Who Needs Muscles When You Got Twitter. How Are Social Media Users Powerful? (And How Organizations Should Use It)

Social media has been part of my life for a long time. I have Myspaced, Facebooked, Twittered, GooglePlused (Ha! Just kidding), and whatever came out that sparked my angsty teenager self. For years, I sat down and posted misspelled statues with absolutely awful pictures to try to make me look cool. I was pretty seasoned in social media and all I did was put my bootay on some sort of surface and browsed. And browsed. And for some reason, I never got bored. However, thinking about the platforms brings a great point…why? Well, I guess it’s because I want to be constantly connected with people who matter to me and my world.

Nah, it’s about the power and influence, man.

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Think he is losing in life? His 4,000 friends on Facebook will tell you different.

 

 

You might be confused, and quite frankly, I’m confused too, but stick with my banter and you’ll be rewarded with a cute picture of a sloth.

The power aspect is interesting because it’s hard to see at a personal level. Nevertheless, if you take a look at some of your own habits on social media, you kind of see it. For example, you share a controversial post on Facebook about orangutan abuse in Spain and all of a sudden, your mother and 5th best friend from preschool are having a great conversation about it in the comments. How is this power? Simple, you influenced an exchange that may have never happened. You created something and that feels nice. Have you ever been in a group of friends and one of them always get’s the group talking? That person has the ability to influence the creation of communication which in it’s own manner is powerful.

Confused still? Well this is only a small amount of power. Add a few hundred more people and we got something good! When many people in a social media platform combine and push for something, it can create a huge wave of power. Think of an army of peasants armed with long pointy sticks. Enough of them becomes a force to reckon with. The best example of this hive mind of power is during any internet firestorm. A firestorm is a rapid discharge of protest or attack on a person or organization quotes Social Media #facts. Firestorms used to be somewhat a non-threat, something that only happens with a small group of people, but in modern times, it’s much more serious. A firestorm can absolutely destroy a person in terms of presence and credibility. A great (and local) example of this would be the situation with a Purdue staff member and his comments. If one person would have yelled to the big Cloud in the sky, no one would really care, but if a bunch of people scream, you can shake some foundation. In this case, the internet firestorm caused him to quit. Plus, his credibility crumbled like a crappy dollar store cookie. That is serious, that is power.

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Well, that’s a “hot” topic….GET IT! HAHHAHAHAHAHDHFKLD:AJS:JDJFKAS

That is only one example of power. There are tons of examples of power! There are users on social media that created so much “conversation” that they now have an enormous amount of power. Take Jerome Jarre, a Vine star, for example. He had practically nothing at first. After months of working on his Vine game, he gained power! So much, that he started to do things that are stupid for views. In 2014, he was detained for a prank he did on a plane. Yeah, that’s a bit much, but he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t realize he had power and influence.

Yeah yeah, there is power, but how can we utilize it? More specifically, what can organizations do to use it? Well that’s easy, nothing.

What?

Yes, nothing.

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I SAID DO NOTHING!

Organizations themselves already have some power. They have money and manpower, two parts to success. No matter how much of either you have, you will not be able to control people of social media. Using social media can be great for organizations. It can make a company into something it never imagined like Wuju Hot Sauce. However, you cannot force users to comply. For example, Woody Harrelson did an AMA on Reddit. It is a great place to spread a message (once again, Wuju). However, the users were getting frustrated by the forceful advertisement of a new movie and back lashed. It didn’t work and, if anything, hurt the organization (in this case a person) bad. What organizations should do is let the social media users come to you. Don’t try and get them, but make a space for them for “conversation.” There is the word again! Conversation is powerful and it will always be powerful for years to come.

There is still some points that I would have liked to brought up, but I think you get the point. Give a comment in the box if you have an argument and or an agreement! Oh, and here is your prize…

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Actually…this is horrifying.

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One Like Equals One Vote. How has Social Media Overhauled the Election?

Note: r/SandersForPresident is being overshadowed r/The_Donald i.e. the Donald Trump support subreddit. This is an interesting development……

Elections. Social Media. What do these two have in common? They are both full with loud mouth people that say things for attention. What happens when you combine them? You get a monster. A large politically hungry monster. Now now, I know that you are grabbing for pitchforks because I have done a similar topic. In all honesty, it has some shared points, but it is a completely different position. So put those long forks away and read along…

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I don’t know about you, but I think megaphone guy may have a tiny advantage. Words do damage bro…words do damage…

This year for the elections will be one for the record books. Not only is it the first time that we had a person with  Jewish background in the running, but we also have robot running for president. Just kidding, Marco Rubio, that’s what the internet says. However, that is exactly the point that I have to make, the internet is more important than ever to deciding who is deserving the spot of President. If the users of the internet (hint: practically everyone) find one mistake, they will haunt the life of the candidate. The statement “the internet never forgets” has never been truer. Nevertheless, social media is a polar situation in the campaigning world. There is the good and there is the bad. Let’s dive in the Democratic side and see what we find.

