Losing it on the Web

November 6, 2007

The Latest Trend in Dieting

Just last week we read and heard about blogging. While I was at the gym, I picked up the March 2007 copy of O Magazine. Why we have magazines that old is beyond me. Inside is an article called “Losing it on the Web” with an image of a laptop sitting ontop of a scale.

The article starts talking about sisters who started a blog site called 3fatchicks.com. They are considered the first wet loss blog site. One sister started it to post what she ate and how she felt about losing weight for her other sisters to see. They suddenly had an audience. Other dieters started participating and the site grew. The site not only benefited others, but the sisters each lost nearly 100lbs each!

Today the site has more than 60,000 registered users. There are chat rooms and message boards so users can post their own results, downfalls, triumphs, challenges and insight. Here, friendships are established and people can find buddies to support them not only with the weight loss, but in general. Friendships are often established from these types of sites.

A search was done on blog posts for the words ‘diet’ and ‘weight,’ which resulted in more than 100,000 hits.

In fact, better-known diets like Weight Watchers and Pure Weight Loss (formerly LA Weight Loss) are now turning to the web. Members are able to do the entire program from home and interact with other ‘losers.’ Aside from support, members can swap recipes and their personal methods of making it through the program successfully.

Beneficial?

I think it is. I have a friend, I’ll call him Fred because that’s a fun name, who did a program called Medifast. Medifast is a packet’d food diet program where you eat the packets (mix with water) and one regular meal (ex. Chicken & salad). The site is medifast1.com. Once your order has been placed, you are given a free membership to mymedifast.com. This is where you can privately keep track of your meals eaten, exercise (sex counts as exercise!), swap recipes (mix the packets with other packets or other ingredients to make cookies, muffins, waffles, ice cream, etc.), post success pictures, questions about the program, etc. Fred has lost 100lbs in about 6 months and looks and feels great. He’s taken my tips as his friend and a personal trainer…but he’s turned to the message board for his other answers about the diet. He let me search around the site when he started off and I thought what a great program! It seemed the site had many success stories and many thanked each other for the support, saying that the blogging and message boards are what did it for them.

Save your memories…on a usb drive?

November 5, 2007

Usability Testing

In my ICM 503 class, we’ve been covering usability testing for a couple weeks now. It is important to get feedback about a product that is looking to be sold on the market. The feedback should help the designer/company decide whether the item is complete or flawed, and if it’s flawed, how to fix it. This is done with focus type groups in a specific setting where viewers can be viewed behind a two-way mirror and are recorded for further review. It’s important for companies to run these tests because after all, their objective is to sell to and please the customers. Who better to get input from than the customers themselves? By paying a small fee for opinions, the company would not loose revenue, but rather gain public opinions to help enhance their product and ultimately, the sales.

To test…or not to test?

In Kangas’ article “Applying User-entered Design to Mobile Application Development,” there are two specific case studies of applications on mobile phones. One study shows the entire process, and then does usability testing, while the other tests midway and makes changes to the product prior to shelving. Both techniques have their flaws: testing at the end does not allow for user feedback and testing midway, allows for feedback and changes to occur before being marketed, but usually at a later date than first projected. By testing at the end or getting feedback on a product through a blog or what have you, allows for the company to make modifications to a second generation of the product. Take the iPhone incident. Flaws have been found. They dropped the price I believe 3 months later and those that bought their phone in that two-week window were refunded $200. Those that bought it in the first three months were screwed, not only in terms of price, but also with the earlier bugs. Look at the evolution of the ipod as well. I know for nano, they are now on the third generation. Each time it comes out, it’s different in shape and size, and now the latest one includes video and more storage space. Apple obtains information from customers and focus groups asking how to make these products work better for them. The public’s ideas along with engineer’s and a slew of other Apple staff member’s ideas combine to make each of these new generation products. The iPhone was also released much later than scheduled…perhaps because more usability testing was conducted? It seems apparent that if you want products to sell, test often and worry about the deadline less. Start on next year’s Christmas products this year by manufacturing, testing, and revisiting now.

