For this assignment I chose to walk through the library, specifically Mann library. I chose to investigate this place because I figured there would be an interesting blend of old information technologies and new information technologies. Libraries are the original hubs of information dating back centuries if not more. It seems, then, to be the most “natural” place for new information technologies to be incorporated.
One thinks of traditional libraries as quiet, cool, dry places filled with stacks and stacks of books. The primary purpose of such a library is to categorically organize information in a way that is easily accessible.
Enter the internet.
Digitialized libraries full of information are available at the fingertips for anyone with a computer. They obviously don’t need to be accessed from a library, but it makes sense that libraries are one place you should definitely be able to access this information. It’s just more convenient to have as many resources as possible available to you in one place.
The expected view of books on shelves, then, becomes pushed to the background while computer workstations pop up in central locations. Computers are now the first stop, as you can use them to gather information or to locate the call numbers for the books themselves. The Stacks get pushed to other floors and the basement. The walls are littered with WIFI access points. Every desk must now have an outlet for plugging in a laptop (which can be freely borrowed for hours at a time). I want to say that the internet augments the current library system, and that books are still a primary research starting point, but I’m not sure that it’s true. Digitalized books and PDFs.
The space – the library itself – is still used for gathering information, but the manner in which this is done has been totally revisited. Information has shifted to a new location, so the way to access it has too.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I chose to analyze the Wikipedia entry on Social Networking, a huge part of “New Media.” The article summarizes Social networking services, citing that they usually contain representations of users and a means of connecting them. It was created in January of 2005 and has a total of at least 1000 contributors.
I believe the site is a fair representation of what social networking services really are. The wiki page takes a reasonable approach to the subject, first defining social networking, providing examples of social networks, and then explaining applications and controversies regarding social networking tools. The definition of social networking is factual and does not appear to be biased. The article explains typical structures of social networking sites, which again seems factual, as live sites are linked to demonstrate various structures.
The article as a whole takes an unbiased approach. Both positive and negative aspects of Social Networking are explained factually, leaving a reader to determine if networking is something that they’d like to do.
I think a big reason the article is so unbiased is because of the large number of contributors. Having such a large number of views and visitors means that any opinion placed into the article will be countered or deleted by someone of the opposite opinion. Over time, all bias is boiled off and all that remains are the indisputable facts. I think this theory would hold true for most highly trafficked pages.
The most controversial discussions on the discussion page seem to be about the extent of the dangers of social networking. Some claim that users should be warned more severely about the lack of privacy available on some sites. Other discussions involve the concern that many “experts” are simply self appointed social networking experts, and know less than they claim to.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Today has been labeled as the information age; an age of communication where a vast network connects all users to digitalized libraries larger than any information structure ever before created. Billions of people are at our fingertips and there seems to be an endless supply of news.
But are we more informed?
I will argue that the potential to be “more informed” is out there, but the average person isn’t any more informed than a person from 10 years ago. To start my argument, let me define what I believe an informed person is and how they become informed.
For the sake of my argument, I define an informed person as someone who is able to keep reasonably up to date with current events. These events can be new political precedents, natural occurrences, or notable world news. Basically, an informed person is at least vaguely aware of what is happening in the world around them.
1000 years ago, a person would need scouts to be informed. Their scouts could go gather news from the regions and report back in person.
10 Years ago, a person could be informed simply by watching the news on TV or listening to it on the radio. Reading a newspaper is also a great way to keep “informed.”
Today, all of those options are still valid, in addition to the countless online sources with which someone can become informed. Today’s “plugged in” generation can whip out a cell phone and do a quick search on their smart phone.
Information overload is a term that is thrown around liberally these days, but I believe it is a real phenomenon. Information, and the ability to become informed, has been made so readily available that it’s difficult to sift through information to prioritize it. A newspaper does the work of brining you the most relevant stories, but in an information age the user is left to determine for themselves what is most important. Yes, more information is available to more people, but the information might be so overwhelming that an individual might not pick up on the most important items.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Given the task to find content that was controversially removed, my first thought was to search “content was removed due to.” I ended up with a great example of a users YouTube video that was removed due to “inappropriate content.”
