Dude, Where's My Privacy?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Often times Internet users reveal personal data that they don’t intend to share. Whether signing up for an account online or clicking on an advertisement, people you may never meet in person have information about you. Whether it’s a company or search engine, people have demographic data and potential employers may have something on you as well. Is there real privacy on the Internet? Can personal information be protected as they once were before the digital age? These topics will be explored in this blog post.

Some websites seem to know your gender and possibly some products that may interest you. Visiting some websites where I have an account, like Facebook.com, I have noticed that advertisements are geared around media, female fashion, film schools, and student credit cards. The demographic information in my Facebook Profile give companies like Facebook that kind of information. If you are registered with an account on a magazine website, you may notice advertisements tailored to fit your interests. Companies can do this because of cookies, little text files created on your computer that contain information left there by the websites you visit and the advertisements you have clicked on their site in the past (“Internet Use Raises Privacy Concerns”). More information on how the Internet affects privacy concerns can be found here.

There are websites like The Anonymizer that allow a user to conceal personal information when visiting websites that track cookies and demographics. This website can help protect online shopping and protect your privacy even if you are using an iPhone. The Internet impacts privacy on a large scale. There are so many companies looking for user information and there are thieves that are trying to find personal information to steal. With so much activity taking place online, from shopping to socializing, there are so many aspects of protecting privacy to consider.

A case involving an autistic student in Italy will be observed here. The autistic student was bullied at school and a video of the incident was posted online. The video could be found through Google and there was a total of 5,500 hits in two months. There were advertisements on the site, which meant that Google was profiting off of the posting of a video where a student is bullied. Making profits where the video was published was what got Google in trouble with an Italian court. More information on this topic can be found here. In my opinion, Italy's prosecution of Google is fair. There is a line between protecting privacy and promoting the free exchange of information. This video contained information that was embarrassing and harmful to the victim. These kinds of videos where people are harmed or bullied does not need to be shared, not even on  unless it is used as a democratizing tool. Videos on protests and brutal police attacks can be shown on websites because they are showing the truth of what is happening and why it needs to be stopped. This video should have been screened and censored by Google.

Here is a video on Internet privacy and security:

Companies like Yahoo! and Google keep track of user searches in order to help maximize searches and provide niche advertising. Other companies like magazines may mine the internet for user information in order to make better profits and attract people to their sites. They may want to sell something or get more hits to their site for better chances of increased revenue. The only way to stop companies to getting our information is to avoid clicking on advertisements and have firewall software installed on our computers. We should also clear our cookies and our History on our Internet browser every one or two weeks to prevent information from being stolen, even by hackers. People don't have too much control over a Google search and what people obtain about them. As long as people don't allow too much information about them on the web and don't sign up for too much on unsecured websites (ones with "https" links), then their most private information can be protected. From my own personal experience, I have stopped using external links on Facebook, stopped with quizzes and games, and only use my private information on sites like banking.
I don't believe there is absolute privacy on the web. We never know if a clickjacker or a certain virus that logs everything we type has been transmitted to our computers before our AntiVirus software has had a chance to update itself. I never use my card information on the web unless I have heightened my firewall and am using only the https website. Future employers can use sites like LinkedIn and blogs under your name to find out more information about you. When I googled myself and did a search on the web for myself so I could see what a potential employer could find, these are the four links I found:


A few months ago, my Facebook account would appear in a Google search. I revised my privacy settings to avoid that from happening. People growing up in this generation may expect more privacy because almost every aspect of their life could be found on the Internet.  People nowadays use the Internet to store videos, pictures, conduct banking, play games and participate in social networking. With past generations, most activities were physical, and now almost everything can be done in cyberspace. More information on the privacy and the age demographics expectations on protection online can be found here.

All of the privacy issues affect the Long Tail of distribution because people can upload unlimited amounts of data and media on the Internet that can allow others to invade their privacy without permission. The Internet is a democratizing tool but someone's privacy is always invaded in the process. In the case of the autistic student in Italy, the privacy of the student was invaded. In the case of protests in Tehran, the government's privacy is invaded. With so much available online, users should always put their privacy first even when using social networking sites. Companies might use your information to target you with advertising, and search engines may track your searches. Thieves and marketing research companies keep track of your cookies and demographic data. The only way to protect ourselves and retain our privacy is to be careful with what we do online.

