Monday, December 1, 2008

YouTube- " The Web2.0 television of the new generation"

Have you ever forgotten how to change a flat tire or just needed to see a classic clip from your favorite TV show? Well, in recent years thanks to a popular video-sharing website called YouTube these worries have been easily resolved at the click of a mouse. In 2008, Alexa a web trafficking site ranked YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet, behind search engines Yahoo! and Google. The pathway paved by YouTube within the Internet medium in its earlier stages where unheard of by any other website. It’s almost unbelievable that YouTube was just created some 3 years ago and has gone from a small collection of videos on a site to a prominent stake holder in the media arena. It seemed like it happened almost overnight when YouTube transformed itself into a television but what made it unique was that it was TV controlled by the you the user(hence the name YouTube). This idea of YouTube being like a television of the future was clearly transmitted in the sites choice of the mini television icon. However, the real distinctiveness of YouTube was that it was a place where someone could “broadcast themselves”. This new ability to view, post and comment on videos made by people from all around the world genuinely changed the face of the Internet forever. The emergence of this Web2.0 application opened up doors to an area of communication that no one has witnessed until now. Although just started in the winter of 05, YouTube has quickly taken the 21st century by storm and become a household name amongst many students, teachers, chefs, doctors, musicians, and countless others. So with YouTube becoming the go to website for almost any and everything, people feel they need to know more about the medium. Many fail to realize just how and why the medium has become so popular amongst our society today. These questions as well as others will be answered throughout this assignment to further highlight the popular website YouTube. The information researched will focus on the mediums history, who frequents the site, and its social implications. This research will hopefully give great insight into what the future holds for this every growing website.

YouTube sparked in late February of 2005 created by three PayPal website employees. Many popular media outlets reported the idea of the website came about when co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen found problems sharing videos with friends from a dinner party they attended one night. However, stories contradict this so- called “digestible” representation of the websites creation by the media, say the founders. In another story the 3rd co-founder Jawed Karim actually denies there was even a party in which the entire story was constructed around. With so many stories there appears to be no direct answer as to when the idea of YouTube was thought of but there is paperwork proving their 1st investment loans from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in late 05. Sequoia was genuinely the element which took this idea from a simple thought to a reality by investing millions of dollars in to this early-stage company. In the beginning the company’s main base was located in a small space in San Mateo, California. Researchers have documented that the domain name was actually purchased and activated on February 15, 2005 prior to investments loans. From the very beginning YouTube grew rapidly, reportedly having more then 70,000 new videos uploaded daily by users nationwide. In just a few months it seemed like the company took off into a whorl wind bringing in any and everything within its grasp. In the early months of YouTube’s existence it managed to tackle a benchmark no other website had before them. Wikipedia reports that in 2007 YouTube had consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet combined. In the months to follow YouTube continued to surpass its predecessors catching the eye of popular public cooperation Google Inc. In late 2006 Google purchased YouTube from Hurley, Chen, and Karim for $1.65 billion in an all stock transaction. This deal received some of the greatest media attention because of the huge cash out by co- founders. In an article in Forbes magazines June issue it was projected the 2008 revenue of YouTube to be at an estimated $200 million. If the successful early stages of YouTube say anything about the future of the company then the possibilities are endless.

Now with some history of this popular video-sharing website the focus can be shifted to audience whom play a key role in making the site what it has become and aspires to be. Anyone can agree that any successful website needs viewers especially a site like YouTube which is based around the posting/sharing of videos amongst the audience. Although, when it comes to YouTube the task of pin pointing a specific audience demographic is quite difficult for a number a reasons. One reason in particular is the fact that the site is frequented by so many different types’ of people at any given time, as stated earlier. For instance a chef could be on YouTube searching for videos of recipes, while a teacher could be using it to find clips to better teach their topic discussed in class. Then are those who simply go on YouTube for entertainment purposes like watching music videos or visual blogs posted by members. In last two year the diversity of YouTube’s audience became especially visible when country specialized versions of the site were launched around the world in areas ranging from Japan to Germany. The launch of these sites inadvertently created an even greater communication link between people from opposite ends of the world. Now someone from Belgium could see what was going in Japan through the eyes of someone just like them. The YouTube phenomenon had created a visual communication bound between cultures without the restrictions of societal norms. However in some of these countries many government officials have attempted to place their own restrictions on the site, not allowing certain information they consider “harmful” to surface. There was one case where there were plans to launch a Turkish version of YouTube but founders decided not to when Turkey wanted to control everything that went up on the site. This caused YouTube to revoke its invitation claiming that they refuse to be censored by Turkish law. Besides crossing cultural, racial, and ethnic barriers by creating various sister sites nationwide YouTube has also had an impact on the age demographic. YouTube unlike any other Internet medium has managed to capture the attention of the youth as well as the elders all at the same time. In an article in a British magazine it was stated that “YouTube is replacing the radio as the "discovery medium" of choice for young consumers, according to the fourth annual Convergence Consumer Survey from media law firm Olswang”. This is a reality that is becoming true amongst more and more people whom frequent YouTube not just the youth. It seems with the emergence of YouTube people are looking for something that is real not including all the restrictions imposed by society. It seems that the main reason why this can occur so easily on this website is truly because of the diversity of the sites audience. If this site was restricted to strictly one specific demographic group it would ruin the medium indefinitely. It would also begin to look a lot like the television that we watch now, simply filled with bias and opinions of the majority. As stated earlier without the audience this website would be nothing. The audience is essential in this case without them there would be no one to post, view, or comment.

