Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Draft Web2.0 and Facebook

Web 2.0 has changed the way we (users) look at the internet and its uses. The World Wide Web is no longer a place just for retrieving information, but is a place to interact with other users while being able to add one’s own flare. According to O’Reilly (2005), “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.” To use and view the internet as a platform helps us (the users) work with the internet to receive its full potential rather than fighting, it as O’Reilly says. Web 2.0 is based on user generated programming, allowing users to not only find information but to add information and interact as well. These concepts of user generated content has allowed the internet to evolve and change the web culture creating tools like social networking sites, video sharing, blogs and wikis. Due to the constant updates, keyword search, and inter-linking of web sites, more and more people are learning to love the internet and appreciate what they can do on this new platform. More and more, people are realizing Facebook has started a cultural revolution in the way people now communicate and reach each other.

One of the most popular things on web 2.0 are social networking sites. On these sites people can connect to friends, share photos, and talk to each other, among many other things. The most popular social networking site on the internet today is Facebook. It’s combinations of many Web 2.0 functions has made it user friendly and current. Facebook was created by a man named Mark Zuckerberg, a former student at Harvard University. Zuckerberg started this project solely for the use of Harvard students to interact with each other. According to Michael Hirschen (2007), Facebook was created to “allow students not only to gawk at one another's photos but also to flirt, network, interact.” When the spread of this program reached to half the student body in about two weeks, people wanted more. People all around the Boston area asked for access. Soon other colleges followed. After four months, Facebook was added to thirty other college networks and in the year to follow anybody with a valid email could join. This is one reason Facebook grew exponentially.

Another reason that Facebook is such a popular social networking site is due to the fact that it incorporates so many Web 2.0 features/ applications. One of its original features is the profile. On the profile, members can list things like their favorite books, movies, and television shows. Also they have the option to put their contact information along with religion and age. By doing this, it lets other members or your friends know a little more about you and what you are like. On Facebook, you can add friends who you think you would like to get to know or already have a relationship with. Facebook has an application called “The Friend request”. After becoming friends with someone, you can then start commenting on their profile “Wall” about their pictures and the experiences you have with them. This part of the web site allows people to interact with one another on an online basis. This new type of online communication is leading to the use of new Web 2.0 applications and is changing the way that people now communicate. Facebook has recently added picture sharing, journals (blogs), music sharing, and video sharing in order to increase usage and user volume. These are just a few examples of applications Facebook has to offer. According to Curry, Kiddle, Markatchev, Simmons, and Tan (2008), “as of April 2008 the number of applications has increased to over 22,000.” This gives us a clear example of the power that Facebook has as a social networking site.

There are many different types of uses for Facebook. The majority of its uses are the same depending on the age demographic using it. According to there are thirty three million users in the United States as of September 2008. Of these users the females outnumber the males in any age demographic. At first, Facebook was completely a college based website. Now that it is open to anybody with a valid email, this breakdown has changed. The non-college age groups are increasingly growing in Facebook memberships. Even though ages 18-25 still hold fifty two percent of U.S. Users, the teen (ages 13-17) and the adult users (ages 35-54) have been increasing in extraordinary amounts. Most of the common uses in all age groups are to connect with friends. This changes in degrees, where the older generation is not looking to connect with new friends but to stay connected with old ones. Also some members of Facebook ages 35-54 are just looking for ways to reconnect to their past. The teens are using Facebook for all sorts of things, from their many applications like “Hot or Not” to playing games and instant messaging on the site. This all factors into how Facebook is changing the way people are communicating and are using the Web 2.0 as a platform.

This new way of communicating online through social networking sites has developed many beneficial qualities. People from all over the world are joining Facebook and other social networking sites for the purpose of “Social Searching” (Joinson, 2008). This “Social Searching” allows a person to find and interact with people online that they have met offline. According to Joinson (2008), “Social networks serve a number of functions in offline life –for instance, providing social and emotional support, information resources and ties to other people.” These bonds of friends give the feeling or sense of community to its users. By doing this, Facebook allows its members to confide in each other and further progress the system.

One of the main reasons that I have observed why people join and use Facebook is to stay connected. Due to the addition of some Facebook applications, it has been made possible for a user to communicate with a buddy from far distances and to share similar experiences that they would in a face-to-face interaction. This only generates the popularity of Facebook now that it has gone international. Facebook users take advantage of the technology they have and are now able to leave video notes on their friend’s walls. Facebook has not only positively affected people’s social abilities but has been able to reach the minds of young adults everywhere. Due to Facebook’s success it has drawn the attention of many large and important profit and nonprofit organizations. On Facebook, these organizations can reach users and receive more participants and feedback than ever before. Over this past year, there were many new applications added to help influence youth voters to get out there and voice their opinions. This has shown a clear effect on youth voter turnouts. According to Bode (2008), “Various types of Facebook behavior have clear and significant effects on several types of positive offline political participation.” Through Facebook and other social networking sites it seems that people are raising their “Social Capital”. In 1995 Robert Putnam published a groundbreaking and innovative essay on social capital: “Bowling Alone”. Putnam (1995) explained that the concept of social capital consists of “features of social life - net- works, norms, and trust - that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives” (pp.664-665). This is seen at the core of Facebook; bonds are built, and users interact together to create content on the site. We are now seeing more and more positive attributes that come from Facebook, but that is not always the case.
Facebook is not a free secure online playground for a user to go and interact with friends. It holds some of your real life personal information. Just as in the real world, there are predators online. Sexual predators are using Facebook to lure in their prey of younger children. With the profile application, it makes it easy for predators to hide who they really are so that they seem to be friendly people. Facebook has done some things to try and prevent this. It has “reached an agreement with 49 state attorneys general to institute a broad set of principles intended to protect young users from online predators and inappropriate material” (Stone, 2008). This helps ensure the safety of young users on Facebook.

