Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Final Project's Draft: FLICKR

In recent years, Web 2.0 technologies have not only revolutionized the World Wide Web, but they have also changed the lives of people all over the world. Web 2.0 technologies allow internet users to use creativity, individuality, and personalization on the internet, and also have allowed people to socialize in ways that are easier than ever before. Thanks to the convenience and ease of Web 2.0 websites, people have been able to keep in touch with old friends, make new friends, etc. Websites such as Facebook and Myspace are two of the more popular social networking sites out there, especially on college campuses like University at Albany. There are hundreds of other popular Web 2.0 websites, including, and

The Web 2.0 website I decided to take a closer look at is called Flickr is a photo and video host, where users can post photos, videos, and many other things. But before we get into what exactly Flickr is, let’s take a quick look at the history of the site. It all began in 2004 thanks to the creative minds of Stewart Butterfield and his wife, Caterina Fake. Butterfield is a very intelligent man, receiving his B.A. from the University of Victoria, in Canada, in philosophy. After the invention of Flickr, he went on to win very respectable awards, such as Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world ( Fake has also won several awards in recent years, including BusinessWeek’s Best Leaders of 2005 and Red Herring’s 20 Entreprueners under 35. Butterfield and Fake co-founded Flickr under the parent company Ludicorp. Also under Ludicorp, an online multiplayer game called Game Neverending was created back in 2002. The site was not very successful, but many of the tools used for Game Neverending were incorporated into Flickr. As Flickr gained popularity on the web, it was only time before a larger company decided to buy it out. Yahoo! would be the company that would do that.

In March of 2005, Yahoo! purchased both Ludicorp and Flickr for an estimated 30-35 million dollars. Considering they paid so much for it, Yahoo! obviously saw potential in the website, and felt they could help it become a lot bigger than it was under Ludicorp. After migrating the servers from Canada to the United States, Yahoo! immediately started in doing what they could to make Flickr an amazing photo storing and sharing website, and the statistics prove that Yahoo! did a good job of doing so. According to Neilson/NetRatings, Flickr's traffic grew 448%. By December 2005, there were over 3.4 million users. Immediately after Yahoo!’s purchase, the amount of people who signed up for accounts also skyrocketed to over 2 million, and by by April 2007, it claimed to have 7.2 members and 400 million photos. This was even before Yahoo! photos was closed and the membership moved onto Flickr (Cox, 2008).

So what is Flickr, and why do millions of people belong to and/or visit the website? When you first visit the website, you have a choice of either signing in, searching for photos, or taking a tour of the website. Flickr offers the tour as a way for new users to become familiar with it. Many websites do not offer such a tour, but this one does,and it happens to be a very informative one. The topics discussed during the tour are the features of the site. These include: upload pictures, edit pictures, organize them, share them with others, use maps to show where the pictures were taken, make stuff like DVDs, and lastly, the site can be used to keep in touch with family and friends. Each one of these features is then explained in better detail.

The first part explains how to upload photos. While this may seem like a simple thing to do for most college students and for those familiar with computers and technology, for others, such as elderly people, it may need some explaining. Flickr suggests using the "Flickr Uploader", which is available for both PC and Mac computers. Other ways of doing it are through email, iPhoto, or through your cell phone camera (which would then be emailed your email address and put onto the website). Once you upload pictures, the next step is to edit them. You do not have to do this, but it is a nice feature that Flickr provides in case the photo you shot is not perfect. Flickr has partnered with the website called Picnik, which offers many editing tools. Some of the things you can do using Flickr are: reduce red eye, add text to pictures, crop, resize, etc. Next, is one of Flickr’s features that many users enjoy. This is organizing your photos. Flickr allows you to create sets and collections, which allow you to organize your pictures into folders by category, to make them easier to find and display. The site also allows you to "tag" pictures, to make them easier to search. While some argue that tagging is done in a selfish manner (to get more views on their own pictures), the purpose of it is more so to allow users to accurately search for what they want to find. However, in my opinion, there is no harm in using tags to get your pictures searched, after all, that’s what Flickr is for: uploading, searching and finding!

