There are a variety of websites you can visit to find these HTML codes for the designs you wish to display. You can add pictures of your favorite band, car, sports team, etc. You can even change the display of your mouse pointer. There are no limits to the amount of customization to your profile.

With the rise of Web 2.0, many may know about the phenomena of blogging. MySpace gives you choice of blogging as an activity on your personal profile. Many people like to express themselves, talk about their daily lives and hear feedback from friends and others. Implementing this feature helps people understand who you really are beyond the simple information of your name, location, interests, etc. Blogging gives you the opportunity to display what is on your mind and to connect with others that can have the same interests. Blogging is one of the leaders in social networking, and MySpace had the brilliant idea to implement this idea further and create a profile behind the blogs.

Similarly to blogging, you are allowed to post bulletins on a bulletin board. Any bulletin that a user posts becomes viewable to all of his/her friends. Like a blog you are not limited to anything you post in bulletin, but blogs and bulletin boards usually express different content and material. You can inform people where you are, what you are doing, ask a general question and so on. People are able to reply to your bulletins just like blogs, but the key difference is that blogs are only viewable once you are viewing someone’s page. Bulletins are posted on the homepage once you are logged in. Although the two are very similar, blogging and bulletin boards are used in contrasting manners.

What really makes the social networking possible is the space for commenting. People communicate through writing on each other’s walls. Once again, you always have the freedom to write anything you wish. As of recently a new tool allows users to approve or deny what someone has posted so no privacy boundary is crossed. You are also able to comment through private messages, blogs, bulletins and photographs. This allows for people to leave comments on all aspects of a person’s profile. You are able to connect with people on many different levels of interests. MySpace integrated many forms of online communication into one profile, thus helping in understanding the user and not just knowing their likes or dislikes.

If you like music, you can add a song to play for your profile. A couple of years ago MySpace created the jukebox. The jukebox allows you to have a playlist of multiple songs and artists on your profile. This allows other viewers to recognize what songs and artists you are particularly interested in. Being a musician myself, this new feature I consider this a great addition to one’s profile. Music allows people to express themselves in a way words cannot. This innovation led to the creation of MySpace profiles for music bands. This helped many bands promote themselves and expand socially through the networking of MySpace. “Some of the first people to utilize MySpace were musicians and bands, who may have heard about it in the first place from the Web site's founders, who were active in the L.A. music scene” ( This can eliminate the need for fliers, cost of making demo’s and self promotion. You can advertise yourself to people in other states and countries, so if you play a show in that state or city you could have already built a fan base and have an audience when you get there.

You may ask yourself who actually uses MySpace? The harder question may be who doesn’t use MySpace? People from all different races, cultures, and even countries are logging in and spend hours a day looking through profiles. I am sure there are people like myself who joined to see what the big fuss was about. Some may create a profile for personal use and blogging, musicians use MySpace for networking, and I personally use MySpace to stay connected with friends I have not seen for long periods of time. There are many reasons to why people subscribe themselves to this social networking hub, but everyone seems to have their own. It can be used to find people in the same area as you. Before I arrived to SUNY Albany I searched the SUNY Albany group. I found thousands of people who attended and searched to see if I can find anyone similar to me. Networking this way can help people not feel like a stranger in a new city. Many people who use MySpace may not be very social and this is a way to meet someone new. It ranges from early teenagers to adults and everything in between. There were problems with stalkers and pedophiles, so the new age minimum has become 14 years old. As shown in the article about Mississippi, teachers were restricted from networking themselves with their students due to unprofessionalism (Newsweek, 2008). Due to the access of improper users, MySpace has limited itself to an age limit to ensure better safety and quality of experience. MySpace had an experience of being the guinea pig of a large scale social network and dealing with privacy problems first. Many have switched to Facebook but my space still generates over 100,000 new users every day.

When MySpace first started, there was a free flow of communication with less restrictions and more interaction between people. The issue of stalkers and pedophiles never crossed anyone’s mind. When MySpace was faced with these problems, almost every feature quickly was able to become private. Now you are able to limit what you disclose about yourself so it does not fall into the wrong hands. MySpace now faces the dilemma of how people use this social network. It narrows down to private vs. public usage. Some remain still keeping their information public, but the information is more limited and does not reveal personality. Rather just displaying basic information which does not cut the surface of what that person is really like. Like the competition with Facebook, the users of both have dramatically limited themselves to communication with their friends. This limits the amount of communication between users and weakens the force of networking if people limit themselves to only certain friends.

Then again there are those who still persist with social networking and meeting new people. This may be a difficult task because people are more comfortable with privacy than they were when MySpace was created. Musicians and bands are the biggest source of social networking through MySpace. I have not checked my profile in a month, and discovered 9 band friend requests when I logged in. The participation of the users helps flow of social networking, something MySpace based itself on since day one. The community does still hold strong even with new restrictions; but now people are more careful and aware of what they reveal to the public eye. Unfortunately this limits the spontaneity it once had, but does not damage the community or the people within.

MySpace was an innovator in a class of its own when it was originally created. MySpace combined Friendster, blogging and much more into one unified thing. This process mixed the efforts of various social networking into one large picture. People were allowed to roam aimlessly until they have found something interesting. Things have changed since the start, certain functions and aspects have been altered for personal desire and safety. MySpace was one of a kind and endured many difficult hurdles. People may use MySpace for different reasons than they once had, but nonetheless still remain members of this online network. Since MySpace was the first of its class it had to endure many challenges, but in the end MySpace still remains near the top as one of the best social networks.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from:

O'Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design pattersn and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from

Shah, Aarti. (2008). Social Pioneers (Cover Story, pg.15). PR Week

MySpace Creates Guidelines for Social Networking (2008). Newswire

Browne, David. (2008). MySpace Music Takes on iTunes (Issue 1063, p.26). Rolling Stone

Get Moving With MySpace (2008). Advertising Age

Social Networking With Students Off-Limits in Mississippi School District (2008). Vol. 27, p.4. Education Week

Swartz, Jon. (2008). Social Networks Go To Work. USA Today


There were many Web 2.0 applications to choose from, but I have chosen MySpace. Almost everyone I knew had a MySpace account since it has made its arrival, me included. Although I have not used MySpace in quite a while, I signed into my account once again. From the last time I frequently visited this page it has made some new changes.

Similar to Facebook, MySpace has added the feature of the mini-feed. MySpace also has enforced the minimum age of 14 to be a user on this network. MySpace used to be a network for everyone but changed that when younger children encountered problems with pedophiles.

On a lighter note, I started to visit the profiles of my friends and try to catch up on what I missed. Now you are able to have multiple albums rather than a set amount of pictures on your profile. You are also allowed to tag yourself and others in photos; similar to Facebook who are their biggest competition in the process of social networking on the internet.

After looking at the profiles of my friends, I tried to expand and visit the profiles of their friends who I was not friends with. Many for personal reasons quite a number of people have set their profiles to a limited view or private altogether. Although some did leave their personal profile exposed to everyone.When I used to use MySpace frequently I do not remember private profiles, people were allowed to visit everyone’s profile. This is probably another safety precaution due to prior problems.