Another deterrent to Facebook is its policy and information holdings. With all the personal information you put on to sign up for Facebook, your identity and information is ripe for the picking. Anything you post on Facebook, such as pictures, writings, and video are all now owned by Facebook (Monterio, 2008). Also if you ever want to terminate your account, Facebook holds your information in case you feel in the future that you would like to reactivate it. Most people have no idea that this is the case, but if you look under the terms and agreements when you first sign up it clearly states this fact.

One of the major problems facing Facebook is identity. Many users are masking their information so that they seem more appealing to the general public of Facebook. This is seen more often in teens ages 13-17 rather than in adults and young adults ages 28-54. People altar their image on Facebook in order to be someone they are not and conform to the stereotypes of the offline world. This is a reaction to judgmental attitudes of others received in offline experiences. This directly effects Facebook users by exposing them in awkward situations. For example, if you were chatting with someone on Facebook for blind date... When you met this person all the nice qualities that you had liked about them were false and inaccurate. This would cause for an awkward relationship and a weird summer.

This is why in recent times, employers and law enforcement use Facebook to their advantage. In most major firms or large corporations, there are people employed to do a background check on its applicants. If you have any information you do not want people to see on your Facebook account, you have to privately filter out your friends with a privacy setting. Even still, there have been many instances where people have not received the job they wanted because of unflattering pictures on their profile. Government and law enforcement agencies are now using Facebook to find clues about many criminal activities. People or friends might leave photos or information on your profile that can link you to information or the actual crime.

Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook are creating all kinds of changes in the offline world. This new type of communicating with one another on the internet is becoming the norm. The virtual world is leaking into our real lives. This new Dialectical world is changing not only the way we communicate but the way we are now receiving information. Before there was only one way communication when it came to marketing and politics, but now because of Web 2.0 applications people are becoming part of the system. In the future we will not be able to describe certain parts of life without mentioning the web; it will be like explaining the human race without talking about a man or a woman.

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

Ellison, Nicole B., Steinfield, Charles, & Lampe, Cliff. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143-1168. Retrieved August 23, 2007 from

Bode, Leticia. (2008). Don’t Judge a Facebook by its Cover:
Social Networking Sites, Social Capital, and Political
Participation [Electronic version]. Department of Political Science
University of Wisconsin – Madison. Retrieved April 4, 2008, from

Hirschen, Michael. (2007). About Facebook. Atlantic Monthly, October Vol. 300, p. 148-155.

Stone, Brad. (2008). Facebook Agrees to Devise Tools to protect Young Users. New York Times, 05/09/2008.
Inside Facebook: Tracking Facebook and the Facebook Platform for Developers and Marketers. (2008). Retrieved September 13, 2008, from

P.A. Monterio. The Dangers of Facebook. (2008). Retrieved January 16, 2008, from, Adam M. (2008). Looking at, looking up or keeping up with people?: motives and use of facebook. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 24, pp. 1027-1036. Retrieved October 24, 2008, from

Putnam, Robert D., 2000, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY.

Curry, Roger, Kiddle, Cameron, Markatchev, Nayden, & Tan, Tingxi. (2008). Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise [electronic version]. Retrived September 15, 2008, from

Monday, December 1, 2008

Watching people use the Web 2.0 medium called Facebook

In our upcoming assignment we have to discus and educate about a Web 2.0 medium. For my medium I chose Facebook a popular social networking site. Facebook is used mostly by teens and young adults (15-28) but is increasingly being used by adults or parents of these teens. I had observed this scenario when I had gone home for break. When I came home my mother was uploading photos of my cousins so that her friends can see. First I did not even know my mother had a Facebook let alone even know what it was. When I asked her why she had signed up for this medium she told me "so I can be more connected with my friends". I was a little blown away, to think my mother is becoming as connected as me. Then I thought about why I signed up in the first place and it was for similar reasons of connecting with friends and new people. After seeing my mother I went to my brothers house to see my nephews; what do I see my little nephew talking to his friends on Facebook. I think I was even more shocked to see him on Facebook than my mother, considering he is only eleven years old. I observed him for a little while to see what he would use Facebook for and found out he does almost the same things as me. He checks his mail, photos and looks at other friends profiles. So I asked him now why did you sign up? He told me "because every one has Facebook duhh!". I saw that this social networking site is turning into a cultural phenomenon reaching all ages and cultures in America.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Its a Small World After All

In today's reading for class we look at Shirky, Clay (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). Last week in class Professor Stromer-Galley ask the question of what an organization was and can you have organization without organizations. I did not know what she was getting at until this reading. Shirky talks about two different ways that this could possibly work.