The “Digital Memories in an Era of Ubiquitous Computing and Abundant Storage” article kinda…weirded me out a little. Made me think of R2D2 and if we really were that far along in technology now. Technology is great, I really think we’ve come such a ways with it and for the most part, it has benefited our society. However, this article makes me go back to a point I’ve been making most of the semester: we are really lazy. The whole finding his hat through his photographs on his fancy shamancy wall cameras…I don’t know how to respond to that. I feel we’ve found this great gift of technology and we think ‘how can we use this to better our lives?’ but that has turned into ‘how can I possibly be more lazy and have technology do things for me?’ I wouldn’t think I’d need an arm strap biometric sensor to know if I felt sick.

They then spend the rest of the article discussing the digital memories and what to do with them and what their purpose is. This portion I found more useful than the introduction. The authors ask “Why bother collecting the ‘digital memories’ and what should I do with it?” They answer: memory (the earlier example of finding the hat and general aid for remembering things), to share personal experiences (communicating trips with someone who did not attend), personal reflection and analysis (allows for growth), time management (making the most efficient use of time), and security (legal and safety reasons). (Czerwinski, 46-47)

Most kids want to see pictures from when they were kids to remember the memories and what they were like younger. Parents feel they have an obligation to hold onto these photos, records, reports, etc. For this reason, it’s important to hold onto these things. However, if someone has had a traumatic accident, there is no need for every memory surrounding it to be captured for later review.

Ever see those people on tv that have sooo much clutter in their houses? Newspapers from 20 years ago, clothes from 30 years ago, toys from when they were children themselves? I think its safe to say, these people have a hard time letting go and perhaps have some control issues, however, I believe this is the same idea the article is trying to get at. By storing these memories virtually, those clutter bugs can have their living room back!

A few weeks ago, we discussed where do these memories go when we’re gone. If they’re online or a usb thumb drive, they just stay there. The next of kin can take it for their own keeping. The same is done with physical memorabilia; it’s passed down. Physical things have a more emotional link to it though, because the deceased person has had a relationship with it. The same can’t really be said about a usb drive. I think its great we have usb drives to store memories on. I take a lot of pictures but don’t necessarily print them all. Those that don’t get printed still have a meaning, they help explain the (for example) vacation or situation.

Almost Famous

October 31, 2007

While I was watching the debate, Biggest Loser and Tila Tequilla at the gym last night, I picked up the October edition of Family Circle. Usually this is full of good recipes so I check it out. To my surprise, I found an article titled “Almost Famous.”

Hilliary Clinton has a facebook?!

October 30, 2007

I haven’t been into the campaigns much yet…but for you Halavais, I looked on Clinton’s & Obama’s sites! I was shocked to see both have myspace and facebook accounts! How cool are they?! Each has nicely done .org sites with large contribute/donate buttons, blogs, videos, lead stories, issues, reasons to vote for them, hell, even hats & t shirts! Hillary has a clever ‘Hillraiser’ campaign. Both politicans have ending the war in Iraq under their ‘issues’ link. Both have the plan to pull the US out ASAP.

I like the idea that I can compare the candidates back & forth. I can open the two sites and compare their views. This makes it easier for me, instead of trying to catch the debate on tv. Though, I do work at a gym…so I can turn the tvs to that…while I watch The Biggest Loser and Tila Tequilia on the neighboring tvs! Having the sites in front of me show printed facts which for me personally, will make it easier to take on a more serious level. I do think its a bit early to tell any huge difference between candidates, so for me, I think the debate might show me the larger differences.

Britney’s album overrated, save $20

October 30, 2007

When I read/saw the ratings for this album as ‘her best so far’ I had to check it out. My friend Chris sent me this link over & I heard for myself first hand: http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds

I felt a little shorted from this week’s readings. I was hoping to read more about the future of blogging and predictions of where this will fit in the business world.

One article (the first 4 chapters from “Naked Conversations”) wrote most about the start up of blogging. It was interesting to find out blogging began within the corporation and was actually positive. These men and women have used their blogs as a way of connecting directly with the customers. This actually was a good idea because it allowed interaction and straight feedback about products, service, and anything revolving around any given company. People/customers can relate more to bloggers because they see the human relation, the imperfection that we all have.

