Sunday, April 18, 2010

Privacy Issues In A Digital World

With the revolution of the Internet and communication in general, issues about privacy continue to rise. Although the Internet is basically an information haven, the growing concern is that a lot of people's personal information is being seen by others on the Internet. From social networking sites to sites that advertise to gain more consumers, certain information that people think that some individuals are seeing may actually be seen by almost everyone, especially when dealing with websites such as Facebook. Here's some feedback on how this comes about.

In December, when Facebook made changes to its website, most users of the website opted to use the recommended settings without really understanding that they gave
Facebook the right to publicize private information such as status updates, photos, and shared links. The best suggestion to keep things such as status updates and photos private, each Facebook user should go to the privacy settings and change each privacy option to "only friends". If they don't, then any stranger can see what's on that person's profile page.

Another problem with Facebook in terms of privacy is that a person's profile can show up in search engines such as Google if the privacy settings aren't set correctly. On Facebook, if the search settings are set to "allow", any information marked as visible to "everyone" would be able to find your profile by typing it into the Google search engine. A friend warned me about this a couple of months ago. So, I typed my name in the Google search engine, and sure enough, my profile picture came up, along with other information. That made me wonder who could have been viewing my profile without me knowing? After I saw this, I immediately changed all of my settings on Facebook so that only my friends on the website can view my profile.

Everyone should take the time the change the privacy settings so that future employers won't see inappropriate photos of them at a bar or one of their friends posting something naughty on their wall. Employers do check to see how their potential employers are outside of work, so it's better to be safe than sorry. For more on this issue, look at the following video:

In terms of information on the Internet, sometimes it is openly requested online when we fill out online forms for certain websites. Online websites and advertisers know information about people because of cookies, which are little text files created
on your computer that contain information left there by the websites they visited. The problem with this is that most web users don't understand privacy policies even when they are clearly noted.

This is because privacy policies aren't "preserving privacy at all", according to Marc Rotenberg of Electronic Privacy Information Center. He thinks that "businesses are wrong to post a privacy policy and then believe that it provides a basis for them to disclose the information of others". The Federal Trade Commission favored industry self-regulation, which requires disclosure of information, but not banning the collection of personal data from visitors to websites, despite the fact that Internet users don't want their personal information collected. The following video
has more information on this issue:

Everyone has the right to their privacy. This should go for the Internet as well. No one wants people to know everything about them. This problem has to be fixed soon or we may not be able to keep much personal information secure much longer in the future.

Information used in this blog can be found at the following links:

"The 3 Facebook Settinfs Every User Should Check Now", Sarah Perez, N.Y. Times, January 20, 2010.

"Internet Users Raise Privacy Concerns", Art Chimes, VOA News, April 29, 2008.

Videos found at the following links:

Images found at the following websites:
Google Image
Facebook Image

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Future of Television

With the convergence of television going digital, and the rising costs of cable television, people are starting to use a different alternative to watching their favorite shows, without paying an arm and a leg for cable. Now, people are starting to use the Internet to watch their favorite programs. With sites such as, people turning to the Internet to watch their favorite program just got much easier.

Before I go into specific details about the future of television, I'll first talk about the "Five Cs of the Post-Network Era, by Amanda Lotz from her book, "The Television Will Be Revolutionized". The five Cs are choice, control, convenience, customization, and community. Lotz explains that choice and control deal with the expectations and adjusted use of networks on television. Convenience and customization resulted from choice and control after network-era norms "eroded and conventions of the multi-channel transition started to dominate". Lotz also explained what Beth Comstock, president of digital media and market development at NBC Universal, said about community. Comstock mentioned that "in the digital age, community is all about gathering people with shared interests and giving them a platform to interact with each other, to engage in relevant content and to create something new".

That last point made by Comstock on community is very true. Blog sites and social networking sites enable what is called "water-cooler" conversation about certain television shows or live events on television. One good example of this would be during the MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West took the microphone from Taylor Swift during the acceptance of an award she received. This was definitely the hottest topic on Twitter and Facebook. I was involved in this "water-cooler" conversation too because I was debating with many people on Facebook about how West shouldn't have gone on stage to interrupt Taylor Swift the way he did. This shows that television and the Internet work together positively because people can watch shows live, and react with others online about what's going on. Also, people who aren't watching something on television can look on Facebook or Twitter and see that something significant happened during a certain program, and that may prompt them to watch that program.

