Monday, January 31, 2011

A blog about blogs

I love blogs. As a blogger, or “citizen journalist,” I have the opportunity to present others with my perspective of the news, and receive instant feedback from them. Often times, I find the blog section on a news site (or the comment section) more beneficial and educational than the actual article itself. The ability to comment on blogs allows for multiple people to share their side of the story and debate with one another. While this feature does allow for potential abuse, it can be quite beneficial.
When an article is written for a newspaper and published, it cannot be changed. If it is in the New York Times on a certain date, it will always be there. Even if there is erroneous information in the article, the only way to correct it after it has been printed is to write an additional article addressing the issue. On a blog, another user can comment on a particular issue, and if something needs to be corrected, it can easily be done.
Blogs are truly an interactive experience. Not only can you tell a story with text, but you can enhance it with pictures, video, and links to other websites. You can customize virtually every aspect of your blog. If you want your voice to be heard, blogging can be a great tool.

Want to be famous? Or maybe experience Greece?

Blogging has changed the meaning of authorship. Today, we’re all writers. No longer can only an elite few write and publicize their ideas, beliefs, inspirations, and creative works. Today, we all can. We can all effectively market our blogs using a combination of social media and the number of readers can escalate astronomically. It’s free, and even better we could become famous. We no longer have to wait and see what other people think about events to formulate our own opinions. Today we can write what we see and create history instead of watch it happen. But maybe when describing something, you make a mistake; that’s no problem because now you can edit it whenever you want, and with today’s technology you can edit wherever you want. Maybe a piece of your poem came out wrong and it just didn’t stick well, so what? Go back and edit it, or get comments from your followers and see what they say.

Gone are the days of simply seeing words on a page. Today is about interactivity. We’re all authors; we all have the ability to work together, to change the world together. Today we can capture people’s eyes, ears, minds, and emotions on one screen. It’s not just about words anymore; it’s about movies, music, links to sources, pictures. I see my friends blogs describing their adventures abroad, but without pictures, their stories would have less meaning and less of an impact. I no longer want to just read about a beautiful sunset they saw in Greece (I'd prefer to be there), or the view they saw from the top of a building, I want to see it. I want to see and experience what they are, and blogging, with everything that can be included in it, allows just that.

Today, everyone has a voice, and thus a chance to make a difference.

** I do not own the above picture

Blogs, blogs, blogs

As I was reading my New New Media book at work, none other than the man himself, Professor Levinson, walks in the door. He sends his best Professor Strate! Anyways, back to blogging. Blogging is something that my mother has absolutely no idea about but something that I find useful everyday. I don't have a personal blog, but I consult many on a daily basis. I don't watch the news or read the paper, but I check the blogs with the news that is interesting to me. When I open my Safari, the first thing I check are my music blogs. What beautiful beautiful things music blogs are. Where else would I learn about new music before it's discovered months later by non-music blog checkers? Then it's time to check Perez Hilton for my celebrity gossip. Followed by fashion and photo blogs.

Blogs allow for all different types of information to be seen by all different types of people. Giving those people the ability to comment on this information and interpret it however they want. It gives the blogger a voice and they spread their message or maybe just a video they thought was interesting on Youtube. They don't have to wait for someone to edit their work, the blogger edits it and clicks one button that releases it into cyberspace. It's easy, free and fun.

