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!


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?



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

is it time to let go?

Are newspapers dying? Most people would quickly respond by saying, “yes!” While I agree with most people, it’s hard for me to let go of the idea of newspapers. I am still the girl who likes holding a physical objects, whether it’s a textbook, a book I’m currently reading, or even a newspaper. I find myself more involved with what I’m doing. Call me old school, but I like being able to physically hold, feel, and smell what I’m interacting with.

Continue reading

Back then…

    I interviewed my aunt, Kay, who just recently turned 70. I’ve always been close with her, but was able to learn a different side of her.
Sound Recording:
    Music for me plays a huge importance in my life; this was one of my favorite sections to talk about with Kay. It took me by surprise though when she said that she wasn’t into Elvis and The Beatles. I know those were two huge influences in a lot of young people’s lives back then so it was nice to hear some other names. Some of her favorite artists were Frank Sinatra , Neil Sedaka, Rod McKuen, Barry Manalow, Dean Martin, and Neil Diamond. Kay explained to me how she had a lot 45 vinyl records which were about .99 and a one track release. In my mind, I reference it to a single you can buy on iTunes. Back then she explained to me how music wasn’t how it is now. Heavy metal and rock came later, so her parents never really got on her case like mine did when I was younger. The type of music she listened to was more peaceful, happy, and light hearted. She explained Rod McKuen as being more of a poetic, this was one of her favorites.

    When Kay was younger, she said that her parents were the ones who listened to the radio more than ever. Arthur Godfrey was big on the radio. Some memories she does have about the radio include listening to it while they were on the lake with her friends and that there was limited channels, roughly around three or four. Knowing what the radio was like when I was younger, and even today, this surprised me. She also brought up memories about listening to a local news station that’s big in the Twin Cities, Minnesota; a news and radio station called WCCO. One of the hosts she remembers listening to and watching religiously was a man Dave Moore. He wasn’t your average host; he had a sense of humor. My grandfather, who I never got the chance to meet was into sports, which explains a lot of why Kay would listen to the Minnesota Gopher Team with her dad on the radio too. I would hold onto those memories too.

    Dragenet was a mystery show that first aired in the early ‘50s. That and a medical show, Medic, were her two favorite television series. Although, Medic was short lived when her father said it was too graphic. When I asked about if the television had changed the family dynamics she explained to me that while she found favorites, television was different than it was today. Not only did her parents encourage them to play outside and enjoy the time with friends and family, the programs they aired back then was more “fairy tale” like, a lot more clean. They didn’t have to worry about what was being watched. The Mickey Mouse Club was another series she enjoyed watching and it helped that her favorite actress, Annette Funicello. I was curious to know if she watched any series with her family (you see so many ads with families gathered around t.v.s, I was just curious) and she said not really. Her dad watched a lot of westerns. They did enjoy watching Lawrence Welk and the Ed Sullivan show which was the first time they aired The Beatles and Elvis. “They didn’t show Elvis from the waist down because his hips were moving in a provactive manner, but I’m telling you Katy, it was harmless. Not like pulling a Miley Cyrus and twerking all over the stage!” I just about died.
    I’ve always known my aunt was big into politics, but I never knew where it stemmed from. She explained to me, it was her sophomore year in high school is when it began. Watching documentaries, the news, and most importantly, watching President Kennedy get elected. It was because of him and following his campaign every step of the way that helped her redirect her life. When he was assassinated, it will be 50 years this November, she spent 4 days in front of the t.v. But, I’ll touch on more about his influence on her life later.

    My other favorite media outlet! Kay remembers the good ‘ol black and white Hollywood days as she calls it. Where the majority of movies were westerns and love stories. Unlike today, back then film makers and screen writers never showed a couple in bed. Apparently the rules we have or don’t have today weren’t as strict as they were back then. When I asked what her favorite movies were back then her first response was Gone with the Wind and Love Story. Apparently it was a real tear jerker. Movies back then were a lot more classier. The stars were beautiful and glamours. Women were always in gowns looking their prime, while the men were always put together in suits. It was a place you could go to escape from your everyday life. Lead a new adventure or fairy tale dream and watch it unfold on the screen. There was no swearing or nudity. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” was considered harsh language which came right out of Gone with the Wind, and the first ranchy movie she could think of was a movie called, Deep Throat.

