YouTube’s new look

Posted: November 14, 2011 in Research

First Facebook gets a facelift and now YouTube is trying to look new and fresh!

When I logged into YouTube to upload my “Experiment in Web Design or Nonprint Presentation” assignment I noticed that  I had to link my Google account with my YouTube account before I could access it. Luckily because I a Winthrop e-mail account I have a Google account so linking it was no problem. At first I was not bothered by YouTube making changes to their site because I understand that technology is continually striving to be better then the other guy and if they don’t stay updated or at least appear to be updating then they could lose viewers. However I lost my zen very quickly! After I uploaded my video I noticed a problem.. Somehow by linking my account something glitched within YouTube and the video I posted for my Literacy Narrative is now under a different channel name.. YouTube inverted my user name so now I no longer have access to the video I uploaded prior to the change.

Doug Gross, wrote an article on the CNN website about this new look for YouTube and after reading it I realized that not everyone has had to deal with this change. Evidently only a select few have been subjected to testing this change. Something else that became clear when reading Gross’ article was that I shouldn’t feel slighted by the fact that YouTube hasn’t responded to my complaint about this problem, because they wouldn’t even respond to Gross, who was writing an article for CNN about the update. YouTube and Google have been around long enough that they should understand that if they are going to use some of their users to test out an update before making the changes permanent then they should utilize the feedback and respond to it. I mean isn’t that the point of having test dummies?? Especially if those who are testing out the update did not volunteer to be testers! and to top it all off, according to Gross, it wasn’t just me who when I clicked on the link that was supposedly going to help “guide” me through the changes all I got was a blank page.

According to Gross, the whole purpose of this change is to try to draw people away from Facebook and toward Google+ but I have to say, if this is the way their going about it, I don’t foresee Facebook users jumping to make the switch.


What Personality Type are You?

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Response

Adrian Chan explores the different Social Media Personality Types

Chan believes that exploring the different personality types is important to anyone wanting to profit from social media. While I found the concept both interesting and valuable, I felt there were a few flaws in the personality types themselves. I found it difficult to find what personality type I am. I don’t believe I fell into any of the type well enough to feel comfortable saying that I fit that particular label. I am also concerned with this idea that everyone fits into one of the 11 labels. The belief that we can all be filed under a few specific personality types gives the impression that we lose our sense of individuality and even our sense of self. While I understand that anyone looking to sell something needs to understand who they are selling to so that they can “target” their audience, I may backfire if the business targets their audience under the belief that everyone falls under one of these personality types they may run the risk of missing out a large audience of people who do not fall neatly into one of these categories. I have a hard time with the idea that everyone fits into neat little boxes and all anyone had to do is figure out what box we belong into so that we can be targeted for products.

It seems to me that one major thing that has come with the technology crazy is the idea that we are no longer individuals, and unfortunately social media sites seem to have helped this idea grow. When we enter the world of social media sites the need to fit in or belong can become so great to some (and I stress the word some) that we take on a different persona. A persona that is similar to others in what ever group we want to belong to.  Because of this the idea that everyone can be placed into one of only a few categories has become a more accepted ideology.

Which box (if any) do you belong to? (I summarized Chan’s types in Blue – and in Red is what I took it to mean)

Status Seeker –Does your sense of self have to do with the number of friends you have on your friends list and/or what you have? Do you avoid deep and meaningful conversation? Are you superficial and materialistic?

Critic –Do you feel media should be used only for meaningful information? Do you avoid socializing unless the conversation is one of substance because socializing is just a waist of time? Do you find value in correcting your own or others mistakes? Do you feel superior to others because they use social media to “play” while you only use it for meaningful activities.

Socializer – Do you feel the need to keep constantly informed? Does your sense of well-being come from online interactions? Do you “play along” with a conversation because it makes you feel involved? Are you needy and feel like you must be apart of every conversation, even if it doesn’t involve you?

Em-CeeDo you use social media to perform for others? Are you more interested in receiving attention from others during a conversation rather than being a substantive contributor? Are you insecure about your own self-worth so you feel the need to be the class clown in an attempt to gain the approval of others?

Lurker – Would you rather watch a conversation than participate? Are your emotional sensibilities governed by how you feel you are presenting yourself to others? Do you log on to social media sites and do a lot of surfing and avoid drawing attention to yourself? Are you shy and afraid of how others may perceive you? 