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“DESTROY, DESTROY, DESTROY…Ahem, I mean Obama knows exactly what he is doing.”

The Good

Social media has brought great success for at least one candidate: Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders has dominated the good part of social media campaigning. And do you know why ? Millennials believe in him.The millennials support him whole heartily and will push for him on any site possible. He has wonderful presence in all forms of platform. Reuters is stated that during the Iowa Caucus, he gained the largest amount of followers on Facebook for that day. He gained an impressive 15,685 followers, “trumping” Trumps 10,704 followers and destroying Hillary Clinton’s 6,210 followers. He was king and he didn’t even win (well…we’ll get back to this in a second).

One the best examples of his support is on Reddit where he has a subreddit, /r/SandersForPresident, dedicated in his honor. Within this section of internet heaven, they discuss strategies to convert people to his side. It’s a literal virtual campaign office that, in reality, has no personal affiliation to the man himself. They spend hours of their own time to help a man they truly believe in. Reddit is known for cat pictures, but also for being hard political pushers.

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This man might be “old” but he caught the hearts of the “young” #motivational #feelthebern

The Bad

Even though she is considered the front-runner for the Democratic party, Hillary is dying in the social media world. There is one thing people on the internet hate more than Comcast; they hate dishonest people (not saying Comcast isn’t dishonest, they are spawn of evil). Hillary has got that reputation this campaign and oh boy, it has been feeding the people on social media with complete and utter disdain. Ever since she was caught lying about using an unsecured server for classified E-mails, people have kept a very large stink eye on her. Because of that, they have caught her flip-flop in positioning. Just recently, Twitter had a hashtag #WhichHillary. People were calling out her fuzzy agenda and how it hasn’t been straight her entire career as a politician. Wired explains 88,000 tweets were posted with #WhichHillary from the period of Thursday morning to 1:00 P.M. the same day. That right there folks is what we call a firestorm.

I am not trying to down play Hillary whatsoever. I am just analyzing how her presence has been to the people and as I just explained, it is not great. Even her followers have been called out as liars. During the Iowa Caucasus (told you we would come back), a series of events caused people to wonder if the vote count was accurate because the head of the Caucasus was a Hillary supporter. Take a look at the video below and tell me what you think.

REcount

C-Span didn’t have a way to embed this 😦 I linked it though!

In conclusion, social media is extremely important for the election process now. In my previous post about government and the internet, I explained how social media won Obama the election. The question is, will it win it for Bernie?

 

*Smile* *Flash* *Cringe* repeat. How Has the Selfie Always Been About Branding?

This is going to be an interesting topic to go over and I’m excited to share my findings. But first, let me take a selfie.

Er, well, put some on here.

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Wow!

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OH MY!

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Awwww!

Those are some nice pics, dawg, but why oh why did I post them? Think about it for a second. What do all these pictures have in common? Sweatshirts? No. Heights? Well kind of but no. How about the location? Well, I hope not! There might be some obvious similarities, but what is the overall theme that these and all selfies have? Simple, branding. Not just any branding, personal branding.

“Objection!!!!” you ring in with god awful shrill, “Selfies aren’t for ‘branding,’ they are for just fun!” Oh really, fun???

Well you are wrong…kind of.

I had fun once. Or twice. I dunno, maybe like…seven times?

Selfies are one of the most “complicated” trends of recent years. A selfie is defined in a couple of ways. Oxford dictionary states that it’s simply a picture taken of yourself, by yourself. That’s not really right, is it? Urban Dictionary (which over the years has become more credible than most news sites) defines selfie as taking a picture of yourself to post on social media to show that you have no friends so you hope that the picture brings in waves of friends. Admittedly, that definition takes it to another level of obscurity and sadness, but they are right. A selfie is not something you take for yourself, it’s something you take for everyone else.

Still don’t believe me, take for example the first ever occurrence of the word selfie. Lexicographers believe that Nathan Hope of Australia during the far away year 2002 was the first person to use the word as we do today. Nathan was at a “mates 21” party and fell over after what I assume was three occasions of Edward Forty-hands of Fosters (I know, I know, Australians don’t really like Fosters that much). He busted his lip and took a picture of it. The article states that he posted a picture of a horribly unfocused fat lip in a forum with the text “…sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.” For you youngins’, a forum was like our Facebook but for a more specific audience like gun experts or lotion enthusiasts.

