May 7, 2010 Comments Off
Interesting video on communication
May 7, 2010 Comments Off
Interesting video on communication
May 3, 2010 Comments Off
This weeks readings were very interesting and ranged in their perspectives on YouTube greatly. I’ll focus on the Keen article post.
Obviously, Keen is not a very big fan of YouTube. For those of you who haven’t read the article, the basis of the article is this: Keen cites T. H. Huxley’s infinite monkey theorem which says that if infinite monkeys had infinite typewriters, and at some point a monkey would create a masterpiece. Essentially this mathematician was saying that it given enough times, a masterpiece would be created from purely random combinations of letters. Keen viewed the Internet as a way of connecting millions of monkeys(humans) with millions of typewriters(computers). However instead of the Internet giving us access to the occasional masterpiece, Keen sees the Internet as flooding our few cultural gems and hiding them. Rather than creating good things it is masking them.
On a personal note I disagree. The Internet is not the sea of mediocrity that Keen claims. Sure, when you go online there is some real crap. The pointless, mediocre, and inappropriate stuff may even outnumber the meaningful media on the Internet. However, we are not exposed to the entire Internet equally. We do not randomly surf the Internet, we decide what we want to see. Therefore if some one wants to look at porn, congratulations, its there. But if some one wants to find a new song or do research for a paper they can do that too. I look at the negatives of the Internet as the price we pay for all of the rewards we get.
Onto the next article, on chapter 1, I really enjoyed the following quote. Many company’s ”have rejected these deals, arguing that the service induces and profits from copyright infringement.” This was talking about how YouTube has cut deals with some company’s so that instead of being charged with copyright infringement the company’s get a certain percent of YouTube’s profit. Some company’s view this as exploitation. I see this as nothing different than a middle man. YouTube isn’s claiming the sell a product, they are selling easy access to a product. In my mind the company’s should take the deal, but I don’t know the frustrations the must face.
Apr 26, 2010 Comments Off
First things first, I like the term virtual bubble more than virtual sphere. I just like the word bubble.
Now onto the good stuff. This weeks readings were very interesting and I though that Dahlberg and Papacharissi were essentially saying the same thing. Cyberspace is giving public interactions a brand new forum that is radically changing how information is conveyed. Papacharisssi stressed the fact that the Internet was giving politicians and other people in positions of power the opportunity to communicate directly with the public, and discussed how this new forum could alter the direction that politics take.
One point of his that I found particularly intriguing but wasn’t stressed very well was the notion that not only were politicians able to communicate to the public in a new fashion, but that politicians were able to receive information from both their supporters and opponents with relative ease. Papacharissi said ” Voters [are] able to provide politicians with direct feedback.” I found this to be incredibly important. As a little bit of a cynic and a huge supporter of John Stewart I think of politics as a bit of an act, and the person elected is typically the person who can read the crowd and tell them what they want to hear. The best political figures are the ones who accurately represent the public, so the more information they have on public opinion the better they are. In this way, politicians who are deeply invested in the Internet are not just reaching out to potential voters, they are getting input on what they should say to gain the most support. Therefore politicians who do not utilize the Internet are at an extreme disadvantage.
Another point I found interesting was from Dahlberg who said ” citizens are expected to be recipients of political messages rather than discussants. This made me think about my own use of the Internet. When I want to research potential candidates I don’t go onto forums or post on my facebook page. I don’t take part in intellectual debates with other concerned citizens about the direction are country is headed in. Instead I go to google, or wikipedia, or yahoo news and I see what information I dig up. I think it is safe to assume I am not alone in this regard, and that rather than the Internet being a spider web connecting all computers to each other, it is a road connecting computers to specific landmarks. We are literally on the information highway, and far to few people are taking any exits. When I thought about why I don’t go onto forums and debates I realized the reason was simple, I didn’t know how to find them. Without the proper guidance we all just keep driving forwards, hoping if we follow the car in front of us we’ll be okay.
Apr 21, 2010 Comments Off
Some Background – I found this Twitter assignment to be incredibly difficult. I am typically a private person, so exposing my life to, well, the world, was a scary prospect to me. This, in combination with the fact I am a light traveller made it very difficult to constantly tweet. I have my phone on my maybe 50% of the time, and my iPod on my person substantially less. I am not a very “connected” person in that I do not maintain Internet access at all times. However, since I got a laptop for college, I found myself more and more online. These times are substantially more dedicated to me sitting in one place, like in my dorm room, at an early meal, or in the library. I’m not a “Facebook status update” kind of guy. All of these factors contributed to my very sporadic twitter experience. I found that my tweets occurred under two unique circumstances.
