Monday, November 24, 2008

Social Networking

For today’s reading, we were assigned to read chapter 9 of Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Shirky explains relationships within social networks. The chapter starts off by comparing how small this world is, and almost uses statistics on explaining why or how we would coincidentally run into people in the ‘real world.’ In Shirky’s explanation, it is made clear that it is not in fact that the world is small, rather it is due to the fact that we are connected to each other, and have built some sort of relationship/connection amongst a certain group of people through social networking or through people we know in common.

Shirky explains the research by Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz, which is known as the “Small World network.” This research shows we are first connected through people in one certain group, and within that group, each individual is connected to someone who belongs to a different group, which enables each of the group members in that certain group to be tied to other people who do not belong the group you belong to. Shirky talks about adopting strategies such as “dense and sparse connections.” These strategies allow you to connect within a smaller group, and then connecting all those small groups together in order to build a bigger network. This can be related to a tool that is newly available on Facebook. Facebook has made a tool called “People You May Know.” In this list, there are people who you are not friends with, but people whom you have friends in common with. It allows Facebook members to meet or friend people through the relationship of common friends, or it can be served as a tool where you can find people whom you are already friends with, but just never knew they had a Facebook account.

I found the last section of this chapter to be interesting. The section is titled “It’s Not How Many People You Know, It’s How Many Kinds.” This section talks about the Ronald Burt’s research on relationships amongst things such as good/bad ideas, social structure and capital. The research takes a closer look at the relationships in the staff of a company. By connecting with people in the company, the staffs are able to come up with good ideas, but also bad ideas or failures as well. This idea can not only be related to companies, but to anyone in other situations. It is always good to build a large social network for various reasons. One reason that we can relate to as college students is searching for a jobs. By knowing a lot of people and being connected through a large network, you have more options and it is easier to find a job through the help of people within your social network, or even through people you may not know, but the people in your network knows.

We all belong to a social network, whether it may be big or small. In my opinion, building new connections and finding people within a network is not something that requires much effort. Such tools on Facebook makes it a lot more convenient for us to “add a friend” to our network on Facebook. Although it is always a good thing to have a large social network, there can also come negative outcomes from it as well. It all depends on the kinds of people you connect with, and the way you carry yourself within these social networks.

Works Cited:
Shirky, Clay (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Observing Blogs - The NY Mets (essay #4)

In today’s society, blogging has vastly spread across the whole globe, that it has actually created a community of its own. Within the blogging community, there are no limitations or requirements as to who can blog, who can read and comment on these blogs, or what you can blog about. It’s basically like an on-line journal or diary in which you can share with the whole world whatever you wish to write about, and receive feedbacks and comments from unknown readers from all over the place. There are many blogs dedicated to a certain topic and for a certain audience, but there are also blogs that are just for your personal use, like a diary of your daily life.

Having to observe and follow up on one particular blog, I chose to participate in a blog dedicated to the NY Mets. Although it is clearly stated in the header of this blog that this blog is owned by Matthew Cerrone, there are other contributors posting on this blog aside from Matthew Cerrone. Cerrone and his team blog about the Mets team in general, the minor league system, free agent tracking, injuries amongst the players around the league, as well as trade rumors. The majority of the audience of this blog is stated obvious; they are probably all Mets fans. Though I have had experience with this blog prior to observing it in greater depth, I have never participated and interacted with the readers. Being a Mets fan myself, I was eager to see what people had to say about the various topics that are posted on this blog.

Due to the fact that this is a sports blog, I was able to feel that there was a lot of tension amongst the faithful readers. People would write comments on not only the post itself, but to other people’s comments as well. This created what seemed like a conversation amongst the readers of this blog. It seemed as if there was a community that existed only within this Mets blog. It was difficult for me to keep up with all the comments on each post because there were numerous comments being posted throughout the day. Also, the blog was updated with new posts several times a day, which led me to believe that there is heavy traffic on this site.

It was a unique experience for me to keep up with a blog that is dedicated to a team in which all the participants shared a love for. However, what was even more appealing to me was how although we all share a common interest and dedication to this team, we all had such different opinions and feelings toward each topic that was being talked about. The Mets had a rocky season this past year, which left one too many fans disappointed and angry. I feel that this past season has a lot to do with what these readers were posting in response to the entries as well as towards each other’s comments. Some were positive, but there were also many comments being posted back and forth that certainly did not seem too friendly. I even experienced someone giving me a negative feedback on one of the comments I have made about signing a player to the Mets, who is currently a free agent. It wasn’t as hateful as some of the other comments I have read, it was certain that this person was disagreeing with what I had to say. Although it was not a friendly conversation, it was still exciting conversing with someone who was a complete stranger and waiting for him/her to reply back to my comments.

