Saving the bees was a topic that was decided upon by my group after a thirty minute brainstorming session. We thought that this topic was once viral and had lost its edge but was still a big enough problem where we, as team, could produce a project video that could go viral to spread the awareness of the still existing problem. The purpose of the project is to bring awareness to the declining bee population problem. I, along with the rest of the team, was intending that the audience would include both children and adults. The intention of the video is to spread knowledge of the serious issue, therefore, we are asking the video be shared as much as possible. In the video, we also provide some helpful actions that individuals can take to help the cause which include starting a small garden, becoming an amateur bee keeper, or even help in the fight against pesticides that have a direct impact on the bees. As for fitting the definition of Shirky’s civic value, this topic and video provides value to both the participants and to the entire world because it is an attempt to spread awareness on the declining bee population, which directly impacts certain foods we as humans choose to eat. This problem is in a critical state and by creating a video, civic value is being created because everyone would benefit by some people taking action.
A video is the perfect media for both the audience and the purpose. The video will provide humor to interest people and will have enough information in the form of audio and visual to present the topic in a more visually appealing way to maintain viewer attention. First of all, we chose to include humor into the video because as Maria Konnikova states in “The Six Things…”, “Amusing stories that had been chosen specifically because they were positive and arousing were shared more frequently than less amusing ones” (2). The topic itself is not positive because it is a serious problem but we hope to add to the overall positivity and amusement of the video by including humor. We also wanted to make a video because this would allow the team to voice over visuals that would appeal to the user more than just text and would be easily understandable. After hearing what some people had to say about the video we created, I am more than happy with the overall design. The design of the video draws people into the video with the humor and presents real information that would influence people to want to share this information and take action. Along with our media being spreadable because it is filled with humor, the video provides a lot of practical value to the audience. Practical value is another valuable attribute to make media more spreadable. Konnikova confirms this by saying in her article, “…shared because of another feature that Berger often finds successful: the promise of practical value” (3). The video, as previously mentioned, contains information on what people can do to help the cause. These actions one could take are mostly simple enough that it wouldn’t be much effort for most to help the cause. Our project has gained popularity over the past couple of days and has been re-tweeted by a few Twitter accounts that have a more than a thousand followers. The majority of the sharing is happening on Twitter because the link to the video can be placed directly inside the tweet and because people can easily use the re-tweet button. The majority of people have found it humorous but are mostly sharing the video because they support the bee cause themselves and because some didn’t even realize the bee problem was still actually a problem. As cited previously, a lot was taken from Konnikova’s aritcle because it provides a lot of information as to what attributes are necessary to make media go viral. The team made important design decisions based on a statement made by Henry Jenkins in Why Media Spreads, “Spreadability refers to the technical resources that make it easier to circulate some kinds of content than others, the economic structures that support or restrict circulation, the attributes of a media text that might appeal to a community’s motivation for sharing material, and the social networks that link people through the exchange of meaningful bytes” (4). From this statement, we knew that the video would be the best resource to make this topic spreadable.
After completing the project, I am extremely proud that my team was able to produce a funny but extremely informative video in such a short amount of time. There has a been a number of viewers and shares, mostly on Twitter, of the video. From the assignment, I have learned that digital writing is great way to spread awareness because it can be much more appealing to the viewers instead of just a picture or text. I also have learned that making successful spreadable media can be challenging but also rewarding in knowing that I have made some sort of impact by spreading knowledge of a problem that the world would benefit from if people were to take action.
Best Blog #1: Living Life in the Fast Lane
- This is one of the best blogs that I have written because it goes beyond the topic of viral media by going into the life expectancy of an online article. The post first engages the audience by showing relation to what was previously read about viral media. The post then does a great job at bringing in the attention and interest of the audience by explaining that the audience should understand what it takes to make something go viral but do not know how long something can be expected to live on the Internet because topics lose their ‘cool factor’ or social currency. Another reason why I chose this post to be one of the best is because I was able to bring a lot of what was being discussed into the post along with my interest in the topic. The class prior to the blog post all had me wondering why certain things on the Internet die off so fast even though they get so popular.
