Friday, 30 August 2013

Hypertext Essay- Blogging: The Way We Communicate

For the purpose of this paper, I decided to explore blogs and how not only writing but also what is understood as journalism, has changed due to the techno-culture we live in.
In Jenkins’ article, he demonstrates the way in which democracy in the 21st century has changed as a result of participatory culture. Blogging has been an effective medium through which citizens participate in democracy by expressing their concerns, and challenging the mainstream media. Unfortunately, this new form of writing has often been discounted to amateur writing because of its “web-nature”. Some scholars such as Jay Rosen, argue that journalism should not be limited to “professional” journalists who write for mainstream-newspapers. Journalism, he states is a skill of writing and can happen on any platform, blogs being the current platform. Furthermore, this form of journalism is a way of bringing power back to the people. In Struggle Against Forgetting, Professor Carey reminds his students of where journalism began and for what purpose. This demonstrates how blogs are an example of true journalism, writing “in the name of a wider social contract, in the name of the formation of a genuine public life and a genuine public opinion”.
In Blogging Outloud: Shifts in Public Voice, Boyd discusses the fundamental reasons for blogs.  She states that blogs aren’t written for publishing purposes but rather for communication ones. People write blogs to share information and to share a piece of themselves through their posting. Blogs do not have restrictions with regards to content, and represents a safe environment for conversation. It can be said that blogs emulate the public sphere through facilitating discussion of relevant public issues. Moreover, the Internet offers anonymity providing equality for the participants, which is a known criteria of what consists of a public sphere.
Just like there are “bad” journalists, there are “bad” blogs, however implementing a system to restrict the “bad” blogs would defeat the whole purpose of why blogs exist. Nonetheless, there are many blogs that have been recognized for the work they produce. The key to writing a good blog regardless of the subject is research. The misconceptions with blogs are that they are not credible sources of information—which is not always the case. Rebecca Blood argues that good bloggers research information just as much as “professional” journalist do. Sometimes, blogs deliver better stories than the mainstream because they are able to display an outside of the box perspective because they have no publisher to please.
Regular people are breaking news and sharing their information through such mediums quicker than the news can.  This demonstrates that people are taking matters into their own hands as a result of the digital culture we live in. This change is being recognized by the mass media, and traditions are changing. For example, news stations now have blogs, twitter accounts and Facebook pages. People are spending more time on these platforms, therefore by integrating themselves into it they not only participate but they can observe and receive information from the audiences—which works to their advantage. Traditional media is threatened because now there is more than one message being spread around and that decreases their power. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Now what?

            For some of us, graduation is close approaching and many of us are asking ourselves: Who do we want to be? What is next? What is the REAL world going to be like? While these are all normal thoughts, some of us may want to consider what our Facebook accounts say about ourselves… and if this “identity” we created is appropriate for the next chapter in our lives.

While it might have made you seem “cool” in school, all those pictures of you partying and intoxicated may not translate into giving you a real job.  It is time for a clean up people! Essentially it is time to use tools provided by social media platforms to reinvent yourself, yet again. However, this time around turn that “cool” drunk university kid into a young professional – don’t forget to make it believable by posting about all the right topics and engage with all the right people. Only problem is, when you step into real life and you no longer have a screen to hide behind, people realize the person you are online does not translate to real life - Uh Oh…

 WAIT! Have no fear, just apply to work for an online start up company, this way you can continue to avoid real human interaction. Realistically, who needs face-to-face communication these days anyways – everything is online, right?

 Good luck to everyone, 'twas a blast!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Social media: Making the world a smaller place

Ok, so I know that most of my posts are about aspects of social media, but there is just so much to talk about! Most of my day is surrounded with social media, and a lot of what I write about has been inspired from things I have seen on social media platforms.

Communication is changing, and a big part of that reason is social media. Just as the telephone replaced the telegraph to become the preferred way to reach out to people, the web and social media have done the same, but to an unprecedented degree. People can communicate through photos, videos, text and websites with just about anyone in the world instantly.
While people are seemingly more connected, the competing social networks actually fragment the content shared by people, even if they are talking about the same thing or are at the same event. Due to the fact that social networks compete with one another, there is no one place to engage or consume the content across blogs or services like twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook etc. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one place were all this information could come together? – well there is! I present Epilogger! The best way to describe this platform is as various patches of coloured fabric, each one made by a different person who may or may not know the creators of the other pieces. At some point they will want to see all the pieces come together into a quilt. Epilogger is that quilt. It takes all the content about an event or movement, or subject and creates a central community regardless of what social network people use to share content. From there is allows people to contribute to that community with the app and website in a beautiful "quilt" that's fully interactive.
It amazes me how things have changed so rapidly over the years, I remember when Facebook just came out, and now look at the technology that has become since then. Social media is fairly new and yet it is developing so quickly. We are now able to communicate with people all around the world instantly, and virtually be apart of events across the globe. We are becoming connected in ways that I never imagined possible. The world really is becoming a smaller place, and Epilogger and the abovementioned social media networks are the cause of the “coziness”. So get comfortable and make your mark!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Are We REALLY That Concerned With Privacy?

