Thursday, May 13, 2010

Someone else's presentation

I found the presentation made by Marianne about threats that SN sites pose very interesting and informative.
First, she gave an overview of SN sites, including the listing of the most popular ones. SN is an online community of internet users who share common interests and interact with each other through chats, emails, bloggings, forums, file sharing, videos, etc. The most popular SN sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, Ning, Tagged and Hi5.
Second, Marianne discussed privacy issues associated with SN. They involve the unwarranted access of private information. Given their vast amounts of personal data, SN sites are a goldmine for marketing companies, corporate espionage and social data mining. Moreover, there is always a threat of cyberbullying, stalking, and sexual predators. That is why it is so important to control the privacy settings by making your profile less public and more private. I did not know that all the interactions and information is recorded and retained and can be used, copied, and distributed to 3d parties.
Third, Marianne talked about security issues that involve data theft, viruses, cybercams, fishing and spams. SN sites are easy targets for hackers. There is little we can personally do to control these threats but at least we can be more careful as to what and how we share on SN sites.
The presentation included useful tips for safe SN. It is important to remember them to minimize the potential risks.
Overall, the presentation was well done, well organized and included illustrative videos related to the issues discussed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The next new thing

The next new thing should be something that would allow people using virtual worlds to actually feel what they experience there. I mean, be able to actually smell, feel, touch the virtual reality. Many people find Second Life unappealing because you can not feel what your avatar does, you do not feel what flying is like, you just watch your avatar flying. I do not know what kind of technology that might be 4D, 5D...10D?! But I am sure people are working on that and we are getting close to making that a reality.

Friday, April 23, 2010

privacy and confidentiality

When we speak about new media, privacy and confidentiality are the main concerns. I personally think there is no such a thing as personal privacy when you deal with Internet and new media. Just think of all the social networking sites where people put tons of personal information which is open to public and can easily be used by so called "friends" whom you might have never seen in your life. Think of numerous websites which require you to register by providing at least a valid e-mail address in order to read the content. Then these e-mail addresses are being sold and bought by marketers. And we get spam, junk mail and all sorts of things we do not want. Our actions are being observed, collected, and analyzed for different purposes. Another big issue is identity theft, hacking, stealing of confidential data like medical records which can cause serious problems.
There are no clear federal statues on privacy issues and things can go really out of control. So, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves. We should act wisely and think twice before putting and sharing personal information online whether it is a SN site, blog, or Twitter.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

About my project

I am so happy that I am done with my presentation :) I was very nervous (forgot everything I was supposed to say) even though prepared thoroughly. I am just not much of a speaker... actually have fear of public speaking.
The topic I was presenting on was "Virtual Worlds: Multiple Perspectives". First, I started with the definition and brief overview of virtual worlds (VWs) that included their common features and types. I analyzed VWs from three perspectives: educational, business, and sociological.
From the first perspective, virtual reality (VR) is a great educational tool. Faculty uses VR to hold lectures and meetings with students, get computer programming tutorials. Virtual museums, galleries and libraries are aslo a resource for educators. VWs have also been used for educational purposes in modern medicine and the military.
The second perspective looks at VWs as a business tool used for a variety of purposes ranging from marketing to recruiting. VR is also used by companies for internal collaboration. We watched a video that showed how that works.
The last perspective analyzed was sociological. One of the first sociological concepts to describe VWs was "community". Scholars often define VWs as "intentional digital communities" that provide new opportunities for interpersonal relationships increasing social capital for both individuals and societies. The popularity and global reach of VWs provide for cross-cultural exchange.
In conclusion, VWs do impact our lives significantly transforming the way we think about education, business, and social activities in the real world.
I hope it was a useful and informative presentation, thank you all for being a great audience.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Advice to Baruch college

There are several characteristics that all new media have. They are: communication and interaction, collaboration, community, and creativity. Why not enhance the class experience with new media?
First, I would suggest having a web page for each class or a wiki. That would serve the interaction and collaboration purposes as students will be able to access the class notes and assignments there or even post some articles or useful links to the materials that they find interesting and related to the class topics. I like this idea because in most classes you do not get/read additional information other than textbooks and PP slides (which summarize textbooks). Every next class student could look at materials posted by previous class and be better versed in the field of interest.
Second, I think it would be great to have all written assignments (papers and essays) be turned in electronic format such as blog posts. That would eliminate countless paper waste (I know professors don’t like to bring piles of paper back and forward). That would also allow for immediate feedback from professors in the form of comments.
Third, I would suggest incorporating more VR simulations especially for such classes as finance, business, and management. That would enhance learning experience and help students to practice and apply the concepts learned in class.
Finally, I would suggest posting video lectures on class webpages. That way professors would make sure that students do understand the key points of the lecture and can refresh their memories before exams at any convenient time. Someone can argue that students won’t come to class if video lectures are available. I think that classes can focus more on practice involving answering students’ questions, doing problems and exercises.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Our class wiki- so far