- First of all, the blog was submitted in a timely fashion. With this post, I was able to take a stance and tie in topics discussed in the readings and during class. As previously mentioned, I was able to speak in a voice that engaged with the audience that brought their attention and interest into the topic. The blog post was also corrected of any grammar issues and included all required elements. The post also included appropriate tags and categories that allowed readers looking for this particular topic to find it with ease when browsing my blog.
- This blog post contains all the requirements to achieve the rating of outstanding in both the content and style categories. The post has coherent content that focuses on a particular issue and stays with that issue. Because all the requirements of a successful blog post were met, all of the requirements for an outstanding rating in the style category are met.
Best Blog #2: The Self-Sufficient Web
- This is another great post which has a lot of room for the audience to engage in. The blog dives in by explaining that the Internet itself is self-sufficient because of the people that choose to actively participate in this world. Some controversy comes into play because you have people who want troll or just put nonsense on sites like Wikipedia but then you also have people who genuinely want to place part of their knowledge on the web for the greater good. This post does an excellent job at tying in the topics discussed in class while also going much further than just the readings and discussions by considering the topic that one class session in particular left the students wondering. That class session had, at least me, questioning, why would people want to contribute to the Internet if there really wasn’t any direct benefit?
- This blog post was submitted in a timely fashion and went above and beyond what was discussed in class. The topic in this blog expanded much further on what was discussed in class creating an attention grabber post that would have the audience really thinking about the topic. The post did not just summarize and included my stance on why people would choose to participate and contribute to the web. The post was purposely written to engage the audience and ask for their opinion on the topic. The post also included all of the required elements and was revised of any issues that needed attention. Appropriate tags and a category were also given to the post.
- The blog post should be considered outstanding because the post contains both coherent and focused material throughout the entire post. The post also fulfills all of the requirements of a successful blog post. The style of the post meets all of the requirements because, as previously mentioned, it contains a lively voice that engages the readers by making them think about the topic. The post is also organized into an appropriate category and contains fitting tags.
Best Comment #1: Advocate for Clicking
- This one of the better comments that I have posted because it allows the writer to further the conversation. The writer was was against digital advocacy but my comment goes a step further in saying that digital advocacy is a better system at spreading awareness and people who actually contribute to solving the world problems remain to be the same people, Internet or no Internet involved. This writing allows for the writer to think about my arguments and propose his own after furthering the discussion. The concepts discussed in the course on commenting were also considered in this comment and goes much further than what was discussed in class.
- This comment was successful because it furthered the discussion and allows for other readers and the writer to propose their own arguments. A position was definitely taken on digital advocacy with this comment and provides a new way of looking at the topic. The comment was in disagreement with the writer but was written in a respectful manner and is free of any issues.
- As mentioned, the comment was well thought out and allows for the readers and the writer to participate by adding their own opinions of how I perceive online advocacy. The comment was meaningful because it looks at another aspect of digital advocacy. This comment adds a lot to the blog post and, because it is in disagreement with the author, opens up a new discussion that anyone can think about and put those thoughts into by replying to the comment.
Best Comment #2: GoFundMe: Digital Fundraising Or Cyber Begging?
- This comment is a great comment because it inspires more conversation. I make a claim in this comment by saying that there will always be people who take advantage of great systems that were originally made to help people. I also say that there is no real way to rid of all the trolls. These claims may be true, but they allow the readers and the writer to engage in a conversation where they explain their own thoughts on if their is or should be a way to remove trolls from these digital fundraising places on the web. Concepts on digital participating were also included in this comment and went beyond what was discussed in class by bringing in the trolling issue into the conversation.
- The comment furthers the discussion by creating meaningful arguments that can be expanded on or ridiculed in other comments by the writer or the reader. This comment goes beyond just a summary and takes a position on this topic. The position taken on the topic opens up a place for people to continue the discussion by answering questions within the arguments that I have proposed and also allows for criticism from audience members.
- This comment meets all of the requirements for an outstanding rating in the comments section of the grading rubric. The comment deserves this rating because it goes beyond just the original discussion started within the post and provides thoughtful and meaningful responses to the original discussion. Also, the comment allows for audience members to continue the discussion because the comment adds more to the post.
