Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blog 6: Takeaways Part 2.

Balancing sociality and privacy (Papacharrissi) explains how sociality has always required some sort of (voluntary) abandonment of privacy.  But now, everything is being archived and stored under every individual profile/person’s personal database.  This concept turns privacy into a commodity.  Now there are services offered to individuals for their information.  This system is turning information into a currency for new uses on the Internet.  She goes on to describe how those who are internet-literate are causing a divide between those internet savvy and those who are not.
Facebook privacy settings do not offer any ‘opt-out’ option for it’s users.  So, anything shared with ‘friends’ on the site, Facebook uses to it’s own disposal.  On the surface, this wouldn’t seem so bad, however, people share a lot of information with others without knowing it.  For example, facebook chats are archived and saved, gmail uses it’s client’s emails to calculate demographics and other information about it’s users.  Suddenly with all of these ‘privacy’ regulations, people are not being protected very much.  One way businesses are trying to get around the issues many people have with these settings is to be very public with their policies, and hope that many people will not take the time to read through these long agreements.  I know that I have never read the 10 page policies before agreeing to them so I could go on the site. 
Google also saves other information about the user while the individual is still signed into their gmail account.  Anything searched for through google or any navigation from google to another site is saved and analyzed by Google workers.  I would like to see my ‘file’ from Google.  I wonder if I fit any ‘normal’ demographics or if I am in my own category.

            Is there anything that is truly original anymore?  Or is everything a ‘remix’ of something else? Copyright laws are very confusing.  There a million caveats that could make something an original work, and even more that make it a violation of copyright law.  The US Copyright Office demands that materials must meet some criteria: it must be original, or an new adaptation of the work, it must be fixed, or stored in some way; and it only need minimal creativity- pieces that fall under these criteria are protected by copyright.  With Fair Use, the author’s control is limited and allows people to use a portion of the created work.  This does not need any permission from the author of the work.  There are four factors that are taken into consideration with fair use: the purpose, the nature of the work, the amount used, and the market effect of the use.  Legally you only need permission for commercial use, more than one time use, and use of a large part of the material.  So does technology change culture?  In general, yes. 
            Creative Commons allows for people to put a license on their work to be recreated or used in other ways with minimal recognition.  The main licenses used with creative commons (in any combination) are attribution: users must give the original author credit for the work they created; No Derivative works: no one can take the piece and change it in any way; Noncommercial works: no one can use the piece for anything commercial; and finally share-alike: those who use the piece must share it under the same creative commons licenses.  These licenses allow people to create and share material in a way that allows other people to feed off of their creativity and originality. 

Social Media in Businesses
            The imagined audience, who a business believes they are talking to is an interesting phenomenon.  Marwick and Boyd claim that businesses that consciously speak to an audience are usually perceived as inauthentic.  When accounting for the audience, because of the various ways people can consume and spread tweets, it is virtually impossible for users to account for their potential viewers.  So, the participants must imagine their audiences, in many cases they are not always correct.  Many of those who produce the content of tweets, blogs, posts, etc are navigating through these imagined audiences and concealing subjects to maintain a specific authenticity.  Bloggers work from cognitively constructed audiences- readers may or may not be reading the posts.  Because Twitter is able to retweet posts, the audience can be ever changing, making audiences always imaginary.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blog 5 Who Sampled

I find this concept of sampling very interesting.  I think that songs that are deliberately using the beat of the song, along with the lyrics is not considered 'innovative'.  If the beat of the song is remixed then it could be seen as more of a new twist on the songs, but a lot of songs use the exact song sampled in a new song.

I looked at the song 'We are the Champions' by Queen.  This song is used as a sample in a lot of songs.  For example, Kanye West used this song in his version 'Champions.'  This song uses the beat and the lyrics of the Queen version just with some rapping thrown in.  This song has a much different sound that the original version and it does appeal to an entirely different demographic, but I do not see it as innovative to use a lot of the original song in the new version.  To me, I feel like more of the song should be changed to view the use as a 'sample.'

In another example of the use of Queen's song, Wiz Khalifa created 'Phone Numbers.'  In this song, the back beat is very similar to the beat of the original, but the lyrics are different.  I think this is a much better example of the correct use of sampling.  Here, the artist uses the original song to create a completely new song with an entirely new meaning.

