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!

Advertisements

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?

 

 

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