Friday, September 26, 2008

Web 2.0

Many have heard of the new technology Web 2.0, but very few know what it actually is, and that they probably use it everyday. The latest article I read for my COM430Z class was “What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software” by Tim O’Reilly (2005). O’Reilly explains Web 2.0 as a system that allows users to interact with one another and in a way allows the people themselves to act as servers for the system. For example, EBay is a site where people can purchase and sell items online. EBay itself acts as a mediator between the two humans. The article also mentions the comparisons and contrast between Web 2.0 and its predecessor Web 1.0. Web 1.0, for example, was technologies such as personal websites and the Britannica Online (p.1). The advancements made in the world of cyberspace can be linked to the development of Web 2.0. For comparison, we can look at the Britannica Online encyclopedia. In the days of Web 1.0, that was a main source for information on the internet. Today, many people use Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that allows it’s users to include and update information on their own. Being user friendly and oriented is what sets Web 2.0 technologies apart from anything that came before it.

Web 2.0 is used by people all over the world and people may not even realize. Do you really take the time, while online, to think of the advancements made, or do you just expect things to work, perhaps even getting frustrated that they are not meeting even higher expectations? It’s incredible that in our current status of the internet, we can determine, as users, what will succeed. According to O’Reilly, participation makes or breaks a site. Users help to make it grow. We have control over the destiny of cyberspace.

O’Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Essay 2 The early Internet

September 15th, 2008, 4:45 p.m.: “If McCain should actually (God forbid) win in November, I will be convinced that America's elections are a fraud. Of course, Bush has already given us plenty of reasons to believe we're no longer living in a democracy.” The topic is politics, a very intriguing and hot topic for Usenet groups. Anytime you talk politics, there’s always an interest, especially with this being a presidential election year. One could easily assume that this Usenet group is filled with active conversations and relevant topics. So the topic: John McCain, the place:, does anything seem wrong with that? The Usenet group that I have been observing is one dedicated to the New York Yankees, a major league baseball team, yet one consistent pattern that I have noticed is the constant discussion of politics. Are people not aware of where they are, or are they simply not considerate enough to obey the culture of the community and follow the topic of the group they are in? Usenet groups are communities and in all communities there is a certain culture, certain rules that should be followed.

Usenet is, according to Kollock and Smith (1996), “…one of the largest computer-mediated communication systems in existence.”(p.111). I used Google groups to locate the particular Usenet group that I observed. Kollock and Smith (1996) mention that “No central authority manages the Usenet…” (p.111), which could be part of the problem that I noticed when studying the group. In a group clearly dedicated to baseball, there is no stopping people that want to write about any other topics. Kollock and Smith (1996) state that “…name is one of its most effective means of defining a boundary: by announcing its contents, it attracts the interested and repels the disinterested...” (p.120), with that said, people who enter the community and talk about other topics are violating standards of the group. People who come to the group to talk about the Yankees displayed their frustrations with the others. In a comment made by the member Holey Moley posted on September 21st, “Without reading all of the posts I thought this was a group dedicated to Yankees baseball. Ya know?? Ny-yankees? Well, you fooled me. Maybe if I look up "politics" we can discuss baseball. Ya think?? Maybe??”. In order for Usenet groups to be enjoyed by all, there is a necessity for all group members to work together and obey the unwritten rules. There are plenty of groups dedicated solely to political talk where these rebels can have their words and opinions heard by others who share the desire to speak about the same topic.

Another observation that I took note of from the Yankees group was the issue of freedom of speech. People are allowed to say whatever they want in the group, as we know there is no one authority to moderate the conversations. However, people are subject to the harsh and cruel comments of others. People use the Usenet group to say things that in my opinion that they wouldn’t say in a face to face interaction. Similar to the idea of playing with gender, as discussed by Danet (1998), “…the typed text provides the mask.” (p.129). People have the ability to make handles that conceal their identity. Danet says that people in cyberspace use the fact that no one knows who they really are to act differently. Perhaps a woman in a room dominated by men uses a handle that can be considered masculine, though who is to say what’s feminine and what’s masculine, to be taken more seriously. In my opinion, people in the Yankee group use text as a mask, not necessarily to conceal their gender, but to be rude and blunt. No one knows there true identity, so they take the opportunity to attack others, speak inappropriately and make offensive remarks. For example, Holey Moley, a user that I paid close attention to, expressed his or her pride in having freedom in America, as she or he was reminded by the traditional singing of God Bless America, in the 7th inning of the Yankee game. He or she was attacked by another user, one who often had something negative to say about everything. Rmjon23 responded to holey moley’s comment by saying “Yea, except you are FORCED to be patriotic in Steinbrenner Land (Yankee Stadium)…F**K "God Bless America" <---I'm free to say that too, right, dickwad?”. Although I am sure they are out there, I don’t think that too many people would have the audacity to curse America, the country that we live freely in, to another’s face, and then call them a highly inappropriate name. Holey Moley was simply expressing his or her pride, and that’s what the forum is for, saying your mind, with regards to the topic. I guess one could argue that Rmjon23 was also expressing his or her opinion; however there is no need for such language.

