Monday, December 1, 2008

Final Essay -- Web 2.0 Medium -- Facebook

There are many Web 2.0 media that have contributed to the broad spectrum of communication, as we know today. Some examples are MySpace, Facebook, BitTorrent, Napster, Wikis, Google AdSense, and Flickr. Facebook appeals to many people because in a sense it has features that reflect other sites. There are applications that make the site fun, interactive, and more personable than other sites. The array of people that Facebook reaches is phenomenal hence the amount of new users annually. Facebook has evolved considering in 2004 it was only accessible on the Harvard campus. There are many aspects of the site that make it such a popular social network today.

Facebook is a social network that has many applications that keep users coming back for more. Some of the popular features that Facebook has to offer are wall postings, status updates, private messaging, and plenty of applications to keep busy for hours. Applications are programs that make Facebook so fascinating and addicting. These programs include but are not limited to photo sharing, groups, events, market place, graffiti, free gifts, and bumper stickers. An anchor for Facebook would have to be the photo sharing capabilities. It allows for photos to be uploaded effortlessly and the option to tag whoever was involved in the event. Tagging is simply putting a name to a face in pictures. Picture sharing is a popular feature because it allows for the user to show some side of their life that may or may not reflect them. Pictures mold users and give others a better understanding of this person. This is a good way to keep family and friends up to date on your personal life.

Other great applications that have made Facebook stand out are groups, events and the marketplace. Anyone can create a group on Facebook. This allows for diverse and distinct groups to be created. There are groups that range from politics to winter sports on Facebook. These groups are created to entertain and to involve users. Being part of groups gives users the sense of acceptance. We all like to be involved in some sort of community-based environment. Groups give users the opportunity to connect with others with similar interests, backgrounds, or views. This is important because, if no one on Facebook could relate would it be an affective social network? Event planning can be done on Facebook as well. There is an application where you can create an event and send it to whoever you want. This is a great feature for personal use as well as business use. For business purposes this is a great way to promote and advertise because it reaches thousands of users and it is free. An application that is very diverse and covers an array of subjects is the marketplace. Capabilities on the marketplace consists of selling items, wanted item ads, housing, and free stuff as well. These are all great technological affordance that Facebook offer its users and viewers.

There are many functions that Facebook has to offer its users. Of course Facebook is a social networking site and that is a big “function” but, there is so much more to the social networking scene. Being able to keep in contact with friends and family is a key to this site. There will always be horror stories that surface on every site such as Tracy Clark-Flory’s article about a pro-anorexia (pro-ana). Clark-Flory’s article Facebook status update: I’m anorexic, is about a pro-ana sites groups on Facebook that promote unhealthy eating habits. This is a downfall to the openness that Facebook allows but gives users the sense of virtual community.

Taking a college kid for example would be a great example. Johnny goes off to college and wants to keep in contact with friends from back home as well as family. It is easy to send private messages to mom and dad telling them about school. Convenient and fast to send them a message if he needs something or wanted to tell them about something that happened to him in the dorm, that he might be ashamed to let everyone know about. Johnny receives a message from his cousin in Florida and soon finds out from his cousin’s pictures that she has a baby on the way. They can post comments back and forth on the each other’s walls and catch up. The pictures from both parties allowed them to see what the other has been up to lately if anything at all. Johnny goes out one weekend and has pictures that he does not want his parents to see so he creates a new album using the photo application. This album allows Johnny to select who he wants to be able to view the album and limits other from viewing it. After all, Johnny’s parents would not be happy where the money went that they just sent him. Johnny logs into Facebook one day and notices his friends all joining the group, “Dutch Quad Is The Best”. Johnny joins the group and sees a couple people that he has seen around his quad and of course his roommates are in the group as well. This is a great way to network and meet new people on the quad. Then Johnny gets an invitation to an event in his hall where he meets Jill. They have fun that night and Johnny changes his profile to “in a relationship with Jill”. Jill buys Johnny his favorite movie, Bad Boys II, because she read Johnny’s interest section on his page. Then Johnny gets a call from his parents asking who is the girl that he “in a relationship” with? All this is possible because of the many features and applications that Facebook has to offer.

The Demographics for Facebook are very broad and consists of over 26 million users alone in the United States (’s article, Facebook Demographics 2008 Update – It’s Getting Older In There, breaks down United States users into several categories. Istrategylabs is a site that does content creation services and experimental marketing ( According to istrategylabs over 14 million of the 26 million users are in the age range of 18 to 24, that’s nearly 54 percent. Surprisingly the most users in the United States are from New York. Istrategylabs surveyed over 1 million users coming from New York alone. One important statistic gained from this survey is that over 11 million users are in college or alumni. In 2004 when Facebook first opened its doors to social networking it was only available to college students. This is most likely why the statistics are still so high for college and alumni compared to other sub-categories. An interesting fact from this data as well is the biggest interest on Facebook which is “Music”. Most believe that Facebook’s popularity is only going to grow and take over sites such as MySpace (Hinchcliffe). These are the most current demographics taken June 18, 2008 (

These numbers are going to take off considering the efforts of Facebook trying to go global. Regions where Facebook have launched in already are Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany ( In 2008, Facebook released over 20 additional language applications ( There are going to limitless connections that could happen amongst all these networks, once they are all up and going. Facebook has done a great job of expanding and really putting a though on social networking.

There are hundreds of reasons why people use Facebook. Assuming the population that uses it the most being 18 to 24, the use of Facebook is closely related to awareness. This age group is in a way obsessed with knowing what their friends are doing or letting people know what they are doing. The status update is at the top of every page and is tempting every user when they sign on to write what they are doing at that split second. Whether the status is for what one is doing over the weekend or what the day has planned ahead, it is constantly changing. A status update can lead a user to sign on and change their own or to see what their friends are up to. This is an easy, effortless way of managing friends and family member’s schedules without the stalker view some may perceive of you. Users sign on at least once a day maybe several times per day. This can be viewed as being in touch with other or as an addiction. It is hard to go on Facebook for one thing now. It use to be easy with the old format because it was not taunting you to look at everyone’s new pictures. Now as soon as one signs on the status box is at the top and then there is a list of friends updates that follow. This is a fantastic way to see what friends are doing and try to make plans with them. Again, there are too many reasons why people use Facebook.

According to Ryan Scoble’s blog, he uses it because it is more personal. He compares to Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter, Pownce, and Jaiku (Scoble). He says that LinkedIn does not suit his needs because too many people try to “link” to him because of his popularity (Scoble). This did not work for him and he went on to join Facebook. He said he liked Facebook a lot because you can separate contacts (Scoble). He has business contacts and he has personal contacts (Scoble). This is why Ryan Scoble uses Facebook and why it works for him. Of course there may be more that leads to his favoritism of Facebook over other sites but this is what appealed to him. Facebook has come a long way since 2004 and now appeals to a much larger market.

