Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Social Politics, People Propaganda

I also realized that I never moved my post from drafts to the blog for Chapter 12, here it is..

It is evident the strong role social media plays in politics these days. It is undeniable that social media permeates through every aspect of politics. I think it is good because it is increasing the amount of people that are informed about things. I think it is bad because I believe now that opinions are swayed too easily. It is easy to change your feelings about a candidate when the second they do something, there are 17 new posts, 15 new tweets and 6 new emails popping up on your screen, virtually screaming opinions in your face. It is now hard to discern whether your opinions are really your opinions. People blow things out of proportion a lot in social media and their personal bias' are far from hidden. You thought all you had to worry about was government propaganda, people propaganda can be very dangerous as well!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Barack and His Blackberry

I recently realized that I never posted my blog for Chapter 12 so I figured I would put it up here......

The section about Obama and his blackberry was very interesting to me. While the world is progressing and taking part in new, new media, it feels almost unfair to prevent the president from having access to these new advances. They keep people connected and up to date with what is going on in the world, but the controversy does make me think.
On the other hand, I think it is important for the president to be securely protected at all costs. His information and messages should be protected at all cost. Social media constructs this certain open forum to everyone and even when something seems private, people on the internet can usually access it at some degree. This makes me think that Obama should not take part in these forums and understand why he perhaps should not have his blackberry. For maximum security, to himself, and our country, his messages should not be shared. Overall, I think it is smart that he have his blackberry but be protected with the nation in mind.

Social Media Musical?

The people of Improv Everywhere are at it again! They continue their spontaneous musical series by performing at a GEL conference in NYC all about social media.
Watch this video to see more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Class YouTubers

Here we are!

And there we go!

Obama's re-election

liz sidoti writes "We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build," he said in the email."So even though I'm focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today," Obama added. He directed them to the new red, white and blue website for what he said was "a campaign that's farther-reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we've built before."

The website features Obama's new campaign logo — 2012 with the rising sun in the background, a version of his 2008 campaign logo — and announces that the campaign is kicking off

New media has now taken its place in politics as well as every other aspect of life in our society. Politics strives with the popularity of society, and in our time the best way to reach out to our society is through new media. Obama's website was a very successful part of his last election and now he will use this form of social media once again. This opens up a new door in the world of political elections. This has been a positive and cheep way to promote Obama's election.  Obama said himself that this online web campaign is more focused and innovative then anything we have ever used before, and he plans to use it once again. 


New Media definitely has a strong role in politics.  Last year, in Professor Levinson's class, we had to write a paper about the role of new media in the special election between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley in Massachusetts.  After doing a bit of research, I discovered the results were incredible.  
    Scott Brown had a much larger presence on social media sites than Martha Coakley, and had more Twitter followers, Youtube subscribers, and Facebook fans by far.  It wasn't even close.  I believe this had a big impact on the election day turnout.  Scott Brown's use of new media even got out-of-states excited about the election.  I believe that new media has changed the game in politics, and politics will never be the same again.

Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Social/Digital Media

As Dr. Levinson discussed in this chapter, the Obama administration utilized multiple social and digital media outlets in order to build their campaign.  The obvious benefit of this is reaching people incredibly quickly across the country to present the ideas and objectives of Obama's cabinet.  However, I think this is only a part of what helped spread awareness of Obama's goals and lead to his eventual victory.  As we know, Obama received great support from the youngest age bracket of voters.  I think a related aspect of this is the appeal to young people via social and digital media.  This means more than just his ability to reach those people, but the young people felt they could related to Obama and get behind him.  I think a subconscious part of this is that young people saw the Obama administration as fresh, young, new, and cutting edge...much like the new new media to which this generation is accustomed.  Obama's "Change We Can Believe" campaign aligned nicely with his use of social and digital media (progressive change our generation had already seen).

Another subject I want to touch on is cyberbulling of today.  Of course we all hear the stories of kids harshly ridiculing classmates on websites, posting inappropriate pictures of their victim, or sending the victim vicious messages.  These types
 of stories in the news typically end in the student leaving school or the bullys being punished.  However, a new site called CollegeACB.com has enabled anonymous cyberbulling across college campuses.  Students submit threads about whatever or whoever they would like, and anyone that visits the thread can comment on it.  Since it is all anonymous, people have no hesitations in throwing out names and accusations. Of course people can potentially be pinpointed to a post from a specific computer, but this detective work is imperfect since people can use library computers, for example.

The Technology of the Obama Era

In the subsection "President Obama and His Blackberry," Paul Levinson talks about the security issue of preventing Obama's texts, tweets, and posts from hackers. Most people are aware that everything that is posted on the internet whether its pictures, status updates, or emails can still be accessible deep in the internet's mainframe. Text messages or phone calls can be tracked as well through your service provider. Any of these ways of communication can be intercepted or even hacked if the hacker had the right equipment and the right skills.

It would be interesting to know what the President of the United States was texting or emailing. Better yet, it would be more interested as to who he was talking to. However, information that President sends out is probably important and secret. This information would be really bad if it got out to the public early. I think it definitely would be a good idea for Obama to have his blackberry protected and his internet connection more secure than the average person.

Chapter 12 Response

As annoying as I find most self-righteous, save-the-planet-just-don't-ask-how hacks that typically infest YouTube and spew their nebulous political views all over those of us who only want to see laughing babies, it goes without saying that politics is, nevertheless, engrained in the fabric of the new media space.

New New Media and Politics

As New New Media has evolved, it has effected nearly every aspect of our lives. Politics is no exception. As Media has evolved, so has political campaigning. From the first radio broadcasted speeches in the early 1900s, to the first televised presidential debates in the 60s, politics has once again taken another leap forward into new new media, in particularly the internet. The internet has become such an incredibly huge medium, it was inevitable that those on the campaign trail would use it to boost their campaigns, however nobody would have guessed the scale of usage that some candidates would put forth. Many people say this is a very big reason why Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election. Many people said he successfully harnessed the internet to his advantage.
The large scale use of internet for presidential elections was pioneered by Howard Dean in the 2004 election. However Dean failed to win even the Democratic Primary, he was the mastermind behind president Obama's political campaign on the internet, which seemed to be a very crucial facet of his election. President Obama's inauguration was the first inauguration to be widely streamed online, I remember watching it in my Chemistry teachers room as a sophomore.
Immediately following his inauguration, President Obama and his staff changed the presidential website as well, whitehouse.gov. Under previous administrations it had just been used for publishing documents and such. Now there is a blog, photos, streaming videos, podcasts and a sign up for email alerts as well. The Obama administration has pioneered and revolutionized the use of the internet for campaigning and propaganda publishing, reaching a vastly larger audience, overshadowing the use of old new media.

The President and His Blackberry

I knew that social media had a huge effect on the success of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign before reading this chapter, but the details of the Blackberry controversy were unknown to me. I found this little section of the chapter to be the most interesting because I never really thought about the possible complications and dangers, even, of the President of the United States having a cell phone. Although the issue was resolved and Obama was allowed to keep possession of his Blackberry, I still question the how safe this could really be if he is using it for email. What if the emails were hacked somehow or his phone ends up in the wrong hands? There must be some kind of regulation of the kind of messages he is allowed to send and receive, otherwise who knows what breaches of national security we could encounter? While it seems crazy to restrict this seemingly essential device to the leader of our nation, I still have reservations about whether or not it really is a good idea.

Politics Today

New new media has changed the way campaigns are run today. Candidates now have the ability to target specific segments through a number of different media instead of just using mass communication. They can target a large segment of the population with Facebook, Twitter, they can blog about their campaign experience and upload YouTube videos to keep their voters entertained and informed. Instead of spending a large sum of money on a spot on a major TV news outlet, they can create a speech from the comfort of their home, or on the road even, and upload it to YouTube. They can tape interviews with voters at different locations to answer questions in a less formal environment and give a down to earth appeal.

But, new new media can also be very damaging to a campaign. If some unknown truth about the candidate is revealed, it will spread like wildfire throughout the Internet. This would call for serious damage control both through the use of social media as well as conventional mass media. So, I see new new media as being extremely helpful for the public in terms of election. Not only do we have the potential to feel significantly more connected to our candidates, but there is also an ease with which the majority of society can learn about past scandals if they happen to come up during the election period (or after).

However, we must always be careful not to believe anything too quickly and always check stories against other sources. Although the truth has the ability to spread rapidly across the Internet, so do lies.

Obama and Digital Media for his 2008 Campaign

A Little Help From My Friends

In New New Media Dr. Levinson says that the Internet, and the use of new new media, was essential to the success of the Obama campaign. With the 2012 election quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see how each of the candidates learn from the 2008 campaigns, and use new new media in original ways. Much like Dr. Levinson's experience of using mybarackobama.com to interact with Obama's backers and contribute support to the campaign, the continuing trend is to use the enthusiasm of fans and to enlist supporters as tools to help drive the campaign forward.

Many companies use new media and social media to attract interested people, and use their participation to spread messages by word of mouth. It happens all the time--"viral marketing" seems to be a big buzz word. Campaign managers or marketing firms put some kind of information, video, or image "out there," hoping it will get discovered. The fans do the rest of the work by actively sharing with friends, providing feedback, and building excitement. On Facebook, 19.5 million people "like" Obama, and regularly post thousands of comments on wall posts, effectively sharing the information with entire network of friends. On the other side of the spectrum, Sarah Palin has only mustered up around 3 million likes. While that number of likes is significantly less than Obama's, Palin's fans still offer their support and feedback, which creates a unified group of enthusiastic caribou hunters. Upon writing this post, a discussion was taking place among fans hoping for Sarah Palin's successful Presidential candidacy, and the question of whether or not Obama has a valid American birth certificate. Fan Jason Baldwin exclaimed, "PLEASE RUN! WE NEED YOU!"

