Practicum Post #1: Presentation Tomorrow on Microblogging

Hi Class,

Tomorrow I’ll be presenting on my practicum project.  I was assigned to microblogging and decided to focus my efforts on Twitter.  I’ll begin by discussing how Twitter works, for those of you who do not frequent the site, and touch on some of the common practices people use.  I’ll also be focusing on how popularity is gained, how different types of users (media sources, celebrities, etc.) use Twitter, and the way people present their identities on the site.  To finish, I’ll discuss the similarities and differences between blogging and microblogging, as well as how Twitter is exemplary of Web 2.0.  My group and I will also compare our three projects and explain how they are related and differ.

I’ve been making a lot of progress on my project, and I have a lot of great information to share with all of you.  While many of you already have Twitter accounts, I hope I can provide you with some helpful information from my personal experiences.

My question for all of you is: Twitter only allows users to “Tweet” up to 140 characters at a time.  Do you think this is representative of our fast-paced society, and do you think it is an effective and appropriate way to get information out to “Followers”?

Have a good night,

Jessica


Myspace: Technopanic?

I remember when Myspace was the new, trendy site all my friends were using.  I must have been about 15 years old, then, and it was the cool thing to do to be on Myspace, update your “Top Friends,” and choose a new background for your page.  Before Facebook became popular, this was this most exciting and convenient way to stay in touch with your friends, despite the fact that you saw them everyday at school.

When Facebook came around and my friends and I began creating our own accounts, I was hesitant to switch over because I had become so comfortable with Myspace.  Now, looking back, Myspace definitely does not seem as user-friendly or safe as Facebook.  It is less advanced, looks “cheap” in comparison to other social media sites, and has definitely lost the popularity it once had.

As I looked (or “creeped”) on random Myspace profiles, I couldn’t help but notice that I felt a little uneasy about them.  It could just be that I’m bias and prefer Facebook to Myspace, but Myspace did not seem as friendly or approachable as I remembered it being.  One thing that really stuck out to me was the “Details” section.  I remember updating that section when I used Myspace, but I had always been cautious about what information I provided.  Several of the profiles I looked at had very personal information in that section including, their income, height, ethnicity, education, and body type.  In comparison to Facebook, there are more opportunities to describe yourself in great detail.  Personally, I felt uncomfortable being exposed to so much information about a person I did not know.  I think this example points towards the idea of “technopanic.”  The fact that such personal information about strangers is so readily available, makes Myspace seem risky.  It’s not that people aren’t able to display personal information elsewhere, but the fact that all the information is detailed and in one location that makes it appear as a website to be concerned about.

Other things I took note of were that profiles seemed almost tacky in that everyone had a different layout and background.  Also, in contrast to Facebook, Myspace look like more of a way to display oneself rather than to interact with friends and family.  You can’t tag someone in a status update and there is no constant “News Feed” to keep you updated on what your friends and family are doing.

Social networking sites, Myspace in particular, have faced criticism from parents due to the fact that their children are able to display anything and everything in one location.  They can upload pictures of themselves, give status updates on what they are doing, post the city they live in, how old they are, and a detailed description of their body image and ethnicity.  It is an easy way for the wrong people to get a hold of a lot of information, which is most certainly a parent’s reason for concern.  If personal information is readily available, it would not take long before a stranger knows where this person lives, when (s)he likes, etc.  It is this “technopanic” idea that is illustrated by Myspace.  While there are most certainly ways to make personal information hidden from the general public, it is the idea that people, children and young adults especially, are more exposed to danger than was possible before social networking sites existed.

While there are most certainly worse examples of a technopanic, I found Myspace to be a bit of one.  The amount of readily available information about a complete stranger does not make me feel safe.  I was able to access too much information on random individuals, information that can give me an exact picture on what they look like, where they live, and what they are interested in.  It is for this reason that I find Myspace to be a technopanic.

 


History of the Internet

After watching this video, I had to stop and think about all the information that was put into a short timeframe.  The information included was very useful and used some of the terminology we have discussed in lecture.  It’s hard to believe that the Internet is still such a new invention.  I have had Internet access since I was in elementary school and have used it for educational and entertainment purposes ever since.  The Internet quite literally encompasses every part of our lives and it’s rare for a day to go by without needing the Internet for some reason or other.  We use it to communicate, educate, and entertain ourselves, but it is certainly something that the American culture seems to take for granted.

Even in the past decade or so the Internet has undergone drastic changes.  We’ve seen the emergence and rapid popularity of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which have made it easier to stay in touch with friends and family.  The way we use the Internet with sites such as these has changed the way our culture functions.  We are becoming more distant from one another but more connected all at the same time.  It’s almost an oxymoron.

While I recognized a good amount of the terminology used in the video, I was confused on the function of the IMP and Mainframe.  Although I watched that section of the video several times, I still do not feel comfortable with that information.  Overall, I thought this video did a satisfactory job of explaining the history and uses of the Internet.


Introduction

Hi!  My name is Jessica and I’m a senior majoring in Communication Arts – Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies and receiving a Certificate in Criminal Justice.  I grew up in Blaine, MN, which is a suburb just north of Minneapolis, and come from a family of die-hard Gopher, Viking, and Twins fans.  While I am most certainly a Twins fan,I’ve never been a Gopher or Vikings fan; I am proud to say I cheer only for the Badgers and Packers!  Besides sports, I enjoy relaxing on the Terrace, being with my friends and family, teaching at high school summer dance camps, and soaking in as much sun as I can before the weather gets too cold.  I also have a large bucket list of things to do before I leave Madison.

I am really excited to take this class, because along with everyone else, I use the Internet for just about everything.  I think it will be really interesting to find out how it impacts society and has caused drastic changes in the way our world functions on a day-to-day basis.

Jessica