Facebook was created in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin ( At first it was only available on their Harvard campus but soon expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale ( By the end of 2004 Facebook has almost one million users (

In 2005 they achieve great heights when expanding to over 800 college networks and open up to high school networks as well ( At the end of 2005 Facebook has added international school networks, photo application is in position, and over 5 million active users are part of the site ( They raise nearly $13 million from Accel partners in venture capital (

In 2006 Facebook raises over $27 million, adds work networks, and the mobile application is launched ( The work networks are great because this opens up many avenues for employees to network outside of the work atmosphere. The mobile application allows for users to access Facebook on their phones and stay connected wherever they go. Along with the feed and mini feed being added in 2006 this is when Facebook finally is a totally open network and anyone can join. The feed system is important because this is how people are updated about their friend’s activities, events, and future events. Along with 12 million active users at the end of 2006 Facebook now have over 20 partner sites that are affiliated with the site (

In 2007 this was a tremendous year for expanding. Facebook had over 2 million Canadian users as well as 1 million United Kingdom users ( This is a big event because Facebook is now connecting people around the world. This is a crazy thought considering just a couple years back it was only on the Harvard campus. Hosting 20 million users Facebook now offers over 85 applications and are teamed up with over 65 developer partners ( Closing the year out with over 50 million users Facebook also has Microsoft aboard and working with them as well (

Facebook took networking to a whole new level when they decided in 2008 to expand to French, Spanish, and German. Later in the year they decided to release over 21 different language applications ( This is a great feature to really put an emphasis on networking. Facebook not only exists in the United States but in other countries as well and they are giving people of different backgrounds the opportunity to experience Facebook as well. An interesting application that Facebook came out with in 2008 as well is the “chat” application. This allows for users that are currently on Facebook to chat with one another. This is trying to act like the modern day AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Again Facebook is breaking into another niche of technology. These are the events over the past years that have accumulated to what Facebook is today.

Who would have thought that a Harvard based networking site would grow to over 50 million users less than 5 years later? None of this would be possible if the demand for a user friendly networking site was not on such a high demand. Yes, there was MySpace and other Web 2.0 sites that were out and growing. Not any of those sites could compare to what Facebook has built today. This site leaves user lost in a world that begs for more. Every other day it seems there is something new on Facebook with users waiting to eat it up. Just makes many wonder what is Facebook going to add next? These are the things that have made Facebook the giant network they are today and will push them forward in the future.

Clark-Flory, Tracy. (2008) Facebook Status Update: I’m Anorexic. Retrieved November 28, 2008, from (2008). Company Timeline. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Hinchcliffe, Dion. (2007) Facebook set to overtake MySpace? Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

iStrategyLabs. (2007) Facebook Demographics 2008 Update- It’s Getting Older In There. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Kirkpatrick, David. (2006) Why Facebook Matters. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Scoble, Robert. (2007). Why Facebook, why now? Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24th Observation

In the reading, Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky discusses the six degrees of separation. Shirky explains in this chapter the odds of meeting a person that that knows someone in your social network. Shirky really breaks down the chances of this happening and explains why this is not so odd after all. Some of the factors that Shirky use to explain the connections are “homophily, large groups being thinly connected, bridging, and bonding.

“Homophily is the grouping of like with like (Shirky, 213).” This could be closely related to my high school class. My graduating class was close to 600 students and we all knew each other some way or another. We all knew someone that knew someone and we were all linked in a sense. We did not know each other’s brothers and sisters names but we could most likely point them out by face. This is due to Skirky’s explanation of homophily and tight small networks.

Shirky explains that it is more efficient to know more people in small, tight networks rather than loose, large networks. Shirky says, “Instead of one loose group of twenty-five, you have five tight groups of five (Shirky, 216).” There might be less people in the overall number of connections this way but the group will be more resourceful and stronger.

The dodgeball social network was quite interesting as well. I did not know there was such a network where you could relay current position and the network would tell all your friends. I like how the network connected Shirky and Andy using friend-of-a-friend networking. This is pretty neat and practical.

Overall I thought this chapter was very interesting in the actuality of someone knowing a person in my social network. I thought it was resourceful to have a larger social network but after reading this article my views have changed. Shirky’s diagrams on the connection patterns clarified why small, tight networks are better than big, loose networks.

Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reading for 11/12/2008

For today’s class reading I read Shout into the wind and it shouts back, by Lori Kendall. LiveJournal reminded me of blogging. It is more like a diary in which you can talk about whatever you want, but I think mostly personal or everyday events. Of course a network of friends, family, and coworkers may have access to this so you have to watch what you say or don’t say. I believe this is good for people that feel they have to express every thought on their mind. Also this site is good for social networking. It is neat how you can link to friend’s journals and search their friends as well. This is similar to FaceBook or MySpace but of course this is a journal type atmosphere.

In this reading Kendall explains her two years of observation about LiveJournal and her recordings. The participants were in their late 20s to late 30s. Most of them have education up to a bachelor’s degree and she points out several of their jobs.

Some important studies she got from this were the separation of personal and work life. I think this should be the case for many things. Also surprisingly there are technicalities that LiveJournal sometimes goes through and filters can fail. This can create awkward or threatening situations in many cases. Kendall also concludes that the observers were pleased with the control they had with their own journals but were dissatisfied with the limited control on others journals.

I think that LiveJournal is a great way to relieve everything on your head and keep track of life. There are so many things that run through our heads daily that we forget. LiveJournal could be beneficial whether personal or business related. I have heard about LiveJournal but after this article I believe I will put some exploration into this site.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Dallas Cowboys Blog

A blog is a website where an individual could express their own personal feelings, interests, and opinions. This place is not limited nor should it be. Where all these blogs exist and are making such an impact is in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is the whole blogging world, which consists of all blogs and well as their community. A Blogger is the individual who creates a blog or reacts to a blog. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of a “Blogger”? Is it the stereotypical picture of a disheveled, computer-addicted individual? You may still be thinking when are they going to move out of their parent’s house and make an impact on society? Well if this is the outlook you had on Blogger’s then you have no clue what they have created. All these so called “basement rats” that blog all day long are making an impact on society and doing so in a remarkable way. Blogging @merica written by Aaron Barlow says, “As of April 2007, Technorati, a major blog monitoring service, claimed to be tracking more than 75 million blogs.” 75 million blogs is a huge number and this means that people are out there expressing their opinions on all sorts of subject matters. Over the past couple of weeks we have been reading

Blogging @merica in class and learning a lot more about the blogosphere. Barlow states in chapter two (pg 36) that, “… blogs have become important to many people’s lives.” Over the past week I have noticed that this is especially true when it comes to public opinion and feeling part of a community. People get attached to blogs and blogging and treat it as if it is a community. The past week I have observed a football blog. I visit this site a couple times a week regularly to find out the latest news on my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. This site consists of many users that react to blogs that are posted by editors on the site. What I do not like about the site is the possibility of changing your identity so easily. You do not have to be a member or sign up. All you have to do when commenting is provide a name and an email address. This makes it a lot easier for trolls to disrupt the community norms. For the most part people respected each other’s opinions and defended what they believed in.