In the reading Shriky talks about social networking sites and how they work with little outside organization. Shirky bases this on two factors "homophily", dense and sparser connections (Shirky, 2008). The sense of homophily Shirky says is what brings like and like together. I looked at this in the sense that people find common interest in each other and build multiple common interest to build a friendship. This also works online in social networking sites by connections. "Small World networks" as Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz state have two types of connections (Shirky, 2008). First a dense connection is when a group of people are all connected to each other with no separation. When a message is being relayed everyone will get it. The other type of connection is a sparse connection. this links small groups together by a couple of people in common or that know each other in other groups. Shirky says for a the system to work to its full effectiveness you must use both types of connections "at different scales" (Shirky, 2008).

Something that struck me as interesting was that it was not the many smaller connections that held the system together it was the few people with many large connections that was the backbone. Shirky says "A handful of people are extremely critical to holding the whole network together, because as the network grows, the existence of a small number of highly connected individuals enables the very trade-off between connectivity and effectiveness that makes the Small World pattern work in the first place" (Shirky, 2008). After reading this I started to wounder if these few people with such a large number of connections really knew who important they were, and if they do would they do anything to disrupt the system?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Blogs in Society

Over the past couple of weeks we have been reading about blogs and its effects on the Internet, communication, and society. In Barlow, A. (2008). Blogging @merica chapter two he talks about something that is affecting our "real" world from the blogoshpere. Barlow mentions how most people view the blogger as a whining loser in "mom's basement" (Barlow, 2008). Of course many people who blog do not want to be look at in such a way. There are many people out there actively tyring to rid bloggers of this stereotype, some even tried creating a code of ethics. This caused a controversy in the blogging world, where some bloggers thought this to be a great idea and the others disagreed. Some bloggers felt that their thoughts were under attack. They would receive harassing messages and even at times death threats. Barlow points out two of these ideas in the voice of Moulitsas the founder of Daily Kos, and Clarke the author of a popular nature blog. At one point these two and their ideas crash. Moulitsas's opinion being that blogs are a place that make the forum for speaking easier because of the certain aspect of being anonymous; so people are more likely to test their thoughts. Also that because your thoughts are out there for people to read they might draw up controversy and emotions of other readers and this will cause a reaction to you. Were as Clarke states that people are putting in "real" world emotions and facts and that blogs are "an expression of real world ideas" (Barlow, 2008).

Just as Barlow states that both of these arguments have a certain truth, I strongly agree. After my new experience with blogging I can now relate to fellow bloggers and see the need for both of these types of blogging. Sometimes I feel I need to express my "real" world emotions and other times I am testing my ideas anonymously in a public forum for later use in the "real" world. This then brings the argument of content, who is posting it, and is it reliable. Barlow says that these problems in the blogosphere will continue until there is a "happy medium" were content, community, emotions, and reactions will work together.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Live Journal

For today's reading I read "shout into the wind, and it shouts back" by Lori Kendall. I found this reading to be interesting, she spoke about LiveJournals and the way people are using it now a days. A LiveJournal is similar to a blog but it contains more aspects of a social networking site. With live journals you can create a friend list and your friends who have it may read it when ever you post.

Kendall talks about an experiment that she had conducted over a two year period. She ask a group of participants what they thought of the software and why they use it. What she found out was pretty similar answers to her questions across the board. Most users were familiar with this type of software on the Internet. Also they ranged from ages of mid 20's to late 30's. These users found it easier to communicate their message to their friends using LiveJournal rather than calling people of even emailing them in some cases. I found this a little surprising because I thought that email was on of the most used tools on the Internet. Some things that the people who interviewed also commented on about live journal was that sometime it brought people or areas of their life that would normally never interact together. This would happen because your journal is connected to everyone on your friend list, so entries about work can be seen by someone in your family and vice'versa. For some people they stated that it posed a little bit of a problem when they mixed certain parts of their life together on LiveJournal that they would normally keep separate.

Before this reading I did not even know about the program LiveJournal, now i am interested in seeing what it is about. All the people who tried it seem to like it more than blogs, and even email. Even though Kendall shows that there are some problems with it like being seen by everyone even though you want it only to be seen by few; I believe that i would like this program.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

the world is changing and it is happening on my computer

The world that we live in today is forever evolving. Everyday there are new ways of traveling, eating, and communicating. We can no longer look at the world as simply vertical and horizontal according to Aaron Barlow’s Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere, but as a mixture of the two. This is especially true when it comes to the internet and the way people interact when using it.

Over the past seven days I have been observing and interacting with a political blog on the internet. My assignment was to become a part of this blogosphere and interact with other members and see what their reactions were. This proved to be exciting for me; I was never officially part of a blog where so many other members have direct access to what I say and could comment back to me. In the past I was in forums with my friends, or now in this class blog where have become friendly with most of the class who see my thoughts. In the blog that I have been observing there is nobody I really know at all. So this puts a whole new angle on the assignment for me in both a good and nervous way.

The Blog that I have chosen is called Political Punch it is a mix of any political topics going on in that day or of the days past. This blog is one of the most popular political blogs on the internet. After searching through many this is the one that I had agreed with the most because of people’s comments and how many of these comments there were per-post. Also ranked it with one of the highest authorities (most trafficked and commented on) on the site.

For the first couple of days I kept my thoughts inside and did not chose to write on any of the matters that people were discussing. After I had become used to the set up and how frequent people commented I became less nervous. The next day I decided to create a name for when I chose to make a comment on a post. I wanted this name to reflect who I was politically, so I called myself REDHOTTforPOLITICS to show which side I more agree with.