Works Cited:
All Images found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):




All Videos found via Creative Commons.
Cleland, Scott. "Poll: Americans Strongly Oppose." The Precursor Blog. The Associated Press, 30 09 2009. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://precursorblog.com/content/poll-americans-strongly-oppose-publicacy-expect-online-privacy-part-xvi-privacy-publicacy-series

Barry, Colleen. "Italian Judge Says Profit Behind Google Verdict ." Bloomberg Businessweek. The Associated Press, 29 04 2008. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9F1M8UG2.htm

"Internet Use Raises Privacy Concerns." VOA News. voanews/com, 29 04 2008. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/science-technology/a-13-2008-04-29-voa44.html

Lohr, Steve. "How Privacy Vanishes Online." Technology. The New York Times, 03 16 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/17/technology/17privacy.html

Perez, Sarah. "Three Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now." Technology. The New York Times, 20 01 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2010/01/20/20readwriteweb-the-3-facebook-settings-every-user-should-c-29287.html?em

Web TV

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gone are the days of tuning into my television on Monday nights at 8 P.M. to catch an episode of House or Gossip Girl. If I want to watch a television show and can't be stationary in front of a TV set, I can just wait to catch the show online, whether it's through the network's website or sites like hulu.com. Not only does the Internet benefit a viewer when it comes to watching television shows, but the Internet has become a native medium for TV producers who can't successfully air their programs on television channels. Cell phones, computers, iPods, and other types of electronic devices are starting to expand a digital network of television media and free access. I certainly don't have to pay for cable if I want to watch episodes of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central or The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family.

Internet distribution definitely impacts the control network companies have over their shows. The current network model is affected because channels like NBC, Fox, CBS and ABC, along with their parent companies, can't control what when and by what medium their viewers recieve content. Internet distribution challenges the control network companies have because once a viewer is in cyberspace, they can view shows and related content whenever they want. People can watch TV in a taxi cab, on college campuses, or even while waiting at the dentist's office without even looking straight at a television screen! An independent producer who could not sign a sufficient contract with a network or was let off a network due to low ratings, can take their episodic series online. They can try to sign a contract with hulu.com, provide their shows through YouTube for free, or open up their own .com website and stream the videos for free to viewers. Of course, going the Internet route may not come with the advantage of making higher profits off of advertising and providing a higher chance that the series would go into syndication on other TV networks.

Here is a video on television moving to the Internet:

Fox channel provides some of their content, such as Glee and House on hulu.com Comedy Central used to provide The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on hulu.com before ending their contract to provide the shows on the host's websites. Viewers can search for South Park online and eventually be led to southparkstudios.com. ABC Family provides The Secret Life of the American Teenager on hulu.com the week after new episodes air. More information on television on the Internet can be found here.
In The Television Will Be Revolutionized by Amanda Lotz, the topic of web-integrated TV existing in the Internet space is discussed. Convenience technologies - including the DVR, VOD, DVD, the Internet, and mobile applications such as phones and iPods -  enabled viewers to more easily seek out specific content and view it in individualized patterns (Lotz 59). With so many options available, her description of the "5 C's of the Post-Network Era" are applicable to the scenario of how viewers obtain TV from an Internet signal rather than the traditional TV signal. These are choice, control, convenience, customization, and community.

Choice: Viewers always had the choice of flipping through channels and choosing what show they wanted to watch on what network. Now users can choose which medium to obtain content from and when they want to watch it. They can choose who their provider is, whether it's a cable provider or the Internet.

Control: Viewers can control whether they want to watch what's available on the TV, the Internet, or simply create their own shows and participate as a producer. People can control their access on TiVo's, on-demand features, and visit websites like hulu.com.

Convenience: Watch TV at home, on the road, at the doctor's office on your iPhone, in the library on your laptop... the choices are endless and there is added convenience. Using a DVR or TiVo to record your shows to watch later, coming home late and missing House but being able to access it later on the Internet, are just a few examples of how people much more convenience.

Customization: Now we don't have to sit in front of a TV box and become mere receptors to what is provided for us. If we are dissatisfied, we can search for shows on the TV guide list on the television or just go online. We can watch in normal features, high definition, or possibly 3-D in the future.

Community: People always had the choice to discuss their television shows when they'd see their friends and family after the episode was over. Now people can watch shows together live and discuss it in the comments sections, on social networking sites, or blog about it.

Here is a video on satellite direct offering viewers TV viewing options outside of the traditional offers of watching on a television box set:
All these changes that are impacting network television should not be a surprise to people. The Internet has been impacting all kinds of media, including radio and print. Television is adapating to the Internet's revolutionary changes by providing media content online. As discussed in Stelter's New York Times article which can be found here, larger audiences online are being attracted to the Super Bowl and Olympics at higher numbers because they were watching and surfing the web at the same time. People preferred to watch msot of their media content online. Watching media content and chatting online with other people at the same seemed to be what most people preferred. This water-cooler effect, Stelter describes in his article, are what makes some of these normally TV broadcast shows more attractive to people.

This relates to the Long Tail because now people can access much more media on an unlimited shelf space. This is a democratizing tool as well because now ordinary citizens can upload videos, start webshows, and have much more content available for viewing online when they couldn't afford high-priced cable packages before. This also relates to Creative Commons because people still own the rights to their media content and can use the non-profit organization's licensing options to protect their content.

I highly believe that television in ten years will be streamed more frequently on  web and that cable will be like the Internet. More information can be found here. I think my family's Comcast subscription features will allow for web surfing on the television and viewing your bank statement while watching an episode of CSI. Comcast, AT&T and other companies may provide cable packages for iPhones, computers, and even for cell phones. Companies will try to compete for viewer's attention and if they stop, I think the web and viewers will gain too much control and the companies will therefore make less money.