A big topic right now in the Cowboy community is the possibility of making the playoffs or not. A discussion arose in one blog Saturday November 8th about playoff hopes. The cowboys are in last place in their division right now and they are competing with two other teams for a wild card spot to make the playoffs. The New York Giants were playing one of those teams and there were two outcomes of the situation. If the Giants won the Cowboys could compete with the two other teams to win the wild card. If the Giants lost it would be harder for the Cowboys to get into the playoffs because all the teams would be close in record and the Cowboys are currently in last place. Many of the users posts you could feel they were offended or thought they were right. This is what makes it seem so realistic because people get really defensive on a subject that will no longer be talked about in 3 months. Many users feel they must post their opinions in this blog and predict the Cowboys wins and losses. I think that people post their reactions on here because they want to feel part of a community they are interested in. They have to feel that they actually are heard and they are making a difference when they post on this site. Chances are low that many people have Dallas Cowboy fan groups in their towns and have meetings in town halls about the future of the team. I think many of Blogger’s surround themselves in communities that they feel they make a difference in. This is a main reason why blogging has become so big. Public opinion plays a huge role on subject matters and especially in the blogosphere.

You can start your own blog or blog in someone else’s and receive instant feedback. Many people do not feel like they can express themselves at work or discuss such topics at home. I think this has become a reason why bloggers are so powerful. As compared to in my observations on the Cowboys blog I found that people like to feed off one another. On November 8th a user (GO DALLAS!! SUPER BOWL-TAMPA!!) posted that the cowboys are a 250 to 1 underdog in going to the Super Bowl. These are the comments that are put in here that stir the pot. Then you get the side of the diehard Cowboy fans that rebel and say they are going to win and support with their opinions. The blogosphere is made up of opinions and this is why they are becoming so strong. When people post their own opinions and the mass start to agree with them, then you start to think this opinion is fact. This outlines the ongoing battle between journalists and bloggers that Barlow speaks of in his book as well.

I posted a couple times in the blog about free agency. I feel that I was well respected and people were there for opinions and heard me out. There were many free agents that were available that the Cowboys could have picked up and they did not. I commented and stated my opinion and stated who I was talking to in the blog. I feel that the conflict in a blog is great for the community. There is no fun if everyone likes the Cowboys because we are all on the same page. If there are people that oppose the Cowboys then we can state our case and vice versa. Of course there were a couple trolls that were in every other blog. A particular troll that stood out was Chris. He was not liked because he went to every blog and compared the presidential election to the Cowboys season. He was saying since a Democratic president has been in office to take over next year, the Cowboys will turn it around. I think the community did not like this because he would just say what he had to say and not contribute much further. He was called names and pretty much disliked by all.

I learned a lot over the time period that we have spent on blogging and the blogosphere. Barlow’s book definitely puts emphasis on the real blogosphere and how people are reacting to the change. Again, the Dallas Cowboys blog was informational and a well respected blog environment. Many people are taking time from their daily lives to contribute to these online communities and I think it is great. Some people do not have a large number of friends and blogging is a great way to feel part of society. Blogging has affected many views and I believe that it will only grow and become more of a national norm.

Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers. Retrieved November 4th, 2008, from

November 8th Observation

The first blog that I was in today was about the Giants and Eagles game. People were immersing themselves with scenarios so the Cowboys could make the playoffs. I think the Cowboys should root for the Giants to win so they are not fighting more teams for a Wild Card berth. This is the breakdown of the Eagles and Giants game and the affect on the Cowboys. If the Eagles win they are two games ahead of the Cowboys in their division. This puts the Giants a couple of games ahead as well and the Redskins (the other team in the NFC division) will be ahead of the Cowboys too. On the other hand if the Giants win then the Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys will all be competing for the wild card spot. The division will be much closer except for the Giants that basically look like they will go on and win the division. The blog consisted of mixed reviews.

For the most part many of the users think that the Giants should win so the rest of the division is bunched up. The Eagles and Redskins have pretty tough games ahead for the rest of the season. This is a good thing for the Cowboys and their future playoff spot. Users agree that the Cowboys have to win most of their games from here on out. They are all giving situations if the Giants win or if the Eagles win and so on. This is a pretty touchy subject because it involves the remainder of the Cowboys season. No one wants December to come and not see their team in the playoffs. To my surprise the same guy (chris) came into this blog once again posting his moronic remarks about the Cowboys winning because a Democrat got elected into office. This time he did not get any reactions to his comment. The blog closed with a user comparing the Cowboys to David and Goliath. GO DALLAS!! SUPER BOWL-TAMPA!! Said David was a 250 to 1 underdog and he won. You can tell this guy is one of those diehard Cowboy fans that paint their face on game day even though he is home watching the game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 7th Observation

I first jumped into an interesting article about a previous player for the Dallas Cowboys, Daryl Johnston, and his views on Cowboy fans. He argued that many people are bandwagon fans and are throwing in the white towel already to give up. He is saying since the Cowboys started out with a bang and they were doing exceptionally well, now that they are in the hole their fans are abandoning ship.

The bloggers were not too happy about this article. Right off the bat there was a couple people that said they were Cowboy fans to the end whether doing good or bad. It once again went off football talk and back to politics. This is getting to become routine now the whole mix of football and politics. Rudypm says the Cowboys have to stand up and take charge like Obama. This sparks a couple users attention and feelings start coming out. Ernest t rat throws in a smart remark about raising taxes and re-distributing them out to the NFL and Mo challenges his statement. Mo says that at least it would be a change for the cowboys and that is what they need. Ernest t rat then comes off, living up to his character, and states that Stalin and Hitler brought change as well. I believe all three of these users want change for the Cowboys but disagree on how to accomplish this. It is crazy to see how defensive people get about their favorite sports team and the measures they go to show their emotion.

November 6th Observation

The first article that I read today was on T.O. once again. It was on his reactions this season and how mellow he has been. He has not blown up like he usually does and is well known for. Every Cowboy fan is frustrated on how they have been playing. To be a player and be calm is a totally different thing. I think if I was a player I would be even angrier because the team stats are representing me as well. In this blog the bloggers are giving T.O. his credit for keeping his cool. It was a coin flip when the Cowboys went after T.O. for a player. Some fans thought it was crazy to get him based on his character. Then the other half thought that he is an excellent wide receiver and we should take a shot. Overall T.O. has been an asset to the Cowboys organization and most fans think so as well. There was another post about how the Democrats are in office and how the Cowboys are going to dominate once again. I think these guys are crazy to think since one party holds office it affects the outcome of a football team. The user that kept posting this got some nasty comments because he was leaving similar messages in all the blogs. I think it is funny how it goes from football and turns homosexual after about one reaction. Chris Crapcha on a graham craka says that cris is a moron and un-clever for comparing the two and it takes about a half hour for cris to react. They go off on another tangent but this shows how the users like to protect their community. Chris Crapcha on a graham craka is expressing that cris is filling the blogs with garbage and demoralizes him in efforts for cris to stop. This was the most interesting article today with the most chemistry in it.