As I have mentioned in the beginning that blogging is for anyone and everyone, Aaron Barlow discusses in his book Blogging America, The New Public Sphere, about the growing problem of minimal filtering within the blogging community, as well as criticisms that blogging is made “too easy.” It is easy for me to relate why some people would want a “Blogging Code of Conduct,” from the Mets blog. Though we are all fans of the same baseball team, I see readers posting comments bashing on the Mets players and their performances. In return, other readers would reply to such comments by writing comments that are distasteful. There would be nasty disputes going on back and forth, some that may not even be appropriate for the younger audiences. It is difficult to filter out these kinds of comments because it is a public blog and people are allowed to say whatever is on their minds. However, it is a sports blog after all, and aren’t sports for people of all ages? It would be nice if some of these adults behind the screen were just a bit more considerate of what they were writing on these blogs for the public’s view. Not only is it inappropriate for the younger crowd, I also think it’s distasteful for a fan to bash on the team they’re rooting for. It shows bad sportsmanship, but we all know what people say about New York fans, whether it be for football or baseball.

Opposed to the minimal filtering in the blogging community, I also think there is a positive side to what the people are criticizing for about blogging being “too easy.” Blogs such as the Mets blog enables a regular everyday person to go on the site, read about their favorite team as if they were reading it in a newspaper, and even be able to write feedback and converse with other readers with a few simple clicking of the mouse. It may even be better than reading an article in the paper or watching something on the news because the authors of the website write about topics and give information about the team that news reporters would not. For some, if not most fans, blogs such as the Mets blog might be of more interest to them rather than reading or hearing news about the Mets on the radio or in the papers.

In conclusion, observing the Mets blog helped me realize that blogging can give people a sense of belonging to a certain community. When we are behind the screen it does not matter who we are or what we look like, but rather what we have to say about the topic being talked about.

Works Cited:

Barlow, A (2008). Blogging @merica: the new public sphere. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Reaction to Kendall

The article by Lori Kendall titled “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back,” talks about Kendall’s two year participant observation research. Kendall became a member of LiveJournal and began to post entries while keeping up with other people’s LiveJournals. She then gathered a group of people who were once or still was an active member of LiveJournal. Kendall’s interviewees were between their 20’s and 30’s, while the majority of LiveJournal members are usually in their teens.

An interesting topic she interviewed people about was how these people use LiveJournal or what they use it for. There were some interviewees that firmly believed that you should not post every little detail of your daily life because it is simply too ‘boring’ for the readers, or that they should create “cut tags,” which enables the user to create a hyperlink to the part of their entry that is too long, or unnecessary for the readers to read about. Then there were those who believed that LiveJournal was just like their diary they would write on paper by hand, and that it should not conflict with the fact that there is in fact an audience who is reading about your daily events.

All the different feelings towards blogging for the public and for your own privacy make sense if you look at it from one point of view, or another. To me, I think you have the freedom to write about anything you want, especially on your personal blog. Blogs can be used in many different ways. Some blogs are used to inform others about certain topics, news, information, such as the NY Mets blog, which I have been observing for the past week. Other blogs can solely be for one’s personal use, as in someone’s diary where he/she records thoughts and events from the individual’s day to day life. The whole issue of minimal filtering from Barlow’s Blogging America can be brought up again. It relates to this issue of whether or not bloggers should think about what they’re writing before they actually post it up for the public to read. If the blog is supposed to be informative then yes, I agree that there should be somewhat of a filtering and the author should think twice about what they are writing. However, personal blogs should not have any sort of “conduct” or limit someone from writing what the want.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Observing Blogs 5

All the posts that were put up today so far weren't much of an interest to me. The most recent one was about Bobby Ojeda (who I'm not too familiar with), joining the SNY broadcast team in 2009. Then there was a post about the Mets trying to work out a deal with Bobby Jenks from the White Sox, as well as a post about the Tim Lincecum, a player for the Giant's winning the NL Cy Young Award. 2nd place for the NL Cy Young Award went to Brandon Webb, a player for the Diamondbacks and finally, Johan Santana, a starting pitcher for the NY Mets. It was a bit disappointing to see that Johan didn't win the Cy Young Award for the National League, but I guess I wasn't really expecting him to come in 1st place for the award.