Antoher aspect of MySpace I always admired was networking of bands. MySpace allows bands to create pages and promote themselves through users. Being in a band I have taken advantage of this feature many times when attempting to bring more people to shows. The advertisement online surely beats handing out demo's and wasting money on cd's when the same came be done via internet, with luxury of never leaving home.

Overall, MySpace has not dramatically changed over the few years I have neglected its use. MySpace had implemented new features in an attempt to make it better and keep up with the competition. It is kind of funny to me to see how much MySpace and Facebook try to copy each other. Most of the features are shared by both networking sites but there are quite a few differences that make each website unique in their own way.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Small World Networks

When meeting someone new, have you ever thought about the odds that you might have a friend in common? After reading chapter 9 of Here Comes Everybody: The power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky, I began to realize this is not as unlikely as it may seem. Social networks are on the rise with the creations of Web 2.0 websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Shirky also mentions another social networking tool called Dodgeball. What these social networks have in common is that they all use the “Small World network.”

A Small World network is efficient because the best form of communication occurs when everyone is allowed to connect with everyone. Or as Shirky simply puts it, small groups are densely connected. “Homophily” categorizes this as the grouping of like with like. To show how this works Shirky explains rather than having a “loose” group of 25 people, create 5 “tighter” groups of 5 people who may know others in different groups. What this does is not only create better connections between the people within that group, but at the same time you are loosely connected with the other groups through common friends (if you don’t already know people in other groups). “A handful of people are extremely critical to holding the whole network together, because as the network grows large, the existence of a small number of highly connected individuals enables the very trade-off between connectivity and effectiveness that makes the Small World pattern work in the first place” (Shirky, p.217). If anybody ever decided to leave or separate themselves from a certain group, Shirky claims that the connection or the links between the other members would not be disrupted.

What really struck my interest was the social networking tool created for mobile phones, called Dodgeball. Shirky narrates how on a random night on the way to the bar Magician, Shirky texts “@magician” to the Dodgeball service. The service not only recognized Shirky as a member, but it recognized the bar as well. Then Dodgeball sends text messages to that person’s friends letting them know where Shirky is; at the same time lets you know if any of your friends are there, or if their friends are there. This is using the friend-of-a-friend network. This resembles the mini-feeds that are being used in MySpace and Facebook, another tool helping people network through social communities. Exemplifying how Small World networks can be efficient.

At the beginning of this chapter I did not think that Small World networks can be so powerful. When members of a certain group have a close connection or relatedness with a few people, it can branch out further to mutual acquaintances you both might know. The use of grouping people together through homophily can not only connect you to people you may know, but people with similar interests as yourself. This chapter helped to break down the use of major social networks and explain how they function effectively. The Dodgeball service was something new and something I had no idea existed. As Shirky explains, although not making great conversation with Andy (friend-of-a-friend), the service allows the person for the chance of expanding their social network. This helps the common person trying to satisfy their desire to meet new people and satisfy their need for homophily.

Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blogging: Is There An Online Community

The creation of the internet has done such wonders for technology and communication. We may sometimes take this for granted and not even realize what we are a part of. Blogging is a new sensation that is taking us by storm. Bloggers are allowed to write freely and respond to others as they wish. You can find blogs that pertain to your interests, or you can even start your own as a personal diary/journal. I never heard any of my friends or any I knew for that matter to be a part of this online trend. According to the website Technorati, they have tracked over 75 million blogs and that number is only expected increase rapidly. Will this be the new sensation that takes over the internet? At the beginning of this semester I have been a part of this “blogosphere” but on a smaller scale. Now I have placed myself as a participant in this new online word I had never been a part of. The question that I attempt to answer is: Is there a real community within these blogs?

After a little searching I finally came to a decision of what blog I have decided to be a part of. I found a blog on the HBO series Entourage. After visiting the website, I noticed there is one blog posted each week about the episode that Sunday. I saw a great deal of interaction amongst the users on the website. They talked about the episode, why they though certain things happened, even what they thought was going to happen in future episodes. Before I even interacted with anyone I began to feel the “online community” Aaron Barlow refers to in Blogging America. I observed three episodes and the blogs about them. The first episode I observed had good conversation and insight on the characters. People were having friendly responses amongst each other. The reactions to the second episode threw me off guard. There was little to no interaction on a very controversial episode where I thought there would be more discussion. When I looked back at the blog in a few days, someone by the name “BJ” posted something negative about the episode. After all everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I looked for more posts from BJ to see if this was a constant trend, and unfortunately he was. Most of the posts he had were nothing of value, and he brags about the episodes most felt were not that great. When the next week came around I was hoping for better results. BJ once again posted two negative comments which took away the focus of the blog and centered the attention on him. Someone by the user name “Hernandez” posted something back to him, and I did as well.

The blogs of the past two weeks made me realize that there is in fact an online community which implemented through blogging. It proved the point that all bloggers are not “weirdo loners in their mothers’ suburban basements” (Barlow, p.37). The purpose of this blog was to unite people with the same interest to interact amongst each other. The prior blogs I was not a part of showed this community exists by exemplifying great relations between bloggers. BJ on the other hand was a disruptive force to this community. He seemed to be a “troller” which was identified by Kollock and Smith in an earlier reading. A troller is someone responds rudely or in an impolite manner attempting to get a rise out of someone. In this particular case he was trolling the blog. By doing so, he destroys the foundation of the blog and the community. People post less on the blogs because they do not want to be bothered with a person who is a nuisance. The quality of communication decreases and if that person is not removed it can potentially destroy the blog all together. A lot of bloggers do no write just to “babble,” but want to write something of relevance and intellect to stimulate good conversations amongst that community. Bloggers like BJ give the bad reputation to blogging; blogging anything they want without consideration to the other participants.

After my experience blogging I no longer would make the assumption that bloggers write anything just to have their voice heard. There are different forms of blogging, one is for personal use and the other is for public. The community that is formed helps to produce good communications and interactions based on a common interest. My question now is what you do with a person who disrupts the community, and has the potential to destroy everything that was created from it. The more BJ posted, the less others posted their reactions and feelings. This was unfortunate to see, because I was hoping for the quality interactions that were there before I joined this blog. I hoped the quality of interaction would have remained the same from when I first began looking at this website.