November 5th Observation

The first article that came out today was about the game Sunday night against the New York Giants. It seems that people are really mad at the coach. They are saying how Wade Phillips is not worthy to be the Dallas Cowboys coach and they need a new head coach. I found it weird how it went from a game from a couple days ago to the presidential election. I mean it was the day after the election but everyone seemed oblivious to the topic that was originally at hand. I do not think Cowboy fans like Obama very much. One blogger put Obama’s change in presidency is just as unlikely as the Cowboys making the Playoffs.

Another article covered today was Terrell Owens, also known as T.O., outlook on the previous couple weeks of the backup quarterbacks. Understanding the mindset of T.O. is key before hearing anything about what he says. He is the type of player that likes the attention on him. He is a loud mouth player and likes attention. He is a good player when he is fed the ball and makes plays but when he does not get his way, move out of the way. He has been fined many of times for his behavior and will most likely be fined in the future for his behavior. He likes to celebrate and entertain when he scores and that has cost him thousands of dollars. To sum T.O. up he is a showboat. The article spoke about how T.O. said the backup quarterbacks were horrible and he is glad that the starting quarterback, Tony Romo, is back. T.O. said, “If I'm open and I don't get the ball, then I don't get the ball. There's nothing really I can do. I can't throw and catch the ball myself. I can only just do what I can control." This is just a typical statement from T.O. This perfectly sums him up as a player. I personally like his attitude because I think he is a good player and goes out there and gets his job done. The fans on the blog seem to disagree with T.O. and are complaining about his character and say he fumbles too much. One blogger compared the Cowboys winning to Republicans in office and Democrats in office. He goes on to state the years that they won while the Democrats were in and vice versa. I thought this was really interesting. It happened to be that they absolutely dominated while the Democrats were in office. He goes on to conclude that the Cowboys are going to rule for the next four years while Obama is in office.

November 4th Observation

So the blog that I chose was on the Dallas Cowboys. As many of us already know they are an National Football League (NFL) team. They have been struggling over the past couple of years to get into the Super Bowl where they belong, but they keep choking. I was going to do a blog on but I visit this site everyday and did not realize it was a blog type news report. Well today there was the first article that caught my attention about Monday Night Football. The Cowboys were not even playing on Monday Night Football and they still got mentioned. The broadcasters related back to the game from the previous day on Sunday November 2, 2008. The Cowboys played the New York Giants and got blown out. They were not even close in this game mainly because they did not have their starting quarterback, Tony Romo. He got hurt a couple weeks back and fractured his pinkie finger. Everyone is on the Cowboys back because they are expected to do well and they are not competing at the level they should be. The people posting to this article mostly agree with the author of the article that the Cowboys should be doing a lot better. Much of the loss can be contributed to the loss of the Cowboys starting quarterback but that is an excuse everyone does not care about. Cowboys overall have to pick up the slack and get it together to even think about the playoffs.

It is funny to see that a couple articles later talks about the head coach, Wade Phillips, saying how he thinks the Cowboys will have a strong finish. The article says that the Cowboys have to win the next 5 out of 7 games to even contend for a playoff spot. I think this is going to be pretty hard considering the teams that they are playing. Three tough teams that they are going to have to play are the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers. These are all solid teams that will give the Cowboys a run for their money. The Giants already embarrassed the Cowboys while the Eagles gave them a really close game. There were mixed feelings on the Cowboys making the playoffs in this blog. It seems that the diehard Cowboy fans are getting mad that people doubt that they will make the playoffs. The Cowboys are not going on the field with that championship spark. They were playing solid football in the first couple of weeks and then they lost it. It is going to be a tough road to make the playoffs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October 22 --> Wiki information any good?

In the reading "What's on Wikipedia and what's not . . . ?" by Cindy Royal and Deepina Kapila they speak about Wikipedia and how useful it is as a source. On page one they state that "Wikipedia is more a socially produced document than a value-free information source. It reflects the viewpoints, interests, and emphases of the people that use it (Kapila & Royal, Pg 1)." These two sentences perfectly sum up the whole article.

There are many factors that contribute to the inaccuracy of Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is a wiki type encyclopedia, anyone can comment on it and change information about a certain topic. There is a board that reviews the changes on certain terms but that does not validate the accuracy of everything on the site. People may leave their own opinions on the site and they may have a biased opinion on a term. Upon reviewing a term that has favoritism toward a subject matter this reflects the opinions of others. So now we have an encyclopedia forming around biased opinions rather than being an information source. This is a highly viewed inaccuracy of the site.

Turning our attention toward the review of the literature on Wikipedia there are many inaccuracies as well. After looking at many articles on Wikipedia Denning, Horning, Parnas, and Weinstein (2005) noticed that found that much of the content is focused toward frequent internet users and the youth (pg 152). They also mention that much of late history is vaguely touched upon and may be inaccurate. These are important factors because alot of this information we are using in our essays for school and as scholarly sources. Again this is another downfall of the overall content of Wikipedia.

There are many views on Wikipedia as well as great information. Some may be biased and not what you are looking for. All in all I would try to find other sources besides Wikipedia when looking for information.

Royal, Cindy & Kapila, Deepina. (in press). What's on Wikipedia, and what's not . . . ? Social Science Computer Review.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Essay --- Facebook/Web 2.0

There are many Web 2.0 media that have contributed to the broad spectrum of communication, as we know today. Some examples are MySpace, Facebook, BitTorrent, Napster, Wikis, Google AdSense, and Flickr. The medium that I chose to research is Facebook. Facebook is a social networking website with many applications that make the site more exciting. Some applications include graffiti wall, sports betting (fake money), personality tests, and group making applications. There are many sources that I have evaluated for the content of my final essay. I will be basing the my resources on the criteria Bonnie Tensen lays out in “Research strategies for a digital age.” The six main things to look for when analyzing an article are purpose, source, intended audience, date publication, appearance, and reputation (pg 80).

First I started out with the Yahoo! Search engine to look for articles. The keywords that I used for the search was “Facebook web 2.0”. I chose these words because, I thought that Yahoo! would bring up any information with relevance of web 2.0 technology related to Facebook. The first article that I looked at was, “Will Facebook Platform Be The New Arbiter Of Web 2.0?” written by Scott Karp. The first thing that I noticed about this article was the date, which was, May 27, 2007. I would say this article is a bit outdated compared to what I want to look for on my paper. Considering the article is also a blog focused on music only I would not use it because it has one focus. The next article on Yahoo! that I found was, ”Will IBM compete with Facebook/Web 2.0?” written by Dennis Howlett. This article lost my interest right away because it was also sort of outdated with a publication date of August 10, 2007. I decided to read further into the article and found it to be a little intriguing. I find it interesting how they are talking about bringing IBM into the social networking world. The page layout and appearance was very professional which made me want to read the article. This could be a useful source and I wont take it off the list just yet. The third site on Yahoo! was “Facebook set to overtake MySpace” by Dion Hinchcliffe. This is another blog from the same site as the second article that I just looked up. This could be a positive thing because if there are many articles from this site maybe it can help the sites reputation. Reputation is a good thing to look for because, you do not want to use a site that has a bad reputation that you may not know about. This page was created a little over a year ago but has some good facts. It compares two huge social networking sites. This is a great thing to compare when looking at web 2.0 and names in the same field. These were the three sites that I chose on Yahoo!.

