Sunday, November 30, 2008

Observations for the final essay

For the past couple of weeks, I have been observing the Web 2.0 medium eBay. On this website, people are able to buy and sell items from other people or businesses. I previously have used eBay therefore I have my own account. Being a member provides me with reminders, a summary of my account, items that I am watching or bidding on, items that I am selling, and items that I have won and not won. When you first go on the site, there are categories to choose from or you can type in what you want. Now that it’s getting closer to Christmas time, there is even a link of Christmas gifts you can purchase for your significant other and family members. You can purchase items from businesses or eBay users.

eBay relies heavily on trust. People must trust the person that they are buying the item from that it is exactly what they said it was and that they ship it to them. What helps with this is the option of rating the seller and making comments about them. People are less likely to buy a product from you if you have a low percentage and there are negative comments written about you. I once purchased an item on eBay and never received it, but thankfully to the new payment system PayPal (electronic way of making payments and money transfers), I received my money back. You also get feedback from the seller so if you did not have a good transaction due to not paying fast or not paying at all, that hurts your reputation as a buyer.

I really do not know that much about eBay and plan to do a lot of research to further my knowledge and become a better user on it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Issues of Privacy

For today’s reading, we had to read “A privacy paradox: social networking in the United States” by Susan B. Barnes. This reading is about the privacy issues with social networking in regards to teenagers. According to the reading, one of the biggest problems with teenagers interacting in these networks is that they are learning how to use them from their friends, not from their parents or teachers. This is a problem because teenagers reveal most of their intimate thoughts and behaviors online. So when they believe that their information is private, not only do marketers read what is being revealed, but also college administration, teachers, and parents (Barnes, 2006). They need to realize that sharing personal information on social networks with online friends also means sharing with parents, future employees, and university officials. This can directly influence a student’s education, employment, and financial future (Barnes, 2006).

According to the reading, another problem with privacy is that the government agency marketers collect personal data about them using this information. This is seen as a problem because many people don’t even know that their privacy is being jeopardized and they do not know how to keep their personal information safe (Barnes, 2006). According to Barnes, adults are concerned about the invasion of their privacy, while teenagers give up their personal information so willingly.

Later on in the reading, it talks about how when teenagers are giving up their personal information, this information could also be used by data-miners. Some of the solutions discussed in the reading include getting the parents more involved. Also, some schools have tried to make the students aware of the possible dangers of giving up too much information, even not allowing some students and athletes to be on any of these social networks.

After reading this, I realized that I too may be putting too much personal information about me on these networks. Although I do not have MySpace, I do have my name, address, birth date, and e-mail address on Facebook. I did not see it as that much of a problem because I thought my friends were the only ones that could see it. I knew that once I got out of college that I was either going to delete my Facebook, or change the privacy preferences on it so no pictures or information about me was available to anyone I didn’t authorize. After reading this, I might be doing that sooner than later.

Barnes, Susan B. (2006)A privacy paradox: social networking in the United States. First Monday, 11. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bloggers vs. Traditional Journalists

A blog could be described as a personal diary that one can use to post their ideas and receive feedback on. For my fourth essay, we were assigned to explore the blogosphere and explain our experiences using a blog of our choice. Aaron Barlow, author of Blogging America, talks about how the blogosphere is a public sphere in which people are open to comment on and criticize anything that they please. Barlow raises many themes of how blogging affects the internet, media, and the people who have access to it. One theme that really caught my eye was the tension between bloggers and traditional journalists, when they are not at all that different. These Journalists take on a more vertical prospective, which means they believe there is a passive audience that they have to provide information to. They do not believe that the audience should be writing about things that they may not necessarily have the proper resources and education to write about. The horizontal perspective, in contrast, believes that blogs and amateur journalism can still be successful even if people who write them are not professional journalists. According to Barlow in Chapter 5, traditional journalists fear the horizontal structure that comes with bloggers because they are able to revise and participate on thesejournals, unlike the past. In the blog that I observed for seven days, the author shows that the new breed of journalists is capable of writing informative and successful blogs. This provides a whole new idea of journalism, where the reader can actively participate (Barlow, 2008).

