Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Digg Dialogg

Digg, as some of you may be aware of is a type of social media site where interesting stories/pictures/videos are submitted too this site and these stories are subsequently "dugg" up (voted up), or buried (voted down). This then informally separates what users believe to be the best/ most popular stories that end up on "the front page"; it allows users of the site to dictate what they think are the most interesting stories to share with other users.

Digg Dialogg on the other hand employs this "digging" tactic to converstations with famous people. The community is alerted that some form of celebrity will be interviewed in the coming weeks, questions are submitted and then users can "digg" the questions they think would be most interesting to ask the celebrity..

Recently Kevin Rose, founder of interviewed Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails using the most popular questions submitted and "dugg" by users of the site. The result was a very interesting, in depth 40 minute interview with Reznor, the questions are very enthrawling and you one can tell there was a lot of effort put into the content of the questions, bringing a more interesting facet to the art of interviewing, as all of the questions are submitted by different people and semi-democratically voted on.

The interview can be found here, if you have time to kill, it is a very interesting interview.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Facebook and the Workplace

In class we discussed the issues of employers checking up on their perspective employees by using Facebook to get a more personal look into the lives of the people who they might employ.

An invasion of privacy? An unnecessary step that transcends the relationship between employer and employee and the interview process? Perhaps...

But what happens when Facebook is used on an everyday basis as factual evidence, evidence that can be used against you in the work place.

We all have pictures on Facebook that we wouldn't necessarily share with our Grandparents, but what happens if this information is used against you.

I read an article a few months back of an Australian employee who took a sick day (the company need not know it was because he was hung over) however, his manager saw on his Facebook status that he was playing hookie from work because he was "still trashed".

Is this too far? Should the manager turn a blind eye? As his contract states that he does not need medical note for missing one day of work...

The article can be read here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Net Neutrality... Is it coming.

Read this article about the recent announcement Time Warner Cable has made to its customers in selected parts of Texas, North Carolina and New York.

Time Warner Cable plans to announce a 40 GB cap to Internet to customers in selected areas. To put this into perspective 40GB is about the amount of watching 9 hours of high definition video online. This may seem like a lot but for customers who download music, surf the internet regularly on multiple computers or play Xbox/playstation on line, it is not a lot of content allowed to be downloaded. Customers who go over will be charged an additional $1 for each GB they go over.

Because this is such a new story it will be interesting to see how the how the company will react when the public begins its backlash. Is this censoring of the amount of information ISP's are sending the beginning of an even bigger issue of net neutrality as we discussed in class? Should TWC be allowed to charge their customers in this mannor? Should there be a law against it or should the free market reign over issues such as these...?

Alright, so this is a new site that I stumbled upon recently. It is a very simple, straight forward site with so many interesting facets that touch upon things that we've talked about in class.

It is completely anonymous so you have no idea who you are talking to. Basically the site just pairs you up with someone else using the service and you begin to talk. I have yet to have any interesting conversations with anyone for the three times that I have tried it. The conversations I have had have been so juvenile, I thought about posting some of the more meaningful conversations I've had, but they have yet to materialize yet.

I'm actually afraid to have a meaningful conversation with someone because they can leave unannounced and I just think it would be weird giving out further contact information on this type of medium.

Try it out. Maybe post some interesting conversations you've had or some experiences...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

News or Opinion...?

Dear Class,

Please review this article found in last weeks Cord before you read this blog.

I have met dozens of Communication Studies students, including myself who have been appalled by this piece featured in the Cord. I'm going to offer my highly opinionated critique of this highly opinionated "news article". I'm not normally this openly critical about other peoples opinions but this article struck the wrong cord (pardon the pun), in me.

Firstly, this article is not "news" as it is referred to, it is a subjective account of a highly cynical student who apparently has had an isolated, negative experience with the program she has chosen.

Secondly, if the writer wants her "more aloof'" peers to act more critically in class, perhaps she should critically addresses her distaste with the department and offer some concrete solutions to the problem rather than placing the blame on part-time professors and the fact that classes are only 12 weeks in duration. (Although I like her idea of adopting full time, in-depth, year long classes).