Blog Blah Blog

Looking back on my childhood, I mostly remember toys and playing outdoors and watch cartoons on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel original movies. I remember coloring and playing board games and capture the flag.  However, I have a very distinct memory from first grade, in which my class of about 25 sat at outdated (now) blue-screened desktop computers.  These foreign machines used some slow electronic means of operation called dial-up and seemed pretty impractical to me.  Fast forward several years and I remember the torture of Type to Learn and the joy of Oregon Trail and Zoombinis. I understood the computer as a means of playing games like Bugdom and playing with things like WordArt.  Then I remember when I first discovered that nifty old communications tool called AIM.  Oddly enough, in every communications class I have taken, this form of social media has yet to come into discussion.  I remember having buddy lists and chatting with all my friends when I got home from school.  There were robots you could talk to like SmarterChild and info boxes you could fill with information about yourself.  These info boxes, were, in a way, my first experience in blogging.  Of course, it was not a continuously updated blog with a string of my previous posts behind it.  However, it provided me the opportunity to write whatever I would like for all my friends to see.
This, of course, was nearly a decade ago, and blogging has developed quite extensively since then.  I myself keep up with a number of blogs covering different topics. provides me with hours of gossip about my favorite and least favorite celebrities. shares humorous and useless information and news for the college-aged kids entertainment.  A personal favorite of mine is (Aphorisms and Paradoxes) which is an individuals inspiring and intellectual collection of thoughts and observations.  Aside from these I read random fitness and fashion blogs as well as an assortment of lifestyle, photography, music, or quotation blogs that pop up on google.  Most of the blogs I read are fairly well-known, main-stream sites, and the authors and founders typically profit from my viewing their pages.  However, I have, in my experience, come across quite impressive and inspiring blogs by individuals who merely post for personal pleasure or hobby.  In fact, I have come across frightening blogs chronicling the daily lives of anorexic females or blatantly racist males.  A country in support of free speech, blogs allow individuals to share their thoughts with the world, or maybe more realistically any person meandering around the pages of the web that comes across it.
While there are creepy and uncomfortable exceptions to the case, I believe blogging is a healthy and interesting way for people to share their emotions, hobbies, ideas, and experiences in a safe an interactive manner.  It is difficult, though, to differentiate blogs from non-blogs with sites such as and  The former consists of user-sent information, sorted through and posted by the site owners and the latter is a sort of anonymous chatroom based on college campuses.  I suppose neither of these could be truly called a blog, since neither is a string of postings by a specific or multiple specific writers.  However, site like this are allowing consumers more and more to become producers of their own favorite webpages.

Are blogs replacing the news?

Blogs have, in a way, revolutionized the news. Before blogging, the news was strictly a professional thing. A couple of people would sit behind a desk and determine which stories they wanted the public to know about, with the ultimate goal of what would make them the most money. The invention of blogs has changed this exclusive idea of news into something far more personal. Nowadays, not only is news available in newspapers and on regular news channels, but it is also available through blogs. Blogs even often have information quicker than any other method of news can share it, and usually through a more personal source.

Blogs are also a more personalized version of the news. Typically, blogs focus on one or a couple of subjects, instead of covering a vast amount of topics that you are genuinely uninterested in. By choosing a blog or two that you want to read, you can keep up to date on news that truly matters to you. This is one advantage of blogs over social media sites like Facebook in the aspect that, like Alyson said, you are not forced to read status updates, or anything for that matter, that you are not interested in. Usually when someone reads a blog, it is because they are interested in the topic of that particular blog and they chose to read it. Blogs can give everyone a specialized look at the news and also gives those who are not professionals the chance to share the news they find important. Since blogs have become so popular, nowadays there are blogs on almost every subject imaginable. If you cannot find a blog that interests you, then there is probably something wrong. If you really can’t though, then it is not hard at all to start your own blog, potentially about the fact that every other blog is so uninteresting to you.

To me, blogs seem to be the 21st century version of the news. To some people, blogs may be taken even more seriously than actual professional news. This is for much of the same reason that Alyson spoke of when she mentioned the restaurant review on a blog as opposed to in a newspaper ad. This same concept can be seen for movie reviews as well. There are blogs on the web that review movies for parents so that they can read about a movie before they take their children to see it. Anyone can contribute to or comment on these reviews. I don’t see why anyone would not prefer this to a simple rating in the corner of a movie poster or ad in a newspaper.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Building Bridges... Blogging Bridges

Unlike social media outlets like Facebook and Myspace, I believe blogging is a healthy trend that has emerged within social media. Rather than focusing on superficial publications like status updates about getting your nails done (disregarding celebrity and gossip blogs), blogs provide a voice for social activists who previously had no tools to get their opinions heard. The great thing about blogs is that you can always find an audience, because chances are, there are more people than you can imagine out there that have opinions on the same things that you do, either on a personal or professional level. The more blogs that are created the more people come in contact with others all around the world, expanding the scope of their thought by introducing cultural difference into their thought cultivation process. Blogs literally help people build bridges into the minds of others.                   
Blogs are also very revolutionary because they are starting to change the way people form opinions. Most of the information that we get from big name newspapers or television stations are biased and framed in particular ways. Consider that all the news we get comes from primarily four or five main media companies. Blogs allow people to find not just two sides to every story, but millions of sides to every story. People can challenge their own convictions or find support for them by reading other people's blogs. It is really great because if someone searches for a certain topic, they can find anyone's blog. People's opinions can not be silenced just because their opinion is not mainstream or because their ideas might be controversial. This is a great advance is the world of media because the government is losing the ability to control the type of news and facts available to the masses. 
Blogs also help people form opinions in a commercial sense by giving consumers a place to praise or bash products and provide warnings to potential buyers. This is can be beneficial for third party companies because it provides them with invaluable free advertisement. This type of advertisement is especially helpful to companies when they are being praised because, for the most part, the blogger has no motive to lie to potential buyers while many times it is very clear to a customer that an advertisement put out by that company is a bit of an embellishment. For example, the claim in a newspaper ad to have the Best Ribs in the Bronx does not hold as much weight as praise from actual customers that went and ate the ribs. 
*In all, I believe blogs have the potential to expand the scope of the human mind by creating a virtual space where all opinions are created equal. *