Works Cited:
All Images Obtained Via Creative Commons:

All Videos Obtained Via Creative Commons blip.tv.
Sources and Links:
"Cable TV Is Doomed." The Atlantic, 18 03 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/03/cable-tv-is-doomed/37675/>.

Lieberman, David. "Could This Finally Be the Season For Web TV?." Money. USA Today , n.d. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/garden/11tv.html?scp=14&sq=web%20television&st=cse

Lotz, Amanda. The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York City: New York University Press, 2007. Print.

Quenqua, Douglas. "Turning to the Internet to Catch a Favorite TV Show ." Home and Garden . The New York Times , 10 03 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/garden/11tv.html?scp=14&sq=web%20television&st=cse>.

Stelter, Brian. "Water-Cooler Effect: Internet Can Be TV." The New York Times , 23 02 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/business/media/24cooler.html

Stelter, Brian. "Successes and Some Growing Pains at Hulu." Technology . The New York Times , 31 03 2010. Web. 16 April 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/technology/01hulu.html?scp=5&sq=internet+television&st=nyt>.

Surviving the Internet Age

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Newspaper and magazine sales may be on the decline, but both of these media outlets are making the shift to cyberspace. Not only is the Internet a cheaper solution in terms of distribution and marketing, but there is an unlimited shelf space and the possibility to increase revenue by allowing companies to advertise on their websites. Digital distribution is changing journalism and bringing the concept of citizen journalism to the forefront. Whether these changes are good or bad depends on how journalism adapts to the advent of new technology. Citizen journalism, a concept some people see as "new media," has surfaced on the Internet and is allowing everyday citizens the opportunity to play an active role in presenting news to the public.

Citizen journalism represents the voice of the people. All though journalistic ethics are often left out, most of the stories and videos provided by ordinary people are unedited and provide worthy information. When Iranians would protest in the city of Tehran, the government wouldn't allow foreign correspondents on the scene to report what they saw. Citizens of the country would videotape the protests and brutal murders on the streets with their video cameras or cell phones. Pictures and videos are raw and unedited. Citizen journalism is certainly not a new concept, though but it is evolving. For years readers could write opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. There was citizen journalism in the physical space but there weren't many opportunities for everyone to get their opinions heard. However, with the advent of citizen journalism on the Internet, the opportunities for ordinary citizens to share their media relating to current news has increased. People could voice their opinions, attack biased articles by reporters, and share their own personal experiences.

New organizations, companies, and non-profit organizations are already adapting to digital media by having interactive websites, video and picture content. Locals newspapers and national news companies have already come out with websites that include immediate breaking news.A local paper in Tucson, Arizona has converted into a citizen journalism website. They are continuing to recruit citizen journalists and hope to have more than 50 people blogging (Evans).The link to this online paper can be found here. News corporations like CBS have adapted to digital media by having interactive websites with videos and news content, while also providing a citizen journalism site called CBS Eye Mobile.

CNN has a similar website for people to share their media content and report news called CNN has iReport, another website that allows for ordinary people to upload their media content and post their opinions.Blogging cannot be a form of journalism mainly because bloggers don't follow the code of ethics that journalists do. Journalists aim to be objective and have at least one source in their articles. Bloggers can misuse and misrepresent information. They can report their own biased opinions and debate on important issues like religion or abortion without having to provide solid facts to back up what they are saying. Even though blogs and citizen journalism are available to the public, journalism can survive if there are objective news reports delivered by the press on the Internet. The newspapers should still print a papers for subscribers or store shelves because not everyone who has access to a computer wants to read online news. If the newspapers continue to publish online and in paper, they can try to get most of their advertising to happen on the Internet. These newspaper websites need to allow user interaction in order to keep up with blogs and citizen journalism. This is a risk that I believe they should take and they may benefit from it. With user interaction, they can have videos with rating features, comments section for news articles like Yahoo! News does here, and e-mail newsletters.

Journalism will survive in years to come but it is merely adapting to new technology the way older forms of media like television and radio. Citizen journalism may be a new concept but so is digital TV to the old concept of television. Pandora Radio is competing with the traditional radio. The current generation of high school and college students have grown up with the Internet and are accustomed to receiving information fast rather than waiting for a weekly publication, and most of them do receive their news online. More information on that can be found here.  Our society may be shifting away from print and TV news but it's for the best. This relates to the Long Tail because the shift to cyberspace saves time, money and helps enhance distribution. People don't have to wait to hear a full story on an issue during the 6pm evening news or wait until Monday morning for a publication of their local paper.

This new shift of journalism and the concept of citizen journalism allows the Internet to become a democratizing tool. Not only do bloggers fuel debate and share opinions on wrongdoings of others, but citizen journalists can contribute to stories and events by uploading their own media. People now share the equal opportunity to have their voices heard and share content the way journalists would. An example of how the citizens living in Tehran are trying to exercise their rights and have their voices heard can be found here. Creative commons can help citizen journalists obtain licensing on their media. If regular computer users or bloggers see this uploaded content and would like to use it, they may see that it is licensed and take it seriously enough to abide by the creator's wishes. There is no police force online to enforce the licensing through creative commons, but the rise of citizen journalists provides the opportunity for more people to find out what this non-profit organization does and how they distribute licensing. More people can become aware and spread the word.

