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.