The next search engine I chose was Google. Again the keywords that I chose were “Facebook web 2.0”. The first article that I looked at was “How Facebook Is Bringing Web 2.0 Mainstream”. This is a blog from a user on 9rules and is a pretty good description of Facebook and how it incorporates all the essentials of web 2.0. I would most definitely use this as a source on paper because there are great facts in this article as well as key terms associated with Facebook and web 2.0. This was the only useful article I got off of Google. I was really surprised and disappointed at the same time, so off I went to Ask Jeeves.

When I typed in the same keywords in Ask I got a lot of the same articles that I saw on Yahoo! and Google. The first different one that I retrieved was ”ABC News, Facebook add Web 2.0 angle to presidential race”. This article was from November of last year and very interesting. This article spoke of the presidential debate and how the new technology may play a roll on voters. We are talking about this same topic in another class as well and I find this article to be useful. This article is from a computer site which serves the purpose of letting people know about new technology. The next article was “MySpace, Facebook bantering at Web 2.0 conference” posted by Caroline McCarthy. This article is great because it talks about MySpace another social networking site and how it has to catch up to Facebook in a sense. This site is very professional and has commentary from the CEO of MySpace which makes it more reputable. The third article “A Very Facebook Web 2.0 Summit” by Frank Gruber is about his experience at web 2.0 conferences. He talks about how Facebook is a huge topic at all these events and how popular it has become. This article is from October of last year but brings up important topics about web 2.0 as well as Facebook. The next article that I looked at was very attention grabbing. It was called "Facebook hack fuels web 2.0 concerns" by Matt Hines. It spoke about an application on Facebook that people downloaded and it was actually an adware program that was disguised. This article points out that this is the first attack on Facebook while there have been many attacks on MySpace already. This article is useful because it is from January 2008 and its purpose is to inform users of possible threats on Facebook. These are the articles that I found on Ask Jeeves that would pertain to my final essay.

The next place that I chose to look for articles was on University at Albany’s library database. I did an overall search for “Facebook” so it could search everything. The first article that I retrieved was ”Evaluating Web Content Social Networking Sites”. This article spoke about social networking site communities and it happened to mention Facebook. There was not much information about Facebook on here, just information about it related to social networking. I did not expect there to be much information on the databases with Facebook because it is a fairly new technology. This page did not serve much of a purpose for me and I most likely would not use it on my paper. The next page I found was “Introduction to the Internet” which basically was a timeline. This gave a brief history on the Internet and how it was formed and such and it gave years in which big events happened. In 2004 Facebook was mentioned about being a web 2.0 technologies. There is not much information on Facebook or web 2.0 so the only time I might use this source is if I was looking for an event pertaining to my topic. I did not find the library resources very useful because it did not cover my topics that much. This may be because the technology is new compared to the information the library has.

I think with the information I have retrieved from the three search engines and the little information from the library database I am well prepared for my final essay. I could give pros and cons of Facebook as a medium as well. Educating the public on this issue should not be a problem using these resources that I have researched.

Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research strategies for a digital age (Chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quality of Information ---> October 13, 2008

In today’s reading Research strategies for a digital age by Bonnie Tensen she explains how to determine the quality of information online. She states on pages 72 the key differences between search engines and subject guides. Tensen explains how “Yahoo! organizes its search mechanisms around subject categories.” Every search engine does not follow this same set of steps. “Many search engines use “robots” or “spiders” that rank pages according to algorithmic programs. These programs search the whole page and look for the keywords in the text (Tensen, pg 72).” Subject directories on the other hand use “guides”. Tensen define the job of “guides” as, “steering the user to the most appropriate sites and help them avoid inaccurate and/or unverifiable Web pages.” This is why a directory would be more useful for research rather than a search engine. These are many of the ways that data is retrieved but there is more to look at when it comes to validity of content.

There are many things that have to be observed when looking at Web pages to find it suitable to use. Tensen gives six valid points to look at when reviewing an online source. They are purpose, source, intended audience, date of publication, appearance, and reputation (pg 80). These are all great areas to look into before using any publication for a resource. I think the areas that would give the piece of writing the most credit would be the purpose why they wrote it and the intended audience. Hopefully with students using these check marks teachers will not second guess online content as much.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9/24/08 Reading --> Web 2.0

Today’s reading by Tim O’Reilly titled, What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software, compares the old with the new. After reading this article I realized that Web 2.0 does not have a specific definition. All in all it describes the Internet’s many faces. The author of the reading, O’Reilly, has a “meme map” that shows the many topics Web 2.0 covers. Some of these topics include hackability, the perpetual beta, software that gets better the more people use it and rich user experience. This article explains the old versions of topics and then explains the new version.

O’Reilly goes on to compare Netscape and Google. In this section O’Reilly discusses how Netscape is the old way of “the web as platform” and Google is the new wave (O’Reilly). Google is just in a different wave of Internet software era. There is so much more to the Internet today. Some big features include blogging and live video. What I got out of this was Netscape is the black and white form of Google. O’Reilly says, “Google’s fellows are other internet applications like eBay, Amazon, Napster, DoubleClick, and Akamai.”

The internet is an ever growing environment. We do not know if in a decade if the Internet is going to be the same medium as we are use to today. O’Reilly does a nice job of comparing the old with the new in this article.


O’Reilly, Tim (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation Of Software.Retrieved August 21, 2008 from ttp:/

Essay #2 --> iPhone Group

Social mediums where individuals interact via the Internet include IRC, MUD’s, MOO’s, Email lists, and Usenet. Over the past week I observed a Usenet channel. Usenet as defined by Wikipedia are “users that read and post public messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles bulletin board systems (BBS) in most respects, and is the precursor to the various web forums which are widely used today.” Usenet groups can have several different topics that are opened and they are called threads. When people comment back to the opened thread they are posting. The Usenet group that I looked at for a week was on Yahoo! and the group was about the iPhone. The iPhone is classified as a smart phone for the resemblance it has to PC’s. Features such as MP3 player, GPS, video, e-mail, and the use of internet on the iPhone make it such a hot phone for today’s phone market. This group has been a great informational forum as well as a predictor to what I thought it would be like. Usenet groups act as great customer service sites, which can easily lead to free riding.