Bloggers make spelling and grammatical errors and write in a way that would repulse most college professors or higher degree holding professionals. People feel comfortable in this world, this ‘blogosphere,’ and are able to write freely, openly and honestly. Honesty earns credibility, which earns more readers and a flow of regular readers. The attention the site generates allows the item to rank higher on Google and other search engines and therefore, becomes higher on the list of that certain search keyword. For example, if a tech blog writes about Macintosh computers frequently, they will move up the list on Google when a user types in “Macintosh computers.” Users rely on blogger’s sites for their honesty and opinions on certain items. You could say a blogger’s site may even compare to a ratings site. If I were shopping for a new vacuum, rather than check out the reviews, I might check out a blog to read a viewers first hand experience with the vacuum.

This Josha Allen guy started his blog while working for Microsoft. He single handedly could be thanked for saving the company, who previously had a poor reputation with the public. He allowed readers to see the soft side of the people working within the company, what they prided their work on and in turn, allowed readers to comment back. This free feedback was read and taken into consideration. The company made modifications and everyone was happy. Nice fairy tale huh? You think Disney could pick that up, maybe in a Pixar animation?

Allen’s blog actually attracted fellow Microsoft employees to write and by ‘March 2005, there were more than 1,500 active bloggers at Microsoft.’ (Scoble &Israel, 12) Blogs have changed the relationship between users and employees, in a good way. This open honesty and open connection has allowed much more communication to pass through, which inevitably helps the company. The company then makes the products directly for the customers. Companies get the money, customers get what they want; everyone’s happy.

The article was full of a bunch of statistics and founding father type people…but meh…the message was rather clear and concise.

Clive Thompson’s article on ‘The Blog Establishment’ also got a ‘meh’ reaction from me. The article mentions a bunch of mogul type people who make bank off their blogs. I felt it was one of those articles that told me things I knew…links connect people, making a network, allowing sites to become higher ranked. Links allow users to travel from blog to blog, while continuing to gather information on the same or related…even unrelated subjects. The articles contains some interesting facts, like there’s about a blog created every minute and there’s upwards of 27 million blogs in the world.

This 25-year-old woman, Jessica Coen, is the face behind the Gawker blog. She dropped out of Columbia Journalism school to make pretty big money off a blog. These Boing Boing people, all 5 of them, have the right idea behind their approach. They approach it from three angles: approach it from a record-label “Crank out dozens and dozens of sites and hope one or two will become hits, the boutique approach: a publisher who crafts individual blogs the way Conde Nast crafts magazines—each one carefully aimed at some ineffable, deluxe readership.” (Thompson, 34) …Though I couldn’t find the first…I suppose it’s the quote where he says lets life fuel the blog.

When I think blog, I think diary, personal entry. How can someone make millions a year for essentially just writing their opinion? The idea is still baffling to me.

P.S. if ‘blog’ was word voted word of the year in 2004, then why am I in 2007, still having to ctrl + click to say ‘ignore’ for the spelling of the word?

Have $6500 to spare?

October 29, 2007

I can’t wait for the day where I see these in office cubicles!

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/devlin/16879

Gaming is for losers

October 23, 2007

Yea that’s right…I said it…gaming is for losers. Read on.

Ugh

I had trouble getting into Huizinga’s article “Nature and Significance of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon.” Bottom line: Play is play…its fun…why philosophize & ruin it?! Ever play…we’re all college kids here…beer pong with a different group of people and their different rules? You wind up spending more time arguing over rules than playing the actual game. For Pete’s sake, throw the damn ball in the cup! When overanalyzing anything, especially games, it destroys the fun that’s meant to be had.

The Ultimate Experience!

“Welcome to the Experience Economy” by BJ Pine and JH Gilmore was a well-written article about ‘the experience.’ They break it down by “economic offerings—commodity, good or service.” (Pine/Gilmore, 1) Commodities are our basics from animal and the ground. We then produce goods from commodities. Good are often valued more than commodities because much of the work has been done by someone else, which then makes them ready for immediate use. The price on goods, therefore, is often higher. This allows for prices to range more. For instance, think about the price of a sweater. It takes several steps for a sweater to be made…gotta go find the sheep, sheer it, prepare the wool (cleaning & making ready for use), dying the wool and finally knitting a sweater together. A lot of work goes in for just one sweater, hence the ability to have a wide range on the price. The more time, care, energy and effort that go in, the more costly the product will be.

