Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chapter 2 "Blogging in Society"

Today I was assigned to read the chapter "The Blogs in Society," which is extracted from Aaron Barlow's book Blogging America. In this chapter Barlow speaks about the negative depictions of blogging on the Internet. As we all know by now, almost anyone with Internet access can begin blogging whatever they want and whenever they want. This means that bloggers can be defined as authors of their own work and that they allow others to view the work that hey have made. Barlow states that bloggers tend to create lies, rumors, and make errors within their blogs. He states, "Without editors, administrators, or regulators to monitor what is being posted, we have no one to vouch for the reliability or credibility of the content we read and see."(p. 36) This is very important because readers have no idea if an author's specific story is credible or truthful. It may tend to make the viewers believe something that is not actually true. These bloggers may do this accidentally or intentionally. Another negative aspect of blogging that Barlow speaks about occurs within the area of threats. Bloggers who tend to voice opinions on certain topics may attract people who oppose their thoughts. These viewers comment on their blogs in hurtful threats that may negatively affect the blogger in various ways. Although the viewers who oppose the blog may not want to actually hurt the blogger, they are mainly getting their point across that they totally disagree with what the blogger has to say.

I believe that the negative depictions of blogging in which Barlow states is the most important part of this chapter. I totally agree that without an administrator, the information is not credible. If a user follows the rules, makes no mistakes, correctly cites, and doesn't make false stories for the sole purpose of entertainment, then blogging can be credible.

Barlow, Aaron. Blogging America. (2008). The Blogs in Society (Chapter 2).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Searching and Determining Quality of Information

The emergence of Web 2.0 has given users many different ways in order to retrieve wanted information. Over the past couple of days I have used three different search engines in order to find background information on Youtube. The search engines I used were Google, Askjeeves, and EBSCO host. Since Youtube is a large database that contains millions of videos and files, i needed to use various keywords in order to eliminate having them displayed in my search results. Tim O'Reilley's reading "What is Web 2.0" gives a very good definitive answer regarding search engines and key words. He states "Subject categories help users narrow their search terms and strategies, and advanced searching capabilities increase the chances of a more relevant results list."(O'Reilly, 2005) This is exactly what I needed to do in order to find information of relevancy and validity.

The first search engine I used was Google. I immediately searched a broad keyword that gave me loads of information regarding the background of Youtube. The keyword I used was "Origin of Youtube." This keyword gave me exactly what I was looking for in Google's page ranking system. The first entry result was actually listed as "The Origin of Youtube" from worldhistorysite.com. This website provided me with the Youtube creator's name and his story of it's creation. In order to test the relevancy and validity of this source, I then searched the Youtube creators name, "Jawed Karim." The results I obtained were perfect and proved the previous article as a credible source. Searching the creators name not only proved the previous article as credible but also provided me with more background information on Youtube. The first two entries I found were from Wikipedia and Jawed Karim's own website, Jawed.com. Finding the creators own website I believe was very key in obtaining additional information on Youtube for my final paper. I would not have been able to find it without my first keyword search of "Origin of Youtube." Based on my search process I have found that keywords eventually led to more keywords because new information was retrieved as the process went on. After searching the creators name, I went back to my results of the keyword "Origin of Youtube" because of the vast amount of information retrieved. The second displayed entry was actually a video from netgaum.com that showed how the creator of this website came up with the idea. This is different in the area that it is more of a visual way to obtain information. Its composition basically proves the emergence of Web 2.0 technology. Another source of information that I found with the keyword "Origin of Youtube" comes from a website called Originof.com. I believe this is a great source of information because it includes a brief historical background on Youtube that I may be able to use in my introduction or conclusion for my final essay. This website also contains other Web 2.0 applications that I believe others students will use for their topics such as Facebook, Myspace, and Napster. I would not be surprised if this was a highly used website.

After I used the popular search engine Google, I then gave Askjeeves a try. I have never really used Askjeeves before so I decided to use it after hearing about it during class. I figured, based on its name that you search in a question type fashion. So my first search included the question "Why was Youtube created." One entry headline that quickly caught my attention was listed as "Who created Youtube and Why?" from funadvice.com. This website didn't include the information I thought it would have. It was a forum type website where a user created a thread listed as "Why was Youtube created and Why?" This was the first source that I found that I would definitely not use in my final essay because it is not credible information. It just includes random peoples own information. I also shouldn't have even bothered clicking on it's link based on the websites name, "FunAdvice.com." While on AskJeeves I decided to disregard my search through the use of question type keywords. I needed to find more information regarding its financial situation. I decided to just use the keyword "Youtube Inc." I found exactly what I was looking for and actually learned that Google bought Youtube. I aquired this information from the website infoworld.com. This website included an article regarding Google's deal to buy Youtube. This is a very good article that I will most definitely use in my final essay. Since I found this very useful source with the keyword "Youtube Inc," I decided to continue finding sources under it. I came across an entry that was from TheWashingtonPost.com. As soon as I saw this I knew it was going to contain a large amount of information. When I clicked the Askjeeves entry link, it brought me to a page that contained all of the Washington Post news articles written on Youtube. Some articles included information on business briefing, marketing, and data releases. Using the keyword Youtube Inc, provided more financial information rather than historical information regarding Youtube.