When reading Barlow’s Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere he points out many topics or ideas you can see happening in blogs. There was one particular idea that caught my interest in chapter four. Barlow talks about the idea of a vertical and a horizontal structure of web cultures, and the differences between citizen and professional journalism. These things are so easily seen in such a large political blog like Political Punch because it has so many different views and authorities. Barlow states that the best place to see an example of a vertical structure is in most organizations, because of a need of “certain efficiency” (Barlow, 2008). This means a person or leader at the top makes all decisions and then delegates tasks to the rest of his people. On the other hand there is a horizontal structure which works better for internet users and blogs, because there is no chain of command people work together to make it work. I found an immediate clash of these two ideas as soon as I started on the site. Political Punch is a blog that comes from ABC NEWS a vertical structure. On the other hand it is a blog that is horizontal because it depends on the thoughts of a group for it to become successful. Since Political Punch is such a visited and commented on blog I think they owe their success to the combination of the two structures. In my opinion political blogs are like a battle field of people's ideas. So what ABC does is challenge some of these people’s ideas in the blog which spark comments and therefore creates more “Battle” or debate.

On the site ABC NEWS have one man Jake Tapper a senior national correspondent post his blogs at least once a day, and they give the opportunity for groups or any person to respond. I found myself ready to comment on the blog when reading about president elect Obama’s ideas for a missile defense system in eastern Europe. I jumped in giving my opinion and actually starting a large debate, which was exactly what I was worried about. Surprisingly people seemed to be on my side. This went on until someone with the name pefros started to argue with everyone. I found this interesting in the sense that he thinks he is better and knows more about everything than everybody else. This is exactly what Barlow mentions with the citizens journalist. Just because this person has the right to spread their thoughts doesn't mean they are right. As Barlow says “anyone with the means can enter into journalism; they do not need to prove themselves first.” (Barlow, 2008). Then I thought wait was I not doing the same thing as pefros when I said what I had to say. This made me think that it is only human nature to express your opinion to try and show you are right. With so many people on political blogs they are either on your side or against you and it only fuels a person even more to engage in this “battle”.

With the ease of access to the internet and people being more computer ready than before it changes the way people communicate with each other. This is clear when looking at blogs and other media like this. People now have more means of a public outlet to get their opinion across. Even though this builds a new category of information and with this information we now have to ask how trust worthy or legitimate is it.

Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers.

Technorati. (n.d.). Retrieved November 06, 2008, from

Oh how the mighty have fallen

Today I clearly saw what Barlow spoke about in chapter four, when he said that organizations are vertical and blogs are horizontal. In my blog Political Punch today the main writer spoke about veterans day and how Obama was not one but still received much support from the public. Other bloggers commented on what he said and completely took the opposite stand point. this goes back to the real journalist vs. the internet ones. I can clearly see a opposition of power and I think thats what makes this one of the most popular political blogs online. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

No way

This is crazy if you read this you might think you are in a parallel universe, Obama is going to allegedly hire a citizens national force of sorts to look out for national security. This is exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany. I really can not believe what i was reading. Even though Obama did not say it directly Broun has given a vast maybe a little too ridiculous theory on the matter.

Obama in the Oval

After reading what people had to say yesterday I was excited to read what would be on people's mind this morning. At Political Punch today people were talking about the meeting with Obama and Bush. they are hopefully going to talk about the 700 billion economy bundle, and if auto makers should be included in the distributions of it.  Obama is also expected to announce his other major staff members. This is what people were reacting to in the post they spoke about who would better suite this new president. 

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It is funny how history repeats itself

Today I was reading on Political Punch that Obama along with Turkey's government is continuing with plans to create a missile defense system. This not only upsets Russia but because we have regulated their defense before it would only make sense to me that they are going to set up a retaliation plan near the developing defense systems. After reading the post and what people had to say I had to say some thing as well, "wow didnt this happen already during the cold war period. I am pretty sure we made Russia stop their missile defense project, because it does not just give one side a huge advantage but it gives the other sides a reason to build more missiles." I said this under the name that I have taken in this blog "REDHOTTforPOLITCS" still looking to see if people will reply. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

blog watch 2008

I have joined the Political Punch blog recently, and have always been interested in what other people had to say on some of things that I thought were interesting. after viewing it for the past few day most conversations have been about our new president Obama. This makes a lot of sense considering that he was just elected two days ago. I personally did not vote blue but I am excited to see what people are going to say about what he going to do until he takes office. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

evaluation of internet research

In today’s easy accessible world information is just a click away, but how good is that information to you and how credible is it? It is our job as researchers to figure out how well an article can suite you before using it. My classmates and I are doing a project on a Web 2.0 communication media and in this part of our project we have to conduct the initial research for our final Web 2.0 project. With the help of Bonnie L. Tensen’s work in Research strategies for a digital age chapter five I am able to find more reliable and credible information by questioning who, what, where, when, to whom, and why about articles.

Doing research is like an experiment you start with a hypothesis or topic of research and through a process of elimination and deductive reasoning you find your answer or the correct information. For my research of Web 2.0 technologies I will be conducting research on the social networking site Facebook. I will be using a number of different search engines as well as library databases to find my information. With the information from Tensen’s research I will be able to effectively decide which site and articles are best for me and most credible.

