Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reaction to Chapter 2 Blogging America

For Com 430z I have read chapter two of Aaron Barlow’s book called Blogging America. Barlow talks about many aspects of blogs in this chapter of his book. He starts out by telling the audience if we keep blogging at this rate, there will be a whopping five hundred million blogs by the year 2010. Barlow also points out in the start of this chapter the even with the 75 million blogs already on the web, there are still people who do not know anything about them.

Blogs are also seen by many people as not being creditable. Anyone anywhere can be the author of their own blog saying anything they want. There is no one to stop them, edit their work, or censor what the user’s say. To me I see blogs being more like journals and should not be used regularly for sources of information but more or sources of entertainment. Barlow tells us that the blogs may be created to get peoples opinions about a certain thing or even just to relieve a little stress. They may be used for educational purposes such as our Com 430z class or they could be started for a business.

Personally the only blog that I use is the one for this class. Reading this chapter made me realize that blogging is actually pretty popular and not just something that people with no time do. I can really look into anything I want and even have one so only my friends and I can use. Truthfully I have not spent much time looking at people’s blogs and reading what they write. I am sure that one day I will be introduced to it and will become a blog-aholic. My motorcycle forums are addicting as it is so I can only imagine me blogging about any given topic.

Barlow, Aaron. Blogging America. (2008). The Blogs in Society (Chapter 2).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Essay # 3

Searching the World Wide Web is not always as simple as it may seem. The actuall search and finding the right "keyword" may be the easy part, although the hard part is to find reliable sources with accurate and creditable information. Web 2.0 provides many different search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Ask, all of which allows users to find virtually whatever they need. For Com 430z the ultimate task is to create a Wiki on a Web 2.0 medium such as the one I have chosen called Facebook. This essay will consist of my evaluation of information that I have found about Facebook as well as my assessment on the search engines and reliability of the sources used.

Searching smart as users is extremely important and we must not believe everything we see on the Web. We need to search for reliable and accurate sources to provide us with information on the topic that we are researching. My search engine of choice would be Google. It is set as my homepage and is the first thing that pops up when I open up my Internet Explorer. That being said, Google was the first out of three search engines I used to find information on Facebook. I wanted to start out simple so I started out searching with a keyword of "Facebook" to see what I would get back. The first two results were links leading me directly to the site itself and the third one lead me to Wikipedia. Wikipedia describes Facebook as a social networking site and tells me the history, features, and a ton more about the site. Wikipedia is a great way to find information on the Web quickly and most of the time accurately. Although it is discussed as a not so reliable source because virtually anyone can edit and twist around the information.

After searching for a bit I found that the keyword "Facebook" was much too broad and needed to make a more specific one. So I did just that and changed the keyword to "History of Facebook". The hit returned was from a website called Mashable. Information on Mashable seemed to be reliable and accurate and actually much of it related very well to the Wikipedia site. The Mashable site actually has a place where users could make posts and agree or disagree about the article. Personally I would not call this a reliable source being it came from an author who is not known and did not provide proof of where the information came from. For someone’s everyday use this article would be fine, but for someone who needs a scholarly and reliable source this would not fit the category. Google had returned many different sites on the "History of Facebook" but at this point I was looking for a complete reliable source. At the bottom of the Google search I found an article from the International Herald Tribune.This site talked about many aspects of Facebook and many things involving around Facebook which was I was looking for. This site is a known creditable source of information and reliable enough for me to mention it in this paper.

After messing around with Google for quite some time I decided it was time to move on. I decided to continue with Ask.com. I started my searches with the same keyword "History of Facebook". Many of the articles that came up were actually ones that I have seen before and lighted up purple which means that it had been clicked on already. Although I did find on the first page of hits, a site that I had not yet been to. It lead me to Chronicle.com. There was not much on this site at all except for a brief article linking us to the Mashable site that I have previously talked about. It is really at this point that I am realizing that Google and Ask are providing the same information that I have been finding. Really to me the history of Facebook is not something that is extremely important to me and have not found an incredible amount of information about it. This being said I have not found an extreme amount of reliable information on it so I decided to take advantage of being a student at the University of Albany and use an online resource offered by the library.

EBSCO has a ton of scholarly articles so I decided to search "History of Facebook" and see what I got in return. It led me to a reliable article that spoke about the aspects and history of Facebook. All of the information that the author of this article got was from reliable sources and this would be a great article to find what you need on the subject of matter. Another database on the library website is called ComAbstracts here I found a few topics about Facebook but nothing that really related to what I was looking for. It is extremely hard to really find exactly what you want when searching for specific things.

After searching on the library databases I pretty much came up empty. I decided to go back to searching on search engines to see what I can find on the "History of Facebook". In my return I decided to use Yahoo to research more information to contribute to the Wiki project. Yahoo is basically the same concept as Google and Ask. I decided to stick with the same keyword although I had a feeling I would be having the same results come back to me. I was right, the keyword kept giving me the same results that Google and Ask. I did find one thing that stood out to me because I had not seen it in the other searches I have done. The search came back and lead me to About.com where I found again the same information I have been founding. It was at this point where I thought to myself, "if I keep finding the same exact information on these sites, then it must be reliable and correct information that I am reading."

I have come to the conclusion that the keyword" History of Facebook" lead me to some accurate and reliable sources of information. They provided me with the information necessary to create my own Wiki when it comes time for the final project. Although I found what I was looking for I was not completely satisfied, so I decided to look around a bit more and use different keywords. The keywords I used were " What is Facebook, Who is Facebook, All about Facebook, and Background information on Facebook. " I found that I received back most of the same information that I have been finding except for the keywords "Background information on Facebook". It actually was almost too many keywords because the type of information I was receiving was really all kinds of different things. I learned from this paper that not everything on the Web is a reliable source to use. The searcher must really choose wisely on the information they choose to use in their academic papers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For my com 430z class I read an article by Michael Zimmer called "The externalities of search 2.0; The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0."

Zimmer starts this article out by talking about the creating "perfect search engine" that supplies users accurate information and at a high rate of speed. These search engines would remember your old searches so it can make future searches better. Instead of searching for keywords we would be able to type in full sentences and receive a relevant answer. He mentions that in order to have a "perfect search engine" you must have "perfect reach" and "perfect recall". These would give access to all information available on the World Wide Web and would deliver the personalized results depending on who the person searching is.

He continues in his article with the prevalence of personal information that can be accessed on the Web 2.0. Explaining that users (especially younger ones) are very lose with giving out personal information. Zimmer is also concerned with the amount of privacy that we have. At one point in his article he talks about Lack of "Privacy via Obscurity" speaking about the fact that we can look up people using google which can also be used for finding out background information on people that may even be used in pre employment hiring decisions.

By the end of the article he talks about the possible effects that searching could have. He talks about things such as the "Disciplinary power, Panoptic Sorting, and Invisibility and Allure of Search 2.0."

Great things are offered by search 2.0 but there are always people looking to take advantage of mistakes that other people may make. Identity theft is a huge issue with credit cards and things of that nature. As technology progresses it is moving to the web. I have always been one to watch what I say and be sure not to release too much personal information. At first I was even scared to give my credit card number to Ebay until I learned about secure sites and things of that nature. Many people do not realize that even giving out their last name on the web could place them in serious problems. I really think that Zimmer is trying to point out issues such as privacy so we will be more careful with our personal information.

Zimmer, Michael. (2008). The externalities of search 2.0; The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0. First Monday, 13. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2136/1944