Monthly Archives: October 2011

Citizen Journalism Questions

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What kind of laws or standards should citizen journalists be held to? Are they different than a professional journalist?

Will amateur citizen journalists be more “popular” than professional journalists in the future?

What are some of the freedoms (or lack of) that citizen journalists have in countries other than the United States?

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Second Thoughts on Online Privacy

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As a social media user (well just a person in general) without much to hide, I’ve never really had an issue with privacy settings on the social network sites I use. I keep posts and photographs usually limited to what I’d want somebody like my mother to see and am not an extremist in politics or a special cause. In fact, I don’t think I’ve thought about (or thought I needed to think about) my privacy on these sites very often. However, after reading several articles and listening to Eva Galperic speak, the role of privacy definitely interests me more.

Earlier this week I asked a question pertaining to if people’s lives will eventually become too public. It seems that nearly everything everybody does anymore can be traced and is kept track of. I think this relates directly to what people post, but also to privacy settings.

Everybody knows that person or two that just goes too far. They post far too much revealing information (literally for the world to see). So, I think the point of social media sites becoming too public has been reached for some, but for others maybe not yet. I think that there are still people out there (possibly me for example) that don’t expose their life for the world to see. People are making nearly their entire world public, but not everybody. However, I do think that it is heading that way. I think that sooner (rather than later) that everything will be so interconnected that everybody’s lives will be exposed (even if they’re not the ones doing it). It’s becoming harder and harder for people to not only communicate, but also do things like find a job without being a part of a social media network.

Privacy settings (or the lack there of) are also making people’s lives far too public. These giant social media companies are selling off information on people which is inevitably allowing everyone to know everything about you. Companies are making millions without real consent and usually without people’s knowledge.

When I am able to step out of this issue and look in, I am now able to see how important it is. Even if I’m not the one posting everything about my life, it’s still getting out there. I am also able to see the ramifications for those who are. Being from the United States I’m extremely spoiled. In this country I have the freedom to write whatever I want (even if it’s getting sold down the line), but many other people don’t. Although the United States get’s a lot of heckling for some of the privacy that is lacking, it is still so much better than in other countries.

To what extent social media networks will eventually grow is unknown. It is known that we are lacking important privacy setting in them, and it’s only going to get worse. People’s lives are on display for everybody and anybody to see (often times not even by choice).

Just Youth Social Network sites: Public, Private, or What?

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While switching between reading Just Youth Social Network sites: Public, Private, or What?  and Facebook I reflected on social networks and the role they will play in the future. I also had several questions:

Will a point be reached when people’s lives become too public

Are there social networking sites that only youth can access? Like Facebook used to be?

Have things like cyber bulling been created because of these online sites?

Where are these networking sites headed in the future?

Code and Remix complexities

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After reading sections of Lawrence Lessig’s Code and Remix, I feel that I am better prepared to answer the questions I posed earlier in the week about Code. I also feel that I have a better understanding of the Internet (and who controls/ regulates it), but also abnormal (or hybrid) forms of Internet companies and how they differ from the “norm.”

Much of the beginning of Code discusses Internet regulation and who should regulate it. I asked earlier to what degree should the government be involved, and if not who would regulate it then? In my opinion I think that the Internet definitely has to be regulated and often the regulator that makes the most sense is the government. It is the hope that different government are working with the best intentions for its’ citizens (even though this is sometimes not the case). However, I also don’t think that the government should be all controlling. The Internet is a very powerful tool. A tool that I think the citizens should have the freedom to do mostly what they want with it.

The second question I posed related well to the regulations of the Internet. How do certain regulations come into play when countries have different views on freedoms such as speech? Who’s to say China or North Korea are wrong? I don’t believe that there is an “all knowing” ideal for those who use the Internet. Every country has different customs and beliefs and I think that regulations set by the government should reflect these to an extent. I do believe that the Internet can be a good resource to voice differing and valuable opinions, so I don’t think this right should be taken away. Erasing pieces of history like China has done with Tiananmen Square, however, I think is an abuse of power. Having too stringent regulations like China and North Korea both have, I don’t think is right.