Besides the audience playing a key role in the success of YouTube a look at some of the social implications of the medium will be looked at as well. The fact that YouTube is such a huge medium really explains why it has such an abundant amount of implications. Of these one of the main cultural implications of the YouTube medium is the ability to break communication barriers between different cultures. As stated earlier this medium allows for people of different areas to share raw/realistic videos with one another quite simply. On the flip side these videos in return could bring some negative implications allowing for people to get false ideas about certain cultures they see on YouTube. This would probably cause people to create false stereotypes about other cultures based on a video which may have not been accurate in its representation. Besides these two cultural implications there are also democratic implications on the medium. One democratic implication would have to be people’s ability to post videos onto YouTube without having to worry about restrictions or societal norms like news reporters would. This very same reason explains the mediums huge involvement with the recent Presidential Election of 2008.The section calledYouTube:"YouChoose" not only ran videos for the candidates but also created a whole separate area on the site where strictly election material was posted. It was stated in an Australian newspaper article that political campaigns as we know them are dead due to sites like YouTube. YouTube’s ability to be unbiased to a specific candidate unlike Television is what really set it apart. The website created a place where average people could stay updated on the candidate’s speeches, commercials, issues as well as various other aspects on the election. Besides the cultural and democratic implications discussed within YouTube there are also some group implications. The group implications of the medium are especially staggering because it was believed the whole idea of the site was to create an online community. Those within this online community would then actively communicate, share, and post videos amongst each other. Another group implication on the medium draws from the community idea as well. However this one in particular highlights the fairly new process of Blogging on an assortment of videos posted by members. This idea to a create blog clearly helped to generate that form of community amongst the people who shared common interest (i.e. politics,music,comedy,etc) on YouTube. This very idea was proven by Aaron Barlow in his book “Blogging America” when he discusses just how effective the blogospehere (Blogging community) could become within our society today. Now after looking at each of these implications of the YouTube medium the overall concept of the website can be better understood. It’s not simply the fact that people can post/share videos but they also have the power to control what they want to watch.

In conclusion, after getting an in-depth look at the video-sharing website YouTube it can be seen why it’s become so popular amongst our society today. The once small Web 2.0 application flourished into something no one could have imagined and continues to grow quickly today. YouTube seemed to come together almost overnight developing into a force to be reckoned with having just a year under its belt. The sturdy foundation along with the computer smarts of founders Chen, Hurley, and Karim really helped to catapult this website into society’s spotlight. Along with these the third and most important element of the site is the audience. The audience plays a very active role in this site ,they are the people who are continuing to take time to post videos and make comment on others videos. Even today some four years after the sites introduction it continues to grow and hold the title of one of the most viewed sites on the web. This website is unlike any other of its kind specifically because of its ability to adapt to the changing of society. Wikipedia, states that in November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and CBS which will allow the companies to post full-length films and television shows on the site, accompanied by advertisements. This along with the various other upgrades predicated for YouTube could push this medium even further ahead of its competitors as premier communication medium. Whether YouTube continues to be successful or not, the fact remains it can be coined as one of the first successful sites to create an audience of people who could view what they wanted, when they wanted, at the click of mouse. All in all from this information researched the hopes this site will continue to become successful just foreshadows a bleak future for the Television set.


Lexis Nexis/Library Sources:
1. Morrissay, Brian. (2007). Inside the Promise & Peril of You Tube. Adweek. 10 Oct. 2008
2. Klaassen, Abbey. (2008) “You Tube: You created the Content Now Sell the Ads.” Advertising Age. 18 Nov 2008
3. Mcloed, Duncan. (2007). You Tube’s Troubles. Financial Mail.21 Nov 2008
4. Cardew, Ban. "Survey uncovers changing attitudes of youth market." Music Week. 22 Nov 2008..
Other Sources:
1.Barlow, Aaron. Blogging @merica. CT.: Praeger Publishers, 2008.
2.Chan, Tracey. "Insight into YouTube videos." Official Google Blog. 26 March 2008. Google Inc. 19 Nov 2008 .
3.Huang, Christine. "Knowing Your Audience on YouTube.." PSFK. 16 May 2008. 16 Nov 2008 .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shirky- 11/24/08

In Com430z, I was assigned to read Shirky’s chapter “Fitting Our Tools to a Small World” from the book “Here Comes Everybody”.

In this article Shirky takes a look at various social groups both big and small to better understand the structure of social networks. Shirky goes on to show the importance of the structure of social networks and how it can drastically change the relationships between people. In support of this idea Shirky talks about a pattern of social networking called the “Small World” network which was a name dubbed by researchers Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz. In this pattern Watts and Strogatz attempt to highlight the “it’s a small world” comment often made by people when they meet someone that shares a common associate/friend with them. Shirky then shows how this small world concept actually works expressing two of its main characteristics which enable the messages to move through the links more effectively. The first characteristic presented was the idea that small groups are densely connected this simply meaning that everyone within that group easily connects with one another (Birthday Party Paradox). It was also shown that within these smaller groups the actual communication links are not compromised when one person leaves the group. The second characteristic Watts and Strogatz talk about is actually the opposite of the first here a focus is placed on larger groups having sparse connections. Here they express how in larger groups peoples links between one another is a lot more spread out amongst various people. However the links in larger groups are a lot more important because if an individual whom is linking a smaller group to this larger group decides to leave they could ruin the whole link.

All in all from this article I really gained a better understanding of the power of social networking. I can honestly say I didn’t really know what people meant when they said the phrase “it’s a small world”. However, since reading this article by Shirky this concept of six degrees of separation doesn’t seem to foreign to me. I also really liked how Shirky used common social networking applications like Facebook and Myspace to further explain the article. This not only helped me to get a visual of how these ideas worked but also how common they occur in our everyday lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kendall -11/12/08

In Com430z, I was assigned to read Lori Kendall's article “Shout Into the Wind, and It Shouts Back” Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal.

In this article Kendall focuses on identity and information management methods of people within LiveJournal weblogs. In an attempt to gain the most valid information Kendall does some face to face observations with a few of the weblogs current users. With this information she has tried to get to the bottom of what actually is causing some of the tensions which exist within the LiveJournal weblogs. Of the tensions highlighted in the article there seems to be one that stands out, control vs. connection. To understand this tension Kendall interviews about seven different people to see where they stand on the issue. Upon doing this it quickly becomes clear that many of the people liked the fact that they had more control when using LiveJournal in comparison to other online forums like mud’s and listservs. This in return has really pushed many to become members of the online community. Kendall talks to two friends, Tammy and Fiona whom are in their late 30s and have two different lifestyles to see their take on the situation. It appears that these women happen to be a part of a group of friends which interacts through LiveJournal quite frequently. Kendall’s research points out that they each enjoy the journal because of its ability to be autonomous. They see it as a place where they have control over what they talk about and do amongst their group of friends. Kendall goes on to express how LiveJournal interactions could be looked at as broadcast to those whom use the weblogs.