Newspapers and Magazines:
    Television for my aunt has been her primary source of how she receives her information, but she still loves her newspapers and radio. Going off of what I said earlier, she loves politics. As she explained to me, “I like real things, I prefer non-fiction over fiction.” But before Kennedy days, she was heavily into fashion. I believe it too, she’s always had such a great taste in outfits, always looks her prime whenever I see her, and it just so happens too that her mother was a model. Once she started following President Kennedy, her outlook had changed. While she’s still human and has her guilty pleasure T.V shows, some of her favorite magazines she remembers reading cover to cover were Newsweek and Life Magazine.
    Like I said, my aunt follows politics very closely. One thing she said was that President Kennedy changed her life. When I asked how he influenced her she said that she dropped her job in fashion and eventually joined a group called Vista which is similar to the peace corp. She worked for over a year in Baltimore helping the homeless. She said, “I remember being their and someone came up to me asking for more food because the rats ate the last of their peanut butter” Her life really did change because of President Kennedy.
    I was curious to know whether or not she believe the news has gotten better now verse then. I honestly thought she was going to say back then, because I know I’m overwhelmed by all the information I get bombarded with each day. Somedays I wish I could go back 20 years when it was just the newspaper, magazines, or t.v. But to my surprise, she said that the news has gotten better. When I asked why she thought that, her response, “Because it’s covered 24 hours” and referenced CNN (which is one of her favorites) and how now we have live reporters. She likes that she can see what’s going on in the world and not just hear about it from a guy sitting in a newsroom. Which is something I never really thought about and realized it was one of the many luxuries I was taking for granted.
    The biggest ways Kay ingests her media today is pretty classic in my mind. While she has her t.v shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor/Bachelorette, politics and the news has always been high on her list. She doesn’t have the internet or any social media vices but in my mind, she doesn’t need them. While Kay believes that media has gotten better, there is a lot of unnecessary criticism that takes place. She believes in free speech and understands that everyone has a voice. While this maybe true her example of unnecessary criticism came from election time. I know we’re related when she explained that everyone has their own beliefs and views. No matter if your democratic or republican, everyone has a voice. But there’s no need to sit and bash the other during debates and commercials. Get to the point, there’s no need to sit and point fingers at what the other one is or isn’t doing. Digging up dirt isn’t going to do our country any good, the bottom line is what and how are you going to lead us? One party is going to hate it either way, the comeback of how much you “hate” the other person isn’t going to make a difference. It’s the actions you do.
    On a lighter note, she believes that the media is far more interesting. It’s more open and you know everything you want to know. With the media being so big and a wide variety of it, you can find out everything you want to know, you can follow more, stay up to date on what you’re interested in. Kay believes there are a lot of good things on the television and internet, it’s what where you direct your attention to. “It’s a free country and I love it! Just because like something doesn’t mean everyone should follow suit!”

Media Use

Media Log – (note, I rounded the times)

Wednesday August 21st:
8 am – Alarm
8:50 am – Open Google Music app – “Random” playlist
8:55 am – Starbucks phone app
9:25 am – Close Google Music app – “Random” playlist
10:45 am – Open Google Music app – “Throwback” playlist
11:15 am – Change playlist
Noon until 1:00 – Lap top – D2L website to check homework/syllabus updates. Off an on every 15 mins or so, checking Snapchat on my phone.On my phone I check Facebook (5 mins), Twitter (5 mins), Instagram (5 mins), Snapchat (5 seconds).
1:45 – Close Google Music app
2:00 – Snapchat – 5-9 seconds
3:15 – G-mail from phone – Snapchat (6 snaps)
3:20 – Open Google Music app – “The weeknd”
4:00 – G-mail from laptop and check blog (personal one) on WordPress (laptop)
4:05 – Snapchat and Close Google Music app
4:15 – Read The Westward- in print for 30 mins
4:50 – Open Google Music app – “Random” Playlist
5:30 – Reading (Mass Media book) – and Snapchat – :30, :40, :45
6:20 – Reading – Much Ado About Nothing and Close Google Music app
Bed at 7:00 (don’t judge me, it was a stressful week)