Slacktivism can be defined as participating in an online setting in order to promote or support a certain cause but actually not do anything directly for the cause such as volunteer time or donate money. In other words, Slacktivism is easily seen as pressing the ‘Like’ button on Facebook for supporting some cause but stopping there. The main reason why this form of “participating” has become so popular is because Facebook and other social media sites make virtually supporting a cause so simple and accessible. Another reason is that people love to build up their online persona and show to all their friends that they are supporting in the fight against some disease or issue.
Now this all kind of seems pretty negative, I mean we have people from this generation literally only clicking ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ buttons from the comfort of their home and not having to actually do anything beyond that. There are also other forms of online support that don’t exactly involve going out and volunteering time or donating money but involve a lot of self benefiting factors including getting a few hundred ‘Likes’ on Facebook. One of the more popular examples of this is the ALS ice bucket challenge. Without much question, there is a hint of slacktivism included in this ice bucket challenge mainly because the challenge involves no direct participation only spreading the challenge through social media. This type of slacktivism is basically just a selfish act in some regards because people just want the notoriety on social media. Will Oremus is strongly against this idea of online awareness spreading and argues that, “As for “raising awareness,” few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease, why the money is needed, or how it will be used. More than anything else, the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt”. Will makes an important argument but the problem is he is missing the point of the challenge. The slacktivism that all of these people are participating in has had an incredible affect on the awareness of the disease. Sure, there may not be a detailed explanation on all the specifics of the disease but the idea is that the topic of the disease is being spread across the world through the sharing of this media. From there, people who have the inclination to take a step further into helping the cause, will do their own research and contribute in whatever ways they can. These arguments I have just made are backed up and go into much greater detail in a blog posted on Huffington Post.
Of course we know, people are down right lazy. However, there are those that choose to spend their free time working toward great causes but the only way all of these people can participate is if they know about the problem. That is where the good in slacktivism comes in and why I think slacktivism results in the mass spreading of information. Sure, it isn’t going to cure a disease but it can surely help spread the word and bring those who do volunteer to a cause. A news story about the ALS ice bucket challenge covers the idea that even though this challenge may be performed purely out of selfish acts for ‘Likes’, this slacktivism can really make a difference in spreading issues.
So what do you think about slactivism? Do you think that we’re just too lazy these days and do you feel like this Internet sensation of only helping because it helps out with one’s own popularity is bad? Let me know in the comments!
We have discussed a lot in class about how to make media go viral and why people would want to share content. What we haven’t talked about much is how long popular media “lives” on the web. Knowing that media doesn’t last long on the online “hot seat” is probably common, but why doesn’t it and what does this mean for us as Internet users? As for what it means for Internet users, I think you could easily guess that we all have short attention spans and don’t care to wait on anything. Just take a look at the picture above. On the right image, there is even a side note that states that Twitter is a popular site for breaking news and for quick attention spans. The median lifespan on articles for both Facebook and Twitter is astonishing. The average lifespan isn’t even close to a week! One blog dives into particular detail about the longevity of the life of media on the web. Aside from the possibility that we as humans have drastically lost our ability to pay attention, Internet fame is extremely short lived.
Now to the real concern, why is it that media, even if it hits the Internet by storm and has everyone talking about it, die off so quickly? Of course, this issue ties back into the idea that we as humans have a short attention span on the web. It’s almost like we have a thirst when we go on the Internet that can’t be quenched so we continue looking for water, or more media in this case, anywhere we can. But why would every popular piece of media on the web look like a nice big drink to quench your thirst? Well, mostly because its passed all those special requirements to become viral. Some of those requirements include emotion and arousal. Maria Konnikova states in one of her articles, “Just how arousing each emotion was also made a difference. If an article made readers extremely angry or highly anxious—stories about a political scandal or new risk factor for cancer, for example—they became just as likely to share it as they would a feel-good story about a cuddly panda.” Viral media, as we now know is engineered to be popular and encourage viewers to share, but it seems people get quickly bored and throw out what they’ve seen for the next latest and greatest thing. One could argue that there is a direct connection to the more shares something gets the more likely it is to die off quicker. For example, all viral media has a social currency associated with it that makes it “cool”. When it’s been shared across the masses it losses its “cool” value and dies off. Facebook and other tech companies alike have similarly lost their “cool” value because its no longer exclusive. So where can we all make a stance on this issue of media living in the fast lane? I personally think, that business and the public, in order to keep up with the times need to embrace the swiftness of the web. Sure you’ve created something that was hilarious today, but what about tomorrow? We are in the age of information and it moves faster than any of us every could have imagined. So I think it’s only right to move with the times and not worry about how quickly something popular may die off on the web. The statistics are in and show that nothing stays on the minds of the users these days, mostly not even for a week. So what do you think, should we slow down and is it even possible to?