After reading this article I can honestly say all the information that was presented seemed foreign to me at first, possibly because I never heard of LiveJournal weblogs. However, with the help of Kendall’s ability to accurately point out important elements of the weblog this has been laid to rest. These interviews allowed for me to get a non-biased outlook on how the tensions were actually affecting peoples journal life online. Hopefully in the future with the tensions being highlighted something could be done to change them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Essay #4 "Blogging"

According to Webster-Merriam’s dictionary, “a Blog is defined as a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” With this said it can almost be seen why a number of people have decided to become a part of the madness that is the blogospehere (the blog world). A major blog monitoring service called Technorati stated these claims to be quite true when it documented more then 75 million blogs as of 2007. So with the blogospehere on the rise it is becoming clearer just why so many find this medium of communication important. Now with the blogospehere growing more and more each day it has managed to open up greater doors for the viewer. This brings us to an idea proposed by Aaron Barlow in his book Blogging @merica, were he highlights the importance of imagining the audience accurately to ensure a blog being successful. In an attempt to get to the bottom of this audience idea proposed by Barlow I have observed a blog closely for 7 days. The blog observed is called Urban Hoopla which defines itself as a blogspot for urban celebrity pop culture & fashion. These observations will hopefully give great insight into how blogs function and how important it is for a writer (blogger) to imagine the audience.

Due to their growing popularity it’s can be seen just how important blogs have become to our society. Whether people read blogs or not it’s been proven that the blogospehere is becoming a staple amongst the Internet world. The emergence of the blog has allowed for something to happen that many could have never seen coming. It has given the little people a voice to be heard without the restrictions imposed of big businesses. This new found ability to speak with no restriction and anonymity has allowed for people to really exercise their 1st amendment right (freedom of speech) to the next power. However, this freedom has also caused many to become a bit apprehensive about becoming members of the blogospehere fearing being threatened or harassed by anonymous users. On the other hand many are looking past this and seeing the blog for what it really is, a place to exchange information/opinions about various things occurring in our society on a nonrestrictive basis. The blog has also created a place for people to comment on things that is of interest to them specifically. This idea of consumers choosing what they consume is also another idea that Barlow discusses in his book. An idea that is not very common amongst other mediums like television where the consumer doesn’t have as much power.

After expressing a little about what a blog actually is and how it functions a focus can be placed on my 7 day observation within the Urban Hoopla blog. With the abundance of celebrity pictures, fashion, music maybes, news and just straight gossip Urban Hoopla has managed to capture some key elements of a typical blog. During the first couple of days on the blog I didn’t really notice anything to outrageous. However, that all changed when I noticed a post about a popular R&B singer name Jennifer Hudson whom recently lost her mother, nephew, and brother in an unfortunate brutal murder. Upon reading the comments within the post I noticed just how hurt many people were about the incident. It was interesting to see how many people were spreading their sympathy’s and well wishes to a person they never met but had been impacted through their music. This is when I realized just how important a blog can actually be, not only to the writer but to the readers/audience. I noticed how the blog inadvertently created somewhere for people to come together and share their feelings/support, almost like a community coming together. This emergence of community kind of reminded me of what Barlow expressed in his chapter The Blogs in Society from Blogging @merica. In the next few days I just looked around the blog, clicking on pictures and listening to new music. Upon my last couple of days on the blog I decided to make a comment under a post about some new music by R&B singer Beyonce. In my comment I just stated how I supported the singer and liked the snippets from her upcoming album. The next day, I checked back on the comments and noticed that people had mixed reviews about the songs. However, what was interesting was that people weren’t just saying it was good or bad they were giving some background to support their claims.

Following my observation I began to understand what Barlow meant when he stated the importance of imaging the audience accurately within the blog. The ability of this blogger to imagine their audience accurately allowed for them to engage the audience a lot better. The writer’s keen sense to decide on what was important within the hip hop community further catapulted this websites popularity. Anybody could throw together a website about hip hop culture but it takes talent to decide what would be most important to that specific audience. In realizing this talent I began to understand why some blogs might be more successful then others.

In conclusion, after understanding a little bit more about blogs it’s become clear just how important they could become to our society in the near future. They would be very useful in supplying people with information they want to read without increased censorship. While it could present some problems I strongly feel that the good of the blog would out weigh the bad by far .From my research I also find it increasingly important that writers make sure to think about their audience as Barlow stated. This is going to be a key element in deciding just how successful the blogospehere will become. These blogs must make it a point to broadcast some of the most important issues that are affecting our community all at the click of a mouse. All in all from this it’s been shown what blogs are, how they function, and how important the writer/audience relationship is for success.


1. Barlow, Aaron. Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. CT.: Praeger Publishers, 2008.

Essay#4 "Blogging" Journal Entry-11/11/08

Today when i entered Urban Hoopla everything seemed the same. Besides some pictures of celebrity couples; model Heidi Klum& singer Seal and singer Chris Brown & singer Rhianna. There were no new comments but i did go back to check my comment from the post on Monday. Surprisingly there were only a few other comments but they were mixed reviews. One person liked the new songs while the other thought she could have done better. It didn't really spark an argument like i expected but i guess that's good. I also noticed a post about another pop singer name Leona Lewis whom is gearing up for an album release next week. People haven't really commented but im sure they'll be good reviews, she's at the top of her game.