Circumstance #1 - When I was at different events I would tweet status updates. This was typically game scores. I think that this was easier for me to tweet about because it wasn’t my life being put on the Internet. Like I said before, I am a relatively private person. I am also a fair amount paranoid. I don’t want my life in the library of congress…
Circumstance #2 – I was kind of hoping that this would never happen, but it definitely occurred more than once. This circumstance was the “Oh $&%@, I need to tweet for class!” This would then result in a series of tweets about what I was doing. The only reason that posts with personal information ever occurred (ie what I just did, what I was about to do) it was purely because I wanted to make sure I got in enough tweets. I did not manage to find any enjoyment in this website.
Apr 19, 2010 Comments Off
For anyone who consistently reads my blog, you know that I posted this weeks response two weeks ago. So, here is what I had…
Maybe you have heard the phrase, “once you put something on the internet, its their forever.” I have always thought took this to be an exaggeration, but a guideline to follow. Don’t put something online and expect it to disappear after a certain length of time. For this reason I found the section on Surveillance very interesting. This section associated loss of liberties with surveillance. For example, the section talked about anxiety about e-mail record retention, transactional information, and Michael Foucult emphasized that knowledge and power are always conjoined. Personally, due to the expression, “once you put something on the internet, its their forever,” e-mail retention doesn’t effect me. I always took it as a given that an e-mail could come back at any time. This also made me wonder what these enthusiasts are hiding. Personally, I’m of the opinion of if you have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t matter some one is watching. I’d rather have increased surveillance, which also means increased protection, than suffer another 9/11 because people didn’t want their e-mails to their parents intercepted. To me, the risk is enough. I agree that knowledge and power are linked together, but just because an e-mail is being searched automatically by a program for certain key words doesn’t mean your innermost secrets will be revealed to the world. As long as proper precautions are taken to limit access to the majority, everything should be fine. It is this mindset that made the following chapter very interesting.
Chapter 20 was dedicated to the Panopticon, a building design that would allow for all inhabitants to be viewed without knowing if the are being watched from a central tower. This tower would be accessible to anyone in society. In this way society would monitor surveillance. I particularly enjoyed the comparison, saying the cells were like small theaters, implying that peoples lives are a show for other people to watch. The key points the Panopticon stressed were that power should be visible and unverifiable. People should always know that there is a chance they are being watched, and they should know if they are under surveillance or not. In this way, people would be scared they would be caught misbehaving, and good behavior would ensue. I found this very interesting because it countered everything the previous article said. IT implied that privacy was a privilege not a right, and that the risk of surveillance was enough to encourage good behavior. I found this an interesting juxtaposition to the previous chapter.
The Jones reading was interesting not only from a sociological perspective, but from the perspective of a user. Since I have a Facebook account, it was interesting to see how other people used the website. One thing I found interesting was the idea that newer users to Facebook share more than older users. You might think that as users become more familiar with the website, they would trust it a little more. Instead the inexperienced users seem to have higher expectations on how others use the website and apparently overcompensate. I also found it interesting that users knew about privacy features, but oftentimes chose not to use them. A lack of privacy was not a lack of knowledge, it was a choice. I also enjoyed the point that as facebook becomes more popular, its security will be forced to decrease as more people have access to more information. Finally, the last interesting portion of facebook was the idea that friending only people you know was actually a security feature. People are less likely to be able to steal information if you only friend people you know from the real world, rather than being tricked by bots.
Apr 13, 2010 Comments Off
Example of a “blurb”
Hey my name is Peter….uhh I like Soccer a lot…its kinda my life. I play some other sports but w/e. I like a lot of music, mostly rock. I like girls alot too haha. myspace sux, facebook is 10x better :-] http://hs.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1227570714
Apr 13, 2010 Comments Off
Self Expression, Risk Taking, and the Internet, our Power Point Presentation
My essay is Risk and Self Expression
Self Expression, Risks, and the Internet
Social Network Sites, or SNS’s, have quickly grown in today’s society. As the Internet becomes more prevalent in modern society, websites that allow users to create and maintain online profiles and personalities will gain more traffic and value. One reason that SNS’s have grown so quickly is how attractive they are to younger generations. As the Internet becomes the new frontier to be explored, SNS’s that offer profile pages, such as MySpace, give users an opportunity to have their own private space. The question that arises with this kind of interaction is if something on the Internet can really be private. As a public space, is it possible for the Internet to allow a solid barrier to be formed around some ones “private information” if its purpose of existence is to share itself with other people? As self expression and the desire for a private space on the Internet grows it will become more important for social networking sites to offer powerful security options so users can ensure their information is going to the right person and are able to express themselves with fewer restrictions.