I am curious to see how future candidates will use new media in different ways. Will they favor YouTube or Twitter over Facebook, or will something completely new lead the way? I think that Facebook likes are advantageous because when someone likes something, it is posted to the news feed for 400-600 other people to see. This gets people thinking about the information. As demonstrated by videos like Rebecca Black's "Friday," (which is now up to 120 million views) nothing spreads as quickly as a YouTube video. I don't think Obama's use of YouTube has been successful. His videos rarely feature more than a talking head or statistics. For example, I have embedded the most recent video from Obama's channel (posted April 25th).

If I am on YouTube, this is NOT the type of video I willingly watch. That type of video is better suited for an old medium like television. The YouTube comments do allow for discussion to take place in a pubic forum and people can post video responses, which is typical of the new media, however, the videos themselves are not tailored to the new medium of YouTube. If a new candidate can create a campaign using the potential of new media to the fullest, it will be interesting to see if it is successful.

Revolutionizing Politics

It is interesting to see how much of an impact new new media is having on government, politics and law, one of the most reluctant groups to accept to new technologies as Dr. Levinson says. The Obama administration used tons of new new media, never used before, throughout the campaign, including a campaign video made specifically to air on YouTube. An actual presidential debate was streamed via CNN and YouTube, bringing new media more attention in the presidential race. The administration continues to use all kinds of media everyday. It is fascinating how these new methods, like blogs on the the whitehouse.gov website, facebook pages, etc. allow the people to have more of a say and an opinion ever before. I remember writing letters to the president in grade school that the teacher would pack up all together and mail to the white house. I don't remember if we ever got responses, but I'm sure if we did it was similar to the one Dr. Levinson's wife got back. Lookingback it doesn't seem like this method was very effective. Not only is it easier to write an email or a blog post or a facebook comment, but it is also easier for white house administrators to read them and take what they say into consideration. I think new new media has revolutionized politics for the better. It will be interesting to see what types of new new media will be used in the next election and to see if it has any interesting effects.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reliable Reference?

In all reality Wikipedia is not 100% ACCURATE. The creators of Wikipedia despite assumptions are the first to admit that not every entry is going to be fully accurate. This is why using Wikipedia as a cited source for information is considered unacceptable on research papers depending on the teacher or professor. There are ways to determine whether or not the sited source is accurate or not.
1. Look to see if the article sites more than one source, and that the text of the definition is properly balanced.
2. Reinforce the articles main points
3. While using Wikipedia as a source for research papers you should research what the author has "supposedly" researched already.
4. See if the contributors who are giving their personal opinions are confident and experts
5. Use Wikipedia as a second source of reference but never the first.
Entries are not always completed they are sometimes paused right in the middle of the sentence and never gotten back to for completion. The key points the contributors engage in might not always be the main focus points. This causes confusion or lack of better reasoning. Without knowing that the information placed in front of you is completely accurate it causes you to second guess yourself. You also may not get the complete grade or satisfaction that you deserved based off of false or uncompleted sources. 

Wikipedia often fails to cite where they got their original resources, but if you research the research you might find what your looking for. I would rather get information from a resourceful website from the beginning and bypass the complication of checking to see if someone else mistakes are corrected.


In todays society cyber bullying is considered a big outbreak. Cyber bullying seems to be contagious when it comes to the topic sexting. This can be a touchy subject for some. Sexting is vast outbreak that has embedded itself in young teens as well as adults.

Technology places significant opportunities to get caught up. Sending obscene photos of your body is not only disrespecting yourself it is giving someone who you think you can always trust dirt on you in the future. If you think about how many times you have sent an inappropriate photo or thought about it, how many of you think of the consequences after the screen reads message sent? Everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. Do you really think sending a provocative picture to someone who you are sexually involved with or a significant other is going to make them want you even more than before? If so maybe you should re evaluate who you have chosen to be intimate with in any way.

Sexting can also be portrayed through words not just pictures. You can talk sexually to someone over the phone or in a text, but how do you know its only between the two of you. Ya boy or ya girl could be right over their shoulder reading every word, and you wonder why word and rumors travel so quickly. This could all be prevented if you don't let your actions or words speak over your common sense.