Now that you should know how to upload, edit and store photos comes the exciting part, which is sharing them with others. One way Flickr suggests doing this is by joining a group! There are hundreds of groups on the site, anything from people with an interest in travelling, to pets or even sports. If you wish to create a private group so only friends and family can join, that is doable. The latter would be a good idea for those who attended a party or have personal pictures they do not wish for the public to see. Flickr is very on top of making sure their users privacy is not at stake. They have customizable privacy controls, so a user can decide who sees what pictures. This is a great feature, because nowadays there is an increase of professionals and businesses looking at potential employee’s online blogs, photo sites, profiles, etc. The last thing a user needs is to be rejected by their potential employer because the company came across a photo they were not particularly thrilled over seeing. Flickr’s privacy controls do a good job of preventing such an occurrence by allowing users to make pictures viewable by just you, your friends and/or family, or viewable by everybody on the site. The next stop on the tour is the maps feature. This was one feature that I myself was totally unfamiliar with. Turns out, I was extremely surprised by this feature because it is something I had never seen before on any other photo sharing website. The maps feature allows you to "drag and drop" pictures to a specific place on the world map, so others can see where in the world the pictures were taken. This feature can also be used in terms of search for pictures from a specific city or country. If you are doing a report on Madagascar, instead of typing it into a search bar, you can use the map to find pictures from the country, or discover pictures from countries surrounding the one you were originally looking for.

The next part of the tour is about making stuff from the photos you have uploaded. A few examples of things you can make that are shown are credit cards, postage stamps, and holiday cards. The idea of having a credit card with a picture you took yourself is a cool concept that I personally have never heard of before taking the tour. Lastly on the tour is keeping in touch with others. Flickr works similarly to social networking sites like Facebook, by allowing you to add someone as a contact. Once you add someone as a contact, you can take a look at their photos and be updated about any comments they make on your pictures, any new uploads, etc. Flickr came up with the idea of "notes" in addition to comments. Comments are left underneath the picture and are visible by all. However, notes are differnet in that only the picture owner can see what it says when they roll over the portion of the photo that was noted. This is a good feature for anyone who has an inside joke or a story that they only wish to share privately.

Through this tour, we are given a much better understanding of what Flickr is and how it works. Anyone can use the site, as long as you have a computer (or access to one) and some photos, you are welcome to use the site. Flickr is free for everybody, unless you want a Pro account, which is $24.95 per year. Pro members are allowed unlimited photo uploads and are the only ones allowed to upload videos. Videos can be up to 90 seconds in length and 150 MB. This new policy was started recently, in April 2008. If you do not wish to upgrade, you are not suffering at all. Back in December 2006, Flickr upgraded free accounts to being able to upload 100 MB instead of a mere 20 MB. Not too bad at all. The only "drawback" (as many upset users have called it), is that since January of 2007, you must have a Yahoo! user account in order to use Flickr. While this may seem like a hastle to subscribe to Yahoo! and then Flickr, both sites are easy to join and will take less than 5 minutes to do. That five minutes is well worth the hours of fun you can have on Flickr searching photos, socializing with friends, meeting others, uploading your own photos, etc.

I personally had never used Flickr too much before, but after taking the tour and exploring the site, I think I have been missing out. What makes Flickr more appaealing to many, myself included, is the unique features it offers as a photo sharing website. Facebook is a similar site people use to upload their pictures, however, Facebook is used more by high school and college kids, and Flickr is used by a typically more mature audience. That does not mean an older audience, per-say, it just means that you won’t find as many pictures containing alcohol, sex, drugs, etc., as you would on Facebook. Also, Flickr contains pictures of things that are not of people, while Facebook and other social networking sites focus more on pictures of people; and not so much pets, nature, travelling, collages, etc. Flickr is a good site to visit for those who are new to photo sharing, and also for experienced "picture-people". It has both simple and complex features, and the complex ones are very easy to pick up, thanks to the tour Flickr provides.

Out of all the Web 2.0 technologies, Flickr is the most comprehensive, fun-for-all website out there. Not only is it a way to meet people (through groups), share pictures (uploading, tagging, etc)., but it is a small community. People get to know each other and enjoy looking around to see who’s showing what that day. Flickr really is a mini community, and just like with a city, the more you become actively involved, the more you fall in love with it!


