College Related

SOS – Reflection Week Seven

sinking

I was fairly lost this week as some instructions were vague to me.

I mostly just expanded on the Wiki Web Collaboration handout, as I couldn’t find a way to connect it to our original page, Wiki as a Social Notebook. Thus, I don’t feel that I did a good job in completing this week’s tasks.

Not only did I not follow the instructions for the week, I also had a hard time following the handout, and in turn I was unsure of what to post about. I did find some interesting links and information overall, but my searches were fairly general and my posts consist of loose topic points.

I have questions regarding whether our topic of Wiki as a Social Notebook actually is able to connect to the handout, or the two topics I expanded on (Wiki Ideologies & A Wiki Media Revolution).

Easily enough, my work this week does connect to what we have been studying the last couple weeks, and last week especially. I also have noticed that other students in the class share similar feelings to mine about the topics of this week, so I am happily not alone.

In other news, it’s time for spring break.

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Reflecting with Wikis

This week was a fairly easy one, however the easy weeks seem to get me.

Even for a goal of posting three times I had much difficulty. I was initially super excited about working with Wikis as a Social Notebook but soon came to realize that I had a problem actually understanding what that really means. Therefore, our information is lacking in sorts. Happy to say we are still learning, though.

I did learn that while utilizing a wiki as a social notebook, there may be several advantages and disadvantages, which may tie directly back to the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing a wiki in general.

My main questions revolve around our work in general and perhaps what may be actual examples of using a wiki as a social notebook. i.e. Google was not helpful.

I am however, looking forward to hearing about the other groups’ progress with their wiki pages and topics, as well as what they have learned. Maybe there will even be something to contribute to Wiki as a Social Notebook.

My main Weblogs & Wikis page is here. My list of times/dates worked is here. Finally, our Wiki as a Social Notebook page is here.

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The one thing Wikis have been teaching me lately is that it’s okay to be a work in progress. Thank goodness.

Summaries & Reflections Galore

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Week… I have no idea what week it is. They are all running together and I’m just praying that I am getting everything done on time in the process.

After being rather on top of the topics and work of last week I feel that I retreated to old habits and put off our assignment for this week once again. Maybe I’m going to have to start making a check-list to help. Thankfully, we were just instructed to observe on Wiki pages, and that I could at least handle for the most part.

I actually did have a little bit of trouble with finding outside sources other than the ones that were provided to us. I searched on Wikipedia to discover writing styles, and went to C2 and Meatball Wiki to decipher between document mode and thread mode. My biggest struggle was figuring out what makes a Wiki site worth it. What makes some Wiki sites more well-known than others?

I did come up with quite a few questions after researching the Wiki pages and observing the different styles. Those questions are posted on my second post on Wikis here.

The rest of my work from this week is as follows; on Monday I posted about the Russian Language, on Tuesday I wrote about the Olympics in Sochi, and on Saturday I started my Wiki work and posted Part 1 and Part 2 by the end of the day.

Wiki-topia

Here are some observational notes concerning the topic of the week: The Wiki

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-Wiki’s are messy. The words are tight, the spacing limited. Some pages are jam-packed with info, which may overwhelm the reader. Check out this example of what a hostile student is described as on this Wiki page, called of course, Hostile Student.

-On Meatball Wiki, there is an option to start a discussion, like on this sample page for information on HealthyConflict. This brings in the opportunity to start a thread, with discussion posts and comments on any or all pages of the Wiki. However, not all Wiki sites agree with this type of mode, check out what Why Wiki Works Not says about it on their Wiki site, C2.

-Writers can alter, edit, modify, etc. at any time in any way. Literally. No joke.

-What we learn isn’t all bad. How many times in school did you hear, “Do NOT use Wikipedia for research!” from your teachers? I know I heard it a lot. My English teacher made a what-seemed-like-daily lecture on why she hated Wikipedia for the basic entirety of my senior year of high school. But honestly, Wiki pages and Wikipedia aren’t all bad. They just aren’t made for certain research, or are they? Thoughts?

-Some Wiki pages just work. C2 did for me. They break it down simply. Sure, there is a lot of scrolling, a lot of writing, but whatever. That is a Wiki. It’s content. A lot of content. However, C2 makes it easy. They break it down by definition, cause and effect (if there are), common misunderstandings, and the best of all, by examples. It’s clean, it’s easy, it’s understandable. Yay.

