Monday, December 1, 2008

Facebook is Fun, But Could It Cost You Your Job?

Over the past ten years the internet has grown to be very different from when it was first created. Websites have gone from being just textual to including images and videos, and people can now use the internet in ways that were never thought of in the past. Communication on the internet is rising, and has come to be known as CMC, or computer-mediated communication. Many websites are utilizing CMC, in particularly, increasingly popular social networking sites, or SNSs, such as MySpace and Facebook. According to boyd and Ellison (2007), social network sites are defined as “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” This is exactly how SNSs like MySpace and Facebook work. Users created their own profile, add friends, and converse. Facebook has become one of the biggest SNSs, which according to, is the 4th most trafficked website in the world and the most trafficked social media site in the world, with more than 120 million active users. Facebook is fairly new, but has seen many changes over its four years in existence. Originally intended for college students, Facebook users can now join high school, corporate, and local networks. With so many people using Facebook and so many networks, the issue of privacy is of great importance. Due to the large number of college students using Facebook, many employers are beginning to use Facebook as a tool to screen applicants, and in some cases, these applicants have been turned down because of the content on their Facebook pages. For this reason among others, privacy on Facebook is becoming a growing issue. However, before addressing the privacy issue, it is important to understand more about what Facebook is, who uses it, and how it has changed in its four years of existence.

According to, Facebook was first launched in February of 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, under the name: The Facebook. Zuckerberg got the idea for The Facebook from his high school (Phillips Exeter Academy), where The Exeter Face Book was used by students as a way to get to know their fellow classmates. Initially, Facebook was created solely for use by Harvard students, but within two weeks, “half of the student body had signed up” (, para. 1). With the help of his friends, Zuckerberg added many college networks over the next four months, thirty to be exact. Facebook was becoming a hit with college students, and in August of 2005 it officially became Facebook was also being noticed by investors. Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal, invested $500,000 into Facebook, Accel Partners invested $12.7 million, and in a third round of funding Facebook received $25 million from Greylock Partners and Meritech capital. In September of 2006 Yahoo attempted to acquire Facebook for $1 billion dollars, which was turned down by Zuckerberg, but in October of 2007 Zuckerberg struck a deal with Microsoft, where they invested $240 million dollars into Facebook for 1.6 percent of the company. With plenty of funding, Facebook was able to continue expanding. Due to its growing popularity and demand, more colleges were added and continued to be added to Facebook’s network, and by September of 2005, Facebook opened up to high school students. Facebook later opened work networks, and by September of 2006 to anyone with an email address (

Knowledge of how Facebook was created and who uses it is not sufficient to understand the site itself. Facebook, which can be found at, is a social networking site where users must create a profile using accurate information about themselves. To keep users’ profiles secure, an email address and password must be created and used to access their profiles. Once logged in, users can choose to include or exclude information about themselves, which is grouped into four different sets of information: basic information, personal information, contact information, and education and work information. Basic information includes information about a user’s networks, sex, birthday, hometown, relationship status, political views, and religious views. Personal information is more in depth. Here users can include or exclude information about their interests, favorite movies, TV shows, music, books, quotations, and are provided with a space to write a brief description about themselves. Contact information includes information on how to contact the user. Here they can include or exclude email addresses, im screen names, phone numbers, college residence, home address, and any websites they may have. Beyond this information, users can also upload pictures and videos of themselves, as well as write on others’ walls and have their wall written on. Pictures and videos can be tagged by a user’s friends, and will end up on their profile unless they untag themselves. Pictures and videos can also be commented on. These comments, as well as any wall posts are permanent and will remain on a user’s profile unless they choose to delete them. Having a Facebook profile seems like a good way to network with friends, but if users are not careful of the material that is on their profile, it may end up in the wrong hands and possibly costing them their future.

According to Hope Samborn (2007), “Employers easily find personal information about job candidates simply by entering the applicant's name on the Google home page.” This is true, and because Facebook has a very high page rank with Google, chances are that a user’s Facebook profile will be one of the first search results. Therefore, anyone looking for information on a particular person can just search their name on Google, and if they have a Facebook profile, browse the user’s pictures and personal information. This can lead to big problems. If a college student that uses Facebook is looking for work, and their potential employer finds something on their Facebook profile that is not appropriate, they may choose to withdraw the job offer or never call the applicant in for an interview. In an article in the New York Times entitled “For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé”, Alan Finder further discusses this issue. He presents a few cases of candidates that were turned down from job because of the content on their Facebook profiles. In one situation, a company president found a job candidate that looked promising, but when he checked the candidate’s Facebook profile, he found that one of the candidate’s interests was listed as “smokin’ blunts”, shooting people, and obsessive sex. This Facebook user may have posted these to be humorous to his friends, but the company president did not think it was funny and never contacted that candidate for the job. Another situation presented in Finder’s article, involved another recruiter who planned on interviewing what seemed to be a promising job applicant. The job was with a firm that taught high school students. Out of curiosity, the recruiter visited the applicant’s Facebook profile and found “explicit photographs and commentary about the student's sexual escapades, drinking and pot smoking, including testimonials from friends (Finder, 2006, para. 15).” The recruiter also found pictures of the girl passed out from drinking too much. After finding this, the applicant, like the other, was never contacted for an interview. These real life accounts show that the content of a user’s Facebook profile may be used by potential employers to determine whether or not an applicant is worth interviewing. So what can users do?

The first option for Facebook users is the obvious; don’t post anything that may get you in trouble. If users don’t upload incriminating pictures and don’t write anything ridiculous in their personal information sections, it cannot be used against them. However, there are going to be users that do not want to edit their profiles. For these users, Facebook has many privacy settings. According to Lewis, Kaufman, and Christakis (2008), users can change their settings so their profile is no longer fully accessible by non-friend same network users or no longer even searchable. The first option allows for the user to still be searched for, but other users will not be able to view their profile fully without first requesting to be their friend. This may be a good option if a user does not want people to be able to look at their pictures or read their information, but they will still be able to be searched for and companies may be to find them. The second option makes a user pretty much anonymous to everyone except for people they are friends with. A search for their name will return no results. The only other users that will be able to view their pictures, information, and wall postings will be the friends they currently have and any other users they wish to have as friends. This seems to be the best option to prevent recruiters from finding a user’s Facebook profile, and using it to determine whether or not the applicant is good for the position. If they cannot find the page, they cannot use it against you. Making a Facebook profile private seems like the second best advice for Facebook users (the first being don’t write or post anything incriminating), but is it?