Even though this is my last day observing Urban Hoopla for class i can honestly say i will continue to frequent the blog because its very useful. I feel like this website gives me everything i want to know at the click of mouse. I can get all the best urban celebrity news in one place.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Essay #4- "Blogging"Journal Entry 4 -11/10/08

So it's Monday and the bog is buzzins with all this weekends most interesting news via the hip hop community. Of the many stories the one that gained my interest from the moment the website uploaded was about singer/songwriter Beyonce Carter. The post was just giving some snippets to a few songs off her new double ablum thats set to be realeased next tuesday called "I am...Sasha Fierce". Since i am a fan of this artist i decided to post a comment about the songs.My comment was along the lines of ,stating that im confident that this artist will make big numbers on her release date because of her reputation. ( my comment name was:UrbanSwagga87)After looking over the other post it seemed some people are a bit pessimistic about this coming album. I think it could possible be because a few of the tracks were leaked and have been downloaded so noone's going to buy it. Even so i can still see it being a big hit amongst the music industry. Besides this i took a look at a few of this pics from this weekends World Music Awards where some artist like Alicia Keys performed. The blogger whom posted seemed to be a fan of Mrs Keys because their post were very respectable. Who knows whats new for tomorrow, Everyday is something new on Urban Hoopla

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Essay #4- "Blogging"Journal Entry 3 -11/9/08

So it's Sunday on Urban Hoopla and like I guessed it's pretty dead when it comes to new post on the blog. The one and only post is about this weekends 2008 MTV music awards show in Europe which was flooded with hundreds of the worlds most popular recording artist. The post higlighted pop singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter and her younger sister Solange focusing on various things like performances and fashions. The comments were very positive everyone appeared to agree with the post and found the performance by Beyonce nothing short of amazing. These comments didnt suprise because Beyonce as a r&b singer is probably one of the most talented and attractive within the hip hop music industry. Besides looking at this post i also took a peek at a few of the comments about the past weeks post. The set of comments that really caught my attention were about the election this past tuesday where Barack Obama was elected 44th President of The U.S.. People were extremely excited about Obama winning the election and becoming the first Black President in US history. A number of post were heart felt wishing the presidents family well wishes and prosperity. Many people were overwhelmed with joy because the change that so many longed for will be actually coming. Tomorrow's monday all the newest news will be all over Urban Hoopla from parties to politics ,can't wait.

Essay#4"Bloggin" Journal Entry 2-11/8/08

Today on Urban Hoopla it was like many other Saturdays packed with new music by various artist within the Urban music industry. I took sometime to listen to a few of the songs I found interesting like one by a singer named Usher, whom I'm a fan of. I thought the song was alright didn't think it was one the artist best but I wouldn't not call it a possible hit. I also looked at a few of the post to see what other people thought about the song. It was mixed emotions just like I thought but the majority were confident because of the artist reputation. I did see a little bit of a argument within the comments amongst two bloggers but it appeared to be resolved by a third party. It appeared the disagreed about where the artist was originally born. So I'm logging off and tomorrows Sunday that means its a typically dry day for post but comments are always heavy about the week passed.

Essay #4- "Blogging"Journal Entry 1 -11/7/08

The blog i will observing and documenting for the next couple of days is Urban Hoopla which is defined as "Your blog spot for urban celebrity pop culture & fashion". This isn't my first time coming across this blog i happen to frequent it often for information about the hip hop community. I would probably consider this blog my ear to the hip hop worlds top news about music,fashion, and celebrity's.
..........So today when I entered the blog a story about actress Rosario Dawson being in a new movie entitled "Seven Pounds" co starring actor Will Smith caught my attention. The post simply talked about their recent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey talk show to promote the film. The blogger appeared to be a fan because they were boasting that people go see the movie and support them. There were few comments but the few that were present were positive.Another post that caught my attention was one about a new video by rap artist Kanye West which i found very interesting. This was my first time seeing the video so i decided to post a comment and express my opinions on what I thought. After that I logged off but who knows what i`ll see tomorrow its always interesting on this blog.(LOL!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barlow Chp 2

In Com430z, I was assigned to read Aaron Barlow’s chapter “The Blog in Society” from the book “Blogging America: The New Public Sphere”.

In this chapter Barlow takes a look at just how effective the blogosphere (blogging community) has become within our society today. In doing this a focus is placed on various elements of the growing relationship between the blogosphere and society. Of these relationships it’s shown how the blog presents certain concerns of security for those whom are using it. Some of these security issues included harassment and plagiarism. These issues have come to rise due to the bloggers (blog users) anonymity within these social networks. People violate the norms of communication simply because they feel no one can find them or suspect it’s them doing so. Barlow uses an example of a blogger named Kathy Sierra whom encountered this very problem when a few people decided to post anonymous threatening comments on her blog. Kathy’s story is just one of the many horror stories that sweep the blogging world every day. It’s also stated that a number of people have had their ideas stolen and used by people within the blogosphere without any acknowledgements. In an attempt to combat this growing problem Barlow discusses how some bloggers like Tim O’Reilly have banded together to create a “Blogging Code of Conduct”. This code of conduct would help to eliminate some of the problems that have emerged within the blogosphere. It would also help to alleviate some of the concern many new bloggers feel about making their information visible to the public. It could even lead to more people becoming involved in the blogosphere because they would feel a lot more protected.

After reading this chapter I have become very aware of how fast the blogosphere is growing. I have also noticed just how difficult it has become to regulate the new environment effectively. This chapter does an excellent job at pointing out why some users stray from blogs and why others violate it. I like how the chapter gives great insight into what can be done to combat these worries that many users face with the blog. I also strongly think that what Barlow brings up in this chapter could be very useful to the blogging community if they want to see it expand in the future. All in all I really feel that with the emergence of the code of conduct the blog could actually become a very useful medium of communication.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Essay # 3 Information Quality Control

“Throughout our childhood we are taught to pay attention to books- read remember, and repeat what we find in them.”(Tensen 69 ^Para. 3) However, it’s becoming more and more prevalent that many are not relying on books they are instead going to the Internet as their main source of information. This new found allure of the Internet has managed to snatch the spotlight the trusty book once held but this medium presents the huge problem of information quality control. Due to this mediums forever growing database a vast amount of the information many rely on is often unverified opinions which could be false and biased. To understand this problem of quality information on the Internet I will use this medium as the main source of obtaining information for my final research assignment on the Web 2.0 application You Tube. The information gathered here will look at my process of searching the web as well as a brief evaluation of some search engines I used and why. In the end it will be shown just how and why it is so important to pick one website over the other.