In order for Usenet groups to be successful, people need to realize that being a member of the group is similar to being a member of a community. They should know to treat others as they would treat their neighbors. They should know to respect the wishes of others and keep the conversation relevant to the topic of the group. Many groups do not have these “rules” written out, but I think they are common courtesy and should be considered common knowledge.

Danet, Brenda. (1998). Text as mask: Gender, play, and performance on the Internet. In Steven G. Jones (Ed.), Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting computer-mediated communication and community (pp.129-158). Thousand Oaks, NJ:Sage.
Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict in the computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 109-128). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

essay 2 Journal #5 9/23/2008

Today in observing the Usenet New York Yankee group for my essay in the COM 430Z class, I noticed less activity. There seemed to be several ads for Nike sneakers, which at least I might consider somewhat relevant to the topic: sneakers, sprots, baseball. But still, it doesnt belong. I looked around for some rules and or guidlines for the group, I could'nt find any. I found links to the histry of Usenet, but that's it. So I did some further inverstigation. I look back into the archives of the group. Surprisingly, I found that this particular group dates back to December, 1993. I did not expect that. I knew that they existed then, but I did'nt expect that one from that long ago would still be so active today.
There was some antagonizing among the group members today, based on comments made. One particular member told another to get a life, get a boyfriend or girlfriend, and get off Usenet. The fact that this user told someone to get a boyfriend or girlfriend makes it clear that the gender identity of the user is unknown.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Essay 2 Journal #4 9/22/2008

The Yankee usenet group that I am following for my essay for COM430Z finally seemed to be dominated by talk of the Yankees, and not the usual politics. The discussions in the group got so out of line with relation to the main topic, that finally, someone spoke up. In a comment made by Holey Moley, entiteled Sorry he or she says what I've been thinking the whole time I've been observing the group. The exact comment was "Without reading all of the posts I thought this was a group dedicated to Yankees baseball. Ya know?? ny-yankees? Well, you fooled me. Maybe if I look up "politics" we can discuss baseball. Ya think?? Maybe??" I think this person might have been frustrated with the unwritten rules of the community being violated. Why would you think to start talking politics in a sports room?
Much of the discussion was regarding the final game ever at Yankeed Stadium. Many users of the group took the opportunity to share with others their feelings and experiences about the stadium with others. Then there were those who could probably be considered the groups "trolls" who just had to express their happiness while so many fans were practically mourning the great loss. I think the group "troll" might have to be rmjon23, who cursed at someone for claiming their pride in our country. Holey Moley was expressing her pride in being free and being reminded of that by the traditional singing of God Bless America in the 7th inning. Rmjon23 responded by saying"...FUCK "God Bless America" <---I'm free to say that too, right, dickwad? " among other things. I doubt he or she would ever say that to someone in person.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Essay Journal #3 9/20/08

Today, in the Yankee chat usenet room, I made it a point to look out for again, because I am interested in trying to figure out their gender based on comments they make. As a reminder, yesterday they gave out a "Rose Award" that sounded like it was commonly known throughout the room, since he or she did not give any introduction to the award itself. No comments from rosecomm4256 today. The description to this usenet room reads "New York Yankees baseball talk". Some people used the room to talk of their sadness for the final game approaching on Sunday. Others used it as a forum to discuss their hatred of the Yankees, kinda in a "haha, in your face" kind of style. People were cruel towards players, the organization and their devoted fans. Rmjon23 was one of these people. I'm going to assume it's a man because of the jon in the handle, but once again, with gender on the internet who knows. Especially since the person was using such harsh words against the Yankees, they might have felt safest looking as a man, if they were indeed a woman.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Essay 2 Journal day 2

In the Usenet group dedicated to the New York Yankees baseball team that I am observing, there were a few new postings today. There's this person, who I am going to assume is a woman because the email adress reads gives out what I believe to be a daily Rose award for the Yankee that he or she thinks did the best. I automatically assumed it was a woman, however thinking back to our discussion on gender play on the internet in our class, it made me wonder if I was jumping the gun in my assumption. It could be someones last name, or it could be a man who enjoys roses, or wants to be portrayed as a woman, which would be very interesting considering this is a chat room devoted to sports (probably mostly men). I'm going to particullary keep an eye out for this person, as I am now very curious about their gender.

There was also still talk about politics, mostly McCain today, as opposed to yesterday being mostly about Pallick. I wonder if these people are confused about where they are, or if presidential debates came up when talking about baseball.