In 10 years, journalism will still be on the web. I believe there will be media content, videos from new sites, and online newspapers. Journalists will try to follow their code of ethics while bloggers and citizen journalists do whatever they wish. Distribution will change because technology will continue to evolve. Thus, the Internet will play a positive role for journalism. Our society is shifting away from print and regular television but that should be a positive thing because companies can save money on distribution and shelf space.


Works Cited:
Images found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):

Videos found via Creative Commons (in order of appearance):
First video found via blip.tv on

"Code of Ethics." Society of Professional Journalists. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr 2010. http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
DeProto, Christen. "What Will Journalism By Like in 10 Years." Conference News. N.p., 29 Dec 2005. Web. 06 Apr 2010. http://conference.journalists.org/2005conference/archives/2005/10/qa_what_will_jo.php
Evans, Mark. "Tucson Citizen." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010. http://tucsoncitizen.com/mark-evans/archives/37

Gross, Doug. "More Americans Get News From Internet." CNN Tech. N.p., 01 Mar 2010. Web. 08 Apr 2010.http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/01/social.network.news/index.html

"How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?." reuters.com. N.p., 11 Dec 2009. Web. 08 Apr 2010. http://blogs.reuters.com/from-reuterscom/2009/12/11/how-will-journalism-survive-the-internet-age/

Master, Cyra. "Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism." The Atlantic. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr 2010. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/media-insiders-say-internet-hurts-journalism/7410/

Here Lies the Future

Monday, March 22, 2010

Digital convergence has paved the way for a greener and easier future for humans around the world. Bringing together two or more different kinds of daily tasks into one media outlet is what digital convergence is all about. Smartphones, laptops, and converged IP networks are just a few examples of how new technology has revolutionized the way individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations carry out their daily life and work-related tasks. The advancement of technology has allowed for user generated content and downloading capabilities. Books, shows, movies, math calculations, and networking are all connected now through the same electronic device.

Below is a chart I created using mild examples of tasks that are now more convenient for people to complete:

Individuals use digital convergence in a number of ways in their daily lives. When one wakes up, they will want to check the weather on their digital HDTV or on the Internet, where they can check their e-mail, bank statement, social networking sites, bill payments, and more. Consumers no longer have to relocate to another room or building to complete many tasks throughout the day. With the invention of Apple's iPad, consumers
can now play games, read the newspaper, watch movies and shows, and download apps via the Wi-Fi or 3G on the new gadget. This technological device is like a hybrid between a laptop and a iPhone, minus the calling feature. Users can browse the Internet and use the touch screen interface as they please. If one is lost trying to drive to work or campus due to sudden closed roads, they can find alternative routes via their iPhone or any other technological device with access to the Internet. Yahoo! and Google both offer maps, with the latter providing people with precise pictures of physical roads and landscapes so they can identify where they are going properly. These points of digital convergence create tremendous potential for new products and services and entirely new markets ("Who's In Charge Here?").

Below is a video by PayPal conveying a  simple message:

Businesses can utilize this move to digital convergence by creating applications to use on these new gadgets and promoting their products. News organizations like The New York Times can make deals with other companies, like Apple, to have their papers provided digitally on their digital devices. If they want to, the news company can start having iPad users subscribe to their digital news. Further information on how the iPad can influence newspapers can be found here. Microsoft's e-book device is giving consumers a digital journal that has media playback features.

New ways to form digital convergence such as the iPhone, helps create tremendous potential for new products and services as consumers, for the first time, influence not only which innovations succeed in the consumer market, but also in the enterprise space ("Who's In Charge Here?"). Below is a chart of standards that users expect as new products come out. I doubt I will ever go to a store and buy a cell phone that only makes calls and text messages. My standards have been raised with the unleashing of all these products with digital convergence. There must be a calendar, a calculator, three-way call features, Internet, games, music...and a whole host of features.

How does this relate to the Long Tail of Distribution? Companies no longer have to create many physical applications or devices to carry out a single task. For example, Apple can come out with revolutionary devices like the iPhone and iPad, and then make money off of letting other companies like PayPal provide "apps" for their devices. High tech cell phones help people stay connected with the world even more than they can with the television. Shelf space is minimized and costs are reduced. There is no need for the expense of physical distribution or transportation. With laptops and Internet, the opportunities are much greater.
People can receive breaking news in their e-mail, read breaking news on sites like CNN, and use everything on their new technological devices as democratizing tools. People can use blogs and social networking sites to share their opinions and petitions. CNN allows ordinary people who are not reporters to send in stories and pictures to allow them added participation aside from blogs and comments sections. When it comes to Creative Commons, people finally have a way to utilize media to share while protecting others' copyright material. People can put licensing on their own material and blogs.