Cox, Andrew M. (2008). Flickr: a case study of Web2.0. Aslib Proceedings, 60 (5), 493-516.

Angus, Emma & Thelwall, Mike & Stuart, David (2008). General patterns of tag usage among university groups in Flickr. Online Information Review, 32(1), 89-101.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Summary for November 24, 2008

Today’s article was by Clay Shirkey and was about Dodgeball and Social organizing. Shirkey starts off by explaining a hypothetical situation of two people on an airplane, and explains the chances that the two people both know somebody. At first, you might think it’s a very big coincadence, after all there are 6 billion people in the world. However, Shirkey explains how it really is not that much of a coincadence because the number of people that fly on planes is a lot smaller than the total number of people in the world. Also, your chances of both knowing someone increase because you are departing from (or landing into) the same city as the other person, increasing your chances of knowing similar people.

It is the highly connected people that form social networks. And while chances are you are not a highly connected person, most likely, you know somebody who is. "The ‘knowing somebody in common’ link- the thing that makes you exclaim "small world!" with your seatmate is about that kind of connection" (Shirkey, 214). Basically, it’s not about knowing a lot of people personally, but if each person knows a few people, then we begin to network and form alliances, friendships, etc. And with the help of the selected few who are extremely social and known, it is even easier to run into someone and have a mutual friend, because those social butterflies know so many people, and it's not that rare for two of them to be sitting together on a plane, movie theatre, etc.

Shirkey explains how a networking service, such as Dodgeball, can significantly change the way we network and meet people. Dodgeball is a social networking site for mobile phone users. He gives an example of one day when he was in a bar and he put into Dodgeball that he was there, resulting in everyone else on the site getting a message telling them where he was. He explains how "FOAF networking"(friend of a friend networking) is incorportated into this- meaning, not only do his friends find out, but so do their friends, and their friends, and so on. Instead of just a few friends finding out information, more people than you could ever imagine might wind up finding out.

Dodgeball is similar to two websites that I use, Facebook and Myspace. Facebook is one that I frequent more than Myspace, and on this site, I have noticed similar things as Shirkey explains about Dodgeball. Often times, I am being suggested to add as friends "people who I may know", and I am often seeing pictures of my friends from previous nights out, parties, etc. Sometimes, I will recognize somebody and think to myself, "who is that?", only to remember that I do not know them, but I saw them in a few pictures with one of my best friends from college. It’s amazing how social networking sites like these can really make the world seem like a much smaller place.

Shirkey, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power if organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


For a period of seven days, I was told I to observe a blog- any blog out there that I thought would be interesting to follow. I chose’s Yankees blog, by Peter Abraham. I searched through many blogs, and eventually I settled on the Yankees one because I used to be a huge fan, but I don’t follow baseball much anymore. I figured by reading the blog I could familiarize myself with what’s been going on in the sport recently. I had looked at quite a few Yankees blogs, but many of them were written by fans and were biased towards certain players, ideas or thoughts. Peter Abraham’s blog was the only one that seemed not only extensive, but neutral and fair in presenting stories about the team. After I read through the blog, I decided to post to it, and then I chose a theme from the book Blogging in @merica, by Aaron Barlow, and applied that theme to the blog.

What I immediately noticed on the blog was the amount of postings. Peter goes above and beyond when it comes to posting, sometimes even posting more than once per day! Some topics that were discussed in the last week on the blog were the new stadium, free agents, press conferences, etc. In addition to the frequent postings, another thing I liked about this blog was that he posted video clips that showed a few of the players being interviewed. I thought that added a nice extra touch, because usually blogs are about reading, and very rarely viewing. Something else that was nicely thought-out was that each and every title was very well-picked and accurately described the blog I was about to read. For example, "Hal, we’re ready for free agency" was the title for a posting about Hal Steinbrenner and negotiations with free agents to be on the team. On other blogs I went to, the titles for each posting were vague, with titles such as "Wednesday, November 12, 2008" or something that would look like, in this case, "Free agency". Peter did a good job of accurately sampling what you are about to read. I also liked this blog because of the huge number of comments to each posting. The numbers varied depending on the day and subject, but were anywhere from 50-250! This made the blog interesting because there was so many things that people had to say regarding Peter’s writing. Peter even sometimes took the time to comment himself, which I thought was nice because it shows the audience that he is keeping up with all the comments, and even is willing to take time out to respond to a few.
After reading through a few blog entries, I decided to become involved in the blog and post a comment. Since I don’t know much about baseball, I wasn’t sure how I was going to comment because most of the comments were about stats, players, rules, regulations, standings, etc., and while it’s interesting to read it all, I wasn’t sure what I was going to post. I decided to be a little more general and ask the people commenting for their opinion. One of my questions went unanswered, but the other received one reply (not a lot- but it’s something). I asked if more people would visit Yankee stadium if the train schedule was easier to follow and there wasn’t so much confusion about driving and parking. The person who wrote back responded that not only would he go more- but he would upgrade his partial season ticket package to a full one! That response kind of makes me want to contact Peter and have him start a blog about this topic in particular!