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Questions to mull over:

1. What works better, thread mode or document mode? Is one more effective over the other?

-Thread: Meatball Wiki

-Document: C2

2. How reliable are Wiki pages and Wikipedia? Are we with our high school teachers or against them?

3. What we are used to vs. What it is: I observed a page on a Wiki, this one to be direct, and the first thing I saw was a typo. The thing is, I can change it. I can fix the typo that so desperately needs to be fixed. But, if we are just coming for quick information, a simple drop-in, is this going to deter us away? Knowing what Wiki is and how it is used/modified, etc., is this a non-issue? Does it make it less authentic because it looks less authentic? Does professionalism have a voice here? What does this do to the information?

Feel free to post your own question if you have one.

A Wiki Veteran

I would like to say that I am a veteran to Wiki pages as I had to work with them for an entire semester in one of my classes, but I’m sure my knowledge will prove to be in short supply once I begin to read, watch, and learn more about them.

But, what is a Wiki exactly?

According to the mother of all Wikis, Wikipedia, Wiki’s are usually web applications where people can primarily add, modify, or delete content. There are Wiki pages on everything from The Beatles to the state of Texas to the popular show The Office. Ward Cunningham invented the Wiki in 1994 and is co-author to the book, The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web,  which describes the Wiki concept.

Now that you know what the basic gist of a Wiki is, unsure of where to begin? Let’s start slow. With a video even.

The deal is this: anyone can change anything.

And to be honest, this initially startled me. To change or alter a Wiki, you don’t have to own anything, you don’t have to be logged in, you don’t even have to have a glorified need for the information. You can just change it, leave it, and walk away. Now, let’s be mature everybody.

According to Brian Lamb, a project coordinator with the Office of Learning Technology at the University of British Columbia, “wikis are quick because the processes of reading and editing are combined” and “[the] content is ego-less, time-less, and never finished.” Like I stated earlier, you don’t have to own anything to change a Wiki page and Lamb does an excellent job in summarizing just why that is. If you want to follow along, his article is here.

“With open editing, a page can have multiple contributors, and notions of page “authorship” and “ownership” can be radically altered. Entries are often unpolished, and creators may deliberately leave gaps open, hoping that somebody else will come along to fill them in.”

Now that you are up to speed, take a breath, and recite the Wiki Prayer:

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“Please, grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,

The courage to edit the pages I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

More on Wiki pages coming soon.

Continuously Writing and Reflecting

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This week I feel like I accomplished a lot more that I have in past weeks, which also meant spending a lot more time on the computer. Where did the weekend go?

Nonetheless, I am finally getting the hang of posting in a timely and efficient manner. Of course it did help that I was a big fan of this week’s topics. Social media is right up my ally.

I did have a little bit of trouble in narrowing down my topic as I mainly summarized what Rettberg was saying in Chapter 3 in my first post, then summarized the topics listed in my second, and finally brought it home in my third. I think I was mainly too busy focusing on the Facebook and Twitter subtopics (Collecting, Filter Bubble, etc.) as a whole to narrow it down to just one. However, that helped in keeping a broader range in my posts.

If I could go back and do my posts over for this week I would involve a few more interactive links, like Halie does, in her post Everything Has Gone Digital. Her addition of the Facebook Calculator kept me involved in what she was talking about, and opened my eyes to how much time I really do spend on social media. Pretty alarming.

If you missed what I covered this week, here is a quick summary. On Wednesday, I posted for my English Language class on the word grief, and again on Phonology. On Friday, I started an intro on Social Media and posted again with a summary on collecting and filter bubbles. On Saturday, I wrapped up my social media posts with a focus primarily on filter bubbles, and today I posted a nonfiction story I wrote in hopes of breaking away from the grueling coursework.

Ta da!

 

The Real Deal — Wrapping Up

I covered a lot of ground in my last post on social media (from stats, to filter bubbles, to collecting). If you missed it, check back here or just brush up on the information anyways. If you’ve been with me from the start my final post on social media will summarize what I have covered thus far, but will mainly focus on filter bubbles and ask the question as to whether we are at risk.

Now, how do you feel about the information that has been spread before you thus far? It’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media, and it becomes increasingly frightening when you actually look at the statistics of how much it is/has impacted our world, but what’s the real deal on social media? The way I look at it is like this:

Instinct to Collect (among other reasons) —-> Social Media —-> Filter Bubbles Form —->

                                                           Unawareness

I’ll explain more.

