Tagged: matthewlew

A Lesson on Internet Etiquette

Before I start, let me just say that this article was a pain in the butt to read. Hopefully my condensed summary can help you guys write up a good response.

Anna Emilia’s article goes over social media etiquette that one should practice when interacting with others over the internet. She basically comes to the realization that interacting with others is no different over the internet than it is in person. That means staying attentive in conversations, showing the others respect, etc. To help her reinforce this idea, Anna called upon the many blogging gurus to share their wisdom in only 7000 words!

In her wonderful summary of basic do’s and don’ts of social media, Anna outlines what you should and should not do when using things like Facebook and Twitter. I read through the list and thought to myself, Isn’t this stuff pretty obvious? It’s like asking, would you run through the streets maked while screaming profanities at others? The correct answer is no. If you wouldn’t do it in public, then why do it online? It is true that staying anonymous on the internet is actually quite easy, but karma does exist. People see what is posted publicly, and if you’re the guy who is ranting about how he hates black people, expect to receive some hate.

Another good point about blogging that she makes is to keep blogging content relative to the blog. I actually have to keep this in mind myself since I maintain a music blog. It’s good to go on tangents every once in a while to keep everything nice and diverse, but that doesn’t mean to suddenly post about why frog legs taste just like chicken. That also means not to flood your reader with content. Anna calls it “overshare”, where the blogger drowns his or her readers in massive amounts of posts, relative or not to the actual blog. That is the quickest way to kill off current and potential readers.

The one part that I found really helpful from Anna’s post was on tone. Yes, tone. I see it all the time on Facebook and tumblr; people come and they rant nonstop. A high school friend of mine is actually a perfect example of this. He’s a nice guy in real life, but online, he’s just a cynical asshole (can I use this word in a blog post?) that spews his hatred over the newsfeed for all to see. It’s a mess. Please don’t do this when you blog. This apples to her other points as well, but you should also remember who is going to read what you post. If it affects somebody else, don’t forget that there is someone else on the other end of computer who is the object of your writing, regardless of its intention. Saying something nasty about someone else could come back to bite you one day. Treating others poorly will only result in more hostility. Feels like grade school, doesn’t it? Treat others the way you want to be treated. It might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people forget something as simple as this. There’s a reason why teachers even bother with the saying: it’s true.

The next section is on how to act properly for the different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., but I won’t go through the details. I’m sure most of you already know how to behave properly online. As for my thoughts on the remaining XXXX amount of words left in the article, I have to say that most of it was pretty…boring. It might be interesting for someone who uses social media as a second identity, but I really only use Facebook (for chatting and what not). Looking at what Emily Henderson had to say on personal pet peeves, I had no idea what she was talking about when dealing with big companies screwing up Twitter with bad twittetiquette. It didn’t really have to do with social media etiquette for us bloggers, and it just seemed kind of silly in general. If you don’t like the way someone writes, then don’t read it. Anyways, I won’t bore you guys any longer with more details, so here’s the tldr on what awesome bloggers think about social media: don’t hate, appreciate.

The Hobbit, Road Rage, and Anonymity

Zhuo, Julie. “Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt.” The New York Times. 29 Nov. 2010. Online. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html>

I never really thought about The Hobbit as an example for my thesis, but it could actually work. Zhuo brings up a good point in that when people are anonymous, they are much more likely to do things they wouldn’t normally do. In the case of Bilbo Baggins, he finds a magic ring that turns him invisible and ends up turning into a full-blown thief because of it. Road rage is also a great example of how anonymity can totally change a person. When you are behind the wheel, other people don’t know who you are. You can yell, scream, insult, and maybe even attack other drivers at will. The best part is that you will never see that person, so why worry about what they think of you? The same can be said about trolls on the internet. They don’t care about who they insult because they know they will never have to face that person in real life. One horrible case of this had to do with the death of 18 year old Nikki Catsouras. Pictures of her dead, mutilated body were posted all over the internet as a joke. The really horrible part is that people left anonymous comments, making fun of her. I even looked up the pictures myself to see what the fuss was about and almost threw up in disgust at what I found (do not look up those photos). Zhuo left some great research quotes behind that I am definitely going to look up in the future as reference for my paper.

Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online

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.