If you don't fully trust who you are trusting so much of yourself that is the first sign of it being a bad idea. Even if you trust the person multiply things could take place: you might get into a fight and revenge comes into play, someone could get a hold of their phone, or your so called friends could put out your business, and next thing you know you go from being the hero to a villain. Be cautious of your decisions because cyber bullying especially involving sexting can become an outbreak.


Cyberbullying is a very real concept in new media today. It can occur in many ways and forms. With the amount of social media sites there are today the options are endless. Cyberbullying allows people to hide behind the computer screen and not confront the victim. I myself was a victim of what I believe to be some form of this cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be much more then the obvious. I was unfairly judged by my facebook and its pictures.  Today many employers will look up peoples Facebooks to see what type of person you are.  However, sometimes these can be misleading. Pictures on facebook can be misjudged. In my case of this"cyberbullying", someone printed off pictures i had posted, and showed them to the pastor of my church claiming i was smoking and drinking. Both allegations were false in these specific pictures. To me this person had no right to print of my pictures and show them to anyone. We were not friends on Facebook and my privacy settings were extreamly high. This "cyberbully" asked one of her friends (who was friends with me) to log into her account in order to see these pictures. To me this is a form of cyberbullying. I was deeply hurt that someone would go to these means to get me in trouble.  I would advice everyone to filter what is placed on your facebook because anyone can access it even though you block them.  This person eventually apologised to me and to the pastor of my church, but we all learned a big lesson through all this.


Cyberbullying has grown to simply be a part of our society. In a way, I think that cyberbullying may even have replaced actual bullying. I think that some people are more likely to bully someone through various sources of new media. Face to face confrontation is uncomfortable for most people, but with the invention of the internet this is not necessary anymore, but the same results can be attained, sometimes even worse results. I think that websites like myspace and facebook are the biggest sources of cyberbullying because of the amount of information that one puts out about themselves on these types of sites. They become targets for certain information that they post. My sister who is a 7th grader has told me countless stories about kids who have been bullied on facebook, which then translates into real life fighting or isolation. I think it is a shame that these types of issues come from websites that have the potential to be so positive. However, everything in life has its downsides and I suppose cyberbullying is one downside of new new media.

Downsides of New New Media

Every rose has its thorn. This is true for everything including new new media. New new media opens up a whole new Pandora's box of crime that now takes place in cyberspace. Crimes like cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, and even robbery and murder have been solicited through new new media. Most of us are familiar with the joke "oh, time to Facebook stalk you!" This is making a pun on the fact that you're going to go through someone's Facebook page and give a thorough read through. Though harmless in this scenario, cyber-stalking is when someone repeatedly follows the movements of someone online through the internet. This is very scary for many people because it makes them uncomfortable and fear for their own safety. Cyber-bullying is another big issue as well. We're all familiar with gossip queens and such, but when it takes to the internet, it turns into a whole new beast. A young Irish immigrant to Massachusetts committed suicide because of what some of the people in her school were writing online about her. She was constantly harassed over her short time dating a football player at her high school and she could never settle in or feel welcome. The bullying got so bad, she took her own life. One of the most famous new new media crimes however, was the craigslist killer Philip Markoff. He was a medical school student who met people by soliciting ads on craigslist.com and then proceeded to rob them. One final time he met a young lady on craigslist and robbed her and killed her. Markoff committed suicide after being indicted on murder and armed robbery charges. Even though the internet and new new media have incredible upsides, their downsides can be very ugly. The world is a dangerous place, and cyberspace is no exception.

Everything Has Its Downfall

Along with everything in life, there are negative things that come along with each positive. Our advancement in technology, specifically in new new media, can be linked to several negative aspects but I think this is only what you make of it. Yes, we have all heard cyberstalking and the Craigs List Killer, but this only happens when someone posts personal information to people they are not friends with. You have to be aware of what you put on the internet for this reason and these new sites such as FourSquare make this very easy for someone to follow another person. While frequent status updates on Twitter can keep others updated on your life, it can also let them know where you are physically at all times. This is only possible by the decisions that you make as an individual. These new new media sources are helpful in many ways, but these sites should not be abused. They should be used in the right way and hopefully bring enjoyment to you, making communication to others easier from day to day.


I edited the Wiki entry on my high school, St. Joe's Prep, in Philadelphia.  The edit involved me mentioning that the Prep served as a "feeder school" to Jesuit Universities such as Fordham and Scranton.  However, by the end of the week, my section was removed from the page.  Perhaps I should have backed it up with some research in order to keep my section alive.  Alas, RIP feeder school section.

on becoming a wikipedian

Becoming a Wikipedia was a lot harder than I though it would be. It took me a while to figure out how to edit my entry to make it fit in seamlessly with the rest of the text. I also realized how tricky it is to make sure you're not violating any copyrights or plagiarizing anyone's work. I edited the page on my neighborhood (Sleepy Hollow in Marin County, CA) which had hardly anything at all written about it. Since it's a pretty small and private community I understand why not much was written, and so I wanted to maintain this sense of privacy. I chose, therefore, to write about the history of my neighborhood as there is a lot that has happened there despite it not being very well-known. I am happy to report that my entire entry as I wrote it is still there and someone else has even added more information to my topic. I don't know if I encouraged this person to contribute but it's nice that Sleepy Hollow now has the recognition it deserves.