Reading over the forum post (inked above) you can see that the user had made a compilation video of Modern Warfare, which was subsequently taken down and marked as inappropriate. The user pleads his case that the video was not excessively violent and contained no swearing. While it may have contained copyright infringements, the video was taken down (strictly?) for inappropriateness. The user was upset because he believed his video was appropriate enough to be hosted on YouTube. After all, they will sell the game, and we’ve seen far worse on TV, right? But sure enough, bullet point number 3 on the YouTube community guidelines: Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone being physically hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.
While we may be desensitized to computer-animated violence, YouTube has decided to limit the extent of violence in its videos. Certainly, there is physical harm in Modern Warfare, and someone thought it necessary to flag the video, so it was removed with accordance to policy.
Balkin discussed that while the constitution shaped the freedoms of speech in the 20th century, business models and technological restrictions will govern the freedoms of this century. While the YouTube video may be fully constitutional, YouTube has decided that it is not suitable for the web. Does this seem fair? The user was very upset that his video was taken down, but one must understand that sharing the video is only made possible by YouTube, so you must accept the policies YouTube has instated, or find a new hosting service.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
As mentioned in class, I’m one of those kids who know shamefully little about politics, so I wasn’t really sure where to start. I went ahead and googled the most current political topic I could think of (Health care) and trustingly clicked on the first link, bringing me to whitehouse.gov. I spent some time looking through the website, reading up on the Health Care plan, and made a few interesting observations.
As per the prompt, I was looking of instances of information presentation and for instances of political discussion. The site itself is appealing and easy to navigate. The information regarding the Health Care bill was laid out in a sensible manner, including bullet points of the main topics. It is extremely difficult present information effectively when your target audience is really everyone. However, the information is concise and intuitively laid out. Well placed link also lead to related political articles.
The site wonderfully presents information, but seemingly does not at all allow or encourage political discussion. Users are not allowed to leave comments on the page, and there is no section for user input. As discussed in our readings earlier this semester, an effective public sphere is a place where intelligent conversation and debate can take place to advance the greater good of man. For this to be possible, the sphere needs to allow the access of information, as well as an opportunity to openly discuss the information with others, in an attempt to reach a mutual conclusion.
That’s what an ideal public sphere is, but in practice it’s not so simple. Opening up a site like whitehouse.gov to comments will inevitably lead to flame fights and profanity. Politics tends to be a passionate subject and leads to many misunderstandings. An ideal world also involves everyone being perfectly informed, but this also is not the case. When tensions and passions are so high, any ignorance is heatedly attacked, and many people assume that others are less informed. In this case, I think the site has a decent approach, to supply the information, and allow the conversation to go on elsewhere. Perhaps it would be effective to direct readers to another place for debate, so the debate doesn’t congest the information. That would also ensure that the users at least visited the page with information.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Turow’s article discussed the how advertising and marketing has changed over time, and how it’s basically a whole new ball game right now. Advertising, as it was, needed to reach as many consumers as possible to ensure that the individuals who may want the product could be reached. We see this all around us in TV commercials, highway billboards, radio ads, magazines, and really just about anywhere you look. Turow takes a look at advertising, as it is, and understands that it’s no longer about advertising to everyone, hoping that one might like it. It’s about advertising to one who you know has a good chance of liking it.
Targeted advertising has taken a lot of heat recently. Many people are concerned that Google is invading their privacy, snooping through their emails. So many people don’t like the idea of some basement servers doing cold calculations on you to offer you what you’re looking for. Personally, I love it. Well, the idea of it anyway. Why not? Others find it intrusive, I find it convenient. Flattering, almost. My email or facebook profile contains a few key words and they try to sell me hotel rooms in a country they figured out I was going to visit. I’m just saying, if I have to put up with ads everywhere, they might as well be relevant to my life.
“You have zero privacy anyway, get over it,” says Scott McNealy, the co-founder of SUN Microsystems. I find this quote to be oddly grounding.
Turow discussed the “construction” of the consumer, the idea that rather than the marketing hasn’t really change because of new technologies, but because the consumer is putting these new advertising techniques to use. At the end of the day, the consumer will always decide how to use the advertising that is placed in front of them. Marketers are paid to see how consumers use new technologies and use that information to market more precisely.