Goods then go to sale, often packaged with services. “Service providers use goods to perform operations on a particular client (such as haircuts or eye exams) or on his property or possessions (such as lawn care or computer repair). (Pine/Gilmore, 9) These are things we usually cannot do ourselves or prefer that a professional in the field can do for us. Rather than walking around with a crooked hair cut and look bad, I would rather pay a fee to have an educated, practiced and seasoned professional do it for me.

The authors comment “manufacturers almost always give away these services to enhance selling their goods.” (Pine/Gilmore, 9) However, in more recent times (this article was written in 1999), services are what are being sold and the goods are the freebees. Think cell phones. Many companies now use the phone, not as the initial sale, but as the bonus. If you sign up for a 2-year contract, often the phone is free or sold at a greatly reduced price.

From here, they move on to discuss the experience: “While commodities are fungible, goods tangible, and services intangible, experiences are memorable.” (Pine/Gilmore, 12) The beauty of experiences, mine is different from yours, as is different from his and from hers. By that I mean each experience, even though they may be the same thing, is approached and taken in differently by each person.

If I, at 23 years old, go to Disney World with my 5 and 3-year-old cousins, they will have a far different experience than I would. I’ve already been there and seen the ‘magic’…my thrill would be from them and their reaction to seeing what the entire park has to offer. I may enter with a preformed notion, because I have been a guest prior and I have seen the numerous television commercials. For the boys, it would be a first time experience…a jaw-dropping, exciting, memorable experience. I’m sure they have books and toys that are Disney themed. They may have even watched Mickey Mouse on TV…but the real life experience would blow them away. Mood also changes the experience. If we had a rough flight, hadn’t eaten, and/or witnessed a horrific car accident and then gone into Disney…we would be entering with a negative mind set and the experience would be completely different had everything else gone right in the day.

This goes for anything else…going into haunted houses/hayrides, to visit Santa, going on a train or plane ride…most would think they were lame activities and wouldn’t bother, especially if they’ve already gone or past the ‘peak’ age of when these things are more appropriate. Or many have already experienced the activity once and don’t pass judgment on it being a new experience doing the same activity. I went to a haunted house/hayride a couple weeks ago and while I didn’t scare too badly, I enjoyed going. I appreciated the work that went into creating all the scenes and scripts. When I went as a child (if I did, I can’t remember), I’m sure I was scared shitless and had a great time! What I’m getting it, as that though an activity may remain unchanged, the experience one has changes based on age, mood, company attending the activity with, others around, and many other variables.

The great thing about experiences is that they far surpass commodities, goods and services. Experiences leave us with memories that we can relive and think about over and over about for years and years. This is the true value: free memories and open access to them. “Manufactures must focus on the experience customers have while using their goods.” (Pine/Gilmore, 15) This is so the users will come back to purchase more goods and have more experiences. I am a repeat Asics sneaker buyer because I am satisfied with the experiences I have while wearing their products. That experience is simply that my feet feel comfortable when I run. We as users/buyers look for the best deal; where can I get the most service for my money?

I bought my laptop from Apple a couple months ago. Along with it, I got a free ipod and a free printer! Firstly a fan of Macs, but then enhanced the buying experience because of the freebees and the great customer service. This was also my second Mac, and therefore my second free ipod. I am a repeat visitor to this store because no matter who you speak with, everyone on the staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The products really sell themselves…it’s the sales staff that enhance the experience of shopping and buying. After all, most Macs are pretty pricey…it helps the buying experience when a sales person is really nice and helpful when putting down that kind of cash.

http://www.battermatter.com — order now for your holiday season!

The article refers to one more point that is pretty valuable and valid. More of the article should’ve been spent on this point. Back in the day, our parent’s generation, their parents always baked their birthday cakes from scratch—sugar, flour, the whole 9. Each ingredient cost mere pocket change. Betty Crocker and Pillsbury then evolved this by putting the powdered ingredients in a box. Simply add eggs, water and oil then Wham! (copyright Emeril) you got cake. Top that with some canned icing for $2, the cake-in-a-box is also less than or about $2, but look at all the time saved. Four dollars doesn’t compare to the maybe $1-1.50 once spent to make the cake from scratch. (mind you, with inflation, the ingredients to make cake from scratch are now much higher than $4…box cakes are a bargain!) It does help to speed up the process of baking so the baker may spend time doing other things, rather than be a slave to his/her kitchen all day. Now to top even the box cake, we have the local Stop and Shop that can sell you a cake right from the bakery. This is more pricey, however, you don’t even have to turn on—let alone own an oven—to make this one! Pay upwards of $10-30 dollars depending on size, flavors and customizations and you’ve got yourself an easy bake cake—minus the baking of course!

