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.
The internet is a huge place, the worst part being that enforcing rules is extremely hard. The second something is taken down, whether it be a picture, video, etc., it is most likely put back up again. Copyrighted material is just very difficult to handle on the internet. That’s why Creative Commons is such a brilliant ideas. The old saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” CC takes the annoyance out of illegally taking copyrighted material by making it legal to go and use the media freely while also giving credit to the source. Creative Commons takes the fuzzy legal issues on the internet and tries to clear them up. It’s an effective system that makes the internet a much friendlier place. I always see content on youtube getting taken down because of a copyright issue. Those videos should watchable by everyone, but it still gets taken down because of legal issues. Creative Commons fixes this issue by making it legal, as long as the source is accredited. I believe that it really opens up the creative potential of the internet by making content less restrictive. This is very useful for blogs because a blog is essentially a form of media that borrows from many other types of media. A blog can incorporate pictures and video that might be copyrighted. Should the owner of that property find their work illegally published on a blog, there could be serious legal consequences. Creative Commons avoids this entirely by giving users the power to do what they please while also giving the owner credit for their work. A blogger who uses CC benefits from the fact that their name/blog is getting around since people have to accredit the source. It’s basically free publicity that will increase the popularity of the blog.
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.
I want to focus my blog on the type of Japanese music that I like to listen to. These are some blogs that I found useful.
Clear and Refreshing: This is a blog that posts about indie/underground Japanese bands. I really like this blog because it doesn’t just post a music video for the readers to watch with maybe a paragraph synopsis below it. The blogger actually goes in depth about the band and music. I plan on doing that in my blog, but I also want to include pictures and gifs to keep the readers engaged. Just having a music video is usually pretty boring. I personally start looking at other web pages while the song plays in the background. Adding some visual stimuli would capture the reader’s attention and keep them on the page longer.
J-Rock Explosion: This is a blog that features all types of Japanese Rock music. What I really liked about the blog was the large variety of music posted every week. One post could be about a math rock band’s new single, and the next one could be a feature on a screamo band. I want to keep my blog refreshing with a variety of genres. Of course, it would be tailored to my own tastes, but it’s boring listening to the same type of music all the time. The reader would especially get bored. Music blogs should be about discovery. If the same thing is being played all the time, what’s the point of visiting the site more than once? The blog has some issues, such as having too much content. It sounds a little silly, but if I find a blog post that has well over an hour’s worth of listening and reading involved, there is a problem. I would probably keep it to one song per blog post instead of 5 or 6.
Japanese Music Subreddit: I kind of cheated on this one (since it’s a subreddit), but I visit this url almost every single day. It has an incredibly varied selection of music that anyone can come and post/comment on. While there is no large block of text that follows each video, the comment section almost always has a comment or two that links to even more music. It’s just this cycle that ends up consuming hours of my time looking online. I want to be able to create a similar effect in my blog. I want people to read it and go, “Hey, this sounds a lot like dklsfsflkslkfd.” It feels great when you can talk to a stranger about something you’re passionate about without even knowing them personally. Music is one of the few things that can actually accomplish that. As for the things that I dislike about the subreddit, I find that the activity level can be pretty low at times. Also, the subreddit is just filled with videos instead of text to go along with it. This can be fixed pretty easily in my blog if I just focus at one song at a time.
It is the strongest voice that allows anyone to voice their opinion without the social consequences that would normally follow a public statement. Freedom of speech is indeed a right that everyone should be entitled to, however that does not imply that the speaker should be free of the responsibilities that come with speaking freely. Censorship in moderation should be put in place in the absence of social pressures that are normally associated with freedom of speech. This censorship is especially needed in blogging, where comment sections run rampant with anonymous replies. These comments can be not only offensive, but harmful to others as well. It is for this reason that anonymous users should be forced to reveal themselves online; people should be responsible for what they say on the internet.
(NOTE: Play the music video while reading. It makes it so much less boring. You might have to scroll down a bit to find it)
My name is Matthew Lew. People like calling me Matt Lew because it sounds like Mat – thew (they think it’s clever or something). I’m a freshman here at Rutgers, and I aim to graduate with a degree in Computer Science. I am of Chinese decent, but I consider myself whitewashed. Even though I know about as much Chinese as a horsefly, I still cherish my heritage, and I plan on joining one of Rutger’s many Chinese culture clubs. I was actually a board member of my high school’s Asian Club and helped plan events that raised money for charity. Hopefully, I can continue helping people at Rutgers too.
Looking at my hobbies, most people would probably categorize myself as a “nerd”. I love video games to death and I have a habit of quoting my favorite movies during conversations. My most overused quotes come from the likes of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, American Psycho, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. If I use them in a conversation, I apologize in advance for whatever annoyances I might cause.
Some of my favorite video games include Halo: CE, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, and Guild Wars 2. If any of these look familiar, contact me! I would love to play some time. Other things I enjoy include Japanese anime and music. Anime completely replaced television for me, and I don’t really have the patience to sit and watch Spongebob anymore. It has to be my favorite pastime (other than eating). I’m also big on Japanese music. If you have any in your music collection, definitely send me some. If you haven’t listened to Sakanaction as a lover of Japanese music, please check them out. They are by far my favorite band.
I consider myself mildly athletic, although I never really played on any teams. The only sport I ever really played was Ultimate Frisbee, and even then, people are hesitant to fully accept that as a “sport”. In high school, I played on a team put together by the students. I was never actually that good, but my team won the Division II State Championship. It sounds fancy, but that just means we were the best of the worst. Here’s a picture of my team at States (I’m not actually in the picture):
I don’t really know how to classify my taste in music, but I would say I like Rock music the most. My favorite bands include: Sakanaction, The Killers, Phoenix, Straightener, The Strokes, and Young the Giant. If you’ve never listened to Japanese music before, here’s a little taste:
I have a strange infatuation with cooking videos/shows/channels, ESPECIALLY the Food Network. Call me strange, but I could watch that channel for hours at a time without pause. Unfortunately, my cooking skills are mediocre at best. I tell myself every year that I will dedicate myself to learning how to cook, but I always end up setting off the fire alarms.
If you find cooking videos on youtube interesting, I suggest you look up channels like Sorted Food, runnyrunny999, and Food Wishes. That about wraps up my first blog post. Feel free to add me on facebook. I guess I’ll see you all on Tuesday. Until then: