Module 4 Summary

Throughout reading everyone’s comments, everyone seems to be in the same boat that we are all consumers rather then producers. Everyone seemed to agree that the only thing they would be considered a producer for is their Facebook page, and producing things through uploading pictures or posting statuses. @nzaduban made a good point about Facebook, if we have strict privacy settings, and only really use it to connect with friends and family and do not post pictures or videos, then even this would not label us as producers. I always have thought that everyone else must be more tech savvy then me, allowing them to produce videos, songs etc., online, and that I was in the minority group of being a consumer rather then a producer, what I found surprising is that it is completely the other way around, everyone seems to be a consumer rather then a producer for many of the same reasons. Everyone seems to be afraid of producing things and putting it online due to criticism and judgment from people in the online world, as well as most of us are unaware of how to produce and edit videos etc. Everyone also seemed to agree that copyright laws are hard to follow on the Internet because there is so much material constantly being produced and uploaded online that it is hard to keep track and follow the guidelines of copyright laws. @colecrear90 brought up a good point that  using websites such as YouTube do help to prevent and limit producers from breaking copyright laws because they can take videos off their site. Using these types of platforms can limit producers from breaking copyright laws and is a way to help prevent original work from being stolen or copied by somebody else, although I do think it is impossible to completely prevent this from happening on the internet.

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Producer? Consumer? I guess a little bit of both…

Everyday millions of people are online producing and consuming videos, remaking songs, and putting out their own intellectual property. Personally, I see myself more as a consumer then a producer, I use the internet to gather information whether it be for school, or just my own leisurely browsing. I would say the only producing part of me is my Facebook usage, which is something we “producers” all have in common. Being a quite frequent Facebook user, I do frequently post my opinion on certain issues, or share videos I think merit recognition. Beyond Facebook, I do not contribute to online content and can safely say I am totally a consumer. Personally I give producers kudos for being able to share what they have created with the online world, because I would not have the courage to do so, and this is what inhibits me from producing my own online content. People who post their own videos or other types of online content are subject to judgement and conflicts of differing opinions, and to me this type of online “confrontation” is what prevents me from producing my own online content.

In Miller’s (2004) article A View From a Fossil: The New Economy, Creativity and Consumption- Two or Three Things I don’t believe in, he discusses issues with copyright and that what online producers share is often shared by a small group of people and public and cultural production is not necessarily as strong as these small “interpretive communities” Miller (2004). This is evident in his quote “the active audience is weak at the level of public cultural production, but strong as an interpretive community” (Miller 2004). To me these interpretive communities produce what they think is important and covers information that is based on their beliefs as well as what reflects their personal opinions, however this does not necessarily mean that these ideas are correct. Another quote I found relevant to support this is also in Miller’s (2004) is “the all-powerful; customer-consumer, and the all-powerful creator consumer are said to be so clever and artful that they make their own meanings”. To me this means that we all derive our own meanings and opinions from things that us consumers see on the internet.

In Jenkins (2013) article the cultural logic of media convergence he to me also touches on this point, “our media future could depend on the kind of uneasy truce that gets brokered between commercial media and collective intelligence”. Jenkins talks about two kinds of media power one that comes from media concentration and the other through collective intelligence, where media output only gains recognition if it is deemed relevant to a diverse group of people (2013). This could be my own interpretation of things but this kind of resembles Miller (2004) interpretive community idea, what producers put out is only relevant if consumers recognize it. Lastly in terms of copyright laws, I think they are completely ignored within the Internet world. People are constantly producing and putting out new material it is almost impossible to put a limit on what is sent out in the Internet world.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7:
33-43

Miller, T. (2004) A view from a fossil. International Journal Of Cultural Studies,
7(1), 55-65.

Reliable? Valid? I think so! (My first Op-Ed Piece!)

Bullying has become the new hot topic in media stories today, and everyday we hear of tragic accounts of children and adolescents being bullied to the worst degree, and even taking their own lives. With the advancement in technology we are faced with many different forms of bullying and harassment compared to the typical schoolyard bullying stories our parents recall. Cyber-bullying is increasingly gaining more and more attention because many children and youth are falling victim to this type of harassment. Adults, parents, and school personnel are all trying to understand the severity of cyber bullying, and more and more people are trying to educate themselves on what it is, and how to prevent it from happening to them or their child. For this reason I chose Wikipedia’s Cyber bullying page to be under the microscope to determine the validity of Wikipedia’s information. I think this investigation is important, because Wikipedia will most likely be the first stop by people researching this important topic.

