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Monthly Archives: October 2011

These questions are in response to our readings which were citizen journalism and marketing.

  1. Are citizen journalist news sites like CNN’s iReporter censored by the companies?
  2. Most of the news I get is from Twitter and then verified by my own research on regular new sites. What does this mean for the news media as a business. Do they now take this into consideration?
  3. What happens to our “personal brand” when everything we do is on the Internet? What will happen to future politicians when so many are already involved in Internet and media based scandals?

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a Facebook detective. If I want to find something specific, I can usually do it, no matter people’s privacy settings. This might be a rather embarrassing story, but here goes. A person I know from my hometown got married. I’m not friends with her on Facebook, but wanted to see the wedding photos. Normally I’m pretty good as hunting down this sort of thing because I know to not only look at that person’s profile but also friends of friends’ profiles. While at first I couldn’t see anything because this person had made their profile private and their photos private (imagine my disappointment), as the days went by, I was still able to see more and more photos because she was slowly tagging someone with whom I am friends with on Facebook. I am sure the new bride has no idea that I looked at her photos and I’m sure that I’m not the only one of her non-friends who did. While this is kind of a complicated and trivial anecdote, it says something about Facebook’s “privacy” issues.

Nothing is really private. If that wasn’t clear to me already, Eva Galperin made it crystal clear when she spoke to our class today. One of the biggest take-aways, for me, was the fact that we, the Facebook users are NOT the target audience. We are the product. Facebook caters to advertisers, not their members. When users complain about a new feature, Facebook usually doesn’t and doesn’t have to do a thing about it. Most of the people I am friends with on Facebook don’t get this. They complain about each new update. I also found it interesting that Galperin referenced a study that dana boyd conducted by asking people if they understood their Facebook privacy settings. I was a little shocked to find out that 100% of the people she interviewed were wrong about their settings. I definitely belong in that group. For now, I just continue to head my mother’s advice, given to me long before social networks were popular: if you don’t want anyone to read it, don’t write it down.

After Glaperin talked about the ways in which government can use the information posted on social networks, I read an article about some police brutality that occurred this week during Occupy Oakland’s protest. The government asked Google and YouTube to take down videos of the brutality.  In this case, they’re trying to get the information off the social networks to hide it from people. Scary stuff.

These questions are in response to some articles on social networking. Articles here, here, here and here.

  1. When online chatting first became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, there was so much talk about child predators and whole shows based on it – To Catch a Predator anyone? Now, we don’t hear about that as much. Moms and dads warn their kids, etc. The new thing seems to be cyberbullying. I am wondering if these are things we just adapt to and if we create new social norms. In 10 years will be as worried about Internet privacy as we are now?
  2. When boyd talks about the Internet “having no walls” it brings me back to our discussion about Lessig and control and policing. She describes the Internet as a public place and describes it as a hangout for teens, much like a park or mall. If things get out of hand there, authorities are called…what happens when things get out of hand on the Internet?
  3. After hearing Réhab El-Bakry speak last week, I was reminded why anonymity can be important on social networks. Facebook really works hard to prevent pseudonyms. I am wondering if they could implement in these tough situations where anonymity is so important by using a convention Twitter uses – verification. If it’s a pretty important person, they can get verified. If it’s just a regular person, there’s no need.
  4. I actually read a danah boyd article for my research paper and had this bonus question: why does she choose to spell her name with lowercase letters? There’s a whole page about it on her website: http://www.danah.org/name.html.

Journalism in the age of data” is a documentary about data visualization. It really made me think about some of my choices during the infographic project. I think I was so caught up in functionality –which isn’t a negative, it’s just part of learning Flash, that I forgot about aesthetics. I believe my infographic had simple design and good color choices, but I think I could have delved a little deeper. There has to be a good balance between functionality/comprehension and aesthetics. The documentary had an example of a flowing infographic that featured box office trends that was stunning, but hard to understand and read. I think this example will really stick with me as I create more infographics as a good guide to balancing these concepts.

They mentioned in the documentary that most interactive infographics on news sites are still built with Flash. They make a template that can be adapted to different information. They use the template and then plug in the data. I thought this was really interesting and I am curious about their code. I wonder if you can just attach an excel document and it’s automatically updated or if the data is something that’s manually entered. Another interesting thing that’s happening is the introduction of websites that build data visualization for you. Programs like Google Charts, Swivle, Widgenie, and Woordle use the data you plug in to create visualizations in a matter of seconds. I wonder how this will change the production of infographics and data visualization.

I know we talked about intellectual property, remixing and open source on a much larger scale in relation to large corporations today in class, but it’s very much a part of everyday online subculture as well.