*Note: I do not own the above picture.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Social Media and the Freakiness of Joe Tordy

I can confidently say that, having read Joe Tordys post and subsequent query to all of us, that my answer is yes. A freak you are, Joe, but the best kind of freak imaginable. With entirely too much time devoted to the merits of connectivity, we, as a generation, have willfully chosen fabricated reality over the natural environment which can disturb our senses. The cost of this, due to the collective mass we all are in relation to where we have chosen to place our original thoughts, is the loss of ownership rights for a generation of human ideas, whether original or unoriginal.

I've felt the same way as Joe described while perusing statuses and photos, all of which I would soon forget. It is a time waster, Facebook specifically, that is, which is better left in the past of human thought as opposed to the present, meaning you have used and understood why not to use it.

Antisocial Media

In my own experience, there are both pros and cons of social media today. I use sites such as facebook and youtube, and I read blogs about celebrity gossip, fitness, entertainment and fashion. I find these blogs useful in expanding my knowledge and interest in certain subjects. I appreciate youtube's ability to catapult a talented group or individual to stardom, when he, she, or they may have otherwise remained undiscovered. Facebook allows me to keep in touch with relatives miles away in Ireland and classmates I haven't seen in years. However, in recent months, I have discovered a shift in my relationship with social media. I once spent hours sifting through pages of useless facebook profiles and pictures of celebrities doing their daily activities. However, as I have developed deeper personal relationships outside of social media, I have realized I spend much less time on them. I have discovered that spending time with my true friends, boyfriend, and family members gives me much more satisfaction and joy then digitally communicating with people who are less important to my life.
Sometimes we feel like we could not survive without social media, but I have come to realize this is not true at all. While social media does provide us with a means of communication and learning, it may in fact distract us from our more meaningful relationships and activities.

Social Media... Why I Love You

You guys wanted it strate so here it goes...
Some people are afraid to express or show their feeling for you but I would go to the mountain tops and scream aloud "I LOVE YOU SOCIAL MEDIA!" Of course you have your flaws, like the coutless hours I spend with you, or the constant distraction you cause when I'm trying to do my homework, but there is a kind of beuty in imperfection.
My first obsession with you comes from your ability to connect me to anywhere and anybody around the world. You have such a global audience that enables me to find friedns or acuaintances that i haven't seen or heard from in years. Just last week, I was able to contact a grade school friend who now lives in the Bahamas, after not having contact with him in ten years.
Your generosity doesn't stop there, your accessibility is impeccable. I can create accounts on such sites as Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook at no cost at all! Your aleart come to my phone, IPod, and laptop at anytime of the day. I can call upon you at any time of the night when I'm bored or if Howl is charging too much for admission or if it is too cold to walk to the D train.
Lastly and probably one of your finest qualities, you are so kind and easy to use. Most things are so complicated and difficult to access but your like a useful machine, that just spits out easy ways to be used, I don't know how to explain. My four year old cousin writes me on Facebook all the time. If that doesn't explain how easy your are to use, I don't know what does. With the click of a button, I can tell all 963 of my friends that I'm "sitting in the cafe writing a blog for class lol". There is no limit to the things you do. Social Media.... Thats why I love you!

Social Media and Society

Some topics that I would like to study regarding social media involve how it grew so quickly. Today politicians, companies, and even Fordham use it as an effort to reach out to the public. If companies do not utilize these new marketing tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., they may be viewed as not marketing to their full potential. I recently completed a project at my internship where I had to look up various companies’ Facebook pages, note the number of “likes,” as well as what types of promotional tools they use. My advisors wanted to see which companies were using Facebook most effectively and which were lagging behind. Those companies that posted videos, FAQs for customers, sweepstakes information, and interacted very thoroughly with their clients had the largest numbers of fans. This tells me that if companies are not constantly interacting with their customers and providing them the latest tips and product information, their clients may become disinterested and look elsewhere for advice. I also find it interesting that although these sites may compete for users, users tend to utilize various sites at the same time. For example, a user may update a Facebook status with some information and then post the same information on Twitter, while tagging a YouTube video in each one. These sites are all interconnected in an incredible way.