I feel like I am the only person in class who haven't started working on the wiki yet. This is because of procrastinating. I have signed up as a contributor to New Media and Social Change topic. I will also contribute to other topics as my project research is based on multiple perspectives which include several topics like education, health/medicine, and business among the few. I have made a considerable research that mainly relates to my project and was overwhelmed by the amount of research done in the field. I hope I will put everything together in the near future... :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My new media class so far

This is an interesting class and quite different from other classes. I have done much more than I had expected from myself: blogging, tweeting, working with SN sites, reading, researching, working on the project and several other minor assignments. I still have not worked much on the class wiki but hope to have more time to work on it during the spring break. I feel like I spend more time than I should on this class rather than on the other classes I have this semester (auditing, for instance). I am getting better at my time-management. The assignments are due every Tuesday and Thursday which leaves little room for procrastinating, even though I still manage to leave everyhting till very very last moment. Just a habit-can't do anything about it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Ususally when people think of virtual reality they think of games first. Yes, games, which include MMORPGs, do account for a big chunk of a virtual world but it is not only about games. There are different other ways virtual worlds can be used.
First, there are community-focused virtual worlds that are used for socializing rather than for gaming, like (not available now) described in the article "I've Been in That Club, Just Not in Real Life". Participants create their personal space (home or apartment) and take part in different events and activities.
Second, virtual worlds can be used for educational purposes. For example, Mokitown educates children about road and traffic safety in an entertaining manner. Virtual libraries, art galleries, museums, tutorials, meeting spaces- all serve educational purposes.
Also, I have read somewhere that virtual worlds are used in Army for training simulations.
Most virtual worlds allow users to alter, create, and build something which fosters creativity. Another good thing about virtual worlds is that they connect people who otherwise would never meet in real life. They allow people to have what they can not have in real life: better appearance, better clothes, homes, opportunity to travel around the world, etc. People with disabilities can freely socialize, have many friends , find information and support due to virtual words as described in the article "iReport: 'Naughty Auties' battle autism with virtual interaction".
Among the cons are abuse of the service, predators, safety, privacy and security (spam, viruses, etc.) issues.
As for the future of virtual words, I think more people and more businesses will be involved. May be there are benefits that are not explored yet...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Twitter Discussion

I had my first discussion on Twitter! I should say it is different from what I got used to. It was a little confusing at first to see who replied to what because it shows all the tweets in a list. In this sense, BB discussion board (BBDB) is better organized. It has topics and subtopics which makes it easier to use. I used BBDB in another class for a project and it was very helpful. There was a separate topic for that particular project where students could post their questions as new threads. You could look through the list of subtopics to find a similar question to yours and see all the replies and find the needed answer. I think it would have been much more difficult to do with Twitter.
Another thing, BBDB is available to only those students within a particular section. So there are no any outside users whereas Twitter is accessible to everyone.
Oh, most importantly, BBDB does not have such a strict character limitation as Twitter does. That is helpful especially when you try to explain someone complex things, like accounting details for certain transactions. You can not do that with 140 characters.
Of course, nothing can replace face-to-face discussion in class. It is most valuable but not quite efficient. I think this is why many prefer Twitter due to easy access any time and quick updates.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Social Networking

As I mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of social networking is to communicate and keep in touch with friends, coworkers, relatives, classmates, etc. People form small communities online that consist of individuals with similar interests. One can develop a friendship with people from around the world, learn new cultures and new things. People benefit from social networking not only due to ability to improve their social lives but also ability to find a job through business networking sites. As sited in the article “Social Networking Technology Boosts Job Recruiting” by Frank Langfitt, “social networking technology is absolutely the best thing to happen to recruiting.” Recruiters can find the right candidates within hours using keywords and extensive network of contacts in a SN site such as Linkedin. There is an opinion of Danah Boyd in the article “Is MySpace Good for Society? A Frieakonomics Forum” that proposes another benefit of creative expression and self-realization, especially for those who can not see their friends or family due to certain restrictions. That is the fascinating side of social networking.
Like anything else social networking has its “dark sides” as well. Among them are privacy and safety issues, gossip, abuse of the services, high dependency on these technologies and addiction. Some might continue the list further… There is no definitive answer whether social networking is good or bad but the fact that it affects our society is unquestionable.
Many people use these technologies not only to keep in touch with family and friends but also to network with potential employers. Many businesses use social networking for collaboration across teams. SN sites can also be used for helping other people. For example, many not-for-profit organizations use these technologies to educate people about alcohol, drugs, poverty and other issues. Those who need help get information and support due to such sites.
Some might fear that social networking technologies will lead us to the society with no face-to-face contacts in the future. In this regard I would agree with William Reader who said in the article “Is MySpace Good for Society? A Frieakonomics Forum” that social networking will never replace face-to face communication. Actually, it is very hard to predict or even imagine the way these technologies might evolve in the future. I think it would be great to be able to have one uniform online profile for all of the SN sites. As I know that many people have multiple profiles on different sites and it is very inconvenient. I do not know, may be such technology already exists…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SN Sites

