Just a bit of news relevant to our class discussions: Julian Assange had his passport confiscated when entering Australia, some documents regarding what Internet sites the Australian government was planning to filter were posted on Wikileaks. Here’s the report on the London Times , and commentary from Glenn Greenwald at Salon.
from Wikipedia: “Global Voices Online is an international network of bloggers and citizen journalists that follow, report, and summarizes what is going on in the blogosphere in every corner of the world. It is a non-profit website/project started by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, growing out of an international bloggers’ meeting in December 2004, and is founded by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon. In 2008 it became an independent non-profit incorporated in Amsterdam, Netherlands.”
Quinn Norton, “Bloggers Shrink the Planet” Wired (12.21.06)
Colleen Kaman, “A Conversation with Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online” Center for the Future of Civic Media (9.25.07)
Ethan Zuckerman, “Technologies and Emerging Democracies: Building a Better Gatekeeper” (video lecture) MIT World (10.8.08)
from Wikipedia: “Metavid is a free-software wiki-based community archive project for audio video media. The site hosts public domain US legislative footage. It was started as a thesis project of Michael Dale and Abram Stern under the advisement of Professor Warren Sack in late 2005 at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Its continued development is supported by a grant from the Sunlight Foundation.”
“UCSC receives $157,000 to support open archive of Congressional proceedings” UC Newsroom (5.7.07)
Michael Dale, “Democratizing the Archive: An Open Interface for Mediation” (thesis) (6.06)
from Wikipedia: “The Sunlight Foundation is a 501(c)(3) educational organization founded in April 2006 with the goal of increasing transparency in the United States Congress. The foundation encourages citizen and blogger participation by aggregating existing information and digitizing new information.”
“How Sunlight Foundation Achieves Government Transparency (interview with Ellen Miller)” Web 2.0 Expo (4.09)
Mark Glaser, “Sunlight Foundation Mixes Tech, Citizen Journalism to Open Congress” MediaShift Idea Lab (4.4.07)
Kristina Shevory, “Ellen Miller: Make Washington More Like the Web” Wired (9.22.08)
Marshall Kirkpatrick, “Sunlight Foundation Funds Six ‘Apps for America’” Readwriteweb (4.20.09)
from Wikipedia: “Spot.Us is a non-profit organization designed to bring citizens, journalists, and news publishers together in an online marketplace based on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding methods and principles. It was founded by David Cohn, who received a $340,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to pursue his idea. Spot.Us currently focuses primarily on projects in and near the San Francisco Bay area, where it is headquartered. It plans to expand its scope to a national or international level.”
Sarah Kershaw, “A Different Way to Pay for the News You Want” New York Times (8.24.08)
Sarah Perez, “The Future of Journalism Will Be Radically Different (interview with founder David Cohn” Readwriteweb (4.6.09)
David Cohn, “Spot.Us Adds Assignments, Widgets, Story Updates in Revamp” MediaShift Idea Lab (2.23.10)
from Wikipedia: “Demand Media, Inc. is a privately held online media company that operates leading online brands such as eHow, Livestrong.com and Cracked, and is known for creating online content based on a combination of measured consumer demand and predicted ROI. The company also provides social media platforms to existing large company websites and distributes content bundled with social media tools to outlets around the web. The company employs an algorithm that identifies topics with high advertising potential, based on search engine query data and bids on advertising auctions. These topics are typically in the advice and how-to field. It then commissions freelancers to produce corresponding text or video content. The content is posted on a variety of sites, including YouTube (where Demand Media is one of the largest suppliers of videos) and the company’s own sites such as eHow, essortment.com, livestrong.com, Trails.com, GolfLink.com, Mania.com, and Cracked.com.”
Jefferson Graham, “Knowledge is the Power behind Popular eHow Website” USA Today (10.25.09)
Daniel Roth, “The Answer Factory: Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model” Wired (10.09)
Rochard MacManus, “Demand Media Is a Page View Generating Machine – And it’s Working” Readwriteweb (8.25.09)
Lou Kerner, “Demand Media Will Be The First $1 Billion Tech IPO Since Google — Here’s Why” SF Gate (4.20.10)
NEW: Steven Kydd (founder of Demand), portion of the Q&A of his keynote address, International Online Journalism Symposium [included a commentary by Austin Ries] (4.23.10)
NEW: “Online Monetization Strategy That Will Save News Publishing” AlwaysOn (2.1.10)
from Wikipedia: “Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices, and also a game. Users “check-in” at venues using text messaging or a device specific application. They are then awarded points and sometimes “badges.” The service was created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai; Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball, which Google bought in 2005 and shut down in 2009.”
Doug Gross, “Foursquare takes lead in where-am-I apps” CNN (3.12.10)
Caroline McCarthy, “Is Foursquare’s growth boxed in?” CNet (3.19.10)
Nick Bilton, “Foursquare Introduces New Tools for Businesses” NYT Bits Blog (3.9. 10)
Michael Calore, “SXSW: Geeks Defend Their Foursquare Turf” Wired Underwire (3.17.10)
from Wikipedia: “Chatroulette is a website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website randomly begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection.”