The ongoing debate of whether or not to use Wikipedia as a credible source of information continues to rage on with some people on the yes side, and some on the no side. Most of my fellow classmates agree that Wikipedia is a useful and credible source of information. In Bryan Rybansky’s blog he is on the yes side of the debate and finds Wikipedia extremely useful, “my experience with Wikipedia has always been very positive, the structure of each Wikipedia link is the same, simple, informative, and most importantly current”, after reading the articles on how Wikipedia works and the way it is structured, Cole Crerar’s blog seems to also lean more toward the yes side of the debate as well  “through reading the articles about Wikipedia, I might be more inclined to use it as a valuable source of reference in the future, there are a great deal of collective voices relaying information not for their own benefit, but simply to share information”. For this reason I decided to do some investigating myself and checked out Wikipedia’s Cyber bullying page to examine how editors handled information, to see if there were any biased point of views, and most importantly to see where they are getting their information.

In Jensen’s (2012) article he discusses the guidelines Wiki editors’ use when editing an article and talks about the NPOV (neutral point of view rule) where editors are to remain neutral on topics under debate. Under the talk tab on the Cyber bullying page, there were many debates on whether or not certain sources of information were useful to the page and whether or not they should remain there or be taken down. These debates could have fallen under Jensen’s (2012) category of “edit-wars” due to the number of posts and suggestions on the topic, however these debates were done democratically and respectfully, maintaining a neutral point of view, listening to one another’s opinions, and eventually coming to a consensus. Another area of concern for Wikipedia users is the credibility of the editors posting information on the page. According to Royal and Kapila (2009) they discuss this issue and talk about how Wikipedia is criticized for its credibility, and the different criteria’s used to judge the validity of sources on Wiki pages. Although there is no mention of credentials on the Cyber bullying Wikipedia page, the editors do use valid sources from where they retrieve their information, and many edits are made to certain topics using valid sources most coming from peer-reviewed journal articles. When a university student is assigned to write an essay on a certain topic, they are not experts on the subject, but they do gather information from scholars who are, which to me is a similar way in which Wikipedia gathers their information. Lastly, in Giles’ article Internet Encyclopedias go head to head, he talks about creating a way to let readers know the legitimacy of the Wikipedia article they are researching. If the information is coming from a legitimate source, such as scholarly or peer-reviewed article, then does it matter who is regurgitating the information? In my opinion no it does not. Being a third year university student, I have had quite the experience researching through countless research articles, educating myself on the topic I was assigned to write on, and using this research to prove my points and support my topic. Now, because I am not an expert, but the information I provided was based on expert’s research and findings, would this automatically deem my work invalid to people reading my paper? I would hope not. In terms of Wikipedia’s cyber bullying page, I do think that it does provide a good variety of information on the topic, especially for people looking to learn more about the subject. Elise Takahashi’s blog sums up the way Wikipedia should be used  “Overall I think that depending on what type of information you are looking for will determine what type of source you will want to use”. When attempting to gain back-round knowledge on a topic such as cyber-bullying, Wikipedia’s page is useful, it provides a variety of sources on the topic, and allows you to explore the subject further.

 

 

Image

 

Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopedias go head to headNature. 438, pp 900-901.

