Wednesday, April 14, 2010


How private is your personal information?  This is a question that is becoming more an more important in today's society as technology advances.  More people seem willing to put out information about themselves on social networking websites, use online banking, purchase more merchandise, send more emails, and many other activities without giving much thought to the information that they are freely releasing into cyberspace. 
Many websites force you to register with there website forcing people to give out information about themselves in order to view content or make purchases on a number of websites.  Highly advanced programs are developed to gather personal information to be used in marketing more specific merchandise based on who you are, where you live, previous purchases, personal tastes, but is this right for companies to pry into our personal information for the sake of marketing products to us not to mention people who look to steal your identity.  your information can be compromised through scams called phishing.
watch this video that explains phishing
  How often have you noticed the advertising on websites you frequently visit targeting your specific location, or the types of products that you have previously purchased?  How does an individual protect themselves from personal information being accessed when it is meant to be kept private?  
Technology appears to be advancing quickly in the direction of allowing fast and easy access to information.  This has many positive benefits many of which have been discussed in my previous post however are we able to have everything available at a click of a button and maintain the desired level of privacy in our personal lives?    

 I discovered this you tube video explaining how identity thieves are able to even track your every computer key stroke.

With criminals using more advanced technology we should expect that technology would be developed to help protect our rights to privacy.
It amazes me how ignorant many people can be when using social networking sites such as Facebook putting personal information online for the world to see.  The Long Tail of Democracy advocates that the internet allows for limitless shelf space for media but this is also true for the individual.  With more shelf space for the individual, more awareness should be made of how accessible your information is and how to protect that which is desired to remain private. When was the last time you googled your own name to discover the information that is available through a simple search engine.  I know I take the time every now and then to do this to see what pops up.  This information is easily available to future employers, relatives, friends, and companies looking to market products to you. 
The privacy issue often sparks debates over morality and legality.  There seems to be lines that are not clearly drawn when it comes to the Internet privacy and what is morally acceptable and what is legally allowed.  The concern is to maintain ideas of freedom, collaboration, idea sharing, and access to everything but without the expense to the individual right to keep some information private.  It is a balancing act that is yet to find a its center.  Until the time comes I caution everyone who uses the internet to be aware that the world is constantly watching.   

The Future of Television

Although this video clip is comical, it brings about a good observation about most of us, we are addicted and have been addicted to television. The minority in this country and many other s are those that do no watch or own a television set. With an average of most US households owning at least 2 television sets. However with the ever expanding Internet, advances in technology, and more and more people disconnecting their cable and moving toward an Internet based TV, where does this take good old fashioned television and its programming?
I found an article that was posted on 's home page today with the headline "Nearly 800,000 U.S. TV households 'cut the cord,' report says.." In this article it discusses this ongoing trend of people ditching their current cable and dish television service providers and moving toward an internet based way of viewing television programs through services on the web.  Services like, Netflix, Youtube are making it easier and easier for people to find television programming on the internet.
  In addition to these service providers technology is beginning to integrate the Internet with the television set in new ways. The XBOX 360, Playstation 3, and Wii entertainment systems offer a variety of applications that allow for viewing television media some of these applications are integrated with Netflix and Youtubeand provide seamless integration of TV and Web. 
Aside from these highly advanced video game entertainment consoles TV manufactures like Samsung are pushing to create a web compatible television set that allows for a unique experience of Web content in addition to normal television programming.(see article here) This new technology is creating a whole new experience of interaction while at the same time reshaping the market in which media producers use to provide content. Video killed the radio star but will Internet kill the television star?(cliche I know)
So where does the future of television end up?  In the ten years I see the television set reinventing itself to fit in with our technology and internet obsessed culture.  Great strides have already begun to incorporate the TV into our wirelessly connected world with information, media, culture, and all being brought to us on our handheld devices, laptops, iphones, ipads..etc. Surely TV will not go away Americans fell in love with the picture box the moment it hit store shelves and is becoming a permanent fixture in our lives.  It may not be the same TV of years ago but it will not go away.  It will adapt to fit our life styles and re assert its position of the center of the household.    

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Journalism vs. The Internet

 The Internet is  changing the way media is distributing news to the public and at the same time it is changing the way the public can interact and create news as well. Typical media outlets like radio, television, and especially print media are being forced to adapt to the new media market.  The question then remains: Can journalism survive the changes that the internet is forcing it to undergo? 