Barlow’s "Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere" talks about the concept of vertical and horizontal structures. What he means by vertical structure would be most corporations. There is a ladder of heirarchy, and work is passed from the top down. Horizontal structure is when there is no such "flow" and there isn’t one person who will ultimately make a decision, it is a group effort. "Though they like to imagine a horizontal base, on most levels commercial and professional news organizations must operate on a vertical model" (Barlow, 2008). This can be applied to Peter’s blog, but it is a little differnet in that I think it is both horizontal and vertical, not just one. It has a vertical structure in that there are people on that hire Peter and give him some sort of deadlines and requirements. However, the success of the blog relies on horizontal structure, in that it is up to the public and Peter to create an interesting, fun blog for baseball fans to read. It is a collective effort and not one of hierarchy that, in terms of the blog itself, make it work.

I learned a lot by reading Peter’s Yankees blog. I don’t follow baseball much anymore, and yet I still was able to understand what he was talking about. I was even able to read through the comments, and agree or disgaree with some of them. Since there were so many comments, it wasn’t hard to sift through the ones that were too detailed for me to understand and just focus on the other ones. Peter’s blog has actually made me more interested in blogging because I never realized there were blogs out there that were as extensive, unbiased, interesting, and detailed as his!
Barlow, Aaron (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Connecticut: Praeger Publishers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Summary for November 11, 2008

This reading by Lori Kendall is called "Shout into the Wind, and It Shouts Back", and it is about LiveJournal, a Web 2.0 technology that people can use to write their feelings- as either a personal diary or a public blog.

She sampled and closely examine 26 users over a 2 year time frame. These were people she was friends with, or met through friends, so the sample wasn't exactly a random selection of all users. "Statistically, LiveJournal is dominated by teenagers but most of my 26 interviewees are in their late 20s to late 30s" (Kendall, 2). (This is important to note because the age of the bloggers can be a huge determinant of the experience they have and the opinions they form). But, at any rate, she examined a few different things from these people: private journal vs. public performance, efficiency vs. audience management, control vs. connection, and autonomy vs. the desire for comments.

A topic I found interesting was the private journal vs. public performance. She explains in her writing that she noticed that LiveJournal is used to maintain relationships with family members, friends, coworkers, etc., and also for people to vent and write down their private feelings, but the boundaries between what is acceptable for posting on the World Wide Web and what is not often become blurry for some. Kendall found that many people use the site for different reasons, and that for many, it's not a definite "diary" or "public blog"- often times it can fall in the middle somewhere. Take for instance Alison, a woman in her early 30s. Alison describes her blog as a "performance art kind of thing. I don't think of it as my own personal private journal since I don't want the entire world reading my personal private journal" (Kendall, 4). However, Kendall observed that she wrote about many things that one would write in a diary about, such as relationship problems, work events, online quiz results, etc. She found that many of these things are similar to that of what someone who was writing a private diary type journal would include.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Yankees Blog- 5 Days of Observation