We spend massive amounts of time on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), or maybe that’s pushing it a little so I’ll rephrase that. Some of us spend massive amounts of time on social media sites (ahem, me for example), but one of the reasons we do this is because of our natural instinct to collect, according to Jill Rettberg‘s book, Blogging. A great example of a collector’s social media site is Pinterest, due to its categorical set-up, but Facebook and Twitter are in the collector’s group too, and it becomes all at our fingertips, just like this.

socialmediadata_small

However, one of the problem’s we are facing with social media, collecting, and the like is that of filter bubbles, which I also covered earlier in an older post so let’s just summarize a tad. Filter bubbles are a selective state of information being provided to you, based on information about the user. There is even a book on it, by Eli Pariser, and a video below. Take a look inside the book first here.

The main issue with filter bubbles is that we will no longer be provided information about everything, but will be provided with information that only suits us, so most likely a shielding of the bad or unpleasant information, and a sharing of the good or pleasant information. The reality is, “there is a kind of shift in how information is flowing online, and it’s invisible,” according to Pariser. We will be living in a world that doesn’t even exist. Take a look below.

This unfortunately becomes something that is hard to be aware of when Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are so easily at our fingertips. Bored between classes? Facebook mobile app consumes the majority of my 20-minute wait. But am I really seeing everything on Facebook or is it being filtered down to only the things Facebook believes I am interested in? This is scary, and as I think about what Pariser has said about the shift being invisible, it becomes difficult to think of what we can do to combat something that is visually not even there. Am I living in my own filter bubble? The truth is, most likely I am, we are, you are, and the world knows it.

For example, DuckDuckGo wants to be your new primary search engine to combat against the spread of filter bubbles. They have constructed a search engine that is actually made to keep you away from the filter bubbling of the internet and out of your own filter bubble. You can sign up at dontbubble.us or just check out their proposal.

Capture

What do you think about filter bubbling, social media, collecting, and everything else I have covered in the last couple days? Are we at risk? Feel free to comment, share ideas, or start a discussion.

Liking and Tweeting, Sharing and Networking

A picture-collage of what social media does to a college student:

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001    002    004

True story.

In post number two, I will give the gist on microblogging, a short intro into filter bubbles, and wrap it all up with some information on social media collecting. Don’t skip the links or the videos, they’re worth your time, I promise. Read on.

Despite the fact that I am seen wasting valuable homework hours on Twitter, Facebook is actually the most popular social networking site, holding close to a billion users in 2012, and 2014 marks Facebook’s 10th birthday. Want more on Facebook? Check out this article, and read up on how the total number of users (757 million) was recorded and where the most Facebook users reside (I was surprised!).

As Facebook continues to change, and change often, Rettberg explains the differing factors between a blog and the popular social networking site, but also goes on to label it as a ‘microblog.’ Let’s pause for a second, and get the definition of that. Dictionary.com defines a microblog as a verb, and is the process of “posting very short entries, as a brief update or a photo, on a blog or a social-networking site,” and more simply put it is “a blog that is smaller than a traditional blog and contains very short entries.” “You have far less control over your Facebook feed and the way your posts to Facebook are displayed than you have with an individual blog,” Rettberg goes on to say, “but, on the other hand, you have an active audience. It is likely that most of your friends, family, and colleagues are on Facebook.”

facebook-friend

One major concern that has come up within Rettberg’s writing about social networking and social media is that of the ‘filter bubble’ or ‘echo chamber.’ Rettberg explains that several critics of social media are concerned that we will become enclosed in these, where we will only ever see others who agree with us and are never confronted with any opposition or shared debates. Jonathon Stray, a Computational Journalism professor at Columbia University, explains filter bubbles as a name for anxiety, which stresses over the idea that the Internet may only begin to tell us what we want to hear, thus, leaving only the pleasant and hiding the unpleasant. Stray provides his readers with 5 potential ways out:

1) Stop Speculating and Start Looking,

2) Bring Curation Into Journalism

3) Build Better Filtering Algorithms

4) Don’t Just Filter, Map

5) Figure Out What We Really Want

 

Click here to read more, and check out the below video on the Social Media Revolution by Erik Qualman, who claims “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us, and in the future we will no longer search for products or services because they will find us…”

What about collecting, though? What has that got to do with social media? I’ll tell you.

