Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My New Media Class - So Far

So far in my New Media class, we have done quite a bit of work involving New Media obviously. There is this blog, contributing to the New Media wiki, checking out various social networking sites, and creating an account on twitter and having discussions on it. There was also a lot of readings involved, a lot of them were quite informative. I didn't realize the extent that New Media is integrated into modern society until I read those articles.

There is a lot of work involved, but its divided into small parts which makes it easier to manage. I prefer these type of assignments much more than classes where you only have one assignment, a 10-15 page research paper. Although we do have a research presentation, it should be much more fun since New Media is an entertaining and unique subject.

The professor also shows us a lot of videos during class. They are entertaining to watch, while managing to be educational. That makes them a good use of class time. Overall the class is much more engaging than others, with the discussion of articles, watching videos, and posting on blogs, wiki, and twitter. The class is more exciting than I origianlly thought it would be.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds are becoming a hot topic. Is it a complete waste of time or does it actually provide benefits to people?

The article "Toys with a Second Life" talks about Webkinz which is puzzling. There are already websites where children and play games online and have their own pets such as Neopets which has existed long before Webkinz. Purchasing real life merchandise is optional not required like the Webkinz. But the real question is that should we be concerned about how much we are exposing children to virtual worlds? What if they want to spend more time on virtual worlds instead of interacting in the real world? This could cause a significant change in how society works. There is nothing inherently wrong with virtual worlds, but we have to be concerned about excess.

The iReport "'Naughty Auties' battle autism with virtual interaction" talks about how they use virtual worlds to combat autism. Which goes to show that virtual worlds can have both positive effects, not just negative ones. The only problem would be in the event the internet stops working or there are power outages for the inviduauls relying on virtual worlds for their social lives, will they be able to survive without it? While its great that they are enriching their social lives, but they should consider giving the real world another chance.

Moving on from social aspects. Virtual worlds can foster creativity, since digital content is easily distributed and created. A lot of people use virtual worlds as sources for creating mashups. Such as video game models to create short films. An example being Top FPS which is a parody of First Person Shooter videogames and the reality TV show Survivor

What is the future of virtual worlds? On one hand, it may become a vacuum where people endlessly waste their time and life. On the other hand, isn't that the point of technology? To make life so easy and convienent so we can afford to spend countless hours doing leisurely activities instead of backbreaking labor like our ancestors. Personally, I think virtual worlds are currently quite limited. When they come out with virtual worlds where you can directly interact within the virtual world instead of just looking at the world through a computer screen, that will be exciting and frightening. Will future virtual worlds make people want to stay hooked up to machines all the time? Virtual worlds may cause life to change significantly in the future.

Twitter Discussion

Using twitter to discuss the articles was a different experience since the conversation was more of a free form where anyone can reply to anyone's tweet. While in a classroom everyone would have to wait their turns and pay attention to each other. Sometimes I forget what I want to say when its my turn. So for twitter since its text based, that is less likely to happen. What I didn't like was the character limit since every tweet I wrote was too long so I had to constantly rewrite them to make them shorter while maintaining a cohorent message.

Blackboard Discussion isn't that much different than Twitter, except its more organized and takes longer. So in terms of following a discussion, it is much more convinient using blackboard, but in terms of speed it might be annoying for impatient people. A distinct advantage is the lack of character limits. And if there is, its much less strict than twitter.

Overall I would prefer Blackboard discussion over the two, and in general I don't like using either.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Social Networking Sites

Visit Facebook, Myspace, Friendster - and one other social networking site of your choosing. Compare your impressions of these sites. Note that you probably should register and log in to get the complete picture.

Facebook - Facebook is a social networking site that is constantly changing. I don't log in that often so buttons always get rearranged and I can't figure out where they are. Not sure why they insist on changing it though. Originally it was a fairly good social networking site where only college students could join since you needed a college email to join. But now that they opened it up to everyone else, there is an increasing amount of fake profiles which was a big problem in myspace. Overall facebook is a great site that allows you to keep in touch with virtually anyone and everyone. You can easily share pictures, videos, and links. Although some of the newer features seem unnecessary. You can comment on someone's wallpost. Why not just post on the wall instead? I guess this allows for more detailed conversations that are visible in a convenient location.

Myspace - Myspace is one of the earlier social networking sites that existed before Facebook. It has many features that exist in Facebook, but the main two differences that I have found is the ability to upload music on Myspace and the rampant amount of fake profiles that just send you messages attempting to lure you onto their adult websites. Myspace also lets you make changes to your page which gives it greater customization, but that tends to be used poorly by people who plaster their pages with images that end up making the page unreadable. Myspace for the most part has lots its edge on social networking to Facebook.

Friendster - Friendster is an interesting social networking site since most of its users are located in Asia. It is the icon of social Networking there. Unfortunately that happens to be its main standing point. For the most part its quite similar to Facebook. Which may be a good or bad thing. If they expand globally they might become a major competitor to Myspace and Facebook.

BrightFuse - This is a new professional networking site created by At first glance this website looks quite similar to LinkedIn. Upon closer inspection I noticed it has more social networking features similar to Facebook. It has a "Working on section" which is similar to a status update on facebook/twitter but has a more professional association. Brightfuse also has a built in blog feature. It was created recently and is probably relying on the fact that they already have a large userbase from Careerbuilder which they can easily transfer over. It's careerbuilder usebase and its extra social networking features may help brightfuse stand out compared to the already successful LinkedIn.

P.S. I didn't realize this post was supposed come before Social Networking. =P.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Social Networking

Social networking websites are used to network obviously. Friends and relatives use it to keep in touch. It is especially beneficial to those that are living far apart. Some of my friends did study abroad and updated their facebook while there allowing everyone to see any pictures they took at the foreign country, or to simply communicate over long distances.

Companies have been using social networking sites to look for potential employees as stated in the article Social Networking Technology Boosts Job Recruiting. What isn't mentioned in the article is that sometimes companies use social networking sites for spying on their employees. Making sure that they aren't posting offending content on the internet since it may lead back to the company. Or they can even snoop on status updates to see if employees are really sick and not just skipping out on work. So on one hand its great that employers can seek out employees now online, but on the other hand employers now possess more knowledge of heir employees and might try to use or abuse that knowledge to their advantage.

Of course its usage will change in time. Presently its a great tool, and only occasionally you hear of it being abused such as cases of cyber bullying or cyber stalking. The BBC documentary "The Virtual Revolution" Episode 4 touches on the potential danger of social networking websites. Some people spend an excessive amount of time on facebook chatting with their online friends or playing applications like mafia wars and farmville instead of spending time their real world friends in the real world. In the future, more children will be exposed to such websites and other virtual world technologies that just sucks them in. Of course it is a worst case scenario, but the concern is valid. What will be the future of social networking and its impacts on humanity? Only time will tell. Perhaps we can become aware of these potential problems and prevent them from ever occurring.