Most television executives see the Internet as another means of television as a good thing, and not as a big threat. Leslie Moonves, chief executive of the CBS Corporation, says that "The Internet is our friend, not our enemy." He also mentions that "people want to be attached to each other", relating to the water-cooler effect. Maureen Huff, spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable, says that "we don't consider it a threat to our business". It may not seem like a major threat now, but if the cost of cable and satelitte television continues to rise, will it eventually be a threat in the future?

Of course, everyone wants to know what television would be like in the next 10 years. I believe that television and the Internet will be able to interact together completely. I think that people will not only be able to watch programs on their television set, but they may be able to surf the web and interact with people around the world on their television as well. Here's a video that will help to explain this:

Information used in this blog can be found at the following links:

Changing Channels, From Cable to the Web, Douglas Quenqua, N. T. Times, 10 March 2010

Water-Cooler Effect: Internet Can Be TV's Friend, Brian Stelter, N.Y. Times, February 23, 2010

Images taken from the following websites:

Family Guy photo:

Kanye West and Taylor Swift MTV VMAs photo:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Journalism, Blogging and New Media

Journalism is definitely changing daily, especially since traditional media such as TV, newspapers, and magazines are on the decline. So, what's taking the place of traditional media? Why, what else.....the Internet. The Internet has become the new form of journalism, from daily newspapers posting news online, to citizen journalists posting videos or blogs about a new topic.

First, I'm going to talk about citizen journalism. Citizen journalists are basically private individuals that report information like professional reporters do. Their work includes pictures, video and/or audio. They can have information by writing a blog, or by posting a podcast. More information on citizen journalism can be found at the following link and on the following video:

Many people believe that the Internet is hurting journalism. In The Atlantic article titled, "Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism", Cyra Master reported from a survey from The Atlantic and National Journal that "about 65% of people say that Internet is hurting journalism more than it's helpling", while only 34% of people say that the Internet "helps more". Master aslo points out that the Internet "offers benefits", but the cost of traditional media and news gathering is "too high". An example of this would be the fact that the N. Y. Times has published stories free on Kindle to cut back production of printed dailies because of the high costs. Master also explains that one other benefit is that the Internet has a "widened circle of those participating in a national debate". But, she also points out that the Internet has also "blurred the line between opinion and fact" as well. One last point that Master made was that the Internet "trains readers to consume news in smaller bites", which is bad for magazines and newspapers.

Another issue is that network news sources are also on the decline. Now, with the rise of such shows as "The Daily Show", people are beginning to trust sources like these more than traditional news sources.

Of course, there are those that believe that the Internet is better than the traditional media. In the online article, "How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?", President of Media at Thomson Reuters Chris Ahearn noted that "journalism will survive and thrive in the Internet age because of new technologies, retool production and distribution strategies". Ahearn also notes that dominant search engines are "the salvation of journalism". Finally, he sees a platform that "applies consistent metadata to create 'intelligent' information designed to help publishers and broadcasters better manage their own and 3rd party content".

Of course this issue relates to the Long Tail and the Internet as a democratizing tool in several ways. Everyone has an equal opportunity to report or talk about certain issues whenever they want through many different sources, such as a posted video blog on YouTube, a written blog on Blogger, or recording an actual political event in Washington, D.C. and posting it on the Internet. This is very beneficial because now people can keep other people informed instead of reporters always keeping others informed. Also, this issue relates to the Long Tail because media contiues to evolve. Now that traditional media is on the decline, these sources are now turning to the Internet to help them survive. An example would be how the Ann Arbor journal continuously updates its stories online daily. Other dailies and magazines are also doing this on their websites as well.

Well, the question is "What will journalism and news look like 10 years from now?"
There are several suggestions to that. One would be that companies such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia will be joined by powerful companies to let people find information they want when they want it. Also, interactive touchscreens may be built into everyday work surfaces, which will allow people to share news and information in an easier way. Here's an image of what this may look like:

More ideas on what journalism will be like in the future can be found at the following site:

Information in this blog can be found at the following sites:

Video found at the following website:

Photos found from the following site:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Digital Convergence

Digital convergence is something that has taken over media and technology, especially within the last decade. With so many new devices that people can use for various purposes, it's very difficult to keep up with the newest technology. Digital convergence refers to the convergence of the four industries: Information Technologies, Telecommunication, Consumer Electronics, and Entertainment. Some example's are Microsoft's Xbox from IT to entertainment, and Apple's iPhone, from IT to Telecommunications. Digital convergence also refers to the digitalization of traditional media. Media outlets such as magazine and newspaper articles can now be found online instantly.

One new neat gadget that will be available is the Microsoft Courier. The Courier function as a "digital journal", with an interface that is pen-based and centered around drawings and writing. It also has a built-in handwriting recognition tool and a corresponding website that allows everything to be entered into the device in a blog-like format, which can be very useful, especially for this class when writing blogs! Of course, there's a built-in camera and a media player as well.

Digital convergence is also making its way to television. Now, all televisions require using signals from digital converter boxes when watching programs on regualar television, and all channels are now made digital on cable as well. But, there is talk of something that can make TV even better. Intel, in a joint effort with Netgear, will have a convergence device that will "use Netgear's adapter that uses Intel's wireless display technology to wirelessly connect laptops with TVs so users can watch HD videos and other content as well", according to Intel President & CEO Paul Otellini. The device is called the Push 2 TV.

One gadget that a lot of people have that's taking the world by storm is Apple's iPhone. The new iPhone 3GS has so many cool features. The applications range from going on Facebook and Twitter, checking your email, watching videos on YouTube, staying updated with live sports scores, GPS and navigation compatibility, paying bills and depositing checks, making restaurant reservations, and much, much more. Here's the link to the apple website to get a look at all of the cool features:

Media convergence has definitely transformed media in a major way. But, everyone wonders, "What will media be like in another 10 years"? Well, since many media sources are shifting to the Internet, radio may be the next medium that will come to the internet completely. Also, there may be possible mergers with big companies such as Google and Amazon as well, which will help form some more new ideas with digital convergence that would be beneficial to everyone. Here's a video that will help to explain this:

Digital convergence will only make media more simplified than it already is in the future, and will be very helpful to everyone.

Information from this blog can be found at the following links:

"Digital Convergence"

"Intel's Otellini to Unveil 'Digital Convergence' Device"

"Playing With the Instinct" photo by flckr user Global X using Creative Commons:

Videos from YouTube found at the following links:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Twitter and Facebook-Social Networking

Twitter and Facebook are just two social networking sites that are taking the Internet by storm. Both sites have so much to offer, and they also have so many users as well. Both of these sites have just exploded with many applications, and a person can do so much on these sites that people may need in their everyday lives. Let me explain a little about both of these sites and how they work.

Facebook is a way to connect with people you know, from the past or the present. It can also be a way to network with other people around the world as well. A person can upload pictures and videos, create photo albums, play online games, invite people to events such as parties or weddings, and people and businesses can invite people to join groups or become fans of their pages, too. A person can also make status updates to let their friends know what's on their mind. Facebook is free for anyone to join and it has over 300 million users worldwide.

Twitter, on the other hand, works a little different. Twitter lets others know what people are doing, and also, lets others know what's going on with them, too. Twitter accounts can be linked to cell phones, web pages, or IM services such as Yahoo Messenger, which allows the user to send and receive messages to and from others. The updates that are sent to people are known as tweets. Like Facebook, the site's free to join, but only has over 70 million users.

These social networking sites aren't just beneficial to everyday people. They are also helpful for businesses and organizations as well. They can help promote a business, or, can help create employment. An example would be with Twitter's TwitJobSearch. In the N.Y. Times article, "Twitter Could Become the Unemployed's Best Friend", Claire Cain Miller explains how jobs are now being posted on Twitter. In Miller's article, co-founder of WorkDigital William Fischer, who also created TwitJobSearch, also explains that "in the last month, 340,000 jobs have been listed on Twitter." Fischer says that Twitter is a "faster, cheaper, and easier way to recruit employers." TwitJobSearch scans Twitter for job postings by paying attention to content in which employment-related keywords appear. An example would be if a company is looking for a secretary. The search engine would categorize any openings for a secretary position.

Facebook also helps with marketing businesses. Kermit Pattison wrote an article in the N.Y. Times titled, "How to Market Your Business With Facebook", and explains that a large number of small businesses use Facebook to find new customers, build online communites of fans, and to figure out which demographic to reach out to. Pattison mentions that small businesses shouldn't just market or sell, but they should be more interactive and engage with fans as well. They should also listen to what fans are saying and can pick up ideas on how to improve their business.

Facebook also helps with big businesses and companies as well. Companies such as McDonald's and Montain Dew are among the top 50 companies that use Facebook best to help with their business. McDonald's ranks 23rd and Mountain Dew ranks 18th. To view the complete list, go to:

An example of a company that uses a Facebook page to help their company is Audi. Audi has a page on Facebook where anyone can join a discussion about the future design of its cars. This page would be especially useful if some of those fans will actually buy a new Audi coupe.

Twitter and Facebook definitely relates to the Long Tail because it has resources for all people who just socialize, and for those who are networking to make their business or company better. For companies and businesses, feedback from fans on these sites are readily available for them to see, thus they can make improvements and adjustments accordingly. They're also a democratizing tool as well because they can advertise and promote their business freely on these sites. Social networking sites are just one chapter in the future of the Long Tail and how media and technology are advancing daily.

