Wednesday, October 29, 2008

For Com430z, I had to read Chapter 2 of Blogging America by Aaron Barlow. Barlow talks about how incredible popular blogging has become. According to Barlow, blogs can be seen in many ways. They could be seen as; nothing more than newsletters, people venting, or as being harmful. There are many negative characteristics of blogging discussed in this reading. These include how blogs are difficult to tell if they’re true or fictitious because of the fact that anyone can say whatever they want without it being filtered. Also, there is the opportunity of being threatened on a blog. In the reading, there were two different individuals, Clarke and Moulistas, that had different opinions on whether or not to consider these threats seriously. I agreed with Clarke because even though it may not turn out to be serious, threats should always be taken with precaution no matter what the context of it is.

Another characteristic about blogging from the reading is that people are no longer hiding their identity with pseudonyms, but instead telling people who they are because they want to be known. With giving up anonymity, there is always risk of putting oneself out in the public. Also, according to the reading, blogging can be risky when people write before they think and write something that may cause them harm.

Although I am not very familiar with blogging, I do think that they are mostly harmless and really are just people voiceing their opinions. I agree with Barlow when he talks about a negative characteristic of blogging being that anyone can write whatever they want with no filters and do not have to write facts. This could cause people to get false information and also have false information written about them. However, through this class, I have learned concepts that help me to decipher what is bias, not credible, and something that I should not believe to be a fact.

Barlow, Aaron. Blogging America. (2008). The Blogs in Society (Chapter 2).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Searching and Determing Quality of Information (Essay #3)

People these days need to make sure they are being careful while searching for credible information on the Internet. There are a lot of websites that provide false, discrediting, and unreliable information that people mistake for being true. Although many websites may seem factual, it is important to be able to distinguish what is a reliable website, and what is not. This includes knowing the author/publisher of the website, if it has a good reputation, if it is frequently updated, if it does not have a lot of advertisements, it’s not bias, and it’s not poorly laid out (Tensen, 2004). For this third essay, I decided to use three different search engines (Google, Yahoo, and EBSCOhost) to help me look up information regarding the Web 2.0 communication medium I chose to research, which is eBay. EBay is a Web 2.0 communication medium that allows buyers and sellers to come together to trade products from all over the world. In this essay, I will share my results and evaluate the utility of the search engines/databases that I used, and the quality of information that I acquired.

The first search engine I used was Google. The first keyword I typed in was eBay, but most of the results were for the actual website, or subcategories of eBay. I decided to change my keyword search to “The history of eBay” and found a lot more results. My first source was an article titled “Learn how eBay began as a small business in someone's living room and grew into one of the top earning Websites on the Internet.” This article was located on a website called Although the author, Amy Mullen, provides a great history of eBay, I would not use this site because it’s old, there are numerous advertisements, and I do not trust the site’s reputation. Also, the layout of the page does not appear scholarly. The second source I found using the same keyword, was an article titled “The eBay Way”, which was located on This is a good source because of the excellent reputation businessweek has and the fact that I know that it is credible. Although it is a little outdated, it is a good source for the keyword I typed in because it gives me the complete and accurate history of eBay. The third source I found through Google was an article titled “How Did eBay Start,” from the website This is a credible website for finding out about the history and also finding out what eBay has to offer. It is frequently updated, has an author and publisher, and is well organized. It lacks a scholarly appearance, but it treats eBay with a certain amount of complexity. For my forth source, I decided to change my keyword. I went to advanced search and typed in how is successful, and also typed in eBay for exact wording. I came across an article titled “Why is eBay so Successful”, on AssociatedContent. comI do not consider this a good source because it was outdated, the writer only received a 2.9 out of 5 stars, I am not familiar with the reputation of the site, and there are so many ads between Google and AssociatedContent.

The second search engine I used was The second search engine I used was I decided to use the keywords “what is”, and exact phrase being eBay. The first source I found was an article titled “Technology Tip Number 163:
How do I eBay something?”, on This is not a credible source because it doesn’t have an author, publisher, date of publication, or any type of information. There are more ads on it then information, so therefore I would not use this site at all. Also, it had grammatically incorrect errors. The second source I got was from Yahoo!Small business. This was also not a credible source because it turned out to be bias. It was someone asking a question, and someone answering it. Even though the information was accurate, it is not credible to get a source of information this way because there is not an established author or publisher, it is just a person answering the question. For the next source, I changed the keyword “eBay auction”. One of the first things that came up was called “eBay” from the website This website provides an abundant amount of information on eBay, however, I do not think it is credible because it is Wikipedia. This means that anyone can edit the information and it is not a scholarly source. I would make a reference to this site, but would not use it as a source in an essay.