I wasn’t sure what kind of blog I wanted to observe for this next essay. The last blog I observed was about cats, so I wanted to do something different this time. I wound up picking a Yankees blog- about as different as you can get, I’d say! The blog is called The LoHud Yankees Blog. After I picked this blog I realized that it actually is a blog that is written on a website of my local home newspaper, which I read every day when I’m at home, back in Rockland County, so that’s pretty cool. The blogs are written by Peter Abraham. The first thing I noticed was that there were quite a few blogs from today, Thursday. Most blogs I thought would have one per day, maybe two if the blogger had a lot of free time, but this blog had quite a few! The first post of the day caught my attention because it featured my favorite player, Andy Pettitte. I fell in love (or should I say "love") with him when I was about 10 years old and ever since then have considered him my favorite baseball player- even if I don’t follow baseball that much anymore. That’s another reason I chose the Yankees blog, is because I figured I’d use it as a way to see what’s going on in the world of baseball, since, like I said, I don’t follow it as much as I used to as a kid. The post I read was about making a deal with Andy Pettitte, I suppose his contract was up… again, something I should know, and would know if I followed baseball more! Perhaps following this blog will be a better idea than I originally thought! Anyway, there are so many comments to his postings! For this particular one, there were 128 comments! For the other ones left today, there were 151, 64 and 21. So it seems that more blogs get more responses than others, but they all seem to be read by a substantial number of people.



I went to the blog today and I saw that one of the postings had over 250 comments! Of course I was interested in what it was about right away! First he says that the GM (general manager, I assume?) meetings didn’t make any deals, then he tells his readers that he is about to go to an event where he hopes to interview Yankees players Mariano Rivera, Pettitte (lucky him!), and a few others. Lastly, in this short posting, he tells the readers to listen to WFAN tomorrow morning to hear Joe Girardi speak. I’m anxious to read all these comments (although theres no way I will get through more than like 15% of them!)

For the most part, the comments are people who are just putting their own opinions out there, but there isn’t as much arguing as I thought there would be. There’s actually a lot of polite comments! People say thank you and give praise when they feel its necessary. Most of the comments on this entry are just people discussing stats, which player is better, etc. It really does not have to do much with what the original blog was saying, but I suppose when you have 250+ comments, your bound to get off on some sort of tangents!



I was surprised that Peter wrote a blog today, considering it was a Saturday, but he did. Today he posted video clips, which I thought was so cool! He put up clips of players being interviewed at a Joe Torre event (whatever that means!). The players featured are Joe Girardi (the manager), Andy Pettitte (yay!), Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and then audio samples from Joe Torre and Jorge Posada. Wow, he also has up a written summary of more info. from what happened at the event. This guy is one serious blogger! No wonder so many people comment. His blogs are interesting to read because they are full of information and content. It’s a baseball fan’s dream blog! Let’s take a look at the comments…….

I noticed a couple of interesting things. I hadn’t noticed in the past two days that Peter had been commenting back. But I see now that he has; his postings are in bold writing, to make it easier for the reader to see that it’s him responding, I suppose (even though I didn’t notice last time, but that’s just me). Another thing I realized is that some of the comments are coming from the same people. Mel is one name I see frequently here on the comments page. She wrote comments at 10:55 pm, 12:13 am, 1:40 am, and 1:49. Wow, she must visit this blog a lot! That also got me thinking- I wonder if Mel is a woman or a man. I feel like it might be a woman, and that’s why she chose Mel instead of Melissa or Melanie, so that the men do not immediately write her off and ignore her postings (because Mel can be a male name). If that is the case, I think she’s smart, because she’s avoiding any gender biases that might arise, especially because baseball is generally something men discuss more often then women do.



Today I was bored so I took a look around at some other blog sites on the web. Some of them out there were only updated every few weeks, and others had very few comments on them. It made me realize how much the Yankees blog that I’ve been following is an interesting one, due to the constant postings and commenting (that sometimes run into the 200s!) I also realized how cool it is that Peter included videos in his blog from yesterday (Saturday). I didn’t really think about it much yesterday but today I realize that it is pretty cool that he allowed his readers to take a break from reading and actually view something with their eyes for a change. Makes readers more interested because it offers up something new (viewing rather than reading). Good job Peter!



Today is my last day posting a response to Peter’s Yankees blog, and again, there were more than one posting for the day. How cool is that? The first posting I read was a list of players, more specifically,’s list of the Top 10 Yankee prospects (up and coming players). This type of thing is sure to spark debate and it did in the comments section. People definetly discussed their opinions, but again, I did not see anything that was vulgar, arguementative, etc. Keep in mind, there are over 150 reactions, so I might have skipped one or two that did qualify as one of those, but from the majority of what I saw, they were pretty much nicely said.