The following photos were taken from flickr at the following sites from the following users using Creative Commons:

Twitter Logo map 09 by: the next web

Facebook Logo by: Laughing Squid

Information in this blog found at the following links:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creative Commons

When I first heard about Creative Commons, I didn't really know much about it. All I knew was that it kind of related to copyright. But now, I see that Creative Commons is better than copyright laws. According to, Creative Commons works to create the body of a piece of work that is available to the public for free and allows for legal sharing, use, and remixing. It gives everyone, from musicians to photographers, a simple way to grant copyright permission to their creative work.

Creative Commons has licenses that allows certain uses for a piece of work while keeping the copyright, which is referred to as "some rights reserved", as long as credit is given to the original creator of the piece of work. With traditioanl copyright, a piece of work usually has "all rights reserved", which means that no one can use copyrighted material without the permission of the person who created the work. A person can also avoid dealing with copyright altogether by using "no rights reserved", which allows open sharing of a piece of work to anyone.

As Esther Wojcicki noted in her online article, "Creative Commons in 2009,, the Accomplishments of Worldwide Sharing", she noted that some major websites have adopted CC licensing, such as Google and Yahoo. The Image search results on these sites now restrict users to find images tagged with CC licensing so that people can share and use images without breaking copyright laws.

I believe that CC as a tool for independent content producers is neat because people can acknowledge another person's work that may not be well known, and credit will be given to that person, and may also give them a big break, especially for someone like a musician that's trying to make it big. If a major recording artist uses a local artist that they may know but not everyone knows, the major artist can give credit to the other artist for using some of their work, and people may notice that their work is creative and they may become known as well. This helps artists like John Woodward since he uses CC licensing. It allows people to use, sample, or remix his work, as long as people give him credit for his piece of work. He may also be able to profit off of people using his work as well.

Here's an example of me using a photo from a creative commons website. It is a creative commons logo idea from Flickr user labguest:

The Flickr user had "some rights reserved", which meant that I could use his logo idea as long as I wasn't using it for commercial use and as long as I give hime credit for it.

Creative Commons is very cool because it doesn't have all of the restrictions of traditional copyright laws. It allows people to use other people's content as long as the person gives the origianl person credit for the work, which in the end saves a lot of hassle. Creative Commons is definitely the future for copyright and for media in general.

Information from blog post found from the following links:

Photo found at the following link:

YouTube videos found at the following links:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Democracy's Long Tail

The Internet is definitely impacting democracy in other parts of the world. While we may enjoy access to just about anything on the Web here in the U.S., other countries don't enjoy that same freedom. The government in countries such as China, Iran, and Myanmar have found ways to limitize access to the Internet and other forms of media as well.

One situation has to deal with censorship issues between Google and China. China has censored certain websites and doesn't allow for them to show up in the search engine on But now, Google will no longer censor search results in China. Timothey B. Lee from the N.Y. Times noted that Google can do some good by "investing in improved circumvention technologies". He also stated that they can invest in more "extensive, robust, and user-friendly network of proxy servers", which wouldn't be a bad idea. Finally, he stated that Google can help by "embedding privacy-preserving and censorship-circumventing". He notes that a good example of this was "Google's decision to encryt Gmail access by default". But, in the end, the people in China would have to stand up against censorship in order for it to go away, which means that they would have to find ways to fight against their regime in China to gain rights to view information and sites on the Web freely.

The same situations are going on in Iran and Myanmar concerning media. Media is banned in Iran and in Myanmar. But, citizen journalists, or netizens, find ways to use media to reflect what's going on in their country. For example, a person in Iran may use a mobile camera to record protests, or to show certain wrong-doings and killings by their government and have it sent to a secure area to be seen across the world. Of course, doing this both these countries can be very dangerous. It can result in a person having their devices taken from them, and their lives would also be at risk as well. The images they show though will help show the oppression and corruption that goes on in these countries, and may force other countries to take action to force a democracy in these countries so the people can have more justice and freedom.

A great idea that Jared Newman mentioned on was the new YouTube Direct. This allows "amateur videographers and reporters to upload footage to news Web sites, then the sites will decide what's suitable for broadcast". This also helps to show what goes on in other countries because now the images would be shown on news channels across the world in excess with the Internet.

Free speech should be a right to everyone across the world. Also, people around the world should be able to have access to what's on the Web like people in many countries do as well.

Info on topic can be found at the following links:

Additional footage on citizen journalists can be found at the following links:

Image taken from the following link: