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!)