The blog that I decided to use is entitled, and it features blogs that cover mostly politics. After reading her biography, I found out that besides from having her own website (where she is the only author of the blogs), she also blogs twice weekly on a column for PoliticalUSA, and occasionally for the New York Post. She is an attorney, a radio talk show host, and has other successes that have led to her being famous. She is #83 on Top Blogs and a finalist for the 2005 Weblog Awards. With all this being said, I believe her to have a lot of credibility and believe what she says is true, and not fictitious. I also do see how opinionated she is, and how a traditional journalist would think she was just ranting and raving. She also can be bias towards certain groups of people, which may hurt her chances of being credible to some.

It is understood that according to Barlow, traditional journalists see blogs simply as opinions. I completely agree. As stated before, I instantly was able to tell that she was Jewish and very Conservative just from reading two or thereof her blogs. However, I also was able to tell that she was very intelligent, knew what she was talking about, and definitely had done research in order to write what she writes. Although I didn’t always side with her beliefs, she had such strong arguments that actually made me think about where she was coming from and even once almost changing my mind. Also, reading people’s comments helped me to think about it from her point of view. This is something that a journalist would have a lot of trouble doing since they do not get reader participation.

One thing that I was disappointed about was that even though her website is a blog where people are suppose to leave all type of comments, there was not a lot of negative feedback. This plays into the belief that blogs aren’t interesting to everyone except the group of people that share common interests. One of the negative comments that I did see, was someone agreed with the paper and said that Debbie was wrong .Then, someone else commented after about them being a “troll”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person who did write that to Debbie was in fact a journalist agreeing with the paper, or just someone who was an Obama fan. This is another form of tension that goes on. I also never received any feedback when I posted a comment, on debbieschlussel (gamegrl23).I found it funny that when Debbie was asked why she moved from journalism to blogging, she actually replied that she wanted to do something more creative. This is another tension where bloggers see themselves as creative and intelligent, where traditional journalists just see them as ranting.

Although there is tension between the two groups of people, I believe in the long run it would be better for them to come together and help each other out. There are blogs out there that I find absolutely unintelligent and ignorant, so I can see where journalists are coming from. There are also people who comment and blog irrelevant things which can frustrate anyone. However, there are two sides to every story. As much as these journalists disagree with blogging, it is inevitable to stop it and blogging will only get more and more popular.


Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

blog #5

Today, being Veteran’s Day, I figured that Debbie would’ve posted a lot of blogs about it. To my surprise, she only posted one. I had the same feelings as she did about how not a lot of attention from the media dedicated to this day. I would’ve never even have known based on the Wall Street and Albany news that it was a holiday and actually a parade down the road from me occurred. I commented, under the name gamegrl23, about how I agreed with her and enjoyed the two pictures that she put up. I also decided to look at her movie reviews today, which I had not done before. I felt she was a little harsh on one particular movie, “Role Models”, because I didn’t think it was as bad as she is. I also found it interesting that she had a “Discussion” tab on her blog that was a group dedicated to promoting, discussing, and publicizing her writings. The category that was used for what type of group it was is “Journalism.” One question that was asked on her discussion board was about how she jumped from journalism to something more creative. I find this interesting because people think of blogging as more creative then journalism, something that professional writers may have a problem with.