The third search engine I used was EBSCOhost. For all three sources that I got from EBSCOhost, I used the keywords eBay and online auctions. All three sources are reliable, and I would definitely use them in my final essay. The three articles i found were EBay Opens Web Services API by Gregg Keizer, EBay to Launch OEM Trade in Program by Amy Gilroy, and How to Obey on eBay. It was easier than LexusNexus to find information because of the option of using and/or. The only thing about EBSCOhost was that it was hard to find relevant information on eBay. When I tried refining my search and making it narrower, including making the keywords eBay and history, or eBay and what is it, I didn’t find anything that related to it and sometimes didn’t find anything at all. For all my EBSCOhost searches, I changed the preferences to have the articles sorted out by relevance first. The best source I found, however, was through EBSCOhost. The article talked about the plans of eBay and how it opened up its web service application programming interface for buying and selling online. When I tried to use the NYTimes as a search engine and used the keyword eBay, it only gave me qualitative information, as oppose to quantitative. Although NYtimes is a good site, I just decided not to use it because it had irrelevant information.

According to Tensen, most internet search engines compile results by ranking pages according to what term you used. When using Google and Yahoo, whenever I typed in eBay, I would get the same results, which were just subcategory pages of eBay. When I used keywords such as history, what is it, about eBay; I received more refined information to what I was looking for. I am more familiar with Google so I find this search engine much more effective with Yahoo. After using it many times a day, I find it easy to decipher which site I click will have relevant information. EBSCOhost is very effective because it is a scholarly and academic source. However, it‘s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. The use of keywords is very important in this search because if you use the right keywords, you can find exactly what you’re looking for in this database.

Many people rely on search engines to find information on research papers, reports, and everyday things. It's important to know the credibility of the website you are getting your information from so you know what is correct and what is not. Using Tensen's "quick check" and evaluating the website, people will be able to better realize what is fact, fiction, or opinion.


Economist.How to obey on eBay ; 6/11/2005, Vol. 375 Issue 8430, p66-66, 1/4p

Gilroy, Amy. (2004). Ebay To Launch OEM Trade-In Program. TWICE: This Week in Consumer Electronics; 12/20/2004, Vol. 19 Issue 26, p86-86, 1/4p

Keizer, Gregg (2005). EBay Opens Web Services API. Dr. Dobb's Journal: Software Tools for the Professional Programmer; Feb2005, Vol. 30 Issue 2, Special section p3-3, 1p

Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research strategies for a digital age (chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Role of Expertise in Navigating Links of Influence

For class on Wednesday, we were assigned to read “The Role of Expertise in Navigating Links of Influence” by Eszter Hargaittai. In this essay, the author focuses on the importance of links and search engines and how they can allocate user attention. However, they also have negative consequences. Hargaittai talks about how too much links can overwhelm a system, making information inaccessible. Other consequences include “Google bombing”, which is “the practice of manipulating search engine results by aggressively targeting links to a specific site with the same anchor text where the anchor text refers to the text that links to another page” (Hargaittai, pg 92). Although most of them aren’t harmful, they still can be quite bothersome. According to the author, their main purpose is to come up high or first on search engine results and get money by getting people to click on the link, which I have fell victim to many of times by clicking the first result on a page.

One of the main points the author talks about is how people’s socioeconomic status exhibit a statistically significant relationship with online savvy. Hargittai finds a correlation between people who scored higher on their college entrance exams and whose parents have high level of education to have more familiarity with both main-stream and more advanced Internet-related terms. I do not know how much I agree with these findings because I had a high score for my college entrance exam, my father has a very high level of education, but I knew none of the terms being brought up. I do not feel this has anything to do with my college entrance exam or my father’s education level, it’s just I have never taken an Internet course in my life, and didn’t even have a computer class in high school. The author concludes with that fact user’s levels of expertise are mediated by links. Also in the reading, the author claims that since it appears that people with a higher socioeconomic status have higher Internet savvy, the Internet very may well be contributing to social inequalities.

It was interesting to find out that Blogspot, the very website I am posting this on, appears to be one of the most spam-infested sites. It was also interesting to read that many people do not know how to filter e-mails, websites, and links or know if any of these are secure. After reading this I realized I was on of those people and how careless I am when I do engage in Internet activity. I also believe I have gained a lot of knowledge about computer terms and also securing myself and my computer.

Hargittai, Eszter. (2008). The role of expertise in navigating links of influence. In Joseph Turow and Lokman Tsui (Eds.), The hyperlinked society: Questioning connections in the digital age (pp. 85-103). Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.