I imagine that marketing is like shooting at targets. The more marketers know about the targets, the easier they are to hit. Using a billboard is like shooting with your eyes closed, hoping it goes the right way, but using clues you can find about a consumer helps guide the arrow a little bit. I guess my assumption is that the target wants to get hit.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Twitter is an impressive social networking tool. I should preface this by saying that I was a longtime member of the “Twitter is dumb” club. From its creation up until about a week ago, I figured that Twitter had no real purpose and I couldn’t understand its appeal. On a surface level, it seems like a constricting space to update people about things that they don’t need to know. But recently, I considered the facts: Twitter is HUGE and it isn’t going anywhere. It’s a free tool that has an extensive existing network. Using that network to communicate effectively opens huge opportunities to businesses, but many people (let alone businesses) have figured out how to maximize the potential of the tool.
I don’t think that the communication potential for businesses has been reached, but it is used extensively for personal communication. The list of “popular topics,” which consist of the most frequently tweeted words, is compromised mainly of celebrities or recent current events. On the list currently are Olympic relates words (Olympics, Sidney Crosby), disaster related words (Haiti, Chile), and musicians (Justin Bieber, Neil Young). For the purpose of the assignment, I clicked on a politically related word to see how it was being discussed. The only ones that seemed mildly political were the ones about earthquakes, so I clicked on Chile. While my Spanish is a bit rusty, and most of the tweets are in Spanish, I managed to pull together that most of the Tweets for pleads for Help. Many of them gave numbers that you could text to donate to the cause. I realize that this is a huge tool for networking to gain support. I recently started a facebook group to fundraise for a Habitat for Humanity trip that I am taking and have raised over $600. This weekend, I received a $40 donation from a person that I’ve never met in my life, but decided that my cause was noble. Spreading fundraising information through social networking sites like twitter can have huge payoffs.
Political information can be transferred just as easily. I was not on twitter during the election, but I imagine that both candidates names were on the list of most tweeted. Barack Obama has 3 million followers and I’m sure there is much conversation about him on Twitter, especially after public speeches. I think the 140 character limit is a good thing because it forces brevity and encourages discussion. When topics get heated, you’ll often find that one person may write a 10 page rant of opinion which will never be fully read by the opposition. A short tweet will allow a balanced conversation to begin, which can escalate to other medians if need be.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Hulu is a well established web based video provider of which I know little about. I remember just a few, maybe 2, years ago, I was talking with a friend who had done an internship at Hulu and was wearing a hat with their company logo. I had never heard of the company, so he insisted that I check out their website.
It was cool, I guess. Is it like a higher resolution Youtube or what?
Two years later, Hulu has become one of the dominating forces in the online video community. Hulu hosts movies and TV shows from many network stations including the giants, NBC, ABC, and Fox. Further investigation (i.e. a quick wikipedia search) surfaced the fact that Hulu is actually a joint venture between those three companies, which have sunk a combined $100,000,000 into the company.
“Hulu’s mission is to help you find and enjoy the world’s premium content, when, where and how you want it. Our library includes thousands of videos, from full episodes of new and classic TV shows to full-length movies, web originals and clips.” – Hulu FAQ
Their business plan involves content being free to the user and making their money from advertising. They have streaming ads before and during shows and movies as well as some limited advertising on the front page. Hulu does not disclose how their revenue is split between the invested companies, but does report a user base of roughly 41 million monthly users :
They definitely don’t hold a monopoly over the Internet video industry, but they are ranked third in the most frequented video sites. The two sites ahead of them are Google and Fox interactive (interesting because Fox owns a share in Hulu). Hulu is arguably unique in its services, and is certainly the largest company in the league that it has created to compete in, that league being a one-stop shop for professional quality entertainment media.
Now all Hulu has to do is defeat the pirates.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (1)
My name is Hassan, I’m 22 years old, and I’m from (more or less) Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I’m in my senior year, studying Information Science. I am a member of the Cross Country and Track teams here and I love it. I love the outdoors, I love hiking, snowboarding, climbing, running, cycling, and just about everything else.
I’m intrigued by studying new media and its social impact because there are many aspects of it that don’t make any sense to me. Things like Twitter frustrate me because I don’t understand the purpose. I don’t know if it’s because I’m resistant to change or because I don’t understand it. Maybe there isn’t anything to get. I don’t know… and I plan on challenging myself with questions like that throughout the class. New media has opened up trends and possibilities where they have never before existed. Recent examples could be considered like the celebrity phone-a-thons for Haiti relief. I am interested in examining the caveats of modem media and determining its strengths and shortcomings.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)