Best Blogs

Blog posts:

Just Put It Away

You get what you signed up for…

Blogs with Comments:

username: Augustmw

Comment 1

Comment 2

Above are the links to what I find are my best blogs and comments. The first blog, Just Put It Away, is a very good example of an opinionated piece. It does not close out other points of view, but it makes a very strong argument as to why technology gets in the way. The next blog, You get what you signed up for…, pulls in a personal experience to help make a case. It has the same writing style as the first blog, but focuses on more of a specialized issue. Over all these are the two best blogs post, in my opinion, that I have created this quarter.

The links to the comments will take you to the original blog post itself. They are both really good examples of comments because they first branch off of what the authors main points were and then open up the possibility of additional comments. They elaborate on more than just what the original blog stated and open up new insight into the topic.


Where does the value go?

In Jenkins article on Avatar Activism, he talks about how spreadable media is being used to promote causes that would otherwise go unheard, “civic media”. Although I am a very big supporter of such media, there is always a dividing line as to when it loses its actual value and becomes just another form of social currency. This is where the term “slactivism” comes in and can be scene all around us. By promoting causes through digital media, such as Facebook or Twitter, there is a great disconnect between those “taking part in the cause” and the actual cause itself. A very good example of this is the ice bucket challenge that was popular a few years ago. In “Take the “No Ice Bucket” Challenge” by Will Oremus, Oremus talks about how the challenge went viral but the cause did not. I can agree with his point of view on this. Although there was a great increase in the donations to the ALS Association, the cause was not as efficient as it could have been. Partway through his post he says, “A lot of participants are spending more money on bagged ice than ALS research.”, and this is a sad truth. After about 3 weeks of the challenge being spread around the videos dropped the ALS donation portion and it turned into a bunch of friends calling each other out on an ice challenge. Although it was effective for about the first two weeks, the value of the cause dissipated and it became more of a joke. Is there a way to keep the value with the cause? Or are all civic media trends due to die at some point and just become another piece of spreadable media with very little payback to society?

When Sharing Gets in the Way

Viral media is a very thought provoking and can be beneficial. However, there is still the side of it that can steal a person away from their lives for hours on end. In my previous post I mentioned how technology in general can cause people to miss what is going on around them. In article “The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You” by Maria Konnikova, she talks about research that was conducted to find out what causes media to go viral. It is pointed out that the idea of viral media is nothing new and that it can be traced all the way back to Aristotle. One of these key things to blow up a story is that it has some form of memory inducing side for the reader. This is easily understandable, but soon enough the memories that the individuals cherish will begin to fade and without the initiative to go out and create new ones, they will be thrown into a constant loop and will define themselves by what they have read online. Another interesting point is that both negative and positive frames of a story will cause it to be spread. This shows that media has gone so far that people don’t even just use it as a pick me up anymore or to communicate, they actually will use it to invoke any emotion they can. In Barry Levine’s post about when preserving a moment ruins the moment, he talks about a time when he disciplined his son and thought that his sons fit was so funny he did it again just to record it and post it on Facebook. He later goes on to talk about how a few moments after hitting upload he realized what he had done was not only an abuse of his authority, but also a wedge in his relationship with his son. This kind of thing is not uncommon, people will see something that they think is so funny that they do everything they can to recreate it in order to spread it. When you do this you take away from the authenticity of the moment you had to just share a dumb down version of it to your peers. When an unforgettable moment comes your way will you sit and enjoy it or will you stop paying attention to get the best shot to share it?