My prediction is that ten years from today, we will have a world that is centered around digital convergence. Gone will the be days of simple cell phones that only call and text with calculator and calendar features. No more desktop computers with a few peripherals to connect only a few media outlets. I think that our nation will have a nationalized version of Wi-Fi or WiMax that will allow all digital media, whether it is digital television, computers, cell phones, and more media to be connected through one frequency. Someone would be able to use their television to check their phone, use their phone to connect to their laptop, or use their laptop to listen to the radio....oh wait, that's already happening! My point is, technology is advancing so quickly in our world that I believe that eventually everything will be connected. Reading the text in my Communications 220 class at UM-D has given me this philosophy that eventually everything will be interconnected.

The future will still be going on by the Long Tail of Distribution because physical space will be shortened. I actually do believe that people will be shopping by holograms and there really won't be a need for physical stores. Here is a very interesting link to some gadgets that are predicted to come out in the future. My hopes are that these companies will stop competing with each other and that we don't completely become dependent on technological devices. I fear that if we do so, then that will the end of a community of people in our nation since everyone will be too busy with their gadgets. Also, if there is a world crisis, such as an attack on a national network that connects many devices, many of us would be without power and information. Maybe I sound cynical and fearful right now, but hey, maybe all those technology-focused books and movies about the end of the world  are onto something!

Works Cited:
All Images Obtained Via Creative Commons (appears in order of appearance in post):

All Sources Cited in Text:

Campbell, Richard. Media and Culture . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. Print.

Patel, Nilay. Microsoft's Courier Digital Journal. engadget, 05 03 2010. Web. 19 Mar 2010.

Who's in Charge Here?. IBM, 26 10 2006. Web. 18 Mar 2010.

Viral Networking

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What does social networking mean to you? There are many different answers to this question depending on how you use social networking websites. Many people around the world come together with common interests to use sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, whether these people are individuals, businesses, or entrepreneurs. What purposes do these different media services offer to the public? How do companies benefit from these services when it comes to marketing and the long tail distribution? We will take a look at a few of the popular sites available to people and how they are a democratizing tool for millions worldwide.

Twitter began as a micro-blogging service that later grew as a social media and news reporting website. People began to use this site to write about their daily life knowing that a mass anonymous audience would have access to read it. Even people who are suffering crisis within their country can post updates to provide the world with information and pictures. Aside from individuals using Twitter, 34,000 jobs were posted on TwitJobSearch in January proving that job recruiters and seekers are using Twitter (Miller). Why does Twitter work for employers and potential employees? Unlike e-mail, a company doesn’t have to come up with a list of people who will receive the "I'm hiring" message because anybody searching can see it and it's a cheaper, faster and easier way to recruit (Miller).  Starbucks' Twitter is an example of one of the many Fortune 100 companies using social networking sites. Starbucks uses Twitter to let people know about any new changes to the company, new gift cards available as well as new flavors for fans to test. Being a Starbucks addict myself, this site is a great way for me to find out new changes.

Facebook is a popular social networking site with 350 million users worldwide (Schroeder). People use this site to communicate, upload and view photos, videos, and other content. Small businesses are creating fan pages and groups for users to join in order to find new customers, build online communities of fans and dig into gold mines of demographic information on its users (Pattison). As the image on the left conveys, a user can see any updates posted by a business on their homepage (known to users as the 'news feed'). Just like Twitter, users and businesses can post updates and announcements, even something as simple as, "New Flip Ultra HD custom skins available on our website" Then other people who are connected to the business would read it and maybe post comments. The update from Flip drew me to visit their website and spend a few minutes drooling over the custom skins I can put on my Flip. If used effectively, companies can upload fresh content and updates regularly as niche marketing. This form of target marketing conducted by Flip worked on me. This also applies to the Long Tail distribution because they can provide information for free and promote products on an endless shelf space, hoping users will be willing to make purchases. Musicians and film makers use Facebook and MySpace to promote their music. Remember the 2008 election? Obama counted more than 2 million American supporters on Facebook, while McCain had just over 600,000 (Fraser).

On YouTube, Obama stole the show as his supporters uploaded more than 1,800 videos onto the BarackObama.com channel (Fraser). His political campaign was promoted effectively via YouTube in terms of providing viewers with extra content about his promises of bringing about "change."

Universal Music and Hollywood Records are just two of the many companies that promote content online for viewers to enjoy. Through YouTube, companies can also keep track of ratings and how many people viewed videos. News organizations upload clips of news helping people stay updated. CNN is a prime example of this and such a YouTube link can be viewed here.

LinkedIn is a social networking website geared towards professionals trying to maintain contacts and information within the industry. This website standardizes information entered by users into predefined “Profile Headline”, “Summary”, “Education”, “Company”, etc. categories (Schaffer). People can use this site to find jobs as well. Google Buzz was created to compete with Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to have this social media site built directly into their Gmail. Here's a link to some success stories from businesses and individuals about their experiences using social networking sites. A new University of Maryland survey shows social media usage among small businesses increased to 24% in 2009, up from 12% in 2008 and 22% of those surveyed feel social networking is already helping them turn a profit, with 46% believing the marketing tool will help them make money within the next year ("ASI Central"). 