I first wanted to look and see if I could get any credible information by searching just the word “Facebook”. I decided to use Google as my search engine because this is what I am ingrained to using when looking for things on the internet. Now as I expected I there was not that many things that looked so appealing to my needs for credible information. Actually most of the things that had came up were for signing up for Facebook or about it applications descriptions. When scrolling down though there was one link that caught my eye Facebook company profile, this looked to be a website with some credibility. After reading it is saw that there were many topics of relevant information that I could use for my research, but when I looked at the sources only some were credible while, the others any person on the internet could add their name or comment to say that they had written this information. This is not a source that I would likely include in my final presentation. Since this was the only thing that I could find from this type of search I decided it was not relevant for my needs and moved on using one of the tips Tensen says to use about Google’s advanced search.

I went onto Google and clicked advanced search preferences; with this I was able to pick a topic specific search engine just as Tensen had stated. I picked a scholar search this is one of the options that Google gives you. Also I now narrowed my search by looking for “Facebook uses” in the key words. I felt that by doing this I will be able to find more information on my topic and its uses, I thought correctly. Upon first look I saw many articles and links that might be able to help me. I found many articles on the topic of its up and coming popularity. There were a few articles that I thought could help me Benefits of Facebook , Facebook and its affects, Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise, and motives and use of facebook. After looking at all of these articles it looked like this way of searching was foolproof in finding scholarly information considering that I would have use for both of these documents. When continuing my search I found that not all of these were credible, There is no place like ... community 2.0 looked to me as if it was a college assignment that ended up on the internet. So I found that even though I used Google’s scholarly search it was still possible for someone to find spurious information. When evaluating your research on the internet Tensen states that it is very important to look over very carefully the “purpose, reputation, intended audience, reliability, appearance and timeliness” (Tensen, 2004). Without these things the value of your information and research is zero.

After taking what Tensen say into account I went on to my next search engine The Internet Public Library. When I first got onto this site I saw many ways of finding the necessary information I needed. So as Tensen say you should first make yourself familiar with the tools of the website and did by exploring what it had to offer. I found this site very easy to use and seemed helpful. You can search for information by using a ready reference, (almanacs, dictionaries, and encyclopedias) reading room, (books, magazines, and newspapers) or their subject collections. When I finally got to start my search and looked up “Facebook uses” like I did before nothing came up. So then I made my search more general and still received nothing. This seemed to be a futile effort so I abandoned my search and went to try a new site.

I then tried Alta Vista, and used its advanced search like I had done with Google. In this advanced search I was able to input some parameters that I thought would help me in finding a superior site. I made the search take the in factor of date and time relevance, considering that Facebook is a new form of social media I would want the most recent and most prevalent information. What I found though were many things explaining what to use Facebook for in a business stand point not for what it does, Using Facebook for marketing. Not only was this not the right information I was looking for but after evaluating what it was using Tensen’s methods I realized that it was not for me and the information was anything but credible. For this document it was geared toward people who own a business and want to start advertising, also the information was linked to something that appeared to be a blog of sorts. This was not something I would find useful to reference in my final project.

I ended my search for information on Facebook by using the school’s library databases. In our library there are many different types of databases so I decided to use the one geared toward communication (this helps me find articles with more relevance to my topic) Com Abstracts. In this search I used the same keywords as before “Facebook uses” and a plethora of what seemed to be applicable articles came up. I found articles like The Role of Friends' Appearance and Behavior on Evaluations of Individuals on Facebook: Are We Known by the Company We Keep?. This was a great article it had everything I was looking for it was published in 2008, it looked at Facebook and how people use it, comes from a credible source, and has a broad audience. There were two others like this that I thought were helpful, GROOMING, GOSSIP, FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE, and The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites. Both of these sites talked about the history of Facebook and what it has become for people using it and how it will affect the future. This is exactly what I needed to proceed on the next part of my project, and this was the easiest way for me to find out information I found this database to be the most effective for me.

The World Wild Web can be a tricky and dangerous place if you do not know what you are doing. After going through this information gathering process and with the help from Tensen I was able to find and distinguish credible and relevant information for my purpose. Also I was able to find out what was the easiest and most efficient way of gathering data for me was.


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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey how did you get my information?

For today’s reading I read “Searching issues of Privacy” by Michael Zimmer, in the article I noticed some new and interesting controversies about web 2.0, search 2.0 and its components. Zimmer talks about the ultimate search engine and the possibilities that it could have on our day to day activities. When speaking about the “perfect search engine” you have to consider the two parts it needs to function perfectly. Zimmer states that not only should this perfect search engine come back with a perfect answer to your question every time but it should accomplish this task with “perfect recall”. Perfect recall is essential Zimmer says because, “web search engines must be able to identify and understand searchers’ intellectual wants, needs and desires when they perform information seeking tasks online” (Zimmer, 2008, volume 13). In order for this to occur the privacy of your information is now open to these “perfect search engines” to better obtain an understanding of what you would like to find. Your online activities are now available for public viewing (Google search yourself and see what comes up).