According to Brandenburg (2008), companies still have ways of accessing Facebook profiles that are private. Many of the employees that are active in recruiting other students were at one time also students. They may have a Facebook account, which could aid in finding applicants on their school’s network. If they don’t, they probably still have their school email address, which is all they need to create a Facebook account. Creating this account will also help them locate applicants on their school’s network. Companies also hire current students that may have access to a particular network to get to that applicant’s Facebook profile. This seems a little extreme, but may be necessary for high-security positions, where this information is imperative.

It seems that no matter what precautions are taken, users information can still be viewed through the numerous methods presented above. Therefore, the best advice for college students is to either not become involved in social networking sites like Facebook, or monitor the content on their Facebook profile. This include what users write in their personal information, what is written on their walls, what they write on others’ walls, as well as what pictures and videos they post and are tagged in. If users do not want their Facebook profiles to lead to getting turned down for jobs this information must be monitored. Not only can what they say hurt them, but what their friends say about them may be taken even more seriously due to the relation between them. So, explicit photos and videos, incriminating interests and wall postings should all be avoided. In the event that a Facebook user is tagged or there wall is written on in any harmful way, they should untag themselves, delete the wall post, or ultimately remove the other user from their friends list.

In conclusion, the internet is very different from what it was many years ago. Websites are different and users are now in control of the information that is displayed. Computers are being used as a way to find, connect, and communicate. The increasingly popular way that internet users are connecting and communicating is through social networking sites. These SNSs give them the opportunity to create a profile, compile a list of friends, and communicate with them. One of the biggest, if not the biggest of these SNSs is Facebook. Facebook was originally intended for use by college students, but over the years has opened up to high school students, workers, and currently anyone with an email address. Anyone can be found on Facebook, and for this reason privacy is a very important issue. Most recently companies have been using Facebook as a means to screen potential applicants, and many have turned down applicants based on their findings. Users must be aware that the content they are placing on their profiles may come back to haunt them, and they should take the proper precautions of either making their profiles private or deleting the material completely if they intend on getting that job.

boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11.
Brandenburg, C. (2008). The Newest Way to Screen Job Applicants: A Social Networker's Nightmare. Federal Communications Law Journal, 60 (3), 597-626.
Facebook Company Profile. (2008). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from CrunchBase:
Finder, A. (2006). For Some, online persona undermines a résumé. New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2008, from
Lewis, K., Kaufman, J., & Christakis, N. (2008). The Taste for Privacy: An Analysis of College Student Privacy Settings in an Online Social Network. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 79-100.
Press Room. (2008). Retrieved December 1, 2008, from Facebook:
Samborn, H. V. (2007). Go Google Yourself! ABA Journal, 93 (8), 56-56.

Why Facebook?

I was recently asked to choose a Web 2.0 medium to write an essay on. While going through my options, I stopped upon Facebook. Facebook is by far, one of the most popular thing among college students. Whether students are requesting that their classmates become their friends or just waiting for pictures of last night to be posted so they remember what happened, students are checking Facebook close to everyday. I have recently heard from many sources and through reading that companies are now using Facebook to screen applicants for the jobs they are offering. By looking at a few of my friends' profiles and a few of their friends', I realized that people do not really think about what they are including on these pages. A lot of people believe it is their freedom of speech to say what they want and post these pictures, but if it cost them their careers would they regret it? I believe that the issue needed more research and the topic, more coverage. For these reasons I decided that the Web 2.0 medium I would research and write about was Facebook.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Social Networking: Our Small World

Today I read “Fitting Our Tools to a Small World”, which is chapter 9 of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. This book was written by Clay Shirky and published in 2008. In this chapter, Shirky talks about social networking, both on the internet and in the real world. He starts off introducing the reader to a “small world” example of two airplane passengers sitting next to each other that find out they know the same people (“What a small world!”). Shirky then goes on to explain how it is not so much a small world as many may believe. There are numerous factors to why these two passengers may know the same people. As Shirky points out, they departed from and are arriving to the same places, which according to Shirky (2008), may increase the chance that they know the same people. In the rest of this chapter, Shirky goes into further detail on how social networks are organized, how the web is used in creating social networks, as well as different tactics used to create and further develop social networks.

In explaining social networking, Skirky cites Watts and Strogatz’s pattern called the “Small World network.” According to Watts and Strogatz (1998), Small World networks are made up of small, densely connected groups, and large, sparsely connected groups (cited by Shirky, 2008). The small dense networks are then connected with each other to form a large social network. The people in the small groups will know more about each other, but the whole larger network with “know of” everyone. I think this is a great show of how any social network works. Whether you are in college or on Myspace, there are these small groups of friends that you know a lot about, and then there are others that you know through your friends.

Shirky further explains this friend-of-a-friend networking using the social networking service dodgeball, which was designed for mobile phone users. Users can send a text message to the dodgeball service, which will then send it to all of the user’s friends, as well as let the user know of others that will be at the same location (either friends or friends of a friend). If a friend of a friend will be at the same location, users will receive a message with a digital picture of the person, which they can use to locate this person and introduce themselves. I find this social networking program very interesting. It is taking the “small world” theory and acting upon it.

In closing, I would like to note that this chapter by Clay Shirky was very informative. Not only was it written in a way that kept me wanting to read, but the subjects and topics were ones I could relate to. I felt very educated on the topic of social networking, and it is now clear that our world might not be that small, but thanks to our social networks it might just seem that way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Blogosphere: Where Will it Take You?

When you think of a blog what is the first thing that comes to mind? Your first thought is probably that a blog is a place on the internet where you can write and anyone can read it. This is correct, but it is also so much more. A newly created blog might start out this way, but as time passes a blog can evolve into a community. Not all blogs make it this far and this could be due to a number of reasons, such as the blog’s content, the number of readers it has, and the number of advertisements that are displayed. For a blog to have the ability to evolve into a community these aspects must be perfect. This is because there are tens of thousands of blogs created daily, and nobody has the time to look through all of them. If you choose to subscribe to a blog, be prepared to join the community. There will be many posts to read, but these posts create a place to comment as well.

Choosing a blog to subscribe to can be hard work because there are so many blogs, but there are many websites you can go visit to find the top blogs for particular topics. An example of this would be, which has a blog directory where blogs are placed into categories and sub-categories. They also have a list of the top 100 blogs. For someone new to the blogosphere this would be a good place to start in your search for a blog to subscribe to. If you can’t find a blog through a site like technorati, don’t worry. Many of the blogs I am subscribed to I have found just using a search engine. Due to the large number of blogs that are now in existence, it is no surprise that some end up on the first page of many popular search engines. The only problem with finding blogs through search engines is that there will be a lot of evaluating to do, but as the internet grows so does the need for evaluation. According to Aaron Barlow (2008), there is a need to be “neterite”, or literate in electronic communication. The more “neterite” you are, the easier it will be to find a blog that both interests you and is full of useful credible information. While looking for a blog to subscribe to I had to use my “neteracy” to sift through the garbage. It is cool to find a site that interests you, but if the information is not true, the community may not be either.