Let’s get to the fun stuff now.

'Sorry about the focus, it was a selfie,' Mr Hope said

This isn’t fun…this…this is not what I wanna see.

Right off the bat, Nathan Hope was pushing his personal brand. How? Easy, he posted it on a forum. A public forum. This isn’t a piece of art, this isn’t flippin’ Monet. This is a blurry picture of a twenty-something Australian male with a wound. He wanted people to see it because he wanted to tell his story, his experience, his *drum roll* brand.

Before I go all analyst on this, let’s get a quick overview of what a “brand” is. How I see brand (and I’m sure you will agree) is the image and expectations of a company/product/person. For example, when you think Apple, you think evil corporation with awful products. Just kidding, people think of reliable products with beautiful design. Also, very over-priced (that’s another argument for another time). That’s Apple’s brand. So what is Nathan Hope’s brand. No one knew until he posted this picture. So what is it? It’s that he likes to party and he is tough. That’s the brand he wants people to see of him in his picture. According to The Telegraph, Dr. Terri Apter says that people take selfies as “a kind of self-definition.”

Bam! 

A personal brand is 100% a self-definition. Well, more of a combination of looking glass self and ideal self. Looking glass self is the personal image for yourself that is indirectly created by others while ideal self is the image that you strive to be. In this case for example, you took a selfie in your Sunday best at a dance. You wanted to show the world who you are in the best situation possible. That is your ideal. However, no one likes the picture. Indirectly, those people changed your perspective on what you thought of yourself.

What, no one likes this picture!?!? I guess back to the drawing board you ugly person me.

Let’s go back to the selfies up top. The first one is pretty awesome. Taking a selfie while on a roller coaster with all your closest friends. See, it’s just for fun. Nope, that man in that picture is obviously trying show his personal brand as well as others. Look, he is the guy taking a dangerous group picture and wearing the same shirt as some others. This photo gives his brand a huge notch of “cool” and “fun guy” vibe. Let’s look at the next one. This is a stupid selfie, just taking that picture up there is illegal. Why? Those guys wanted to be noticed as “extreme” or something along those lines (a certain feminine cleaning product comes to mind). Lastly, that cute couple is my roommate and his girlfriend. Now this definitely is just a cute picture. Noooooo way, it’s definitely branding for themselves. I know for a fact that they took multiple pictures to make sure that both looked pristine. This is their brand, they are an attractive couple that travels. End of story.

Of course, people do take selfies just for fun. Nevertheless, they have some sort of intent to show who they are. People who got self-portraits back in the day did it to show that they are important and have some sort of status in this culture. The same goes with selfies. You take them to show your status in this world.

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I swear if she doesn’t like this selfie, I’m gonna give her a piece of me.

In the end, we all do it. We all know what a selfie does to yourself and to others. It can be good for us. It can be bad for us. Yeah, it is proven that it can cause poor judgment because of the thrill of narcissism. Plus, it isn’t exactly healthy for other people as shown in the issues of self-esteem. However, no matter what a selfie does, we still do it. We want to have a reason to be here in this world and oddly enough, selfies help that flourish. That reason, that self-definition, that brand.

 

 

 

 

Need a Fix? How ’bout a Quick Fix?

Hello readers and party people alike, I hope you enjoyed my recent post about Rick and Morty. I obviously had tons of fun with it, but something hit me when I was writing. These long articles are fun to plan and write, but what about those moments in between when you hungry individuals are craving for some sweet sweet knowledge?

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“Of course I want more, I already consumed forty-five Wikipedia articles, seven episodes of How It’s Made, and two podcast on the Spanish Inquisition.”

I thought of a new segment called “Quick Fix” or something more creative than that name since it sounds like a lottery ticket (and we all know we are salty about losing $1.5 billion to strangers). “Quick Fix” will be concise, but absolutely satisfying articles about certain topics that surround Communication. For example, let’s say that I find an interesting infographic about fear of public speaking. I’ll go into whatever is presented and either commend it with multiple points of agreement or tear the absolute crap out of it. Since I’m not necessarily a Bachelor of the Arts just yet, you can take it with a grain of salt. Or or you feed my ego and I start calling myself Dr. IWonScrabbleWhenReallyIntoxicated in every post. Actually, let’s not, that’s asking for something.

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It was fun and games before the words reflected my anguish.

