your opinion matters… sometimes…

Have you ever read an article that ignited a sense of opinion? A view point on a topic you never thought to venture down? How about reading comments at the end of the article and all you want to do is bash the author or bash the people who are bashing the author?

“Comment sections on high volume websites have become increasingly problematic. The mixture of public anonymity and tech prowess has put such sites on the defensive as they attempt to combat spam and uncouth behaviour. Their goal is to find and preserve a sweet spot between civility and freedom of expression. The uphill battle against internet trolls requires vigilance, creative design and for most websites, continuous adjustments.”

Everyone has an opinion on everything. Whether positive or negative, people have an opinion. As Oversite online mentioned above from their article, Comment Section Conundrums, there’s a fine line. When it comes to commenting on a news article, some people feel the need to bash the author and the context that’s included. Whether it’s positive or negative, what matters is how the comment is proposed.

I believe comments are important. It allows the author to see how their words are impacting his/her readers. Having said that, there is a right and wrong way of expressing your feelings. If comments remain thought provoking and are critically processed, it can be useful.

Thanks to internet trolls, websites like Popular Science and The Chicago Sun-Times,  have shut down their comment sections completely. Is this a good or bad idea? Well, in my opinion, there’s really no right answer. Commenting can lead to greater ideas, explore the idea to it’s maximum capacity! But, some people have made it a lifestyle to tear down all writers and commenters no matter what the opinion holds. Internet trolls are roaming around the web. There’s no way to stop them. What I’ve realized is, even if you cut the comment section off a website, the trolls and spambots will find other ways to bash a website or author. According to an article by Slate, they took a deeper look into the psychological traits associated with trolls:

“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).”

There are people out there who take joy in harassing others. Whether it’s a previous comment or from the article directly. Yes, it takes away from the thought-provoking, critical comments. Because websites are still getting those types of comments, is it worth taking down the forums completely? I guess that’s just up to the companies websites decision as a whole.

Personally, I like hearing (and seeing) other people’s ideas. It’s almost like a classroom, where people are expanding the topic like a web. Bringing in new ideas, solutions, opinions, etc. It’s a way to sit and converse with people and possibly come up with a new solution to an idea. Or shed light to an opposing view.

There are other alternative ideas to commenting on posts like Gawkers platform they’ve created, Kinja. The creators of Kinja understand the benefits of collaborating ideas to different blog posts and media sites. There are people who understand that bouncing constructive ideas around is beneficial for the creative mind!

Thanks to Gawker Media, they’ve encouraged other publishing companies to be apart of their platform! It’s hard to say whether or not commenting should be completely removed or not. Just like everything on the web (even in life) everything has a positive and negative. Unfortunately, because we give so much attention to the negative remarks, some companies have found it in their best interest to remove the platform all together. It is distracting to have the internet trolls patrolling the web, but is it right to completely cave in and cut all opinions?

With alternative platforms like Kingja, I believe we will be able to find a common ground. But maybe I’m a little too optimistic!

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what do ya say we get organized?!

Most of us are constantly on a computer everyday. Whether for work or personal use, we’ve become an addict in checking our social media.

Using effective productivity on your computer can bring ease to your computer habits! Check out some ideas and instant tools you can start use your keyboard and computer to it’s full potential!

Shortcuts on a keyboard? WHAT?! Most of us know some of the basic shortcuts on a keyboard like ctrl+c (command+c for a MAC) to copy a selected word or sentence, but what about all the other ones?! BUT what about using your mouse as little as possible by using nothing but your keyboard? It’s possible people!!! MAC and PC’s run a bit differently, but for the most part, everything is very similar when navigating solely on your keyboard! What many individuals don’t know is the endless shortcut tools that are available to use! As I’ve been learning, for each application, there’s typically different ones for each program! For instance, did you know your g-mail account has it’s own type of shortcuts? Even on WordPress, they have different key shortcuts and here’s a few you might find handy too! One that I recently found out about on my own is hitting ctrl+# (a number 1-4) will change your font. No need to highlight the whole document even!

We all know that over whelming feeling of opening our inbox and seeing a never ending “new message” list. Have you ever thought about making your inbox, well, your own? Effective e-mail management is possible! If you have a G-mail account, you’ll be happy to know Google is constantly making changes and improvements to make your virtual inbox a little more friendly!