We are all constantly connected. Gone are the days of not being able to reach someone. Whether we are on cell phones, computers, iPod’s, or some other device, social media takes over. Facebook is number 19 in “Top Free Apps” from the iTunes store, with Twitter at number 46. This may seem like a disappointment, but to maintain a position in the “Top Apps” for so long, whether it’s the top 10 or top 50, seems like an incredible feat. So, what makes us feel the need to be connected to our friends all the time? What makes us feel compelled to tell people what we are eating for breakfast, watching on TV, or how lousy a commute we had into the city today because it was so cold (there were plenty of those status updates this morning)? Why do we have to talk to our roommates in a public forum when they are sitting right next to us, or our significant other even though we talk to them constantly throughout the day? Why do we love taking pictures and then uploading them the next day, tagging all of our friends, and commenting or “liking” various ones? Social media has evoked in people a new way of communicating with each other, a way that in some ways seems to remove what makes relationships real relationships, a reliance on face-to-face interaction for communication.

Social media and the world it has created fascinates me. Its effect on politics, businesses, and basic interaction alike has been astronomical. It has opened up an entire group of new possibilities for people, if they only wish to learn how to use the sites to their advantage. Because social media is becoming so infused in the business world, if people choose not to learn how to utilize these sites they might as well start looking for something new to do, because this is the future whether some like it or not.

What, Am I Some Kind of Freak?

So when we met last and were talking about the effects of new new media on our lives, Professor Strate seemed shocked to find out that I wasn't connected to the Facebook community. That experience made me wonder, is there something intrinsically important about Facebook? Is it now not just "what all the cool kids are doing", but actually necessary for social survival?

I had simple enough reasons for wanting to disconnect from the Facebook community: being a private person, finding it very "high school", all the common, run-of-the-mill stuff you hear from people who are unreceptive to being on the grid. However, the new privacy/ownership policy that Facebook instituted really pushed me over the edge and into cyberspace limbo.

I'm a sports broadcaster. Not big time or anything, but I've been blessed with a number of awesome opportunities to be actively involved in the New York sports scene, from the NFL Draft to rubbing elbows with the New York Jets in their locker room to interviewing the New York Rangers in theirs. I've covered boxing, NASCAR, college sports, the whole gamut. In short, a lot of cool, really neat stuff that I hope I can parlay into a full-time job someday. And I thought one day, while updating my status and doing the usual Facebook stalking routine, that using the site would be an awesome way to get my name out there and post my demo tapes, and basically take the next step in my career though cyberspace.

Something told me to wait, and check the privacy policy on Facebook. I had heard someone talking about some new issue with it, but I decided to read it over. BAM! Good call, Joe. I read that if I was to put, say, my play by play broadcast of the Fordham Women's Basketball Game on Facebook, it's no longer mine. That's right, added to the vast Facebook empire. Everything, posts, pictures, music, anything that you put on the site, you lose all rights to. Sorry architects, artists, everyone who does anything creative and innovative, you just lost your ownership of your work. In exchange, enjoy your "Like" button.

I'll open it up to cyberspace, make it an interesting little debate. What do you think? Am I taking this too seriously? Is this really not a big deal? Or is it another example of a moneymaking scam hidden behind an illusion of belonging and acceptance? Get at me Interweb.
Until next time,

Social Media

The idea of social media has expanded significantly in the past ten years. The new phenomemon of being connected to every aspect of the social world in the matter of seconds, has society addicted. We have all become victoms of this new form of communication. In many ways this is a positive advancement to our society however, with these positive aspects there are also negitive ones as well.

I can admit that I am a victim to this contemporary social media to the largest extent. From the moment I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed at night, life is filled with the newest forms of electronic devices and forms of communication. Facebook mobile, emails, IM, and Twitter fill the day unconsciously. The desire for the newest and most popular moblie device or computer has our society attatched to this lifestyle. These forms of social media keep our world connected and informed. They provided places for people to share ideas, beliefes, and remain in touch with family around the world. There are various different perspectives on this topic, but I beleive the positive aspects outweigh the negitive aspects of online media. These new forms of communication have obviously created such a positive advancement and change in society, however many people have become obsessed with them. This can become an addiction when society abuses our social advacments. Sitting on facebook all day long rather then conversating with your friends and family around you is not what these forms of communication were designed for. If society abuses social media it can become a problem, but if they are used for the purposes they were ment for, social media is a positive advancement that continues to improve our world today.

"This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man - if man is not enslaved by it." ~Jonas Salk

The topic of social media is extremely attractive to me and much of society's contemporary youth culture. I have a strong interest in learning more about these social networking sites. For thoes who are not enslaved by this new phenomena, social media provides us with a constructive social enviroment and connects us to the world in which we live.