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberbullying

http://colecrerar.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/module-3-the-controversy-of-wikipedia/

http://br09um.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/wiki/

http://etakahashi2f00.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/wiki-wiki-whaaattt/

Photo source:

Module 3 Summary

In this weeks module we discussed the validity of using Wikipedia as a legitimate source of information. As university students, everyone seemed to have the same experiences with Wikipedia. Mostly everyone discussed that professors did not allow them to use Wikipedia as a source of information for writing their essays or research papers, due to the fact that anyone can go in and edit Wikipedia pages, and the people monitoring these pages are not qualified enough. It seems as though most people somewhat agree with this, however have found Wikipedia to be useful for gaining a good base knowledge and then further investigating their topic and finding evidence elsewhere, such as places that professors and Brock University deems acceptable. I don’t think I have yet read a comment where someone has said they are completely against Wikipedia. For the most part every student has said they use Wikipedia to gather quick facts, or answers to questions they have because Wikipedia is a fast and organized way of gathering information. Most comments agree that with information sharing, we have to be careful and double check what information we use, but being able to share information within a community like Wikipedia comes with many advantages, seemingly more so then disadvantages. Overall, everyone seems to understand the risks and weaknesses of having complete trust in Wikipedia, but feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, especially since it is almost comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica. I think that it is good mostly all students recognize the fact that Wikipedia cannot be used as a sole source of information, and are aware of other ways to back up their research through scholarly sources and peer-reviewed articles. I still believe that as stated in Giles’ article Internet Encyclopedias go head to head, creating ways for Wikipedia articles to show their legitimacy by introducing a stable version of each entry would help to eliminate the ban on using Wikipedia as a source for students. If this were to happen, then we as students will have the liberty and convenience of using Wikipedia’s fast paced and organized manner of information to our benefit, which is what the majority of the students stated they found useful about Wikipedia in the first place. 

To Wiki or not to Wiki…

Entering into my university career I quickly realized that Wikipedia was extremely frowned upon when trying to find research on projects or papers assigned to us and I don’t think that I have ever had a professor allow the use of Wikipedia. At first unaware of the way Wikipedia worked, I did not understand what the big deal was, but after being educated on how to find proper peer reviewed research articles and the importance of where to get my information and research, I can understand why Wikipedia is frowned upon due it its lack of reliability and validity. In the article What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not…?  It discusses Wikipedia’s level of accuracy, and the way information is put on the website, which has proved to support bias and unreliable sources of information. The fact that anyone can go into Wikipedia and add or change the information another person might be searching for, definitely makes me understand why professors do not want us students using Wikipedia. An article that in my opinion supported the lack of reliability Wikipedia offers is Richard Jensen’s article Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. One of the main points this article discusses is the argument on Wikipedia over who won the war of 1812, and the knowledge or lack of knowledge the editors on this argument had, “about 90 percent of them are male, and 27 percent are under age twenty-one-13 percent are in high school- and nearly all are anonymous with no controls by any outsider on what they write”. To me that quote alone explains the hesitations on the validity of information Wikipedia offers, as well as in the abstract of the article it states, “Wikipedia is written by and for the benefit of highly motivated amateurs. Military history is one of its strengths, with over 130,000 articles and over 700 well-organized volunteers who prevent mischief and work on upgrading quality. They rely on free online sources and popular books, and generally ignore historiography and scholarly monographs and articles”. This proves that information can and is biased on important topics, and can mislead people who are researching answers and support them with faulty information.

Lastly, in Giles’ article Internet Encyclopedias go head to head, it talks about creating a way to let readers know the legitimacy of the Wikipedia article they are researching by introducing a stable version of each entry, “once an article reaches a specific quality threshold, it will be tagged as stable”. I think that this would be useful for researches and students alike, allowing experts to edit the information on Wikipedia would almost be like getting them peer reviewed in a sense. Also, professors may be more lenient on allowing to students to use “stable” Wikipedia articles, which might help to benefit students or researchers in gathering their information more quickly as they would now be allowed to enjoy the benefits of quick online research. After reading these articles, it did not change my confidence on the reliability of Wikipedia’s information. I do not think Wikipedia is the worst thing in the world, I myself do find it convenient to quickly jump on the computer and find a quick answer to a question rather then research through peer reviewed journal articles or monographs to find the answers to my questions. I think that being aware of the way Wikipedia works is important, and that people should know when it is or isn’t ok to use. Being aware of other research methods is important however I definitely think the sharing of online information comes with it’s pro’s and cons. Finally, I chose this image for 2 reasons, the first to back of the points the articles made that anyone can post or edit posts on Wikipedia, and second because I found it quite funny J

 

Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopedias go head to headNature. 438, pp 900-901.