Essay 2 Journal

Thursday September 18th, 2008
I decided to join a group devoted to the New York Yankees, via Google groups. I found it very interesting. There was discussion, as expected, of the Yankees, however the discussions seemed to be dominated by political talk. People used it to ask questions about star players, like where Jeter when to college, but Republican Vice President candidate Sarah Palin was talked about much more than the focus of the group. Talks about how "hot" she is seemed to be most popular. There was also discussion about McCain, but Palin was definately the hottest topic in the group. There were also some advertisements, and of course, soem spam, with opportunities to visit websites to see naked celebrities. I expected the spam and advertisements, but was really shocked at the political talk. I expected sports fans, especially New York Yankee fans, to be a little more focused on actual baseball.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Web 1.0

For my COM 430Z class, I read “New media and web production" (The Internet: The basics Ch.3) by Jason Whitaker. This article basically gave a description of the webpage how we know it today. Whitaker talks about the advances that lead to the modern day web page. Many technological advances needed to come first to allow the capabilities of our internet. According to Whitaker, the advancement of digital photography helped bring about our modern day web page. (p.66) Whitaker claims that for many, ..."seeing is believing..."(p.62), so photographs on web pages help to make them more credible sources of information. Whitaker also claims that audio and video are also some of the most common and new found technologies of the web.(p.67) With these advancements, we can listen to radio via our computers, and have conferences with people around the world through webcams. We can also listen to and receive music, something very popular, especially among college students today who share files with one another. According to Whitaker, the compression of video is another technology that has helped the web to be what it is today.(p.69) Whitaker also acknowledges that advances such as color and images, layout designs, and hyperlinks have taken the web to places we never expected.(p. 81, 84, 86)

I know that the web is used by people all over the world, but in my opinion, its advances are probably most appreciated by the modern student. Music, papers, photos, communication, is all at every one of our fingertips. I can’t imagine having to do all that a student is responsible for without the web. We can watch movies and look up journal articles from a school in California within seconds. I can’t even fathom having to actually go to the library, look through books, and have to write a paper. It boggles my mind that we can do entire research papers for classes often without even having to leave the comfort of our own rooms. I am so appreciative of the advances in the web. How did people get by with slow internet connections, and no images on their web pages? I often wonder about the world wide web with only text, and I cannot picture it.

Whitaker, Jason. (2002). The Internet: The basics (chapter 3). New York: Routledge

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kollock and Smith Usenet Reaction

In “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities” , an article I read for my COM430Z class, the authors Kollock and Smith discuss Usenet and the many problems associated with communicating on the internet. According to Kollock and Smith, Usenet was “…one of the largest computer-mediated communication systems…” People from all over the world use these discussion groups, known as newsgroups, to express opinions on topics such as technical computer problems, computer games, languages and hot topic issues, such as the World Trade Center bombing. However, with this opportunity for communication solely through the computer come many complications. There must be control over what is said to ensure that nothing is overly offensive, there are rules to be followed and not a lot of support to enforce these desires. Kollock and Smith say that Ostrom, in 1990, found a number of principles that must be met in order to have a community be organized and govern themselves. Although these communities in her studies were based on face to face interactions, they can be applied to the Usenet users, as they too are a community. Ostrom states that there must be group boundaries clearly defined, rules are to match local needs, people affected by the rules should have a say in adjusting them, external authorities must respect the rules of the community, there must be a monitoring system, sanctions are necessary, and community members need access to low cost conflict resolution. All these standards are imperative for the success of the Usenet community. They must be met in order to ensure the effectiveness of Usenet and to ensure that it remains with its original purpose and meets the needs of its users.

Communicating via the computer brings about a whole new set of social standards, mildly comparable to that of face to face contact. For instance, the limit of bandwidth, the space one has available to discuss, can be compared to talking in person with someone and not monopolizing the entire conversation. Smith and Kollock also say one of the largest issues with Usenet is the free-rider problem. With the availability of Usenet to all, people put their thoughts, their ideas, their work out for the whole world to see, and “free-riders” can often take their ideas and make them their own, or go into a discussion, with none of the work done. This problem is comparable to assignments being posted for an entire class to see. I’m sure there are some students out there that don’t do the actual work, read the work of other students, and can gain an idea of what they should write. This is a major problem with students today. There are major consequences in all schools if caught, yet that is only if they are caught. People get away with taking the ideas of others and getting the same credit for contributing with someone else basically doing all the work for them. Free-riding is abusing the privileges associated with the wonderful technology we have available.

Monday, September 8, 2008

what is the internet?