New New Is Better

In the past 10 to 15 years mankind has made huge leaps in the advancement of hardware and software. What started off as the flip phone revolution quickly evolved into the keyboard/touch screen/ web surfing takeover. In 2003 I received my first cell phone. The present came on my birthday, and with my new flip phone, I felt like the coolest kid in school. Although there were no special features to the phone besides that it flipped, I thought it looked cool and was sensible for protecting the screen. Being just a 12-year-old boy, you wouldn’t imagine the phone being dropped ever however; I must admit that on the occasion that the phone jumped out of my hands, the screen was protected. Anyways, other than that the phone was a little pathetic compared to the hardware that’s available today.

As time has advanced so have personal devices that act as appendages to people nowadays. In 2007 the iphone revolution began. It was a sleek, small, and speedy little device. The touch screen phone had the capability of surfing the web, taking pictures, playing games, storing music, plus all the capabilities of an ordinary cell phone. The iphone raised the bar and set a standard for other phone companies to try and compete with. The iphone era made having a cell phone device be one of a person’s main priorities in life. I use my iphone constantly throughout the day. Whether it be to check my email/facebook, or to text or call a friend, I am always using this 6 inch device.

The technological advancements that have occurred in the past 10 years have certainly set a standard to be met, however, now the question is, “what’s next?” This phone phenomenon has taken over the world and has made everyone’s day-to-day life easier and more exciting. New New is better.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Social Media

In society today, social networking and social media have become a crucial part of our environment day to day. Whether a person likes it or not, even small references to phenomena such as Facebook and Twitter come up frequently throughout the day. These references may be by the computer, radio, or simply seen visually by the individual. Hard to avoid, social media seems to be embedded in the lives of everyone. Whether someone chooses to use these advances in technology frequently or not as much, they are at the disposal of basically all individuals.

Facebook is a form of social networking that everyone is familiar with. Whether you are checking your notifications for a mere 5 minutes or spending endless hours on profile pages instead of studying for exams, it is a site visited by all. People of all ages enjoy this site which helps people stay in touch and communicate information quickly and easily.

While social networking can be very nice to keep in touch with relatives or old friends, some people seem to abuse the site in my opinion. Certain people may update their statuses numerous times within a single hour and upload things that are of little importance. It is also interesting to see things that people choose to display on their own pages. While people may be shy in person, this cyber network makes people think they can share more with others because they are not necessarily talking to them. Because it is through the computer, they may portray certain things that they would never say in person or choose to tell you face to face. I find this very interesting, that people seem to be more open through social networking even though many people are able to access this information. While this seems like a negative aspect of social networking, overall I think this area of communications is brilliant and hope to see it grow into more as years go on.

Wireless Advancement of Technology

When portable web gadgets such as the iPod Touch and iPhone etc, were introduced, I had absolutely no desire to have one. Even a year or two later, I still was reluctant to get any of these devices. I just couldn't see the need to constantly check my email, update my Facebook status, watch YouTube videos or even check my Fantasy Football scores. I was already on my computer enough during the day that I didn't need to carry a portable computer around with me. I saw it as maintaining self-control away from the "New New Media" as Dr. Levinson calls it. I know of many people who have tried, though some have failed, to stay off of Facebook or other media sites in order to prevent procrastination or distractions from schoolwork or being physically social. Not having one of these devices allowed me to step away from my computer, even for a short period of time, and actually be productive in my work.

All of this was true, until this past Christmas when I finally received an iPod Touch. To be honest, I didn't want an iPhone mostly because it's service wasn't with Verizon...yet. However, being on a college campus like Fordham, I always have wireless service anyway. Now, with this portable gadget, I can receive my emails, surf the web, view my Facebook profile, and watch YouTube videos as long as I have a wireless connection. Before I got this new toy, if I ever received an email between 7 and midnight, the sender would get an almost immediate response from me because I get alerts when I receive a new email. With this iTouch, I would send a reply email within 5 minutes of receiving it no matter the time of day. It also comes in handy when I am trying to look up an actor who I forgot what movie he's in, or a song that I can't remember the title. I even use it for reminders (like my class schedule) or to view an event I've planned in my calendar. Though I always have it with me, I can still exhibit the self-control I was talking about before. Surprisingly enough, I don't even spend much time on Facebook anymore because I receive email notifications of the updates. It's amazing how a small device like an iTouch can really impact my everyday life. Before Christmas, I thought I could live without a portable Internet connecting device, but now, and I never thought I would say this, I can't live without it.