There’s Always a Bad Apple

When using the vast web it can only be assumed that there are those out there with ill intent. Whether they are just trying to get a laugh out of calling someone a name or if they are trying to go on a power trip and threaten someone. It cannot be avoided 100%, but there are steps that you can take to avoid such things. In a study done by the Pew Research Center, it was found that nearly 73% of all people online have either known someone or been harassed themselves. This is a scary high number and although they broke it down into sub categories, any type of harassment can be harmful. I tend to follow three easy guidelines that help me avoid getting harassed or at least be able to take it with a grain of salt. The first is the easiest, although words can hurt you just have to remember who they are coming from. If you are playing a game and someone is lighting you up with profanity and insults, just remember you don’t know them in real life. Their insults have no actually weight into who you are as a person and this makes it a lot easier to just look the other way. The next is don’t be a troll yourself. Although people can randomly get picked on, your a lot more likely if you paint a target on yourself by mocking someone. It sounds weird to say but the gaming community is very alpha based and if you show yourself as a challenger someone will take action. The last is something that may seem difficult but it also helps with spam. I have an email that is only used for social media and other online communities. It is not hard to obtain someones account information and once you do that you can either harass them, or even worse possibly acquire even more personal information about them. Here is a link to a blog posting in the tech community that outlines the uses of a spam email, on top of a web vs. local email. These three tactics only help for some things, there will always be those people a step further and when this is the case the report button or even the police are more helpful than just ignoring it. What do you do to prevent/avoid harassment?

You get what you signed up for..,

It can’t be considered a violation of your rights if you willing agree to obey a companies policies in order to use their services. People getting mad because they feel censored by a company is a very foolish idea to me. After reading Caitlin Dewey’s article about Charles Johnson, I am even more confused as to why people get so offended. I personally was suspended from Twitter and after petitioning it was turned down from activating my account. I then did a little bit more research on their policies that everyone must accept in order to start an account and found exactly what I had done to be banned. They suspended my account with the accusation of squatting and I am perfectly fine with that, because although it was not what I was doing at all I still must abide by their regulations. The idea of attempting a civil law suit over such an event is outrageous. Every company is privately owned and that gives them the right to control what is posted and what is not. As Caitlin Dewey said in her article, the constitution only protects you from the government not the CEO of Twitter or any other large social media site. They have every right in the world to filter their traffic in order to save face and make sure that their company is becoming what they intended it to be. It would be like opening up a restaurant and allowing people to throw food on the floor. Sure it is easy enough to pick it up at the end of the night, but the impression that any other patron gets will be skewed because of the action of another patron. No one likes a dive, so why do you think that you would have the right to make a website a dive. There is always the dark web for those that really want to troll their opinions, but there is no reason to put it on a platform that your grandmother could be using. Do you think that there should be more company control when it comes to what is posted on their service?

Breaking the Ceiling on the Web

The glass ceiling is not news when it comes to the world of business education. However, this has transferred onto the world of the web and has had some downsides. It is an unfortunate ideal that roots itself from early civilization, and has continued up until about the past 4 decades. As pointed out in Noam Cohen’s article about Wikipedia contributors, there is an irrational fear in a majority of woman that what they know does not complete the whole ideal. This puts Wikipedia at a loss, because their intentions are not to have only one editor create and maintain a page, but instead several people coming together to add information that others had missed. Wikipedia plans increase the number of woman contributors from 13% to 25% by the end of 2015, which seems like a very obtainable goal. They just have to expand the idea that as long as information is correct, the source of it does not matter. There should be no fear or backlash for a poorly edited article, nor should there be any praise for a very well written article. The only thing that truly matters is that information be passed onto other people, because knowledge is the key to success in life. In the current make-up of the web, most things you come across are anonymous and in having that anonymity they allow for everyone to come out and share with different perspectives. As a world we are blending into a common culture and there is no way to halt this. With the majority of people having access to social media and the internet the only thing we can do is to ensure that it is a transparent place that does not prefer one subsection over another.

