Intro to Networked Collaboration

Arielle- Assignment #1

I didn’t realize that I posted this in my weblog instead of the weblog for our class.. so lets try this again..

* In the Henry Jenkins reading, he is quoted as saying “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture.” What is meant by that?

Today technology is ever-changing and we can see that in media convergence. It gives us the opportunity to use technology in more ways than one. Some examples are internet blogs, texting, myspace, facebook, and youtube. When Henry Jenkins states that “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture” I believe all he is saying is that it’s the primary example of how convergence culture has been changing. Youtube is becoming increasingly popular these days and the videos are being seen worldwide. With the click of a button you can watch just about any video you can think of. What is unique about youtube is that the videos are created by everyone and anyone. It is made by the people and for the people.
It has a lot to do with convergence culture because our society has been changing by the creation of these new websites. We interact through these pages in a way that has never been done before. The more we use them, the more popular they become. This is changing the way we interact as we know it.
The most recent example I can think of from my life is when I looked up a Jewish A Capella group that I auditioned for. I knew absolutely NOTHING about this group besides that they sing Jewish music. It took me about 5 minutes to find videos of their group on youtube and watch them. I found this really helpful for me because it gave me more of an idea of what to expect. It also helped me decide if it was something I really wanted to get into. Youtube makes these types of discoveries so easy. It makes me wonder how we did things before these sites were created. I can compare this example to the example Jenkins gave about the videos of American sign language. I actually used those videos myself to learn some sign language for a show that I’m doing. I am a deaf person in one of the scenes and my director wanted my sign language to be authentic. This is another perfect example of how easy it is to get information from these online videos.

* What is “participatory culture”?

Participatory culture basically refers to how we are not only the viewers and consumers, but we are also the creators. All of these new websites are perfect examples of a participatory culture. In the online journals, we read the entries of others and also create our own. It is as if we have our own web page. Myspace and facebooks are also great examples. Whenever someone asks me if I have my own site, I give them my facebook information. I became fascinated in making web pages when these technologies arose. Most people are loving the fact that they have their own web site that people can visit. I believe that it makes one feel more important.
Youtube makes movie-making a lot easier than it once was. It also gives you publicity because anyone can view it. I’ve seen many original movies on youtube and many people have become famous from this website. It used to be that people did not know how to publicize their own videos and now, it’s not a problem. Everyone knows about “Kelly likes shoes.” It’s an original video that became increasingly popular to watch. After some time, the creator made more of his own videos and is now a famous celebrity.

* What are some of the social networks you use and why do you use them?

I use many of the social networks provided for us today. I first had a xanga which was only for writing online journal entries. I thought of it as my online diary. I knew it wasn’t the best idea to display intimate thoughts of mine online. However, it became so popular that I didn’t care anymore and I found myself reading other xangas as well. It was like a game to me. At the same time I began using myspace which was about 4 years ago because a friend of mine got me started. I had no idea what it was in the beginning, but when I made my own account and started to add friends to my list, it became addictive. Slowly more and more people created their own myspace account and it seemed like a great way to keep in touch with people. Little did I know at the time that facebook was catching up to myspace. At first, facebook was only for college students. This is why I didn’t get it right away. However, I immediately created an account when I started college. Facebook never used to be my preferred choice between the two. However, it is now more popular than myspace in my opinion and more user friendly.
Although I still have my myspace and now have a music myspace as well to promote my singing, I use facebook more than any other social network these days. The main reasons why I use it is because I have kept in touch with a great amount of people through facebook, I have a place to post my pictures, and it entertains me whenever I am bored. I do find it a little “stalker-ish” because of the new “facebook feeds.” These can give you every little detail about what a friend is up to. I was shocked when this first came out. But, the privacy options are really helpful when it comes to that. I can show whoever I want as much or as little as I want.

* How have technologies like sms/text messaging, youtube, and myspace changed the way that we interact? (i.e., as mentioned in the Rheingold reading – the role of “Generation Txt” in the revolt against President Estrada of the Philippines, etc.) Reference either of the readings and/or draw from your own experiences.

There are so many new ways that we communicate these days. When I meet someone new I make sure to add them on facebook. Whereas only a few years ago no one had these technological luxuries. Like in the Rheingold reading, I feel that texting has reached one of its highest points. I was baffled when he quoted Tammy Reyes saying that she feels unloved when she doesn’t get a certain amount of texts. I text a lot personally, however, I hate when people text me just because they want to say “Hi” or “What’s up.” If you are going to text me, do it for a reason! Although I think her way of thinking about it is a little extreme, I can still relate to her because I communicate with people through these new technologies quite often in a day. I agree that it can make someone feel like they are more loved when a lot of people are talking to them. But what happened to those days when we didn’t have them? What happened to the days when I had to make a phone call to hang out with someone? What happened to the days when I didn’t know all the details about someone’s life? People have changed because getting in touch with someone is as easy as clicking a button. This changes the way one would interact with someone face to face. We get so used to sitting behind the computer that we don’t remember how to make a simple phone call. I know people who will seem outgoing when Iming them on AIM and then they seem like a completely different person when talking to them face to face.
Even though I believe that a lot of good is coming out of these technologies, it is dangerous and we have to be careful with how far we go with it. Either way it is something that continues to grow in our society and the way I see it, it will continue growing because we have entered a new generation of texts and web pages.

Hope that worked!

