I pretty much live in Trillium. I can’t stand the gloom of the library, so I do most of my work where I can always count on positive energy in the background- people eating, laughing, meeting up with friends, trying to get you to sign up for xyz or buy a raffle ticket. It’s a big place- 2 stories with the mezzanine, a separate area to shop for food. Though I’m physically sitting in Trillium, I (and the other 7-8 people usually plugged in) are somewhere in cyberspace, connecting with the world while our immediate locale buzzes around us. But its more than us- there are always newspapers on every other table- generally used for their sudoku and crosswords but present nonetheless (I usually find myself peering at an abandoned Cornell Sun on the table next to me). It seems there are two kinds of inhabitants in Trillium- those engaged in activities intended by the artists of Trillium (eating, sharing company with others), and those who are engaging strictly with information-whether paper or digital, and who are taking advantage of the atmosphere provided by the former inhabitants. Around dinner, the eaters and conversers seemed to have disappeared, but the information-engaged remain (including myself). The building, as a place whose purpose is for fun and conversation, provides comfort, even if it is not being used for those purposes.
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The article on obscenity was started on September 24, 2002, with about 500 contributions to date (not sure how many contributors- sorry not counting). It deals with obscenity law
I chose this article because I’ve done some research into obscenity law in the past so I felt I could make a reasonable judgment on the accuracy of the content.
Surprisingly, the most controversial part of writing about obscenity was the role of a dictionary definition in a Wikipedia article. The rebuttle between two users got particularly nasty, and stuffy
One user copied and pasted a definition of obscenity from an outside source without citing it. This comment was left: “The following was removed from the article, because Wikipedia is not a dictionary”
^ I’m not sure if it was Wikipedia who did the removing or not
“Wikipedia may not be a dictionary, but there is nothing wrong with including a definition within an article!” – User A
“Indeed, Wikipedia articles should begin with a good definition. Ideally it should be written as a plain English prose sentence, and not contain dictionary-only stuff like parts of speech, extraneous senses, old usage citations, and such” – User B
Another user went on about how the word should have been defined, and User A became flustered and replied with “rewrite it then!”
It seems that Wikipedia users hold each other accountable not only for accuracy but also for grammar and prose. We’ve got some elite editors going on!
As far as accuracy there had been some pretty blatant errors in the article, and one was addressed in the discussion and removed. The material on court cases regarding obscenity concurred with what I knew about the issue, but I would need more information to judge the sections on other countries’ obscenity laws.
It would be nearly impossible for me to honestly report how my peers get news information without mention of Jon Stewart. This is how I and my friends find ourselves relating to each other when we’ve been out of touch- “did you see that bit on Jon Stewart about the war- hilarious, right?” War is not funny. It never has been. Until Jon Stewart.
Our generation needs entertainment. “the news” isn’t enough. We’re fed up with it. We’re tired of news stations thinking we will blindly subscribe to their framework and agenda-setting. So we watch something that blatantly advertises subjectivity. Hey- if its going to be subjective, why not be able to laugh at it?
The Daily Show is not news. It’s a blog. It is a blog in the sense that it is a commentary of the news that has already been reported. A lot of Jon’s Stewart’s shows are a rebut to statements made by anchors on Fox News. Most of Jon’s comments are more intelligible than the “typical” comment-er, but they mimic a blogger’s notion of commenting for the sake of self-publicity (or getting a laugh) instead of contributing to the interests of the public. Jon Stewart’s attacks on news reporters and Right-wingers are often on their appearance, their flubs in speech, their accents. When Jon Stewart points these sort of things out it is for a joke, not to convince the audience to consider a different political viewpoint. Sometimes he does both, but it’s very rare that the Daily Show will include any information without the frame of a giggle.
The Daily Show is entertaining, and kindof informational. Maybe my age group (myself included) is too young to care enough about the news to get it from boring sources. I mean sure, I believe that I should be an informed citizen and I should know what is going on in the world, but I certainly do not want to read MORE DULL PAGES (in addition to pages and pages of sociologists’ comments on new media) especially when I could relax in front of my laptop for a half an hour, be guaranteed a chuckle or two, and get a synopsis of the most important stuff that happened today. And let’s be serious, if I do get my news information online, I’m only skimming the headlines and reading a sentence or two from articles that sound interesting.
There’s plenty of forms of news out there makings moves to compete for my generation’s attention- by condensing headlines to be more scannable, adding interactivity and the like. My main motivation for gathering news is being able to discuss it with others, and I prefer to do so lightheartedly. So it’s the goofy salt and pepper haired Jewish guy on Comedy Central (err- hulu) that has me hooked.