 

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

 

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

mod 3 p

Mod 2 Summary

Module 2 blog was about the privacy and surveillance of social media websites, and the different problems we can encounter while using these websites. My blog talked about how some people use these websites to shape and form their identities, and to use it as a way of expressing themselves on topics they may not normally do in the physical world. For some people, being able to sign on to a social media website under a different domain name or identity, allows them to feel liberated to do the things they would not normally do with face to face contact. I also spoke about the progress social networking sites have made, and the differences in the way we used social networking 10 years ago compared to now, for example, MSN messenger to Facebook. I really enjoyed everyone’s comments on my blog, and for the most part everyone seemed to agree with me, that social networking sites have drastically changed from the way we used them 10 years ago, and how this is affecting our communication styles today. Everyone seemed to agree that with faster and more advanced technology, we seem to be dumbing down our responses to one another in order to get our points across more quickly and effortlessly. Another point I made that seemed to resonate with everyone was the fear I had about the way we will communicate 50 years from now, with continuing advancements in technology. Lastly, my blog also talked about the ways I post information on social networking sites such as Facebook, and how I would not post any personal information, and or anything I would not say in the physical world, because my online identity is the same as my real one. Overall everyone’s comments seemed to agree with the points I had made in my blog, and I really enjoyed everyone’s feedback!

 

Are we Really Connected?

More and more social networking sites and the online world are becoming increasingly advanced and intense. For me I can remember when the Internet and connecting through social media became an integral part of my youth. In the early years of high school I remember rushing home to go on MSN and connect with my “friends”. Some people on my friends list were in my class or on my sports teams, but others were people from different schools or friends of friends who I never met personally. Though talking to people you have not met online possesses many dangers, it was nothing like it is today. Facebook, MySpace and twitter make MSN seem so juvenile now that I look back. The social networking sites we use today know more about us then our best friends or parents might, and what we do not realize is these sites hold hostage all of our information, pictures, and interactions. What is it about social networking that is so addicting and leaves people obsessing and unable to stay away? In Turkle’s article Looking Toward Cyberspace: Beyond Grounded Technology she believes that it is the freedom of being able to mold and shape your identity online however you want it, which gives one the liberty to say and write how they feel with little repercussions. Different online identities allow for us to invent and mold ourselves into someone we want to be, express ourselves on topics and say how we feel, things which we feel limited to in our everyday lives. Social networking affects people in various ways, and is now becoming a part of child and adolescent development, it changes how youth find and create their identities; what was once done through actual physical relationships is now done through cyberspace and the connections and interactions we have on Facebook. In Turkle’s article looking Toward Cyberspace she supports this notion by stating “it is fashionable to think that we have shifted from psycho-analytic culture to computer culture-that we no longer need to think in terms of Freudian slips but rather in information processing errors” (1999, p. 647). I find this to be completely true, especially in relation to understanding youth, if teachers or parents etc. are unfamiliar with the internet and social networking, they will fail to be connected and unable to understand what goes on with adolescents today, as identity and personality have taken on a whole new meaning.

In terms of my own personal social media use, I attempt to not to be consumed by it, and still believe in the importance of human contact. In Turkle’s article The Flight from Conversation (2012), she discusses this and how we have become accustomed to “being alone together” which I find to be completely true. We think we are all connected through our interactions on social media, but we have completely lost the importance of physical conversation. Also in Turkle’s Article Places we don’t want to go, she talks about encounters with adolescents and how they feel more comfortable turning to technology then they would with people in the physical world. Being so consumed with interacting over cyberspace has also allowed us to talk less intelligently to get our points across and quickly according to Turkle, and personally this scares me. If you think about how much we have evolved with technology already, I am worried to know how our communication skills are going to be in another 50 years. The fact that my social media activities are under constant surveillance definitely influences my online identity. My own personal rule for myself is that I do not post anything online or on social networking sites that I would not say in the physical world, my online identity is pretty accurate to my identity in real life. I find it important not to post personal and private information online, and think that people should consider what they really want people knowing about them, because once its thrown out there, its there forever.

Cyberspace and Identity Sherry Turkle Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648

Sherry Turkle. The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012

Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012
http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/places-we-dont-want-to-go-sherry-turkle-at-ted2012/

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