Barlow, A (2008). Blogging @merica: the new public sphere. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Observation #5 - 11/10/08

In this past Sunday’s episode, there was a lot of drama going on. Eric Murphy, which is Vince’s manager, is trying to get one of his clients a show. The agency wants Seth Green to do the show, but the two have had a bad history over Eric’s ex girlfriend which led to a fight in Las Vegas a few seasons ago. Seth plays games with Eric and his client Charlie the whole episode and then threatens to have both of them taken off the project while sitting in the lobby of the agency. This leads to another fist fight, but this time Charlie throws the first punch after being threatened. After trying to do things his way Vince is convinced by Werner to let him direct the movie his way even if he is losing his lines. Werner tries to explain he does what is best for the movie and essence he is doing what is best for Vince’s character. Vince listens considering Werner had won 2 Oscars for foreign films, and takes his critiques into consideration. Ari tries to bring Klein into the company after convincing Barbara to give him a fair interview. She puts him on the spot asking him to pitch to her as if she was Julie Roberts, and Klein has a panic attack. As Barbara is at her luncheon after being awarded the 33rd most powerful woman in Hollywood, Ari makes presence known. He congratulates all the women for latching on to powerful men for them being where they are. He threatens to split the agency down the middle and makes his exit after another obscene comment. As I checked to see if anyone responded, to no surprise BJ had another 2 negative posts. “Is there anyway this show could be less interesting??? Its not even fun to rag on it anymore….its just so pathetic! Please put us out of our misery!” And “Dude……….they ALL are douche bags on the show……with exception to Ari (and the” Unfortunately this kind of took the aim off the episode, someone by the username “Hernandez” and I responded to his constant negative feedback. We both told him not to post if he does not like the show and to stop wasting everyone else’s time. You can obviously tell he has not watched earlier seasons and had no idea what situations were important. He took the aim of blogging and made it about himself rather than people discussing what happened. But Hernandez did add insight along with his blog referring to Vince’s acting which Ari made an issue a few episodes before. The person who posted the blog also attached a video from the fight in Las Vegas for others to judge whether it was a sucker punch or not. This again took away the focus of the episode to a prior incident on the show. Unfortunately, the blogs for the past 2 weeks were the weakest I seen on the website. The blogs about the last week’s episodes did not focus on the episode and the one before no one participated. I was expecting more from my observations before I chose this site. But the first episode I observed had good conversation going on, I wish it was like that for the past 2 episodes.

Observation #4 - 11/06/08

So I came back to check on the blog on November 6th to see if there were any more posts after the upsetting 3 I saw on Monday. To my surprise there was ONLY 1 post. This really threw me off because there were so many posts on prior episodes and it did not make much sense considering this was a really good episode leaving all of us wondering what is next. The only post was bashing the episode, but the blogger “BJ” gave no evidence to his claims of why he did not like the episode. I also looked earlier blogs to see what BJ had posted; to no surprise most of his comments are negative. The only positive comment he had been on an episode many felt was not important, does not make any sense to me. Maybe people are just waiting for next week to see what happens, but I don’t know why no one else had blogged. I felt like posting something myself would have been useless because, it seemed like everyone forgot there was an episode last Sunday or they were just ignoring the blog altogether. Either way it was very upsetting but there is another episode around the corner, and I am looking forward to seeing if the problems from last week’s episode are going to be resolved. Hopefully next week will have better results and more people participating.

Observation #3 - 11/03/08

I checked the blog on Monday following the episode on Sunday, November 2nd. There were two main story lines in this episode. First Vince began shooting Smoke Jumpers, a little nerve racking considering he hasn’t shot a movie in over a year. All of a sudden his co-star Jason Patric started to steal of his lines and had no idea what was going on. When he approached the director Werner, he told Vince he was aware and he was trying to keep Jason happy. But at the end of the episode we find out that he was giving Jason Vince’s lines intentionally. On the other end Ari, is approached by his old buddy Andrew Klein (played by Gary Cole). They were friends at the original firm they worked at before it split and both parted ways. Klein is dealing with hard times due to the writer’s strike and asks Ari for a $500,000 loan. After looking at Klein’s books, Ari finds he is very successful and rather than giving him the loan he offers to buy his company and bring him back to where he was supposed to be. After arguing over dinner and drinks, Ari reminds him of the time when he was going to go back to Chicago to be a lawyer and Klein responded with: “Do you really want to die a loser lawyer in Chicago?” Ari comes back with “Do you really want to die a loser lit agent in the Valley?” and the deal was made. I was really upset with the 3 posts; none of them were insightful but just obvious observations. People loved the episode but no one stated why or what they liked about the episode. No one liked the co-star Jason Patric, and did not understand why Werner lied to Vince. Although Ari’s co-partner Barbara said no to buying Klein’s company, “Ryan” thought she would come around and I did as well. Especially due to the fact Ari could have left the agency for Warner Brothers and it would have probably fallen apart. Honestly I expected a little more depth from these comments, they were very vague and anyone could have said half the things just from watching the trailer. I am going to check back on this blog later in the week and hopefully there will be more considering last week’s posts were good.

Observation #2 - 10/17/08

The episode on Sunday, October 26th was in my opinion the most important episode so far this season. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) who is Vincent Chases’ (Adrian Grennier) agent is offered head of Warner Brothers Studios by John Ellis. This is a career decision for Ari, but in taking this job he will no longer be Vince’s agent. Their close personal bond between actor and agent is one of the factors that holds the show together. If Ari takes the job, Amanda Gordon (Vince’s ex-agent, who he is on bad terms with) will get the job of studio head at WB. Ari tries to peacefully bury the hatchet, and Amanda threatens to make sure Vince does not get the role in “Smoke Jumpers,” a movie which he wants to make to revive his career. Ari tells Amanda he is going to spitefully take her dream job in spite of her actions, but later we find out he gets Dana Gordon (his friend and fellow agent) the job by talking to John Ellis in his office. And Dana’s first order of business is to get Vince in Smoke Jumpers. On a side note, his friend Turtle had some naughty interactions with Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano) on their returning flight from Hawaii. Vince’s brother Johnny in awe and disbelief spreads the word around town and it eventually gets back to Jamie. I checked the on blog Monday night to see if anyone responded, there were already 5 posts. Everybody’s main concern was on how Ari made the swap for Dana and still kept his job at his agency and remained Vince’s agent; in essence holding the show together. Apparently no one liked Amanda and were happy with Dana and the way everything ended up. The show had a few episodes with irrelevant sub-plots prior and left everyone in a daze where the season was heading. It felt like a few filler episodes. Some did not believe that John Ellis would have given the job to Dana in reality if Amanda was lined up behind Ari, but you never know if Ari ever explained the situation. The other buzz was about Turtle and Jamie, everybody seemed to be happy for him. But that ended up with Jamie throwing her cocktail in his face when she found the word was around town.

Observation #1 - 10/25/08

Originally I was set on focusing on a blog that had multiple articles and responses throughout the week. My first choice was, since I am a musician this website struck my interest very quickly. After a few days of browsing through the website, I was not satisfied with the quality of posts, and many of them had 0 responses even though hundreds of people clicked and possibly read the article. So I decided to change the blog that I was observing, and decided to switch to movies figuring there might be more interactions. I decided to focus on my favorite HBO show Entourage since the show was mid-season already. The website where I found this blog was The Entourage blog can be found at Since there is only one blog a week, I observed the website from the weekend of 10/24/08 to see more interaction than just for this week’s episode and get a better feel of the website. I also observed blogs on a few episodes that happened earlier to get a feel of what this blog was about. People respond and react to the episode they just saw and can predict or share what they think is going to happen next week. There is a good quality of communication amongst the users trying to figure out what will happen next or why things happened the way did. I am curious to see what other people have to say about the upcoming episodes.

Autonomy vs. Desire for Comments

For today’s blog I had read the article “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back,” which was written by Lori Kendall. This article pertained to some constant tensions that the users of LiveJournal have to face when they participate. According to Kendall, LiveJournal is an easy to use weblogging system with features that help enhance social networking. My focus on this article is the constant friction between autonomy and the desire for comments.