When I started my research I quickly decided that I would select one search database I am very familiar with and two others I don’t often use. In doing this I hoped I would gain a better understanding of some different search engines and compare them to the one I use most often. The search engines I used were Yahoo, Google, and Ask which happen to receive significant boast and support from many Internet users nationwide. The first search engine used was Yahoo and discovered a number of things about I never noticed prior to the research even though I use it almost everyday. One thing in specific was Yahoo’s ability to present information about the top things searched on the engine that day. To supply this information seems quite useful because who doesn’t want to know what the most searched topic is. Another key element Yahoo has that I personally like is its ability to provide an advanced search to help better pinpoint what you are actually looking for. Besides Yahoo, I also used Google which is said to be the most popular search engine selected by many computer users. The initial use of Google’s search engine seemed very effective for the information in which I was searching. I found that upon searching for specific information the search engine also showed some of the most recent news articles relating to my search. I would definitely use this search engine more often now for this very reason. The last search engine I used was Ask which is another well known search engine amongst the Internet cyber world. This search engine was very interesting in comparison to the others because it was sort of question and answer oriented. (i.e. what is you tube?, who created you tube?) Although I liked this style of asking questions when searching, I didn’t really trust the results I received. I took a lot of the information as the opinions of certain people and answers which needed to be backed up. All in from the three search engines I used I found that Yahoo was the most effective and reliable to me.

While searching for information on my topic I took some time to evaluate the quality of the sources I found. To help in the evaluation process I relied on a reading by Bonnie L Tensen entitled “Research strategies for a digital age” which highlighted some of the ways to determine the quality of information on the Net. To verify my sources I will first look at the sources that would most likely be useful in the final essay then focus on the other sources I wouldn’t use. The websites I have chosen as useful were carefully scrutinized by using Tensen’s methods of determining credibility. According to Tensen in order for Internet sources to be proven credible one must be able to determine the purpose, source, intended audience, date of publication, appearance, and reputation. The most credible sources I will be using come from a libraries electronic database Lexis Nexis. These articles include “Inside the Promise & Peril of You Tube” by Brian Morrissay, “You Tube: You Created the Content, Now Sell the Ads.” by Abbey Klaassen, and “You Tube’s Troubles” by Duncan Mcloed. Besides the credibility being accurately determined by using Tensen’s method, I also feel the reason I trusted these sources more then others is because I found them within the Library database. The other credible sources obtained came from websites like You Tube, Crunchbase, Mashable, San Franciso Chronicle and Wikipedia. I again used Tensen’s method as a benchmark but also relied heavily on my own confidence towards the sources before using them. I had to make sure each of them was effectively useful. After finding the sources I trusted I realized that there were a few sources which didn’t make the cut. These sources were either littered with ads/pop-ups (appearance), rarely used (reputation), and mostly lacking a purpose. These sources were found on Dig and Answers; both sites used a unique method of a question asking and answering style. Although this style is quite common, what I quickly came to realize was that they were people’s opinions. These opinions may be accurate but the only way to determine this would be to check another site.

In conclusion, from this assignment substantial evidence has been supplied to help me understand some of the proper techniques necessary for researching on the Internet effectively. Along this process I have not only learned how to search for specific information effectively but also where to search(databases/search engines). In taking the time to research various websites/search engines like Google and Dig to determine their quality I have gained an increased awareness of just how much information is on the Net and why it all can't be trusted. Whether this information useful or not it has become clear that the Internet indeed could someday surpass the usefulness of a printed book in a dusty library with the simply click of a mouse. However I stress the word could since as stated earlier by Tensen our society today is taught at a young age to rely heavily on books. With that said it could also be true that tomorrow's society(next generations) will have the same ideals for the Internet especially with the growing advancements of the medium as whole.

Lexis Nexis/Library:

1.Morrissay, Brian. (2007). Inside the Promise & Peril of You Tube. Adweek.
2.Klaassen, Abbey. (2008) “You Tube: You created the Content, Now Sell the Ads.” Advertising Age.
3.Mcloed, Duncan. (2007). You Tube’s Troubles. Financial Mail.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


In Com430z, I was assigned to read Michael Zimmer’s article, “The externalities of search 2.0: the emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0”.The article takes a look into the growing Web 2.0 technologies and how they could present a problem of privacy for the computer user. In the article Zimmer specifically looks at the emergence of what he calls the “perfect search engine” to aid in understanding the use of these Web 2.0 technologies. This “perfect search engine” is said to be able to deliver intuitive results based on user’s past searches and general browsing history”(Zimmer, 2008;Pitkow,2002; Teevan,2005). This would enable people to receive more information that is particular to them and what they may like when searching throughout the internet. It’s also shown how the new Web 2.0 technologies have allowed for the user to become a lot more user-generated in comparison to their Web 1.0 predecessors. It was said that these technologies would blur the lines between user and creator similar to that of Wikipedia which allows users to enter their own information into a huge database for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Zimmer goes on to highlight some of the threats that have emerged with these Web 2.0 technologies on the rise. Amongst these threats discussed, the one that stands out as most important was privacy which of course is no new problem to the Internet user. In the article it’s seen just how much ones privacy is invaded when using these new technologies. It’s especially seen with Web 2.0 programs like Flickr (huge photo database) and YouTube (huge media database) which allow almost anybody to view a user’s photos or videos at the click of a mouse. Zimmer also expresses how these technologies would also enable the government to obtain information from companies (Yahoo/Google) about user’s activity on the internet and use it against them. This tracking of users Internet activity is defined by Zimmer as datavallience.