*here's a link to the Wikipedia page for my wonderful little neighborhood :)

Cyber Bullying

After reading ch. 11 in Paul Levinson's "New New Media" I knew immediately I wanted to write about online gossip and cyberbullying. I was a little late to join the popular college gossip site collegeacb.com. It wasn't until over the summer that I heard about the site from a friend who thought she had seen a post about me. While I was curious, I've never really been too interested in these kinds of sites for the very reasons that Levinson outlined in his book: they're generally cruel and completely inaccurate. The fact that I could be talked about on this site, however, somewhat unnerved me, and it didn't take too much effort for my friend to convince me to check it out. She showed me the post she thought might be about me and I was relieved to see that it was pretty harmless and really could be about anyone named Kristen. Once on the site though I noticed the titles of other posts and was both disgusted and curious. Posts included topics calling out the "sluttiest" girls of different classes and dorms, who was gay and who's not, who has the best bodies (and who has the worst), among other terrible categories. What's worse is that anyone can post something about whoever they want without any kind of explanation or certification, and also without the person in question being able to defend themselves without looking defensive. Although there is a report button many people don't utilize this because you need to have an account to do so. Many people probably worry that they'll lose their anonymity if they report something, which makes the site both so popular and so dangerous.
Another terrible case of cyberbullying is the Honesty Box application on Facebook. This has to be the single most confidence-shattering thing for a lot of girls in my high school. This application allowed people to write anonymous notes to you. While occasionally there could be nice things written to you from someone who had a secret crush on you or from someone trying to help you without revealing themselves, 95% of the time it was girls writing nasty messages to each other judging that person on anything from their appearance, to their personality, to their sexual experience. What was especially harmful about this application (that I think trumps collegeacb.com) is that people could only write in your box if they were Facebook friends with you. This meant that for the most part depending on how picky you were in accepting friend requests, the people putting you down were people you knew. Many a times, the people writing the meanest things were the box owner's supposed friends. I can't even count the many times this single little program caused catastrophic fights between the closest of friends within my high school class. I'm thankful I never enabled this application and that it seems to have lost some of its popularity since then.

Bottom line is that cyberbullying is going to continue to be a problem until sites and programs like these are banned from the web. Since this is unlikely, if people join together to stop giving these sites traffic, they will be forced to close. This happened to JuicyCampus.com and although this only directed more kids to collegeacb.com, at least some of these sites are losing momentum.

*although I don't really want to encourage going on to collegeacb.com, I know most of you have probably already been on it. If you haven't it's worth checking out at least to understand more fully the seriousness of cyberbullying and just how close to home it really is. click the link above to check it out.

Lack of Understanding?

Although new new media might have its dark side, I feel that the negative perceptions people have of it generally stem from misunderstanding. Yes there are cyberstalking and cyberbullying, but I feel as though if you are smart when using the Internet and social networking sites, these threats can be greatly diminished. If someone posts revealing pictures online and has a lot of followers, the wrong person, or people, might enjoy the pictures too much, and this could turn into a potentially dangerous situation. However, the potential for him or her to get a cyberstalker would be reduced if the pictures never went up in the first place. Yet this becomes hard with today's increased prevalence of social networking sites. If peoples' friends are the ones uploading the pictures, the person who is in them may or may not have an option to have them online (for example, if the friend refuses to take them down).

Overall, I may be naive, but I feel as though these problems can be avoided. I do think new new media can be used for good especially in cases like those that Dr. Levinson referenced with Twitter and terrorism as well as using YouTube as a way to identify perpetrators. There is always a dark side to something, but if the people using the medium are smart and careful, their chances of being virtually or ultimately physically assaulted should be reduced.

Short debate about social media and society...

Wikipedia Follow Up

Two days after I edited my the Wikipedia of my high school, Our Lady of Mercy, the information I added was taken out. I added funny things and memories of my school, probably irrelevant to the other students that attend the school. I used this assignment by more of a means to entertain myself then I did to add useful universal information to the site. I am surprised that it took them as long as it did to edit my entries, however the information I added wasn't that outlandish and I don't think many people go to the Wikipedia of an all girls Catholic high school in Upstate, NY. I think that would be a little weirder if someone edited it really quickly. This was a fun class assignment that allowed me to experiment on Wikipedia to find out how attentive those Wikipedia people are about the editing of pages.