Thusday August 22nd:
6:15 am – Alarm from phone
6:30 am – Snapchat – 11 received that morning
8 am – Facebook for ten mins
8:15 am – Open Google Music app – “Random” playlist
8:20 am – Pinterest for 30 mins
8:50 am – Snapchat
8:50 am – Starbucks app from phone
9:20 am – Close Google Music app.
10 am – G-mail from phone to professor and  Snapchat then again… :15, :25, :45. :50, :55
10:25 am – Wells Fargo account from phone
10:45 am – Open Google Music App – “The Weeknd”
11 am – Snapchat every 15 – 20 mins for full hour
11:20 am – Change playlist “Country”
Noon – Close Google Music app
    Meanwhile… Snapchat 12:10, :15, :30, :35, :45
12:20 – Open Google Music app
1:00 – Snapchat
1:50 – Close Google Music app and Snapchat
3:25 – Open Google Music app and Snapchat
3:45 – Snapchat
4:00 – Snapchat, Instagram (5 mins), Facebook (5 mins), Hot Schedules (3 mins), Pinterest (30 mins) – All on phone  
5:00 – WordPress on laptop
5:45 – Close Google Music app
8:00 – Monster’s Inc. On TV (DVD)
8:30 – WordPress and Facebook (2 mins) on laptop
8:45 – Snapchat
10:00 – New Girl previously recorded on DVR
10:10 – Pinterest (15 mins) – phone
10:30 – Much Ado About Nothing – reading from paperback

Friday August 23rd:
8:00 am – Alarm from phone
9 am – Open Google Music app – “Finding the heart” playlist
9:10 am – Snapchat then again at 9:15, :16, :20, :25, :30, :45
10 am – Snapchat once again at 10:10, :15, :25, :50
10:15 am – Starbucks phone app
10:50 am – Close Google Music app
Noon – Open Google Music app “Country” playlist and Snapchat
12:20 – Snapchat
12:45 – Close Google Music app and Snapchat
1:30 – Snapchat
1:45 – Camera from phone
2:00 – Open Google Music app
2:15 – Snapchat
2:30 – Close Google Music app
2:45 – Snapchat and Internet (Went to Sundance Film Festival Application for 15 mins)
3:15 – Open Google Music app – “Random” playlist
4:30 – Snapchat and Internet again to finish application for volunteering at Sundance Film Fest. (15 mins)
4:45 – Sent picture to friend from camera phone
5:45 – Close Google Music app
6-10: Was working but music is always on and TVs everywhere with sports stations on
10: Snapchat (20 was waiting), Facebook (10 mins), also, still at work with “white noise”
12:30 am – Google Music app going till asleep

Saturday August 24th:
9:00 am – Alarm from phone
9:15 am – Snapchat and Hot Schedules (application for work)
9:25 am – Open Google Music app
10:25 am – Close Google Music app
10:30 am – 4:10 p.m. – ESPN at work and live music. ALSO… go figure, Snapchat, Facebook (checked every 2 hours for roughly 5 mins)
Noon – Instagram (10 mins), Twitter (5 mins)
4:15 – Radio music for 2 mins and then changed to a CD
4:25 – Car off (CD off)
4:35 – CD back on
5 – 10:20 – again back at work with ESPN and music in background. Meanwhile on and off, checking snapchat
10:10 – Maggiano’s website from phone (5 mins)
10:30 – Open Google Music app
10:40 – Close Google Music app
10:50 – Open Google Music app
11:10 – Close Google Music app
11:15 – Snapchat, Facebook (3 mins), Twitter (3 mins), Instagram (3 mins), Netflix (watching How I Met your Mother)
12:15: Much Ado About Nothing reading, paperback