After reading what Zimmer had to say I had to ask myself is the cost of readily available information on the “world wild web” really worth some of my private information. Now that people have information posted on such web 2.0 programs as Facebook or wikis you can easily find out their information by doing a Google search on them. This intern may have a negative or positive effect on someone. I personally have not been affected but know of someone who has. When applying for a job last year this person was denied at the last stage of the interview process because of things that were deemed to be unfit for the position. When the person found out why they did not get the job, they ask how they found out that information because it was considered private, and the employer said that it was a matter of public information on the internet. With the advancement of search engines today we get closer to that image of a “perfect search engine”, but you now have to ask yourselves is the juice worth the squeeze?


Zimmer, Michael. (2008). The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets web 2.0. First Monday, 13. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from

Sunday, September 28, 2008


When the internet was created one of the main purposes it had was to communicate. As we have seen the internet develop we have also seen the way people communicate advance as well. There are many forms of social media today such as IRC, Usenet, and MUDs/MOOs. Out of all these types of online communication I have chosen to observe a Usenet political group from California. I chose this particular social media because I thought it would be interesting to see the views that the west had on this year’s upcoming election pertaining to John McCain.

This was not my first choice for observation; I was first looking at a Google group or Usenet group that spoke about both sides of the election process. I was excited to see how people from both sides would react to each other in an online forum. I had to change to a different Usenet group after what I had witnessed there, clearly there was a problem of cooperation. In Managing the Virtual Commons by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith they talk about this problem and how it effects the social media community. Kollock and Smith state that “The temptation is to enjoy a public good without contributing to its production, but if all reach this decision, the good is never created and all suffer”. This means that if people just leach off other people’s thoughts and ideas but never contribute their own then the group will die. This also works the other way around if only one person is doing all the contributing and not letting any other members contribute then the group will die as well. According to Kollock and Smith Ostrom states that this is called a “free-rider problem”(Ostrom 1990:6). Kollock and Smith talk about how in a Usenet it essential for contributers to take turns or else the communication will crowd up and breakdown. In this group there was barely any start up rules causing in my opinion a breakdown of communication. Once you join the group it is possible for you to come into the group and create as much noise or spam as you want. So what I witnessed happening in this newsgroup was a collapse in communication. Also on top of that anybody and everybody were bashing each other on any side of the argument. What most Usenet groups do is setup a list of boundaries to prevent this from happening. When observing this group I believe that they wanted this type of wild and free bashing community to spark debate but did not realize that it would be a free for all. After a day in this group I could not stay and moved on to a group with a similar topic but more boundaries.

The new group that I started to observe was called John McCain for president, this was a much better organized Usenet group in my opinion. This group was based in the west coast and this is what really made want to read what people though of this potential president elect. Upon first entering I was not allowed to post anything yet, there were some restrictions which I thought were great. Unlike the first Usenet group I observed I had to catchup on the weeks topic first before I could contribute any of my opinions. This was interesting in a good way to me because that meant people were not coming into this group and bombarding it with spam, it meant that in this group there was an actual form of discussion. What I observed on the first day was that there was a concern for Sarah Palin who is John McCain’s running mate. When she was first announced by McCain to be his running mate there was immediate controversy. She had many topics to talk about and what I read was, since the most media was sceptic of her she had many difficult questions to answer. What I observed was that this really made the group uneasy or at least a couple of key members. They feared this decision would stagger McCain’s progress by filling voters heads with uncertainty.

On the next day there were many issues that I found interesting and humorous. Apparently McCain did not talk about the problems of hurricane Ike very properly. People in the group thought that he could have done a better job. Someone in the group posted a link to a recording of what he had said, so I watched it to get my own opinion. What I saw was great, I thought that McCain had addressed the topic very properly, and informed the public of what he would do if there was another Katrina event. I did not know the problem here but because I was a new member and did not want to bash anybody in the group so I did not say anything. Later in the day I went back to check on the group which I thought was weird, this group was almost becoming an obsession to see what people would say. As Kollock and Smith state almost two million people around the world participate in these groups and I now understand why. When you become part of a group it makes you want to contribute and participate more often . In these types of groups it is like having a bunch of friends who are always in the mood to talk with you about topics you share a common interest in. When I went back to see if anybody posted something new I noticed a post called “Obamonopoly”. After viewing this I thought anybody who saw this would laugh,but everyone in the group was outraged. I guess humor on the west coast is running thin.

When entering the group this time I was very excited. The other day when I left the group I joined the e-mail list to get daily or weekly e-mail of what was going on in recent conversation. The e-mail that I had received was very interesting, it spoke about having a party or event to raise money for McCain’s campaign. This showed me that the members of this group did not only talk about supporting McCain they actually came up with ways to do it physically and monetarily. I received this e-mail from the same man who posted the “Obamonopoly” so I started to think that he is the leader of this Usenet group.

After observing this Usenet group over the past week I have not only learned many things about communication on the internet but I have gotten very interested in using it. I am now a member of this group and have joined two others, I check these groups constantly throughout the week. There is one thing that I wish I could have observed, the way gender plays into social media. Kollock and smith say that because the internet is blind to gender you can assume any roll you please. I have yet to see when the roll you take if man or woman really effects you in a group yet, but I hope to see how it plays out. Seeing how the internet transforms our world and the way we communicate is very interesting to me, and now that I am a member of multiple groups it is like having an inside look on what is happening next.