Below is a video that explains how businesses can use social networking sites as a business tool to connect with clients and build trust:

How do these social networking sites relate to the Long Tail distribution? Businesses can use these websites to promote their companies at a minimum or no cost. They can provide their content for free hoping to generate revenue. Individuals can exercise their freedom of speech by taking to Twitter and other sites to post their opinions and comments. Citizens unsatisfied with their government can post videos to raise awareness. Freedom of press allows journalists to convey their stories through social networking sites, especially on YouTube. The Internet is a democratizing tool and these social networking sites help provide people with a vast amount of information. Creative Commons allows people on these sites to protect their work via free licensing with "All Rights Reserved," "Some Rights Reserved," and so on. The video posted above was found on blip.tv with a Creative Commons license.

Thus, social networking sites are changing the way people have access to information. People can view these sites through their computers, phones, and tablets. Companies like Starbucks have been smart enough to follow their consumers online and create social networking profiles to promote their own agenda and build trust in the community. Creative Commons allows these companies and individuals to copyright their content as they utilize the long tail distribution technique and niche marketing. So yes, social networking is a means to communicate with people and receive updates on friends, but it is also a form of viral networking and marketing that is benefiting millions of people worldwide.

Works Cited:
Images/Video found via Creative Commons Google Image (in order of appearance):
Twitter Feed: Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3333/3257942812_8d59f7a646_o.jpg

Tech Crunch Facebook: Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2568/3769089178_45f74e3914.jpg

MySpace: Web. 3 Mar 2010. http://farm1.static.flickr.com/111/294080639_3682a8d88c.jpg

YouTube Jennifer Hudson Performance: Web. 3 Mar 2010. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3495/3252665182_a663fb5337.jpg

Video: Web. 3 Mar 2010. http://blip.tv/play/AYGZqn8C" type="application/x-shockwave-flash

All Websites that were cited within the blog post:
"ASI Central." Social Networking Usage Doubles. 02 03 2010. Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://www.asicentral.com/asp/open/apps/news/industrynews.aspx?id=3715

Fraser, Mathew. "U.S. News and World Report." Barack Obama and the Facebook Election. 28 11 2008. Web. 3 Mar 2010. http://www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2008/11/19/barack-obama-and-the-facebook-election.html?PageNr=2

Miller, Claire. "Twitter Could Become the Unemployed's Best Friend." The New York Times. 01 25 2010.
The New York Times Company, Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/twitter-could-become-a-recruiters-best-friend/?scp=6&sq=twitter&st=cse.

Pattison, Kermit. "The New York Times." How to Market Your Business With Facebook. 11 11 2009. The New York Times Company, Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/business/smallbusiness/12guide.html?_r=1

Schroeder, Stan. "Mashable: The Social Media Guide." Facebook’s Road to 350 Million Users. 02 12 2009. Web. 2 Mar 2010. http://mashable.com/2009/12/02/facebook-350-million-users/

Schaffer, Neal. "Windmill Networking." What is LinkedIn and Why Should You Join?. Web. 3 Mar 2010. http://windmillnetworking.com/2009/08/26/what-is-linkedin-and-why-should-you-join/

Copyright Your Creations in Cyberspace!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cyberspace is an unlimited realm composed of people and media content. This media content consists of artwork, music, images and more user creations. What happens when you create something, upload it to the Internet and a week later you see someone else using your material without your permission, and even worse, without giving you any credit?

When people create media, artwork, or anything made from scratch, they own copyright to the material. They have an “all rights reserved” copyright, where people can’t duplicate, use or sell the work without the creator’s permission. For example, when musicians create music through a music label, their songs get approved for copyright as long as they aren’t using another artist’s work without permission. There are certain standards that must be met in order to obtain copyright for media outside of the Internet. In regards to cyberspace, there’s no way to police all the media content but obtaining a license online isn't too difficult. Social networking sites, flickr.com, blogs, and other websites don’t have to follow any copyright laws so the pressure of protecting the rights to your own creation is even more prominent. People upload modifications or originals of copyrighted pictures all the time, even on Facebook, and these websites can't regulate the usage of the media.

Some creators don’t mind if other people on the Internet use their work. However, sharing created work may be an atrocious thought for those who are very protective of their work but with many forms of media being available today on the Internet, it’s better to be safe than sorry by licensing online media.  That’s where Creative Commons comes in. It’s a non-profit organization that provides licensing options to Internet users. Singers like Kendra Springer has used Jamendo, a music search site with Creative Commons licensed material, to provide her music for listeners to enjoy.