Sunday August 25th:
9:00 – Alarm from phone and Snapchat
9:45 – Facebook for 5 mins and Instagram for 3 mins
9:50 – Hot schedules (work app)
10:00 am – Much Ado about Nothing reading, paperback
10:10 am – Snapchat
11:00 am – end reading
Noon – Facebook (2 mins) and Snapchat and Twitter (5 mins)
1:00 – Open Google Music app and Snapchat
1:15 – Snapchat
2:00 – Reading Mass Communications book Snapchat aaaannndddd :20, :30, :35, :45, :50
3:10 – Snapchat, Twitter (5 mins)
3:20 – D2L on laptop to take test
4:30 – Women studies tab on D2L to download reading material – Snapchat :35, :45
5:25 – end WMS reading
5:30 – End Google Music app and Snapchat
5:45 – Picture from camera phone sent and Snapchat
5:50, :55 – Snapchat
6:00, :15, :20- Snapchat
9:00 – Snapchat
11:00 – Open Google Music app
11:35 – Close Google Music app

Music = 40 hours 15 mins
TV = 13 hours 30 mins
Web (using laptop) = 3 hours 40 mins
Web (using phone of PS3) = 1 hour and 5 mins
Twitter = 23 mins
Facebook = 51 mins
Other = 20 mins
Snapchat = unknown
Total for 5 days = 59 hours and 24 mins. (Not accounting for Snapchat – didn’t know how to measure it)

    The media is essential in my life. As much as I hate to admit it, I use it everyday non-stop. When I was reading the article on children’s media use, while I was shocked by the numbers, as I thought about it more, I realized that it doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m 25 and just started getting involved with Twitter and other forms of social media because when I was looking for jobs one day, I realized the transformation in the “skills” section. I understand the importance, but it kind of made me sick that it has become a standard now to have excellent knowledge on Twitter, Facebook, GetGlued, Four Square, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, etc. But looking at kids playing with iPhones and iPads, I’m not surprised by any of it.
    I mainly use my media on my phone to keep in touch with people. A major change I saw in my form of communication was Snapchat. Everyone has something going on. By having Snapchat it’s allowed me and my friends to be able to send pictures or videos of what I’m doing and vice versa. Since my hometown is out of state, it has helped keep my friends and family in touch. I believe it’s more personable than Facebook, e-mails, etc; it’s visual and we are becoming a more visual generation. For me, Snapchat has been a new form of text messaging. Because of this project, I had to pay attention to how often I really was using it. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with logging my Snapchats because they come and send like texting. It’s becoming a new way of quick communication with a visual or audio that can come for as short as 1 seconds to 10 seconds long.
    There’s a shift in the learning that’s leading to a more technological side. I like to think of my generation as the perfect mix. We grew up with the fundamentals of reading from a book, what it’s like to be able to physically touch something and learn from it. We got the “old school” ways but also, I remember being in 3rd grade and sitting on a MAC computer learning to type. Seeing the AOL man run across the screen as it was trying to hook up to our land line. We saw that huge jump. I feel like going into the workforce for us should be easier than it is because we are the ones who can relate to senior staff but also hit the target market because we know what kids our age and younger are in need of. When hiring the younger generation too, we’ll be able to communicate in the language they’re used to. Also, we know the balance of being consumed by it, and living a life of interpersonal and group communication.
    As you can see, music is a huge part of my life. With that being said, I feel like Google Music and Snapchat were my main sources of media. Yes, I use my phone for a lot of web browsing and quick glimpses of Facebook and Instagram. But those are the two applications that I would call myself a junkie. It’s funny though, because I just recently uploaded the Google Music app about 2 months ago. I listened to the radio and CDs and did that up until I got a smart phone about 8 months ago. Because of that app, I’m able to listen to music 100 times more than I used to.
    The benefits I receive by using my media is for communication and intellectual. I’m always looking stuff up, or reading a book. I’m always in communication with friends, family, and co-workers. I know I’m the epitome of the girl who you can always get a hold of, but my form of communication is more direct whether by phone, texting or e-mailing. Where I have friends who the only way you can get a hold of them instantly is by Facebook. Or by posting something on Twitter.
    I believe I have found a good balance for my media use and sadly, one way I know this for sure is when I’m out for a meal with someone, I’m not sitting on my phone getting distracted. When I’m with people, I’m attentive. I know when to leave it be. For me, I understand that technology and the use of media is only growing. I will try and keep up because it’s the industry I’ll be going in. But I refuse to let it consume me. I feel like I’ve found a good balance of keeping my toes on both sides. Call me old fashioned, but I still feel like a hand written card means more than a “happy birthday” on Facebook.