Monday, November 10, 2008

blog #4

One of the blogs that Debbie wrote today was about the USA today paper and how it was promoting tourism to Iran. She goes on to say that now with Obama as president-elect, we will be seeing a lot more of these types of things. What was very interesting today was that someone stuck up for the paper and disagreed with Debbie, than was later called a troll by another commenter. I find this interesting because I had yet so see any type of troll activity, but I guess after today there is. One criticism I do have for Debbie’s blogs is that sometimes they are just too long. A lot of this is due to the fact that she posts a lot of long paragraphs from newspapers. She also is very harsh on Obama and other Democrats, but after all the wrong and mean things that have and are still being said about McCain, it’s such a change to hear Obama bashing. A lot of her writing also has a lot of emphasis on Jewish people and the false information that has been passed through history. With her being Jewish, it’s kind of hard to look past any type of bias that she may have.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blog #3

I really enjoy reading Debbie's blogs because not only is she funny, but she says things that no one else will say. People are still leaving comments about how amazing she is and no one disagrees with her. This is surprising to me because she is very opinionated and no one is challenging her. Hopefully in the next couple of days someone will disagree with her and she will write back.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

blog #2

On the blog today, Debbie talked a lot about Obama. It's obvious that a lot of republicans read her blog because no one posted anything that was argumentative. It was interesting to read people's comments because they were either backing her up and adding more information to her topic. She's very opinionated, but I like reading what she has to say. She's very intelligent and successful. It's nice to read something from someone who speaks their mind.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For my fourth essay, I decided to observe and comment on the blog, which I found off of Technorati. For the past couple of days, I have been observing what Debbie, the only blogger, has been posting and the comments people are making. The blogs cover mostly politics. She is a conservative political commentator, radio talk show host, columnist, and also an attorney. I decided to pick something like this because I am interested in what she has to say about the events leading up to and after the 2008 election. On the side of the blog, she has a blogroll and ads by Google. She is rated #83 on Top Blogs and a finalist for the 2005 Weblog Awards. She appears to blog between 7-10 times a day, always keeping up with recent news. In order to comment, I had to join TypeKey and get my member name and password. To much of my surprise, a lot of the comments are in favor of what she is saying and not opposing them. However, maybe after a couple days some of these negative comments will surface. I’m excited to see what more blogs are to come and also to comment on them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reaction Chapter 4

For class today, we had to read chapter 4 of Blogging America by Aaron Barlow. The chapter starts off comparing two different perspectives of viewing the internet. The horizontal perspective is one in which decisions come through a group as a whole. This differs from the vertical perspective which consists of hierarchy and people tending to rise up until they reach a level where they are unable to perform efficiently (Barlow). He later goes on to talk about how blogs usually fit more into the horizontal structure, while commercial and news organizations have more of a vertical format. Barlow also talks about two different types of journalism, the traditional oppose to the newer journalism. The “newer” type of journalism consists of bloggers and citizen journalists who are sometimes called amateur because they do not have the appropriate resources, skills, and ethics to write news like the traditional journalists. There is also the problem of them just giving their opinions and not the important facts, according to Barlow.

Going back to Barlow and the two different structures, the newer journalists see themselves writing in a horizontal fashion, while the professionals are seen more as experts and as gatekeepers. Barlow begins to talk about the concept of crowdsourcing. This is an attempt to combine both of these groups together to help each other create better journalism. The reading talks about how commercial news media could release stories that aren’t completely “newsworthy” to the internet, where the amateur journalists can do research and put the story out there faster and to more people. This proves the point that journalism does not have to be set up in a vertical structure in order to work (Barlow). According to the reading, many news media are unwilling to try this new concept due to resistance by professional journalists. If they are willing to give up some of their vertical control, then journalists could also work with their readers to develop stories. This would strengthen the public sphere, bring the community together, and help create an informed populace (Barlow).

I believe that citizen journalism is a good idea. I know that when I read news online, I always scroll to the bottom to see what people think and are blogging about. I like to see what other people’s opinions are and how they are interpreting what I am reading. Although it hasn’t really hasn’t taken off, I think that the lessons Dan Gilmor provided in the Barlow chapter would really help it become more successful.

Barlow, Aaron. Blogging America. (2008). The Blogs, Political Issues, and the Press (Chapter 4).