If you’re like me, social media has become my world. Not always for personal use, but for my job. Having multiple Facebook accounts to manage, Twitter accounts, Tumblr, and Instagram, sometimes it’s hard to keep up! Great news is, websites have been created to help you manage your accounts and make it more efficient and easy for you to keep up with all the constant incoming news!

Google analytics are constantly coming up with new and improved ways to use it to it’s fullest potential! Have a one stop access center to all your needs by following this direct and simple way of maximizing your account!

We’ve all tried “Googling” a question or topic and come up with unsatisfied results. It’s more than typing in what you want to know. Gain some ideas on how to optimize your search engine results! 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for any company trying to get their name out to the public. As a breakdown, SEO is a maximizing the amount of visitors to your site! Google even has their own tips!

hearing vs. seeing – which do you believe?

The Giant Pool of Money‘ was a radio broadcast posted in May of 2009 on This American Life. As technology continues to expand, ways of receiving news has grown along side it. It started with print which lead to radio, and then followed with picture. Today, we can catch up in all three forms from our handy dandy smart phones. But what’s better? Print (digital for most people) or listening, like podcasts or radio?

I’ll be the first to admit, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped listening to the radio. Podcasts happen on a VERY rare bases as well. I get my news mostly by reading or videos. While I was listening to ‘The Giant Pool of Money’, the one thing I noticed in comparison to print, is you get to hear the quotes coming from the mouths of the individuals. For instance, in the ‘prologue’ section Adam Davidson interviews Richard Campbell, a Marine who attended the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of American (NACA). Why don’t you read this clip:

Adam Davidson: That same week, a few days earlier across the river in Brooklyn, I went to a completely different kind of gathering. It was not black tie. It was put on by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. It was people on the opposite side of the mortgage crisis. People facing foreclosure, trying to figure out how to keep their homes. I met this one guy Richard, he’s a Marine. This big guy, over six feet tall. When he came back from Iraq a few years ago he bought one of these fancy new mortgages with an adjustable rate. Recently his rate reset. It’s gone up by more than $2,000 a month and he’s fallen behind on his payments.

Richard Campbell: At one point, my son had $7,000 in a CD and I had to break  it. That really hurt. I was saving that money for his college. I put $2,000 back but it’s like you can’t have a future. They put you in a situation
where after a while you’re going to fail. It’s hard.

When you read Campbell’s story, what did you think? You heard YOUR voice reading that quote right? You may have sped through it too because it’s a pretty lengthy quote. Do me a favor now, and listen to the first 2 and a half minuets. You’ll HEAR Campbell. Notice the difference?

I do believe writing can take you anywhere, whether it’s emotionally or imagery. But hearing takes it to a different level. It uses your other senses that some may take for granted. Finding a balance in everything you do, including how you receive your news, is a must.

With radio and podcasts, one’s allowed to hear the emotional strain and almost begin to put themselves in the speakers position. While this economic disaster began years ago and we’ve all heard the pain and loss people have gone through, imagine when this episode first came out. A lot of people saw the news clips of people loosing their homes and the emotional damage it had. We also read about it, over and over again in papers. But to just sit and listen. With no visual, just the pure pain in someone’s voice. That can make a deep connection with some people. I believe that’s one of the strengths radio/podcasts have.

For me, one struggle I found with listening to this piece, was keeping my attention. I felt like I needed to be actively doing something while listening. Even though I was taking notes, it was difficult to look at my screen and see the homepage of the radio podcast. I even thought to myself, ‘I wish I could go take a drive and listen to this’ or ‘I should probably pick up my room a bit’. As I started putting clothes away, I found myself using selective hearing. Once I realized my multitasking skills for this paper wasn’t going to be beneficial, I pushed restart.

The narrators did a really nice job at keeping a steady, calm, a easy listening voice, sometimes it was hard for me to follow. But that also goes along with my learning style. Half way through I found the transcript version of this podcast and for me, it made a bigger impact on what I was picking up on. For me, listening and reading it at the same time, was the best thing to keep my full attention. There’s so much information in this podcast, I started getting a little lost. Having the audio AND visual stimulation was ideal to help follow the concepts and hear what people were saying, in their tone of voice.

The debate has been on about whether podcasts are a successful way to report. Honestly, what IS a good way to report these days? If there was one answer, I might be a bit concerned. We all have an opinion on what’s the best way to receive local, national, and global news. We’ve all learned to formulate our own opinion and figure out what works best for us as individuals. The upside with technology expanding is we DO have an option of how we receive our information. How cool is that?