I think I’ll have some sort of rating system too for the article I find. You know, something like Mythbusters where I force an unsatisfying answer down your throat. Damn it Mythbusters, if you would have built that Lego ball better, it would have worked. IT WOULD HAVE WORKED!!! Ahem, I digress.

Hopefully, my dear reader(s), you’ll enjoy what is to come.

Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!!! Did Rick and Morty Dominate in Social Media?

It’s 1:00 A.M. on a Friday night. All your friends are out drinking. Without you. Your parents are, as your father told you on the crappy phone connection, “mumble mumble Estonia mumble your life savings.” Your neighbors are playing loud music which can only be described as angst death cat metal or something ever so tempting like that. The love of your life is non-existent or with a person you hate. Lastly, your dog was so bored of you that it ran away. However, you are wasting away your night scrolling through Facebook. But is it a waste? Hark! Something catches your eye and you grab your mouse. With a slight grin, you press that greasy piece of sad technology. *Click* It’s 3:00 A.M. and you have no idea what happened. Really, you know exactly what happened. You found yourself amidst an engaging social media campaign.

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“…and in summary, I failed college but I really know how to tweet and like pictures and stuff”

Social Media campaigns are everywhere and it makes sense. According to Pew Research Center, approximately 76% of internet users in the United States use social media. That is about 250 million people. That is a quite a big boat. However, even with that large number of people, it still is difficult to successfully make a connection with that audience. Olive Garden (or “all of garden”) can’t just create an account on Twitter and hope that the bread sticks just start rolling in right away.

Nope, they need to be engaging.

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It’s funny because, you know, “engaging” and “engagement” and shes like “Oh Tom” and he’s like…just…just never mind.

 

I bet you saw my title and wondered if the lack of sleep is finally getting to you. Well, it’s not. Or it is. I don’t know in your case, but “Wubba Lubb Dub Dub” is 100% the phrase you are seeing. Where is this from you ask? That is easily answered if you reread the title one more time: Rick and Morty. This Adult Swim exclusive show has done a wonderful job with its social media campaign. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland do not stray from their success. Their campaigning has a simple but effective goal: sell their brand. By brand, I mean their image as a whole and oh boy, did they do so.

The show is an animated comedy show with elements of science fiction. It has lots of moments where you have no idea what to think, but that is the beauty. The creators don’t care what you think and created a great show with a huge following. The biggest problem, however, is that they have to take a long hiatus between seasons for untold reasons so they have to keep their loyal audience. How? How in the world do they keep an audience for a year and half development process? Let’s go digging!

through the portal

“Just look Morty! In this dimension, I’m praised like a *burp* John Wayne or Salena!”

First, we’ll step into their Facebook page where I think the best examples of their engagement is seen. The page is constantly updated with posts that deal with some sort of announcement for the show, but that’s not where it shines in terms of engagement. It shines within the comment section. The administrators of the page have the freedom to reply to fans in a way which seems completely unprofessional. Nevertheless, this is where they keep current. Look at these examples that I have here. Forewarning though, NSFW language is present so use caution. Here are the links. These replies feed the people with what the brand is. A bunch of no cares who have some sort of attitude. This is what their audience wants, this is what they need. Overall, their use of humor throughout Facebook has made their page less of a nuisance and more of an actual place to find yourself interacting.

Oh, don’t let me undermine their posts either. They absolutely rock that as well!

 

Next, let’s look at Instagram. Oh, boring you might think. Everyone has an Instagram blah blah blah. But wait, Dan and Justin really did something crazy. Take a look at this.

An Instagram game made to work and be extremely interactive. Who knew! It’s an amazing tactic that I haven’t seen before. You can travel all over this well detailed world of Rick and Morty and every little bit of it is great. There is even a Tamagotchi type game in there that you can play. It’s actually really well thought out and found it one of the best ways I have ever seen someone use Instagram as a platform. The most intriguing aspect of using Instagram is that they continue with their consistency. By continuing with their attitude with full force, the message is still the same: “we don’t care and you know you love it.” All I have to say is well done Adult Swim with your budget and professionals. It still works if want to check it out. It is really neat.

Lastly, let’s take a step back for the craziness. Maybe you see that they are funny but isn’t enough. You feel almost like there isn’t any humanity in these guys and they are only in it for the money. You’ll be happy to know that you are kind of right, but they are nice guys too. By partnering with (RED), a very well-known anti-AIDS charity, they show they are more than just creators. By offering a part in their show as well as selling off some items like original art work or specially made items, they show that they care. They have heavily pushed this on every platform they run. Showing this humanity makes you love this show even more.

Group of young people in training course

“But really guys, you’re telling me you wouldn’t like it if your favorite show replied to you on Facebook and cussed you out? Thought so.”