I had to scroll back several posts in order to get to the post I commented on and was waiting for a reply on because this blog is heavily updated throughout the day. To my surprise, there wasn't much of a response from whom I have been conversing with.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Observing Blogs 4

Skimming through the comments left on some of the posts, I saw a lot of bashing going on and even some angry disputes between the readers. I posted a comment for the first time today. I kept checking back on the particular post to see if anyone had replied to my comment. Though it was a simple "We can't trust them," it was exciting to see that somebody had actually read my comment and posted a reply. I wasn't quite sure what this person was referring to when they said "we can't trust them," but I believe he was referring to the my question about bringing up pitchers from the minor league system. I posted a reply to losmets7's comment, but for some reason, I have a feeling this little conversation is not going to be one of the friendliest. I am eager to see what he has to say in response to my latest reply.

Observing Blogs 3

I never realized how active the Mets blog is. I've been to the blog a few times here and there but never really read it in depth until this particular blogging assignment. In reading each posts that's been posted up in the past few days or so, I've realized that there are numerous posts being posted up each day. It's only 1:06 pm right now and there are already five new entires just from today. Not only that, there are people commenting on the posts very often as well. As I posted a comment on one of today's posts, I felt as if there was a new comment by a different reader each time I clicked refresh.

The post I commented on had to do with the Mets signing Francisco Rodriguez, who last played for the Angels as an incredible closer. Because he is known as a "record-breaking closer," this means that he is going to be one expensive guy to sign. In my comment I mentioned that I'm not too sure we'll land K-Rod nor am I too sure that he would even be worth a 4 year deal. I also mentioned if there would be anyone in the minor league who would be able to get the job done and help out the Met's bullpen, which has been suffering. I'm sure there will be some readers who are going to have something to say against my comment. I'll have to check up on that post throughout the day.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Observing Blogs 2

So today I read a post by Regis Courtemanche titled "News: Brewers Hire Willie." Willie Randolph was the manager for the NY Mets until June, when he got fired because of a collapse of the team near the end of the 2007 season. Now the news is that the Brewers hired Willie Randolph as their bench coach, with an agreement that if Willie ever got a managerial offer from another team, he can take it. Willie was still under contract with the Mets until the end of this upcoming season which meant he would still be getting paid even though he was fired. The big controversy that readers commented on this post was about whether or not the Mets should still pay Willie the amount he's suppoed to get paid until his contract is over. There were also comments about how Willie would do as a bench coach, as well as how the Brewers will be playing in this upcoming season from fans who favor Willie, as well as those who didn't favor him too much. I have yet to post a comment on an entry, and I am not too sure where I stand with this whole matter of Willie Randolph.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Observing Blogs 1

For our next essay, we were instructed to follow a blog of our choice, follow up on the daily posts, as well as participate in the blogs by posting up our own comments. Rather than going out and finding a blog that I am unfamiliar with, I decided to observe the NY Mets blog, which I read from time to time. Though I visit this site randomly, I have never actually participated by posting up my own follow up comments.

The main author of this blog is Matt Cerrone, however, there are other contributions by his team. They blog about the Mets team, the minor league system, free agent tracking, injuries amongst the players around the league, as well as trade rumors.

On day 1 of observing this blog, I read a post titled "Starting Pitcher: The Case for Perez," which states that Oliver Perez, one of the Mets starting pitchers, is eligible for free agency this coming Friday. Friday is the deadline for MLB teams to offer a new contract to their free agents. This post weighs the Met's options for either a replacement for Perez or a new contract. They discuss Perez's statistics during his recent MLB career, and compares it to other free agents who are also starting pitchers. Because of the recent recession, there are talks about a decline in enormous contracts that has been given out in recent years, due to the fact that teams are afraid to commit multi-millions of dollars in a shaky American market. They also discuss the inconsistency of Perez's play, but shows stats that say otherwise; but as we all know, stats don't show the whole picture and can be deceiving. Judging from the comments that other bloggers have posted, it seems that there are some Mets fans who want Oliver Perez to remain on the NY Mets team for various reasons, as well as those who are against retaining Perez because of other legitamit options in the free agent market.