Thirdly, what kind of "news article" features hasty, sweeping generalizations such as this piece. One prime generalization is that categorizes Communication studies students as "many glazed-over faces [that] mindlessly attend lectures and do not engage in class". We (communication students) apparently are "dedicated to continuing the Laurier reputation of [the]party-goer extraordinaire". Last time i checked we also contributed to Laurier's reputation of having one of the highest educational experience ratings in Canada according to Macleans magazine, 5th overall in fact. What's wrong with working hard and playing hard...?

I'm not undermining her opinion or saying that she hasn't experienced what she has written, but the fact that she has generalized hard-working, participating students that DO care about their education and subject matter with the aloof and uncritical members of our school (and they do exist), doesn't sit well with me. I feel that there needs to be a critical rebuttle to these highly generalized claims because it is a far too shallow depiction of what goes on in the depatrment (for the most part), in my opinion.

I do agree with her that some reform could be used to improve the quality of education within the department however, what department couldn't...

Maybe the reason I'm so critical is because this is one of the best classes I've been enrolled in, in terms of participation, critical thinking and engaging subject matter; I couldn't allow this course, Dr. Boutros and the student in our class be generalized in this manner.

I invite the author of this article to attend one of our seminars and see the potential and critical thinking our department is capable of....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Dangers of Citezen Media: an Experiment

One long boring day in first year, a high school friend of mine and I had discovered one of the most useful tools on the Internet, Wikipedia.

Wikipedia as you are probably familiar with is a citizen media site where people can edit and add content to entries much like an Encyclopedia however, it can be updated instantly and constantly as events occur.

Of course there are monitors on these type of sites which read content and delete untrue or unsourced information for major articles. But what about the smaller articles that people don't typically read?

My friend and I edited three topics on Wikipedia. One to say that I "Wade Halicki" created Islam, that I dated Katie Holmes (before Tom Cruise, obviously) and that I was writting songs for my favourite band, Thrice. Consequently, we received several messages on Wikipedia that edits from our IP would not be accepted any longer, the Katie Holmes and Islam pages were quickly edited back and locked for several weeks.

The Thrice page with the information that I co-wrote a song still exists till this day, three years after the fact, as seen on song two.

This is not the problem however. Shortly after we edited Wikipedia other lyric sites began to get their information about songs and albums from wikipedia. Consequently, if you search my name on google, you get 3500 hits, a majority of which state that I wrote this song, which of course I did not.

So, the dangers of citezen media are quite apparent. If one source is wrong or edited improperly and a nother source uses the same information as well as a nother and so on, this information becomes a truth on the internet. The non-fact that I wrote a song for Thrice is featured in over 3000 websites in the duration of three years, how could it not be true???

Sunday, February 15, 2009

[ToS] Terms of Service

Apparently, judging by my recent blog post I'm fascinated by the social implications of Facebook, this post doesn't stray from this fact...

Acquiring some inspiration from my previous post I have read article upon article revolving around Facebook's ToS changes. Not that any of you remember this but when you first subscribed to Facebook, you agreed to a ToS which was 'subject to change at anytime', and well that change has come.

By clicking agree to these terms you agreed that Facebook can change its service at anytime with no warning to the people that use it. Facebook's old ToS used to feature a line which read..

"You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

This, as recently as last week has been removed from from Facebook's ToS essentially implying that Facebook can and will keep all of your content long after you delete it... Stating that...

"The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other."

This means that even if you delete your account facebook has the right to keep all of your content forever and do what they want with your content.

Obviously because this information is fresh, little is known what Facebook can or will do with your content in the future. The first think I thought of is that they can use your pictures or conversations with others against you in the future if you become a person of above average celebrity status. Facebook can, if you run for President say, sell your content to TMZ and tarnish your image if there are any incriminating or embarrasing pictures you or friends have posted of you.

I'm sure there are more serious implications for this new ToS, and I am interested to see what my class thinks.....