In reality, they have done much more to spread their awareness. From doing a Hardee’s commercial to being part of a Simpson’s couch gag, they show their awareness to advertising. They even created a mobile game that has been very well received. Nevertheless, it’s their use of conversation, interactivity, and humanity that they not only retain their audience, they engage them.

If you would like to learn more, just watch the show. It’s free online. Go. Right now. Seriously.

My Mighty Return!

What…is this really happening? Am I starting this blog up again even though I barely used it in the first place? You bet your sweet butt I am and I got quite the topics to discuss! Obviously, there has been a total of like what, forty people who have read this blog. Nevertheless, I’m excited to return and share my opinion about interesting Communication topics that have been tossed around lately. This semester (yes semester, I started this for school so I’ll continue using it for school you judging Judy), I’ll be more centered on Social Media.

Fun right???

Of course it is since you are totally on your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Snapchat/Instagram/YouTube/Google+ (Ha!)/MySpace/Match right now.

Surprise-party

You think that’s a face of surprise? No, that’s a face of utter fear.

Now listen up for the next few months and I promise that I’ll spark some sort of interest!

Glad to be back.

P.S. WordPress has kind of changed on me so my format might be a tad weird(er). Sorry for the inconvenience folks!

 

404 Error…Government Not Found: Does Internet Increase Participation in Democracy?

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight. In my two and half years of being a legal adult in this United States of America, I…okay…I…breath now Alex, breath…I have never voted *gasp* *judge* *screams of agony and heresy*. I know, I know, how can such an intelligent and opinionated man (and not too bad looking either) not be part of ‘Murica’s beautiful right to pick our leaders? With the new uses of technology in political climates, surely I would be more involved, right? Before I get on my soap box, I’m going to step down and thoroughly understand the effect of technology in the world of politics.

Let’s start with America, shall we?

Yeah! We like America! No really, on Facebook, I "liked" America. It was there so I clicked it...

Yeah! We like America! No really, on Facebook, I “liked” America. It was there so I clicked it…

In the 2008 election, Barack Obama and John McCain went head to head in an epic battle for presidency. Why was it epic? It wasn’t because it was heavily controversial, it was because social media came into play for the first time ever in a presidential election. Barack Obama’s prowess in the world of social media netted in digital literates and digital natives i.e. the young vote. He successfully used Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to spread his ideas and gather support, even if it wasn’t him or his organization directly. In reality, he was just testing the waters. Connecting with a large audience through a digital medium seemed audacious. Nevertheless, it was extremely effective gaining him the win. People found easy to decide that he was the right choice. In 2012, he stepped it up. Even though his approval ratings were sliding, he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He doubled, if not tripled, his efforts in the use of technology. This time he involved the people more. One great example is his AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit. This was a large forum of users asking the president himself questions which then he promptly answered. This event really impressed the internet crowd improving relations once again. Obama also exploded Tweeted multiple times with informative and personable tweets. With that, he became a popular hashtag and topic often on the Twitter platform which can be clearly seen in this infographic during the Democratic National Convention. He even embraced memes and any other silly things connected to him. Overall, Obama dominated the world of social media involving the audience as much as he can while still being a person. In other words, he was cool.

Not bad Obama, not bad at all...

Not bad Obama, not bad at all…

Elections aren’t the only way internet has pushed politics in America .

Currently, there are a ton of websites dedicated towards petitions. Obviously, you can pick any one and click your mouse to push your opinion. However, the better (and more practical) option would be going to the official White House petition site.There are a quite a few petitions that you can cast a vote towards if they spark your fire. You can even make your own if you wanted to. It has guidelines to make sure that the petition is readily wanted as well as serious though, but it does give you a voice. Another example of how the government involved the citizens would be the FCC comment page. The page allowed for people to comment on certain actions the FCC may or may not do giving the opinion of the world wide web users a chance. Makes sense. The government continues to utilize the internet as much as possible. Not only that, with the vast arrays of news websites and political party websites, you can read all the news about the government you want. Shoot, you can even watch the conversation at the House of Representatives about a bill that stops people from wearing shoes backwards (that’s not really real, but boy if it was…).

This means people will increasingly involve themselves in the world of politics again, right?

Ha!

I’ll make this short and sweet so you can dabble over this yourself. You’ll hear my opinion at the end. The 2014 midterm election was the lowest turnout in 70 years. 70 freaking years! And I didn’t help. Why? Think about it for a bit while I continue.

Once again, the keyboard company really screwed up my keyboard.

Once again, the keyboard company really screwed up my keyboard.

Internet also pushes for radical political change in other nations.