Nick Bilton, “The Surreal World of Chatroulette” New York Times, (2.19.10)
Marc Parry, “Chatroulette Lures Students With Low-Stakes Socializing” Chronicle of Higher Education (4.25.10)
Jon Stewart comments on Chatroulette, The Daily Show (3.4.10)
Julia Ioffe, “Roulette Russian” The New Yorker (5.17.10)
This is the first post introducing the cases that you might choose to work on for the final paper, if you do not opt to invent your own. The descriptions are pulled from Wikipedia, and the links are just to help you get started. I’d recommend getting to know ALL of these sites before you pick which one you’ll work on; you never know which one is going to be doing something that intrigues you. Get to know what their service is, what their business model is, how they come to be, and what the public debates are about them. Then find your analytical argument.
And remember, you’re encouraged to use the comment-space in each of these posts to share articles you’ve found, other links, even ideas.
from Wikipedia: “The One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc. (OLPC) is a U.S. non-profit organization set up to oversee the creation of an affordable educational device for use in the developing world. Its mission is “to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.” Negroponte states that the mission is to eliminate poverty. Its current focus is on the development, construction and deployment of the XO-1 laptop and its successors.”
Andy Greenberg, “The $75 Future Computer” Forbes (12.22.09)
Ryan Paul, “OLPC downsizes half of its staff, cuts Sugar development” Ars Technica (1.7.09)
Chloe Albanesius, “OLPC Unveils Roadmap, Plans Tablet for 2012” PC Magazine (12.23.09)
This is not specific to the final, just so timely, consider our last two lectures, I thought I would share.
First, TWO recent privacy snafus on Facebook — one I briefly mentioned in class, one that emerged today — and the political inquiry emerging:
BBC News, “Facebook fizes embarassing security flaw”
Xeni Jardin, “Yet another Facebook privacy risk: emails Facebook sense leak user IP address” Boing Boing
Caroline McCarthy, “Facebook’s Impending Fight with D.C.” CNet
Then, some commentary about these recent issues, including the changes we discussed in class.
Matt McKeon, The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook (amazing diagram of how privacy defaults have changed.)
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Facebook’s Eroding Privacy: A Timeline
Mathew Ingram, “The Relationship between Facebook and Privacy: It’s Really Complicated.” Salon.com
Clive Thompson, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” New York Times (good article about the News Feed controversy)
Ryan Singel, “Facebook’s Gone Rogue, It’s Time for an Open Alternative” Wired Epicenter
From our syllabus, the most likely relevant articles are Papacharissi, Hesmondalgh, Halavais, Knight Foundation, and Balkin.
Selwyn, Neil (2004) “Reconsidering Political and Popular Understandings of the Digital Divide” New Media and Society v6n3
Mark Warschauer, (2003). Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide: MIT.
Elizabeth Hanson, The Information Revolution and World Politics (2008)
Manuel Castells, “The Digital Divide in a Global Perspective” Ch 9 of Internet Galaxy
William Mazzarella, “Culture, Globalization, Mediation,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 2004, 33: 345-67
Ernest Wilson, The Information Revolution and Developing Countries (2006)
From our syllabus, the most likely relevant articles are Papacharissi, Bruns, Petersen, Jenkins, boyd & Ellison, Knight Foundation, Talbot, Teachout, Berube, and Graham.
For supplemental readings, you might look at
Beer, David. (2008). Social network(ing) sites…revisiting the story so far: A response to danah boyd & Nicole Ellison. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication,13 (2),516-529
danah boyd, “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” in David Buckingham, ed., Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (2007)
Nicole Ellison, Cliff Lampe, and Charles Steinfield. (2009). Social Network Sites and Society: Current Trends and Future Possibilities. Interactions Magazine,16 (1).
Trebor Scholz, (2007). A History of the Social Web.
Lee Humphreys (2007). Mobile social networks and social practice: A case study of Dodgeball. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 17.
Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden, 2007. Teens, privacy & online social networks: How teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace. Washington, D.C.: Pew Internet & American Life Project
From our syllabus, the most likely relevant articles are Papacharissi, Knight Foundation, Talbot, Balkin, and Berube.
For supplemental readings, you might look at
Philip Howard, “Deep Democracy, Thin Citizenship: The Impact of Digital Media on Campaign Strategy,” The Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science, 597.1 (2005)
Benjamin Barber, “Which Technology and Which Democracy?” in Democracy and New Media, Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn, eds. (2003)
Michael Schudson, “Click here for democracy: a history and critique of an information-based model of citizenship,” in Democracy and New Media, eds. Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn, 2003
Kirsten Foot and Steve Schneider (2006). Web Campaigning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Jan van Dijk (2000) “Models of Democracy and Concepts of Communication” in Kenneth Hacker and J. van Dijk, eds. Digital Democracy: Issues of Theory and Practice: 30-53.
Daniel Kreiss, “Developing the ‘Good Citizen’: Digital Artifacts, Peer Networks, and Formal Organization During the 2003-2004 Howard Dean Campaign.” Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 6(3): 281-297, 2009.
Beth S. Noveck (2005) Democracy of groups. First Monday 10(11).
Andrew Chadwick (2009) Web 2.0: New challenges for the study of democracy in an era of informational exuberance. I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 5(1): 9-41.
