Readings 3: Here Comes Everybody: DIY, Crowds, and Collaboration

I’m not going to lie, this weeks articles were difficult for me to get through. I’m not sure if it was the lengthiness of them, the fact that they really didn’t spark my interest, or that I never heard of these topics before.

I’ll start with the articles that were the most informative to me.  ”The Ignorance of Crowds”, “Is Crowd Sourcing Evil? The Design Community Weighs in”, and “Should We Trust the Wisdom of Crowds.” They all touched on the subject of crowd sourcing. Is it beneficial or disastrous? I think there are a lot of cons in crowd sourcing when it comes to the design world.  The fact that designers now have to fight and compete with other artists through websites like crowdSpring and 99designs is horrible. I get that it is an even playing field but it devalues designers and their work.  It also makes the prices cheaper for the work. Designers put a lot of time and effort into their work and if clients receive different bids and designs for what they are looking for they can end liking two examples and but make their decision based off of the cheaper design.  However, a pro to crowd sourcing is that more can be done in larger groups. Editing and de-bugging the web for examples, goes quicker when there is a crowd doing it. Working in larger group leads to more work being done in less amount of time.

The debate between Andrew Keen and David Weinberger was really hard for me to follow. I didn’t like the tone of the debate at some points. I got caught up on thinking how rude they were being that I had to go back and re-read some parts. Overall I got that Mr Keen was arguing that Web 2.0 was taking away from talents and Mr. Weinberger was arguing that Web 2.0 was full of greatness and opportunity. I think that both men made valid points. Mr. Keen kept going back to his theory that the web consists of cockroaches and monkeys. What he meant by that is that the internet is made up of mostly trash. There might be valid blogs, posts, and readings on the web but the comments below them are mostly trash. He thinks they are mostly trash because they aren’t edited and thought out by the bloggers. He says because the web allows anyone to make comments it allows uneducated people to make ridiculous comments. Mr Weinberger makes the valid point that the web doesn’t have good taste or bad, and that is why the web so great! It doesn’t matter whether the bloggers are educated or not because everyone can still learn from that information. Mr Keen also argues that when we go online we are watching ourselves. That the web is fazing out great talents. Mr. Weinberger replies to Mr Keens argument that the web isn’t fazing those talents out. Instead the web 2.0 is allowing more talents to flourish and it allows those talents to spread to a wider audience.

I really enjoyed watching those couple of videos. The video “The Machine is Us/ing Us” was super interesting. It made me think of the Disney movie “Smart House.” In the movie a family wins a contest and the prize is owning this very top of the line ‘Smart House.’ The house does their laundry, cooks them meals, makes their beds, wakes them up, etc. However at the end of the movie, the house goes nuts because it becomes over protective and jealous of the family’s friends and relationships they have with other people. This is what I think the internet is going to do one day. Not to the extreme of the smart house but to some extent. I think the web one day is going to control us. It was once so simple. People had to manually tell the sites to connect. Now the internet makes connections by itself. It keeps track of the sites you visit, and how many times. It can even suggest new sites you should visit based on your history. Will the internet one day become so controlling that we don’t have a say?

Henry Jenkins is a smart guy. His interview about Participatory Culture really made you think. Yes, the internet gives everyone the access of participating in a variety of subjects but if you don’t have access to the internet then you can not participate. That is the idea of Fairness Participation. It is something to think about. He also asks the question “How is Technology Changing Your World?” I pondered that question for a bit. Has it changed my world that much? I concluded that I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with as many people as I do and I wouldn’t be able to be a web designer. No technology…no web…no web designer.


Some other questions to think about:

Web 2.0, is it good or evil? Do you agree with Mr. Keen, or Mr. Weinberger?

Will the internet, one day, have more of a say then we do?

How did technology already change your world?

What is your opinion on crowdsourcing?


Readings 2: Networks and New Media

Google: Is it making us Stupid or Smarter? This is the first topic that was raised in the first two articles this week.

I agree with statements brought to our attention by both Nicolas Carr and Jamais Cascio. Nicolas Carr brought up a few important things we should be thinking about. In his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid” he asks the question, how much do we absorb while reading online? This is extremely interesting because when you think about it he’s correct. We are distracted by ads, pop-ups, messages, etc. when we are trying to read online. The human brain absorbs more information when it is not distracted. He thinks that people in the 70’s and 80’s actually read more without the internet then we do now with the internet. They could focus and concentrate on the material they were reading. It is a whole new way of thinking. Personally, I understand what Mr. Carr is talking about. In elementary school and middle school I did not have access to the internet and my study habits were different then they are now. My brain was programmed differently. When I was reading his article I got distracted twice by a sidebar “just in” which were new articles that were recently posted on The Atlantic web page. I had to keep catching myself and redirecting myself back to the article. We have shorter attention spans then we use to.

In Jamais Cascio’s article “Get Smarter” he argues the opposite of what Mr. Carr was saying. Mr. Cascio argued the point that the internet makes us smarter. He touches on the subject of Cognitive Calisthenics. Cognitive Calisthenics is the idea of exercising our brains. He thinks that because we are exposed to so many details while reading online that we actually absorb more things without even realizing it. He thinks that the internet is actually helping our brains expand and become smarter.