Over the past few years, the internet has really done a mark on the world. Take for example the Egyptian Revolution. This TED talk beautifully explains how it has done so, but let me elaborate some more. Social media is free (other than the cost of providing internet connection), fast, and large. You can reach anyone with a few well written sentences and a click. The article Reporting War: Exploring the role of Twitter and social media in revolutions by Daniel Bennett sums it up best. The two most prominent that were in the article to me were spreading the ideas and initial organization and the importance of YouTube. The TED talk excellently explains the first one, but lacks to talk about the importance of video. Watching videos, no matter what the material, involves the listener fully. Spreading the video of violent government, peaceful protest, and desire for change speak to anybody that watch. You can really see this in the Hong Kong protests. The article then continues, however, to explain how it can also be used against them. This was especially seen during the Libyan and Syrian revolutions where violence was seen used especially on the revolutionary sides.

Thanks to American obesity, we can't do this anymore.

Thanks to American obesity, we can’t do this anymore.

So that’s that, that’s some opinions, so let me get on my soap box real quick to explain why I don’t vote (and many of my friends) don’t vote much.

You see that I have showed you many resources that can get you involved with democracy and social movements, however, is it really effective to me? No. It is actually detrimental. I know too much. I see too much. I read, watch, and listen too much. This has caused to feel like I can’t do anything in this world. I can like this and that, but I can’t really do anything. Even if I vote, what real change can do since, based off this and that website, these people are literally the same. Like everyone in this age, we feel like we can’t do anything because it seems like everything is ruined. Why should we try and pick up the pieces that we didn’t cause?

That’s that, that’s all I have to say and I could on and on for hours about this, but I shouldn’t get too off topic.

So has internet helped. By what I have read, yes. By what I believe, no.

All Right Stop, Collaborate and Listen! Is Crowdsourcing a Good Thing?

I would like to continue writing this blog, but I have so much on my mind lately. I just have an over abundance of money and knowledge that I want to share. Oh what I would do to throw money at a cooler that can play music, blend my drinks, hold my luggage, charge my phone, and take care of my first born. If only I could share my knowledge about the 1947 Roswell UFO Sighting and how the alien autopsy was a hoax. Look at my money withering away to ashes when it could be used to help children grasp reading using one of my childhood TV shows as basis. What really bugs me is that I can’t put my Seinfield-style fan fiction script about Sherlock Holmes and Amy Poehler living across the hallway from Vladimir Putin on a website that actors, producers, writers, artists, and so on can use to further their own art. I guess you can’t win them all…

Wait…these are possible???? (Minus the “first born” thing…I think…)

Mmhmm and all because of crowdsourcing!

"Take a look...it's in a book...a reading rainboooooow!"

“Take a look…it’s in a book…a reading rainboooooow!”

Crowdsourcing has become an important asset in today’s modern age. It is basically calling on the masses to contribute to something that generally a single employee or agency would do. One such tool that we all know and love (or hate if you are my Senior English teacher) is Wikipedia. Anybody can go to the website, find an article, and add information to it albeit right information since most of it is monitored now. However, crowdsourcing is not necessarily a single entity. One such subcategory (and probably the most popular) is crowdfunding. We all have heard of it, especially with the company Kickstarter. Basically, when a company is in need of monetary support, they show the product and ask for “backers”. Just like that cool cooler (Ha!) that I mentioned, people show interest and fund it! Simple yet effective. Crowdsourcing is vast and includes many ways that allow the public to involve their ideas and it works.

I don't know what it is, but I want it...

I don’t know what it is, but I want it…

However, back to the question; is it a good thing?

I would like to say an astounding yes, but there are certainly issues.

Lets first take a deeper look at the process of crowdfunding. Obviously, the system works, but why? Because people get to be involved in the creation of something they want to purchase or support. Involving the consumer confirms that what a company is creating is a good product. Obviously, if the company doesn’t make their goal, then they don’t have the interest that is needed. The idea then will be pitched and a new one could be produced. This allows for the quick advancement of products that consumers “literally” want, not what is “believed” they want. It also gives small companies a chance to fight for the spotlight. Here is a cool infographic that shows that. For example, the Pebble Watch was a very successful project on Kickstarter. This is considered the first of modern smartwatches. The success of the backing of the product led to the success of the company as whole. When other companies saw this, including Samsung, Motorola, and Apple for instance, they started to create their own watch. What followed is now a working yet successful market. Not only has a small company rose from the roots, it also caused a huge ripple in the market of technology.

If only someone will make a Kickstarter for a back massaging robot *cough* please *cough* my back hurts *cough*.