In Dr. Levinson's book, "New New Media," he talks about the popularity of websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook, and YouTube as they are considered to be Web 2.0. However, with many people using gadgets such as iPhones and Androids, I think we are now in Web 3.0 or (to avoid "the problem with numbers") The Wireless Web. I spoke to a friend over the weekend about the technological advances that the world has today. I started to remember about that dial-up connection (that we all know in love) which prevented access to the land-line phones in exchange for Internet access. Dial-up advanced to DSL, which ultimately led to wireless Internet. Currently, we have 3G and now 4G so smart phone users can have access almost anywhere they go. All of these "new new media" (except maybe SecondLife) are accessed daily by millions of users worldwide. It is incredible to think how advanced technology really is. We, as the millennial generation, are very privileged to be apart of a technologically structured experience. It will amazing to see what advances and/or differences that will occur five or even 10 years from now. We'll just have to wait and see.

Social Media

In today’s society, it’s difficult to go a day without contact with some form of social media. Whether it’s an ad on the subway containing a twitter link, a YouTube video on your computer, or a Facebook wall post viewed from your phone, social media is everywhere.
I think that social media is great and can be a very effective tool if used properly. It is a great way to get up-to-date news and share your favorite stories with friends and family. It’s a great way for businesses to market to consumers and communicate with them and receive feedback. It’s also helpful for reconnecting with long lost friends and family members who live far away. Today, it is easier than ever to connect with others via social media on a computer or even on your mobile device.

However, many people use it the wrong way and waste way too much time on it. If you update your Facebook or Twitter 10 times a day, I think that can get a little excessive. Social media was created for users to share interesting articles, videos, and links, and share interesting happenings from their lives, not to tweet every other minute about insignificant things. Another issue users have to deal with is privacy. It’s important for social media users to realize that what they put up on the Internet may be accessible to bosses, parents, and the general public. It’s crucial to use social media responsibly, and recognize that you have to think carefully about what you want to put up.

Social media is great, but it’s important not to become too dependent on it. Social media should add to our face to face communication, not replace it. As long users use it responsibly and don’t over-update their social networks, I think it can be a powerful and effective mode of communication.

On New New Media

At 22 years young, I always find it incredibly disturbing how technology evolves at such a rapid pace. I always catch myself, as well as my friends, complaining about how old we feel and how seemingly out of touch we are becoming with the latest fad online. While we're comfortable with Facebook, it took us a while to get used to Twitter. Heck, I still remember having a MySpace and even a Friendster account from about seven years ago. While seven years doesn't seem like a long time, it seems as if technology lives in dog years as MySpace has struggled to compete with the hipper Facebook, and Friendster is seemingly obsolete.

I've spent most of my college years studying new and social media. It is something I am very fascinated with, and the rapid pace of evolution with this "new new media" guarantees that there is always something new to learn.

Perhaps the most meaningful contribution of new new media is the fundamental shift of roles. Prof. Levinson wrote about this - how anyone can be a producer - not only a viewer. Perhaps this is where most of the debate lies when it comes to new new media, and this is perhaps the main reason why I am so intrigued by the subject.

Has "new new media" brought about a cultural renaissance, or is it destroying our culture as we know it?

On the one hand, one can argue that one of the largest contributions of new new media is user generated content. As mentioned, anyone can be a producer, and anyone with a dream now has a platform to at least have a shot to reach it. Musicians such as David Choi, Alyssa Bernal, and JR Aquino have found success through YouTube. Sean Kingston, Kate Voegle, and Colbie Caillat found their big break through MySpace. On a grander scale, Justin Bieber has gone from viral video to worldwide superstar and Grammy nominee.

Those are only some of the few artists who have gained notoriety through this new new media.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, for every OK Go, there are about a thousand terrible Beatles covers. Is the glorification and opportunity of the amateur hurting culture? Andrew Keen brings forward the monkey-typewriter theory in his book The Cult of the Amateur - How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture. He writes that if you give an infinite amount of monkeys an infinite amount of typewriters, one of them will produce a masterpiece everything else is just garbage that isn't worth our time (8). He asks, "What happens... when egoism meets bad taste, meets mob rule? The monkeys take over" (9). For him, "amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is now running the show" (34).

Perhaps he takes an incredibly pessimistic view on this, but he does raise a legitimate concern. Levinson brought up how Wikipedia has challenged the encyclopedia. It makes me wonder if information like that should fall in the hands of possibly an eighth grader who is good with the internet. Wikipedia may democratize information, but it does raise doubts that it would allow the same eighth grader to be held with the same merit as a tenured college professor.