Kollock, Peter & Smith Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communications: :Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last day with McCain

Today is the last day with my Google group and nobody has even mentioned the recent news of many of the large banking firms going under. I thought that this would be a major topic especially for the upcoming elections. I felt a need to post something about McCain's views on the matter but since i was a new member anything i posted would go through a comity first before it appears on the groups postings. I know this would have not taken long but I decided not to post anything. The topic today was McCain's chief of staff speaking to all district 6 republicans. I looked into this and could not even understand what people were trying to contribute. Members of the groups were posting links over other people's links so I did not know which to go to and left.

Palin still taking the heat

Today I received an e-mail from the group talking about having a party to raise money for John McCain/Palin. I thought this was a funny great idea I was invited but unfortunately I am not in California. After I went to see what my group was buzzing about and people were still concerned about how the media was treating Palin. I was not surprised with the attention she was getting good or bad. I soon left after reading these post, and hoped for tomorrow that someone would post of a topic towards McCain's statements on a new fiscal policy.

McCain under fire

In today's observation of the Usenet there was an onslaught of back fire towards McCain. Many people were talking about his past reaction to hurricane Ike, and the most popular conversations was "Obamonopoly" which I thought was a very funny post but other people were outraged. Many members of the group posted back on how things need to be changed, and what McCain' s campaign needs to do in order to fix things like this. That was all for today untill later.

John Mccain usnet

Today was special for me I actually change my topic to a more specific thing so that people were not free writing each other constantly. I moved myself to a John McCain for president Google group, which can be found at . When I first got on it let me chose what state i was from to get involved with people around me, but I opted to chose California because I wanted to see what the west was talking about. What I noticed today was that there was some concern about the troubles that Palin was facing in some hostile news interviews. I had to leave to I signed up for the e-mail list so I would be posted for tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

first obs

For the past few days I have been looking in to some political google groups to see how they work and how people act. What I have noticed is that in these groups there is a free exchange of people's opinions and political views. I have not yet been able to tell which person or member of this group is the leader or if there even is one, but I am excited to find out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Web 1.0

Over the past couple of weeks we have been reading about the internet, how it started, all of its growing uses, and how it is a new communication medium. For today I examined web production and the internet as a new media, this was really interesting to me. In the article by Jason Whitaker The Internet: The Basics (chapter 3) he speaks about the convergence of analog to digital formatting and how to use some of the basic tools to set up a well designed web page. In The internet: The Basics (chapter 3) Whitaker states the improvements and new uses of existing web technologies such as, audio and video, digital photography or digital imaging, text and hypertext, and web radio and webcasting. Over a short period of time many of these tools have progressed into new form of technology. With these new advancements we are now able to put some of these technologies together to make an interactive functioning webpage. In The Internet: The Basics (chapter 3) Whitaker speaks out on the new age style of web design. He states that now a day it is not only a matter of function but look and experience as well. For web designers today they have to deal with the not only the fundamentals of HTML (hypertext markup language) but the complex as well says Whitaker. Also the problem of layout and content is now introduced in this new age of growing technologies.

While trying to understand this reading I learned many new and applicable functions in web design. The reading by Jason Whitaker shows how to successfully create and layout a web page. It was fascinating to me to learn about the dynamics of web design from a web 1.0 stand point. After reading The Internet: The Basics (chapter 3) Whitaker explains to me how even the basics in web design are not easy. The creation of a well designed web page depends on your skill and effort put in. After reading about Whitaker’s techniques I am eager and nervous about creating my own exciting functional web page.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Managing the Virtual Commons

In today’s reading on managing the virtual commons Peter Kollock and Marc Smith talk about cooperation and conflict in computer communities. One of the main computer communities of their focus was called Usenet. Kollock and Smith say that Usenet was one of the largest computer communication systems that were ever created. Usenet had a similar system to e-mail and the bulletin board system as all three systems were a way of getting your information out and talking to other people who had the same ideas and thoughts as you. Usenet used a newsgroup system where there would be a specific topic in each of these newsgroups and only that topic would be discussed. A user of Usenet can be a member of multiple newsgroups and topics. In this ever popular Usenet system arises the problem of free-rider, a person who does not follow the norm of cooperation and coordination in the system, says Kollock and Smith. As stated Usenet has great potential to provide collective goods but people use this system in a way of spamming instead of information sharing then the collective good is not reached. So while some users up hold their end of the contract by not using too much bandwidth (volume of information per unit time that a computer can handle) the majority of users do not show restraint causing this free-rider problem. Kollock and Smith say that this is not the only problem the success of a newsgroup depends on the content provided. If users are not going to stick to the topic of the newsgroup or spam the bandwidth then the Usenet will not succeed.
These problems were examined by a man named Ostrom (1990) and he says that there are seven things that needed to be followed in order for newsgroups to successfully organize and govern themselves. There must be clearly defined set of boundaries, this along with group size are important in the sense that the more people there are the less probable it is for there to be a major common interest. Ostrom states the necessity of boundaries to this system for the purpose of closing outsiders from reaping the benefits and for encouraging cooperation and frequent interaction. Ostrom also says that any accomplishing community will need a set of rules and institutions. He says that these rules are very important but will not be effective if not properly applied to the right community or newsgroup. The next things that Ostrom talks about is Monitoring and sanctioning. This is the basis for continual success in newsgroups; it acts as a checks and balance system for the newsgroup. Even though there are a great set of rules and institutions in place someone might be breaking them and in effect hurting the group, so monitoring and sanctioning helps fix this problem.
I believe just like Kollock and Smith that Usenet has great potential for collective good once it can function more fluidly through its problems. Usenet has no real main authority and I think that this is its main problem. To me it does not make sense to have such a large flow of open communication with no main authority governing it because eventually confrontation or conflict will arise. Ostrom states that there are certain things needed for these types of social communication systems to survive. One thing that he neglects to mention in the rules of joining groups, I think it would have been more successful if when joining a group there was a period of time one had to watch and read what was going on before jumping in and putting more noise in the group. I thought this was a great reading it is fun to see where the origination of forums and other computer mediated communication came from. I am a member of multiple forums and it is weird to see that even today some of these problems still exist.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First essay