Another topic in the article “Get Smarter” was about the prescription drug Modafinil. This is found particularly interesting to me because I had never heard of it. A question I immediately thought of was how is the use of Modafinil legal and Steroids are not? Essentially it is the same thing. Modafinil is an advantage to a scholar and steroids is an advantage to an athlete.

The articles “Seeking Thinsporation,” “It Gets Better Project,” and “Online Anorexia Videos Prompt Call For Website Restrictions” were a little upsetting to read. The fact that young youths are bullied because of their sexuality is unacceptable but the message the It Gets Better Project is sending out is great! In this instance the internet is being used in a positive and uplifting way. The articles touching on Anorexia hit home because a very close friend of mine use to use those types of websites to find tips on how to live an anorexic or bulimic lifestyle. It wasn’t until she needed help that I ever heard of such sites. The information posted on those websites were disturbing and twisted. The question of whether or not these sites should be restricted is tough because most argue that they are supportive in a recovery way and not supportive in a destructive way. I might be biased when saying this, but when websites give people step by step instructions or tips on how to live an anorexic or bulimic lifestyle, something should be done. I understand that they search to find those websites but if  they couldn’t find that information so easily then maybe they wouldn’t be able to train their minds into thinking in an eating disorder way. This leads us to the discussion on Net Neutrality. Should the internet stay a free domain? Or should the government have control? Should certain websites be faster than others based on how much they pay? 

The internet is a great source for job hunting however, it is also a great place for any employers to find dirt on their employees. In the “Building Your Online Brand” tips they ask, have you ever googled yourself? Well, for me, I never had. I immediately opened another tab on my laptop and typed my full name into the search engine. What popped up? My picture on my WordPress blog, my first Photoshop project in college, an abstract photo of my left eye, and a bowling article from when I played in high school. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. It’s scary how much is stored on the internet.

Some questions I thought of while reading the articles:

In regards to online reading and whether or not it is making us smarter or dumber:  Would you consider the iPad, Kindle, or Nook online reading? Why or why not?

Is there or is there not a difference between Modafinil for Scholars vs Steroids for Athletes?

What are your thoughts on Net Neutrality?

Do you think employers should be able to judge someone on what they find on Google? Why or why not?

Readings 1: Digital Photography & Social Networking

Facebook: some think its amazing, some think its dangerous. I think it isn’t the site that is bad, but the people who join. I remember when I first heard the word “Facebook”. I was fourteen hanging out with my older sister and her friends. I had a myspace account already but when I heard about Facebook I just remember I was very disappointed. At that time you could only join Facebook if you were a college student. Oh! How times have changed!

I agree with the article “The Avatar of Me”. Each and every single thing we post to our profiles reflects on the people that we are. I’ll admit it right now, I have consciously  made picture, statuses, and tagline choices since being a member of Facebook. I have even typed up a status and then took it down because I was thinking too much about what other people would think. It could bring unnecessary anxiety into ones life.

Does it bring me stress? I can honestly say it doesn’t. Could I see it bringing other people stress? Yes. It’s all about how you view the site and how you use it. Now that I am older, and I like to think a little wiser, I do not use Facebook all that often. It was once a tool to meet people and make plans, and now I use it more to keep in touch with people and keep updated with what is happening in my “real friends” lives. It a positive tool in that aspect.

When I was reading the assigned articles I could not help but think about the MTV show Catfish. It is a show where people are in relationships with other people they have never met. They go and meet these people. Most of the time they are greatly disappointed. They have been deceived by these people for years.

These social networking sites allow people to enter relationships only knowing what is posted on the profiles created. Facebook allows people to hide who they really are. It allows people to become personas of who they WANT to be.

I really found the article “Here I Am Taking My Own Pictures”  interesting because it was written in 2006. Not that much has changed just now they are known as “Selfies”. It is now a whole new phase in photography. Which I think is so neat!

I understand why parents would be so nervous about their children entering a social networking site but at the same time, this is the era their children are growing up in. They need learn to be safe while creating a profile but I think it is a must have. There are pros and cons to everything. If one is careful and selective of who they allow in their online world then I think networking sites are positive. Its when people allow anyone and everything into their online world that it gets tricky. You might be honest on your profile but not everyone is. It is very easy to lie and deceive others over the web because they can not see you and you are not held accountable. I think, you should only put personal pictures or posts on the web that you would be proud of in years to come.

As far as the girls scout article goes, I couldn’t help but think, what about young adolescent males? It is the same for everyone. I know that the girls scouts are trying to promote safe and positive profiles but I think they should include the boys as well. Yes, being an adolescent girl is difficult and they all want to be liked and viewed as fun and pretty but boys also go through a rough adolescent phase. A lot of young boys feel pressure to be cool and fun too. Maybe the Boy Scout of America can write an article too.

My last name begins with “C” so I read “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”

I don’t think its Facebook that is making us lonely but the amount of time spent on Facebook is. Since the internet was made available in homes, contact between humans has diminished.  We have become distant with one another. We text instead of call. Email instead of going into work. The social connection between one another has gone from face to face, to online. I understand that it is easier to communicate through the internet.  Contact between each other is very important. All I could think reading this article was about laughter. Laughter soothes the soul. Laughing makes people feel better. If someone is feeling down and is talking online to a friend a “Lol” doesn’t have the same affect as a good laugh.