Society is Forever Changed

I think that this class has reinforced in me the idea that the Internet truly has changed the world. Before taking this class I knew this fact, but I did not realize the degree to which it was true, or all of the intricacies that exist in the digital world that we now all live in.

We now exist in a digital society. Everyone’s thoughts, information, documents, even friends, are all online. With this, people’s lives are often on view for the world to see. This opens a whole argument concerning privacy and copyright. Who has access to what you put online? I think that as we continue to share more of our lives on the Internet, people should be focusing more on privacy and making sure that other people, as well as their own governments, don’t have the ability to monitor them.

I think that convergence of many different forms of media shows the wide reach that the Internet has. People share things on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and many more platforms. The multitude of platforms has made the Internet marketable for news organizations as well, and most people now get at least part of their news from some form of online media.

The fact that all the themes we’ve discussed over the past few weeks are connected is proof that the Internet reaches into each part of our lives, and there are many issues that come with this. It is up to our generation to figure out how to effectively regulate and use the Internet to our advantage, while maintaining a freedom and privacy that is necessary in a democratic society.

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HBO Go

HBO is a premium television service that users must pay for in order to access the content. The content on HBO consists of mainly original television series and theatrically released motion pictures. Some of HBO’s well-known series include Game of Thrones, Girls, and The Wire. HBO Go is HBO’s online platform available in America where users can watch all content on their computers, phones, laptops, etc.

HBO-Go-png.pngIf HBO were to be made more available by having a creative commons license, there would be many advantages and disadvantages. Obviously more people would have access to the content, thus spreading HBO’s brand.

But I think the content would suffer drastically. One of the reason that HBO has been able to produce such stellar content is because as a pay-only service, they can really put time and money into shows that may seem a bit out there and risky to invest in at first. With cable, these shows would not be given enough of a chance to really flourish due to financial burdens. But HBO can take more time and money to really produce exceptional programs. Also, since HBO is not on regular cable, it is not subject to the same rules and regulations as cable programs. This means that HBO has more freedom to make programs that are shocking and “out there.”

So if HBO and HBO Go were available to everyone, the programs would not be as good and the whole draw of HBO would start to fade. For this reason, I think it is good that HBO continue to remain a premium service with strict copyright laws.

The Intersection of Personal and Professional

As someone who eventually wants to work in the journalism industry, I find myself struggling with how to manage my social media accounts so that I can be myself but also put on an accurate representation for potential employers.

TheSadStateOfSocialMediaPrivacy-bannerOften, when applying for internships and jobs, they want to see if you have a social media presence. Because of this, I set some of my social media platforms to public so that anyone can see them. I have decided that when it comes to Twitter and Instagram, anyone is allowed access to all of my posts. I think that this is because on Twitter I use it much more professionally, for news and sports, so I think it would be helpful to those interested in my journalism. Instagram provides a look into my life while still managing to be appropriate and mature. I decided to set my Facebook to private due to the fact that what is shown on my wall is much more out of my control. People can tag me in posts and share things with me that I don’t necessarily agree with.

I also think that once I have a job, I will use my Twitter for it to promote some of my work, whereas I probably won’t do this on Facebook. For some reason I view Facebook as much more personal. I think that this article by Poynter sums up the issue that many journalists face when it comes to managing their social media profiles.

PostSecret

One community that has flourished online for more than ten years now is PostSecret. Started by Frank Warren in 2005, the concept of PostSecret is simple: write down a secret anonymously on a postcard and send it in. However, the idea has become huge, with more than a million secrets being sent in over the past ten years. New secrets are posted each Sunday.

The community that has sprung from PostSecret is huge. People band together to support complete strangers online, knowing nothing about them except their deepest secrets. PostSecret now travels the world, doing events at universities, where people can share their secrets.

The reason this community has become so tight-knit is because of the openness. People genuinely feel like they can share anything, even if their darkest secrets will be viewed by millions of people. The secrets can range from funny to memorable to serious. Below are some examples of different secrets that have been submitted:

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I think that one of the big advantages to PostSecret is that people share very uncomfortable thoughts, but often these thoughts are fairly common. It’s comforting to see that you are not the only one feeling some of the things that get mentioned on PostSecret.

One possible disadvantage to PostSecret lies in the advantage of anonymity. Since posts are anonymous, it is difficult to reach out and help someone who is struggling, or connect on a personal level to other users of the site.

Overall though, the PostSecret community is supportive and ranges all over the world. Going to a PostSecret event in person will bring the experience to life in a way the Internet never could, so the fact that this community has now transcended the bounds of the web speak to the needs of people to talk about their secrets and let them go.

AskReddit: stories, advice, and lots of oddities

When looking at online forums, audience participation is a necessity if you want to elicit healthy discussion and debate. I think that one forum where strong audience participation creates very interesting things to read is AskReddit.

AskReddit is part of the networking forum site, Reddit. On Reddit people submit posts that contain videos, pictures, text, gifs, and other online media. On AskReddit, users submit interesting questions, and then other users comment on them. The questions can be funny, serious, happy, sad, sexual, topical…basically whatever seems interesting. An AskReddit question is fun to read because of the responses that the audience gives to a certain question. Because of this, audience participation is vital to keeping the forum interesting and keeping users coming back to contribute again and again, both by asking questions, and by answering them.

There can be very lighthearted AskReddit posts, like this one:

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There are also incredibly serious questions, like this:

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There are tons of other interesting threads on AskReddit, and the great thing is the users can comment on each story so there is lots of discussion surrounded thing questions being asked. The forum is very accessible. All you have to do is sign up for an account on Reddit, and start asking your own questions!

 

Storify – The Social Media News Narrative

In this social media era where everyone walks around with a smartphone in their pocket, people now have the power to report events happening around them in real time. No longer do you need to be a professional reporter to get news out to the public. You can simply tweet out a pic of the scene around you.

This becomes a huge resource when looking at breaking news, as people on the scene are the first ones to get information out to the rest of the world. Storify is an amazing resource when trying to piece together a narrative from various social media posts. Storify allows news organizations to compile social media posts together. It can draw from many social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Youtube.

After the Paris attacks, Storify was a valuable tool to show users exactly what was happening as the events unfolded. This is one of the best examples of Storify’s power in breaking news situations.

This has huge implications for media users because they can participate and become part of the reporting process. It also affects the media industry in that if they are keen on integrating social media, they can access tons of information relevant to their stories just from audience members and everyday citizens.Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 3.23.13 PM

Internet History Podcast

If you’re like me and you do your best learning via sound, then the Internet History Podcast will be a huge resource to you throughout this course. I stumbled upon it after the first lecture, as I was exploring more in depth some of the topics discussed in class.

The Internet History Podcast was founded by Brian McCullough, an Internet pioneer who founded many successful sites, such as Resumebuilder.com. McCullough wanted to learn about the Internet Era in 2014, but realized that there was no book the accurately summarized this. This is why he set out to create his own archives about how the Internet came to be.

The podcast covers topics from Netscape to eCommerce to the birth of Internet porn. This resource does a great job of getting first-hand accounts on each topic, which makes it different than simply reading a Wikipedia article. I loved hearing interviews with important figures such as Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. And the best part about this podcast is that they are releasing new episodes every month! Check it out!