This practicum project has been a great learning experience. I’ve discovered quite a bit about the workings of forums, and observed quite a bit of interaction between individuals.
Users can create their own identity. Can progress through levels (earning new titles with level of engagement). They can create a community base by adding other users to their friend lists. The forum allows for sharing of resources, ideas, opinions, correcting misconceptions. They allow for conversation outside of the specified topic (Ex: Dr Who).
These forums can create a sense of community for sharing and learning and creating a home away from home. But, that only counts for people who actively seek a second family. For those people who use the forum for updates and information, or infrequently, these forums do not create the sense of identity or community that it would for those who truly delve into the cyber world.
For myself, I do not feel the sense of attachment or connection that would draw me towards this forum again and again, as it does for some users who post daily/biweekly.
Although, some users posted some really cool peer production content : videos of mash ups and updates on series news. It was cool to see the user created stuff, and convenient to find the news I wouldn’t have normally sought out.
Looking over the Wikipedia page on Internet Forums, I realized they had nothing included about identity.
To me, identity is very important to participating in a web forum, because it shapes how others perceive you. You have the ability to include or exclude information about yourself, or even generate made-up information. Before I really added much to my account biography, many people weren’t viewing my profile, and that may have been a reason no one really interacted with me – because I was no one, I had no identity! … Either way, no one really interacted with me a whole lot on a personal level, but that’s possibly due to other factors, like level of engagement, timeline, etc.
So, here is the post I added to Wikipedia!
I use technology way too much. It’s imbedded in our lives in such a way that it’s just obnoxiously always there. Like that big hairy mole on your face that makes you look like Mr. Bean, and needs cosmetic surgery otherwise it’s always on your mind (“MOOOLLEEEE, MOLEY MOLEY MOLE! MOLE!”) – That’s facebook and SMS, in my mind. A big hairy mole.
Last night I used my phone to text and call my boyfriend, and to alert my friend I was on the way over (rather than using a good ol’ doorbell). I used my phone to play Words with Friends, read XKCD, play Angry Birds, check my e-mail (on 3 different accounts), and check my Facebook.
At work I used a computer in order to complete telephone surveys.
I used my personal Laptop to check facebook, email, twitter, StumbleUpon, and tried desperately to find a TV show to watch rather than doing homework. Apparently I’m up-to-date on Hulu and all my other TV hubs 😦
In sum, technology is an easy way for me to goof off and not get any work done, unless it’s imbedded in my work place. It’s a big hairy mole that is more entertaining than anything else, it’s just too distracting to not enjoy.
Well, in observing my community of Dr Who fans at the SyFy.com forum, I’ve gotten to understand a bit of the etiquette, how one identifies themselves within the website and with others, and been able to observe a lot of interactions amongst these members.
Members tend to have relationships with one another. These members are more engaged, having posted often and frequently for a long period of time. They grow relationships, I assume, from their extreme active engagement. By clicking on one’s screen name, anyone can view their biography, their ‘status updates’ similar to those on Facebook, conversational topics they have started, as well as the history of their posts made. On the sidebar, more information about the individual is available. Number of posts made, when they joined, number of profile views – (using Facebook lingo : how many people have ‘stalked’ this user), last active, currently viewing which forum, and demographics provided by the user. Individuals may leave personal messages (PM) or write a comment, again comparing to Facebook, as if writing on one’s “wall”. All of this personal information and track record of their involvement within the SyFy community, as well as the ability to interact with them enables and encourages the formation of friendships. Individuals may add friends, I have 3, all of which are moderators of the Doctor Who forum that seemed welcoming and very active in the forum.
However, not all members identify with one another on a personal level. Most of the time communication is friendly, helpful, inquisitive, and welcoming.
Ironically relevant to the reading for tomorrow, the thread I’m currently reading begins:
“Doctor Who has inspired a level of “vidding” that I don’t think I’ve ever seen with any other TV show. (Not counting the legions of poorly edited romance videos.)So, post your favorite Doctor Who fan vids, whether they be music videos, title mashups, fake titles, anything. Well… keep fan films down to trailers.”