& Newspapers 

The Internet 

Chris Anderson's " The Long Tail" makes the claim that the ever expanding internet is good for democracy and good for the public.  Information and media is now available quickly it also allows for collaboration and interaction.  The idea that more input, more perspectives with different view points equates to a more informed and knowledgeable public.  Does this mean it is the end of the professional journalist? 
A journalist by definition collects and disseminates information about current events, people, trends, and issues.  With blogging and free access to information is the need for professional journalist diminishing or being watered down? Digital distribution poses a large economic issue with generating revenue to pay well trained professional journalist.  The distribution of information is taking off faster than the production of quality journalism can keep up.  Many media outlets are being forced to adapt their business models and newspapers as well as print media are having a hard time adapting to the new technological way in which media is being delivered. 
Many advocates of the new technology push argue that eventually, although there will be growing pains,  that digital distribution will evolve the media landscape to a more availability, larger abundance, and higher participatory type of media.  On the other hand opposing viewpoints warn that it is hard to maintain value of quality journalistic media in the new market and that we have a social responsibility to not allow journalism to falter.  Andrew Keen a british-american entrepreneur and author is highly outspoken about the possibilities of digital distribution affecting journalism and our overall knowledge.  In this video he makes the case against the newly evolving market.  
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Although the some scrutiny should be placed on the newly evolving journalism, the end result should be a highly evolved technological based distribution of media that fosters participation and expands available information. The challenge for the various media outlets is to develop business models that can keep up with the fast paced change in distribution due to technology.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Digital Convergence

Digital convergence is the convergence of four major industires including: information technologies, telecomunications, consumer electronics, and enterntainment into one conglomerate.  Many new media devices have and are bieng developed that are bringing these industries together and giving consumers the ability to do just about anyting with one single device.  The iphone, Playstation 3, Xbox and soon the ipad along with other tablet style media devices are putting mass amounts of information, media, and entertainment in our pockets.  The possibilities seem to be endless with these new media devices.  A Playstation 3 for example offers the ability to surf the web, watch blu-ray movies, download netflix, listen to music, view photos, and of course play video games. 

The Xbox and microsoft are looking to to take digital convergence and new technologies to a whole new level as well.  This you tube demo is an example of how interactive and eloborate these new media technologies can be :

New technologies are having a large impact how consumers, businesses, and organizations are not only able to reach information and media but also engage with information and media. We are finding new ways to use these devices and integrate them into our daily lives. An iphone can provide a number of different applications and uses for an individual on a daily basis. One can update a facebook status (see social networking post), trade stocks, send emails, take photos, listen to music, even turn of your house lights from your iphone. The question seems to be: what cant these new devices do? not what can they do? These new devices allow for easier, faster, mobile access to the Internet, digital information, and digital media. The ipad is set to go on sale early april and already being dubbed the saviour of print media. Print media is being forced to reinvent itself due to the free access of information on the internet and the way consumers are viewing, reading, listening, to media on these new technologies. Where is this digital convergence taking us? Media devices that network with each other and provide consumers, business, and organizations unlimited access to information in a mobile sleek well designed package.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Social Networking Sites

Social Networking sites are becoming an integral part of our everyday lives.  With millions of followers, websites such as:   FacebookTwitterMyspaceLinkedInGoogleBuzz 
and many others have a large impact on media and how individuals are able to interact on the Internet.  For anyone unfamiliar with what a social networking site is you probably would be ostracized by millions of your peers for not being current with hot new trends in media.  These sites are set up differently and all have there own identity but can be simple explained.  A social networking site is a website that enables any individual with an email account to set up a personal homepage.  Once a homepage is created you are free to connect with other people and link to there homepage, this is typically done trough "friending" someone.  

The big questions are: why are people using these sites?  How are individuals, news outlets, corporations, and non profit organizations using these sites?  What impact does this have on media consumption?  All these are interesting questions surrounding the phenomenon of social networking sites and there impact.  Each site is setup in a different way and offers different features for users but why are people using these sites? 
Individuals are using these networking sites for a variety of reasons.  Many find these sites useful to stay connected with people that they are separated from by distance, typically family members, classmates, and co workers that live in other towns, states, or countries.  These social networking sites have a strong appeal for allowing an individual to create a personalized web page with info about themselves such as pics, blogs, and status updates for there friends and family to view allowing for people to stay connected.  
Another interesting aspect of these social networking sites is how news media, corporations, and non profit organizations are beginning to find very useful ways to interact with people.  These sites allow for news stories to be posted and shared among people as well as a direct interaction with media journalists.  A journalists can set up a homepage the same way an individual and post blogs about various news stories.  The unique advantage to using a social networking site is the ability for a large audience to view the media as well as interact by posting comments of there own. The New York Times has a homepage that gives news story updates and invites people to provide there input and comment on there stories.  This provides a dimension to news media that is not possible with newspapers, or television news it becomes an interactive way rather than media just being  a one way media it has the ability to be a two way media.  In a very similar way corporations can advertise job openings and market products to consumers.  With large networks and the ability for people to pass along information easily and for free the web sites become powerful marketing tools. 
Non profit organizations are able to tap in to this marketing as well which help bring awareness to their organization and information about how individuals can contribute to the organization.  Organizations like the American Red Cross are able to set up home pages that can feature very current updates on various activities in a much easier and faster way than a normal website can. 