Technology moves incredibly fast, we’ve all heard it before. What’s the problem with rapidly advancing technology? Well, new technology may be great but the reality is that with all the wonderful opportunities and freedoms technology gives us, there are people who abuse it. Those people who abuse the technology, most commonly in the Internet age, are hurting others. The biggest problems caused by these abusers include harassment, threats, and even revenge. So what am I really driving at? One of the biggest issues facing Internet users now is the lagging behind judicial system. There is quite literally a horrific system that manages serious Internet issues such as death threats, stalking, and more. Victims of such offenses have the ability to take the steps to report incidents but there are no real repercussions for illegal actions on the Internet. From the harassment study conducted by PewResearch, “Those who have ever experienced stalking, physical threats, or sustained or sexual harassment were more likely to take multiple steps in response to their latest incident than those who have only experienced namecalling and embarrassment, 67% vs. 30%.” So in reality, the problem is not people failing to report problems. The real problem is law enforcement, law makers, and others unfamiliar with new technology have no idea how to handle these situations. For example, someone on Twitter could make a comment that drives someone to replying with a life-threatening remark. If a police officer is taking a report, he or she would have no idea as to where to begin because the threat exists only virtually. However, if that same person had someone in public threaten them, a police officer could ask for a description of some kind and go beyond with more questions. Another prime example would be those who fall victim to revenge porn. These victims have no legitimate way to take down what has been uploaded unless the person patents their own body by sending images of their nude body to the patenting office. Seriously, what a ludicrous system. It definitely seems as if no one knew how to respond to the first reported revenge porn case. Yet, even with all we know now, no laws have been changed. The list goes on and on with problems that have occur and continue to occur every single day on the Internet. This is the war that now exists. It is the war between the techies making new technology very quickly and lawmakers who are so severely behind it’s almost humorous.
The problems go even beyond harassment online, technology and it’s creators have gained the reputation of spying on its users. Just checkout this news story where one man says that, “more data is being recorded every ten minutes than what was recorded during the entire middle ages.”
I just want to reiterate, I am definitely not against how amazingly fast technology has moved and continues to move. I believe it is just our duty and lawmakers duty to make sure that we are protected in this new world full of technology we call home. Just as it is mentioned in this technology review, this is a serious problem now because technology is in contact with everyone all the time. People’s rights, privacy, and sense of security, all need to be protected whether that is online or offline. So what do you think about how slow lawmakers have moved even with the ever emerging new technology and what do you think can be done about it? An even better question may be, where do we even start?
Just in case you need a little background on the concept of the Internet troll, here is a great video to get you started:
Internet trolls come in all different varieties. Some trolls love to ignite fires, some love to just contradict others for amusement, and others love to be incredibly random for absolutely no reason. It’s kind of scary how powerful the words of others can be on the Internet, even if those words are meant to be harmless and intended to be taken in a joking manner. Charles Johnson is considered an Internet troll and had his twitter account banned after making troll-like comment that had a hint of death threat in it. “…Johnson was permanently suspended from the site after asking for funds to “take out” the civil rights activist DeRay McKesson”. So what’s really the point here? Well the bottom line is, trolls make up a big portion of the overall Internet users today. So, what exactly gives them the reason to troll and what makes people want to respond to them when they know its going to lead to catastrophe?
First, let’s touch on the idea of why people want to troll on the Internet. Ultimately, I think Internet trolls have a love and act for feeding off of the anger and frustration of others. Just check out this article on Internet trolls having a talent for trolling people in and out of cyberspace. Have you ever had the pleasure to be in a class that has a student that loves to contradict or make a comment about literally everything the professor says? Oh, I have and it can be a miserable experience. The really sad part is you can’t leave a class as easily as you can leave a webpage. I think the troll either loves to hear himself/herself talk along with always wanting to be right. Now, I did mention there are trolls out there who love to just randomly insert comments into any space they can for no reason at all. What motivates these trolls? I really think these trolls lurk everywhere to find any open opportunity. There’s really no other reason to do this unless they are trying to cause some frustration or get some support with a couple ‘lols’.