I think that for a song to use a sample of a different song, the new version should be completely different and reinvented.  In a lot of cases that doesn't happen.  I would consider it stealing for the entire song, or section of a song, to be used in a new format.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blog 4: Privacy

Main Ideas-

Papacharissi: This article focuses on the attempt to balance sociality and privacy on the internet.  By making people add personal information to sites to be on that social platform, they give up a lot of their privacy rights.  Papacharissi claims that the internet stratifies socio-demographic inequalities, meaning that those with lower incomes/less access to internet, computers, etc. are less computer literate, therefore giving up their rights to privacy online.

Facebook Privacy Issues: Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ all use our data, but now we have to worry about what they do with our data, as well as what they enable other sites to be able to do with our information.  The fact that people could potentially find my social security number, credit report and work history on the internet is very unnerving.  It seems like the developers of privacy settings are not worried about their impact on the actual users.  Especially since there is no option to 'opt-out' of letting the internet use your information.  The only way to save your privacy is to not use the internet.  What is going to happen while technology continues to improve?  People obviously don't know this is happening, or it would not be making such a big story.

Facebook Retreats:  Facebook is being charged for using people's personal information in ways other than what the user agreed to.  There is developing technology that can allows personal information to profit other companies, following people's actions and what they do while on their networks.  Google and Twitter also have lapses in their privacy policies.  It amazes me how companies like this can use information for things other than what they are made for.  Now, Facebook's new timeline gathers information about the user's life, more than just the time they have been on the site.  They also only give a limited time to edit information before it is shared with other agencies.  Definitely not very private.

My Thoughts-
These issues of privacy make me nervous.  It was different when all I thought they had about me was my status update about how I want it to stop raining, but now they know more than they need to know.  Especially when anyone could find out where I live, or what some of my main day to day activities are.  I had never thought of privacy as an indicator of class standing, but it does make sense.  Those who know what can happen with sharing too much information will likely be more sensitive to sharing it.  Those who lack the knowledge will have no problem sharing their personal stuff.  The thing that made me the most nervous was the ability to find my social security number.  If I used online banking, what information would be available about my accounts?  It makes me feel like my identity could be stolen at any moment.  I want these companies to care more about what sharing this private information means for their users.  There could be some severe consequences for those who share too much, and in many cases they won't be able to go back and undo it.  Everyone should at least have the option to make their information private, or take it back, because right now the minute it is entered, it could be there forever.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Blog 3: Nordstrom: Social Media Analysis