Wikipedia Update

I tried to update a Wikipedia page about a mall near my home in NJ, Garden State Plaza. I tried to include updated information regarding what the mall has to offer today since the post had been lacking current information. So, based on my knowledge I wrote about new stores that were being created, how stores were expanding, how the new movie theater has changed the mall's traffic, and about different services offered like personal shoppers and professional makeovers. Since I did not look up any of this information, I did not cite it. Bad move. It got taken down and I have to put it back up with citations from various websites to prove what I write is factually correct. Although I feel kind of like an idiot for not citing it, I think it is really good that it got taken down for lack of support. This shows that the editors take their jobs seriously and want to make sure that when people use information from Wikipedia, they are getting factually correct information that can be found elsewhere on the web.

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Paul Levinson focuses a lot on cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying, which I believe are two very serious issues in our fairly new cyber-culture. Another idea that I thought of while brainstorming about the Costs and Consequences of all the New, New Media that we have covered in class so far, is the topic of cyberporn. Specifically child cyberporn.

Here is a breif background of the law, taken directly from USLegal.com :

In the 1990s, lawmakers twice passed legislation targeting child porn online. The first was the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) of 1996, designed both to close loopholes in existing federal child pornography law and address new technological issues by the following:

  • Criminalizing the act of knowingly possessing, selling, receiving, sending, or transmitting child pornography via the internet or email.
  • Criminalizing so-called “virtual, or morphed” depictions of child pornography, those that appear to involve minors and those created by computer graphics software.

The law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that it was overbroad and would also have hurt artistic expression. Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, (2002).

This problem was specifically seen in Second Life. As we all learned in class, you can create Avatars to look however you want. The issue was, in this virtual reality, a user had created an avatar that looked like a child performing sexial acts on an adult avatar. Many people were outraged by this visual atrocity and expected legal action to be taken against this individual. Unfortunately, since the image of the child was not based on an actual, real life person, no legal action could be taken against this man that many felt was just as bad as a pedofile.

While this is an unfortuante consequence of having little control over virtual reality in Social Media, and while it is not a cost that should be taken lightly, what we must conclude in the end is that regardless of the technology or new things introduced into our culture, people will always find ways to abuse social outlets whether is is reality or virtual. I think the benefits of Social Media will greatly outweigh the few moral discrepancies we occasionally encounter on the Internet.

Wiki Follow Up

So far, no one has re-edited my edited post on Wikipedia. I have gone back and added more though, in order to be more thorough. The fact that I had the urge to do this again contributes to my feeling that Wikipedia may grow to be a very useful source for information in the future. People are diligent and I think you will be able to find more accurate information the more people begin to participate in Wikipedia, rather than just using Wikipedia.


When I was a sophomore in high school, I was part of a program called peer mediation.  Part of our role as "peer mediators" was go around to elementary schools and educate them about the dangers of bullying.  My job was to cover cyberbullying.  At the time, most of the cyberbullying occurred on AIM.  Students would often times create a fake screen name to anonymously harass others.  Although this was problematic at times and could lead to bigger issues, it was normally one-on-one harassment.  
Today cyberbullying is more serious.  It is far easier to anonymously bully someone, and do it in a more public fashion.  Facebook allows you to cyberbully someone instantaneously, and what you say can be viewed by hundreds of their friends.  There are even certain websites that are dedicated to gossip that allow anonymous harassment.  Part of the problem is anonymity.  People will say just about anything if they know they are anonymous, can't get in trouble, and don't have to take any responsibility for their actions.  Cyberbullying is definitely a problem that has to be addressed, and is occurring in younger and younger age groups.

Don't Feed The Trolls

One of the most important characteristics of New Media is that it encourages and empowers average citizens to say absolutely anything. In many ways this is a good thing. People are given the ability to express their ideas in ways that were not possible in the past. However, it is clear to anyone who has spent even a few minutes online that the Internet can be a dark place that has the potential to bring out the worst in people. Typing elicits a liberating quality that causes people to communicate in a completely uninhibited manner. This can be a positive quality because it can lead people to speak candidly about something uncomfortable, but more often than not it is negative because it leads people to write things that they normally would not say vocally. As Dr. Levinson says, “the synapse between anger and the expression of it was a lot shorter and quicker when it went to fingers over a keyboard than to tongues in in-person conversation (New New Media 170).

Trolling and flaming have become art forms that start wars. Facebook becomes a war zone with planned events to meet and fight real life battles, people take sides and load up on artillery in the form of insulting comments, and F-bombs are dropped without any restraint. Could it be that in-person communication forces humans into submission, whereas computer-mediated technology frees human nature from restraint? Many arguments start from simple misunderstandings. The sense of what is rude and polite is automatically understood in face-to-face interaction, but we lose this understanding in electronic communication--many willingly disregard etiquette all together. Luckily, the computer monitor acts as a shield to protect us from the flames. The problem is when online skirmishes migrate to real life, and real people--like Megan Meier--become victims.