I find it interesting when people throw a fit over privacy issues with regards to the Internet. We live in a world were we voluntarily tweet, Instagram and Facebook about our lives. The Internet is a public space, and yet we feel comfortable sharing our lives through such platforms.
My question is, why do we feel the need to share so much information about our lives on the Internet? Why do we want people to see what we ate, what we wore, where we went? Where does this urge derive from?

I am sure most of us are aware that Facebook basically owns the content we post on it, and yet we still post pictures, personal information etc. We want others to know about us, we want to be “Facebook creeped” – it gives us this feeling of importance, that our lives are interesting for others to watch, almost like a form of celebrity status. This spotlight however comes with a cost, Facebook sells our information and photos to advertisers. I kind of compare Facebook to the airport – in order to fly you must be willing to give all your information, get searched and essentially give up your privacy to strangers. Same thing with Facebook – if you want to be apart of this exciting world that everyone is participating in, you must give up your information to be used at their discretion. It might seem like a “free” site, but nothing in life is free – there is always a catch. When people are concerned with privacy, my response to them is: “you should have thought about that before you sold soul to Facebook!” – Dramatic I know, but it’s partially true…

Since the emergence of social media, the best way I can describe the web is a big public scrapbook. Certain things that used to be considered as intimate such as the viewing of photo albums have now become a public thing. Pictures are selectively taken to be displayed on these social media networks for others to see as well. Moreover, our relationships have changed as a result of these platforms. Before, people who knew things about your life were privileged, where as now anyone can look you up, and find out what you’ve done and where you have been - essentially who you are. Who “you” are is at everyone’s fingertips.  We seem to “trust” the Internet too much. For example, most of us will “friend” people on Facebook after only meeting them once. Essentially we are allowing strangers have information about our lives. But in this online world, the more friends or followers you have the “cooler” and more important you seem. No one is really forcing us to be apart of this phenomenon, but yet we do it because in my opinion I believe that it is something that fuels our ego.

The Internet is public, so if privacy is your concern then you should have thought about that before you signed up for Facebook, tweeted about feelings, or Instagramed your vacation. The purpose of this blurb was not to bash all these platforms, because that would be hypocritical of me. However it is to bring awareness of what we are posting and who has access to it. Remember whatever is on the Internet is essentially there forever… be smart. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Internet: Public Sphere 2.0

A lot has changed since the time when coffee shops were a place to discuss issues concerning the public. Today, a similar discussion is happening on the web. The Internet is transforming itself into a place where it is easier to express oneself. This is demonstrated through the emergence of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Etc. All these platforms are designed in such a way that allows for people from all around the world to connect and essentially communicate. People’s voices are getting heard at a quicker and more efficient rate than before. People from all around the world are able to join the conversation because of these platforms.
Yes- almost everyone has a blog now, because blogs can be about anything really. But some blogs are getting recognized as alternative media. Certain bloggers are really doing their research and are producing really good journalism without the need to please a certain political view. These platforms are more than social networking sites, they are being used to respond to the media. I have noticed that my Facebook and twitter accounts are flooded with people’s responses to big news stories. The Arab Spring was a revolutionary movement on how social media created change for the people and got their voices heard. It is interesting to note that regular people are not the only ones participating in this Public sphere 2.0. Today, almost every news station or media corporation has a twitter and Facebook accounts and are relaying information through those platforms. This has created a direct engagement between people and the media. I always wondered the reason behind the mainstream media having twitter and Facebook accounts, is it because they fear of other ideologies being disseminated? Do they feel they will lose power and or authority as trusted information? Or is it simply to keep up with the technological times?

Habbermas’ public sphere theory has not disappeared; it has been redesigned to fit the new technological age we live in. I must question however, does the fact that the media such as Huffington post, CP24 etc. participate and interact with the public through these platforms, defeat the purpose of the public sphere? What do you guys think?