After reading this article by Zimmer I have come to realize a number of things about these new Web 2.0 technologies. Not only are they becoming more user friendly but they are also allowing for one’s privacy to be violated unknowingly. While I strongly feel that this problem could be fixed with the help of some nifty computer genius’s, I also understand that it will be a problem that will take much effort. Besides programmers taking an initiative to provide privacy I also think that users should be a lot more conscious of what they publish on the Internet because who knows where it could turn up. People are becoming too comfortable with these Web 2.0 technologies posting personal videos, photos, and etc. thus failing to realize the trouble it present for them in the future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


As the internet grows into a bigger medium of communication many have become aware that with the good also comes the bad. This bad that I am referring to is not always seen by the naked or in this case the computer user. Many times people are easily mislead by the Internet due to their ignorance of the medium as a whole. Not knowing the ins and outs of the Internet can allow for someone to be taken advantage of that much easier. Unlike any other medium the Internet provides people with an abundance of resources at the click of a mouse. However along with providing access to various resources (the good) the Internet has also managed to pick up some parasites along the way who attempt to damage the medium (the bad). Since this is such a new medium which is changing everyday; many fail to notice just how easy it is for someone to exploit it. In order to understand just how easy it is for someone to misuse the Internet an observation will be done. In this observation a focus will be placed on one of the Internets many problems through the use of a communication medium called Usenet. In doing this observation I will take the role of a “Free Rider” and try to understand why these people seem to be such problems amongst the Internet world. As a free rider I will act as a bandwidth sucking leech that does nothing but sit back and read others ideas/information not giving any response or feedback. This observation will hopefully help to shed light on the Usenet as well as the problem of free riders. In the end it will be seen just how easy it is for someone to become a free rider within the Usenet medium.

Before focusing on anything else one must first understand what the Usenet actually is and how it works. According to researchers Kollock and Smith, “the Usenet is one of the largest computer- mediated communication systems in existence”(Kollock & Smith, p.111). Developed in 1981, the Usenet is simply an interface which provides users with various discussion groups where they can share similar likes and dislikes amongst one another. Within these groups people usually post topics of discussion that pertain to the type of group it is; i.e. sports, entertainment, gossip, and etc. However, overtime many have decided to misuse the medium and post information which is useless and unnecessary creating what is called noise within the groups. This noise within the groups has not only made people mad but also caused many to leave the Usenet medium for good. The only people that can be thanked for this are free riders whom create the noise.

To gain a better understanding of what a free rider is a five day observation was done on the Usenet medium to capture a few of the problems that they generate. For those who may not know, a free rider is simply someone whom accepts the benefits of something without contributing to it. Within this medium of communication the free riders are people who post useless information, do not give feedback to discussions, simply read, and engage in various other parasite like actions. On the first day of observation I decided to join a Hip Hop music group called which was simply a group where people who enjoyed Hip Hop music and culture could interact. Upon entering the group I immediately became overwhelmed with the number of various topics that were posted for discussion. I also noticed that some of the topics had nothing at all to do with Hip Hop. From my prior knowledge I was able to realize that this posting of useless information was the work of a free rider. This also allowed me to understand just how easy it was to be a free rider within this Usenet newsgroup. During the next few days of my observation I began to face the realization that I too was a free rider. I wasn’t providing any feedback to the discussions I was reading on day to day bases. Over the next couple of days I noticed another thing about the group that was quite interesting. What I’m referring to is the choice to use inappropriate language by various people within the group. Many people were doing a lot of name calling and ranting that I’m sure they wouldn’t do if someone knew who they were. This showed my just how invisible (unseen/unnoticed) people could be when talking in these groups. By the end of my observation I managed to learn about a number of important elements of the Usenet medium. Upon becoming a successful free rider I began to quickly understand why this role was not the best one. Why would you want to just sit back and not contribute to the discussion at hand, what if everyone else decided to the same? The outcome of course would be that there is no discussion.

In conclusion, after gaining a keen understanding of the Usenet medium and how it is to be a free rider I have learned an abundance of useful information. I have not only giving insight into how the Usenet works but I have also taken the time to get familiar with the medium. My observations also allowed for me to see just how easy it is to become a free rider almost overnight. In researching this medium of communication I have gained an understanding as to why so many dislike free riders. These free riders are taking up valuable space that someone could be using to post useful information and it’s not fair at all. I personally feel that the only way to combat free riders actions within these groups is to monitor them often. Then those who violate the norms of the group should be immediately revoked of their membership. All in all from this observation of the Usenet through the eyes of a free rider, it’s become clear to me just how easy it is for someone to simply see the good and overlook the bad of the Internet.


1.Kollock,Peter & Smith, Marc.(1996). Managing the virtual common: Cooperation and conflict in computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer Mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross cultural perspectives(pp.109-128).Philadelphia: John Benjamin
2.My Blog from Sept 10
3. Groups :

Essay #2 Journal 5

Today when i entered the hip hop newsgroup i noticed that there were a lot of new post. One post that caught my attention was one about a new hip hop song that was just released. When i clicked on the post i immediately began to read the discussion to see if people liked or disliked the song. Some of the comments were quite interesting because people were saying things like the song is good but i hate the artist who's singing it. I also noticed that a number of people were talking about things within the discussion that had nothing to do with the new song. One comment in particular was centered around the election. It seemed like they just wanted to spark people's interest on the election but i strongly feel this was not the place for it. All in all from my 5 day observation i have become better familiar with the Usenet medium. I have also come to understand why the free rider problem is such a problem within this medium.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Essay #2 Journal 4

Today when i entered the Hip Hop music Usenet group I've been observing for the past few days i noticed a few new things like post and increased membership. When looking at the post i realized that the amount of people who make post on the weekends is a lot less then those made during the week. I assumed this might have something to do with people being out during the weekend versus being at work during the week. When looking at the number of people subscribed to the group i noticed a slight increase. Besides these two things expressed above nothing else really changed besides the post. One post in particular that caught my attention today was a post entitled "it's been a long time!" made by someone who has just returned to the group after some time away. This was quite interesting because the person who initiated the discussion seemed like someone whom was very involved in the group because a number of people responded to his post with welcome backs and other salutations. Who knows whats going to happen tomorrow when i observe, the post are extremely random and unexpected.