The next posting of the day had a captian that caught my eye, it was called "So What About The Train Station?". That’s one more thing I would give credit to Peter for. I like a lot of his titles- they’re catchy and relevant. Anyway, I clicked it to read it because I was curious as to what a train station had to do with baseball and the Yankees. WOW, I’m so impressed with this blog! Peter apparently asked readers if they knew anything about a new train that will lead to the new stadium. In his blog, he includes information that readers gave him. I think that’s so cool because it makes the readers feel as if they are a part of this blog, because they can contribute their knowledge to it. Not only does he acknowledge the readers information but he puts it out there unchanged- in other words, exactly how the reader explained it to him, is how he put it up on his blog. That’s pretty cool because it’s different! How often do you see a blogger who puts someone else’s opinion up? It makes me want to read his blog and makes me feel like if I did have any comments, suggestions, advice, recommendations, etc., he would take them into consideration and use them (even though it’s not guaranteed, it’s just the feeling I get from reading his blog).

I decided to leave a comment, in the form of a question, to see if any body would give me a response, and if they did, if it would be in a nice way or a "what are you talking about" way. In the comments, people are discussing the trains and which method is easiest to get to the new Yankee Stadium. So the question I asked is "do you think if it wasn’t so hard to get to the stadium, more people would want to go? Or do you think people that are Yankees fans would go see a game no matter how difficult it is to get there?" I ask that question because I myself think that if it was easier to get to the stadium, I’d be more likely to want to go to games. All the train and driving confusion is just too much sometimes! Well, I guess I’ll post again tomorrow after people answer my question!
UPDATE (11/11/08):
Well, it seems no body responded to my comment! Today, I posted another question, this time asking people what they thought about the new stadium's expensive technology they are installing in it. I asked people if they thought it was necessary or not but no body responded this time either. From what it seems, people are more interested in talking about stats, players, trades, etc., rather than the questions I asked about the new stadium. I guess that's not an interesting topic to be discussing! Oh well, I tried!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29th Blog

In Chapter two of Blogging @merica, Barlow explains how blogs have become more popular in recent years. He starts off with a startling statistic that there are more than 75 million blogs out there found by Technorati, a blog monitoring service (Barlow, 35). Even if some of those blogs are fake or not actual blogs, 75 million is still an astounding number considering that blogging on the Internet only became popular a few years ago.

I found it interesting how Barlow addressed how bloggers feel when they are blogging online. He explains how bloggers want to have a positive image and do not want readers to think they are, in a sense, crazy or weird because they are posting their feelings online. Bloggers do not want people to think they are just rambling, because for the most part, they are usually speaking from their hearts or speaking about something they are very passionate about.

One of the negative aspects of blogging that Barlow discusses in the chapter is the possibility of receiving threats from strangers (or even people who know you) that disagree with something you have said on your blog. When you put anything online, you are at risk of receiving negative comments or feedback, but bloggers are specifically vulnerable because often times the nature of a blog is controversial. For instance, when speaking about politics, health issues, laws, etc. you are more likely to spark debate then when discussing your children, pets, or home decorating ideas. Interestingly, even with the risk of threats and criticism, Barlow says that most bloggers do not prefer to remain anonymous on their sites. Reason being is that blogs should basically be somewhere for people to come together and feel united, and if they are anonymous that takes away some of the bonding that can potentially take place if bloggers know who they are communicating with and whos lives they are learning more about.

I used to think that blogs were just for people who had no one to talk to or who felt they needed attention from strangers so they decided to post stories online. But after reading more about them I think differnetly now. I think blogs are actually a good way to express your feelings and when other people read them, they get to know you, and possible friendships or even love interests might arise out of it. In terms of receiving threats, though, I always was curious about this myself. When you are putting so much information out there, you are more suspetable to negative feedback, and there are crazy people out there who don’t hold back when it comes to threatening or insulting others. A few years ago, my best friend used to have a Myspace and she would sometimes blog on it. The amount of random messages she received was crazy. There were tons of people who would read her information and blogs and comment to her about them. She eventually got tired of the it and stopped using the website to blog her feelings. But even though her experience was not so good, I do think blogging is a great way, for the most part, to express yourself through words, pictures, ideas and chatting.