Matt Carlson (2007) Blogs and journalistic authority. Journalism Studies, 8(2): 264-279.
From our syllabus, the most likely relevant articles are Chafee & Metzger, Papacharissi, Hesmondalgh, Anderson, Knight Foundation, Fenton, and the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
For supplemental readings, you might look at the following:
Deuze, Mark (2003) “The Web and its Journalisms: Considering the Consequences of Different Types of Newsmedia Online.” New Media & Society v5n2: 203-230.
Mark Deuze, Axel Bruns, and Christoph Neuberger. (2007). “Preparing for an Age of Participatory News, Journalism Practice,” 1(3), 322-338.
Zizi Papacharissi, ed., Journalism and Citizenship: New Agendas in Communication (2009)
Howard Tumber (2001) “Democracy in the Information Age: The Role of the Fourth Estate in cyberspace” Information, Communication & Society v4n1: 95-112.
Darin Barney, “The multiplication of news platforms: the ‘privatization’ of the media,” Policy Options, February 2006, 63-66.
Pew Research, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer” March 2010
Next week we’ll be talking about the privacy implications of new media. Its easy, when addressing this topic, to talk in dire terms, about the death of privacy, the paranoia of total surveillance, etc (and pretty easy, also, to dismiss it all as a “what’s the big deal, I’ve got nothing to hide” issue). Not to play into that, but this article just appeared in the London Times, about a man who, for the purposes of a film on privacy, tried to disappear completely, and hired detectives to try to find him. Its a fun read, and it does help to set the stage for thinking about contemporary privacy concerns, which are more about all the data traces we leave behind, and the way little bits of information can be aggregated.
Jean-Paul Flintoff, “Can you disappear in surveillance Britian?” Times Online, April 17, 2010
Just a few months ago, there was a similar experiment documented in Wired, where the pursuants were not detectives, but anyone on the web who wanted to join the game.
Evan Ratliff, “Writer Evan Ratliff Tried to Vanish: Here’s What Happened” Wired, Nov 2009
I actually don’t think one needs to walk around campus in order to complete this assignment. Though I did that, nothing stuck out to me more or is a bigger part of my daily life than something that I experience everyday in class: power point. I don’t know when it became common practice for professors to put their lecture slides up on big projector behind them, but since I have been at college it has become so common place that it is almost weird for a professor not to. I don’t know the power point presentation replaced the chalkboard as the professor’s standard visual aid, but the quiet coup d’etat has been swift and bloodless.
When I was in high school I maybe saw one or two power point slide shows a year. And these were usually made by students for class projects. I really can’t recall a teacher ever using one. Though doubtless my high school was not as well funded as Cornell University the fact remains; these days I see two or three slide shows every day and it has become so common place that I do not even think about it anymore. It is very strange when one realizes how quickly power point and projectors have replaced chalk boards as the standard for all lecture halls. These days the chalk boards seem mostly unused, sitting there behind the projector like a relic from a past age, and yet no one seems to notice.
The projector and power point presentations seem to have made almost a seamless transition into the class room primarily replacing the chalkboard with barely anybody even noticing. It is almost unsettling when one realizes how quickly a tool which was a mainstay of the education world for more than a century can be almost completely supplanted in less than a decade. Yet it seems to have happened and few would complain about it. Though it does bring about a twinge of nostalgia, there is no doubt that power point is just plain a better tool and thus should be the way forward. Professors do not need to waste their time writing things down, the slides are always legible, and they can be made available over the internet. It is certainly the way forward but it is still weird to think how quickly a mainstay piece of technology can be replaced.
The major change that this has caused is it has made lectures much less of one time thing. Getting to lecture and taking notes many would argue has become much less crucial since lecture slides became available online. Before power point, if you missed lecture the only way to learn what you missed was to set a meeting with your professor. Now all one needs to do log on to blackboard and the problem is solved. While I’m sure many people like myself still regularly attend lecture and take notes because that is how they best retain information, I’m equally certain that many people now view lecture and note taking as not a particularly necessary task. Once this has started who knows where it will stop. Will we stop having lectures all together and simply post lecture slides online? If that happens it seems even enrollment in the University would be unnecessary as you could get the same experience sitting at home on your computer while saving yourself $40,000 a year. Power point is all well and good, but who knows if it will start a landslide?
Perhaps nothing is ever safe.
Over the weekend I was at a party; during a lull in conversation I pulled out my iPhone. My friend flashed me a weird look before he pointed out that he was the only one in our circle of four who hadn’t reached for their phone. Looking around the room, I found it amusing how many people actually had their phones in hand. Even people out on the dance floor had their phones out.
Reaching for my phone has become like second nature lately. It has actually become a running joke about how often I have my phone out, but until yesterday I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. Walking around Ithaca in order to do this post, I found myself listening to music while browsing my Twitter feed.
Technology hasn’t simple woven itself into the fabric of our lives, I’d reason that it has become the fabric. Most everything we do centers around technology of varying forms. Stop into CTB and you’ll notice that almost everyone pays with a credit card, look around your classroom or workplace where chances are more than half of your peers are typing away on their laptops, and then there’s the issue of cell phones.