As Kendall mentioned, people using LiveJournal are aware of an audience. This may limit how much information someone may disclose about themselves. That may also limit how much a person may post to others, since they have no control over who may read their posts. People may never know who is always on the receiving end of their comments. Something that may seem appropriate between you and someone may not be perceived that way by others. Being harshly criticized by someone that you may not even know can prevent a person from being autonomous.

There is a tendency when posting on other peoples journals, to avoid the “me too” comments. Therefore many attempt to write something more formal and proofread their writing, taking away from the spontaneity the reaction once had. This may ultimately limit the amount someone may post to others and vice versa. The users of LiveJournal feel that they should contribute more, but the lack of control over their own comments can make them reluctant to do so. This dilemma according to Kendall can lead many to “comment on trivial matters than important ones” (Kendall, p.13).

Although people may use LiveJournal as a personal diary, they are aware that there is a certain audience watching them. The fear of a negative perception by others can limit a person’s freedom on LiveJournal. Not being able to have control over who reads and views your words and opinions can limit your autonomy, even though you may have full control over your own journal. This may cause the inefficiency of LiveJournal, because people may not have the courage to post anything meaningful.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Rise of Blogging

For today’s blog, I have read chapter 2 in the book Blogging America written by Aaron Barlow. There are some major concerns with blogging since its popularity is only rising with time. There were many issues that struck my interest. One main problem was the content and material that is being posted on blogs and whether or not a code of conduct should be implemented.

According to Barlow, Technorati had said that they have tracked over 75 million blogs across the United States in 2007. The “blogosphere” is only the rise and these figures are expected to dramatically increase within the near future (prediction of over 500 million blogs by 2010). With that in mind, what is being posted on these blogs? There is a hard attempt to depict the truth from fiction, considering there are no gatekeepers or filters for whenever someone posts a blog. Nothing is preventing a person from displaying their emotions publically for the rest of the world to see. At the same time, anyone can reply to someone’s blog and react freely. As mentioned by Barlow, the “wide-open nature” of blogging allows others to harass and even threaten others.

The irony in all of this is that some people still do not feel that a code of conduct is necessary; “Kos does not believe death threats exist, never having seen one” (Moulitasas, p.38). Does someone actually have to follow up on a death threat for people to take this matter seriously? This is an underlying problem with whether or not people reveal their identity, which is another theme discussed in the chapter by Barlow. If people remain “faceless” it can slowly damage the structure of the blogosphere.

I feel that there are two different types of bloggers. There are people who blog about daily issues, concerns and publically discussed topics. Many tend to read these blogs which are controversial and respond to them as well. For these types of blogs I feel that it is imperative to write knowing who your audience is and being able to back up your opinion. There are also personal bloggers who just talk about life, issues pertaining to them or how they are feeling, etc.; they do not aim for a public audience. Even though a simple search in Google can lead to your personal blog. When someone is blogging and knowing their targeted audience, it is important to know what you are saying and who will be looking at your information. Knowing your targeted audience can avoid conflict and nasty responses from others.

Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The World Wide Web is expanding more and more every day as we know it. The amount of free flowing information seems to be endless, but how do we go about finding this information and its reliability? I chose a Web 2.0 application to search and investigate through multiple search engines/databases. The application I chose was MySpace, a Web 2.0 application that was created mainly for social networking and operated by the users on the website.

To start things off simple, I opened my internet explorer and used the popular Google search engine for my first few searches. I typed in MySpace without any other key words just to see what would come up; little to my surprise the first group of results were all links to MySpace’s website. A little further down in the results was a link to Wikipedia, and on their webpage was an article on MySpace. Although Wikipedia is not believed to be a scholarly source, Wikipedia had offered good insight on MySpace according to my prior knowledge of the website. The page contained the history and the features of the website, creating a better understanding if you were to use the website for the first time. Since the rest of the results were not that insightful I decided to change the key words in my search to “networking through MySpace.” Once again, there seemed to be less useful articles that can be helpful to a person who never heard of this application. ZDNet and CBSNews were two of many articles that released personal opinions and current events rather than explaining the purpose of MySpace’s existence. I did find an article from HowStuffWorks, and this article was similar to the Wikipedia one I had found prior except for a few differences. HowStuffWorks not only offered the history and features but presented visual aid from MySpace’s website. The pictures can really aid a new user of what to expect, where to find certain things, and basically how to have a good experience on the website without ever using it prior. Through the heap of bad results I did manage to find some usefulness out of the Google search engine.

The next step in my research was to visit the library and take advantage of Lexis Nexis database. This time I switched my keywords in the search to “MySpace and social networking” to see what results I would stumble across. Many articles appeared and I browsed through a few; unlike Google these were all scholarly and I did not have to spend time searching for a credible source or have to try to block advertisements to focus on the article I was reading. The first article I chose was “MySpace Creates Guidelines for Social Networking” (Newswire, 2008). This article explains the problems with the social networking of MySpace and the actions that are being taken to improve safety and better the use of this application. For the next search I tried a less narrow approach and entered only MySpace. I found an interesting article titled “Social Pioneers” (Shah, 2008). This scholarly articled was devoted to explaining MySpace’s role in online social networking and their competition, websites such as Facebook and YouTube. The article also explained the actions MySpace were taking to put themselves back as the number one social networking channel. These articles were much easier to find here rather than on Google and also had greater amount of good and relevant results which makes the search for useful information that much easier.

My next step was to use another scholarly database, so I chose the popular EBSCO. The first difference I noticed was the ability to choose a certain field within your text and the ability to search for anything using ‘and, or, not.’ This can dramatically help your search, narrowing it down to only certain things rather than getting mass results that did not pertain to your search. Once more I plainly typed MySpace to see what would come up. Like Lexis Nexis, many results of good quality came with ease. There was no need for filtering and trying to find credible sources. I used two sources under this search, although the main focus of both articles were contrary. The first article, “Get Moving with MySpace” talks about how to use the website as a great social networking tool and how to set yourself apart from other users (Advertising Age, 2008). The second article “MySpace Music Takes on iTunes” written by Daivd Browne struck more of a personal interest. MySpace now not only wants host pages for unsigned bands, but to have music stars have their music pages through MySpace. MySpace would allow streaming, buying single songs or even albums. Besides social networking from person to person, MySpace helps bands on the rise to publicize and expand their fan base. Now MySpace wants to become the biggest music catalog on the market. Then I decided to change the search and see what other articles I could find. I typed in MySpace AND Networking to use a less broad search. I found another two articles that aroused my interest; “Social Networks Go To Work” discusses the use of MySpace within the workplace and how to connect employees of a company around the state (Swartz, 2008). The article “Social Networking with Students Off-Limits in Mississippi School District” emphasizes on the unprofessionalism of “casual contact” between teachers and their students (Education Week, 2008). Both EBSCO and Lexis Nexis had led me to great results, and eased the process of finding worthy material on the internet.