Facebook requires users to provide their real first and last
names. Impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to reactivate this account
for any reason. This decision is final.
Thanks for your understanding,
Customer Support Representative
Jon Swift (not his real name) received when he complained that his facebook account had been turned off. John Swift is a blogger and had made a facebook account for his blog identity.
Eventually, Jon’s facebook was turned back on:
Thanks for your understanding,
Customer Support Representative
Why does facebook do this? Why do they prevent innocent bloggers from having an identity? Some people would argue it’s a safety issue- if people are allowed to lie about their age, sex predators could become a problem. Similarly people could lie about their identity- convicted criminals could impersonate your grandma or could invent an entirely new person and friend your trusting naïve grandma (it is important to know there is a difference- facebook later regressed because their policy prohibits impersonation, not just any fake accounts). However, facebook cannot be held liable for these kinds of issues due to section 230(c)(1) of the Telecommunications Act- as a provider of the computer service, they cannot be held liable for the “speech” of any other user. If in this case, lying about one’s age or identity is an act of speech, and facebook is not liable for this.
Why then, does facebook still prohibit impersonation? Could it be that even though the courts and government do not hold facebook liable, that facebook users would hold facebook liable if something bad happened to a user as a result of some criminal using a fake account?
The other reason is that just because the law is there doesn’t mean people can’t attempt to sue facebook for its users’ content. Balkin explains that it is because of anonymity of users attack the computer service than an individual- an individual is too difficult to track. Balkin also goes on to explain that service providers are not always protected- a book publisher was held liable for the “statements of authors they print” (Balkin, p. 109, citing Blumenthal v Drudge, 1998) – perhaps facebook fears a similar decision if they are ever taken to court. `
The anonymous nature of the internet allows people to speak more freely without threat of having being personally attacked for their opinion. What facebook is doing is saying that you cannot speak anonymously on their website. Perhaps people should be accountable for their participation in political discussions- otherwise, might they say things they don’t actually mean (or give anecdotes that are untrue) and give a false picture of the political environment for those analyzing the discourse. But lying is protected by the first amendment, isn’t it?
The most available and easiest form of interactvity on Senator Boxer’s page is clicking through links to her biography, lists of services her office provides, issues she is involved with, etc. The discussion is laid out for you.
As readers read left to right, I would say that Senator Boxer’s page puts user participation at a low priority as “Contact” is the right most tab. It is unfair to say that Senator Boxer is unavailable, as many of the links (toward the left) lead one to a phone number or email address. However, these means of connection are private and not visible to other users.
Boxer does provide an option under “Press” (the second right most tab) to subscribe for updates. She also makes use of social media by providing a link to her YouTube channel and flickr photostream.
If you want to make a comment, you must chose from under 50 topics (though this is a large number it seems limiting compared to when we can write about whatever we want on Twitter and YouTube). And again, OTHER USERS DON’T SEE YOUR COMMENTS. The only UGC visible is the comments posted on YouTube videos (and, when you chose a topic to submit, you can chose from the “most popular topics this month” or scroll down. a very abbreviated view of public concerns). You must leave Senator Boxer’s website (and go to YouTube or Flickr) to see any public comments.
Lanier, Fake, and Bruns all recognize that this constant flux in any one product /result of contributions makes it difficult to sell. For example, Lanier explains that the people who created the iPhone were a limited number of individuals who collaborated and came up with an end product. This end product was then mass produced and sold as an iPhone. The nature of “the iPhone” as a concept or any one iPhone as a physical, tangible product may be different for any one person, and any one person has the ability to tailor/change/add to their iPhone so that it has a different nature. However, the marketers of iPhone are not selling a constantly changing product. If someone orders an iPhone at 3AM they will receive the same iPhone as someone who ordered it at 3:01 AM. The latter user will not receive an iPhone with new comments attached to the bottom (e.g. a comment saying “JohnDoe2004 likes this product!” or a goofy mustache drawn on it by someone with a Flickr account). However, you could not sell a song that was published through a collaborative effort. First, if there were not a tracking system similar to Wikipedia’s, you would be unable to determine who to pay. Second, if Bruns’ assertion is true in that most collaborative efforts result in a better product, there would be no reason to purchase the song because a better one would be sure to emerge soon. Lastly, if Lanier is correct, allowing too many people to collaborate on anything results in “mush”, or generic, invaluable products. Responding to Lanier’s criticisms that it is virtually impossible to accomplish anything of value via collaborative effort, Fake says, “That is the point. There is no final product…” (Fake). Bruns agrees, commenting that, “the [online collaborative] community does not operate under hierarchical, corporate frameworks aimed at generating a saleable product to consumers,” (Bruns).
Universal access may be the easiest answer to the most important resolution, but I argue that it is actually the best answer.
The purposes of the Information Society are circular; they would like to use equal access to technology to bring up the disadvantaged (poor, women, people with disabilities etc.) However, it is these people who are lacking access. People in poor nations, or the disadvantaged of wealthy nations, cannot afford access financially. People with disabilities may have access, but the technology may not be suited for them to use it (e.g. the blind- there are limited programs, like Jaws, that can read internet sites, but these may be costly and could be improved).
The document does include a resolve to ensure access (number 19) for everyone. They encourage “stakeholders” to work toward building communication infrastructures to allow access to everyone.
The largest barrier to this is money. Some countries lack roads to even get laptops, wires, etc. to people. Building roads would cost money, as would the physical wires and laptops. The reasons that there is a divide in access to older technologies like phones, televisions, etc. will continue with new technologies. “Stakeholders” (it is not clear if these are government heads, CEOs of technology corporations, or presidents of non-profits) may or may not be motivated to make altruistic contributions to give everyone access.
One solution I could think of (for corporations) is the idea of do-gooder advertising (AEM majors help me- I researched and could not find what this is called. The closest thing I could think of is reciprocity persuasion). For example, beer companies put a “Please drink responsibly” message in their commercials to make you feel positive towards that company, and Dove uses the “Campaign for Real Beauty” for women to feel positively towards Dove’s mission, and therefore, toward Dove, and other companies emphasize their volunteer work (law firms promote their pro bono efforts etc.). So, a company like Comcast could do a documentary on their “purely philanthropic” mission to introduce internet access to a developing area to make people in the US feel more positive toward their services. Therefore, Comcast wins and the developing nation wins.
On Friday March 5, 2010 Oya Rieger gave a talk at the Information Science building in collegetown. She presented her findings from a study of humanities scholars’ uses of “technology”. She began her talk with a disclaimer that a) her research was qualitative, and she brought some of her own biases and opinions to it and b) her research included only 45 participants, so does not represent the whole of humanities scholars.
Reiger reported many different generalizations from her findings, though a common theme in her talk was tension. For example, she explained that many scholars enjoyed that more people were reading their work (now that it was on the internet). However, some expressed fear of losing intellectual property. Also, some scholars are thrilled that the internet has allowed them to generate a niche following for very specific subject areas. However, their field often involves such specific terminology that it is difficult to generate new followers. So the technology was not a solve-all.
The most interesting point I took from Rieger’s talk was that she used the different roles of the scholars to determine the different roles they associated with technology. For example, she described scholars as “humans” with families (therefore they used e-mail to stay connected), and also as scholars as people looking for tenure (in which case thy concentrated more on getting their paper in front of their department head than on the web).
Rieger reported that ultimately she ended up with more questions than answers at the end of her research, which seems to be a common theme when studying new media.
The following statement by Turow intrigued, no, confused me,
“Rather, the audience categories upon which they focus and the attributes that those choose to highlight relate directly to industrial needs and provide justification for industrial activities.”
So, Turow is suggesting that audience construction can justify industrial activities. The next subheading is “Industrial construction of audiences”. So there is industrial construction of audiences, and the categorization(which I took to mean construction) of audiences justifies industrial activities? What does Turow mean by industrial? When I think of ‘industrial’, I think of mass manufacturing- though Turow probably means commercial. After reading the article, I still am not convinced, nor can I understand how, audience construction justifies commercial activities.
Part of the reason I remain unconvinced is that Turow never defines audience construction. The best he does is comparing it to audience targeting. Is audience construction a generalization? Are they a set of assumptions marketers and media firms make about an audience? I certainly couldn’t tell you from Turow’s article- but the gist I got was that it is the media firms’ “pitch” to advertisers about the nature of the audience.
Frustration aside, I think Turow is trying to focus on the audience’s frustration with advertising. Once we become aware of it (as pointed out in class) we get sick of it, fear it, become angry that we are being solicited.
Marketers have recognized this and have started kissing-up to consumers- with coupons, with figuring out how to make their website more inviting so we want to stay longer (walled gardens). They have also tried different tactics, by tapping into our “private” characteristics we post on the net.
Turow claims users are mad, but apparently they aren’t mad enough to stop using the free social networking services who carryout exactly this aggravating practice or personal invasion and advertising.