Our fat, lazy American society, oh how I love them so, enjoy taking the short cuts. Why make a cake, when I can pay more for a professional to make it? I save myself time, energy, effort and can do the things I would rather be doing. What about the EXPERIENCE people?! How often do most people bake a cake? And how many birthdays do you have per year? Just one special day, but most would prefer to turn to someone else to do it for them. Experiences come everyday, however, I believe birthdays are some of the more exciting ones. Why not take advantage of all that comes with birthdays and flavor them all? Growing up, my mom made each of our birthday cakes and my sister and I would help…because we loved the experience. Sure, it was sisterly/motherly bonding, cracking the eggs, taking turns to stir the batter, jumping in front of the oven to see if we could make the cake fall (yea…I was a terror child and sis followed closely behind)…all of those were the experiences I got out of baking cakes. The decorating and taste were another part of the experience…see how many experiences can be pulled from one activity? …maybe that’s why I like baking so much still to this day. Warm memories. Good smells. Good eats. Good results. Battermatter.com…little self promo 😉

Games are supposed to be fun!

Lastly, the gaming: “We Live Here: Games, Third Places and the Information Architecture of the Future” by Andrew Hinton. I roll my eyes when I look at or read this stuff. I really couldn’t give two shits about gaming. …I think I can hear my grade dwindling down. But really, I was always active in sports and clubs at school, had a lot of friends and come from a very close-knit family…I just didn’t game; I always had something to do. Or I played games in real life…softball, basketball, soccer, tag, capture the flag, etc. I never even craved gaming or had a curiosity for it…could be my upbringing, or perhaps it’s the whole vagina thing. My friends have their own house and when we we’d go over, we’d have dinner and then the boys would play Wii. They MADE me play and I thought, it would be so much more fun to go play actual bowling. I wound up with a 300 score and thought it was boring. I’d rather have the challenge of the weighted ball and the jeers/cheers from friends…that’s what makes it more fun.

I read about the rise of gaming numbers…how it’s tripled in one year. Is this a good thing? Good for manufacturers and advertisers, that’s a given…but is it good for us? More kids and even now adults are spending hours and hours in front of the computer (or TV) gaming. Sure, its interaction, but the level and kind of interaction can be argued. It’s not RL interaction…so is this form of interaction still real and pure? You never actually know who you are gaming/interacting with…so is it still fun? In these virtual games, you can be whoever you want to be: a man can be a woman, a straight woman can be a lesbian, a 30 year old can be a 15 year old. I’m walking the edge on safety, but I’ll try to avoid it seeing as I’m sure that topic will be presented Thursday. Is this really a method of self-expression, that I can portray anyone I want to be online? I’m just really not a fan of this stuff. Give the kid a paper and some crayons if you want self-expression. Sitting in front of a monitor and interacting with complete strangers in some virtual world is really just escaping. It’s a way out of life; it’s a second life. It’s the life you wish you had. Why sit behind a computer living the fantasy when you can work and strive to achieve it for this real life? Maybe I’m in the wrong major and should be a therapist…but I really find gaming unrealistic, and in many instances pathetic. Strong statement, but I’m willing to back it. What has gaming solved? Boredom? What has it caused? Overeating, unsociable children, learning disabilities, people in society without real-life experiences, perhaps even Columbine or other similar instances? I would be VERY interested to see a study done with kids that grew up gaming versus kids that grew up not and see what characteristics each possess. When I think about gaming and gamers, I think of the typical: overweight, depressed, morbid, lonely guy. I haven’t been proven otherwise on this so I stand by the stereotype.

As for this Second Life experience…it’s just not for me. I have a good life, I’m happy with myself and the people in it. I have a great boyfriend, great family, I like what I do…why go into a virtual world? Because I can eat without gaining weight?! That’s about the only upside I see…I don’t even know if virtual people stop to eat meals! The idea of being harassed online doesn’t interest me at all. I get harassed often in real life, why would I want to experience that online from someone I don’t know, can’t see and possibly never will know nor see? At least when I’m harassed in the city, I can scream ‘fuck off!’ right back at them! Until I’m proven wrong, I see this online gaming is for the geeks and lonely losers.