In the beginning of my search I was mainly focused on the aspect of social networking through the Web 2.0 application called MySpace. I used Google for its popularity as one of the best search engines. I found articles that focused on the history aspect more or less and explained how MySpace is used as a social network. Google caused more of a headache because it was a maze to find credible sources and switching keywords still led to many of the same results. Many articles didn’t have the author’s name, the year the article was posted, posted biased material and it was a challenge to find anything scholarly. All the advertisements posted led me to believe there was a connection between the article posted and the advertiser; and the message that was trying to be sent across the viewers such as myself could lean either to the left or the right. On the other hand Lexis Nexis and EBSCO did not present any of these problems, which can lead to a less frustrating experience. They both not only presented relevant material to MySpace and social networking but different aspects of social networking. Results found articles pertaining to music and how MySpace can fit in the workplace and how it should not be used between teachers and students. Both EBSCO and Lexis Nexis were magnificent databases, but I favored with EBSCO for one main reason. Lexis Nexis had a search box where you entered your text; EBSCO like I mentioned before, had the option to chose the words ‘or, and, not’ within your search to narrow your results. You were also able to search by title, author, and subject terms in the field box. All in all I managed to get my hands on a good amount of quality articles. I would use all the articles that I found through EBSCO and Lexis Nexis, which is self explanatory at this point. I would probably filter out the articles I obtained from Google except the article I found on That article provides a good fundamental basis which helps explain how to use MySpace to any user.

From my experience, search engines can either lead you to what you are looking for or completely stray you in the opposite direction. You need to be careful of the information you observe and use because there are many sources which are not reliable. Evaluating the material you use is harder than actually finding it sometimes. When using research for assignments and academic use, it is critical to make sure the material has the criteria to be used as a credible source.


Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research Strategies for a Digital Age (chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth

O'Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design pattersn and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from

Shah, Aarti. (2008). Social Pioneers (Cover Story, pg.15). PR Week

MySpace Creates Guidelines for Social Networking (2008). Newswire

Browne, David. (2008). MySpace Music Takes on iTunes (Issue 1063, p.26). Rolling Stone

Get Moving With MySpace (2008). Advertising Age

Social Networking With Students Off-Limits in Mississippi School District (2008). Vol. 27, p.4. Education Week

Swartz, Jon. (2008). Social Networks Go To Work. USA Today

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Search 2.0: Is Privacy in Danger?

For today’s class I have read the article “The Externalities of Search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0,” which was written by Michael Zimmer. The article focuses on how the increase of personal information through Web2.0 applications and search engines can store information and make predictions within personal searches; but my attention is on how the collaboration of all this information is harmful to one’s privacy.

“Perfect reach” and “perfect recall” both are described by Zimmer to be the key components to a new wonderful creation: Search 2.0. Perfect reach makes search engines a whole lot easier with the advantage of being able to index the information available on the internet. At the same time, Zimmer mentions its ability to bring you results based on “past searches” and “general browsing history.” These searches can include texts, pictures, video, audio and even other websites that you may be interested in. Perfect reach has the ability to observe other searches you made prior on the same search engine and make an assumption of your interests and future searches. Perfect recall basically keeps a profile of what you searched and what websites you visited from the use of that search engine. The gathering of all this information creates a very powerful tool called “datavelliance.” According to Zimmer, this is based off the fact that many Web 2.0 applications are based on “a new cultural force based on mass collaboration.” Since many people have increased their share of personal information online, your information easily accessible to someone that may want to find out more.

Many students and teenagers like me share information about our personal lives and interests through websites like Myspace and Facebook; but who ever though that would be harmful to us in the future? As mentioned in Zimmer’s article, people can “Google” someone else and find more information about a person than that person ever wanted to reveal. Many employers and co-workers can do their research on a person through the click of a mouse. I would have never thought that the jokes I made with my friends on Facebook would be looked at by the people I work with, making it easy for assumptions to be made. It’s amazing how many people have been denied jobs or even lost jobs because all your information is on one provider, releasing personal conversations and even more. I always felt that my information was safe, and it is amazing how wrong I actually was.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Usenet: The Effects of Free-Riding

As we all may know, the technologies and advancements in computers has come a long way from when it first had started. If we go back in time to the days of pre-world wide web, you can see communication was different than it is today. I have decided to be and observer or a spectator if you will within a Usenet group. “The Usenet is one of the largest computer-mediated communication systems in existence” (Kollock and Smith, p. 111). This thought led me to have a positive outlook for the observations I was about to witness. Usenet has over thousands of people participating in groups that discuss the issues that concern them the most. Within these so called “communities” people have a chance to have their voice and opinions heard, and are able to receive feedback from other viewers through an asynchronous discussion. An asynchronous chat is when people can post a message and wait for another member of the group to message back their opinion or feedback (Kollock and Smith). After some browsing I had chose to observe in a New York Rangers group through Google Groups, which you can find by going to The common problematic theme of free-riding had begun to surface very quickly and you will begin to see the impact it has on online communities.

After realizing that Usenet is one of largest communication systems online I was very shocked to see only a few hundred people within this New York Ranger group. There were not many posts to begin with, with the addition of a few spam postings that contained inappropriate material. The issues that were discussed in this group really clashed with the facts. It seems that not many people that were participating were aware of the biased opinions they were posting. On top of all of this, there were judgments made towards other teams and players that held no truth but just a biased voice. When username “Bender” states that Jay Pandolfo from the New Jersey Devils “sucks,” he has no factual basis for his claims. The responses to this statement are not even relevant, which can leave an observer like me baffled how a group is so unorganized. According to Kollock and Smith, the authors of “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities,” I would be considered a “lurker” for reading but not participating within these discussions. The difference between a lurker and a free-rider, is that a free-rider is conceived as someone who “uses and abuses the conversation without contributing to its maintenance” (Kollock and Smith, p.115).

Free-riding is one of the most common problems that we can come across through Usenet groups and computer mediated communication (CMC). I visited a different Usenet group for the New York Rangers at, the contrast in quality and quantity of the conversations was mind blowing. People were never off topic and always managed to contribute positive information which enhanced the quality and quantity of conversations. There were 0 spam postings and it was a complete reverse image of the Google group I had been observing for days. There were no clear boundaries defined within this Google group, and it is not a shock why there are practically no members or quality discussions that have meaning. Practically every rule of free-riding is exemplified within these posts that lack everything to have any substantial meaning. Originally I was going to participate in these discussions, but it is frustrating when no one in the group can have a discussion with any sort of relevance. This group was just filled with random opinions that no one can back up. When people did respond to a false point that was made, they would make fun of someone with crude humor; ironically enough those rough comments held the most truth. This is the act of “trolling” which was discussed by Kollock and Smith. Trolling is when a person responds to another in an impolite manner trying to seek a rise out of them. This was blatantly obvious in the 2 rude responses to members within this group. Although the act of trolling was obvious, the members who were ridiculed put themselves in that situation.