Essentially, we live in a cocoon of new media, which I suppose is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great how plugged in we are. However, we may be so plugged in that we’re tripping over wires trying connect with our fellow man. I’d like to say that I’m going to be more conscientious about my phone usage but that would be a lie. For better or worse, we’ve made this bed and I quite like lying in it.
Who doesn’t love Bartels Hall… As any athlete can tell you, this building is central on campus, it’s used by coaches, athletes, and trainers alike, and it’s been a huge part of my experience here as a field hockey player at Cornell.
When looking at the architecture of this building, the literal composition of the building includes facilities for multiple sports, a training room, study room, offices for coaches, and locker rooms in the basement. This building does a great job of facilitating interactions between multiples sports because there is always one team or another in the building for practice or a workout. It is a high traffic building with lots of open spaces and high ceilings to counter the social density.
In this area, I think the only real technologies present are things which we have come to recognize as expected in our daily lives. These include things like computers in the study room, telephones in the offices, electronic score boards and workout machines, and building surveillance cameras. As Graham explains, “ICT [Information and Communication Technology] interactions have now moved from the status of novelty to rapidly diffuse into all walks of life. In many contexts they are now increasingly ubiquitous – even banal. In a sense, then, ICTs have now ‘produced the ordinary’ in the sense that they are woven so completely into the fabric of everyday urban life that they become more and more ignored” (p. 10). Generally, these kinds of technology are so incorporated into our daily lives that we no longer recognize the significance of ever present technology. It’s everywhere! Not only does it help us communicate, it also allows us to keep score, track our heart rate, print out a paper, etc. The line between environment and technology is so faded that they now appear to overlap. Life in Bartels just wouldn’t be the same without it!
Mann Library is one of the most popular and well known buildings on the Cornell campus. While it may not be popular for the reasons students would like, from my experience, Mann seems to be the library of choice for most Cornell undergraduates. It is most likely the largest library at Cornell, and after frequent remodeling projects, the relatively old building looks (from the inside) like one of the newest buildings on campus.
Because Mann is such an area of heavy student traffic, it is appropriate that the library has upgraded its new media/information technology situation. Aside from obvious and necessary computers and electronics expected from a 21st century library, the lobby of Mann library has gotten a “new media” facelift in recent years. Flat screen TVs have been placed in the atrium area where students walking in all 4 directions (outside, Warren Hall, Plant Sciences, and out of the library itself) can view the televisions, which are fixed on different news networks (CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, etc…). Not that students don’t have access to those resources on any of the computers in adjacent library, but it is nice to have the university provide useful information technologies in locations where the students are most likely to congregate.
There is no real disconnect between the building and the upgrades in technology because the improvements add to the usefulness and convenience of the the library. Informational technology, whether it is the addition of flat screen TVs, a new tech lab, or upgraded computers, allows a library to keep up with the times and be as useful as possible to the students who utilize its services. Libraries are interesting architectural and cultural edifices because while they house collections of books and resources that are hundreds and sometimes thousands of years old, they must continue to refresh their informational technologies and stay modern to make those precious resources as accessible as possible.
At any point in time, Collegetown is filled with the bustle of students emerging from their homes, local eateries and cafes. Instead f seeing static figures absorbed in monotony, we see people multi-tasking effortlessly all around us. Just sitting on the corner of Collegetown Bagels, there is a definitive shift towards technology in the public space. Inside CTB, a student works on a paper-navigating the Internet on his Mac and referring to articles strewn around himself. A few feet away a girl is tapping on her cell phone’s keyboard, sending a message to a friend while another friend sits in front of her talking animatedly. Neither seem to notice that in the group near the pick-up counter, a young man is discreetly updating his Twitter through his iPhone to whine about the wait at CTB for his sandwich.
Outside the bakery and deli shop, students mill about at tables conversing about a variety of topics. At one table, there are five phones decorating the table top-vibrating relentlessly at various points in the group’s discussion. Walking past the table, a girl bobs her head to the music blasting out of her mp3 player. She fails to notice that her cell phone is ringing. On the other side of the street, the girl’s friend snaps her own cell phone shut and reminds herself to tease her friend about her obliviousness. Behind this girl, a boy scrolls through the TCAT bus schedule on his phone, trying to discern what time the bus would get to him. A car that is blasting music on the radio drives past, adding more noise to the already busy corner.
Technology has been able to augment the world we live in. At any time, we are able to connect to portable devices that house information from all over the world. Information that facilitates our interactions in the physical world or that distracts us from our surroundings. It would be easy t say that the young man waiting for his sandwich was so absorbed in fiddling with his phone that he never heard the waitress call out his order, or that the girl sitting a few feet away never once listened to the story her friend was recounting.
At the same time, the boy using his phone to find the bus schedule may have made his appointment thanks to the information he found. The interaction between people and technology is what really matters, not the technology itself. Graham argues that by making an argument that focuses solely on the effect of technology, we ignore the agency afforded to people. People choose to use or not use technology. We create meaning through our usage and social norms through our actions. The result of our interactions is what becomes the new world-a fusion of physical and technological.
So for my post, I had a tough time trying to think of where I wanted to go. Instead I changed my focus from where I want or should go, to where I actually go. That place is the gym, specifically the different sites of Cornell Fitness Centers.