Bare with me...the vegetable state that occurs after this massage is totally worth it. Back me with $9999 and I'll pat your back a few (only a few) times.

Bare with me…the vegetable state that occurs after this massage is totally worth it. Back me with $9999 and I’ll pat your back a few (only a few) times.

Now let’s not just drool over crowdfunding, let’s also look at the other majestics of crowdsouring in the world of information. As mentioned in the second paragraph, Wikipedia is a great example of how information is provided by the crowd. This information can be considered educational based. A lot of crowdsourcing websites consider the information they gain as so. One example is Zooniverse. Zooniverse is a website that crowdsources scientific research. One of the studies a person can do is classifying universes when they discover one. This provides a huge workforce that could possibly map the stars much more quickly then anyone else can on their own! Also, it could be backwards. Education can be provided for information. The best example is Duolingo. As described by the creator in his TED talk, Luis Von Ahn explained that the information from you learning a new language allows for better online translations! That’s freaking awesome since Google translate can’t even keep “Let It Go” straight.

Help me by helping you!!! Or as google translate would say after a few translations...Help and ajudant-

Help me by helping you!!! Or as google translate would say after a few translations…Help and ajudant-

How bout the issues? It looks good so far!

Well it is, but there will be problems with some people. Crowdsourcing is practically outsourcing. I know, I know, outsourcing is a no-no word in the world of industry, but crowdsourcing takes that to a different level. What happens is that the crowd kind of takes people’s jobs. Based off the key concept off the book “Cult of the Ameteur” by Andrew Keen explains that this is taking jobs away from artists and experts. He’s right in some ways (but the author is quite the butt, just watch this interview). Art is no longer a very successful business to be in since you can find a nice copy of it on Etsy for $25. Also, some encyclopedia and newspaper companies are going down too because of the collaboration of users. However, crowdsourcing allows for people to learn. In an interview by USA Today with Chris Linott, the founder of Zooniverse, he explains how “We need to break the myth that science is only made by men in white coats…” Not everyone is going to be good enough to know what a comet is, he continued to explains, but it involves them to learn. So, people didn’t necessarily take the jobs, they are just learning!  But crowdsourcing also takes people’s ideas and doesn’t pay them for it, right? Well, not if you work with Lego. Lego allows you to submit ideas and if people and the company like it, they will produce it and give you royalties when sold! This might take some master builder jobs away, but it also gives the opportunity of, like I said before, involving the consumer.

In conclusion, I think that the world of crowdsourcing is amazing. It has helped further our generation faster than ever before and gives consumers the advantage of picking the products they desire.

Oh P.S. there is a super relevant South Park episode that you should watch. Warning, it is quite offensive…like literally NSFW.

I Forgot About It, So You Should Too: Should We Have the Right To Be Forgotten?

The year is 1999. I was in Kindergarten and was absolutely exhausted after my yummy milk and cookies. With the addition of rigorous games of tag and “escape-the-ewwy-girls” before hand, my stomach started to bubble in what could be called a disaster waiting to happen. In my potty scuttle, I went to ask the teacher to use the restroom. Without skipping a beat, I called her “mom.” An uproar of unforgiving children accompanied me to the restroom. Over time, they seemed to forget about it. Nevertheless, if someone would mention a similar incident, they would remember mine as well. Oh how I wish that would go away.

 

Why...won't...you...DISSAPPEAR!!!

Why…won’t…you…DISSAPPEAR!!!

 

So what was the point of this nightmarish anecdote?

My right to be forgotten that is.

The year is now 2014 and little primary school incidents are not the concern. The concern now is removing the material that we do not want to be remembered that lies on the internet. On May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that we have the “right to be forgotten” on the internet. What is this exactly? The ruling states that people have the right to remove links found on search engines that serve as inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive in the view of the violated. Essentially, it’s trying to erase the past. It would be like me accessing my childhood classmate’s minds and removing those connections that lead to that horrendous occasion. Notice, however, that this is only removing links from search queues and not the data itself. So in other words, the classmates could look diligently and carefully through his or her mind leading them to the information again. Crap.

Erasing my past or capitalizing them? Your choice keyboard designer.

Erasing my past or capitalizing it? Your choice keyboard designer.

Nevertheless, do we have the right to be forgotten here in America?

Of course, but it’s not going to be easy.