The blog I chose to subscribe to was John Chow’s, which can be found at On this blog John discusses everything from how to make money using internet marketing programs to how his trip to the aquarium was. Although the blog may seem to vary too much, it doesn’t because John is a very informative writer. He does not tell everything about his personal life, only that he went to the aquarium, it was good for these reasons, bad for these reasons, and if you want to go you can visit their website. These posts don’t happen too often either. The posts are usually about John’s life using the internet as his source of income. When looking at John’s blog you may notice that there are advertisements. A lot of times when you find a blog with lots of advertisements, the blog’s credibility is questionable. John’s blog is different. There are advertisements, but they are neatly displayed and labeled. He is not hiding anything or just placing them all over the blog in hopes that someone will click them.

In my first week of observing John’s blog, I did look at peoples’ comments, but did not post any of my own. Most of the comments are on-topic, but there a few that are not. This is another place where being “neterite” can be helpful. You will know how to spot off-topic and nonsense comments and pass right by them. Towards the end of the week I did end up commenting on a post that had been guest blogged by a friend of John. It was a post that I could relate to so I wrote what I thought and posted my comment. I included my name, as many others seemed to do also. This gave me a sense that there are people commenting on John’s blog that have nothing to hide. A few hours after I posted my comment somebody replied to it. This was when I realized how blogs can become communities. With the right content that brings enough commenting readers, a community can be created. Readers can not only comment to John, but with each other, and by doing so they can create a community. They may get to know each other by handle and follow each other’s comments. The possibilities are endless.

In conclusion, a blog is a place on the internet where you can write for anyone to read, but with the right content, readers and appearance, a blog can evolve into a community. By becoming “neterite” finding a good blog and sifting through the bad ones becomes easier. This will also aid in knowing how to create a blog of your own that will evolve and flourish. You will know what readers want in a blog, and by giving these readers what they want and participating with them, you too can create your very own community!

Works Cited
Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
Technorati. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2008, from

Following a Blog - Day 5 Final Observation

John continued to make at least one or two posts a day for the past couple days, but I did not find them as interesting. I had wanted to post a comment and see what reaction I got. So posting a comment about something that didn't interest me did not make sense. Also John has 40,000 people that are subscribed to his blog and can comment daily (of course non-subscribers can too). So whatever I was going to have to be recent in order to get my comment seen. On November 10th John posted How Planning Can Make You Broke. If you are like me you were probably under the assumption that it is always a good idea to have a plan. That's what business plans are for, no?

This post was guest blogged by Alex Shalman, who has a website about relationships. He talks about how he always had a plan to write an ebook that he would give away for to give away for free to promote his site. For over a year this was his plan. Until a friend at a radio station asked him for an interview. He knew on air exposure would be great so he pulled to all-nighters and finished the ebook in 3 days, just in time for the interview. The basic concept behind his post was that taking action is more important than your plan. I totally agreed. As a college student it is so easy to plan to do school work and put it off until it is due.

I wanted to be taken seriously, so when I commented I used the handle Jonathan R and included a picture of myself. I wrote what I thought and how relevant this was to me as a college student. Part of my comment included me stating, "It is great to think you have a plan, but most of the time they don’t work out, especially with things you don’t really want to do." I received a reply within a few hours by a guy whose handle was Kok Choon, which I think may be his name. He said, "Yeh, no action no gain, no matter how good is your plan!" This made me feel like my comment added to the post in that it was good enough for a reply. It is good to see that the blogosphere is not only is a place to write, but a place where the community can share their thoughts through comments. This gave me a first hand look at how blogging can create a community.

Following a Blog - Day 4 Observation

When John says he will post at least once or twice a day he means it! November 6th, and John continues posting twice a day. Today he has posts Protect Your Blogging Gear with the Invisible Shield and The Downside of Huge Traffic. In the first post he mentions a product made to protect an iPhone. It is clear and when applied to the iPone can protect it from scratches and cracks. He uses a video that shows how good it works against a key! The other post, The Downside of Huge Traffic has to do with a guy, Ken Imhoff, that spent 17 years building a Lamborghini in his basement. The story gets wild when John tells you how this guy got the car out of his basement. He had to dig a hole and blow out a wall of his house! Think that's bad, it gets worse. He created a website that show a timeline of the cars creation, and it became very popular. So popular that his web host, GoDaddy, charged him $957 in overage charges for the month!

John jokes, and is probably right, in saying that he should have contacted him about how to make money from his site. Now this poor guy has a message asking for donations on his site. If he had only heard of internet marketing before his site blew up! A lot of information can also be learned from reading the comments. Turns out that just because GoDaddy is a popular web hosting service it is not necessarily the best. GoDaddy sets a monthly limit on how much bandwith you can use, but there are others that, for the same price, allow unlimited badwith. Just shows how important it is to do your research.

Check out this car though! You can visit his website at

Following a Blog - Day 3 Observation

It's November 5th and John has posted twice again. Today he posted about A Visit to the Vancouver Aquarium and an Update on Tim's Stock Pick. Now I have always thought that is not a good idea to blog about your personal life, however, John does so in such a way that it is not totally about his life. He is posting information about the Vancouver Aquarium within a post about his trip. Readers can use this information if they intend on visiting this attraction. Decided to look at the comments on this post to see how other readers responded to it. Most of the talked about the aquarium or some of the pictures he posted. Seems like one of his posts everyday is informative, but not that interesting to me, and the other is informative and I find it extremely interesting.

The other post titled Update on Tim's Stock Pick was about another blogger named Timothy that gave a good stock recommendation on his blog. He advised a short-sell, which is where you make money when a stock goes down. Tim predicted it would drop from $4.50 a share to $2.50 a share, and it dropped all the way to $2. This would double your money! This blog was very interesting to me because I used to be into trading stocks, it's how I got my first car!, but the market is so volatile now that it is hard to analyze stock trends. Good to see people are still making money!

Following a Blog - Day 2 Observation

John's last post, Blog Income Report got tons of comments people congratulating him and asking questions. It is good to see that John replies to comments and is active on his blog. I have been reading John's blog for a bit and he has said in an older post that he started the blog with the intention of posting at least once or twice a day, and he had held up. On November 4th there were two posts made by John. One was about how to copy and paste on a mac and pc. This was informative, but his other post interested me more.