The last search engine I used was EBSCOhost. Since this is a library source, I decided to just search the word "Youtube" because of the possibility of a small amount of sources. EBSCOhost provided me with a large amount of information. There wasn't too much on its history but I came across an article by Michael Learmonth from the source "Advertising Age." It was about John McCain's use of Youtube for his political campaign. I thought that including politics in my essay would help the overall diversity of topic discussion. I also came across an Anti-Youtube article from the source "BusinessWeek." This article could be also used in my essay to state the negative effects Youtube is pushing on other companies such as Best Buy. The last article that I found very helpful under EBSCOhost was another political one. "Online Parody Videos, Intertextuality, and Political Participation" provides information on the effects youtube can have on political participation. Overall EBSCOhost in comparison to Google and askjeeves provide more scholarly and credible sources that I can incorporate in my final essay. I also found that using a broader keyword was more helpful in this search engine than the others.

Michael Zimmer states that the Internet is a remarkable resource for research and is a huge national library.(Zimmer, 2008) This statement has been proven to me after my use of two common search engines and our school library search engine. I found that each search engine with different keywords generate various amount of information of all areas, Financial, historical, and even political. I found that google is the most usefull, askjeeves is the most confusing and EBSCOhost is the most valid. In the end, Zimmerman's statement that the Internet is a huge national library stands true.

O'Reilly, Tim (2005. What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http://oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web.html.

Whitaker, Jason. (2002). The Internet: The Basics (Chapter 1). New York: Routledge.

Learmonth, Michael. (2008). Advertising Age 00018899, 10/6/2008, Vol 79, Issue 37.

Tryon, Chuck. (2008) Pop Politics: Online Parody Videos, Intertextuality, and Political Participation. Popular Communication. Vol. 6 Issue 4, p209-213, 5p

Lowry, Tom. (2008). The Anti-Youtube is Starting to Click. Business Week. 10/6/2008 Issue 4102, p52-52, 1p, 1 color.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Searching - Issues of Privacy

Today I was assigned the reading "The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets web 2.0" by Michael Zimmer. This article's main focus falls upon the downside of Web 2.0's quest for the "Perfect search engine." This downside as stated by Zimmer, can be illustrated as Search 2.0's ability to "Accumulate personal information and build personal profiles of its users in order to satisfy their needs and wants for their future searches."

Zimmer states that "The perfect search engine" generates pin-point results to users based on the websites they have visited and keywords they have used in their past searches. These pin-point results are mainly due to what Zimmer states as, "The perfect reach" and "The perfect recall." "The perfect reach," as I have previously stated, generates results due to the user's history on the web. For example; If I were to shop on an online website for Nike sneakers, Web 2.0 will be able to accumulate this information about myself. It will know I have purchased, searched, and was even interested in Nike sneakers. This results in what Zimmer states as "The perfect recall." Web 2.0 is able to recall that I may prefer the brand Nike for my choice of sneakers. This collection of information about myself may come in handy on a future search for sneakers or the brand Nike.

Zimmer also talks about advertising towards a certain person's interests based on the information Web 2.0 is able to accumulate. I have viewed this first hand on the Web 2.0 application, Facebook. Facebook is composed of personal profiles which lists their interests. If I listed that one my interests was "Weightlifting," I would receive many ads on my Facebook about available gyms in my location, tips on strength gain, and exercise equipment for low prices. This is all due to the emergence of Web 2.0's ability to accumulate personal information and create profiles on its users. It knows what you have searched, your interests, and what you have purchased.

Although the "Perfect search engine" generates perfect search results that relate to the users needs and wants, it still accumulates a lot of the user's personal information. I have previously stated that this is the downside to the development of "The perfect search engine." I still agree with this statement because as the title even states, it is still a "Privacy threat." Zimmer makes a very good statement that "The fear that a users personal information may fall in the governments lap"(p. 6, para. 4.) may occur. Having the web know too much about us may be dangerous in areas of scam and fraud, which is actually occuring in our present day.

Zimmer, Michael. (2008). The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0. First Monday, 13. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2136/1944.