The problem with social networking is that we get caught up in the collections. So many collections, and for the most part (which may vary from site to site) everything is saved for you, unless you delete it personally. And while Facebook becomes a bit more broad in this area, Pinterest steps in as a perfect example as it is literally just an idea-sharing site (see below). You create categories of your favorite things, and then share them or share new ideas. It is a collection. On Twitter you can favorite, and retweet any tweet out in cyberspace (as long as privacy settings are public) which creates a collection of everything you have ever favorited or retweeted since being on Twitter. Collections times infinity. Through our own instincts to collect though, we become social media junkies, because it is sites like these (below) that help us get our fix.

Pinterest_myPins

“Even social networking sites without any clear purpose apart from collecting as many friends as possible have become popular,” Rettberg claims in her novel, Blogging. Rettberg offers up Orkut, a project coming out of Google, which was an example of this kind of collecting. Orkut was released in 2004 and become increasingly popular among bloggers before getting buried by other, newer social networking sites shortly after (still has 37 million members, though!). Read more here, about how it came to be, what it really is, and who invented it. Or, if you are short on time, read just the gist on Orkut in 10 lines or less here!

More on social media coming soon.

What’s The Gist on Social Media? — An Amateur Introduction

I want to get just as much out of my post(s) this week as my readers do, if not so much more, so we are going to ease into social media at a moderate pace. This is going to be a three-part post, this being the first, where I will talk shortly about in what ways social media websites are categorized into blogs, and don’t forget to watch the short video at the end on the impact of the numbers across the globe of social media websites and networking.

According to Jill Rettberg (yes, again) and her book, Blogging, “one of the reasons ‘social media’ stuck as a term was that it made sense to traditional media outlets suddenly interested in and keenly aware of their dependence upon social media.”

I have to admit I am a daily facebook-er, twitter-er, pinterest-er, and now a WordPress blogger. Now, if you don’t know what any of those are or are not completely familiar with them, I might sound a little crazy, but just give me a minute or two to explain. If you are familiar with these social media websites, how connected are you? Take the poll at the top of the page to weigh in if you haven’t already.

In the meantime, let’s revert back to Rettberg and her theories once again. She caught my attention when she stated, “Many of the new ways blogs are being used are closely connected to other uses of social media where blogs form part but not the entirety of the site. Blogs are a form of social media that allows the individual to maintain power to a far greater extent than the most popular social media sites today. Blogs also inspire other genres within social media. Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr can all be describes as blogs and maintain some of the key features of blogs: individuals can share text or images or other content with each other.”

Need a break from reading? I need a break from typing. Let’s watch this.

 

Sometimes all we need is the reality of the numbers to understand the impact.

Stay tuned for more.

Reflecting Realistically

Another week gone by already? Yikes.

I would like to lie and say that I did all the research I wanted to, and covered everything I wanted to in my post(s) on Rettberg’s Blogging. Check here and here to see what I mean. However, time was not on my side with this assignment and I am struggling to balance a productive workflow. My goal is to see improvement each week, so let’s just start with next week on that one.

I had mostly a difficult time in actually choosing what I wanted to annotate and aggregate, but once I picked an assignment, as they were broken down, I really did enjoy it. It would have been fun to maybe do a little something from each. (Annotate this from chapter one, connect with someone, share, annotate this from chapter two, repeat, etc.) Through the process of completing the assignment on blogging I did learn a lot, and I find it much easier to decipher between the three main types of blogs (personal, filter, topic-driven), and I found it interesting that they all dip into one another a little bit in terms of each one’s individual characteristics. An example of a blog that shares common ground with both a personal blog and a filter blog would be A Sweeter Thing. I categorized it as a filter blog but it also has characteristics of a personal blog. So, perhaps a personal blog with a filter theme? Why not.

If I could start this past week over and re-do the assignment, I would have managed my time more efficiently. Don’t get me wrong, Rettberg got read, the research was thorough, the assignment complete, I would have just like to spent more time annotating, deciphering, and learning, and I should have. Overall everything I have learned this week makes up for my feelings over my disappointing work ethic as I think about what kind of blogger I want to be, and not just today, but in the future too.

In other school-related news, I am now using this blog not only for personal posting, but for TWO classes also. Look back on my week’s work if you please.

Monday 1/27/2014 – Love, Or Something Like It

Tuesday 1/28/2014 – Experimenting With Pinning and Creativity

Wednesday 1/29/2014 – Wordy Wednesday

Friday 1/31/2014 – I Like To Pretend I Know What I’m Doing

Sunday 2/2/14 – Blogging: Stylistic Choices and Annotating and The Truth About Blogging