The other post was titled, BlogRush May Be Dead But John Reese Still Living Large. In this post he explains that another successful internet marketer, by the name of John Reese, had suffered a $500,000 loss in the creation of his site The site did not take off like John Reese had hoped it would so the project, which was supposed to help drive traffic to bloggers' blogs, was terminated. John Chow urged readers not to worry as John Reese is more successful than him, apparently making $1million in 24 hours. John decided to post some pictures of his "friend" John Reese's car and house. All a can say is amazing! I must note that John also says something that gives him credit, in my eyes, as a business man. He states, "He tried and failed with BlogRush, but that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. Better to try and fail then not try at all." This is what it's all about unfortunately not all of us have the finances to keep trying and failing.

Check out some pictures of the entreprenuer John Reese's house. This one looks like an idea room. Guess you just keep thinking of more ways to make money!

Following a Blog - Day 1 Intro & Observation

So for the next essay I am writing I will be following a blog and writing on my findings. I will be looking at aspects such as community, topics, comments, etc. Due to the fact that I am interested in internet marketing, and have been for awhile, I chose John Chow's blog, which can be found at The reason I chose John Chow's blog is because he is someone that has made a lot of money using internet marketing. He is not selling a get-rich-quick book, only telling his story about how he used internet marketing to make money, and eventually live off it. He has made various websites and makes a lot of money! Why read a blog where the author makes $100 a month, when you can read one where the author makes $30,000 a month.

That's right on my first day of observing, November 3rd, John posted a blog income report. This shows the money that he is making solely from his blog. He breaks it up into different categories so you can get an idea of the type of programs he is using. The majority of his income comes from affiliate ads (where companies pay him per click or a percentage per sale), private ads (where comopanies pay a monthly fee to appear on his blog), and ReviewMe (where people pay him to review there site on his blog). The grand total for the month of October: $34,350.93. The possibilities of the internet are amazing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tensions of Online Communication in LiveJournal

Today I read the article "'Shout into the wind, and it shouts back.' Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal" by Lori Kendall, which was published in 2007. This article was based on personal research that Kendall performed for two years regarding LiveJournal. According to Kendall, LiveJournal is a weblogging system that incorporates social-networking features, where users can create friends lists and display their interests. LiveJournal is a place where you can post "journal" entries as a mean of communicating with friends, family members, and the world, but having the ability to write an intimate diary also creates many tensions, such as: privacy, efficiency, and audience control. Kendall breaks her article up into different sections and discusses each of these separately. The two tensions that I found most interesting were those of privacy and audience control.

In discussing privacy on LiveJournal, Kendall talked about who the writers are writing to in their journals and why. Based on her research, many users choose to write on topics that others will find interesting, while at the same time not getting too personal. Because their writing can be viewed by anyone if it is posted publicly, they know that people do not want to read about their whole life. There is instead a focus on keeping their readers entertained. I believe that this is definitely true of many of the users of LiveJournal because many people are very conscious of the way that they are perceived, and do not want people to get the wrong idea of them.

Another feature of LiveJournal that Kendall talks about gives users the ability to control who sees their writing. Users have the option of making their entries public, where everyone can view them, private, where only the writer can see them, or hand selecting specific individuals that can see the entries. My first thought was that a lot of people would write daily entries that they kept private, but according to Kendall, this is not the case. Most people do write publicly, but often have to filter who they want to see the message. This is because aside from giving users the ability to write, LiveJournal also gives users the ability to network and create various friend groups, family groups, and work groups. If entries are not posted unfiltered then family members may see the how you talk with your friends and co-workers, which may not be the best idea. I think that this may be a plus and a minus for users. I definitely agree that I do not talk or act the same when placed in different environments, such as with friends and with family, but I believe that the process of filtering could also be a minus because of the need to select who you omit and include. You can set up specific groups, but if you do not want a certain person in a group to know something, you have to omit them. This can be a timely process and could even negatively change the way someone views you if you forget to omit them.

I have never personally used LiveJournal, but it seems to be fairly similar to blogging. I do not know if it was originally intended for users to write for themselves or for an audience, but it seems the tendency is to do the latter. I believe that in this sense both bloggers and LiveJournal users are both aware of the audience that they are writing for. Kendall did not go into great detail about the differences between the two, but I think it would be interesting to read more on the subject. If you are interested in learning more about LiveJournal, you can visit their website at

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Blogosphere: Are You "Neterite"?

Today I read “The Blogs in Society”, which is chapter 2 of the book Blogging America by Aaron Barlow that was published in 2008. In this chapter, Barlow discusses the issue of blogs and societies. Due to the large number of blogs that have been created and continue to be created, the credibility of these blogs is becoming harder and harder to judge. There are absolutely blogs that create total nonsense, but there are also blogs that contribute to society; real or virtual. Determining whether blogs help, hinder, or do nothing for society is in the eye of the beholder, which according to Barlow (2008), depends largely on the level of “neteracy” that person has.

Barlow describes “neteracy” as how literate a person is on the issue of electronic communication, in particularly blogging. Someone who is not “neterite” may find it hard to navigate through blogs for information that is relevant and credible, a task that can be completed by someone who is “neterite” very quickly. I completely agree with what Barlow says here about “neteracy” because it is often discouraging for people that are not “neterite” to use the internet in general, let alone have to find what they are looking for and determine if it is nonsense or helpful. The large number of blogs and the large number of people that are not “neterite” has also contributed to the many misconceptions of the blogging community.

One of these misconceptions that Barlow points out is that of community. Does the creation of blogs help, hinder or do nothing for the blogging community? Many people that are not “neterite” may argue that the creation of more and more blogs is diluting the helpful and useful information out there, but this is not necessarily the case. According to Barlow (2008), although it may seem like there is a large number of blogs being created that hinder the blogging community, it is actually, more times than not, being strengthened. I that this point that Barlow makes is also very true. The fact is if you are not “neterite”, and have a hard time sifting through the good and the nonsense, you are going to come to the conclusion that it is all nonsense, but this is not the case. The blogging technology definitely strengthens communities. You have people writing and reading on specific views of certain topics, which they can then comment on. The ability to be able to find other people that have similar views and share your views with them actually encourages growth for that community.