Reading # 5 Jennifer Stomer-Galley

In Com 430z, I was assigned to read Jennifer Stromer-Galley’s article entitled “Democratizing Democracy: Strong democracy, US political campaigns and the inter net.” In this article a focus is placed on various aspects of the Internet and how they could possible contribute to creating a “strong democracy” amongst citizens. “Strong democracy” is a word coined by researcher Benjamin Barber which simply refers to an increased interest by citizens in their political process.(Stromer-Galley, p. 36) In order to support the claims of the Internet having an effect on citizen’s involvement in politics a number of characteristics where highlighted by Stromer- Galley. These characteristics included cost, volume, directionality, speed, targeting and convergence. Upon highlighting each of these characteristics key political examples were used to show how some elements worked and others needed tweaking. In the article Stromer-Galley takes a look at the ability to eliminate the cost of buying television ads by running a campaign strictly on the Internet. The story of an ex-professional wrestler gone politician helped to show how the sole use of the Internet could save a campaign millions of dollars in advertising. (Stromer-Galley, p.44) After focusing on each of these elements it becomes clearer as to how useful it would actually be for a campaign to use the Internet rather then another form of media like television or newspaper. The article continues, pointing out the ineffectiveness of the public using these other mediums during election time and this in return causing many to stray away becoming involved in the democratic process. As the article wraps up, it’s heavily stressed that if candidates/government don’t begin to use the Internet for campaigns they will not gain the support they want from many citizens.

After reading this article I noticed a few things about how useful the Internet could be to political process and citizen’s involvement in their government. One part of the article that caught my attention was when Stromer-Galley discusses the problem of “citizens experiencing government second hand, through the lens of the camera or through the pen of a journalist.” I strongly agree with this idea because all the media is worried about is getting their ratings and they will go to any extreme to do so. However, with the help of the Internet useful information can be unveiled without all the personal opinions and fabricated Hollywood stories.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Essay # 2 Journal 3

Today when i entered the Usenet newsgroup a post about a popular music producer caught my attention. The topic headline read "Scott Storch:RIP"; from this i immediately thought he died so i had to get some information. Once inside the group i clicked a hyperlink which took me to the actual article so i could read it. After reading the article i realized that he wasn't actually dead, they were referring to his financial situation. With this knowledge i went back to the discussion to see some responses to the news. To my surprise people were slandering the producer and making claims about his career not being as good as many thought. While there were a few people who supported him this number was in any comparison to the non-supporters. I decided not to subscribe to this group because the amount of spam/unrelated information that is generated within the group is abundant.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Essay # 2 Journal 2

When i logged on to newsgroup today i didn't see that much change except for a few new post. However ,the new post where quite interesting because i decided to click on one due to the topic. When i entered and read the discussion it was funny because i kind of felt like a free rider.ha ha ha. I'm peeking in like a thief on everyone else's conversations not presenting any useful information. I am thinking about subscribing tomorrow because i can't be a free rider. lol

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reading # 4 Whitaker

This week in Com430Z, I was assigned to read Jason Whitaker’s chapter “New Media and Web production” in the book “The Internet: the basics”. In this chapter Whitaker highlights a few old media forms which have since been updated and become better equip for the steady development of the Internet. He also takes a look at some of the advancements in web production like the use of style sheets, java, and scripting. In the beginning of the chapter he specifically focuses on those old media forms which have taken the path from analog formats to digital. The differences between these formats is described in the chapter as one being like rolling down a hill(analog) while the other is more like walking down steps(digital).(Whitaker, 58) He goes on to express how important this path has been to the advancement of the Internet as whole especially increasing its effectiveness to its users. This brings us to one media form which was focused on heavily in the chapter; hypertext which is defined by Theodor Nelson as “non-sequential writing-text that branches and allows choices to the reader”. (Whitaker, 59) It was also stated that besides connecting text it could also be useful for videos and images as well. Besides focusing on hypertext Whitaker also looks at various elements of web production like the style sheets and scripting. These outlets have enabled people to control the entire way in which a web page can look from the colors to the font styles. These two elements have allowed for the advancement of web production from a simple task to something which involves much skill.

After reading this chapter about the new media and web productions of the Internet I have discovered numerous ideas. With these new ideas I have managed to gain a better understanding of some elements of the Internet like hypertext and style sheets. The chapter was very informative and helped me to see how effective the shift from analog formats to digital formats could be.All in all Whitaker's ability to highlight specific channels of the Internet allowed for me to truly see how important it is to stay up to date with what is occurring in the Internet based world we live in.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Essay #2 Journal Entry 1

The social medium i decided to look at is Usenet. Within this medium i will be looking at the Hip Hop music and culture group specifically( The main reason being because i have a huge interest in the music industry and i always like to be up to date on everything that's going on in the hip hop world. So hopefully being apart of this newsgroup will keep me up to date on my info.

Upon entering this newsgroup i really didn't know what was going on. However after a few minutes i caught right on to what was actually going on . I have taken today to just move around through the group and get a feel for whats going on. I noticed that people have posted information within the discussions not relating to the overall topic of this group. I have also seen a number of people posting things talking about the election.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading # 3 Kollock & Smith

In COM 430Z, I was assigned to read Peter Kollock & Marc Smith’s chapter “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities “. This article discusses various aspects of Computer mediated communication and how the conversations that occur on these systems can have an effect on social relationships. In this reading Kollock & Smith specifically take a look at the cooperation and conflicts that occur within this medium of communication. In order to gain a better understanding of this issue they compare the social problems present on the computer to the same problems that are present in societies/communities (face to face). After comparing the two of these communication forms they noticed a number of similarities and differences between them. According to Kollock and Smith the main problem with this computer mediated communication is people simply can’t cooperate effectively thus causing tensions between individual and collective rationality. Along with this they also discussed social dilemmas which are defined as “behavior that is reasonable and justifiable for the individual that leads to a poorer outcome for all”. (Kollock&Smith) An example that was given of this idea of social dilemmas was the “Tragedy of Commons” which simply was a story about herders who were given a parcel of land for their cows to feed on but found problems when an individual decided to take too much land and ruined the entire land for the collective group. It sort of reminded me of the saying that “one bad apple could spoil a bunch”. They also used the example of having a public good which everyone in a community contributes to but if an individual gets the temptation to not contribute it could cause others to the same and all will suffer. To further show how this issue of cooperation on the internet could present problems for everyone they have used the communication system USENET and compared it to a study done by Ostrom on various face to face communities. The USENET system is defined by Kollock & Smith as a collection of several thousand discussion groups that are distributed and maintained in a decentralized fashion. These groups are said to called Newsgroups and they specifically focus on various topics and issues that affect our society. In these groups people are given the ability to communicate with others who share similar interest or problems. The people simple communicate on a back and forth bases, sort of like a call and response and visa-versus. However here is where the problem lies as Kollock and Smith stated people are not always going to respond and post information if they know they don’t have to. These people are defined as free-riders because they simply sit around and enjoy the ride while all the others do the work (contribute/participate). Some of these free riders will even add useless information and overcrowd groups just because they feel like it. This too presents a problem because if a bunch of people are in the group doing nothing it slows down the bandwidth of the group. Bandwidth is similar to those herders parcels of land that they discussed earlier in that if overcrowded could ruin the whole network for everyone. Concerns have been raised that people are not using this bandwidth wisely by posting unnecessary information to groups who don’t need it. They go on to discuss how if rules where setup like in communities with positive production the computer mediated communities may succeed just the same. However this too presents a problem because again with this form of communication people can remain anonymous.
All in all form this reading I get the feeling that Kollock and Smith did an excellent job in figuring out how to solve this growing problem of free riders in computer mediated communication. I can definitely say my understanding of this topic from before reading this to now is a lot clearer. I strongly think that in order for this problem to be solves they must look at it from a community (face to face) standpoint and work from that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Essay #1

Many have wondered how the internet we know today has actually come to be. While some may think it just popped up out of thin air, a number of others have taken the time to do research and find the real answers. In order to gain a better understanding of the internet a focus will be placed on various aspects of the internet as well as the groundbreaking innovations that made it what it is today.
Some of these early innovations that will be looked at include the development of the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol), the idea of Packet Switching, the introduction of the HTML, and lastly the first email program created. Each of these inventions will be looked at closely to show their use, importance, and most of all effects on the internet as a whole.
In order to truly understand the internet we must first define what it actually is. According to Webster’s Dictionary the internet is; a vast computer network linking smaller computer networks worldwide (usually prec. by the). The Internet includes commercial, educational, governmental, and other networks, all of which use the same set of communications protocols. (Webster’s 2007) Now with the internet defined its early technical advancements can be looked at closer to show how useful they are to the internet as a whole. While there were a number of various innovations only four major ones will be focused on due to their importance.
The first innovation that will be looked at is “Packet Switching” introduced by programmer Paul Baran in the early 1960s. Packet Switching solved a number of problems with the data transfer on computers. It simply allowed for data to be sent and received a lot more efficiently and in a more compact form. With this new innovation of packet switching to the internet other programmers now had a bench mark to what they could do in the future. (Adams & Clark)
One programmer in particular is Ray Tomlinson who developed the 1st email program “SNDMSG” in the year of 1972. This new program truly changed the face of the internet into what we know today. The email program made it possible to send information, files, attachments and a number of other things from one person’s computer to another person’s computer. This programmer is also created for his creation of the @ symbol which helped to separate the user from the machine. This @ symbol continues to be a staple of the internet medium in our society today. So now with a faster and more compact way of sending data, and the introduction of the first email program a path has began to be laid for the internet we know today. (Adams & Clark Chp .2)
The next advancement that will be focused on is the invention of the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol) systems in 1983 by a number of various programmers. Since the invention of this groundbreaking system cannot be credited to one particular person a number of researchers have been given the praise for their unanimous efforts. The TCP/IP allows for computers to communicate with one another, as well as applications on that operating systems. It was said by that the TCP is so central that many often refer to it as the TCP/IP. However what many fail to know is that these are two separate systems one handling the lower level transactions from computer to computer(IP) and the other handling high level transactions(TCP) like a web browser to web server. Basically what this means is that the TCP is responsible for the sequenced transmission of all packets. It also safeguards the reliability of the data sealed in each packet, using check/recheck confirmation systems (How did we get here? Adams& Clark Chp. 1)
After looking at three of the most important innovations that have mapped the path of the internet we know today a focus can now be placed on one more. This innovation is the HTML created in 1992 by Tim Bernes- Lee. The html enabled documents to become interactive. It basically gave people the ability to refer readers to other documents scattered around the internet through their own document. HTML is simply a code in a document that can be clicked on to take you to another website or document. This truly opened up the door for the process of linking similar info in one document to similar info in another.(Adams & Clark)

1. Webster’s Dictionary-
2. Wikipedia –, /tcp/ip,HTML
3. Adams & Clark- How did we get here? Chapters 1 & 2

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reading # 2

This reading helps to explain what exactly the internet is and some of the characteristics of the medium as a whole. However, there seems to be a small problem with answering this question specifcally, this is mainly because the internet is developing more and more each day. This development in return is causing the medium to change and take on different and undiscovered paths. Besides attempting to answer the question of what the interent is the reading also goes onto highlighting how effective the internet has become to the public in general. Reading on it shown how the internet uses a number of different traditional forms of communication such as interpersonal (one to one), public speaking,and mass media just to name a few. These can be seen with homepages,blogs,university websites,news websites, and etc. The reading also pointed out the fact that the internet is a macromedium which besically means it's big and can communicate with large scales of people. Then there was a focus placed on the three main communication problems people faced with the internet like reliability,speed and distribution. The reading then goes onto pointing out the six key qualities of the medium like multimediated ,hypertextual, interactive, (a)synchronous,packetbased, and digital. Each of these mediums helped to give insight into how the internet effectively uses them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reading # 1

This reading basically takes a look into the early developement of the internet. Here a focus is placed on some very important aspects of the medium it's self and how it's become so big today. Upon reading this a number of extremely important aspects of the internet were noticed . One thing in specific being the fact that the internet has bein around for aleast 40 years. This not only suprised but helped me to understand how many years it has taken for the internet to get where it is today.