Barlow, Arron. (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Essay [revised]

As digital cameras, scrapbooking, and photo editing become more and more popular, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who have an interest in photo taking and sharing. Currently, there is also a huge increase in the number of people who have a hobby in blogging, and sharing their stories, lives, pictures, etc., on the World Wide Web, be it with the general public or a selected group of people. Put those two together, and you will see there are more picture sharing/blogging sites out there then ever before. One of the more popular sites is known as Flickr. Flickr is a Web 2.0 technology. It is a free video and picture hosting site, in which users can upload pictures, edit them, view other’s albums, etc. Because I am interested in learning more about this website, I decided to use search engines and find out more information.

I used the search engines and to see what kind of relevant, accurate information on Flickr there is out there on the World Wide Web. I also used EBSCOhost, which can be found through my college’s website, I chose Google because it is one of the two most popular search engines out there, along with Yahoo. I chose Ask because I was curious as to whether or not it would be better in quality and/or quantity then a bigger, more popular search engine like Google. Lastly, I chose to use EBSCOhost because it is not a public search engine; it is run through my school, and I figured the results would be more accurate, because there is less of a chance of opinionated or articles containing untrue information.

I went to Google and typed in the keyword "Flickr" and got over 200 million results. Talk about the Web being a huge place! The first two results were links to the website directly. The third result was Wikipedia is a very useful site that gave me information on Flickr’s history, corporate information, controversies, etc. Although Wikipedia is very useful, it is not a site that can be completely trusted because of it is edited by the general public and can contain false information. As I went down the results page, I saw a section called “news results for Flickr”. It featured an article that was posted just 16 minutes ago, called Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004. It is an opinion article and the author is explaining why he feels that blogs are no longer a good idea and tries to convince the audience to stop using sites such as Flickr to blog. This so-called “news” article was a very biased, opinionated article based on one man’s opinion on blogging and did not contain any information containing Flickr specifically.

I continued to search on Google, this time by changing the keywords quite a bit. I found that by adding a word after Flickr gave me more specific results. I typed in “using Flickr” and the first result I received was: A Comprehensive Guide To Using Flickr for Traffic Building and Brand Marketing. The “Comprehensive Guide” part seemed interesting so I clicked on it. The site was actually very informative, and gave advice on choosing a free or pro account, how to tag pictures, networking on Flickr, etc. I would definetly use this website for reliable information because it is like a little guide to the Flickr world.

Lastly on Google, I typed in Flickr+history to see if I could get any information of how Flickr began., which is a credible news source, had a link right on the first page to their article titled Flickr An Idea on a Gaming Project Led to Photo Website. Through this article in particular, I learned that a woman is the creator of Flickr, and also that it is currently owned by Yahoo (Graham, 2006). I then headed over to to see what kind of results that site would give me. Like Google, Ask provided me with millions of results. To my surprise, the results were extremely similar. I figured similar results would pop up, but for some reason I thought Google would have more relevant ones first, but it turns out they both had pretty similar arrangements of results. There were differences between Ask and Google: on Ask, the first result that pops up is an ad for Chinese dating. That is completely irrelevant to my search and is just an annoyingly-placed ad. However, I saw something on Ask that Google didn't seem to have, that I actually really did like. On the right hand corner of the site there was a box that said Ask Q&A: 454 Questions about Flickr. When I clicked on it, there was a whole list of commonly asked questions, that when clicked took me to websites such as eHow and Yahoo! Answers, which had (often times) very detailed explanations for whatever it was the user was asking. This was extremely helpful because a lot of people have similar questions regarding the website and most of them are answered by those more familiar with Flickr. Back to the search results, I saw a link called Interview With Flickr- Creative Commons. This site featured an interview between the website, Creative Commons and Flickr’s co-founder, Stewart Butterfield. Although it contained interesting information, the article was a little out-dated because it was from October 1, 2005, so I think it being 3 years old makes it not useful because Butterfield is talking about a lot of goals and ideas that might have already happened or been not used since that time. The next article I looked at was called What Is Flickr (and Hot Tips for Using It). This site also contained a lot of useful information, however, it also was from 2005 and quite outdated since a lot might have changed on the website since then. I realize now that it is very important to check for dates on websites because a lot of these that are appearing, even those at the beginning of the search results, are not even close to being current. Before I left Ask, I decided to do a more specific search, so I typed in flickr+corporate to see if I could get any results regarding the business side of the website. I retrieved one article, that is recent (from 2008), which was good, called It's No Flickr of Hope.