There are so many other things Barlow talked about in this chapter that I would love to go into, but it can be summed up saying that the internet and the blogosphere are growing every day. Blogs may be created on just about anything from political topics to how you spent your day in the park, and this has led to many people to question blogging. What it is and where is it going? These are questions that do not have one right answer, but many different opinions. In my opinion, it is a place where people can share their thoughts on anything they want that can be read by anyone who is interested. If an individual is “neterite” enough it can be a place to create ties and strengthen communities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Research Using the Internet - Evaluating Search Results and Source Credibility

When preparing for a research paper, there are many places you can go to find the information you are looking for. Traditionally, you would go to the library and browse the many books they have looking for exactly what you want, but times have changed. Thanks to the internet you no longer need to look through hundreds of book to get what you are looking for. You can now use the internet to search for articles, books, magazines, and websites containing the information you are looking for, which may be available virtually and/or physically. Thanks to this technology, research can be done much more quickly than in the past, but there is still much needed knowledge to ensure you are getting the results you want, with information from credible sources, fast. Keywords must be carefully chosen to get the results you are looking for from a search engine, and sources must be carefully examined. According to Bonnie Tensen (2004), there are six aspects to examine when evaluating the credibility of a source. They are the purpose (why it was written), the source (who wrote it), the intended audience (is it general or in-depth), the date it was published, the appearance (how it looks), and reputation. Using these six aspects when evaluating a source should help identify its credibility, and whether or not it should be used in your paper.

While researching the Web 2.0 technology Facebook, I carefully noted which keywords and search engines gave me the best results, and critiqued the validity of each result to make sure that they will be suitable for my upcoming research paper. The two search engines I used to look for information on Facebook were Google and Yahoo. I decided that it would be a good idea to try a broad search using only the keyword “facebook” in each search engine and see what results were returned. The first ten results returned from each search engine were very similar, but there were one or two sites that were different. Both Google and Yahoo returned the main site for Facebook as the first result. This was the actual site where you could sign up for and log into your Facebook account. If you wanted to include some hands on use of Facebook in your paper, this would be the only place you could really get it. Another result that both Google and Yahoo returned in the results was the Wikipedia page on Facebook. This page included a lot of useful information about Facebook, such as when Facebook was created, who the founder is, and how Facebook has changed in recent years. This seems like a credible source for information, but it must be noted that the information on Wikipedia is added by the general public who want to write on the topic. It would be a better idea to follow the references at the bottom of this page to find where the information was derived from and use that source for your paper if it is credible. Other results that Google and Yahoo shared were the iPhone Facebook application and the Facebook login page.

There were also a few results Google and Yahoo returned that were not the same. Google returned the Facebook Company Profile from, as well as, Facebook – The Complete Biography from Both of these websites provide in-depth information about Facebook. The profile from seemed a lot like Wikipedia. There is a lot of information written with sources provided at the bottom of the page, and the site was recently updated in 2008, making the information very up to date. The biography that provides is also very informative, and even includes pictures showing people how to use Facebook, however, the article is from 2006 so some of the information may not be reliable. Two different results that Yahoo provided were The Facebook Blog and Facebook Blast. The Facebook Blog is a blog that is actually run on the Facebook website. All the posts there seemed to come from people who worked for Facebook, and some even came from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. This blog seemed like a very credible source to use for discussing recent Facebook updates. Facebook Blast, on the other hand, may be reliable if you were looking to spruce up your Facebook, but included no information on Facebook that would be usable for a research paper.

After going through many search results returned from Google and Yahoo, I decided that I would give the LexisNexis database a try. In LexisNexis, you use keywords to search just as you do in search engines. LexisNexis uses these keywords to search within the publications of your choice. I chose to use the keyword “facebook” as I did in Google and Yahoo, and search within major U.S. and world publications. Close to one thousand results were returned and sorted by relevance to the keyword that I had used. Each result included the title of the article, where it was published, and when. Many of the results were published recently, which indicated to me that the information would be up to date. They also came from publications that I have heard of and deemed credible already. One article that came from the New York Times was entitled, “The Way We Live Now: Facebook Politics” and was published September 14, 2008. This article discussed how Facebook was being used by politicians to reach out to voters. Coming from the New York Times, I trust that this is a very credible source. There may be a bias in relation to the politicians and how they are discussed, but I believe the information about Facebook will remain very factual. article I found using LexisNexis was “Facebook Exposes Users To Search Engines”, which was published by the web-based publication TechWeb on September 5, 2007. This article briefly discusses the issue of privacy on Facebook, and how anybody can find you by typing your name in Google unless your Facebook profile is set to private. The source seems fairly credible as it seems like a large company with many other websites; however, there are many ads that may discredit the site.

After using search engines like Google and Yahoo, and the LexisNexis database to research the Web 2.0 technology Facebook, I learned a lot about finding information and evaluating sources on the internet. Both Google and Yahoo returned similar results, but not all were the same. Given the fact that I found the different results that each provided useful, I think that I will use both search engines simultaneously in future searches. For the keyword “facebook” Google returned 580 million results, while Yahoo returned 1.8 billion results. I think in future searches I will try and narrow the results by using Boolean operators like AND or NOT to find exactly what I am looking for. An example of this would be using the keywords “facebook AND history” to get results that include both the words facebook and history. It will also be important for me to evaluate each result individual to make sure that it is credible and will be able to be used in my paper. I especially liked using the LexisNexis database due to the fact that there were not too many search results and I had the choice of which publications I would like to view. I believe that a majority of the information available here is credible, and will definitely be using this again for my paper. By adding more terms, I think I will be able to narrow the results down to exactly what I want, which will be provide me with useful information in a timely manner.

In conclusion, through my personal use of these search engines and the LexisNexis database, I would say that the internet has definitely provided a new way to research, and a quicker way to do it than in the past, but more knowledge and evaluation must be done on the internet to ensure the credibility of the sources and that you get the results you want when searching. If the use of keywords and Boolean operators is perfected, and sources are fully inspected of their credibility, the internet can be an extremely useful tool in doing research for your next paper.

Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research strategies for a digital age (chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Usenet: The Current State and The Future

Internet communication has come a long way from what it originally started as. Pre-web internet communication was done primarily through text. Most of the time, this communication would be asynchronous, where users can write something and have to wait for a reply. Later internet communication adopted synchronous methods where users could send a message and immediately receive a response (Adams & Clark, 2001). There are multiple locations and programs people can use on the internet as a way to communicate. Some of the places and programs include IRC (Internet Relay Chat), MUDs (Multi-user Dungeons), and Usenet. Here people can search for specific groups conataining discussions related to specific topics. They can choose where they would like to go, how often they participate, what their username will be, and what they will say. This anonymity could be a good thing or a bad thing. If the actual author of a message is unknown will they be more apt to talk off-topic, spam, and take information without participating? If so, how is this currently dealt with and what does the future of internet communication hold?

