Thursday, October 30, 2008
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
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 HowStuffWorks.com. 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 http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.
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
“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
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 OutsidetheGarden.com, 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.
“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.
“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.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
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.