The new and innovative aspect of these sites is not only how we are able to interact with our media and people in our networks but how seamlessly these sites can incorporate different media forms.  Social networking sites can be filled with video, print, music, movies, and radio.  An example of how many medias can be interwoven through a social networking site is how radio sports talk host Jim Rome uses Facebook to bring multi media platforms together in one place. Jim Rome hosts a radio sports talks show as well as a TV show on ESPN.  He has recently created a Facebook fan page.  On this page he gives updates on the topics that will be discussed on his radio and TV show as well as posts videos related to the topics that are discussed.  This Facebook page brings together TV, Radio, Video, and other media forms all together in one place available for people to view, share, and interact with. 
The example of Jim Rome reinforces the idea of the long tail theory of the Internet as well.  Not even radio is excluded from being available to thousands or millions of people, quite literally there everything is available to us on the net.  Corporations benefit from being able to market to people they may not have been able to reach, and consumers have more options to chose from and this can be all brought together on one social networking sites.  The best part of it all is that there are different networking sites to chose from as well, giving more options to individuals as to which sites provide them with what they want. 
 In addition to networking these sites also lend a hand in people finding a forum for sharing ideas, and self expression. An individual can post videos, blogs, music, pictures, art or whatever they chose to share on these networking sites.  This is also why Creative Commons is an important licensing tool for internet users looking to collaborate through these sites with others. (see previous post about CC licensing)  The possibilities are endless and are available in a variety of forms.  Anyone can connect to these websites from a computer, phone, or internet tablet and the tools are free for all to use.   

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Creative Commons

When researching, exploring, and discovering new ideas, images, art and music on the Internet one can easily forget about copyright laws due to the infinite possibilities available.  Currently copyright law gives all rights to the creator of the idea, song, written word, or image the instant it is created.  When this copyright is imposed it legally protects the creator/ innovator of the idea from being used with out permission ( All rights reserved).  
The Internet is supposed to be considered a gateway of democracy, free thought and free access but with current copyright laws it is easy to break the law without realizing it.  So what is the solution for people that want to be able to share their artwork, ideas, music...etc.   Currently the Fair Use clause allows for some copyrighted material to be used by the press, educators, and individuals to some degree without consent of the owner of the copyright but it does not grant free access to all material.  
Now a non profit organization called Creative Commons is working to re work the current ideas of copyright law to adapt to the way in which information, ideas, entertainment...etc. are being exchanged.  The idea behind Creative Commons is to expand current copy right laws and be a complement to copyright but allow people and businesses free access within a different set of copyright rules.  For example:  you are a musician that makes music, you then put it on a website and allow people to download your music, all your music currently is instrumental only without vocals,  and someone downloads your music then re records it with vocals.  With current copyright laws the individual that re recorded your music without permission to add vocals is breaking the law. However with creative commons you the artists can create a license that allows an individual to re record your music with out direct permission because the license allows you to dictate what can be done with your music where as current copyright laws are absolute.  This concept of expanding copyright licenses to include access without permission because permission is already granted is an innovative way of allowing collaboration among cultures, people, ideas and educators on the internet. 
 Some companies have already attempted to find a solution to copyright laws.  The internet image data base getty images  allows the option using "royalty free" images from there database of images as well as stock images that would require payment to use the copyright license.  Creative commons is trying to take the same ideas of "public domain" and apply them to an ever expanding internet database which can include a variety of different materials. 
As someone who has a great interest in film, music and art this new idea can have a relatively large impact on how the web can be used to collaborate and allow access within the law of copyright.  This gives control back to the individual in how our creations, artwork, and ideas are used by others.  The future of art, music, and independent creation now has a door open on the internet and I personally look forward to see how this can change the way we learn, create, innovate, and bring about change.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

Internet: Censorship and Fee speech

The Internet is a powerful tool for people to communicate as well as cell phones and other new technologies. Lately news media outlets have focused on a fight for free speech specifically in China.  Google has joined the fight for Chinese citizens by not conforming to requests by the Chinese government to filter content that is considered to be illegal in China.  As google takes a stand it raises questions about how the Internet and other technologies can be used as a vessel for democracy and help oppressed nations achieve change as well as here in the US. 

The Chinese government has been heavily criticized by human rights activists and free speech activists for its continual regulation on free speech.  A recent article in the brought about the discussion that not only  has China tried to crack down on Internet consumption of its citizens but has even gone as far as to screen text messages and other personal messages for content in an effort to control the forms of communication that are being used. (

The question is with these new technologies being used as a vessel of democratic thought and ideas is it even possible to keep the world from communicating and sharing ideas?  The term "netizens" stands for citizens that actively use the Internets capabilities and  social forums to pursue and promote free speech as well as open access. This concept is newly developing the idea that we can participate in ways to promote social change and awareness using the Internet as a tool to do so.

In countries that try to oppress the open access free speech availability offered by new technologies, a growing tech savvy and aware population is able to get around these obstacles.  The demand for freedom of speech is so great that although the attempt is made to suppress information and ideas it is not successful in shutting the world out from its citizens. We also see that here in the US and not just abroad that the internet can be used to promote change and social awareness.  During the Obama campaign part of the success of generating funds for the candidacy was done with an efficient web based promotion of his candidacy.  Many have attributed his successful campaign to become President of the United States in part due to his new way of using the Internet to campaign.  It was easy to find out what his platform and agenda was as well as  an opportunity to donate with just one click. 

Now more than ever it is important to explore how democracy and the idea of democracy is increasingly gaining strength as technologies help communications become available on a global scale.  It is also equally as important to preserve the free access and freedom of speech that is provided by these technologies.