A famous incident followed after the 2013 Superbowl half-time show. Beyonce performed amazingly, flaunting her thang away in a spectacular showcase. Despite that, it produced unflattering photos of her and were posted all over the internet, specifically BuzzFeed. According to the Huffington Post, the publicist asked for the photos to be taken down. As defined by copyright, the work belongs to the people who created it. It also goes on the lines of the first amendment; articles don’t have any legal obligations to unpublished the work if it’s true information. Unless he took it himself or this is of false nature than there is no way he can legally take it down. If this is from a private setting or of harmful manner, then it would be different. Yet, the Superbowl is kind of a big public event. This incident also caused the photos to spread like wild fire because of the Streisand effect. In other words, something that spreads because of the desire to have it removed. The large-scale mainly pertains for people of fame, yet it still can happen in minor forms for anyone.

You are still perfect <3

You are still perfect ❤

So this brings me to the next point.

Can we actually be forgotten?

In the article The Web Means the End of Forgetting by Jefferey Rosen, it specifies how “25 billion pieces of content each month [is shared]” and “[an] average user creates 70 pieces…a month.” that’s insane! Trying to remove certain information is like trying to fish for all the dolphins in the world to remove them from existence. You’re not going to get anywhere unless have a lot more nets and boats. Even if you have the resources, it could continue reproducing rapidly. The big problem is not necessarily to be forgotten, but instead to be forgiven. Rosen then explains how Viktor Mayer-Schönberger says that “without some form of forgetting, forgiving becomes a difficult undertaking.” Following the truism “forgive and forget,” you can’t help but agree. If I post a drunkard picture of me on the internet and it is shared all over. There is no way people can forgive me about that behavior unless they can forget it even happened. By seeing that information over and over again, you can’t really be forgiven. This goes along the lines with incidents that occur with institutions reacting to profound content. The examples that Rosen began with are perfect subjects.

Wow, I was so plastered that night. Man, what was I doing to that lamp? Let's share it with the world and expect no repercussions from it.

Wow, I was so plastered that night. Man, what was I doing to that lamp? Let’s share it with the world and try to delete all the copies of it next year…

Even though I don’t necessiarly agree with how some of the information is handled, I do know that a right is a right, but not a solution.

Need more information to satisfy your hunger? Try John Oliver and/or the Nerdwriter for a nice overview (or even a laugh) about this subject. Lastly…forget about the “mom” incident…please.

“Ok Google…What Are Good Blog Titles?”: Is the Internet Making Us Stupid?

Just before I started this blog, I did the following: Go to Facebook, liked three pictures, jump to Twitter, complained about it, run over to Reddit, flipped through the site until guilt settled in, googled “signs of guilt”, watched TED videos on guilt, looped back to Facebook, learned a bit a code, and finally to the blog. What’s wrong with me!?

readImage

I have to write a blog post about the internet…oh the humanity!

Nicholas Carr, a writer from The Atlantic, wrote an article titled Is Google Making Us Stupid?Even though it puts Google in the spotlight, the article concentrates on the internet as a whole. Over the beginning paragraphs, he states multiple claims about how the internet itself has been changing his own ability of reading and comprehending material. In one instance, he writes how “Immersing [himself] in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy,” then concludes that now he “get[s] fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking something else to do.” Wow, he might be right! Wait, let me look up “fidgety” real quick. I’m just kidding. So is he right, are we getting stupid? Well, the obvious answer is……

Maybe…

The internet is home to amazing educational resources. If you want to learn something, you can find it on the web. With websites like Codecademy, Duolingo, and Khan Academy, educational material is literally at your finger tips. There is even multitude of college information that can be accessed. MIT’s OpenCourseWare allows you to partake in a course through the internet for free. If you can take that to your advantage, you can learn college level material without even going to college. You can even learn things through YouTube. Lectures and how-to videos span all over YouTube. Watch this video of the creator of Khan Academy how online videos have revolutionized education.

However, with all this information, comes an issue. As Carr stated, focus has been completely altered. In the article In Defense of Distraction by Sam Anderson (great article by the way), he writes how the polymath economist Herbert A. Simon once said that “information consumes attention.” This statement is quite apparent in today’s society. The internet has anything you want to read and the human mind wants to gain all of it  and all at once. It’s so hard to focus on writing an E-mail when you know of an useful article as well as that cat video that you found on that spoof website. Your mind wants more information, no matter if it’s educational or not, and will bug you until you feed it. However, is that much of a problem? Anderson continues the article explaining how this lack of focus and increase of “ADHD” prowess is a good thing allowing this generation to jump from one action to another easily.

Screenshot 2014-09-12 23.46.39

Um, that’s a lot of tabs…and it’s not all relevant…

No matter what view point you have on the internet, take another major medium for example. When the T.V. came out, people worried that it would rot our brains and destroy the intellect basis of that growing generation. Did that happen?