Free riding is a problem that many feel effect the integrity of learning. The reading "Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities" by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith define the free rider problem as “a resource from which all benefit, regardless of whether they have helped create the good.” The iPhone group has many users that are dependent on other people to help them solve the problems they have. On September 19th, 2008, the first day of observation, I noticed a forum where Mike (brokecarguy45) wanted a headset. In the thread that Mike opened he wanted someone to give him a headset that he could listen to music on and receive phone calls on as well. I consider this the lazy way to gather information about a product that might be of interest. Asking for reviews on a product is one thing, but asking for a specific headset to use is another. Mike is guilty of the free rider problem. This is not a huge academic free rider problem but let’s look at it according to Kollock and Smith’s definition. Everyone that reads the thread that may have some interest in a headset like this is going to benefit. Bill (boulware0224) commented back on the thread and gave him a headset that would accommodate his needs. Now I am sure that Bill put in his time to research this headset, now Mike is going to reap the benefit of Bill’s research. This is just a minor form of free riding but in my view definitely falls under the category.

On September 20, 2008, my second day of observation, I noticed a customer service thread. A guy was trying to send a text message with a picture attached using his iPhone. The iPhone offers many features but does not offer this form of image sharing. The only way you can send a picture is to send it to a recipient’s e-mail. This user would have tried many different ways to try to send a picture through a text message but, he decided to see what other people had to say. This could easily be translated into the user being smart and trying to find a quick answer to his problem. I translated this into free-riding. The user should read up on his phone and learn more about what the phone has to offer. I am sure the information booklet that he received with his phone goes over this subject. Free riding is such a problem because it is so easy. Related to an academic setting, going to class and listening to the class discussion about a matter is easier than spending an hour and a half reading. This supports free riding being so accepted in the eyes of many. But certainly it is not.

Over the next couple days of examining this Usenet group I noticed a couple of other interesting things. Yes, many of the threads were relevant to people having problems with their phones. There were a lot of customer service problems that were solved as well. As far as the group community it was very well run and everyone was respected. No one would criticize what others had to say. It seemed all the users were open to anyone’s ideas and opinions on all topics. On the last day of looking at the iPhone group Brian (roqabilly) lost some of his music on iTunes. He thought that all of his music was lost and he was really upset about it. Bill (boulware0224) responded and gave him information on recovering his music. Bill could have easily criticized Brian about his lack of knowledge on media recovery; instead he lent a helping hand. After the couple of days I got the idea who was on everyday from all the posts. There are users that were on everyday helping others and played a regular role in the community. This type of involvement leads to the ease of free riding. This is clear because, if someone has a problem why would they go and research it when they could get a fast response on here? As far as gender on this group it seemed it was predominantly male. Over the five day span if I saw three names that looked female it was a lot. On Yahoo! the user’s nickname is displayed as well as their full name registered with Yahoo! when signing up. This is why I concluded there were more males involved with the group than females. These are all characteristics of this group I analyzed over the five day period.

The areas that caught my attention over the observation period were customer service, the free riding problem, community atmosphere, and gender role. Many users go on these groups because they have problems and want answers conveniently. It is definitely a convenience when you can open a thread and receive comments on your topic. The knowledge and involvement of some members make it easy to free ride as well. Users will abandon the old method of research because it is simple to redeem information someone else did the leg work for already. The atmosphere of the group was very laid back and welcoming. This creates a comfortable environment for the group and future members. Last but not least gender role was dominated by male in this group. I do not know if this is due to more males owning an iPhone or maybe females tend not to free ride as much. This sums up the many norms I noticed about the iPhone group.


Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflic in computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross cultural perspectives (pp. 110-111). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

iPhone Group --> 9/23/08

Today is the last day of my group observation. I have seen a lot of similar characteristics in most of the threads that I have followed. A lot of the threads people ask for help and many people with more experience give them advice. Many users that help others out are people that come on the site every day. Some of these people are Bill (boulware0224), Victor (vic_healey), and Brian (roqabilly). These members seem to be in many threads and are always posting new things. They are very helpful people and tend to voice their opinions in a respectful manner when they do. I noticed that even though you may be able to help many people from your experiences, sometimes you run in to problems that seem helpless.

After reading a couple of threads I realized that Brian (roqabilly) ran in to a problem. Unsurprisingly Bill (boulware0224) was one of the people lending a hand. Brian lost a lot of his iTunes information today when he was attempting to send music to his iPhone. Let’s keep in mind that when adding music to your iPhone it is as simple as connecting a wire to the phone, selecting music from iTunes to transfer, and then waiting for the music to sync over. Of course when Brian tried to do this somehow his iPhone wiped out a bunch of his music in iTunes. Bill gave instructions to Brian on how to recover his music as well as the album artwork that Brian was also concerned about.

I think Yahoo! groups are very helpful solutions to everyday problems. Of course there is customer support that people can call if they have a serious problem. Being able to come on a group and letting your problem be known and having confidence that people will answer is comforting. I have learned a couple neat things reading the last couple of day’s worth of threads as well. This group overall is very knowledgeable and definitely an asset to iPhone users. An interesting observation that I came across is the moderator involvement.

There are a couple moderators for this group but over the last couple of day I have not seen one post from them. This is a good thing in my opinion for the sake of the group. I am also part of another phone forum and at least once a day a moderator will take action against someone’s post. Moderators are leaders that take control and keep the group community at ease. I do not think that this is a particular group that would need a lot of moderator involvement. After five days of observation I would give this group a five star rating as far as content and community respect.

Monday, September 22, 2008

iPhone Group --> 9/22/08

Today I tracked a few of my previous threads that I followed. First is the thread on word games opened by Kathryn. She finally decided to buy a word game titled Wurdle. She already admitted that she is addicted to this game already. This is pretty funny because I am sure she is enjoying the game but I wonder if it is for the right reason. Does she play it to get to the next level or is she really expanding her vocabulary. Again, this links back to my thought of phone games actually being used for what they intend to set out to do.

The second thread that I see activity in is Victor about the program for his checking account activity. He posted today that he got the program. Not only did he get the program he put it to work pretty fast. He deposited a check to his account and transferred book money to both his kids in college. I think this is a pretty neat tool to have on a phone. This could save some time and money in the long run. This saved time because he did not have to go to the post office to mail the money. It saved money as well because he did not have to buy stamps or possibly the money order, he most likely would have sent a check though. All in all this is a cool app that makes life easier by the touch of a couple buttons.

The last thread that I recognized when browsing was the headset thread opened by Mike. Mike was no longer the main subject in his thread. This thread involved many users involved in wireless headsets. Many people ordered new headsets because of the information they learned on this thread. A lot of discussion went on in this thread about advantages and disadvantages on certain headsets. This thread was very laid back and everyone respected each other’s opinions. The last post was a user’s order number for a new headset he had purchased. This post is great advertisement for wireless headsets for sure.

iPhone Group --> 9/21/-08

To my surprise today the first thread that was responded to was Kathryn’s thread about word games. There was a user that posted their favorite game and said it was highly addictive and everyone should have it. This is funny because when Kathryn opened the thread she wrote that she wanted to expand her vocabulary. I have played many word games online and I find that many are addictive because the main goal is getting to the next level or trying to beat a high score. I am not too sure about the format or objective of the word game LEXITRON but I am sure it is a typical point basis game. I do not feel that these games would expand vocabulary that much because making everyday common words will most likely be the first thoughts. This is just my opinion on usage of word games and the real meaning behind them.