In hopes of finding answers to these questions I subscribed to a Usenet group. The reason I chose Usenet is because “the Usenet is one of the largest is one of the largest computer-mediated communications systems in existence.” (Kollock and Smith, pg. 111) I figured that there were enough groups to choose from and enough members in these groups that I would really be able to get a grasp on what goes on in the area of internet communication. I decided to join a NY Giants group, which can be found at, and analyze the communication within the group for five days. Joining the group was not hard. I just clicked subscribe and was asked for my email address and to create a username for the group. After that I was asked if I would like to receive emails containing any updates or changes to the group. There were a bunch of options to choose from, but the one that suited me best was to receive one email a day advising me of all the activity that happened for the day. I was now set up and began browsing some of the posts.

Because this was a football group and it was a Friday, I expected to see some talk of the NY Giants past performances and thoughts on how they would fair in Sunday’s game. I noticed a few posts related to this, but I noticed a lot more that did not. According to Kollock and Smith, these posters would be called grandstanders, or people who post without regard to the topic. Two threads posted by grandstanders that caught my eye had the titles “"I am begging everyone, PLEASE vote for the Palin/McCain ticket!" and "OT - Jessica Alba And Her Boobs Again ". This is a football group so what were these doing here? I was also curious as to how other members would respond. The first thread got many responses calling him an “asshole” and “jackass” for posting this. The other thread didn’t receive any responses at all. Looking at the titles of these threads I noticed that the Jessica Alba one had OT in front of it. I assumed that OT was an abbreviation for off-topic, and this is why there were no harsh responses. The second day I saw more off-topic threads, some with OT in the title and some without. I noticed another type of thread that could be considered spam, but also semi-off-topic. It was a thread linking to an online gambling site. The only reason I say it could be considered semi-off-topic is because football is a sport and people do bet on sports, but because they are trying to make money it is probably just spam. I wondered how all this off-topic would affect the group as a whole and if it was just tolerated.

On the third day I found exactly what I was looking for. A new poster with the username tuck91 posted a thread titled "New Member Question". In it he asked, "...if the spam postings bothered anyone else. Or is it just tolerated?" This was exactly what I was wondering. The responses all revealed a similar approach, that they were just ignored. A few people gave specific usernames of posters that were known to spam or create off-topic threads. After this thread was created I began to see a decrease in off-topic posting and was wondering if this had anything to do with it. People were now talking about the Giants, what commentators said about the Giants, where they could watch the game, and how they were playing. On the last day of observing I was sad to see that the off-topic posting had continued.

In the article “Managing the Virtual Commons” by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith, they talk about how there is not enough space on Usenet so it must be conserved for relevant posts in order to assure a future for the group. They note that free-riders and grandstanders are a big part of the problem. Free riders are people that take information from a group without ever contributing to the group and grandstanders, as previously defined, are people that post without regard to the topic. In my five days of observing the NY Giant’s Usenet group, I had noticed that grandstanders are definitely taking up space by creating all types of off-topic threads and spam. I cannot really say how many people are free-riding due to the fact the free-riders never post, but I would assume there is a fair share of them.

In closing, I would like to say that my Usenet experience was very educational. I saw and witnessed the daily activities of a Usenet group firsthand. This helped me understand much more about internet communication, how it is managed, and possibilities as to where it is going. On the first day when I saw the spamming and off-topic threads outnumbering the on-topic threads I wondered how this was tolerated by other users. By day three, someone had asked just that. It seems that the grandstanders may never stop spamming and creating off-topic threads as long as the opportunity is there. The only thing to do is ignore these posts and get to what you are looking for. My only suggestion would be that Usenet appoint some type of moderator or program that would not allow for certain subjects to be talked about. Until then I guess it would be best if grandstanders started placing the letters OT in any post that is off-topic this way other members do not waste their time opening these threads. I think that by adapting to the current problems and inconveniences as well as those of the future, Usenet can be around for an extensive period of time and continue its growth.

Adams & Clark. (2001). What is it? Characteristics of the medium.
Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in the computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web 2.0: The Difference

Today I read the article “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software” by Tim O’Reilly. This article was published in 2005 on the website In the article, O’Reilly begins by talking about how the dot-com bubble had seemed to burst. Many websites had taken similar approaches on how the internet works and the way their sites should use it. With many sites using the internet in the same manner, people began to believe that the web was overhyped. What happened from here was the development of new websites used the internet in an entirely different way. A new web was born and given the name “Web 2.0”. O’Reilly goes on to talk about the differences between the old ways companies used the internet with the new, “Web 2.0” approaches.

According to O’Reilly, one of the methods to becoming successful in the “Web 2.0” era is “harnessing collective intelligence”. What he means by this is that companies can use information gathered over time to aid in helping new or returning visitors. With the presence of even more information than before, their experience can be made much easier and more informative than the last. One example that O’Reilly gives in this section is “harnesses collective intelligence” by keeping track of user reviews and using them to rank search results. This is a great example that I feel many internet consumers can relate to. When you are in the process of buying something you usually want something that is not only said to be good, but also tested and verified. The best source for this information is the consumers who have already tried the products. Another way I have seen use previous information to be more helpful to the consumer is recommending other products. They tell you other products people have purchased after buying the product you are looking at. This is helpful to the customer and also to They may be helping you pick a matching pair of pants for your shirt, but if you make the purchase, it also helped them to profit.

The concept of “Web 2.0” is one that is very complex and can be discussed for hours. It is a technology that will continue to advance. “Web 2.0” takes different approaches on how to use the internet than the previous version, and these new approaches are what make “Web 2.0” more useful than its predecessor. The internet will continue to evolve as time goes by and innovations will continue to occur. The important thing is to stay ahead of the game because history repeats itself. When the “Web 2.0” sites become oversaturated it is the “Web 3.0” sites that will rise to the top.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Final Day of Usenet

It has been five days now. I have searched for a Usenet group that interested me, joined, and read it everyday. I have topics that are relevant, topics that are semi-relevant, an topics that are totally off topic. Today I am seeing more off-topic postings. People must get bored off talking football after the games are over :). I am seeing postings of more "naked" celebrities that may be real or fake, and more political spam, which I assume will probably be on the rise with the elections nearing. I don't want to say too much because I will be posting an essay combining all of my findings with a theory about Usenet and its future that I have come to. So if my pasts posts have kept you entertained or enlightened you than stay tuned for my next post, "Usenet Today and Its Future".