Creative Commons is a useful tool for independent content producers to license their creations on the Internet. The licensing options vary, from “All rights reserved” to “Some rights reserved.” Different attributions for these licenses can be viewed here.  Musical Artists like Josh Woodward use Creative Commons to provide their music for free online while allowing listeners to use the songs for videos or other purposes as long as they give Woodward credit. New York Cartoonist Matthew Diffee may upload a cartoon he created an choose to license it as “All rights reserved” which would mean a viewer cannot alter the cartoon in any way.

For those that want nothing to do with copyright, they can license their work as "no rights reserved" to let easy and open access to viewers. People can take the creator's work and modify it any way they like. If I created a song and chose this kind of licensing, people can take apart the song, build upon it, modify it and even use it without giving me credit since I claim no rights over it. 

According to the video by Creative Commons below, “Copyright protects your creativity against uses you don’t consent to.”

Creative commons allows free copyright licenses to allow people to tell others what parts of their work is allowed to be used. So let's say I want to license a political cartoon I created. I can choose an appropriate Creative Commons license and let viewers know if they can reproduce it, alter it or post it on their pages as long as they give me credit.

After doing intensive research on Creative Commons and reading their Facts and Questions page, I have come to the conclusion that Creative Commons is an innovative tool to help users protect their work while allowing for the distribution of it, especially for educational purposes. If I were to create something one day, I know that I wouldn't want someone to take my work without giving me credit. Additionally I don't want to ever violate someone's copyright by misusing or misrepresenting their work.

Microsoft allows people to download an add-in to quickly license their work in Microsoft 2007. I think Microsoft backing up Creative Commons is very helpful to the non-profit organization and efficient for the creators. There's no lengthy process involved in obtaining a Creative Commons license for your work. The download add-in can be viewed here. 

The Creative Commons website quotes, “The idea is to protect you from abuse while offering a stated public license to your work which allows you to specify what rights are reserved, including copyright." Even the White House's website has media content under the Creative Commons license! This non-profit organization may not be able to police the proper use of media content online, but it does raise awareness about online copyright usage and help further the sharing of media content online!

Further information about Creative Commons can be found here.

Works Cited:

T-Shirt "Some Rights Reserved" Image found at: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2361/2117607887_300a5869c0.jpg licensed by Creative Commons.

Josh Woodward CD Picture found through Creative Commons Search site http://search.creativecommons.org/# licensed by Creative Commons.

Kendra Springer Music link obtained from Jamendo: http://www.jamendo.com/en/album/55571. Creator of music is Kendra Springer, music licensed by Creative Commons.

Creative Commons video from organization's website created by Creative Commons, embedded from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhimdwoWM5A&feature=related licensed by Creative Commons. 

Creative Commons Website link: http://creativecommons.org/ licensed by Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Democracy's Long Tail

Monday, February 1, 2010


Having lived my entire life in the United States, I might never know what it's like to be censored online as heavily as citizens of other countries are. People living in countries like Iran, China, and Burma have their resources and online content filtered by the government so the country's leaders can maintain their agenda of full reign over its people. In cyberspace, the world is literally flat with information and news being updated instantaneously. For Netizens (citizens in nondemocratic countries), this kind of Western technology can expose the truth about what happens inside borders as well as the juicy details of government corruption that could result in social and political change. For the dictatorial government, change out of their power is something to fear. To the people of the country, this change is sometimes a matter of life and death.

Google China was launched in 2006 with the goal of allowing Chinese citizens to surf the web and do business while having some government chosen content blocked online. Among the blocked content are websites or pictures that the Chinese government finds offensive, harmful, or threatening to the country. Americans have access to Twitter, YouTube, all websites on Google as well as Facebook. Chinese citizens don't have access to these kinds of websites because the country has set up a censorship and surveillance firewall called the Great Firewall of China. This firewall blocks many websites and many citizens don't know how to bypass the firewall.

Citizens in Iran have used Twitter to protest for certain rights to the country, including free speech. They have also uploaded video footage online to provide the world with an inside look as to what's going on inside their borders. In the video below, American news station FoxBusiness discussed in depth as to what led up to Google leaving China and announcing the closing of Google China. Chinese citizens want to be able to have Google available to them. My personal opinion is that it won't be long before Chinese citizens find a way to bypass China's firewall.

According to Amnesty International, there are about 64 people that have been arrested by the Chinese government for peacefully protesting online (Taylor). The government may impose harsh restrictions but soon there might be websites that can bypass the firewall. Citizens from other countries are already trying to bypass the government's rules. Burma engaged in pro-democracy protests and used cell phones to record video to share with the world. Citizen journalists began surreptitiously recording video and taking photos of the public beatings and abuses, transmitting them to the international press via mobile phone ("New Media and Development Communication"). In an Iranian Blog titled "Anonymous Iran, " unidentified writers discuss techniques to use digital devices such as cameras and phones to record violence and brutal killings within their country. 

As for YouTube Direct, this website won't be any different than YouTube in my opinion. How will this website help anyone, anyway? Posting videos on YouTube's main website and organizing the video into an Entertainment category, news, sports, and vice versa has always been done. This new YouTube Direct website won't make much of a difference, especially overseas unless this website can bypass government detection and firewalls. 