A Linear View

In my mind, linearity is perfectly described by the standard novel. An index is included to help organize the author’s writing, but it is mostly a single stream of information. Everything is presented in a single way; there is no other way to interact with the text. It is there for the user to read. You would not read a story out of order, and the same goes for linearity. It has to be in order. Lupton mentions Microsoft Power Point as an example. While each slide offers room to present information in an attractive and creative way, ultimately everything must happen in the order that the presenter set things up. That is what linearity is. It is a control over media and writing that commands the user or reader to experience something in a certain way. It is in that regard that the internet and typography has freed humans from the reigns of linearity. Not everyone has to experience something the same way as someone else. When browsing through a webpage, the user has the choice to view exactly what they want to. Their experience will be different from the next person, and it makes creative works far more flexible. I do not think that blogs are completely free of linearity. It is a stepping stone to non-linearity, but it still has several key characteristics that roots it in the common written work. For one, a blog is written in a way that is usually organized by date. It is a stream of information coming from the writer, and in that sense, the user can experience everything in a linear way. However, a blog also has options that allow users to read only the posts that they find interesting. These options create a new experience each time someone views the blog, whereas a book never changes. You read a book, and the experience will always be the same. I think that is essentially what Lupton is getting at with typography; it changes how we look at things.

PCGamer: Good or Bad Writing

One website I frequent is called PCGamer. I go there daily for all of my pc gaming news, and I usually end up reading all of the posts published that day. One thing that I’ve never actually done is analyze the writing of the articles. For me, I think it’s a mix between serious writing and humorous writing. Some articles I find very interesting because the writer includes things like pictures with funny captions. Other times, the writing can be very long, drawn out, and overly expressive. It really depends on the writer in my opinion. These websites all have multiple writers that each bring their own set of skills and styles to the table. I know for a fact that there is one horrendous writer on PCGamer. He writes not to entertain the reader, but to entertain himself. His prose is long, overly complicated, and defiant of grammatical law. It’s good to vary vocabulary, but he does it so frequently that the original message takes multiple google searches to decrypt what is actually there. That is a bad thing. Is it good writing? Perhaps, but not the type of writing suited for the website. I believe diversity is important for a blog or website because otherwise, we would end up reading basically the same writing over and over and over again. Having a variety of voices all bringing you fascinating information is much more entertaining. However, there should be a fine line between varied and just flat out unnatural.

A good writer for a blog should be unique enough to have their own style and voice, but still constrained to the overall style of the blog as a whole. That means if a blog is exceptionally clean and devoid of swears or curse words, one particular writer should not go out of their way to add profanities just to make their writing a little more different. In the case of PCGamer, I feel as though that particular writer should lessen his use of large words and intricate sentence structure. I go there to read about the next big game coming out; I don’t go there to watch a writer bask in his self-indulgent word porn. Overall, I would say PCGamer has exceptionally good writing (for the most part). It’s snappy, informative, varied, and very entertaining to read. The skill level of the writer will vary from article to article, but I definitely feel it is one of the better websites out there.

Adolescents’ Identity Experiments on the Internet

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.

The Deterioration of Physical Media

Everything is going online now, especially the news. Information is easily thrown around on the internet because it gets as simple as copying and pasting sections of a webpage. Taking things out of context happens in articles, videos, movies, really any media that is commonly used on the internet. What’s wrong with this? The source becomes nonexistent, almost a myth to the common web surfer. This is just with digital media too. The physical world of media is deteriorating faster by the second. Why go out to grab a newspaper when a digital version is published on a website? Articles and newspapers are being stripped of their old “clothing” and dressed up in newer, more accessible garments. Some view this as a catastrophic blow to the old ways of media, but in truth, I find it more of an evolution.

Reading has never been easier. Anything you could possibly want to read about is out there on the internet. Archives are easy to access, making research a breeze. No longer is it necessary for people to do hours upon hours of searching in a library for a single article that would help their case. The digitization of media is great in so many different aspects. What people really miss is the nostalgia of past media. Reading a newspaper on a lazy Sunday afternoon was an American dream. It’s something that is romanticized by the older generation. To go and touch the texture of the newspaper; to the older generation, that is what it was all about. It was about feeling the physical object right there in your hands. Lauren DiCioccio expresses this nostalgia in her various paintings. She mimics the layouts and designs of newspaper and magazine articles, except she replaces words with colorful dots. It’s a reminder of what media used to be, and how everything changes over time. That is what evolution does. It changes people, animals, even media. Newspapers used to be a center for information, but now, even artists can go and turn the layout into a painting. It goes to show how easy it is for the media to transform, especially in such a relatively short amount of time.