The most prevalent method for restricting access to information is to simply select if a profile is public or private. If a profile is public than anyone can see all of the information on the profile. If a profile is private than only “friends” can view the profile. This allows for information to be censored from a lot of people, but makes it more difficult to maintain connections with people since they must be requested as a friend first. The main problem with this setup is that people inherently have more complicated classifications for their friends than a simple yes or no (Livingstone, 405). Because teenagers are unable to differentiate between which of their friends learns different things about them they are not able to share as much as they might have otherwise, or are forced to share more information than they would have otherwise.
All users must decide to share more information with some people, or less information with others. “Rather than compromise their privacy too far, many of those interviewed chose to express their more personal experiences (as defined by them, not by adult society) using other modes of communication “ (Livingstone, 408). Because of this it is possible that SNS’s are losing some of their potential by not offering the desired privacy format. Another risk with offering a black and white option of private or public is that users who do not share information using “other modes of communication “ may friend more people than they would like to otherwise so that they can exchange at least some information. Boyd says “teens are often promiscuous with who they are willing to add as Friends on the site. By connecting to anyone who seems interesting, they gain control over the structure. Yet, this presents different problems because massive Friending introduces a flood of content with no tools to manage it”(132). The all or nothing flow of information once friend requests are accepted can be problematic if users are not thoughtful before deciding whom they open the dam for.
It is important for SNS users to not fall into a false sense of security because they are “private.” Conversely, public profiles are not always completely exposed. For example, on MySpace of only five of forty-five users had some sort of privacy settings to prevent being sent messages, but of those forty only 4 accepted friendship requests from strangers (Goettke and Christiana, 6). Because users are more exposed doesn’t mean that they aren’t wary of the dangers, and of the users who responded to random friendship requests, all agreed that they view privacy as their own responsibility. Private profiles on the other hand can potentially fall victim to overeager friending and may not be able to manage all of the people that they find interesting.
The dangers of sharing information are varied and diverse. Attacks come in three different forms, physical, fiscal, emotional. Sharing information on locations, routines, etc. opens up the potential for stalkers and pedophiles to easily track and follow person’s movements. “Whoever views a profile is also able to connect the real first and last name of a person to the personal information provided – that may include birthday or current residence” (Gross and Acquisti, 5). This kind of information can be used not only to track some ones movements, but also to fake their identity. Having that kind of personal information in one location can make it easier to estimate some ones social security number or verify an identity with some companies. Finally, by exposing personal information users pose the risk of emotional attacks, also known as cyber-bullying.
The key with all of this is risk. All users must decide on a balance between self-expression and potential dangers of the Internet. Current SNS’s allow for a lot of information to be placed on the Internet, but for SNS’s to live up to their true potential, the next step must be to allow for more sophisticated and subtle security features. By filtering information into zones, like the present generation seems to be doing, SNS’s will be able to offer more security. This will in turn make users more comfortable and give them the confidence to make their profiles truly a reflection of their personalities. As society works towards a world without risk, it also works towards a world where everyone can embrace their personalities and share them online, a future where all online identities match the physical world.
Apr 10, 2010 Comments Off
I found virtual ethnicity to be the most challenging topic that we have covered so far. That being said, I’ll do my best to regurgitate the most important parts of the readings. I’ll start with a brief review.
It has been clear throughout the progress of this course that the internet has the ability to connect people from many different locations and backgrounds. This has not been proven with data, it has simply been assumed to be true. When talking about virtual communities one of the strongest points for their value was that virtual communities allow people with similar view to find each other and communicate online. This in turn allowed for relationships to be completely dependent on interests and similarities. A problem with this model that we did not address until this week however was that relationships can also be formed based on disinterest and differences. Also, what happens when relationships are based on similar interest in hate? That is what these two articles attempted to figure out.
I had a very hard time reading Virtual Ethnicity: Tribal Identity in an Age of Global Communications. I just didn’t seem able to pull out as much information from it as I am used to in a reading. However, I did find a few parts of it very interesting and lead me to think a lot about virtual identity’s. One of these passages was the definition of the “superpanopticon.” A panopticon is essentially a structure which allows for prisoners to be viewed at any time without the observer letting the prisoner when they are being monitored or not. A so called superpanopticon refers to the fact that the Internet contains “records of information, databases,which construct identities of individuals outside their consciousness, with their (unwitting) participation, yet inscribed in institutional and practical contexts.” Poster then discussed MUDs and MOOs which are essentially virtual identities that people create when they are online. An interesting point in my mind was how “the predominance of white American users often leads to the presumption that one is interacting with a white American person.” Where it really got interesting was when Poster brought in the idea that online all ethnicity is dissolved. He then rebuked this idea and instead cited CyberJew as evidence that the internet does not make ethnicity disappear, it allows ethnicity’s to connect with each other. At this point I was getting confused. Each of these ideas alone were intriguing but they didn’t really seem to connect together, and some actually contradicted each other. The following is my attempt to resolve all of these ideas.