Comparing the two different Usenet groups put a lot of things in perspective; clearly showing me the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful group. Although I did not go into deep conversation about the other Usenet group, they did exemplify what it is to be organized and successfully function within computer mediated communication. The signs of trolling were not significant, the jokes were friendly and humorous. Questions and debates were backed with facts, which made it amazingly easily to be a lurker like myself. It goes without saying that groups such as the one I have observed on Google harm online communication amongst people. There was no standards, no rules and pretty much nothing at all that can be considered useful. The other group showed that there are groups that exist that perform in perfect harmony. Free-riding seems to be a problem that will always drag along but depending on the group its impact can vary a great deal. The Rangers group on Google was solely derived off of free-riding, which is no wonder why it fails to be successful. The other was beneficial because free-riders can contribute more when the facts are present.


Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benajmins.

Final Blog - 10/12

Only 1 post after the next two games! The Rangers had won both and scored 8 goals (4 each game, which doubled the past 2 games they played). Shockingly no one says anything about the goal scoring. Prior to this, people were complaining about who is going to score and finishing on opportunities. Now that the Rangers scored 12 in the first 4 games (3 per game on average), no one has anything to say. Are people watching the games? Do they even realize? This made me happy for not interacting within the group and just being a spectator. I would not have anything positive to say to these fans who do not even believe in themselves or their players. They cannot even give credit to the team when it is due. The only post was “FDR” saying “4-0 start to the season is good, right”? “Broadway Blue” responds with “Ssshhhhh... don't be tempting fate.” The Rangers have a good history with performing badly after a strong early season performance. Although this team does look young and promising people are trying not to jinx themselves. This team looks very different, not solely based around high paid veteran superstars who all want the spotlight. This team has a lot of young talent and is focusing around a more collaborative effort. Even as a Devil fan that has a bitter hatred for the Rangers, I can see the improvements in the organization and young talent this team has to offer. Surprisingly Ranger fans cannot even seem believe in themselves. This had been an interesting experience observing a Usenet group. The internet does hold a platform for people to have their voice heard. I do not understand how people can post such comments and not even realize how ridiculous their claims are. Most people cannot even back up what they said with stats, just posting outrageous claims to throw in an opinion. I did view an alternate Usenet group I had recently discovered (, which I will discuss and compare within the essay.

Blog #4 - 10/9

A very controversial topic has come up across the message board. Sarah Palin is supposed to drop the puck for the start of the 4th game of the Rangers season in Philadelphia against the Flyers. Philadelphia is one of the most hated teams in the Eastern conference known for their dirty style of play which gives the league a bad reputation. To have Sarah Palin drop the puck does not help the Flyer’s popularity; but it is funny how people focus on this rather than the game at hand and what the Rangers have to do to win against this physical and gritty team. It seems all they care about is that they have another reason to hate the Flyers. Someone takes a shot at Jay Pandolfo who is a forward for the Devils, saying he “sucks.” You can already feel the rivalry and tension beginning to stir. No one else posts anything relevant to the topic, this group is extremely unorganized. What makes the least sense is that Pandolfo was the main goal scorer for the Devils before his injury (colliding into the boards at full speed) which kept him out for almost half the season. “Timmy B” who seems to be a Devil’s fan posts
“Shit, Jay Pandolfo? That's the best you can come up with? You're out of shape, get to camp boy.”
It seems that most people who respond to a negative comment tend to curse and use foul language, but sometimes is kind of funny when they are right. Not many people here actually know what they are talking about out. It is humorous to see what some people say. Next topic was lack of goals. Since the Rangers lost Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shannahan this summer ever fan seems to think they cannot produce anymore goals. “Chris Jemmett” compares the Rangers and Devils (very defense oriented) with total goals last season. But the Rangers based their whole game around the 2 players they lost through the summer. In the first two lines the Rangers have 5/6 players who are 25+ goal scorers per year who now have a chance to shine. Chris points out utility players and 4th liners who do not impact scoring as much. How do you like a team and not who puts up the most points? Although the first two games they only cashed in 4 times, they had average of 38 shot per game; unheard of for a ranger team who last year on average put 22 shots on net a game. I am awaiting for the next 2 games which are back to back to see more feedback.

Blog #3 - 10/8

The action in this group not surprisingly has died down, there have not been useful posts in the past few days. After the second game there has been a little more feedback from the fans. A person posting from the username “the kid” completely bashes the Rangers, a little surprising since they won both games. I guess it is true when people say that New York fans are the hardest to please. There were two main complaints; the first one was complaining how the Rangers lack in size and the second about how Henrik Lundqvist (goaltender) always has to be super sharp. One person agrees and disagrees with “the kid.” Talking about how they are lacking in size and need more big men around the net and they need to finish the job on scoring chances and how the team was built around Lundqvist. I am bothered at the very fact that people do not know what they are talking about. Size does matter, but the Rangers had a player names Sean Avery last year who was 5’9’’ and is the biggest agitator and instigator in the league. Not only that but 2/4 of the goals in the first two games they had won came from men screening the goalie. I agree with the Rangers having to capitalize on their scoring chances, they did outshoot the Lightning 42-21, but they dominated the whole game. I don’t even understand how “the kid” said they built the team around Lundqvist. The Rangers had one of the league’s worst defenses for half a decade. They didn’t get anyone impressive until these past 2 years because all they did is spend their money of forwards and offense. “Number 6” agrees with me but takes the alternative route and completely bashes the other posters and ironically the Rangers organization. Sather and Dolan are General Managers and CEO, which you will see their names below.

“I don't understand why and how getting forwards that can't shoot is building a team around a goalie ...

Sather : We have a great goalie ...
Dolan : Terrific ... now let's find forwards who can't shoot ... then find us some crack whores ... “

It just feels like people post sometimes just so they can voice an opinion, but what they need to do is get their facts straight. The funny thing is I am not even a Ranger fan.

Blog #2 - 10/5

Today, surprisingly there were only two posts. I know hockey has been falling off the map but it just seems like no one even watches the sport anymore. Both posts reflected on the game which the Rangers had won 2-1. A person that went by the username “kovy” posted a brief message stating some improvements that he has seen in the team since last season, like the powerplay (one-man advantage when a team takes a penalty) being more efficient for an example. He also says how he thinks Brandon Dubinsky is going to be a key player and someone to keep an eye on this season (he had very good rookie season last year). The second post had a few responses. Again the talk of powerplay comes about; the Rangers did have a one of the league’s worst powerplay for a few years. But they did get rid of a few older veteran players and more youth to the team. Also, the Rangers acquired Wade Redden which is one of the league’s best defensemen. He was criticized negatively before coming to New York over the summer for a bad year with the Ottawa Senators; but last year the whole team collapsed. Redden showed his capabilities with 2 points in the first game quieting all the critics. Someone else bashes Scott Gomez (assistant captain), which they signed from the New Jersey Devils along with the Coach and Captain Chris Drury. This person really does not seem to know what he is talking about because Gomez and Drury were main point scorers last season and since Tom Renney has became the coach the Rangers had made the playoffs every year which they did not accomplish before him. I am interested to see what the next few posts are going to be like.