Usenet from Yesterday

Hey. Sorry I didn't have time to post yesterday, but I still have all of yesterday's updates thanks to the daily email I receive. I have seen an increase in useful relevant conversation. Some people are still talking off-topic and semi-off-topic posting about gambling pics in the NFL, but for the most part relevant conversation is emerging. Yesterday was Monday so you did have talks about Sunday's game. People talked about how individuals of the team played, how the team as a whole played, and how the referees called the game. The Giants did win, but there was still criticism. I also noticed some older posts that received responses and got bumped up. One that was interesting was about the game being streamed live online. Did not know that the NY Giants games are streamed online for free! That's about it for yesterday. I will be posting today's observations in a few minutes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Usenet Being Questioned?

So today I took a look at the daily email and found another interesting post. A new member, by the name of tuck91, posted a thread titled "New Member Question". In this thread he asks, "...if the spam postings bothered anyone else. Or is it just tolerated?" A bunch of people responded telling him that they usually ignored them. On a better note, I also saw a thread with relevant information. The thread was titled "Eddie George calls Giants a fraud", and talks about how Eddie George said that a present 2-0 team he thought was a fraud was the NY Giants. The responses to this thread were a bunch of hating on Eddie George. Apparently the college team he played football on was caught cheating so he has no credibility. I have to say I am starting to like this Usenet. You learn something new everyday! Until next time...

The Creation of New Media

Today I read Chapter 3 of the book The Internet: The Basics entitled “New Media and Web Production”. This book was published in 2002 and written by Jason Whitaker. In this chapter, Whitaker does a good job of explaining the new media made available through the creation of the computer, and how they differ from media of the past. The main media that Whitaker focuses on in this chapter are text, hypertext, digital images, audio and video. Later in the chapter he discusses the basics of HTML, how the language has improved, and other languages and scripts that have stemmed from HTML.

According to Whitaker, the internet started text-based and has evolved through time as technology has improved. Hypertext was originally used to link text-based documents with other text-based documents, but as access to high speed internet has become more available, hypertext can now link images, videos, and audio. Another reason these types of media can be linked through hypertext is the ability to compress data. According to Whitaker, because there are certain colors we cannot distinguish, certain sound frequencies we cannot hear, and certain parts of videos that we do not need to see, they can ultimately be eliminated, compressing the file to reduce its size. As a frequent internet audio and video listener and watcher, I find this very interesting. It does make complete sense though. If we can’t see or hear certain things, why do they need to be there? Plus, by being able to eliminate these certain aspects and reduce the file sizes, it makes downloading these files a more enjoyable experience due to the decreased wait time.

Another part of the reading I found interesting was the section where Whitaker talked about digital imaging. Whitaker says, “There was a time, until very recently, a photograph was the touchstone for the truth of an event.” According to Whitaker, before images became digital, the process to edit a photograph was long, hard work, which is why people could usually used pictures to determine the accuracy of an event. However, today editing a picture has become a lot easier to do with the access to digital cameras and photo editing software. Take for instance the picture of Sarah Palin. She is seen holding a rifle in a bikini, but is that her? When I first saw this picture I was sure it was, but later the original picture was found. Somebody replaced the other person’s head with Palin’s, making it seem like it was actually her, when it actually wasn’t. This just goes to show you that you cannot always believe what you see.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Usenet Experience Continues...

Just got my first email today from the NY Giants Usenet group. I expected to see more talk of tomorrows games, but I have actually encountered something totally different. It seems that there are a bunch of off-topic threads that have been started. One thread is a spam thread about online gambling. I kind of expected this, because a lot of people do bet on football or are a part of fantasy leagues so this would be a "good" place to post. The other threads I found amusing such as "I am begging everyone, PLEASE vote for the Palin/McCain ticket!" and "OT - Jessica Alba And Her Boobs Again ". The first guy gets flamed by other members of the group, and the second has yet to receive any response. I am guessing the poster didn't get flamed because they included OT in the title, which I am guessing stands for off-topic. That's what I've got for now; I'll be posting again tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let the Usenet Experience Begin!

In class, I was assigned to find and analyze a communication medium on the internet. Some of the choices included examining IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Usenet, andMUDs (Multi-User Dungeons). These are all used to communicate over the internet, but all use different methods. The medium I chose to analyze was Usenet, as it is easier than the others and does not require any program to operate other than an internet browser. On the Usenet server I decided to join the NY Giants group. I subscribed at, and elected to receive one email a day with a summary of what happened on a particular day. For the next five days I will be checking the group and reporting what I see. I saw a lot of posting about the game coming up this week, but I am sure there is much more to come. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days (ie. if people stay on topic, change their views if they win/lose the game, etc.). Until tomorrow, see ya!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Managing the Virtual Commons

Today I read an article by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith. The article entitled Managing the Virtual Commons was published in 1996 in the book Computer-mediated Communication. The article talked about the way online communities are managed so they survive, inparticularly Usenet. According to Kollock and Smith, “the Usenet is one of the largest is one of the largest computer-mediated communications systems in existence.” The Usenet is divided into newsgroups where people can post their though on specific topics. The problem is that there is only so much space to post, and for the group to survive this space must not be wasted. To properly manage these groups, both the problems and solutions must be analyzed.

The main reasons this space is wasted is because of free-riders and grandstanders. According to Kollock and Smith, free-riders are people that take information without posting any of their own knowledge, and grandstanders are people that post without regard to the topic. For instance, if the newsgroup is about Macintosh computers a grandstander may talk about PCs or anything else that may have nothing to do with the topic. A free-rider would basically ask a question and receive an answer, but never give answers to anyone else. I agree that this could totally lead to wasted space. Imagine going to looking for tour times at the White House and getting a website with quotes on auto insurance. This could lead to the fall of the community because you may not be able to trust that you will find legitimate information any more.

Later in the reading, Kollock and Smith go on to talk about some possible solutions that have worked in face to face communities. These solutions include aspects such as group size and boundaries, rules and institutions, and monitoring and sanctioning. Kollock and Smith suggest that by decreasing group size, making it harder to join, creating a list of rules, and moderating posts the Usenet community could survive. The most interesting point Kollock and Smith made in this section was about group size. According to Kollock and Smith, in a face to face community the bigger the group, the more free-riding there will be because these free-riders will be hard to notice, but in a newsgroup everybody can see who is free-riding because the post are seen by the thousands of members of the newsgroup. This is very interesting and very true. If you take a small college class and compare it to a bigger college class I bet you will find more students free-riding in the larger class than the small because in the larger class there is a less likely chance that you will be called on than in the smaller one.