The reference to a superpanopticon is a reference to the fact that records of internet usage is everywhere. Information is recorded whether those people want it recorded or not. This information could in theory be used definitions of users ethnicity’s which relates to MOOs the more information online or the more time some one spends online the more solidified their virtual ethnicity becomes. However this information can be misread or misinterpreted, and example of which is that many users are assumed to be white Americans. But then if people’s information is mistaken much of the time can their really exist a virtual ethnicity? The proof is in CyberJew. Virtual ethnicity can essentially be used to connect people of similar backgrounds, experiences, or beliefs which can allow for diverse and stimulating interactions. So, in conclusion, I believe that Posters final point is that virtual ethnicity can allow for interactions with people of similar ethnicity even if separated geographically. Essentially it is our conclusion on virtual communities applied to ethnicity.
The other reading assessed a completely different side of virtual ethnicity. Although virtual can be used for good, it can also be used for bad things, such as racist comments and derogatory discussions. An example of this is 2-channeru, a japanese forum that is being used to put down others cultures. Largely at risk in these conversations are the “resident koreans,” people of korean descent that live in Japan. These people are given less liberties and privileges than “real” japanese citizens despite small if any difference between them. This racism problem is being amplified online. One of the major problems is that most of the primary languages on the internet are used in multiple countries. Japanese, although well represented in size on the internet, is primarily only spoken in Japan. Because of this, the internet in Japan is more of an intranet that is keeping discussions and connections within Japan itself. Above I talked about how most internet users are assumed to be white americans. Similarly, on the japanese internet, users are assumed to be japanese citizens and address each other as such. Caught in the middle of these cross country forum are the resident koreans, citizens who are accessing media and information that is not designated for them. To make it worse, many of the discussions are of a racist basis against resident koreans. This is isolating the poor citizens as they are surrounded by racist comments and don’t feel able to contribute. An example of a discussion on 2-channeru was one forum titled, “Who do you hate more, the Chinese or the Koreans.” Many resident koreans are resorting to using the internet in different languages to escape the hate. One resident korean posted his frustrations about his current citizenship online in english since he is not able to say such things in japanese.
Other examples of this racist culture is how when Japanese used on the internet is not native-level, posters are assumed to be Korean. Posts in japanese will also assume a race of another poster if they disagreed or agreed with what they had to say. Even worse, one post in the paper said “Speak japanese, language of your master!!” An interesting point to make is that all posts are completely anonymous, which is presumably not discouraging these negative behaviors since users are essentially guaranteed that their comments are never going to be able to be confronted based on their beliefs. These articles where obviously full of information, but especially the first one was difficult to understand and they were obviously incredibly very dense. Hopefully I was able to hit on some of the key points of the readings however.
Unrelated to this course I found my last point to be very troubling to my personal ideals. I am for all intents and purposes an optimist. I believe that people are mostly good and that bad behaviors are a small part of what makes a person human. You may know that some one has done bad things, but in almost all circumstances I would believe that anyone can change. There is always a choice. I have had many discussions with friends and family on this topic but have never been more troubled by a piece of information than I was by our piece on 2-channeru. Ignoring the sociological implications that we discussed, what I found most hurtful was that when guaranteed anonymity people would say such awful things. More than anything else, this class has exposed me to the ugly underside of the internet. Now that my eyes have been opened I find myself moving past a youtube clip and towards the comments when it is over. Even on clips with little kids playing an instrument or singing etc., there are always hurtful comments somewhere. 2-channeru to me was an extreme example of this kind of hate on the internet. Many of these comments would never have been made if there was a name attached to them. It was this realization that made me come up with a theory that I found disturbing. Is it possible that with complete anonymity people are able to shed the shell that is their life and express their true feelings? Are posts online more truthful than a discussion in person? Without worrying about reputations are people saying what is really on their mind? Is the Internet offering a glimpse into our worlds true colors? If it is, I can’t say I like what I see…
Apr 8, 2010 Comments Off
I saw this video on youtube and thought it related to class with the comments. An few of the comments included but are not limited to:
Would people really have said this if they weren’t anonymous? Any thoughts?
Also related to class the following is my previous post was translated to Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Gaelic, Turkish, German, and back to English:
I thought the ship was to read what a difference has been automatically change to commercial. Was almost as bad as possible. For two weeks, I read a blog about it. I have …
Apr 6, 2010 Comments Off
I just realized that when I logged onto blackboard, I saw the announcement that their was a change to the reading, and automatically read what was on the announcement. It turns out that was about as wrong as possible. I read and blogged about the topic in two weeks. I should get on that…