Being a self proclaimed gym rat, a definitive utilitarian, and a supervisor at CFC, I spend much of my time in the gym. At least an hour everyday is spent doing all kinds of exercises, stressing myself, releasing, and just escaping. Though I understand that everyone has different goals and ideas about what a gym should be, the Fitness Center at Noyes is an interesting site. Most people go to the gym to work out, let go, get in shape, hang out with their friends, check people out etc. Information technology doesn’t usually come to mind but a closer look will show otherwise. Out of the 23 people doing cardio, 22 of them are absorbing some sort of media. 10 of them are playing with their blackberries while attempting to run on the treadmill. 15 of these people are on their ipod. Almost all of them are watching TV. There are about 14 people standing around not doing anything, or even showing signs of changing, heads down, playing with their phones and hanging out. I could keep going for days about how hilarious this all may look, but most students know what I am talking about.
This is not just an Ithaca specific issue, as it is happening to most gyms around the country, but the place is irrelevant. It is a great illustrator of how the bubble that we talk about, or the walls we put up are not static. We take the bubble with us and hide in our own little IT Bubble. Even at a place which used to be thought of as an escape, a place to be with friends and pretend that you are working out, or even a machine shop for the hardcore like myself, IT Bubble follows us, taunts us, and most people cannot disconnect even if they wanted too. From the eyes of a self proclaimed fitness guru, no wonder why people get frustrated with exercise and don’t get results. We all have stronger thumbs though thanks to the umbilical cord that is the “grid.”
As I read the blog prompt for this week, I was sitting in Mac’s Cafe. Immediately the words “information technologies” prompted me to think of the two televisions mounted at either end of the cafe. To be honest, I usually spend some portion of my lunch period tuned into one of the two television. Many news reports have triggered conversations amongst me and my friends. And while waiting for friends to arrive for lunch, I like to watch a few news segments in order to feel somewhat attuned to what’s happening in the world outside of our little Ithaca “bubble.”
On the contrary, there are plenty of days that also go by where I am completely oblivious to the large flat screen televisions playing the news; and I have absolutely become jaded to the multiple television in the Mann Library lobby – despite their informative purpose. Typically my news and information searches occur on my laptop or even on my blackberry browser. Because I’m a student and always on the go, I feel like my television consumption is incredibly lower here on campus than it is back home in Virginia. Because of our student/academic environment, and the sort of “bubble” created by living in upstate new york, my information sources are drastically altered to portable sources.
On average, most students have laptops and internet capable phones that they take around with them almost every day. While these technologies are outlets to credible news sources, students don’t always take full advantage of their capabilities.
Because I am typically on the go, I feel as I refer to news sources in short snippets of time – the five minutes before class starts while the professor is putting up the slides, waiting at a bus stop, etc. So, in contrast to my approximately once a day newspaper/news show consumption, I find myself checking the news more frequently for fewer minutes at a time. Potentially enabling me to have a more up-to-date perspective on global and national news events.
For this blog, I went to Mann Library to observe the intersection of physical space and information technologies. Because of its nature as a library, Mann is an incredibly information technology rich space. The open layout of the first floor contains a large computer lab, rows and rows of desktops, several printers, as well as hard copy magazines on shelves. Besides the large area of floorspace devoted to computers, many of the students at desks are also on laptops/netbooks. The other floors of the library seem to also have a heavy percentage of students on computers, and instead of computer labs, large quantities of traditional print media. The open architectural design of Mann allows for students to see other students around them and easily spot computer stations.
While walking around the library observing the technology rich areas of Mann, I noticed a surprising number of students on facebook. Students both on their personal laptops and on desktops in the computer lab were seen writing on friends’ walls, reading their newsfeed, and flipping through pictures. I felt surprisingly awkward when I glanced around and spotted someone on facebook because I could easily see their facebook activities with little to no privacy. This provided an intersection of new media and public space. Because computer screens (even netbook screens) are relatively large, a passerby can easily see what you’re doing on your computer. I felt awkward because I feel like, while posts and pictures are public, activities on facebook like surfing friends’ profiles and editing your own are still somewhat private activities. However, by participating in these activities in a public space, the activities then became public knowledge.
Graham’s essay focuses on the intersection of information technologies and the city – both suggesting that information technologies “are woven so completely into the fabric of everyday life that they become more and more ignored” (18) and paying attention to “the changing materialities of urban and mediated life, the changing social relations that surround these shifts, and the ways in which ideas, and representations, of the city are being changed together” (22). So, Ithaca isn’t exactly Manhattan, but some of the concerns can be seen as the same: how are information and information technologies woven into public life in this place, how do they shift the way we experience this place, and how are things changing because of the way information and place intertwine in the way that they do?
For this blog post, find an opportunity to walk around either some are of campus, campus, Collegetown, or somewhere else in the Ithaca area that matters to you and your friends, in order to think carefully about the intersection and interaction between the physical space (architectural, social, economic, etc) and the information technologies that shot through and mark it. How do you experience both at the same time? How is there a disconnect between them? Where are these spaces most heavily mediated by information technology, and why? Choose one interesting example, and use it to reflect on the way new media and public space interact in this place we all live.
(If you’re feeling creative, you could imagine this blog post as asking you to do a 1-2 paragraph Cornell version of the Hill article also due Tuesday.)