 

 

the month of May brings more than showers…

Having a sever severe history of mental health challenges, as well as an on going disorder, I was unaware the month of May shines light to create awareness to the public. This year for 2014, the concentration is anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, the definition of anxiety is, “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” With all the advertising that’s out in the media today, we see and hear a lot of commercials dealing with anxiety. Most of them involve how to manage your anxiety and depression with medication. In therapy sessions, my therapist always told me I had high anxiety and (manic) depression. I was diagnosed around age 12. Since a doctor was telling me I needed to start taking medication, I didn’t take the time to do my research. I just wanted life to feel better. Up until a couple years ago, did I start digging in a little deeper with mental health challenges. Specifically looking at the what anxiety is,

“Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can actually be beneficial in some situations. For some people, however, anxiety can become excessive. While the person suffering may realize their anxiety is too much, they may also have difficulty controlling it and it may negatively affect their day-to-day living. There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder to name a few. Collectively, they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.” – National Institute of Mental Health

What brings on these disorders? Being diagnosed at a young age, I always thought something was wrong with me. I didn’t understand why I would faint at times when I had too much on my plate. Or why I couldn’t stop shaking and struggling to catch my breath. I hate using the word disorder. In my opinion, I believe mental health concerns are a challenge. Individuals need to find the right diagnostic for themselves as well as overcoming the everyday battle the individual has to go through each morning they hit the alarm clock. I do not look at it as a disorder as most people do. It is a challenge. Finding how to improve your mental health condition is the challenge in itself. Today, there are so many different options on how to treat any type of mental health challenge that individuals battle with daily. Whether it’s taking prescription drugs, therapy, or holistic approaches, the options to help the uphill climb is becoming more and more available.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with (manic) depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other challenges. It’s important to note, if you’re an individual reading this who is struggling, I always recommend seeing a psychologist. It’s important to have someone to help aid you in the right direction on your road to bring out the better part of you. I understand what it’s like battling it on your own. For that, my heart goes out to you.  I was on prescription drugs from the ages of 12-21. To this day, I still have my up and down days, but I’ve been able to find a treatment plan that works for me. Changing my dietary needs, getting involved, and writing a book is how I’ve been able to stay “sane” as some people may say. Writing has been my main outlet in helping me sort through the multiple moods/personalities and express the pain I’ve overcome. While my book has yet to be seen by other eyes, I have created a blog to show others they’re not alone in the sea of mental health challenges. I see a therapist weekly as well to hear what’s going on because it’s important to find the balance between keeping your thoughts in your head and expressing them to a trust worthy person who can lead you in the right direction.

While anxiety is considered one of the most common mental health disorders, I think it’s great that in the month of May (my birthday month too) they are taking the time to help create awareness for the general public. It’s good to understand how anxiety affects people. What it does to that individuals body and what paces through their mind on a regular basis. It’s not something that can be completely shut off like some may believe. Luckily, today, we are given many options on how to overcome the challenges we face on a daily basis. Thanks to new research, science is now finding other alternatives to help alleviating alleviate the strains! While some maybe skeptic skeptical, it’s always good to look at ALL options you have. Taking the time for one month out of the year is a wonderful idea and now that I’m a little more educated on the awareness month, I want to help spread the word! Will you?

crowdsourcing and what?!

Crowdsourcing has become a new innovative way for companies, old and new, to gain perspective on the products they make, to the funding they receive. I found an interesting article that throws a new perspective on the benefits of what crowdsourcing can do for authors’!

Since I can remember, I’ve been reading books. Fiction and non, I’ve always loved reading. But have you noticed as technology has taken over civilization, books have evolved too? Now, some authors have taken it to the next level and used crowdsourcing to help gain intellect on what the content of the book should be! Walter Isaacson, the author of the biography, Steve Jobs, did just this. Continue reading

whatchu know about Netflix vs. HBO?

I’m a huge supporter of Netflix. Unfortunately, I don’t know too much about HBO so reading this article was really informative and also made me really happy to know I made the right choice about 4 years ago when I traded my cable bill for a Netflix invoice. I do admire a lot of the diversity of good, thought provoking, thriller, and comedy shows that HBO has to offer, the convenience of Netflix is what outshines HBO. I completely agree with Matthew Yglesias stance on the dual! Continue reading