Another interesting topic that was brought up in a thread was personal information. The thread was first opened by Victor (vgrazi899) who was looking for a program that could help him track his checkbook transactions on his phone. He stated that he had another phone (Palm Treo) that had the program but could not find anything similar on the iPhone. He wanted to link his online activity to his phone so he could be up to date with all the checks he wrote out. To make a long thread short it led to a personal information thread. The thought of other people using your phone and seeing your financial records was a topic. This was easily shot down with the password protection feature. Is this going to be another way of identity theft? There will always be someone out there trying to hack into computers. Is keeping all financial records on a phone a safe move? What happens if the phone is lost or stolen and it does not have password protection? These are all valid questions that Victor would think about before getting a program like this. Better technology always attracts someone that thinks they are smarter and wants to hack into the system. This could definitely lead to valuable information in the wrong hands.

iPhone Group --> 9/20/08

I looked at some of the threads today and a couple are people that are not finding things on the phone. One guy could not figure out how to send pictures on his phone, he was trying to send a message with an attachment. I knew this previously before reading this that the new iPhone does not offer this feature. The only way that you can send pictures on an iPhone is to select the picture and send it via email. It is not possible to send or receive pictures on the iPhone via text message.

What is interesting about the Yahoo! groups is the fact that you can see the person’s real name as well as nickname. I think this is interesting because a lot of forums that I previously have used, a nickname is created and displayed. I looked at a couple previous days worth of threads and the names and found that there are a lot more men commenting in this thread than women. I do not know a specific reason for this but it is definitely evident in this group. Do more men own iPhone then women? This could be a possible reason but maybe in the next couple of days there will be more women posting. There was a thread opened today by Kathryn (ram_kat) asking about any good word games. It is easy to search for word games on the apps programs but so many come up it is hard to decipher what games are worth the money or the free download. About an hour later she got a response from a user known by CJ. CJ had no other information besides an email address that linked back to their phone. Maybe if responding from an iPhone your information is not displayed. It is weird because to access the site you still have to sign into Yahoo!.

iPhone Group --> 9/19/08

After reviewing many groups I decided to follow an iPhone group. I was going to follow a group on the presidential debate but thought that would be a popular pick. I am putting all these blogs up all at once because I went home for the weekend and we switched internet providers. I did all my group observations on my iPhone while I was home and wrote everything down on paper. I was not that crazy to write all these blogs out on the iPhone even though it is pretty easy to type on it.

First thing I had to do is pick up the previously started threads about certain topics. A lot of the topics that were posted were about technical problems about the iPhone. There were also people that posted new items or apps for the phone. Apps that I will be discussing over the next couple of days are programs that you could download to your phone. These program interests for these applications range from games, financial programs, social networks, and radio stations. They have something for everyone in the apps store. Some apps are free and some you have to pay for using your iTunes account. The first thread that I jumped into and observed was about a wireless headset. Mike (brokecarguy45) opened a thread asking any suggestions for a headset that he could listen to music on and still receive calls on as well. What made this thread interesting was that he gave recognition that this topic may have been covered already. He stated, “I know you've probably answered this before, but I haven't paid close enough attention.” This is funny because he admits that he comes on the group every once in a while. He is probably the type that uses groups like these as quick answers to his problems or curiosity. This is not a bad thing at all. I feel that there are many kinds of users on these group chats. Mike in this situation is the informational type and comes on when he needs something.

The next educational remark that came after this was from Bill (boulware0224). He gives advice on a headset and leaves it at that. It seems that Bill is a regular on this site because he is in a lot of previous threads. I would put Bill in the knowledgeable category. These people know a lot about a topic and offer their advice on certain issues for fun or just to help people out. There are many people that are part of forums because they get pleasure out of being part of something they have. Examples would be phone owners in a phone forum or a certain type of car (Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, and Mercedes) owner in a car forum. Mike decides to Google the headset that Bill recommended and goes on to purchase this headset. I think this is a successful thread for many reasons.

Threads sometimes have spam in it which interferes with the flow of communication. There was a remark in this thread that was an advertisement but the conversation continued as if it was never there. Mike had a question about a good headset and Bill came to the rescue with advice and it seemed to work out. Are all threads going to go this smoothly? Of course not, this is an unusual case. Some other threads consisted of a view on an app titled Shazam, belt clips for the iPhone, and some more spam. Shazam is an interesting topic for this iPhone thread as well. This app listens to a song for a brief period and then tells you what song it is and who is the artist. This even works in movie theatres, restaurants, and on a TV show that has music in the background. This is a pretty cool app I have it myself. Well I am going to close it out here because there is a lot more I can go on about but, there is tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Internet - September 17

For September 17 we were required to read Jason Whitaker’s article, The Internet: The basics. Whitaker outlines many issues that have made the Internet so unique. Some important issues that he discusses are the differences of analog and digital, hypertext, digital imaging, and AV basics. These are the fundamental s of the Internet that we see, use, and work with everyday on a computer.

Digital and analog is now the huge difference in many subjects hence the conversion of our TV sets. Whitaker converses how "analog information, such as sound wave, is a continuous stream of data." On the other side there is digital "which is discrete, with distinct breaks between once piece of data and the next" (Whitaker 58). Digital technology helps information flow faster and keep it flawless while in transit. This is very similar to packet switching.

Whitaker discusses the essential component of the World Wide Web which is the hypertext. Hypertext is "the standard protocol for transmitting documents using the HTTP, the Web would not exist, and without a standard format for creating pages, including the ability to link between them (hyperlinks), web pages would lose a great deal of their usability" (Whitaker, 58). This perfectly sums of the importance of hypertext.

Digital imaging today has become an important asset to the Internet. An example of digital imaging used today is, social networking. Many social networks have digital images on their sites so people could express themselves. Digital imaging is a lot easier to share as well. There are several kiosks in store, malls, and shopping areas that allow easy development of digital photography. This is very different compared to the time when a picture from a 35mm camera and we had to send it out to get developed. Also with the digital imaging programs that are available it is very easy to alter digital photography. Whitaker explains that "the same way propaganda was used in written media we now have to second guess photographs as well."

Digital media often involves video which is sent in two different ways. Spatial and temporal compression differ in many aspects. Whitaker states that "spatial compression, sometimes referred to as run-length encoding, compacts the description of the visual areas of a frame by looking for patterns. This can reduce file size by over 50 percent" (Whitaker, 70). "Temporal compression compacts the description of scene changes during a sequence of frames so that there are fewer changes in sequence" (Whitaker, 70). This gives temporal compression less error as well as distortion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Pre-Web Internet - Usenet

In today’s reading by Kollock and Smith the main focus of the reading is the free-rider problem. This is when one does not want to cooperate and takes advantage of others information. There are many circumstances in which people do this today as small as not reading for class or plagiarizing your final paper. This is when you do not put the time and effort into something and expect to get the same thing out of it as everyone else. This article also discussed Usenet. Usenet was a type of social network that many people could communicate through.