Buddy – Do you thrive on your friendships? Do you feel the need to stay up to date with the current online lingo? Do you feel the need to stay informed on what others (your “friends”) think of you? Are you always afraid that you will miss out on something?

Creator – Do you care more about what media can help you to create/build/publish then for staying informed and/or socializing? Does your sense of self come from the recognizance of others for what you have created? Are you concerned with providing content that can be shared/commented on? Are you fearful of being forgotten?

Pundit – Do you consider yourself an industry leader? That it is your job to keep others informed on the latest news? Does your sense of self come from playing “news anchor”? Are you a gossip?

Rebel – Do you feel the need to heckle others? Do you use social games to undermine those who take it seriously? Do you feel a sense of superiority over others and do you enjoy showing off? Do you have low self-esteem and put down others to make yourself feel better about yourself?

Officiator – Are you all about the rules? Do you believe in a “one size fits all” for rules of conduct, cooperation and collaboration? Do you view relationships in terms of the abstract? Do you develop relationships in terms of their description? Do you use your knowledge of rules to show superiority over others? Are you a perfectionist who believes that your way is the right (only) way?

Harmonizer – Are you the ultimate mediator? Are you constantly aware where you stand in relation to others? Are you more interested in making others happy than in your own happiness? Are you more interested in attention from friends and family rather than from strangers? Are you a people-pleaser? Do you avoid conflict, even if that conflict does really concern you?

While my take on the personality types may not be exactly what Chan was trying to say, it is how I took it, and perception plays a huge role on social media sites, and the thought that companies may use this idea that we all fall into one of these 11 personalities as a way to target us gives the impression that they no longer see us as unique individuals. I personally believe that my personality is a mix of a couple of boxes, I am a little bit critic with a touch of lurker, a splash of officiator and a
pinch of buddy.  So I guess that would make my social media personality category, Officiating-lurking-critical-buddy!

What’s your social personality??

Conflicting information

Posted: November 1, 2011 in Response

First we have “Is Google Making us stupid?” which is in essences saying that the internet has turned us into skimmers, unable to read deeply. Then we have The Yahoo Style Guide telling us that when we write on the Web, we need to keep it at a 6th or 8th grade reading level. I have a problem with both of these concepts. My problem with the Google article, I have already discusses. however, I do believe that our Yahoo book is helping to perpetuate this myth. In my opinion an author may have a target audience in mind but does not always write for the masses , as Yahoo is advising Web writers to do. If your audience is children, then by all means, keep it at a level they will understand, if you audience is adult Sci-Fi readers, then you write for them. Not everyone is going to understand or even enjoy Shakespeare, but we don’t rewrite all his works so that everyone can easily understand it.

If you are writing something that is intended for everyone, then I agree that it should be kept simple, but at the same time, if your target audience is the science community, then I don’t believe this standard should be applied. I think there are conflicting ideas in the Yahoo book about targeting you audience and at the same time writing for the masses. There are many Web sites out in cyber-space that I have come across that had jargon I didn’t understand. I didn’t have a problem with this because I was not the writers target audience, just like I have come across print writing  that I didn’t understand. I just think that if we hold on to the theory that we must do everything differently when writing for the Web than when writing for print, we are agreeing with the “Google” article.

I do agree that some things should be different, things like font size, because it can be physically harder to read on a screen than to read a print book.

I just think that writing standards should be based on our target audience, not the masses (unless of course your target audience is the masses).


what came first, google or stupid?

Posted: October 24, 2011 in Response

In the article Is Google making us stupid, Nicholas Carr states that since Google, he has found it difficult to read deeply. I have several problems with his analysis. the first being, it could just be the problem of getting older. Once we reach a certain point in our lives, our brains do not functions as quickly, and if we do not exercise our brains (just like any other part of our body) it does not function as well. Carr tells the story of the blogger who says that he is unable to read like he did in school,  but he does not tell us if he stopped reading deeply after graduation and stuck to internet reading, or if he continued to read and noticed a decline. Another thing that Carr does not seem to take into account is that it is not Google as much as the many advertisements we bombarded with while reading online. His own article has distraction after distraction down the entire page, and those advertisements are not solely Google related. I believe a big part of the distraction that comes with online reading are these advertisements, it is hard to focus on what you are reading when out of the corner of your eye the screen is brightly lit with pretty pictures in an array of color, designed to distract you with the “hey look at me” approach. Once one gets used to those distraction it can be hard to not expect them even when reading a print book. Is it really fair to blame a search engine for the distraction.

