Cho, Sook-Hyun, and Se-Joon Hong. “Social Behavior and Personality.” Blog User Satisfaction: Gender Differences in Preferences and Perception of Visual Design. 41.8 (2013): 1319-1332. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=5a3d8d01-d6f4-487a-b8ed-294a7ce786f0@sessionmgr111&vid=2&hid=7>
This is an article in which gender differences in blog user satisfaction were investigated. There was no statistical difference according to gender in how information quality and navigation quality influenced the satisfaction of the participants however there was a difference in response to the visual aspect of the blog.
Rainie Lee, Kiesler Sara, Kang Ruogu, Madden Mary. “Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online.” Pew Research Center. 5 Sept. 2013. Online. 12 Sept. 2013. <http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Anonymity-online.aspx>
For this annotated bibliography, I looked at the other side of the argument on why people prefer to anonymous. It mostly has to do with privacy and security over the web. The Pew Research Center, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, researched around 700 different users and monitored their activity online. What they found was that many people try to cover up their online footprints by deleting cookies and passwords, as well as changing things they might have posted in the past. In this case, it is not so much about feeling empowered on the internet, but feeling safer. No one wants to get their credit card information stolen because they were irresponsible with how they handled their online identity. Anonymity gives people a sense of security; it could also be the reason why some people feel brave enough to harass others. The research does not directly relate to that subject, but I can see how I could use it in my paper. A vast majority of the people who participated in the research stated that they should be able to be anonymous online. For them, it is almost like a given right to do what they want on the internet without being judged. Furthermore, young adults were found to be the most likely to use some sort of method to hide their identities. The article continues to talk about how privacy is a major issue and that many still feel like there are not enough laws put in place to protect one’s privacy on the internet. I find this fascinating, as it is still very easy to anonymously interact with others online. I want to do more research on the psychology behind being completely anonymous, as that seems to be what most people want when it comes to surfing the web.
This blog consists of anything in regards to the question of why. For example, why would you use a mouth guard to brush your teeth or why would you make a tanning bed out of a coffin? I believe that the right response is why the heck not. Either way wtfstuff.wordpress.com is a really fun and interesting blog to look at. What makes this blog really interesting is its content. It has a really good topic to write about and then it capitalizes on it with good writing in general. The vocabulary used isn’t too big nor is it too small. Wtfstuff uses a very relaxed and simple, but at the same time formal style of writing. In other words they keep it professional while also allowing the reader to follow along and understand the concepts. Most of the time the articles aren’t all that long with is really good because its a site for fun and interesting news, not for gaining boring knowledge. Wtfstuff likes to keep their word posts short and simple while filling in the reader to a vast variety of interesting tid-bits. However if you feel like you’re missing something and you need to read on, then there is a Read More button at the bottom of their post that links you directly with the original article. Overall the writing on wtfstuff might be short and a lot less than what the average reader would care for, but it gives you vital info on the topic at hand and allows the reader to credit the original article by linking to it at the bottom.
Valkenburg, Patti M. and Peter, Jochen. “Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet: Consequences for Social Competence and Self-Concept Unity.” Communication Research. April 2008vol. 35 no. 2 208-231. Mar 9, 2008. Online. Oct 3, 2013. <http://crx.sagepub.com/content/35/2/208.full.pdf+html>
This research was done on teenagers and how the internet affected their sense of social competence. It wasn’t so much about how anonymity affected the user’s decision making, but how the internet in general affected the minds of its users. The study found that adolescents who were more open to experimenting with their online identity were also more likely to reach out to people of other backgrounds. In other words, they were more open to talking with others and were not held back by their inhibitions. This is important in the case of my thesis because it shows how the internet affects certain individuals. The research also found that lonely adolescents experimented more with their online identity, and benefited the most from the research in terms of self-image. The internet blocks out the visual side that would normally come with carrying out a normal conversation, so it makes sense that people are also more likely to branch out and expand their social abilities. How it exactly relates to anonymity is yet to be determined. The article isn’t directly related to my topic, but it still provides interesting information that could be useful later on for proving a point on the psychology behind people taking more risks on the internet.
