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.