            Following Nordstrom on Twitter and Facebook for a couple of weeks revealed how a large, successful business uses social media to provide excellent customer service.  Nordstrom describes themselves as a ‘fashion specialty retailer of clothing, shoes and accessories’ (@Nordstrom).  The customer service line is clearly visible in the biography section as well as on the background of the Twitter feed.  The social media team is also provided by name- not completely necessary, but it makes the direct tweets a little bit more personal. 
            This company has over 170,000 followers on Twitter and over 1.3 million likes on Facebook.  However, there are more specific Facebook and Twitter pages for individual Nordstrom stores, I focused mainly on the general company Nordstrom social networking uses.  The store tweets and updates their Facebook status two to three times a day to the general followers.  They use a very friendly tone, usually promoting an upcoming sale or a new trend that is going on.  The company usually tweets to both a younger and more mature, fashionable audience.  For example, they will tweet about new prom dress looks as well as ‘rush hour to happy hour’ looks for working women (@Nordstrom).  The tweets in general are to women.  Even those updates that involve men’s clothing include how the women can buy the product for the man.  Nordstrom clearly has a specific audience.  They appeal to various ages of fashion forward women.
            Another very interesting aspect of Nordstrom’s social media use is the social media team.  There is a team of people updating both the Twitter and the Facebook pages regularly using a similar voice.  These individuals tweet back to direct tweets (@Nordstrom) regarding everything from a customer complaint, a shout out about a new purchase, or an upcoming shopping spree.  The majority of tweets are in response to specific people.  They obviously spend a lot of time contributing to the site and to make sure that everyone who takes part in Nordstrom’s Twitter gets a response from the company.  Nordstrom replies to customer issues and asks the user to use direct messaging to get more information about the problem.  This shows that Nordstrom is very aware of their web presence.  They not only want to participate in their customers’ conversations, but they help solve problems.  Their friendly tone makes customers want to get help with their issues.  It gives the appearance that Nordstrom really wants to provide their customers with the best customer service possible.
             Marwick and Boyd explain how speaking to a very specific audience can be perceived as inauthentic (Marwick and Boyd 119).  In this situation, the majority of Nordstrom’s tweets are to specific people.  So they know exactly whom they are talking to.  I think this is an excellent use of Twitter and a good way to always know whom they are speaking to so they appeal to a wider variety of people.  However, the drawback of using this customer service heavy process of tweeting to viewers is that Nordstrom is showing up very frequently on the average customer’s news feeds.  Because the company mainly tweets to specific people, the general viewer rarely sees updates from this company.  It is an interesting approach to social networking.  It seems as though those who actively seek out Nordstrom will get frequent updates and can have direct conversations with the company.  But it also makes the casual viewer fall under the radar.  For example, I am following very few people on Twitter and I would have to search for updates from Nordstrom, either by going to their page or by scrolling through many updates on my own Twitter feed.  It really makes me wonder what Nordstrom’s use of Twitter is trying to accomplish.  It seems as though it is a source for customers to personally talk to the company in a very nonthreatening, non-confrontational way about their issues.  On the other hand, people can see how concerned Nordstrom is with their customer service.  They obviously want to make everyone’s experience the best it can be and they try to solve problems as best they can.  Customers will see this clearly on their Twitter profile.
            Using this technique of social networking can be risky.  The public can see everything tweeted to Nordstrom.  The lines between public and private information are being blurred.  This means that Nordstrom has no control over the content being posted on these public pages, so the boundaries between public and private are not distinct (Boyd 10).  Customers can see all of the complaints aimed at Nordstrom, as well as affirmations and positive feedback as well.  It is interesting how the company asks tweeters to send them a direct message with more information regarding problems.  It makes me wonder how the company interacts with customers when no one else is watching.
            Nordstrom also exhibits some of the web 2.0 design patterns.  For example, the company is always in perpetual beta.  They can use the feedback from customers on this site to see what they are doing right and what people are complaining about the company.  This collective intelligence of information can show customers how Nordstrom’s service is used as well as a source for employees to see what needs to be fixed or improved (O’Reilly 1).  It is a way to see how customers really feel about their services.  Nordstrom also uses crowdsourcing to cooperate and not control the media on it’s Twitter page (O’Reilly 2).  Nordstrom obviously does not control what is posted on their page.  They simply try to handle the situation and ‘right the wrong’ to the customer.  This not only makes that specific customer happy, it puts other viewers at ease.  If I have a problem with Nordstrom service in the future, I would consider going to the Twitter site to see if I can get any better service there than in person.
            This use of Twitter could also be seen as a convergence culture.  This site is a place for new forms of exchange between the Nordstrom social media team and viewers/customers using Nordstrom’s social media content (Jenkins 3).  Both customers and Nordstrom employees are able to post information at this location.  Because of this, customers can actively participate and converge information and experiences.  This can be extremely beneficial for businesses or very hurtful.  Those businesses that provide good customer service will profit from this site, but those companies who have many problems with service will have all of their issues available for public viewing. 
            Nordstrom does an excellent job of using social media.  They provide customers with an outlet to express their opinions, whether they are positive or negative.  Because they always tweet back to the viewer, Nordstrom shows that they are interested in the customer’s needs by actively participating in their Twitter experiences.  The friendly persona Nordstrom uses shows that they genuinely want to help their customers and that they would like them to have the best possible experience at their stores. 

Works Cited
@Nordstrom. Twitter.  19 Mar. 2012.  Web. <!/Nordstrom>.

Boyd, Danah.  “Social Networked Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics and Implications.” in Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Networked Sites (2010) pp. 39-58. 

Jenkins, Henry. “Introduction.” Worship at the Alter of Convergence (2008).  ­­
Marwick, Alice E. and Danah Boyd.  “I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitters Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience.”  New Media Society 13:114 (July 7, 2010). 

O’Reilly, Tim and John Battelle. “Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On.” Web2 (2009).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blog 2: Amnesty International Media Usage

After doing some research, I realized how big of an organization Amnesty International really is.  There are different branches all over the world, with multiple sites and media platforms.  Amnesty International defines itself as a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

There are multiple versions of this organization, is the most broad, general site; with and for the US and UK.  There are multiple sites for other countries as well.