My third question is a question that I’ve struggled with for a long time and relates to how creativity should be regulated and to what point does copyright go too far. Creativity can be truly amazing and be extremely powerful. Some of the most creative people though often think differently and even radically at times. When creativity comes into contact with the Internet I think there should be pretty much free rain with some regulations. I also think that copyright has begun to detur creativity and is being taken too far. By having too many laws and regulations we are holding creativity back and not sharing. The idea of hybrid websites that Lessig discussed in Remix definitely got me interested.  Many of these websites were able to do so much due to collaboration, which could have been stifled if too many regulations such as copyright were involved.

Regulations, copyrights, creativity and the Internet in its’ entirety is complicated. Reading excerpts from readings like Lessig’s Code and Remix though are helping me to form my opinions of some of the issues.

Code questions

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Early in chapter 1, the regulation of  “cyberspace” is discussed in Code by Lawrence Lessing. I’m wondering to what degree the government should be able to regulate and if at all. Is there another organization that should regulate it?

How do certain regulations come into play when countries have different views on freedoms such as speech? Who’s to say China or North Korea are wrong?

My third question is based on something briefly mentioned at the end of chapter one. How much should creativity be regulated? To what point  does copyright go too far?

Will we be gadgets?

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While getting deeper into Jaron Lanier’s You are Not a Gadget, I couldn’t help but feel like a gadget (a gadget that wasn’t computing information well). While often times I am able to see his point of view on society, other times I feel flung the other way with some of his extreme positions. I am often not sure about what he exactly wants the world to look like. Although I have a pretty clear understanding of what he thinks the world will look like.

Before getting into the grit of this book I posed questions about some of Lanier’s beliefs and how he sees the world changing (and changed). The first question had to do with the standardization of the Internet. Although slightly confused about my question now, I think what I was questioning was if standardization was taken away from the Internet, would it still be as functional? A main theme Lanier discusses is the loss of the individual (and thus becoming a gadget). While the Internet can do amazing things, there are still limitations. The individual and how/what they want to create also becomes limited. Rules (standardization) and large companies have now taken over. The individual may no longer create how and what they wish, they must now go through channels and programs that others have created. The individual is forced to work for the machine instead.

After having now read most of Lanier’s book I am able to see some of his ideas on a broader scale. The second question I asked had to do with “what we can do” to combat amateurization, anonymity and to inevitably become a gadget. I first saw these suggestions as minute and of no real importance. Although now I am seeing that these would definitely be steps for people to not become the machines Lanier sees people to be in the future. When the Internet and personal postings on it become anonymous, there is no longer a person behind it. There is no way to find out who or where the information is coming from. Instead, it basically becomes the Internet’s and it now “owns” the information. I do see Lanier’s point on this. I do believe ownership is important and taking time to become creative and even to just think deeply is unbelievably important.

I don’t think Lanier has great hope for future users of the Internet unless we were to take action against almost all of the practices the Internet is being used for currently. People are losing themselves to programs like Facebook and are becoming a digital self rather than their real self. Sharing of music and video has become so rampant that these industries aren’t able to be sustainable. And amateurs are able to post anything they want anonymously. These trends will only continue unless the structure of the Internet is changed and those who use it use it for deeper and more powerful purposes.

We are in charge of what technology can do. Ultimately we have to decide if we become the gadgets Lanier thinks we will. The Internet is powerful and what we can do with it is powerful too.

You are not a gadget questions

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While trying to wade through You are Not a Gadget, I found myself thinking about concepts I had never previously considered. Chapter 1 brought insight, confusion, and a few questions:

Standardization has proven to positively affect efficiency. If the WWW were to take away some of the standardizations it uses, how will this change the internet and still have it be standardized?

Near the end of  chapter 1 Lanier suggests some “what we can each do” ideas to combat some of the problems he mentions in the book. My question is what would these suggestions really change on a large scale? He seems to be attacking several broad and enormous problems he sees with the internet, but these suggestions seem very minute in comparison.

As the internet’s availability is expanding greatly, how will some of the things Lanier disagrees with affect the new users? I feel that the internet can be as simple or as complicated as the user makes it, would this change?