Its hard to scroll through a comments section on a blog or website without seeing arguing or trolling. There are a lot of fanboys out there, and they spend a lot of time in their natural habitats; message boards and comment sections. Being an anonymous poster seems to remove the last remnants of courtesy. Its even worse in online gaming because you take on an anonymous body too. New media asks users for a lot of personal, or even private, information and it is common for people to misuse it. I've seen arguments begin on Facebook between friends and family, which then translate to real world arguments. So much of the discussion that takes place online is unnecessary and trivial, but still leads to anger. It makes me wonder, in spite of all the benefits new media provides, if the positives outweigh the many, many negatives.

Cyberbullying on LikeALittle

As I was reading about cyberbullying and cyberstalking in Paul Levinson's chapter "The Dark Side of New New Media," I reflected on bullying using of AIM when it was popular before MySpace and Facebook. However, there was one website that became popular this year that made me think about this topic. The infamous website is LikeALittle. For those of you who don't know, LikeALittle is a website dedicated to flirting with guys and girls specifically on Fordham's campus. Most people who comment or respond say the same thing, "Why don't you just tell them in person?" I'm not going to get into the flirtatious aspect of this site, but rather the dark side.

Though I do understand that it's all in fun, I have seen several posts that I would call inappropriate. One post said something along the lines of: blonde girl, i am waiting to attack you on Hoffman. The blonde girl was no one in particular, but it was saying that someone will be attacked when leaving Fordham's campus. On another note, students may get called out by name saying that someone in their class is watching them because they are beautiful/handsome. I am aware that some of these are people's friends and they are aware of the post, however, some of them are actually real. If you knew that one of your friends didn't post about you, but someone else did, then a part of you feels a little creeped out by it. Overall, I don't think this is a great site due to all of the cyberbullying that some people may get carried away with.

Wikipedia relfection

When the Knicks secured a spot in this year's NBA playoffs, I felt the need to give their Wikipedia entry a little update. Unfortunately, Wikipedia didn't like what I had to say. I updated the information about their current season and added that they were scheduled to play the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
It stayed up there for a while, but when I checked the next day, it was gone (but not forgotten). I think it's probably harder to make an edit on such a popular Wikipedia entry, than a less popular one. If I had made an edit about my high school or my hometown, I believe I would have had a lot more success.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Refreshing this WIkipedia Page

For the Wikipedia assignment, I edited my high school page, Saint Joseph Hill Academy in Staten Island, New York. After checking up on my new revisions, it is safe to say that nobody disagreed with what I had to change. The information seemed quite old considering it spoke about the new laptop program that was recently launched, yet it was in full force when I was a student at Hill. I was able to take part in this program so I added personal detail to this section of Technology. It seemed so easy to do, almost too easy. While I did leave links to the sources of my information, I feel like almost anyone can write whatever they please. I thought this was a great assignment overall though because it showed us that we can express our opinions as if they were facts to the public. It can be anonymous and people may take our words as true simply because they are written out in front of their face. People tend to be lazy and believe anything they hear, so I would not doubt that people take Wikipedia at full face value, while they probably should not.

"They" edited it!

I was quite proud of my contribution to the Wikipedia page of my favorite basketball player, Mike Dunleavy Jr. I was glad to have been the one to add the fact that he ended his playoff drought of 9 long years as a Golden State Warrior and as an Indiana Pacer.

I've been checking back on the page to see if anyone would take out the information, although I was confident that it would stay because I had sources to back up my entry.

I'm currently watching the Indiana Pacers - Chicago Bulls game and I had an inkling to check Dunleavy's page. To my surprise, my paragraph was edited by an anonymous poster. Reading through it I saw that whoever it was simply condensed it and made the language more consistent with the rest of the page. I didn't mind it, and I was actually impressed that someone actually visited that page in the first place!

So as I watch my Pacers struggle to hold on to another lead against the powerful Bulls, at least I know that people are starting to take notice of the tight group of players Larry Bird has put together. I'm just hoping I won't have to edit Dunleavy's page in the off-season saying that his contract wasn't renewed!