Based on only Amnesty International USA:
-Facebook: they have over 350,000 'likes'; the page prompts you to immediately sign up to take action- either to donate now, invite friends or to share this 'action' and enter your contact information for further updates.  The page seems to be updating frequently with various posts throughout the day.

-Twitter: has over 350,000 followers; thousands of tweets about international issues, no only US problems. Thought it was interesting that there is an official USA Amnesty International page, and each other country has their own account.

-Another interesting fact, you can shop for humanity with amnesty 'gear.' I wonder how much money they raise using this store and who their main clientele is.

-I found it very interesting that this organization has Youtube, Flickr and Pinterest accounts also.  Flickr and Youtube would be a good way to convey information, especially with the visual media, however they would be viewed by a specific audience.  The pinterest account surprised me the most.  I made me wonder what is important to 'pin' and how this can raise awareness and what their reasons are for using this account.

At this point in my research, I am beginning to agree with Gladwell more than Mirani.  I feel like the numbers of followers and 'friends' on twitter and facebook are small relative to how many people are in the world.  It seems like the people who want to know about what is going on in the world will find out, and everyone else does not care.  This use of social media may get more awareness out there, but there is relatively little they can do, especially since 'following' and 'liking' a page is done on the viewer's end.  It just seems like Amnesty International isn't doing much to try and change things, they are just trying to raise awareness.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blog 1: Takeaways.

Web as Platform:
The biggest takeaways I found from these articles was the concept of web as platform.  From this idea I found the main point to be access.  Information put on the web can be accessed from any place with Internet capabilities.  Google docs is a good example of this.  Files can be saved to this location and can be used from any other computer or device.  This new accessibility comes with the idea that there are now the resources and opportunities for participation that have not been possible before.  Software and applications are data-driven, they are always learning and adapting to the user.  Social media is also much more prevalent and important than it used to be.  Marketing has changed because of the vast amounts of people using online resources. 

Content flows across multiple media platforms to promote participation and cooperation across many different users.  This phenomenon involves new forms of exchanging information between users of media content.  Facebook is an example of this kind of convergence culture.  Without people and businesses using this application, it would be completely empty.  Facebook needs the interaction of people talking to one another, adding friends, photos and videos to make the site interesting.  It needs the contributions of users to produce the information and content needed to make the site successful.  Another good example is Youtube.  Videos need to be posted on the site by users.  Those who tag, link, comment, and view the videos are the ones making the site more and more popular.  People like to see themselves on public sources like this, therefore making these types of sites more popular. 

We Are Connected:
The lost iPhone example really shows how connected everyone really is, as well as the ease and interest people can find in some random situations.  Social visibility has increased dramatically over the last several years.  In this particular circumstance, the girl who ‘stole’ the phone had all of her personal information online for the world to see and find, and inevitably what got her arrested.  This also shows how much power the audience/public really has in society.  If only the phone’s owner had complained to the police, nothing would have been done about this case, but because of the large amount of people getting involved, something had to be done.  Changing our way of communication changes society.  People catch on to each other and use similar ways of communication with each other.  Technology is enabling new groups to form.  It makes me wonder why we aren’t combining our efforts to more worthy causes…

Cognitive Surplus:
Cognitive surplus is the ability of the world’s population to volunteer along with contribution and collaboration of large and global projects.  This is made up of the world’s desire to create things and share things on a larger scale.  The tools are now available to the public to provide motivation to join talents and collaborate with people all over the world.  The participants create communal value for each other: Flickr, Youtube; when the users increase, the value of the site increases.  Civic value is created by the participants but enjoyed by society as a whole.  The intention is for the society to be made better by the new creations.  The idea is that organizations with succeed if they design their needs around a culture of generosity. 

Order of Orders:
This is the idea that everything is miscellaneous, and this is GOOD.  I found this to be a very interesting concept.  It is amazing how these ‘orders’ have progressed through time.  The first order can be considered as physical objects located in a real place somewhere.  The second order can be seen as different lists describing where each of those physical objects are placed.  And the third order is the digital, unlimited versions of each of those physical objects.  This order is the most user centered.  It can be seen with image or post tags on social media websites.  The ‘tags’ find similar posts and provides more information for others users to make the post more accessible to everyone.