April 21st, 2010 | Uncategorized |
For this week’s assignment I decided to look up the Wikipedia page on blogs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogging). Blogs are a topic we have discussed extensively in class and is something I am very interested in, being simultaneously disgusted and fascinated by their rise in popularity. This page has been present on Wikipedia since 2001 and has had hundreds of editors. I will admit that I was expecting a more comprehensive explanation about blogs, considering their popularity, although the page does explain some aspects of a blog very well.
The history section of this page is quite poor. They explain where the rudimentary form of blogs came from but do not go in-depth with how blogs become mainstream. The page gives examples of how blogs have now become mainstream, but it is missing a lot of the information we learned in class about the origins of blogs in the mainstream media. This page is also poorly organized in my opinion. The page discusses the social implications of blogs and the legal issues surrounding blogs before it discusses the origins.
This page does have some interesting sections. Most specifically its section on the impact bogging has had on employment. It talks about several court cases which centered around blog related firings. Furthermore it does a nice job discussing the social and legal implications of blogs. However it does a very poor job with some of its other sections. Its section on rise in popularity is only 4 bullet points and just list blogs that were popular.
This page is somewhat bipolar in that half the time it does a great job of explaining an aspect of blogging and other times it just skims over an issue or leaves out a topic. All of the references in the article are pretty good, and if you go through all of the 75 references you will get a very thorough understanding of blogs. However the page itself is not enough to bring someone completely up to speed on the world of blogging.
April 14th, 2010 | Uncategorized |
Are we better informed than our parents were? Our Grandparents? To hear them talk of the way things were compared to now, one would think that this generation doesn’t know who the president is while their college careers were filled with political protest and deep discussions about the great tides of change. I do not necessarily think that is true, although I believe our understanding of the world is different than that of past generations.
Our parents generation gained its news from the major newspapers and television stations of their era. In my Mom’s case that meant reading the New York Times and watching the NBC Nightly News. Now I gain my news information from a multitude of news sources. I watch at least one cable news show per day, read the headlines of the New York Times during my lunch break on campus and search the HuffingtonPost online. I also sometimes peruse the economist online and a few British newspapers, though only very rarely when I hear about a European news story that catches my attention. My take on the matter is that our parents most likely had a more in-depth exposure to each news story, as they actually read full articles. Our generation on the other hand have a more expansive view of the world, though perhaps less in-depth.
I have access to multiple views from multiple countries and regions on each issue. I can read the Russian perspective of the new nuclear arms treaty and reactions from other countries as well. My Mom only had access to the American perspective on issues. She did have the advantage of an attention span that lasts more than 2 minutes and actually read each article she read from cover to cover. Furthermore her news sources did not have to compete with blogs and cable news, which tends to dumb down stories and reduce them to their most interesting headline. I think that in all likelihood the generations are exactly as informed as they have always been, just in different ways.
April 7th, 2010 | Uncategorized |
Over the past year Facebook has been in the midst of a controversy. They have asked thousands of women with pictures of themselves breastfeeding to take down those pictures. Facebook feels that the pictures violate their policy banning obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit material. Many individuals have decided to protest Facebook on the grounds that Facebook is taking a ridiculous stand on the matter and even going against Federal law precedents. Many protestors cite the federal law allowing women to breastfeed on Federal property. Many critics of the ban cite this law saying that if it is allowed at the white house it should be allowed on facebook.
This particular case brings up a number of interesting issues about what the role of the administrators of social networking sites are. Certainly since it is in their domain they can regulate and take down information that violates their policies. However, does a line exist which governs how much censorship these sites can get away with? I personally feel that as long as the sites disclose what they will and will not censor then they are entitled to censor what they like.
This was an incredibly tricky case, mostly because the content in question was not explicitly sexual, but also not explicitly un-sexual. It was really up to Facebook’s discretion and either way they were going to anger some faction of users. If I were them I would have suggested a middle ground solution such as saying: you can keep up the pictures if you make it so that only your friends can see them. This way only those who want to would be exposed to the pictures. Whichever way this turns out, it certainly raises some interesting questions about the role of administrators in regulating content in social media sites.
March 31st, 2010 | Uncategorized |
The Democratic Party has a website which attempts to link all of its members together. There is a great potential for political organizations to use online forums to stimulate political discussion and recover real feedback from concerned constituents. I was sorry to discover while searching democrats.org that this opportunity is being wasted.
There is a lot of one-sided political arguments taking place on this website. Hundreds of links, videos and posts directing you to the democratic party agenda, and yet there is no way to discuss them. It is clear from this site what the position of the democratic party is, but very few ways to provide feedback about it. There are numerous options on the site to contact individual representatives and even the Democratic National Committee (DNC). What this site is lacking is a way for users to have a discussion with each other. The Site allows visitors to contact reps, but you cannot learn what others are writing to their representatives. They have essentially digitized writing letters or calling representatives. While this is a major convenience, I think they are missing a major opportunity to stimulate political discourse.
They could easily host forums to discuss political issues, or at the very least provide a comments section to their blog posts and posted videos. There is one feature of the site which does provide the opportunity to join in political discussion. There is a section where you can search for online political groups. This is a helpful way to seek out other organizations that host political discussions, but it does not allow people to converse in a domain created by their representatives. If the Democratic Party refers you to another site, any discussion you have will most likely not be read by the representatives you are trying to influence. The internet is creating paths to more instantaneous and open political discussion. It is a shame that the Democratic Party is missing that opportunity.