The Wikipedia article I’ve chosen is about 4chan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4chan. The article describes the website, what it’s famous for, and media attention. The page was created on July 5, 2004 and has over 500 contributors. I selected this topic because we learned about 4chan in class a few weeks ago, and I’ve been interested in learning more about the site because I was unfamiliar with it prior to class. I figured that reading and learning about it through Wikipedia would be an easy way to familiarize myself with the site, (especially since I do this for almost everything I don’t know about).
As most literate internet users know, Wikipedia is a constant source of discomfort for academics who feel that Wikipedia cannot be accurate as it isn’t edited or published by a credible source. I read the 4chan article, and I believe that the article, while a little pedestrian in its word use, is an accurate website describing what 4chan is. The citation of the article was well done, and the entire entry seemed to really do 4chan justice. I believe the weakest part of the entry comes from the fact that this website is relatively new and constantly changing. For an established entry such as a communication theory, I would imagine the entry would be more formal and refined, but since 4chan is changing daily, the Wikipedia article might not be as formal or accurate.
After taking a look at the discussion it appears that the most contentious or controversial part of the entry would be the blocking of 4chan by Verizon. It appears that some users felt that this was not adequately addressed in the original entry and thus more was added. It was also interesting to note that the pages is move protected due to vandalism.
Overall, from my one page examination of Wikipedia, it appears that wikis provide a great way to organize knowledge. The citations of the article were very thorough, and even if you didn’t believe anything posted on the wiki, at least the citations could guide you to primary sources which would allow you to draw your own conclusions about what you’re reading about.
Wikipedia’s page on User-Generated Content has been edited by 370 users since its origination on October 15, 2006.
The page gives an interesting synopsis of user-generated content, defining it and the motivations for its creation. The page goes on to discuss the implications that UGC may have on society. The page falls short when it defines UGC and why people create it: at one point, it explains that people necessarily must create UGC out of a professional realm, but the article goes on to cite money as a potential motivation for creating UGC. This, then, brings up the question of what exactly the Wikipedia article means when it refers to a lack of professionalism in UGC. How, exactly, do they define the professional world?
Further, the page seems to miss out on explaining the positive aspects of UGC (ironic, that a Wikipedia page would do this). It essentially defines UGC, explains instances of it and its evolution, and then goes on to cover the potential legal issues or the overall quality issues that might occur with user-generated content. An entire section is dedicated to “Criticism”, yet no section talks specifically about the laudation of user-generated content. I would almost want to say that the creators of the page were biased against UGC, if there wasn’t such a glaring inconsistency: the creators of the Wikipedia page are users themselves. One possible reason for this is the fact that all of the cited sources are professional (there’s that word again) producers. Perhaps it’s Wikipedia’s requirement for source citation that makes Wikipedia’s content not quite fully user-generated, and thus gives the page a bias against the pros of UGC.
Among the most controversial aspects of the creation of this Wikipedia page was a debate over whether postings on eBay could be considered UGC. Ultimately (so far, at least), eBay was listed on the site as an example of user-generated content.
The eBay example demonstrates just what value Wikipedia can add to public knowledge. Instead of one faceless person providing you with facts, you can see the discourse between many faceless people, debating over the worthiness of eBay (for example) as an example of UGC. Reading further, we see that parts of the article were deleted, and other parts were significantly modified. Being able to observe this evolution can help us to not only understand new concepts such as UGC, it can also show us the implications of the development. For example, we are able to see what parts of the topic blossomed into entirely new pages, and which topics were combined to fall under the UGC category. This reader-omniscience isn’t available in Wikipedia’s “old media” parallel, the encyclopedia.
For this week, I decided to take a look at the Wikipedia page for 4chan and consider its content. I chose the 4chan page as members of 4chan have had a history of manipulating online articles and sites that have some content associated with them. As such, I was curious to see the content of their Wikipedia page and see if there were any visible signs of “tampering” by members of the 4chan community. For the most part, the page simply gives a bit of history on the creation of the site and some media stories surrounding it, as well as a description of the culture that surrounds the site and the content that is generated from it.
As far as the page itself, the article is fairly well written and seems pretty fair in regards to giving information about the site. There are numerous references at the bottom, most of which are news stories from organizations that in some form or another mention 4chan and/or their antics. Overall, the content on the Wikipedia page is generally positive towards the site, and there is somewhat little in regards to reproaching portions of the site in terms of the negative aspects of it, like the sordid nature of much of the content posted there and the attitude of many of the members. The page is mostly dedicated to discussing news stories about the page and certain events surrounding it. The most admonishing portion of the page discusses the bomb threats made to a school, but the end result of which was that people shouldn’t take things said on the board seriously. These are however minor objections, and overall the page gives a good idea about the content and culture of 4chan.
The discussion page is mostly editors conversing as to how to make the page more factually accurate, or how to find more sources to support claims made on the page. There is little controversy, and most of the controversy on the page stems from a discussion on possible racism on the board. While the editors were willing to add a longer section on racism should a significant and credible news story be created around it, they believed that there wasn’t enough credible information given to fully justify adding information about alleged racism to the article, given that it was supposed to be encyclopedic.