Blog #1 - 10/4

For my observations, I have decided to join a Usenet group through My first choice was to observe a group for the New Jersey Devils which is my favorite team. After scrolling through prior posts there was not that much activity or relevant activity so I switched and started observing a close rival of the Devils, the New York Rangers. You can find through group by going to It would be interesting to me to see what conversations the Rangers were having considering the rivalry and the fact there is always tension between the two teams. After looking through some prior posts on the Rangers group, I noticed there were not too many posts but whichever were not spam were pretty fun to read. There was only post today, which was surprising but the person was saying good luck to everyone on the start of the new season. The Rangers will be opening the season tomorrow in Prague, Czech Republic versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. The posts I skimmed through from prior dates were just all predictions about the upcoming year and what people thought of the trades and acquisitions through the summer. It will be interesting to see what people think of the team once the regular season starts and all the starters are dressed and ready to play.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Web 2.0: How Is It Different?

As technologies advance, many tend to improve on what has been done beforehand. This is the discussion held in Tim O’Reilly’s article “What is Web 2.0.” O’Reilly attempts to emphasize on how “Web 2.0” is different from Web 1.0 and the characteristics that give “Web 2.0” its title.

The first debate in O’Reilly’s article was between Netscape which was Web 1.0 and Google which had been claimed to be “Web 2.0”. O’Reilly portrayed Netscape as “the web as a platform.” Netscape was an application which let you browse the web and go to whatever website you wanted. Netscape then sold itself, which was the popular trend of many Web 1.0 applications. On the contrary, Google was a free application which you never had to purchase and at the same time continues to advance and improve itself as time goes on. O’Reilly explains that Google runs on database management, something Netscape never used; “Without the data, the tools are useless; without the software, data is unmanageable” (O’Reilly, p.5). Each process works hand in hand to make the other function properly. O’Reilly exemplifies how Google acts as a “middleman” between the user and their experience online, Google is labeled more of a search engine, acting more of a navigator rather than a platform. O’Reilly explains another intriguing feature of “Web 2.0,” the process of “Harnessing Collective Intelligence.” Websites can store and retrieve information more than ever before and help the user be more informed. Websites such as eBay and Amazon can hold records of reviews, what people thought of a certain products or even how comfortable it will be dealing with the person selling or buying from. O’Reilly makes it clear that in order for websites like these be efficient; they rely on the use of the common people like us.

Web 2.0 has made the internet an easier to navigate with these new applications, along with many others which I did not get to mention. It is remarkable how not only you are allowed to search for the website you’re interested in, but applications like Google will take you there. Being an online consumer is made easier through EBay and Amazon which give you reviews on products and people that you have to deal with. But the Most fascinating aspect is how much information we can store and have the accessibility to obtain.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Key Components to a Webpage

For today's class I have read chapter 3 of The Internet: The Basics, which was written by Jason Whitaker. As shown in the article, there are many key components that help someone to creating a good website. Such factors as text/hypertextuality, digital imaging, and audio-video(AV).

Hypertext as we may know allows to jump from one article to another, whether you click on a hyperlink or a picture. To be allowed this jump from one place to another, the Web relies on HTML and HTTP; this is the formatting language that the computer runs on (Whitaker). It is always important to include useful links and not to something that is irrelevant to your page.

Along with all the new advancements of web pages and their new capabilities, text still has critical role. Not only what you say has to be important, but the way it is laid out on the webpage matters as well. The text has to be able to say whatever the videos, pictures and audio cannot, or else the website can be a repeat of itself. The way you display your text also weighs heavily on the viewer of your website. You do not want use colors that blend into the background which make it hard to see or create a font which is too big or too small. Sans serif font can usually be the best, because it is a "proportional font which use chracters that take up only as much space as they require (Whitaker, p. 80)."

Since technology has advanced from analog to digital, it has become easier to upload images to a webpage. The size of the files have decreased due to the fact the file has become compressed. You can compress a file nearly to half its size without losing important qualities of the image (Whitaker). Vector images are not only smaller in size, but are based on mathematical equations(Whitaker). Therefore, if you resize a picture to be smaller or bigger the equation changes to to keep the image just as clean without any distortion. Digital imaging has these benefits over analog, but at the same time it is easier to alter pictures. So you should not always believe what you see. And ther person creating their website should not a use false pictures to deceive his or her viewers.

Audio files that once were on analog also became compressed files just like photos, making the files much smaller and easier to send and upload. The creation of MP3 and web radio have become so popular they outweigh the combination of text and image which have dominated the web for almost the past decade (Whitaker). The creation of Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) allows the viewer of a webpage to hear clips and parts of the song before song is completely downloaded (Whitaker). Personally, as a musician I prefer the quality of analog music over digital. Digitization of music takes away the crisp, raw quality of a track; it makes the song sound thinner and less filling.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Computer Communities: Conflict and Cooperation

For today's class, I read Kollock and Smith's chapter "Managing the Virtual Commons. Within this chapter, the problem of conflict and cooperation in computer communities is discussed. Now that communication is available through the computer, relationships are not only face-to-face or through the telephone like they once have been; a new form of social relationships has been created. There is one major concern within this new scope of interaction, and that is the free-rider problem. Taking someone's thoughts and ideas and not contributing your own is always an easier route. This causes a dilemma within computer-mediated communication.

The Usenet provided a public forum for news groups and public discussion. Groups are allowed communicate and interact through posts or threads, but unlike emails, a post in response to someone is visible to the whole group and not just that single person. Similar to the concept of blogging in this class; a person reacts to an article they have read through a blog but it is visible to the whole class and not just the professor. Cooperation in these groups has to be established so that there is a clear and common goal within a group. Being off topic and having lack of focus can steer off the coordination of that group, at the same time destroying the value and meaning of interaction. Free-riding can be a strain on the process of useful interaction and information. For example in a group of four people, if one is free-riding that is 25% decline in the group effort and less is accomplished. On the other hand, if it is large group free-riding is easier to accomplish. I am sure I am not the only person who was in a large group for school or other activities where one or two people in large group made no effort and received the same credit for effort.

Computer-mediated communication, like anything else has both positive and negative aspects. It becomes easier to monitor and watch other peoples actions, but harder to keep track of people who take the "free-ride." The creation of the Usenet made it possible for people to connect for common interests, just as we now have our own websites of preference that we go to, to communicate with others (facebook, myspace, ESPN, CNN, etc.). It is not fair that someone can take information from you but not contribute anything back; the problem of free-riding will probably never go away, but there are alternative methods of blocking or preventing people from participating.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Internet: A Class Of Its Own