Facebook now being watched

October 16, 2007

My ears perked when I heard about this on the news & decided to seek out more information.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=3736561

Basically, Cuomo wants nudity and pornography monitored on facebook. Is this an invasion of privacy? A breech of free speech? Will it keep young teens/adults safe?

One part of me thinks its about time…another part thinks what about creative freedom? Artistic expression? All in all, as an older female with motherly instincts, I’d like them to filter these images for the younger girls that put themselves out there, and for the males…not to get any ideas.

Adgeda

October 16, 2007

I’ll be meeting with my group this Thursday. Most of our time will be devoted to looking for authors and legitimate sources. danah boyd at the Technology Forum a few weeks ago and I hope to contact her to use as a source. I hope she’ll also point me in the direction of others/other sources that may be helpful to this project.

Hunny, share your toys with the others!

October 9, 2007

What if we all walked around with personalized J Crew shirts?

Is personalization of the Internet a good thing? Will it entice us to learn more about our favorite topics, so long as we can avoid those we don’t care to learn about? By isolating only stories of our interest, we miss out on everything else going on in the world. I think the concept is a wonderful idea, though like anything else, has its flaws. By customizing myyahoo.com or any web page for that matter, I am able to read what I am interested in. So that would be sports, celebrity news, movies, latest news, local weather and news. By leaving out business, science news and discoveries, autos, personals, etc., I miss a lot.

When the anniversary of 9/11 rolls around each, I hate being home, or in the car….basically anywhere with a TV, radio and/or Internet. I was there (not onsite or anything, just mean lived through it) and I don’t need to be reminded every single year. It was an extremely depressing time for everyone in our nation and frankly, I don’t want to be depressed every time that day rolls around. Sorry if this comes off harsh or anything, but its true, its like the media forces us to relive this tragic event every year and I’d rather not. Remembering is another thing.

9/11

This past 9/11, I went to the gym, because it fell on a Monday and I work Mondays. I knew it would be packed and surely it was, more so than any other Monday. By seeing this, I know most others agree with me. By working out, you focus on yourself and not on the events of the anniversary. We had our TVs set on sports stations and our own music videos; none were set up on the usual CNN or other news channels.

By ostracizing certain sections of media, do we inhibit ourselves? Sure. When I choose not to learn about certain areas. I limit myself; I hurt myself. Knowledge is power, so why would someone purposely block off entire sections of power? It is, however, understandable to subscribe onto areas of interest. I am an artist and personal trainer. By signing up for newsletters/articles on these areas, I grow in my fields. I better myself so I can be better for myself and provide more for clients and customers.

“Did you change that filter?”

By filtering resources, we limit knowledge. When people make small talk, it’s usually about the previous night’s game or other current events. Imagine a woman was drinking her morning coffee and was flipping through her ‘personalized news source.’ She goes out to catch a train and a strapping young man chats her up, ‘did you catch last night’s Yankee game?’ By her excluding the scores in her news source, she has no idea what happened at the game. She may have missed her chance to engage in conversation with the handsome fellow and a chance at love! Unfortunately, the Yanks succumbed last night to the Indians so maybe its best she left it out of her reading/viewing!

Cass R. Sunstein writes about personalization in his article, “Democracy and Filtering.” “These developments make life much more convenient and in some ways much better; we all seek to reduce our exposure to uninvited noise, and many of us like to read opinions we find congenial.” (Sunstein, 58) By choosing to read only the pleasant things in life, we miss the rest of life going on. Fine, enjoy walking around peachy keen, if that’s the way you want to live…but it’s not that easy. Accidents happen, so one could argue that these negatives prepare us for bad times. If I had never had any exposure to negatives, say a car accident, and then I get in one, I will be affected greatly afterward. I would be constantly paranoid, become negative in my thought patterns, probably have post-traumatic stress syndrome; I’d be a head case. By having exposure to these types of incidents on the news, I view them as educational, as opposed to completely negative. I know what a car accident may look like, what it involves, what may or may not happen to me as the victim. By watching this on the news or reading about it, I educate myself. Education is the best prevention.