These issues of ownership pop up everyday on Tumblr. I saw an artist today that was all worked up because some one tweaked one of their illustrations and reposted it “like it was theirs.” In the subculture of indie designers and bloggers intellectual property is a hot topic. They complain all the time about not receiving credit for ideas, photos, designs, etc. The popular bookmarking site Pinterest allows users to bookmark ideas, recipes, inspiration, design, photographs… virtually anything.  Sometimes the bookmark is not credited to the original source, which upsets the creators. Many bloggers have even taken the time to write about how to correctly credit others for their work. (here and here as examples).

These discussions have really opened my eyes to how different the United States is from everywhere else. I remember earlier this year a typography designer, Jessica Hische, put out an artistic rendering of a flowchart entitled, “Should I Work for Free.” A Dutch designer took the concept and created an animated website (her’s is static/print) and put it online. Hische was livid. She confronted the designer and put the whole correspondence on Twitter so everyone could watch the battle. She threated lawyers, etc. and the Dutch designer was kind of shocked that she reacted this way. Like we’ve learned, copyright is a US thing. The Dutch designer didn’t think he was doing anything wrong and told Hische that he was improving the design and making it interactive. At the time I couldn’t understand why the Dutch designer thought this was okay and now his perspective makes sense.  (I tried to find the documentation of this online, but it seems as though she’s taken it down, he also took down his website).

My mother always said if you don’t want anyone to read it (see it) then don’t write it down. This is kind of how I feel about the Internet. Once you put it out there, it’s out there and can be manipulated by whom ever, wherever, whenever.

I struggle with these concepts as an artist. To be honest, I probably would be a little upset if something I created was taken, changed, and reproduced, but our discussions in class have made me reevaluate copyright.  Plus it’s much different if it’s remixed into something awesome, versus something terrible. Also there’s the issue of money, no one wants someone else to get paid for their work.

…And if we didn’t have remixes, we wouldn’t have Internet memes or Chris Kirkham’s pecha kucha. I know that I don’t want to live in a world without the Gregory Brothers.

  1. I found it super interesting that the author says that if you stole this book you are a thief, but if you found it like a dollar bill floating in the wind you’re not. So when we were sent this book on pdf by our professor, does it make it okay? And is he a thief? What about copying something and passing it around? Making a copy of a CD for a friend, does that make someone a thief? *UPDATE* I didn’t realize the text was available for free online.
  2. I wonder how Tumblr and other social networking sties, compare to MMOG games in cyberspace. While Tumblr users aren’t really playing a game, they are invested in cyberspace. They form communities and become invested in the people they follow. Some people use anonymous names and talk about their lives in detail –including work gripes, and life gripes in general. My point is you don’t have to be playing a game to be invested in cyberspace… checking Tumblr every five seconds is kind of the same thing as devoting hours to building your personality on Second Life.
  3. Should cyberspace be regulated? I think it should, although, I’m not really sure how. With a worm? I don’t think so, that seems a little too close to Big Brother to me. But when kids are being cyber bullied and committing suicide, there’s a problem.

After our class discussion, I realized I had a lot more in common with Henry Jenkins than I thought I did. Some of my favorite papers I wrote in my undergraduate communications classes were about pop culture, television and its effects on society.  I used to be a pop culture freak, but I’ve been sort of removed from it since starting the program.

I went back and watched the piece on Vimeo where he talks about transmedia. The images and video of Disney characters really struck a chord with me. As a kid, I really loved fairytales. I of course loved Disney movies, as any young girl does, but I loved them to the extreme. For example, I loved (and still do) love the story of Beauty and the Beast. I read every iteration I could get my hands on. I wrote and illustrated my own version.  I watch every move adaptation that comes out, including earlier this month when I watched “Beastly,” a pretty terrible version with Vanessa Hudgens and an Olsen twin.

We forget that stories like these originated around campfires. Jenkins made me remember that large media corporations have taken ownership and copyrighted stories that weren’t there’s to begin with. Fan fiction, parodies and participatory culture are helping to reclaim storytelling.  We’re always going to tell the same stories.  It’s fun to think about how storytelling will change and how our stories will be retold in the future. Possibly in a way that includes Lanier’s much loved idea of avatars.

Lanier’s perspective on the power of the individual voice and the downside to the masses is an interesting perspective in comparison to our other readings, especially Jenkins. I’m finding my feelings sort of flip-flopping between both “wisdom of the crowds” and the power of the individual. I think there has to be a fine line in between the two.

I am also interested a theory of Lanier’s that was brought up in discussion. It was said that we are focusing on how our brains change on with the technology instead of how the technology should be changing with our brains.  Not going to lie, lock-out sounds like a pretty scary thing.

Along the lines of taking control technology, I’d like to say we unfortunately lost a great innovator today, Steve Jobs. I’m pretty sure almost all of us wrote this blog post on an apple computer. His creativity, passion, and brilliance will be missed.