For the Chinese government, websites like Baidu will suffice temporarily and maybe for the long run since the Chinese citizens are under such a harsh strict government. Even with Westerns coaxing for a change, there might not be any lasting impact in the near future. 


As for Burma and Iran, maybe there will be change in the near future since cell phones, blogs, and Twitter are exposing harsh realities and living conditions of the citizens in those countries. The government can't keep the "genie in the bottle" because technology is everywhere. Some countries control their citizens as if they are puppets on a stage, but with technology this may not be possible for long. As more people enter cyberspace and contribute vital information, social and political change is within reach. Netizens of nondemocratic countries know this, and so do their harsh governments. As for who will become winners in this technological war , well that is something we shall see in years to come.


Works Cited:
Bellovin, Steven. "The New York Times." Can Google Beat China?. 15 01 2010. Web. 1 Feb 2010.

Google/China Flag picture: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/assets/images/2010/01 /22/100122161041_google_china_flag_ap_466.jpg

"Google and YouTube copies launch in China." guardian.co.uk. 28 01 2010. Web. 1 Feb 2010.

Iranian Blog: http://iran.whyweprotest.net/protest-advice/2658-mobile-camera-live-wifi-distribution.html 

Lee, Timothy. "The New York Times." Can Google Beat China?. 15 01 2010. Web. 1 Feb 2010.

"New Media and Development Communication." Web. 29 Jan 2010.  

Taylor, Richard. "Great Firewall of China." 06 01 2006. Web. 1 Feb 2010.

Time to Get on the Long Tail!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Imagine you are an aspiring singer struggling to get a record deal with a music label. You've sent copies of your demo CD to different record labels for months with no luck. 

So what do you do now?

Many people have taken their work to the Internet, where the database is unlimited and where people from all over the world are connected. If marketed effectively, people have been able to make money off of digitalizing their work.

Selling products online is what the "Long Tail" is all about. Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, is the mastermind behind this business concept. The Long Tail concept can be best described as a technique to sell more products while reducing the cost per sale. It's all about working around the physical limit barrier that we face daily outside of the Internet. There are only so many shelves to stock in retail stores. There's only so many radio stations and TV channels. Consumers are stuck with specific genres to view with no say in what they want on the big screen. The Long Tail is also "Plan B" for those who can't sell enough products in stores or even for entrepreneurs who struggle to get noticed by a well endowed company.

Music labels, movie production studios and top industries in the nation reside at the "head" of the tail. They have the most money and are responsible for the release of mass media. These types of media are limited by genre and style because they are mainly looking for what will make the biggest profits. As certain products and types of media become less popular, they fall gradually down the head of the tail, progressively towards the long part of the tail. Anderson believes that the "most successful businesses on the Internet are about aggregating the Long Tail in one way or another." 
Regarding products online, Anderson says in his book that they, "have a wide dynamic range of quality: awful to great." There's high priced products sold in stores, but what's the level of consumer satisfaction compared to that of a long tail shopper? Online shoppers don't have their buying choices filtered by those companies looking for high profits.  With so many examples of the long tail being successful on the Internet, one can predict that this concept will definitely influence Television, Journalism and other forms of mass media.

With the Internet, everything is more flexible. If you can't watch your favorite TV show, you can watch it online. You can also read newspaper articles and stream radio stations online. Media that takes time, money and space to produce is now available for free online. This hurts profits for traditional companies that reigned in the top of the industry and thus, the future of traditional mass media seems uncertain. According to The New York Times, newspaper circulation "is looking more like an avalanche, with figures released Monday showing weekday sales down more than 10 percent since last year, depressed by rising Internet readership..." What kind of mass media will be able to compete with the Internet in years to come?

With all these new changes and shifts to cyberspace, there have been lawsuits and demands from companies to keep their products under their own copyright. How the future of the long tail will affect Democracy is something we will all see in years to come. The infinite shelf space provides consumers with a benefit in paying less for products while finding items and media genres they might never see in a store. Traditional producers will of course be harmed by this new change unless they hire some smart marketers to help them take advantage of this long tail business phenomena.

So as an aspiring singer unable to score a record deal, you can now take to the Internet and promote your music for free online and through social networking sites. Gabriel Antonio, a singer and rapper, has done this himself with his MySpace as a primary tool for marketing. He is coming out with his second album in February and will go out on a national U.S. tour soon. He has made music with signed rappers and even a country singer. He did this all on his computer while working with a producer, gaining exposure and profits online.

As Anderson wrote in his Wired article on the long tail, "Such is the power of the Long Tail. Its time has come."




Works Cited:

Anderson, Chris. The Long Tail. New York: Hyperion, 2008. Print. 

Anderson, Chris. "Wired." The Long Tail. 2004. Web. 15 Jan 2010.

Perez-Pena, Richard. "The New York Times." U.S. Newspaper Circulation Falls 10%. 2009. Web. 22 Jan 2010.

Chart Image: http://www.wired.com/wired/images.html?issue=12.10&topic=tail&img=5

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