“If they want to isolate themselves and speak only with like-minded others, that is feasible too.” (Sunstein, 58) He speaks of this while referring to groups, such as vegetarians, church members, political groups, etc. I am a vegetarian (except chicken, which is poultry, I could argue this all day, but I won’t) so by me joining discussion boards with other vegetarians, we may use it to exchange recipe ideas and for support on how to get through family dinners without being lectured about our meat-eating decisions. While this statement has its positives, it has its negatives. KKK groups, Al Qaida groups….see where I’m headed with this? By these groups allying together, they become stronger in their hatred and their mission. It helps those with common ‘good’ goals or hobbies grow in their field of interest…while at the same time strengthening the ‘bad.’

That cloud looks like a bunny!

Walter Bender’s “Daily Me” touches on many of the same points as Sunstein’s. “Providing context through a shared information source is important because without it, people lack a common reference point with which to engage in discussion.” (Bender, 24) By subscribing to this “daily me” idea, we limit our interactions. We speak with only ‘our kind’ and not anyone else, from a different background, different frame of mind, different ideas. I always say I’d never date an artist, because I am one. I know how we function; I know we’re all a little crazy inside. Imagine if we all did date/interact within that own circle. By dating another artist, I’d always be ‘on.’ Discussions of the way billboard signs look, what we can make out of cloud shapes, the colors, oh the colors!, etc. If scientists were around each other all the time, they might become overly competitive, or just so worn out from always speaking the language. By interacting with others from different genres, we learn more, participate in more, discover more; it broadens us as human beings. Once again, coming back to the point of knowledge being power. By having more knowledge of things to speak about, we are able to communicate to more audiences. In turn, we are open beings, and able to be like sponges; absorbing new informations. I’d also say this makes us a more likeable person. By being more worldly and being able to discuss more topics, makes for more interesting conversations with different types of people.

Bender ends the article with: “We are more deeply engaged in learning, more in tune with our priorities, and ever expanding our scope. The process has begun, and it is indeed the paradigm shift: the consumer is becoming a creator.” (Bender, 29) With this personalization movement, who better to write about it than experts themselves? So rather than a regular news journalist writing about pumpkins (there’s one sitting in front of me, its what I went with), we turn to the experts: the pumpkin growers themselves! After all, who better to write about it! By using experts, we learn more precise information more directly. Specialists can come together to share experiences and facts. This sharing of information betters us as community. Participating invites all to learn all. Will this end the war? Hey, it’s a start. By people cooperating in just this small way allows more knowledge to pass, creating common bonds and breaking barriers once held.

Wiki-wha?

The Wikinews article by Axel Bruns converses about the differences in broadcast news versus alternative online news. Before news is released on TV or in print, it must “filter, then publish,” where as the online news is just the opposite. Authors publish, then others filter through their words and add, delete or edit the text in some way. I really feel the same way about this article as I do with the previous two: there is good, there is bad. Mis-editing information, for example, is a bad. Adding knowledge where a gap was open is good. Perhaps because of this reason, Wikinews has not open that contributing end. I suppose the problem may also lie in a lack of contributors or overall information. As of now, Wikinews is nowhere near ready to be considered a valid news source. For writing a paper or doing research, its best to stick with more solid sources. It is good for those looking to get into publishing their ideas or sharing their information, also for interacting with others in related fields of interest. Like Wikipedia, it has room to grow. This trend of publishing our own knowledge is growing and catching on in popularity. Bruns makes a statement that proves very true to this site: “…this suggests that users would come to Wikinews for the input and output states, but go elsewhere if they want to participate in the response stage – but as a result of this approach, it seems evident that contributors stay away from Wikinews altogether and participate on these other sites that all three stages of the news process.” (Bruns, 6) Why bother with a site that will only do half the job, when there are others out there that will accomplish more? Keep at it, wiki.

See! The reason mom told us to share our toys in kindergarten proved valid years and years later!

Refs:
Bender, W. (2002). Twenty years of personalization: All about the “Daily Me.” Educause Review, 37(5), 21-29.
Sunstein, C. (2004). Democracy and filtering. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 57-59.
Bruns, A. (2006) Wikinews: The next generation of alternative online news? Scan: Journal of Media Arts and Culture, 3(1).