Cadwalladr, Carole. “We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of Lulzsec, Anonymous and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson – review.” The Observer. 17 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/aug/18/we-are-anonymous-parmy-olson-review>
The article discusses the recent rise in popularity of an anonymous hacker group know as “Anonymous”. Masked behind the internet, this group of individuals attack specific companies and groups to help raise awareness of controversial social issues surrounding these groups. Their methods are often questionable and extreme, but it is usually done for a good cause. The group has evolved from simple 4chan hackers to a global organization that coordinates attacks against powers like the North Korean propaganda accounts. The article brings up a good point about cyber terrorism. While it might not be a big deal in some countries, it could land you in prison in America. Anonymity on the internet gives people the courage to do crazy things they wouldn’t normally do online. What’s more interesting is that groups like Anonymous attract so many people because they know the risk of getting in trouble is much lower. In a sense, they lose their own individuality and become a part of a greater mass. While one or two members might get caught, the idea of Anonymous will always remain on the internet. It’s one of the very reasons why I feel that anonymity is too strong of a privilege to give people.
Sawer, Patrick. “Cyberbullying victims speak out: ‘they were anonymous so they thought they could get away with it.'” The Telegraph. 13 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/8885876/Cyberbullying-victims-speak-out-they-were-anonymous-so-they-thought-they-could-get-away-with-it.html>
Cyberbullying is a huge issue because it causes victims to feel the pressure of bullying wherever they go. It affects them both inside and outside of class, often making the victims feel like there is no end to their torture. Two girls in particular, Natalie Farzaneh and Paige Chandler, share their stories of how cyberbullying affected their lives. In both cases, the girls used a service known as Formspring. This website allows users to receive anonymous messages from anyone who comes across their webpage. Chandler recalls people leaving comments on other profiles that say things like “I wish your mother would die.” The worst part is, most of these anonymous users do this not because they know the user personally, but because “they have nothing better to do.” It goes to show what normal people are capable of given the right conditions. Another interesting thing brought up by the article is that large companies like Facebook do nothing to stop this type of harassment. Both girls filed complaints, but were ignored.
In this day and age, people have shorter and shorter attention spans. Keeping a reader on one page for longer than 10 seconds is a challenge in itself. Should a writer decide to create a blog with no knowledge or technical skills with computers, he might find himself in a tough position. A good writer doesn’t need to know any programming to write a good story on paper, but bloggers need to customize their blogs with attractive visuals just to hold the reader’s attention. Aesthetics aren’t everything, but the chances of someone reading an entire blog post filled with nothing but words and white space are not very high.
To increase one’s blogging ability, I believe it is necessary to have a firm grasp on how to navigate and understand websites. This means adding tags and categories to help readers traverse the blog. Nothing is more painful than going through months and months of blogging content, only to realize the post was either deleted or moved. Keeping a blog clean and simple is extremely important. It is also a skill that comes with learning how to use a computer. A blogger needs to know where to keep things, when to update, how to reduce clutter, etc. A normal writer doesn’t necessarily know how to do these things on a webpage. Blogs both limit and unlock the potential of every writer because it adds a visual component that just isn’t available through standard black and white lettering on paper. At the same time, a blog’s host website can also confuse a newbie to both the world of technology and the world of blogging. I am personally fairly familiar with computers, but websites like WordPress still manage to boggle my mind. The dashboard setup is cluttered and confusing; customizing blog posts and blogs can be a nightmare at times; even the widget system can be frustrating. These are problems that technologically savvy people have. Imagine how hard it is for someone barely knows how to check their email.
Blogs in my mind are like paintings. One person might be able to put together a nicely drawn stick figure, while the person next him might make the next Mona Lisa. Having experience with technology might not improve the blogger’s writing ability, but it definitely makes reading a blog easier. Going to blogs that look professional and clean cause me to stay longer. I want to explore the blog because it is easy to do and the information is all there. People who have never touched a computer before will probably have issues organizing everything. Hell, even websites for colleges and universities are a pain to navigate. A strong sense of design and a little bit of coding can easily fix this. Still, I find that the computer skills only help me make everything look pretty, but mediocre writing will still be mediocre. To say a good blogger is a good writer would be wrong. While a good layout always improves the reading experience, I would still rather read a messy blog than a pretty one run by a four year old.