~REL~

September 9, 2008 Posted by | convergence, social networking, tools and methodologies | , , , | 3 Comments

Erin’s First Week Assignment

Henry Jenkins says that convergence culture is where old and new media collide. Converging media is all around us, and has been all around us for some time. In the 1870s, telegraph technology collided with Bell’s new technology to create a new media; the telephone. Highway billboards have become large TV screens in increasing numbers, tapes have given way to digital music technology in the form of CDs and mp3s, VHS media has met its digital future in the DVD and Blu-ray disc, direct marketing has progressed from catalog mailings to telemarketing to email marketing to text message advertising, TV viewers are spending more and more time watching YouTube videos, and digital written communication is moving away from email towards online communities like MySpace and Facebook. These examples illustrate progressions from one media type to another, but perhaps convergence culture signifies something more. Convergence culture implies a situation where the collision of old and new media produces a noticeable cultural shift. One could argue that all of the above have created cultural shifts, and yet Jenkins says, “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture”. Perhaps he is alluding to the participatory nature of YouTube (he goes on to speak about “participatory culture”). YouTube is a prime example of participatory culture. It is only successful when users participate, i.e. upload their own media content and view the content of others.

Each new wave of media that rolls into our culture corresponds to a different point in my life. Email became mainstream as I was graduating from high school. The internet became highly accessible during my freshman year in college. I saw a mobile phone for the first time during my junior year, and I bought my first cell phone three years later when I moved to Manhattan. I now rely heavily on email, Facebook, and texting. I see the genius behind i-mode’s targeting of Japan’s child/adolescent market. These technologies hit me when I was in my late teens and early twenties, and as much as I do use email, Facebook, and texting, I can imagine them being even more ingrained in my life had I been exposed to them as a child.

I find that Facebook has changed the way I interact with specific groups of people. It’s incredibly easy to let all my Vermont friends know when I’m driving up to visit my parents. When my dog had kennel cough (highly contagious!) I alerted all my dog park friends at the touch of a button. If I’m singing in something or going to see a show, I can invite my music and theatre friends through Facebook. Casting directors are beginning to form groups on Facebook to make it easier for actors and singers to submit themselves for projects. Lastly (and somewhat to my embarrassment), my roommates and I regularly leave notes for each other on Facebook instead of walking out to the kitchen and writing on the dry-erase board on the fridge! Food is optional; Facebook is not.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | collaboration, convergence, culture, social networking | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Critique on 10Questions.com

10Questions.com is a great site to find direct answers from the candidates about issues facing our country. 10Questions was created based on user feedback regarding the CNN/YouTube presidential debate. YouTube users felt that the questions chosen by CNN were not representative of what people wanted to hear about so a group of users created their own site which allowed visitors to vote on which questions should be asked. Then the questions are posed to the candidate and they are given ample time to post a response on the site.First thing I did was watch the welcome video so I could better understand the site and its purpose. As the spokesperson said in the video, people are turning to the Internet to gather information to help shape their decisions about the election.

When you visit this page, you can click on the answers tab and find questions posted via YouTube video and along side it is a Republican/Democrat category. Within each category you can click on the candidate you want to hear from. The questions posted range from medicinal marijuana use to the impeachment of Bush to the environment. The site isn’t currently taking votes but when they were, users could vote on whether or not a candidate has answered the question well. You can also search the site by topic, I typed in Medicinal Marijuana and two video came up, which can help you narrow down the questions that are important to you. Another important feature of the site is allows you to email the links to friends or link it to your Facebook page. This can be very powerful when you consider how quickly information is shared these days.

What I find even more interesting, is that two of the three people running for president right now chose not to respond to the questions or the website. Specifically, when I clicked on Hillary Clinton’s photo, I received this response, “Clinton has not uploaded an answer. Let her and the other candidates know you’d like to see one.” I assumed all the candidates would want a presence on these sites. I would think a site like this can help a candidate understand the needs of the people and offer them an opportunity to be heard on the issues.

Overall, I was impressed by the people power that developed 10Questions.com.  I think this is a great example of people working together who want real answers to real questions.

April 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Convergence Culture

In the Henry Jenkins reading, he is quoted as saying “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture.” What is meant by that?
YouTube is the most widely used network for gathering and sharing videos. Everyone “converges” there for information. YouTube permits everyone, everywhere to share information and create content of any kind to be shared with anyone around the world. You can access any type of media: news, music, interviews, classic commercials etc. It can also be used by students, companies and political parties who want to share a message. It allows everyone and everything to have their “15 minutes of fame”.

What is “participatory culture”?
A participatory culture is people sharing ideas, creating projects, getting involved in community affairs and knowledge sharing. This culture makes you feel like you are part of something bigger and facilitates making connections to those around you who may share the same ideas and interests.

What are some of the social networks you use and why do you use them?
Honestly, I created a Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn page for past courses and rarely if ever use them. While they all facilitate networking, I find that I don’t have the time to post daily or connect with people in that way. I prefer simple email and the phone. My colleagues who do use them, do so for photo and music sharing, networking, dating, advertising, party planning, and catching-up with old friends.

How have technologies like sms/text messaging, youtube, and myspace changed the way that we interact?
SMS & Texting: These technologies have taken away face to face time. Sure they have made life easier and perhaps more interesting, but I miss the “real” interactions.

Youtube: I absolutely love it. Being able to watch old music videos, relive my youth with vintage food/toy commercials is simply amazing. The community of Youtube is a special breed, someone is always posting new content for the most obscure subjects.

Myspace: Don’t use it.

February 5, 2008 Posted by | convergence, culture | , , , | 9 Comments