When Carr writes about the gentleman who states that a blog that is more then 3 or 4 paragraphs  is now too long, and he can’t read War and Peace anymore, my first thought was, there were many “scholars” who probably couldn’t read War and Peace before Google. I think it is the problem of the chicken and the egg and what came first. I don’t think it should just be a question of “Is Google Making us Stupid” but a question of, did the demand create Google? Did a society of want-a-be skimmers give way to a hole in technology that Google willingly filled? Maybe I am missing something but I personally use Google to help me find information that I am looking for and it has even caused me to read things that I might never have had access to otherwise. So in my opinion Google give readers better access to material instead of reducing readers to skimmers. While I find myself having to force myself to concentrate harder on online material because of all the distractions, I don’t see a difference when reading print material, I am still able to block out distractions while reading print material (the phone,the kids, the TV, the dogs, the husband), in a way that I am unable to do while reading online content.

Yes! there’s an app for that!

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Research

Cell phone translation app!!

Several months ago I saw a commercial for a cell phone that you speak a sentence in one language and it will translate that sentence into another language. I thought “that’s awesome” and didn’t think about it again.. until today. I got my grade back from my oral exam in Spanish 201, which as an English major I am required to take a 201 foreign language class (and pass it). Needless to say my unhappiness over my grade after working many hours on it made me think of this app and wonder, with all the programs we have that will translate languages, and now it can be done verbally, will the foreign language requirement soon become a thing of the past?

We have talked a great deal about what things will become obsolete with the more advanced technologies coming on the market, specifically books. We have discussed how schools are adding curriculum to teach students to use these new technologies, but we haven’t really talked about whether new technology will cause schools to delete courses because students no longer need them thanks to technology doing it for us.

I am a bit bias on the foreign language subject because if it was up to me I would run far far away from the 201 level foreign language classes, I have struggle constantly with foreign language (Spanish specifically) and know that I will not use my second language in the world outside academia, like many of my English major counterparts, and with this new app, I wont need to. In fact I am confident that even with my 3 semesters (well more because I retook 1 class twice) the app would do a much better job at translating the language then I ever could. I have never felt a burning desire to run out and purchase an Iphone, until now. This app alone has made me want to add this to my collection of technology. I can see apps like this paving the way for the foreign language requirement (for those who are not majoring or minoring in it specifically) to no longer be forced on us poor students, who these classes  only help to drag down our GPA.

I am all for this technology and only wish it came out sooner! And for the first time ever I can say is, “finally, there is an app for that!”

Agreeing to Disagree

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Research

On Thursday October 6th, 2011 I had the great privilege of attending Michael Bérubé’s lecture titled “Pulp Fiction,” Contemporary Philosophy and the Fine Art of Agreeing to Disagree. Which was part of  “The Hornsby M.L.A. Lecture Series.”

Michael Bérubé is a professor of Literature and Disability Studies at Penn State university, He heads up the institute for the Arts and Humanities there and he will assume the presidency of the Modern Language Association in 2012. He has also published multiple books on a wide variety of subjects.

Bérubé’s talk was on conversation and what the goal of conversation is and should be. He posed many questions that made be do some extensive thinking, for example:

Is the goal of discussion to reach a consensus? De we have to reach a consensus or should we agree to disagree and is agreeing to disagree a consensus in itself? Does communication have to be reciprocal?

One of the questions he talk made me ask myself is what constitutes conversation? No longer is conversation strictly verbal. With technology conversation takes on many forms, not only verbal, but written and even visual. But I wonder if technology makes us more open to others ideas or do we stay within our own box and just find others who share our views and moral ideals.

This brings me to another question posed by Bérubé, IS there a universal truth? a simple enough question but the answer is complicated. Is one persons moral code better (or worse) than anothers, and if so whose moral code wins out? One might answer the question by saying, “of course, everyone knows that murder is morally wrong” but someone else could argue that in some cases murder is not only Justified, but also morally right. For example many felt that killing Osama Bin Laden was morally right and many feel that capital punishment is moral because both are instances of protecting society.