Reflection on becoming a Wikipedian

I found this last assignment to be very difficult. The most challenging part about this assignment however was finding a topic to write about. It took me a while just to come up with a few ideas and then after narrowing down those ideas I realized that not all pages on Wikipedia are open for anyone to edit. For example, My hometown and high school were restricted for only certain users to make sure only accurate information goes on the page. In the end I selected one of my favorite television shows called Modern Family to write about. Then I hit my next obstacle; what to write about. I honestly sat at the computer and stared at the screen blankly for 15 minutes, mainly because I didn't know what to say. Finally, after reading the page for another 15 minutes I realized that not much was said on the setting of the show. Not that the setting is all the important or interesting but I thought that maybe some people would appreciate the add in. Apparently, what I said wasn't liked by the person who looks over the page because just a day later the section on the setting was taken down. Although I am not surprised or really that upset about it, it does feel weird that someone can just go on the internet and take away my hard work. I found this assignment in every way to be challenging and difficult and I really do respect the people who musts constantly update the wiki pages because there is not a lot to say. Everything I know is pretty much already on Wikipedia and writing something worth keeping is a very hard thing to do.

Reflection On Becoming A Wikipedian

I've checked my high school's (Christian Brothers Academy) wikipedia page everyday since this assignment just to see if anyone noticed that I substituted "Track and Field" in for "Lacrosse" under the "Most Competitive Sports" portion of the opening paragraph. Thus far, nobody seems to have noticed (or cared for that matter, being that our lacrosse team is quite pathetic). In the assignment I added some tidbits in the main sidebar adding the school slogan and school founders. As I read through the page I saw how they barely even mentioned the Army JROTC program on its page. Now most people don't know that our JROTC program is within the top 10% of all programs in the United States, has been an integral part of CBA since its founding, and that it was possibly the most important part of my high school experience. Now I've known the school has not been exactly "hot" for the military program, but it has certainly straightened out its fair share of crooked teens over the years. So I put my little pitch in there for the JROTC program and that was that. This assignment showed me how simple it was to edit a page on wikipedia, thus giving me the title dubbed "Wikipedian," but also how key it could be to have someone to monitor the page for you. I could have wrote some pretty damaging things on their (without using vulgarity or causing any red flags), and it probably would take the administration a little while to notice. After thinking about this I searched my own name on Wikipedia just to check and see if there was a page for me and there wasn't. So now I'm debating on making one for myself (insert maniacal cackle here). All in all, I believe this was a very good assignment on teaching students how to make their voices hear in places other than blogs or other public forums and I enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On Becoming a Wikipedian

I am proud to say that my Wikipedia entry is still there. I also found this to be a tough assignment because I wasn't sure what to write about. It seems like everything I like has an individual Wikipedia page, and they are all relatively extensive to boot. I started looking at pages for locations by my house, such as the local parks and my high school. I found that they each had a lot of details and I wouldn't have been able to expand upon anything while also supplying a source. I started looking around my room, picking up even the smallest items--chap stick, a nail clipper, a tootsie pop--but I didn't know anything that wasn't already there. From there I started thinking of the most obscure items I could think of, and I was consistently shocked about the amount of time people have spent contributing information about seemingly insignificant objects. I can see how once someone edits an article, they get the Wikipedia bug and have to keep coming back for more.

Finally I remembered a conversation I had with my friend about old cartoon shows like Hey Arnold, Doug, Rocco's Modern Life, and more. I came across the entry for Courage the Cowardly Dog, and noticed that there was no mention of the music that can be heard in the show. My friend and I agreed that the music is a staple of the program, and is a huge part of what made it special. For us, it was definitely the single most memorable element. I recalled an interview I had read with the composers for the show, and together with the knowledge I already had, I wrote about the music. Even though I only added a single paragraph, it took a lot of time. I knew that plenty of people would reference this entry either to learn about the show, or reminisce about the old days. When people got to my paragraph about the music, I wanted to make sure they recalled the same warm feelings and memories that I did, so I tried to use plenty of examples.

I cited the interview at the end of my entry and submitted it. I was pretty proud to see it on the page, and I've been refreshing all week to see if it is still there. In the middle of the week I noticed that someone had inserted "citation needed" after a few sentences. Since all of the specific details I wrote about could be found in the article I cited, I added the citation after each sentence that called for it. I actually was a little annoyed about having to go through this extra step because I placed the citation at the end of the paragraph and if the person who changed it to "citation needed" had just read the interview, he would have seen that it was all coming from the same place. Nevertheless, I added the citations, and kept checking back in. A few days ago I noticed that someone removed all of the citations after the individual sentences, and now there is a single citation at the end of the paragraph. I think it looks much cleaner this way.

Editing Wikipedia Assignment

A week after my added post to the Wikipedia page of my hometown, the information I added is still there. I found this assignment to be difficult as well because most of the information about any given topic that I could think to write about was already on that Wikipedia page. I eventually found something to add and to my surprise it has been unedited. This actually makes me feel a little uneasy, now that I have experienced the ease of editing a Wikipedia page. I wonder if I had posted something incorrect if it would still be there or would it never be noticed, then leading on future readers. I still like Wikipedia and intend to keep using it, but I will probably be a little more in depth with my research if I am using it for a large project.