I would like to conclude by saying that there still may be free-riding and grandstanding going on, but steps are being taken to keep this to a minimum. Newsgroups and forums alike are being monitored, and off topic threads are being moved to their proper place or deleted. I think that if we all stay conscious of what we are writing and where we are writing it that our internet communities will forever flourish.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Internet as We Know It

The internet experience that we encounter today is very different from the experience one would have in the 60s or 70s. Today we point and click, we type to one another instantly, we can see and hear what our fellow internet have to say. Technology is changing, and with this change the internet has evolved. What was once thought improbably is becoming a reality. There have been many advances that have aided in the creation and evolution of the internet as we know it today, but there are a few that stand out more than others. They are packet-switching, email, hypertext, and graphical web browsers. I would say that without these four innovations the internet would not be the same as it is today. Before we get into further detail about these innovations, it is important to understand a little background on the internet itself.

According to Adams and Clark (2001), in the late fifties and early sixties, the creation of nuclear weapons lead to a fear of losing communication. The reason for this was that that when a nuclear bomb detonated it would send electromagnetic pulses that would knock out electronics, including means of communication, in a 250 mile radius. If one of these bombs was to hit how would the military communicate? This led to the idea of a galactic network, where there would be many different routes for a message to get through. This way if one route was destroyed there would always be another route to take so the message would get through. Fast forward a little bit to the 1970s when ARPANET is created. ARPANET was the developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which had been doing this research on how to keep communication alive if the electronics needed to communicate were knocked out. ARPANET becomes the first internet, where computers can send data to one another, and later evolves into the internet as we know it today. Now that you have a brief understanding of how and why the internet was created, we can get into the innovations that make the internet what it is today.

The first important development to the internet was packet-switching. Packet-switching involves the path in which packets travel. Packets, as defined by Adams and Clark (2001), are small bundles of data that made traffic more manageable across the internet. Basically, large amounts of data were broken down into smaller files, packets, that could be sent quicker do to their smaller size. As another way to speed up the transmission time, packet-switching was developed. Now that we had smaller packets and a bunch of routes to go down, there was no reason to send all the packets down the same one. The large file once sent, could now be broken down into smaller packets and each packet could go down the quickest path, where they would meet and form the original large file. This was a great development because it made sending data and messages quicker and more effective than ever before. The internet was going to be big, but not how ARPA originally thought.

It is important to remember, that the original purpose of the internet was to send data from one computer to another. Originally from military base to military base, but later colleges were added to ARPANET. These colleges had used the internet just as the military, to send and receive data, but something began to happen and the data they began to send was different. According to Adams and Clark (2001), the data began to become more and more personal. Professors began sending electronic message, or email, to one another about their personal lives. This was not what the original intention of the internet, but this became one of the biggest advancements and reasons why we have the internet we have today. When the general public heard that it was possible to send messages to people around the world quickly and effectively it made them want to do it too. I believe this is one the major reasons that the internet is what it is today. Think about it, if you have an email account, chances are that you check it daily. The development of email has made the use of the internet a daily activity in millions of people’s lives. In recent times this technology has become even more widely used because now you can send messages instantly or synchronously (Adams and Clark, 2001.). Instead of having to wait a few hours for someone to respond, you can get an immediate response within seconds.

The last two advancements can pretty much be put together because one cannot run without the other. The development of these two technologies, however, would not have happened without the creation of the mouse. The mouse was originally invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963 at the Stanford Research institution ( The creation of the mouse is important because it enabled users to point and click. Now windows could be open and the computer could be navigated by hand, alleviating the pressure of needing to know codes and commands to use computers. This made the development of hypertext and graphical web browsers, usable and user friendly. Hypertext, as defined by Adams and Clark (2001), was a technology that allowed documents, such as images, videos, and text, to be linked together. This was usually done in the form of HTML, or hypertext markup language, but without the creation of the mouse or the next technology HTML could not be used. The web browser is a program that translates HTML and displays it. This is how we see many websites today. The web browser and the mouse allow us to point and click to navigate not only our personal computers, but now the World Wide Web.

In conclusion, the internet that we use today looks, feels, and is even used differently than it was originally intended. However, without the creation of new technologies the internet may never have grown into what it is today. In my opinion, the most important innovations that lead the internet to evolve were packet-switching, email, hypertext, and web browsers. Without these the internet would not work as fast or be as interactive as it is now. Now we have the ability to chat instantly using any combination of text, audio, and video. The internet as we know it has grown quickly and taken turns that were never expected. This only leaves us with one question; What’s next?

Adams & Clark. How did we get here? The development of a new medium.
Adams & Clarke. What is it? Characteristics of the medium.
STIM - MouseSite. Retrieved September 8,2008, from

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Advancement of Communication Through the Internet

In today’s society the internet is used daily by millions of households across the world, and the number of users continues to grow. The fact the internet is changing and improving everyday makes it more and more desirable. You can now have conversations with other people around the world instantly, using text, audio, and even video. In terms of communication, how is this medium described, and what category would internet communication fit into?

The fact is that internet communication can fit into all communication categories. With the ability to communicate interpersonally or to an entire group, internet communication is in a class of its own. The information and material that is communicated can be sent to one person or millions across the world. Setting up a website, creates the ability to communicate with the world, as well as giving people the opportunity to respond with their opinions either to a whole group or to you personally. What makes this technology so advanced is the ability to communicate far distances with little or no problems at all.

In previous attempts at distant communication and even in current attempts, there are problems that can be analyzed and improved on. The major problems occur in the form of reliability, speed and distribution. From previous means of communicating to the ability we now have with internet communication, these problems are becoming less apparent. Internet communication over the past couple of years has become quicker, more reliable, and easier to distribute than ever before. With internet transmission speeds increasing daily and the number of paths packets can go down, your message is sure to get where it’s going and quick.

In recent times, many blogging sites have been created where your message can be distributed quickly and efficiently to an audience around the world. They are not hard to set up and within minutes you can commence communication. The ability to hyperlink is an innovative technology that allows you to link to other websites, pictures and videos. This improves the reliability of communication greatly. There is no longer the fear that you will be misunderstood when you say, “the house is awesome”. In the past people had to think of an awesome house. Today, you can show them the house.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Development of a New Medium

There was a time when landline telephones were the main means of communications. Over the past 30 years, many new forms of communication have become available. Whether it be cell phones, fax machines, or the internet we now have a choice. The communication medium that is becoming more and more popular is the internet. It can be used to send emails, instant messages, and even video chat with people around the world from your personal computer. Do to the fact that most of us have grown up with the internet, a lot of us take advantage that we can do this almost instictually, but where did this technology come from and how did it get where it is today?

It may be hard to believe, but this new communication medium came about from a bombing and...