In our society there are many inventions and technologies that make our lives faster and easier. The Internet stands out from all the rest. It is a blend of everything right at your hands for your use and personal gratification. The Internet has come a long way from when it first began, but today can do practically anything you need to do right from your seat at home. You have access to television, radio, the news/other relevant information, video, messaging and email, video games, office programs and so much more.
It was not always this easy to operate the Internet until about fourteen years ago. The Internet was based on commands and key terms just to be able to navigate and get whatever you were looking for. In nineteen ninety four, the creation of the World Wide Web (WWW) turned the world around. This was "a hyper-textual, multimedia interface to the Internet (Adams & Clark)." You may ask yourself what that exactly means; now everything was possible with a click of a mouse. You can type in which website you wanted to go to and it will take you there. You are also allowed to look back and forth between multiple sites. You can practically find anything you want, but you should be careful because you always want a dependable source. Hypertext markup language (HTML) along with the WWW makes browsing the Internet an easier task. With HTML you can click on a photo or a text that will lead you to another source or website related the same topic you are interested in, streaming you into more information and depth on your interest. With the technology becoming even easier, it is that much more simple for you to create a website yourself if you desire. The Internet is the "Information Superhighway" and the World Wide Web is what gets you on it.
But, not only are you able to receive information like other sources you are able to interact. The Internet is very interactive, and many people can communicate through websites and programs like America Online (AOL), Instant Messaging (AIM), and Electronic Mail (E-Mail). Many if not most of us use these programs to communicate between one another; send each other pictures, messages or anything else. If you read an article on the Internet you can post feedback and post your opinion along with the opinions of others. People can have personal profiles on websites such as MySpace or face book where they can socialize with people they know or meet new people. People can also go on dating websites to meet their special other. The Internet is a source to not only interact with others but present yourself. Even writing "blogs" such as these, people can communicate back and forth if they have something in common or express themselves to why they disagree with a certain point. Today it is even possible to have a conversation through audio and video with someone on the other side of the country or even the planet. This can give conversations between people a clearer understanding since Emails and AOL do not have body language or non verbal cues (Adams & Clark). Businesses can hold conferences through the Internet with a company on the other side of the map. The Internet has made a breakthrough in personal communication with people around the world, you are not only able to speak to someone in an instant but you can see them as well.
Search engines are also a handy tool that makes the Internet easier to browse. You do not even need to know the website you are looking for, you can type a keyword in the search box and find endless amounts of articles related to your search. You may not only find what you were looking for but more. Search engines such as Yahoo or Google have made "surfing" the Internet so much easier than before. You can receive websites, images, videos and more just off the search off of one word. Unlike television or the radio you are not only able to receive information but you are able to get more in depth with whatever your interests are, you can research your interests. Once again, with HTML links in websites you are connected to many other sources for that same topic. You can even find books and do your work without going to the library; it is crazy to think how much information is in your grasp. Everyone can be connected to so much media and information than ever before as long as they know how to find it.
All of these characteristics make the Internet easier to function and communicate with each other, but speed plays a role in the Internet process as well. Being able to receive data, websites, pictures, videos etc. has become faster now than ever before. With the speeds available today with the use of cable and DSL, you can download videos, music, texts and so much more in the matter of seconds and a few minutes. Your message from your home sent to family in another country can be received in less than a minute. It is astounding how quick everything can go from one point to another. We can have faster than-synchronous communication, because we are able to download or retrieve information much faster than we can ever view or read the material itself (Adams & Clark). Packet Switching is how’s these messages can travel so quickly. The formulaic message attached to each packet is telling where the packet to go. Not only making the process faster but more reliable as well. "It knows where it is going, and it can find any route among hundreds of possibilities to get cannot really block it because it since the system is designed to work around blocks automatically (Adams & Clark)." If the address is wrong and does not exist the mail comes back to you just like a letter would if the address was wrong on an envelope.
Today we live in a digital world. Analog has been used for a long time prior but the switch has been made, even the recording of music has moved to the digital process as well as the Internet. When running through a digital process everything is much more compact and you are able to store more because files are encoded through binary codes (Adams & Clark). Like a CD that is scratched, the whole CD can be affected by this one glitch. The digital process is not affected by wear and tear. Instead of going to the sore and buying music you can download a song or even an album even quicker through the Internet. The MP3 format in music has made it possible to put over 100 songs on the same CD because all the files are highly compressed. This destroys the old barriers of having 84 minutes of music on a CD. These compressed files are made easy to send and even easier and quicker to receive. "A website can have video, audio text, graphics and any other digital content all connected and blended together (Adams & Clark)." With rapid rate of growth of the Internet, all of this digital content is made easier to control, receive and send. Although corrupt files may ruin a file or a few of them, it is far easier to retrieve it again than the worry of ever losing it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How the Internet is a Communication Medium

The internet can satisfy many needs of the person who is using it. Whether it is to download a song, get the news, check your e-mail, or look at a company's website. The internet can fulfill many interpersonal and mass mediums, so it is quite hard to give it one label (Adams & Clark). A combination of satisfying both interpersonal and mass mediums is call macromedium (Adams & Clark). On the other and you also have metamedium which is a smaller scale; "it enables us to operate on both ends of traditional mass media (Adams & Clark)." You can have access to radio, video and telephone through the use of internet at the touch of a finger. As with the invention of new tehcnologies, there are always some difficulties. One in particular is reliability, because receiving the message is only half the struggle. The message also has to be correct and cannot be lost in translation. Formulaic packets allows the massage to be transmitted from one point to the next. "Now it was approaching levels of reliability necessary for the transfer of digital data (Adams & Clark)." The next issue was speed. From the 1970's until 1991 the speed had increased to 45Mbps. At this speed it was possible to transmit thousands pages of texts, hundreds of photos and even half a minute of videos per second (Adams & Clark). Just think of when we were growing up, we had a slow connection of 56K (dial-up), and now we have cable and DSL which allow us to download songs, videos and even movies within seconds or a few minutes. Last but not least is the problem with distribution. Although there over 50 million hosts on the internet, that does not mean there are 50 million people with computers to gain access to their websites. Many people use computers through alternative sources such as schools/colleges and libraries (Adams & Clark). "People living in urban areas have more internet service providers and lower rates than people living in rural areas (Adams & Clark)." So it is hard to say who has access to the internet at all times and who does not, but there is always a way to get your hands on it. The internet has become very multimediated by combining many different sources together. You can get videos, texts, television, video games and even the radio all through the computer. It is amazing to think how one technology can combine so many spearate sources of media that we used through our lives. Hypertexing also plays a key role on the internet. "It is the ability to link any type of content to any other type of content (Adams & Clark)." Just clicking on a word may bring you somewhere just a clicking on a picture might take you somewhere else, you are connected to other sources through your source (Adams & Clark). The internet is very interactive in many different aspects. You can talk to people through AIM, AOL or e-mail, you can create a website for others to view and interact with as well interacting with someone elses. You can subscribe to letters and emails for your interests, it is amazing at how many different ways you can interact with others. Digitalization has also impacted computers greatly. Like the example given in the text, cd's or record players can be affected by a scracth and have to worry about 'wear and tear,' where as digital does not because it does not physically physically come in contact with the medium (Adams & Clark). But digital has to worry about a virus or a corrupt file which can delete or ruin whatever your file consists of (Adams & Clark). It is interesting to see how far computers/internet has come from what it had once been. Communicaiton is much easier and rapid and information is at your fingertips, you can sit glued to your chair for hours and get the same enjoyment of listening music, watching movies, getting the news and updates all from one media source. Speed of the internet is always increasing and getting your hands on anything becomes faster and easier.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Beginning of Computers/Internet

Looking back to when computers came into existence, it is only a little over 10 years that they have became so accessible to the common person. Going back to World War Two they began to use them for memory and storage and try to find ways not to lose anything if there were to be nuclear attacks. But as the years passed more and more had been added to use of computers, such as messaging, internet and the world wide web(WWW). When Windows95 was introduced there were so many programs and activities available such as america online, AIM, and the internet to be able to search whatever you desire.