I think that Usenet was a great idea back so people could open up. There are certain groups that people are interested in and could voice their opinions on topics. The whole topic array discussed by Kollock and Smith I think is a very important asset. People with more knowledge would contribute to these threads and contribute what they want to say about a topic. The conversations would go smoothly until someone of not as much knowledge or an opinion would come along and jump on the band wagon. There are certain types of people that also feel they have to be part of everything and feel wanted. This gets into psychology as well but people may post their opinions for attention. Of course there is always someone in a group that is going to try and free load (ride). This is always the case because people in groups do not feel as comfortable or they feel over powered.

I can agree with the free-riding problem 100%. I support this statement with an experience I had in a group class. We had many group projects through the semester and everyone tried to contribute what they thought would help the group. Like a good majority of team member based groups there was one outsider. They may have been an outsider because they felt uncomfortable or maybe even overwhelmed. In this case I knew that this person could definitely contribute more to the group because in class discussions because they were so vocal. I felt that they just sat back and did not do any work because it was easier. This is a case of the free-riding problem where a member does not contribute and rides the coat tails of others. To sum it all up it is important for people to have their own view and knowledge on topics and if they agree with someone be able to support themselves.

Kollock, P., & Smith, M. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict incomputer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication:linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives(pp. 109- 128). Philadelphia: JohnBenjamins.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Four Important Innovations that led to the INTERNET

There are many innovations that led to the Internet that we know today. You could survey a group and you may get many different answers based on knowledge, background, history, and much more. The four innovations that stick out to me the most are the World War, ARPANET, Email, and Microsoft’s first operating system. Of course you could go back as early as a television supporting that the screen for a computer may have derived from that invention. As far as I am know the internet became big in the Cold War era.

The World War definitely started the whole internet talk and curiosity. After the United States dropped the Atomic bomb on Japan they had to sit back and think themselves. They needed a communication system that could withstand a nuclear attack. They had to work around telephones because, as we know once one telephone pole is down many connections are interrupted. According to Adams and Clark’s chapter one reading, the Research and Development (RAND) Corporation put together the first galactic network. They thought up a process that would bypass a system if it was down and take another route to get communication across a medium. There was much success behind this idea that led to networks.

The first host of a network was known as ARPANET. ARPANET as read about by Adams and Clark was first connected on September 2, 1969. This was a huge success because; with much research this network proved that the RAND galactic network actually worked. Within the next two months The Stanford Research Group, the University at Santa Barbara, and the University at Utah were all added to this network. This was the first network that would make the internet such a huge network today. When we use computers today we use many networks and we do not think about it. In 1969 having four groups on a network was a huge accomplishment. Now all the research and money that was spent on a communication system that could withstand a nuclear attack was paying off.

The next big innovation that led to the internet today was email. Email today is used so effortlessly and means so much to this fast paced environment we live in today. I think that in 1973 in Adam and Clark’s reading that when 75% of all network activity was email it made people think. ARPANET was not too thrilled that all this time was being spent on email but it opened up a whole new wave of communication as we know today. Not only were people working (not much) on the ARPANET system but they were communicating with one another about ordinary life. This was supposed to be a network that was built to withstand nuclear warfare not possesses the characteristics of a telephone. The email system today is big in many companies, schools, families, and social groups. Email is a quick and easy way to communicate with someone without spending money on minutes or gas. I do not think the backers on this research project foresaw this “email” thing to become so big. It did not take long for one person to create another account on ARPANET and start typing away to a colleague. Emails became a more personable way to interact with many people and bond.

Putting this all together and bringing it to the public was a huge technological advance. Of course we all know the name Bill Gates and his many accomplishments. An enormous contribution that he brought to society was the first operating system. Yes there was MSDOS. Then there was windows that made using a computer so much more user friendly. It molded the computer and user to work with one another. As stated by Wikipedia Microsoft’s first operating system was created and released in 1985. This operating system as we all know today has come out with many more versions and is still a significant part of the computer as we know it. Being the first operating system to be so use friendly it created a bigger market for computers. You no longer had to be a rocket scientist to operate or communicate on a computer. This operating system organized many assets of a computer so we could easily manage our systems. Microsoft’s newest operating system in Vista which people now have to adjust to. This may be a minor innovation to some but to the general public I think this was huge.

We can go on and on about what led to the internet as we know today but these are some that have had an impact on what we have today. The internet is used by so many people today and has come so far. I am sure if this same question is asked ten years from now there would be some different opinions to what led to the internet. Thinking about an ordinary day without the internet is a lost thought to many. We use this technology for so many dependent tasks such as paying bills, communicating with family and friends, being part of social networks and as big as companies run on the internet. Thinking if this is still going to be the technology of the future is sort of farfetched right now but a century ago computers were not even a thought.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Characteristics of the Medium

The internet today is very fascinating how all the technology is put together to create reality. There are people that revolve their lives around the internet and use it daily. There are two mediums of the internet, macromedium and metamedium. The three distinct communication factors are reliability, speed, and distribution. Also key qualities of the internet consist of it being multimediated, hypertextual, interactive, packet based, and digital. Qualities and distinctions like these make the internet what it is today.

Macromedium and Metamedium are the two mediums in which the internet is broken down by. Macromedium looks more at how the internet can cater to many branches of communication. Metamedium is the ability to have the best of both worlds, television and radio.

The first distinct communication factor is reliability. In the past the Greeks have used song memorization to remember things and scientist use formulas (Barlow, pg 30). With the internet today and the reliability of packets it is easy for computers to send and receive data. Speed is the second communication factor that has pushed the internet along. The early households that were lucky enough to have internet use to run at a speed of 300 bits per second with data transmissions of 56,000 bits per second. Obviously with technology today most high speed internet connections are no longer dial up. We have technology today that sends data in less than a second. Of course there are more people using the internet today than 20 years ago. Computers are more easily accessible and the cost of computers has gone significantly as well. This accounts for the huge distribution of people using the internet. Accuracy for a number figure on internet users is measured by the number of hosts.

The first key quality to the internet is multimedia. The internet offers so much such as graphics, words, sounds, videos, movies, animation, and so much more. The next key quality is hypertext. This is when you are on one website or page and you click a link or underlined phrase and are redirected. The internet is interactive as well which does not make it boring or repititious. Unlike a television where you are stuck on one channel you can surf the internet and look for what interests you. A huge feature that was also talked about in chapter one is packet base. Packet base is the segments of data that are transferred compared to the whole that could be transferred such as a telephone. This helps the internet run as effeciently as possible and also helps with data transfer speed. Analog and digital are two different ways that data could be stored. The internet runs on digital for several reasons. Some issues include less distortion, less vulnerability to wear and tear, and easily compacted and stored (Barlow, pg 42).