Overall, the information and content regarding the 4chan Wikipedia page is very controlled and sober. This is counter to many of the site’s antics, but perhaps they try to keep a clean face to those not involved with the site. Or, perhaps, Wikipedia simply moderates this page extremely heavily.
Throughout the semester dozens, if not hundreds, of different topics were discussed in class. That leaves many possible options for assignment #12; searching and discussing one issue on Wikipedia. With so many choices, it almost makes it more difficult to choose. I wanted to do a topic that nearly everybody is familiar with; I was going to pick Facebook. But that is a very common topic and probably many others will choose the same. I was going to go with Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, similar topic, but less obvious. As I went to Wikipedia, a brilliant idea hit me, I knew which topic was perfect! It’s relevant, very interesting and one which only a few students might discuss…that’s our very own professor! Yes, I chose Dr. (Tarleton) Gillespie for this assignment.
However, my excitement was short lived, because even though Dr. Gillespie does have his own Wikipedia page, and the page does meet the requirements of “been at least 6 months old”, and it even has “more than 5 authors”, it sadly doesn’t meet the requirement of having “at least five external citations.”
After the crushing news of not being able to dissect Dr. G.’s page, I wanted to go with the theme of “social networking.” That’s when another topic popped up; I knew actually what to do. This person is relevant, interesting and known to most…in fact, most us of are “friends” with him. That is Tom (Anderson) from MySpace, if you have a MySpace account, then he is on your “friends” list.
His Wikipedia address is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Anderson_(MySpace). The original date of this entry is January 28th, the piece has between 1,500 – 2,000 contributors. I chose him because we discussed social networking sites throughout the semester, and his site, MySpace, have been credited with starting the craze. Yes, his site was not the first site, but it was the first to become extremely popular.
Tom’s Wikipedia page is surprising short for how “famous” he is. Heck, Dr. Gillespie’s Wikipedia’s is longer! At first glance, Tom’s page doesn’t seem to be bias because every statement or statistic is followed up with a link to the source. But, looking closer, it could be considered bias because there are some facts that are not listed; mostly the decline of MySpace within the past couple years. The only mention of the present day MySpace is, “[I]t is currently one of the most popular social networking websites in the United States (listing consistently among the top ten on Alexa Top 500 Global Sites, after its main competitor, Facebook).” No mention that MySpace had to fire 30% of their employees in 2009 because of their decline. Yes, there is a Wikipedia entry on MySpace which has all the statistics, the good and the bad, Tom’s page doesn’t have ANY such news.
For having so short of Wikipedia page, Tom has a couple surprisingly heated controversies. These topics were discussed by several different contributors all with citations and sources. The issues are 1). Tom Anderson’s age, 2). if he is the infamous computer hacker “Lord Flathead” and 3). his involvement in Asian porn…yes, Asian porn.
1). Tom’s real age, on his MySpace page he states he attended Berkeley in 1994. Which would suggest he is 34 years old, however, “in a 1986 issue of Phrack has him 16 in 1986” (http://www.phrack.com/issues.html?issue=11&id=11). There are been several different document released with conflicting birthdays
2). If he is the infamous hacker “Lord Flathead”, this is a very “loose accusation” says most of the Wikipedia community. But there are still a couple who insist that Tom is the hacker. “Lord Flathead’s” age, and location match exactly with Tom during the time. The name of the hacker wasn’t officially released because the hacker was a minor at the time.
3). Asian porn! This is undisputed; Tom works with the website TeamAsian. The controversy is Tom’s involvement. It does not state exactly what his position is with the website, but it states he is “affiliated with it.” When Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace, he had a very big issue, and actually told Tom to step down from his position with TeamAsian. It is unknown Tom Anderson’s current status with that website
For this assignment, I chose to analyze Wikipedia’s Social Media page. Originally written December 11, 2006 when many of us were freshmen. This page is linked to 19 other wikipedia pages (many of which are subsets of this topic) and seven different references. There are also nine external “further readings” linked at the bottom of the page. I chose to analyze this wikipedia page because social media is a very active part of all our daily lives, whether we’re checking our news feed on Facebook or creating a LinkedIn profile to hunt for potential employers. Social Media is also a communication avenue which can be used to business-to-business communication purposes and for companies to reach out to their (potential) clients.
Along with providing the standard definition of the term, the authors have also gone do far as to devote a section to differentiating social media from industrial media (from which people gain information) and provide a plethora of examples. Examples are given in the areas of communication (blogs, etc.) , collaboration (delicious, etc.), Multimedia (Flickr, etc), Reviews and Opinions (yelp.com, etc.), Entertainment (Second Life, etc.), Brand Monitoring (Attensity, etc.) and Others (like Information Aggregators). Because the authors provide such specific sites and examples, readers can then visit these sites in order to gain a deeper understanding of what social media is and how it functions in each of these realms.
While the authors have provided these examples, defined the term, and differentiated the term from industrial media, at the end of the article, I am still left wanting more information. For some reason, I feel like this article provides an excellent skeleton, but could definitely be flushed out and filled in with more information. For being in existence for four years, I feel like there should be more information on this page. Instead it’s a mere 1145 words long, including all the examples given. (For reference: 500 words single space is about a page in Microsoft Word).