I guess the reason why the study of new new media is that it involves a lot of unanswered questions. It is constantly advancing and changing at an incredibly rapid pace and we are right in the heart of it. At the same time, we neither have the foresight nor the hindsight to decide whether new new media is good for our culture or not. It raises a lot of debate, which makes it an even more interesting subject to delve into.

Marty Mercado

Success Measured in Numbers

While it is increasingly evident the impact social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogging have on our society, the statistics on the frequent use of these outlets are very shocking. 

Let's look at Facebook. Here are some statistics about Facebook use and Facebook users:

 - According to out of the 6,845,609,960 total world population (as estimated for June 2010), 1,966,514,816 people are Internet users. Out of those 1,966,514,816 people, 500,000,000 people actively use Facebook, according to That means around 7% of the world population are active users of Facebook. 
-    According to, the average user creates, on average 90 pieces of content per months. Content being groups, pictures, status updates, messages, events and more. 
- 250 million people a month access Facebook from external websites. Facebook has paired with over 2.5 million websites. 
- Facebook can also be accessed from from mobile devices. Currently, at this moment, there are over 200 million people accessing Facebook from there mobile devices. Facebook data shows that people that access Facebook from their mobile devices are twice as active as people that strictly access it from a computer. 

These statistics show the immense amount of time and energy that is put into social networking today in societies across the world. Does this data show the success of social networking websites or does it exemplify the progressively obsessive nature of humans toward interactive media. Do people love being able to participate in media so much that they are now beginning to trade in outdoor activities and actual interaction with people for more time to social network and update their statuses? People must be wary of becoming too detached and losing sight of the things that are actually important in life like spending time with your family. Rather than scrolling through phones under the table at family dinner, people should take the little time they actually do get to spend with loved one and have a nice conversation. While people feel a strong attachment to self published media outlets, there is much to be said about good old fashion communication. 

Evolution of Social Media

For our generation, social media is something that is an inevitable fact of life. In this day and age, things like facebook, twitter, foursquare and the like are everyday tools that are almost impossible to escape from. Personally, I am a fan of, I would say, most forms of social media. I enjoy getting facebook notifications sent directly to my cell phone and being able to check in to locations on foursquare at any moment. This, in addition to my major in communications, is partially why I chose to take this class on social media. However, I think that this sort of affinity that I have for social media is not necessarily required in order to have interest in this class. I think that most everyone, if given the chance and had enough space in their schedule, would enjoy a class on social media because of the fact that it is so present in our lives.

I can definitely understand the opposite point of view as well. I get that many people do not want to be bombarded with information from different sources at all times through every medium. I think that in the end, when used correctly and for good purposes, social media can only produce good outcomes.
Something that is not so present in our lives is the idea presented by Dr. Levinson of "new new" media. When I first bought his book for my Intro to Communications class last year I was skeptical of the title and I actually talked to someone who thought the cover of the book had a typo. After learning about what this concept actually is it definitely makes sense. I think that the first chapter of the book "Why 'New New' Media?" is one of the most interesting. The explanation that Dr. Levinson gives for his ordering of the chapters is interesting and I think that his reasons made sense at the time that the book was published, but I would be interested to know if he would order them differently today, just a year and a half later.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Isn't Always Better

When it comes to new media, new new media, social media, web 2.0, or whatever name strikes your fancy, I don’t think that “new” necessarily means better. New media gives anyone with an Internet connection power that was formerly reserved only to a specific group of people—the power to become a producer of content. With consumers now participating in the media production process, there are countless online outlets through which one may consume information, and satisfy the incessant hunger for instant gratification.

There is no longer a need to wait to read about the latest sport star’s debacle in the newspaper—someone just tweeted it. Don’t wait for local news to cover the story about the old woman who literally drove her car through the Dunkin' Donuts—someone there snapped a picture with their cell phone and uploaded it onto their blog. And because so many sites are linked together, it’s easy to read about each of these developments as they bounce around and spread to your Facebook news feed.

Sounds great. If it’s true.

More than ever before, it is essential that people view all content with a discerning eye. Virtually anyone can post something online without to the harsh scrutiny of an editor or a team of fact checkers. A journalist reporting stories for television, print, or radio news goes out into the world, interacts with people, and comes to a conclusion about something in order to determine what is real and important for people to know. This kind of attention to detail is not currently a part of social media. Blogs contain a lot of fat, and as people learn to view sources of information more carefully, they will see that a healthy diet for consuming information does not leave room for much fat.

Social media are great avenues to hear an introduction to popular stories, or to learn people’s opinions about a topic that is generating a lot of buzz. However, they prove to be inadequate if used as a one-stop shop for all information. The sudden bombshell of becoming an Ophiuchus nearly sent my mother into shock, and the reason for the change was nowhere to be found within Twitter’s 140-character limit. The next morning, though, she was able to read all about it in the newspaper, and realize that there was no cause for alarm.