This is relevant to the article about remixing – these are videos that viewers have created about or based-off Dr. Who. Although, it appears the producers of the original show are not concerned about property rights or whatnot, since so many videos and mashups exist.
Hulu is a great source for watching excellent quality TV shows. YouTube is a great resource for watching user-made videos, finding advertisements, watching Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin episode, upside down. (This episode was posted by a user in a format where you must change your monitor settings to view it, because it was recorded upside down. This way, it was a creative alteration to the original episode, and the maker’s of the episode could not demand it be taken down.)
The downfall to Hulu is that often, depending on the TV series, it often does not post the newest episodes until the day later from air date, a week later, or even a month later. I’m not sure why they delay the posting of these episodes, but it’s really frustrating when you just want to watch the latest episode, and you don’t have cable television. Not all TV series are on Hulu either, so you must find another medium to stream your other TV series that are from, say, HBO.
The downfall to YouTube is often times you cannot find the episode you want. I’ve searched and searched and it took a very long time for me to find Hocus Pocus this past halloween. Users who post these episodes give them strange and random titles and keywords, so it makes it difficult to actually locate a relevant episode, rather than a musical remix or home-made version of the original.
Blog 5: Write about how you experience content online— do you pay attention to copyrights or other regulations?
Usually online I try to respect copyrights and property rights. I don’t download music illegally or movies. Although, I do that more out of laziness and lack of motivation. I do go to Projectfree.tv and IceFilms.org to watch my TV shows for free. If these websites are surviving and not getting shut down, I have to assume they either haven’t been caught, or are doing something to make their supply of this material legitimate and lawful. I’m not downloading anything, I’m just consuming the information, so I don’t feel at fault.
In high school I posted up my senior photos from that fancy shmancy place that charged us way too much for a rinky dink picture. Legally I don’t think I was supposed to lay claim to them because they have their name stamped across the front, but it’s my face, I do what I want with it. Facebook has been asking me to tag the company in one of my pictures, even though it doesn’t have any text resembling the place or saying where it is from. Kind of freaks me out that it knows where I went. I refuse to tag them, that’s free marketing for their business, because I look so gosh darn adorable in it (joke). I guess I don’t actually respect copyrights as much as I claim to, if I’m avoiding the company in this way…
When I Google myself, and think about how future employers may perceive my life to be, I feel they would find a person with multiple personalities. I still find it baffling that there are multiple “Jennifer Staebell”s out there. I have the weirdest last name, and most people can’t even pronounce it right, yet there’s more of me out there, running around.
First, I found my newly created LinkedIn account. I just created it to apply for a job posting, and figure it’s a good resource to be connected to right out of college.
Next up, I found “Jennifer Taverna Staebell”s Facebook account pop up. Mine has serious privacy settings up, so Google never actually shows my account on search results. I like it that way, and it seems that ‘Taverna’ has decided to keep most everything private too – good, at least my future employers won’t see some crazy drug addicted hill billy Mini-Me and think it’s actually me! 🙂 Jennifer (Carson) Staebell also popped up via Facebook. This woman also has privacy settings on most of her content, but not all – such as pages she likes and her profile pictures She has good taste at least, as she is a Dexter fan.
Finally REAL me showed up again with my Twitter account, followed by another link to one of my specific Tweets. I was surprised by that, I wonder what made them actually choose that specific one to single out and link to in Google. All it said was “Tweet Tweet- Twiddley Dee Deet. Rockin’ Robin”, but anyone could have read it as my Twitter account is open to all. My Etsy account also showed up, which surprised me because I don’t actively use it. I created this to start selling my home-made earrings, but realized it costs money to post up products, and decided to wait until after graduation when I get more organized with it.
Other Jennifer Staebells show up. One of which is titled “Mug Shot”. Oh great. A few other seem to be business contact names – as if it was a company website.
Overall, not too much damage. It’s pretty clear these other women are much older than me, so I don’t think I’d be confused with them.