Overall, this page gives excellent examples of the many forms and faces social media takes in this day and age. The authors simply listed the examples, and the article seems to be pretty free of bias. There’s no real preaching about what social media is better than others.
Reading through the discussion section of the article, I realized that some sections had been controversially removed, which could explain why I feel like parts of the page are just missing and there isn’t enough information being provided for such a massive topic. Sections removed included a business section and a campaigns section which discussed social media’s use in both arenas. Authors against removing these subtopics argued that those topics thoroughly capitalized and utilized social media, so why should they be removed when they provided accurate, important information?
In conclusion, the page can still use work, and maybe a re-addition of those topic areas, however, it provides a solid outline of the area and provides strong, concrete examples readers can later delve into in order to learn more about how social media actually functions in a real world setting on the internet.
For your blog post this week, choose one Wikipedia entry that is in some way related to issues that we have discussed this semester, and you feel you know something about – it can be as broad as “new media” or as narrow as “Juicycampus,” though I’d recommend aiming for something between those two extremes. Your article must meet the following criteria:
- be at least six months old. Check by clicking the “history” tab at the top of the article.
- have at least four authors. The “history” tab will tell you this, too.
- have at least five external citations. These appear as “notes” or “references” at the foot of the article.
After you have selected your article, list the title and URL and describe the article. (Your description should be a sentence or two describing the content, origin date, and number of contributors. Explain why you selected this article/topic.) Then see if you can assess whether the entry is any good by reading it critically and by looking at a few of the cited sources. If you believe the article is biased, explain why. You can also use your own knowledge of the topic to make a judgment. If you don’t feel that you have a way to judge its veracity, discuss why, or what you would need to know. Then, read your entry’s entire “discussion” page. What was the most controversial part of writing it? From this cursory examination of one Wikipedia entry, share your thoughts on wikis as a form of technically-organized, collaboratively-produced knowledge.
When I wake up in the morning, I practice a well-rehearsed ritual that I’ve been faithfully carrying out for about three years now: Alarm goes off, is snoozed two or three times, and then turned off, I then take a shower, make breakfast, and open my computer to check e-mail and website communities I consider myself a part of (the Wall Street Journal and a couple car-nut websites: Edmunds Inside Line, Jalopnik, Top Gear, and Road & Track). Throughout the day, I revisit these websites…a lot. Like, seriously a lot. I don’t want to count the number because I’d probably feel bad about myself if I actually knew what it was.
My point is, I’m constantly staying informed with whatever is going on in the world. From politics to sports, lifestyle and real estate to finance and technology and, of course, cars, I’m never farther than a click away from a supernova of constantly-updated headlines, articles, and posts. None of us are. I’m not going to turn this into another Internetgasm post… “Uhhhhh the Internetttt so much information uhhhhh twitter-facebook-myspace uhhhhhhh.” But, nonetheless, it needs to be said that the informational instantaneity afforded to us by the Internet makes it much easier for us to not only be informed, but better informed than ever before.
Let’s compare our knowledge of news to that of our parents when they were in their 20s. Accessing the news, from a technological perspective, has changed drastically between the 1960s/70s or 80s/90s and now. Whereas mom and pop or RunDMC and Big Willy were reading the paper – if they were motivated enough to actually pick one up or buy a subscription – and maybe listening to old’ Walter Cronkite on the tube and some other guy over the radio, we’re exposed to an infinetely larger playing field of news sources. Not only can I pick up a copy of the Cornell Daily Sun on my way to class or watch Anderson Cooper on TV, I can also read every news publication ever conceived – oftentimes for free – online, with news stories and articles being added and updated constantly, I can check the news on my iPhone or iPod touch (shameless plug: check out the Cornell Daily Sun iPhone App available now in the Apple App Store. It’s sick. It’s also free.), or even do it virally through friends acting as news-conduits on Facebook or Twitter. And it’s not just newspapers I’m exposed to online, it’s virtually any news-or-journalism-related publication: Time, NewsWeek, BusinessWeek, The Atlantic, The Economist, Barron’s, Reuter’s, YahooNews, CNBC, Fox, CNN, etc. Even if you don’t follow the news religiously, simply by being an Internet user you’re bound to be informed by the nature of the news’ pervasiveness in our new-mediated world.
This is one of the key differences between news’ reach then-and-now: motivation. You needed significantly more of it back then than you do now. Even without trying, we can (and do) find news everywhere. Viral news used to be word-of-mouth, now it’s Facebook, text-message, Twitter, and smartphone based. And for those of us who are motivated to seek out the news, what awaits us is a universe of content, with value-added features like video content, blogs, commentary and discussion boards, and embedded links to related content. News sites will display the most popular or most relevant articles to intertwine and connect their readership more intricately to the world they so fervently wish to be aware of.
So my argument is thus: it may not be that we, as a generation, are more informed than our parents or Run DMC, it’s that, should we wish to be, we can be with the potential to be significantly more exposed, and even if we’re not motivated to be ultra-informed, by the nature of us being enveloped in a mesh of media the likes of which will trap even the smallest piece of information, we are. We just are.
By the way, does anyone else make it a point to text back the Cornell Emergency Service messages? I wonder who gets those… Please let it be Skorton…