New media are a great way for friends to keep in touch, but so much of the information is unnecessary. Do we really need to know that “the baby just pooped #turdalert”? Chris’ status informs you that he was on vacation in Cancun for a week, but are you supposed to feign ignorance when he tells you about it? What about the girl you met once 4 years ago, is it necessary to keep tabs on her by perusing through her “pajammie jam” picture album?

A worrying characteristic of the Internet in general is that whatever is there is there for good. Because everyone is linked into multiple social media sites, if you don't want someone to find out about something, the best solution is don't do it. Everything is interconnected, if you "like" a double rainbow video on Youtube, every linked account creates a separate message saying so; ensuring that everyone knows you liked double rainbows all the way. Constant connectivity means there's nowhere to hide, and with apps like “foursquare,” this is literally the case. People see you’re on Gmail, Facebook, Skype, or AIM, and you can’t pretend you didn’t get the message.

One of the most interesting aspects of new media is the ability to interact with and contribute feedback to businesses, television shows, and even celebrities. Many companies have some presence social media—a Facebook fan page or an official Twitter account—which allows those with an interest to offer support, voice concerns, or discuss common interests with others. This type of interaction is sure to gain further momentum, and holds great potential for the future.

The most enticing example is the game "Late Night Hash Tags” on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” Anyone with a computer, Internet connection, and twitter account can contribute a joke to the show and could have their tweet read on national television. The ability to participate in an NBC television show and potentially gain recognition on the air is a huge incentive, and I can only hope that other programs begin to introduce similar systems soon.

Follow me at @idontgiveaDan

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome to the Class

COMM 3307; Social Media; Spring 2011
Dr. Lance Strate, Faculty Memorial Hall, Room 434A
Telephone: (718) 817-4864; E-mail:
Office Hours:  Tues & Fri. 1-2, Tues. 7:30-8:30, or by appointment.                                                      

Point of View of This Course:
In this course, we will create a collaborative learning environment, and learning community, in order to explore, examine, and understand the contemporary online media environment, with special emphasis on the recent phenomena known as social media, including social networking and Web 2.0.

Required Text:

New New Media, by Paul Levinson

Additional readings will be provided in class or online.

Course Objectives:

1. To explore and participate in the contemporary online media environment and the social networking/Web 2.0 phenomenon.

2. To examine the contemporary online media environment from a variety of different perspectives, including the aesthetic, phenomenological, philosophical, critical, historical, anthropological, psychological, and media ecological.

3. To analyze the personal, social, and cultural implications of the contemporary online media environment.


1. Participation. First, there is the Fordham College policy that unexcused absences are grounds for failure. Second, there is the basic requirement that you attend class with a minimum of absences (excused or unexcused), and that you come to class on time and remain for the full duration of class. Third, you need to participate sensibly during class meetings. Fourth, you need to participate in group activities online, including an exploration of social media sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube, and fulfillment of assignments related to that exploration. Participation will account for XX% of the final grade.

2. Written Work and Other Creative Activity. You will be required to produce written commentary and analysis and post it on our public blog. This will include assessments of assigned readings, discussion and analysis of online experiences and materials, and commentary on each other's work. Your written work will be graded in terms of quantity, timeliness, and quality, and will account for XX% of the final grade.

3. Examination. There will be a final examination, which will account for XX% of the final grade.

Tentative Schedule

Jan. 18    Introduction to the Class

Jan. 25    Web 2.0, Social Networking, and Social Media
Reading Due:  Preface & Chap. 1

Feb. 1        Blogging
Reading Due: Chap. 2

Feb. 8        YouTube
Reading Due: Chap. 3

Feb. 15    Facebook
Reading Due: Chap. 7

Feb. 22    No Class—Monday Schedule

Mar.   1     Twitter
Reading Due:  Chap. 8

Mar.   8    MySpace
Reading Due:  Chap. 6

Mar. 15    Spring Recess — No Class Meeting

Mar. 22    Digg
Reading Due:  Chap. 5

Mar. 29    Wikipedia
Reading Due: Chap. 4

Apr.   4        Second Life
Reading Due: Chap. 9

Apr. 11        Podcasting
 Reading Due: Chap. 10

Apr. 19         Costs and Consequences
 Reading Due: Chap. 11

Apr. 26         Politics
 Reading Due: Chap. 12

May 3         The Mobile Revolution
 Reading Due: Chap. 13

May 10     1:30-3:30 Final Exam