We have talked about the wonderful Internet trolls that seem to be endless but we need to discuss why in the world people would choose to respond to the trolls. I think there are two reasons. One being people on the Internet feel they can stand up to face a giant because they have that Internet shield of protection. Really, people feel like they have the right to say anything to anyone on the Internet because they, well, can and will most likely not face any consequences for saying anything they feel. The other reason being, people are way too emotionally connected to whatever they are doing online. For example, when there is a troll in an online video game shouting random noises, others will sometimes speak some choice words because they are attached to what they are doing, the game, and don’t want to lose because of the recklessness of the troll. In reality, no one ever wins when attempting to fight the trolls. It does nothing more than encourage that troll to continue doing what they love to do and that is to make people mad. So do me a favor, stop feeding the trolls! In your own experiences, do you ever get the feeling to fight or take action when that troll gets under your skin? Let me know in the comments!
Before diving in, check out this awesome video on Wikipedia that goes into some overview as to why Wikipedia shouldn’t really work and why it is important to move future generations toward this “shared knowledge” mentality.
For many of us, Wikipedia is that place for quickly finding some information we may need or just want to know. It’s supported by users and contributes to the overall idea of having a Self-Sufficient Web, meaning it takes care of its own information. Noam Cohen references Sue Gardner in a New York Times article called “Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List” where Gardner perfectly defines Wikipedia and its information by saying, “Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table. If they are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb.” Wikipedia has a lovely stereotype of being inaccurate and a place riddled with people craving to pass out completely random and wrong information. No doubt, all of these assumptions and hate towards a site like Wikipedia has some reasoning but the overall Internet age has seen improvements in the validity department of information. Sure, there’s still hoards of junk still out there but the fact of the matter is, as the years have gone by and sites like Wikipedia have matured, the Internet has become more and more self-sufficient. Of course, by self-sufficient I mean the Internet has active users that protect, edit, and acquire new information to be shared. The idea of this is so simple, yet, it is still hard to wrap your mind around if you consider these tasks without the Internet being involved. Quite literally people all around the world bring together their different pieces of knowledge and edit pages of different topics while at the same time there are more random people making sure these edits are as accurate as possible.
Now considering all I have just said, there is something that has bugged me since we mentioned it in the class but didn’t fully come to a verdict and that is ‘Why do people want to share information and help edit sites like Wikipedia?’ Yes, there are people that just want to stick their two-cents into everything they can. Of course, there are people that just love to talk about anything. But there is just something more to what’s going on here, something is gelling nicely on the web that could never be explained in theory. Something amazing is happening that is allowing for this self-sufficient web that we so heavily rely on for information. I believe that we as a society have moved and are still progressing a move into a digitally shared world. For example, some people live on social media and some people use the web as their playground. Regardless of what it’s used for, every use has a common theme and that is that it’s all connected. People want their voices to be heard. Some people just want some recognition and credibility with their name. Just look at what some Wikipedians had to say in interviews for the “Why Do People Write For Wikipedia?” article. People want to, of course not always, have a way to help people but also have a way to get help. The younger generations and future generations will continue to move their lives online and with that will come more information. Quite literally I think the only reason why this self-sufficient web works is because people want everything accessible. Now that explains the reason for wanting to go online but what explains those people who want to make sure that Wikipedia is properly edited? Well, everyone has a hobby but I think mostly the biggest reason for wanting to spend time fixing something that doesn’t necessarily help you but might help someone else, is that feeling of wanting to build a better world and know that you’ve helped someone who may even end up helping you one day. Another possible way of looking at it is, the Internet has opened up a world of opportunities. First allowing for all of this information to be accessible but now the Internet offers its users the chance for bringing what they have to the “knowledge table”. The system may not be perfect now, but its the best step forward to a world wide sharing of knowledge and maybe that’s just another reason why people want to add and edit. They just want to be a part of something greater and bigger than just themselves.
If you ask yourself, why do we as human beings like to help others? I think it just comes pre-installed in our nature. Some of us just want to see that world where everything is connected and the Internet is not a place of just lies and deceit but rather a place where someone can learn and better themselves. Of course there’s no perfect answer, but what do you think is the reason why the Internet can be self-sufficient and why Internet users continue to make it this way?
I sincerely hope all of you reading this has had the chance to witness some of the great YouTube videos where amateur video makers have used clips of known songs, movies, clips, or images to create something, well, amazing. The Internet is an incredible place filled with creative people who have, until now, had no way to share that inner creativity. It is incredible what some people can do given some tools like a camera and video editing software. Even people with just a phone can record something they were fortunate enough to witness so that the whole world can see it. What I’m trying to say is best captured as, “Digital technologies have now removed that economic censor. The ways and reach of speech are now greater. More people can use a wider set of tools to express ideas and emotions differently” from the book “RW, Revised”. As great as it all sounds, we live in a world controlled by business and regulation. That means, those wonderful songs you’ve put together in a remix need to be approved by the artists before you think about keeping that online. It means recording that beautiful moment, where a child first learns how to walk but there is a recently released movie playing on the television in the background, needs to be taken down due to showing copyrighted material. You thought well maybe because “I bought this music” or “I recorded this video in my house” kept you safe from lawyers, think again. Everything around us is shareable through the web yet everything around us is mostly copyrighted. Where is the stopping point? If companies or artists can tell you what you can and can’t put on the web, it’s kind of scary to imagine what else they really control. Here is a short blog post talking about the media remixing norm and how it has come under fire. I’m not going to get into all the dirty details of the politics of this. I only want to talk about what I personally want to stop and what may spark something inside you, the reader, a person who potentially could be affected by this. That something is censorship in its new form. Every once in a while this word crawls up from the cracks. Before it was journalists in the newspaper not being able to tell the real story, then it was news anchors having to cut parts of the true story out, but now everyone can be a victim of this. Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, also the author of the book previously mentioned, talks about the censorship that is occurring in this new age in a University of Virginia School of Law article. Lessig talks about remixing as a form of creativity and says that all of us do it, even companies. Censoring creativity is like telling those who have brilliant ideas to be quiet and just accept what is given to you. This new type of censorship may not be an everyday thing, but if something is not done about it, companies, artists, etc. will continue to think it’s okay to bully people who want to share their creative expressions and even those who want to share special recorded moments. Tell me, do you think this a problem worth fighting for or should we tuck this under the rug and hope it goes away?
Texting, as described by some, is and will be the downfall of the English language. This argument is really everywhere, the Internet, people from older generations, and those who just truly can’t get a grip on the fact that technology is changing the world. I believe McWhorther from a TIME Magazine article says it best, “Texting properly isn’t writing at all – it’s actually more akin to spoken language. And it’s a “spoken” language that is getting richer and more complex by the year.” Think about it, how far we have really come. We can quite literally be sending messages to people thousands of miles away from us in the matter of seconds. What is even more incredible is that the people who use this technology, without even genuinely trying to, have created a new “language” or helped in the evolution of one by simply agreeing on conventions. How cool is that? This is just a tribute to the technology that we possess in the palm of our hands. People, especially the younger generation, are writing more than ever because of this amazing technology. Yeah, the writing is not always “academic” but the results are in, it doesn’t harm writing abilities! In a study performed in 2006 and 2007, found in the chapter “Why all the fuss?” of the book “Txtng: The Gr8 Db8”, people from Coventry University found, “strong positive links between the use of text language and the skills underlying success in Standard English in a group of pre-teenage children.” The fact of the matter is, texting and the technology we use has allowed us to write and create our own world of language. Of course, the rules of the English language aren’t always followed but what’s crazy is people have developed a greater ability to interpret meaning and determine how to write depending on the audience. I think the people who disapprove are just afraid of change. Just check out the video of a TED Talk below, where John McWhorter talks about this change in language that is both beautiful culturally and linguistically. Maybe “textese” wasn’t made in some meeting where a bunch of old men decided the fate of the future. But tell me, how else can you argue against this progress?