Another question Bérubé challenged us to think about is, What does it take for you to change your mind? If you are presented with evidence do you automatically completely shift your point of view? One might think that once presented with concrete evidence than you would have no choice but to change your mind. The problem with this is that many arguments are still ongoing even with both sides presenting “concrete evidence” that they are right and that the other side is wrong. Bérubé used Global Warming  as a great example of this. Both sides of the argument produces what they feel is “hard evidence” yet neither side will budge, and for many years now the argument continues with no resolution in sight. Whose knowledge is right and is that question even as important as the willingness to join in on the conversation.

Is participation in the conversation more important than finding a resolution? While some may have an opinion as to the answer to that question, even the answer is not a universal truth because the answer is not accepted by all. Is this another case where we have to agree to disagree and how does technology fit in with all this? Society can not even agree on the advantages and/or disadvantages of technology in itself. Does society use media as an opportunity to not only join in on the conversation but to have their ideas changes, or does society use media as an opportunity to solidify their own pre-constructed beliefs?  I asked Bérubé this question and found his answer very interesting, his response (and I am paraphrasing because I could not do his exact answer justice) was that he felt that while the internet did not polarize discussion it may add thought to it.

It makes me wonder if even when someone is using media to support their own argument they might inadvertently come across information that gives credence to the other side of the argument which might change that persons mind, or at least make them see that the other side of the argument has merit. Yet that led me to wonder if we unconsciously shut down when we inadvertently come across something that challenges our beliefs, if those beliefs are held strongly enough.

But again that brings me back to the question of whether the answer of how media is used is even as important as using it in the first place, because using media at least puts one in the conversation.

And if experts can not agree as to the merits of new media how can anyone else?

Here again  I guess we will have to agree to disagree (but if we do, doesn’t that mean that we have reached an agreement of sorts?)


Correction: In this post I had summarized a comment made by Bérubé, about the Global Warming debate. I wrote that “Both sides of the argument produces what they feel is “hard evidence” yet neither side will budge” – What Bérubé was actually saying was: “It’s more a matter of one side having the great preponderance of scientific evidence, and the other side going “la la la la la la la I can’t hear you.” He wrote an essay, The Science Wars Redux, in which he discusses this more thoroughly.

Thank you, Dr. Bérubé for this correction.

Watching T.V. online

Posted: October 5, 2011 in Research

In a time where we are busy running here and there, studying, working, taking care of family it is no wonder that more and more technology has come out that allows us to watch our favorite program when it is convenient instead of when it is actually on. We have TiVo and DVR and TV On demand, we have TV series being released on DVD and if that doesn’t do it for you there are many online sites that allow you to watch almost any T.V. show or movie when ever you want, and if your worried about the safety of site many channels have posted their programs on line so you can watch directly from the network that shows it. However all these ways of watching T.V. has draw backs, from commercials, to fee’s and even the possibility that you could lose the saved program. So what do you do when those other methods of watching fail? Well you can turn to YouTube! again while not perfect (slow loading, or having to watch it in parts) it is free and safer then some of the sites that have the same programs. The other day while trying to find something to watch and even with over 100 channels, and many things saved on my DVR (and yes I even own the complete series of Gilmore Girls and Seventh Heaven — yup I admit it, I’m a geek!) I could not find anything I wanted to watch, so I went to You Tube and watched a few episodes of (OK the Geek is going to come out again) Little House on the Prairie and it made me wonder if technology will make traditional TV a thing of the past. This question made me look for some type of answer and this is what I found…

Multiple Ways to watch TV

This article looks the statics of the ways that people watch TV. I found this interesting because it showed that while many use the internet to supplement TV watching. Even without the commercials, the new ways of watching TV is actually helping to supplement regular programing, however the article does not explain how. It was interesting to find out that over 5% of internet users no long watch TV in a “traditional” way.   It does make me wonder if our need for “I want what I want, when I want it” has created this new way to watch TV, or is it the other way around, and because we can have our TV when we want it, we have become spoiled. We even have TV on the go.

The question is no longer What do I want to watch, but how do I want to watch it.