I remember when recently I was sitting in Starbucks and there were two guys sitting next to me with their laptops. They were working on some new social networking site and asked my opinion about SN sites in general. I said I had never used them and did not have an account with any of such sites. They were so surprised with the answer and kept asking how I then communicate with my friends and relatives. I said- in person, by phone or e-mail. They were looking at me like I am from another planet…
So, until now I have never had any experience with SN sites. I just registered with a couple of them and here are my first impressions. To me all SN sites are similar with slight differences. The main purpose of these sites is to find friends, coworkers, relatives, or just people with the same interests and form your own networks. Facebook as well as MySpace and Friendster are free access “open” memberships; anyone can become a member by registering. Most sites require only a valid e-mail for that purpose.
As far as I’ve heard from friends and classmates, people use Facebook more than MySpace. There are many reasons for that but the main one I think is the security and privacy issue. Facebook has more enhanced privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your profile, contact and interact with you and you can block your profile from certain people. MySpace in this regard is a little weaker. Also, in MySpace you can personalize your profile using graphics, design layouts, special text, etc. which is not available on Facebook. Friendster did not impress me that much as I could not find anyone I know on it. I should probably use those sites for a while to be able to give better details about each.
Also, I have found an interesting SN site,, for those college students who are looking for a job. It allows only students to register and network with the potential employers. I find it very cool.
An interesting video on this topic...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Blogs vs wikis

I am totally a newbie in new media and feel like a dinosaur when it comes to using new technology. I have created this blog for the first time in my life and I doubt I would have done that if not this class. I am becoming more familiar with blogs now but wikis are still somewhat new to me so anything I write about them is based on what I read and heard. As far as I understand, blogs and wikis have much in common: they both provide for communication and collaboration. I see blogs as an online version of personal diaries with ability of getting an immediate feedback. A person makes posts to the blog about things and events that concern him or her and receives comments from readers. You can link blogs and comment on other’s blogs as well. The good thing about blogs is that beside text they allow for images, graphics and videos. A wiki is also a collaboration tool but in a slightly different format. As Margaret Locher says in her article “More on how to build your own wikipedia”, wikis are the best tools for project management and team building. Wikis allow a group of people working on the same project to create, edit and share documents online. Locher talks about using wikis in a workplace but they are well used in education by students working on class projects. I have done so many projects while in college and never used wikis. Now wonder why… We always used e-mail as a form of communication with each other and comparing to wikis it is so inefficient. Using e-mail you end up with multiple edited copies of the same document and sometimes it is hard to distinguish which is the most recent one. Also, not everyone checks e-mails on a regular basis, so you do not always get the up-to-date information. Blogs and wikis would not be possible without the Internet, a globalized network which is an example of convergence trend. We can do anything with Internet: watch television, listen to the radio, read newspapers online.
We live in the world of convergence when old media converge into new media and when multitude quickly becomes one. Think of cell phones which now allow for not only making phone calls and text messaging but also making and storing pictures, downloading and storing music and video. Copy machines are another example which combine the features of a copier, scanner, printer and fax in one. Convergence, media convergence in particular, affects our lives changing the way we behave and interact with each other.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old media vs new media

I think that all that we call old media transformed into new media due to technological innovations and science. Old media has once been new media… Consider for example printed newspapers, most of which now went online and many journalists write their own blogs on current issues. Another example, books that transformed into e-books; with the help of e-book readers we can read books and publications in digital format. You can also find some books available online for free. Television and film are now considered the old media because we have Tivo and YouTube. These are just a few vivid examples of old media being transformed into new one. It is important to mention that not all new media have an old counterpart. Sometimes it is not that easy to distinguish between old and new media. How long does it take for new media to become old one? With our pace of life and technological advances- not so long. What we can say for sure is that all new media have common features, which help us distinguish between old and new at this point in time. The common characteristics include: digital computer technology (Internet-based), and the 5 C's we studied in class (communication, collaboration, community, creativity, and convergence).

Description of my project

The title of my project is Virtual Worlds: multiple perspectives. The purpose of the project is twofold: first, to introduce the world of virtual worlds, their types and common features; second, to analyze virtual worlds from technological, sociological, educational, and other perspectives. We will try to understand why people decide to lead virtual lives and explore the potential ways of using virtual worlds.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What is new media?

When people think of new media the things that come first to their mind are blogs, wikis, podcasts, twitter, facebook and other social networking sites, etc. Indeed, they are right. All of the things listed above comprise one concept, new media. As Clive Thompson in his article "Thompson on how YouTube changes the way we think" notes, it changes the way we think and probably behave. By “it” he refers to video, YouTube in particular, but it can be referred to any form of new media.
Some think that new media is replacing the old one. I personally think that it only enhances or transforms the old media. Consider the example that is described in the article “Publisher rethinks the daily: it’s free and printed and has blogs all over” by C. Miller. A Chicago-based start-up decides to publish a newspaper consisting entirely of blogs surrounded by local ads. Another example is using TV screens for watching staff from a laptop. I find it great to explore new ways of using what we call the old media.

New Start

Wow, I did it!!! I have created my own blog and this is my first post! I am totally a newbie in all that is related to blogs, wikis, social networking, etc. This is my first step into the world of new media...