What is the internet? Many people think they obviously know the answer to that question, but the truth is the internet is so much more than what the average person may think. Common answers to the question of what the internet is may include the World Wide Web, Google, Yahoo, email, and many more. Although not entirely incorrect, those answers would be considered incomplete, because the before mentioned answers are simply characteristics and applications of the internet as we know it, as a whole. The World Wide Web, probably the most commonly mistaken word for the internet, is actually one of its largest developments, which helped to create the internet’s image as we know it today. The World Wide Web, more commonly known as WWW, is a “…network of interactive documents created by millions of users throughout the world…” (Adams & Clark C.1 p.19). Google and Yahoo, are common search engines and email, is electronic mail, all components of the internet, but not the actual internet itself.
The internet can best be described as a medium, a macromedium to be exact. It is to be considered macro in the context of its large size, and a medium in the sense of communication we use it as (Adams & Clark, C.2, p. 28). So large in size is the internet that we can communicate to millions of people, all over the world, with one single webpage. Our thoughts, our ideas, our opinions, and our knowledge are out there in cyberspace, for the whole world to see them. In the field of communication, mediums are immensely important. They are how we connect to one another, to an audience, and also to institutions. As stated by Kahn and Cerf (1999) “The internet is revolutionizing our society, our economy and our technological systems.” For example, when’s the last time you can remember actually stepping into a bank, or mailing in a check as a payment for a bill? Chances are, if you are up on the latest technology the internet has to offer, these everyday tedious tasks have become done in a matter of seconds, from the convenience of one’s home. We have the ability to connect with family members and friends thousands of miles apart. Soldiers away at war, when available can communicate their well being to their loved ones, via email or webcam, eliminating the anxiety of waiting weeks for a letter to come in the mail, offering comfort and easing concern. Long away have we come from the days of messengers, where communication took up to months. We can conduct international business meetings via webcam, revolutionizing time management. Precious time is a great gift the internet has given back to us. No longer must we spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel to another country to meet with business associates. We can multi task by writing an email, checking the weather, looking over reports and eating lunch all at the same time. Expensive, long distance telephone calls are also becoming a thing of the past, with the development, popularity and convenience of email. Technology has even come as far to where the internet is accessible on ones cellular phone, making it quite clear that the internet is an everyday necessity in our face paced world.
The internet began with the need for communication in times of crisis. In the event of a nuclear war, our country felt the need for communication, especially in regards to plan of action, was of extreme importance (Adams & Clark C.1 p.9). American scientists worked diligently to provide a form of communication that would be able to withstand anything. As the years progressed, so did the capabilities of the internet. In its early stages, being mostly available to a limited crowd of computer scientists, researchers and scholars, it was used as a way to interact with one’s colleagues (Cerf & Kahn, 1999).Throughout the years, many developments followed to bring us the internet as we know it today. According to Kahn and Cerf (1999) “…It is estimated that about 60 million host computers on the internet today serve about 200 million users in over 200 countries and territories…Also, the total number of host computers have been growing at …roughly 80% per year.”
So what exactly is the internet? The internet is this incredible macromedium that allows us as a society, as a world to be interconnected. It is communication. The internet is a time saver. The internet is convenience. The internet is comfort. The internet is knowledge at our fingertips. The internet is cost effective. The internet as a whole is without a doubt one of the fastest growing, ever evolving, necessary technologies of our time, known to man.

Adams, Clark. (Chapter 1). How did we get here? The development of a new medium.

Adams, Clarke. (Chapter 2). What is it? Characteristics of the medium.

Cerf, Kahn. (1999. December). What is the internet (And what makes it work). Retrieved September 5th, 2008, from

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Reading Reaction 1 Wed. 9/3/08

Communication in our world today has made many incredible advances. From the days of messengers, to the telephone which now comes in a portable version that can be found on people as young as eight years old, today’s form of communication via email, and websites on the internet are far more incredible than ever imagined. In terms of communication as a medium, the internet can best be described as a macromedium, due mostly in part to its large scale. Reliability, speed and distribution are common problems associated with communicating between distances, but the internet is constantly evolving as rapidly becoming one of the most effective ways of communicating in our society today.
Some major concerns with the internet today and all that is available are issues of copyright material. Websites today use hypertext very often, allowing the user to bounce back and forth from page to page to further their experience. This issue is also a problem with the concern regarding MP3’s, which is a common way that people today are getting music. This issue has become such a problem because on the internet, these MP3’s are often available free of charge. Many are considering this to be stealing and to be hurting the music industry. From the standpoint of the music industry, I can see their fear and concerns. However, I can also see the point of view of the teenager who is downloading free music as simply using the technology that the internet provides. I think that the internet is a wonderful thing, yet can give a little too much power to some people and can be greatly taken advantage of. In a society where children of today do not know a world without the internet, how do we teach them that some of the internet is not appropriate? Stealing music from artists, posting fake edited pictures to embarrass people can all ruin lives. I recently heard a story of a girl who was bullied by others in a chat room and committed suicide. Although communication has reached great new accomplishments, these advances of the internet can at times, be dangerous, and precautions must be taken to ensure proper use.