Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Blogging Community (reaction to Ch. 2 of Barlow)

In Chapter 2: "The Blogs In Society" of Aaron Barlow's "Blogging America The New Public Sphere," Barlow goes in depth about the society that exists within the blogging community and how it is effecting our "real" society. Barlow quotes Andrew Keen about how the blogging community is vastly growing and how there will be over five hundred million blogs by 2010 if people continue to be active bloggers. It is amazing how there is a community itself amongst the bloggers on the web aside from our "real" community. Being a blogger myself, I can say that I am a member of this blogging community and it did not come to my attention until reading this chapter about how incredibly large this particular community is.

An interesting point Barlow talks about are the criticisms of the blogs and the minimal of filtering when one is blogging and posting up entries for the public's viewing. As stated in the text by Barlow, a criticism many people have about blogging is that it is too easy. However, I am one to disagree with this criticism. I see blogging as writing in your diary except you are able to type it on the computer. Whether the individual decides to post their diary entries as public or not is totally their peragative. However, considering how far this society has come in regards to technology and advancements, writing your journal on the computer should not be made so difficult. It is true that with minimal and in most cases no filtering at all, people are allowed to blog about anything and everything they wish to blog about. With this arises the problem of the readers having problems about the particular topic and the thoughts that an author is blogging about. Barlow discusses the situation of people getting hatred comments to even death comments on their blog posts. Yes, everyone has their freedom on the web to post, say, or do whatever they wish to do so. However, I come in a stance that if it is not something you want to read about, then you should not be reading it. It is unfortunate to see how many people out there are sitting behind the screen sending death threats to people who are writing about particular topics that are not in the reader's favor.

With the threats and negativeness seen throughout the blogging community, people have been arguing for a "Blogging Code of Conduct." This can be understandable in a sense that in communities, there are always rules and regulations you must abide by, and considering the fact that blogging has now formed its own "community," there should be some sort of conduct that bloggers should abide by. However, I do not necessarily agree that this "Blogging Code of Conduct" will be as successful. If someone were to break a code of conduct, the most they can do is disable the user from posting blogs or comments. But if this were to ever happen, who will be the person or group in charge, regulating, and passing these "codes of conduct" to the bloggers? It just does not seem like a realistic idea to me.

With everyone from all over the world using the internet and being a part of the blogging community, it is going to be impossible to make rules and regulations. However, I believe that it can be a lot worse than what it already is due to the fact that there are no rules and that ANYONE can have access to the internet and do whatever they wish to do on it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Searching for Information (essay #3)

With Web 2.0, social networking has almost become a “norm” amongst our society today. There are sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, to even sites like YouTube which enables users like you and I to personally update and post information for the public’s view. Cyworld is another one of the many social networking sites that are available. The website is pretty self explanatory. It is a web community where you can build your own cyber world as your personal homepage. It was first launched in South Korea (Cyworld in S. Korea) and has become very popular in a short period of time before making an expansion to the United States.

When researching this particular Web 2.0 tool, the first search engine I chose was Google. Anyone searching for any kind of information on the World Wide Web is quick to jump onto search engines such as Google to obtain what they are looking for. (Tenson, 2004). But hey, can we blame them? Google never seems to fail me while searching for something on the internet.

I began my search on Google with the keyword “cyworld.” The first result was the obvious, the link to the site itself. The second result was the infamous Wikipedia. However, the next result was what I found to be useful. It was an article from BusinessWeek. I knew this was a credible source because it was from a scholarly journal. The article began by talking about a student who is a member of the Cyworld community and began to go on about explaining what exactly Cyworld is and how it works.

From what seemed to be an infinite amount of results from a single keyword search, I was able to find some that were useful, as well as some that were not so useful. An interesting website I came across while browsing through the results was a website called Wikimedia Commons. It seemed to be a website just like Wikipedia, except this site revolved around photographs rather than information posted by the users. Though the result from Wikimedia Commons was not useful to my research, it was interesting to have come across it.

For the next search engine, I wanted to use one that was not as commercialized as Google or Yahoo. However, I am not familiar with many other search engines. So, of course I went on Google and searched “search engines.” It gave me a lot of results, many of them which I have never heard of. I chose to use a search engine called Mamma Metasearch – The Mother of All Search Engines. This time, I used the keyword “about cyworld.” The first two results were the same as Google’s results, the website itself and Wikipedia. The third result was from About.com about social networking sites, which I was a bit skeptical about. It talked about the different sites like MySpace, Facebook, Cyworld, etc, etc. However, the only reason as to why I was not sure if it was a useful source to me was because this particular article was for the purpose of reading comprehension for those who use English as a second language. The next couple of results were the same ones I found on Google, except in a different order. So from searching on Mamma, I came to realize that adding “about” into my keyword search did not help me too much.

The next place I went to hunt for information about this particular Web 2.0 tool was a database from the UAlbany library website called COM Abstracts. Though the searches through the school’s library website is where I would be able to find the most information from a credible, scholarly source, I must say, that this is probably the last search engine I would choose to use when doing a search; especially if it is not required by my professor for me to use the library database. To switch things up a bit, I typed in “history of cyworld” into the search field. However, it did not bring me back a single result. So then I went back and once again, typed in “cyworld” into the search field. Surprisingly, I was only able to obtain one result from this search. From reading the abstract, it seemed as if this article will be helpful as well as credible. However, I was unable to obtain the full text version.

Having to write this essay about the process of my search on a particular topic has helped me think more in depth about searching for information on the WWW, as well as carefully determining whether or not a particular source is credible. Though there are countless numbers of search engines available to us, I am still convinced that Google is my number one choice when searching for something on the World Wide Internet.

Works Cited:

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

issues on privacy

In October 15th’s reading for class, “The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web2.0” by Michael Zimmer, brought an interesting, yet scary fact to my attention. Zimmer describes in the first section of his article about the quest for the “perfect search engine,” the “perfect reach,” and the “perfect recall.” However, I believe there is no such thing as “perfection,” especially if it is something created by us humans. As every story goes, there is always a bad thing that comes along with the good things, and vice versa. Well, with the vast advancements of technology, Web 2.0 to be specific, it has brought us countless numbers of good things. Then there is the downside, which would be the issue of privacy in this case. While it is very convenient for us to do almost anything and everything on the internet today, we forget that not everyone behind the computer screen is the most innocent person in the world. Cases of identity theft, fraud, and many other crimes have increased as people have been scamming a lot on the internet. I, myself have almost been a victim of a scam very recently as I was trying to sell one of my used textbooks on facebook.

It’s so easy for us to go on a search engine, or any website to search for personal reasons or communicate with others on the internet, not realizing who is reading your information and who is able to obtain any kind of activity you perform while you are online. Many, if not most of us, do not realize or consider the fact that there is nothing “private” on the internet. Any and every information on the “World Wild Web” can be obtained by a complete stranger. This reality came to my attention when my boyfriend’s sister was first starting off her career as a singer in Korea. During the time of her first debut, she made a negative comment on her friend’s private page about another artist. Although it was all fun and jokes between her and her friend, the comment she had made was all over the Korean media in no time. The scary part was that this website is not even a site that many people in Korea use.

No matter how far in technology we get, there will always be some kind of glitch that will affect us in one way or another. With my personal experiences along with Zimmer’s article, I have come to realize that you always have to be careful of what you are doing on the internet and what kind of information you are putting out there for the whole world to have access to with just a simple few clicks of their mouse.