Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wed. Oct 29 Barlow Ch. 2

A lot about the world of blogging, and bloggers themselves, is expressed in Barlow’s chapter 2 of blogging America. The many themes in this chapter include a bloggers struggle for acceptance in the growing cyber world, and the different views that bloggers take on the theory of what they do. He also discusses woman bloggers, issues of anonymity and plagiarism, and possible dangers and threats that a bloggers faces. Right off the bat in this chapter Barlow quotes Andrew Keen, and the opinion he shares with many netizens that blogs are “collectively corrupting and confusing popular opinion about everything from politics, to commerce, to arts and culture…… undermining our sense of what is true and what is false, what is real and what is imaginary.”(Pg 35)

Faced with the struggle that it is easy and anybody can do it, leading more often than not to biased, uneducated opinionated editorials from non-relevant sources, bloggers regularly find it difficult to be taken seriously by a population of cyber people who either share opposite perspective, or just lack knowledge about them.

However it is not always unjust when blogging is looked down upon. After all, the very idea of blogging is to opinionate on a topic of discussion geared towards 2 audiences, those who agree and those who disagree. So the fact that some bloggers such as Kathy Sierra have had critics go as far as to threaten her life often she wrote on controversial issues isn’t overwhelmingly surprising. However, this very incident that Barlow discusses is a prime example of why the way a blogger shapes his argument could be looked down upon. There’s little talk about the words and content that Kathy Sierra or Chris Clark spoke out about, which very well could have been colorful or aggressive enough to be lashed back it with not death threats, but at least cognitive defense.

Then again, a threat, no matter how dangerous, is in a sense one of the benefits of blogging, in that response and communication among readers and authors is encouraged. Even the differing views from Clark and Moulitsas, whether or not blogging itself is a real world or cyber world practice, doesn’t change the fact that they are still part of the same community of free thinkers and intellectuals. Overall, bloggers should encourage response, criticism, backlash, and all other form of exposure like you would in any other practice. And with over 75 million tracked on the net, there’s no end in sight for this new news medium.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Essay: Researching Podcasts

For this essay, I chose the Web 2.0 communication Medium of Pod-casts as my research topic. Pod-casts are a dynamic form of Web 2.0 technology and capability, and very much reflect the growing world of digital convergence. How did I find information on them? Like all college students doing research on the web, I started at the questionable information haven, Wikipedia, to find out what a Podcast is by definition. Learning that a pod-cast is simply the audio or video media that are put up on the web and made available for download onto personal computers, if I can then go out onto the world wild web and confirm the very info given by Wikipedia, I could then accept it as credible. But that alone won’t help me write my final essay, and ill have to get some firsthand experience with Podcasts themselves.
This is a newer technology, so when I went to the search engines, like Com-Abstracts made available through the University at Albany’s libraries, I didn’t find many scholarly journals or works that were helpful. So to find out the benefits and usefulness of pod-casts, and why they are so popular, I found it best to go directly to places which offer them through subscription or free download by the thousands. I went to Google and typed the word ‘Podcast’ into the search engine, which brought me to helpful sites. Podcast.com, Podcastalley.com, NPR's (National Public Radio) database, and of coarse Apple.com all gave good clarification for what Pod-casts are, how they work, the software you need in order to download them, the information you give in order to subscribe to the websites, and of course, the content that make up most Pod-casts. Some of these websites even pulled there definitions on the about page from Wikipedia, so I felt even better about that being my starting point.
After Google, I went to browse over the content on the Yahoo search engine. Kaye and Medoff refer to Yahoo in their 2001 reading on ‘how search engines work’ as “The mother of all portals” (pg. 2). So I found it necessary to compare the Google and Yahoo searches and see which links came up first in both. If certain links show up twice within the first or second page unsponsored, I know I could consider them credible and resourceful. Sure enough, the links to Podcast Alley, Podcast dot, and Apple were all on the top search results for both sites, along with podcast links for Slate Magazine and the New York Times which I just haven’t used. In the final essay, I plan to discuss how the amount of podcasted content continues to grow by the thousands every day. To explain or confirm the growth, I visited the sites of major news stations which are now offering new Pod-casts daily, like CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and CBS. I’m citing the web-page, Chinesepod.com as a useful recourse in showing how pod-casting can be educational, offering over 1500 language lessons on how to speak Chinese. The last website I visited for pod-casting news was ironically, PodcastingNews.
The only problem I ran into during my research was when I wanted to find sights or articles that gave information on the history of Pod-casts. When I went to search engines like Google, and typed in the words ‘Podcast’ and ‘History’, the first link to come up was the History Channels web page, and their available pod-casts. All the links below it for the first two pages were similar history sites, which were simply offering them, rather then sights offering the history of them. In the later point in my searching, I began using Ebsco, my last hope for finding some scholarly analysis on Podcasting. Instead of finding a journal of some kind, here I found something I think is better. This article published by author Scott Sigler, who after 100 rejections by publishers was able to podcast his novel to popularity, receiving a 3 book contract from Crown Publishers. This article not only gave insight to what podcasting can do for exposure in the online community, but the positive and negative affects it could possibly have on other forms of media and entertainment.
At this point, I feel that I have enough knowledge on the technology that I can successfully give an accurate and thorough description of the medium with clarity and quality for the final essay. I’ll be able to state the positive and negative implications of the Medium, and ill form my own opinions and thesis on podcasts based on credible sources. I’m actually looking forward to shedding light some light on them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15 Searching - Issues of Privacy

Micheal Zimmers article on Searching and the issues of privacy deal mainly with the emergence of the web 2.0 phenomenon that has caught on within the last decade or so. With this phenomenon, comes the possiblities of web searching more, efficiant, personalized, and relevant. As Zimmer states in the introduction, the function of Web 2.0 is to "organize and share information, to interact within communities, and to express oneself. In an attempt to make web searching for each an every user more efficiant, whoever be it has had the users of the web be activly monitered throught the web. The idea of a perfect search engine, which would delever results to us besed on our own past searches and general browsing history, has in turn taken away from us alot of privacy, and a little bit of freedom.
These are the advantages and the flaws of the "Search 2.0" concept. There is a fine line between what the web would call "Personal Information Flows", and what i would call, a stalker, tracking my personal online and search behavior. In a sence, i do fully understand the benefits of being monitored. In the case of catching a murderer by surveiling the beb sights he has visited, or a pedofile, or a terrorist, its hard to make a case against it. But then hearing the the governemnt ordered google to turn over the records of millions of their users search queries, and knowing theres an easy chance on of those users was me, these search engines become intimidating and questionable. Overall thought, i feel that it is a users responsibility to conduct his or herself in an appropriate, even proffesional manner when using the web. I think that most people are candid in the way they conduct themselves online. And a company has every right to use the tools at their disposal for making hiring decisions, including googleing your name to see who you really are. I know that for me personally, i dont have any scandelous pictures, or opinionated blogs out there on the web. Ive been hesitant to show myself doing anything stupid on facebook after i heard that a college refused to give a girl her degree after graduating due to how she showed she was conducting herself via Facebook. Every user is responsible for their web activity, and if you truly have nothing to hide, the concept of search 2.0 wouldnt not bother you.