Tuxedo at a Barbecue

As methods of conveying information continue to expand it is obvious that a one size fits all is no longer applicable. The idea of a standard form of citing a source in order to avoid copyright infringement is outrageous. The current methods such as MLA, APA, and Chicago, were all created to site a type of media that is rapidly becoming outdated. A majority of research is done online now using a variety of media sources such as journals, documentaries, or even social media. In the reading assigned this week on citing your sources the author states that just enough information should be given to allow the reader to find the source(could not find author). The author mentions that there is no real way to cite a cereal box using the conventional method and I think this pretty much sums up the directions that all media is heading. There is such a thing as being to formal with your citations. In the project that we are working on now the final result will be a one page paper that is made up images and strategically placed text. The message of the info-graphics would be diminished if there was an entire section almost as long as the assignment to cite the sources. No one wants to step on the toes of a hardworking individual that put in the time and resources to compile a work, but sometimes the copyright laws prevent advancements that could be made by using their work. Many of my ideals may be a hindrance to the “advancement” of society, but from a scholar outlook on this topic I feel that the rules should be relaxed a little bit. You always have the choice of not following conventional methods, but that leaves you exposed to infringement and no one wants to be on the tail end of that case. What will you do? Wear the tuxedo to a barbecue or dress for the occasion?

Way to Do Research

It is not unknown that the way research is done has been completely revised. It used to be that you would sit down with an encyclopedia and read just the basics on your topic and then branch off to published articles if your library had any. Now you can sit in front of a computer and type in just a few key words and get thousands of results back. In Nicholas Carr’s article about google he talks about how it is hard to read in depth when you find something on the web. This is very true for me and I am sure that it is true for most others. When doing online research I find that it is almost easier to get all of your sources opened up into different tabs and then print them out. In doing this you get rid of the physical disconnect that detours many of us from getting use of the articles and allows us to mark them up at our own pace. Although not all things have changed, for most reliable sources you need a subscription to the website in order to get access to the full article. On the Harvard College website they have an entire page dedicated to telling students that although Wikipedia is sometimes reliable, it is still a public posting forum. They recommend to students that they use the collection of academic journals they have compiled online and the services that they provide. This is not a foreign concept, Rose even has subscriptions to academic collections that you can obtain access to through the library. These are a much more trustful sources than a majority of what you will find online and the platforms have built in search engines that allow you to narrow down using key words and subjects. So next time you do a bout of research make sure to check the credibility of your sources and maybe unplug for a good portion of it just to see what you can find.

Just Put It Away

The current dependence on technology is almost frightening. Not being able to walk down the hall and make eye contact with your fellow peers as they walk past throws a wedge in the way that society works. In Emily Skorin’s article about going unplugged she mentions that on average a person will spend about 10.7 hours a day plugged in. That is almost half the day, take away another 8 hours for sleep and you left with only 5 hours of “me” time. One way that I have battled being so dependent on technology is creating windows where I can sit down and use my devices with little guilt knowing I have no other work to be done. Just set up a time period during the day that you can keep your device in hand and then for the rest of it just put it away. My addiction may not be as strong as others purely because I enjoy not having technology. I am a very simplistic person and I have gone two weeks at a time without any technology at all and survived. It’s called going out in nature. In Jon Henley’s article he talks about the health benefits and even knowledge you gain just by going outdoors. It is frightening that the current generation of youth have minimal exposure to nature and have lost the basic skills required to survive. For me personally it is extremely therapeutic to just put technology aside and enjoy all that is around me. Technology actually dumbs down my senses and I can feel myself being dazed as my eyes stare at my computer and phone. Another thing that technology interferes with is our interpersonal skills. Back to my point earlier about not being able to make eye contact with people as you walk past them, sending a text has become so much easier. It started with news that people may not like and a text is easy because you do not get a physical or verbal response to relate emotion to. Now people almost always communicate using technology and this take away from conversation skills such as being able to read facial expressions. I don’t want to imagine society in the next few years if we continue on this trend, I would rather be back in the days were you could wave hello to a neighbor as you walked down the street and get a friendly response in return. Next time you put your phone on the charger will you let it confine you to a room or will you go out and experience the world in a whole new light?