The internet as we know it today is not the same as it was when it first became, and will not be the same tomorrow. The internet is an always ever evolving way of communication in the world today. There are many innovations that led to what we now see the as the internet today such as packet switching, the creation of TCP/IP, e-mail, and the formation of Hypertext Transfer Protocol. I believe that these four things are what made the internet what it is today.
When the internet first became it was developed for the sole reason of communication in case of an emergency. During the time of the cold war the United States were scared that in the case of a nuclear attack that they would not be able to relay the proper information needed to help the situation. So the United States formed RAND, while reading about this research and development group I learned that their goal was to try and create a galactic network. RAND developed a system that would work through computers, and only needed to find a working line with another computer. In other words if New York was attacked and had to get a message to Florida but the direct line was interrupted this system would find another computer to relay the message so that there would never be a stop in communication.
This process of computer communication was soon improved with the introduction of packets. What the packet system did was take your message or data and break it down into smaller bunches of data so that the “traffic” could then be more controllable. Also with this process it made the message sending more reliable in the sense that if some of the message does not make it the hope that at least the major parts of the message will get through. Now that there was a more reliable way to transfer data you could now send more data and now there is more data transfer happening. Soon came the introduction of packet switching which speeded the process of data transfer even more. With packet switching your message would travel and find its way through the line of least resistance. So now your message is broken done into many smaller packets and not all of these packets would travel the same path. Each packet was given a header which was basically the who, what, where, when, and how. This header made sure that each packet got to the designated location (Adams & Clark).
Packet switching was governed by TCP/IP or Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. TCP/IP was what the internet was waiting for it not only safeguarded information but made it faster and more reliable to transfer data. TCP/IP was not like the old existing protocol it was built into every network host instead of governing nodes. So we see because of this we see the data transfer and packet switching moving a great deal faster than before. As stated in the readings from Adams and Clark the major amount of packet conversion was done onsite before ever released into the network. After this great improvement TCP/IP became the “industries standard” for protocol of online communications (Adams & Clark).
With this new advancement in technology of communication people began more to use this medium of communications for personal message sending. “In 1972 a man named Ray Tomlinson created the first e-mail system that delivered messages through Arpanet (Adams & Clark). So now people can send messages to their friends even though the use of this medium was still pretty exclusive. From internal audits we know that almost 75% of the network activity going on was e-mail. So now on a day to day basis you saw people were using e-mail to send personal and non-personal information to their colleagues instead of analyzing data (Adams & Clark).
When I say the word internet you might immediately think of the World Wide Web (WWW) but in fact they are not the same. The WWW was introduced to us in 1991 by a man named Tim Berners-Lee. The WWW is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet ( In other words it is a place to send and receive information through computers. Through the use of HTTP or hypertext transfer protocol one can link any document or information to another which in my opinion really makes the internet so important. With this people can access information on many things at the same time authored by different people, this take us to an age of endless possible growth of communication.
Over time the internet has taken huge steps forward to become what it is today. Even though you might not see the changes all the time the internet is ever evolving. These four innovations along with many others help us use the internet in the way we use it today. I am excited for the future and what it brings with the internet because I feel the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Characteristics of the medium

     For this weeks class we had to read about the how the internet compares to other internet mediums, and what problems they faced in distant communication.  The internet is a new and always evolving form of communication.  It hold many characteristics of other forms of communications but is hard to specify the internet into one catagorey of communication. The internet is a sum of many communication tools, it uses interpersonal communication in online chats, public speaking with group e-mail, and mass media when a news station post it information so that many people can view the news. These are not the types of communication the internet use there are many more, so now we have to ask how do we catagorize the internet as a communications medium? 
     Since the internet is always changing it is hard to put an exact term for what it does or how it works, but for now we can use the terms macromedium and metamedium. We can say that the internet is a macromedium because the word macro in sense means "large", and so the internet on a large scale is use to connect people from far distance.     It can also be considered a metamedium because it take the sues of old mediums and combindes them into one functioning unit.  With this you can listen to music while making a video and checking the weather, "it enables us to use both ends of traditional mass media" 
      There were three main problems the the developers of the internet were concerned about speed, reliability and distribution.  Speed was not the issue at first but once people started to send bigger documents and wanted to send pictures speed became an issue. Developers had to eliminate the the problem of place and space. As they worked on tis speed started to increase and now you can send streaming video with little problems. Reliablility was a major problem, how do you make it so the your message will reach the other end and the other person will understand it? what developers did was put the message in packets so that there was an insurance in a way that the reciver will always have a sense of the message. The last problem was distribution who was using it, where it was being used these were things that had to be solved.  After researching this problem it became apparent that it is almost impossible to figure these things out, but one main conclusion was that the more money a country had the more likely they are using the internet.