Lastly, I decided to visit EBSCOhost to see if I could find any interesting information. I was very surprised that the search actually provided me with results! I didn’t think a search from ESBCOhost would return anything when I put in Flickr, considering Flickr isn’t really an academic or learning-based website, but to my surprise, there were actually quite a few results, and many of them were really good. One was called The Internet Connection: Web 2.0, Flickr and Endless Possibilities. It described Web 2.0 and Flickr, and I don’t think I saw a site on Google or Ask that had really touched upon the Web 2.0 aspect of the site. Another site that caught my attention was called When Worlds Collide.
It was an interesting article about how personal and professional lives are now being linked through sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Flickr.

After searching these three search engines for information, I found that the use of specific keywords makes it a lot easier to sift through millions of search results. While just typing in Flickr to the search engine definetly does work, adding a more specific keyword after it, like "history" or "popularity", made the results much more specific and usable. I also came across a lot of sites that seemed like they had a lot of inaccurate information. Obviously, when using a search engine there are going to be many user-based sites with personal opinions, biased information, etc. Luckily, it’s usually easy to tell which sites do not contain credible information. Often times, it’s a blogging site, and if it is not, you can usually tell just by reading the first few sentences as to whether or not the information is reliable to believe and use.

Graham, Jefferson (2006). Flickr of idea on a gaming project led to photo website. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from USA Website:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Summary for October 15, 2008

For today, 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”. The article discusses Web 2.0 and the quest to find the perfect search engine, meaning a search engine that can return results based on what that particular user wants in a fast and efficient manner.

The author discusses two things that a search engine would need to have. Those things are "perfect reach" and "perfect recall". Perfect reach is basically explaining how the Internet is much more desirable to the user when everything is findable through a search engine. The ability to go to one website and have thousands of results (articles, pictures, music) come up makes the Internet a lot easier to navigate through. Perfect recall has to do with personalization for each individual user. In order for this to work, though, issues of privacy come into play. "The primary means for search engines to obtain perfect recall is to monitor and track user's search habits and history" (Zimmer, 3). Zimmer explains how in order for perfect recall to work, websites such as Yahoo! or Google must track IP addresses, use cookies, etc.- all things that question a person's right to privacy.

This was an interesting article because it was one that I can relate my own life to. I have been starting to notice that websites sometimes feature ads that might pertain to me more than others, and I was always wondering how that was done. While it is cool to have the only ads to appear as ones that offer products that are desirable to me, at the same time, it's a little creepy to know that someone out there is tracking my every move on the Internet. The Internet is no longer a place where you can put private information up without it being seen and examined by others. That is especially true with social websites such as Facebook and Myspace, in which people post numerous private photos, blogs, comments, etc., that they (and myself included) do not want others to look at, however, as stated in this article, there is a good chance someone out there has seen it or might come across it in the near future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Summary for September 24, 2008

This week, the article I read was by Tim O'Reilly and it's called "What Is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software." The article describes what Web 2.0 is and how it differs from Web 1.0. The idea for Web 2.0 after the dot-com burst in 2001. O'Reilly, along with Dale Dougherty, wanted to invent something that was more functional, easier to use and just over-all better software. There are a few differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, and O'Reilly lists the main ones in the article. Web 1.0 consisted of things such as DoubleClick,, and personal websites; while Web 2.0 consists of things such as Google AdSense, Napster and blogs.

One of the features that Web 2.0 consists of is the start of blogs. Blogs are personal pages that people make in order to "tell" the world how they are feeling. RSS has made all this possible. "RSS is the most significant advance in the fundamental architecture of the web since early hackers realized that CGI could be used to create database-backed websites" (O'Reilly, 10). What RSS does is that it allows people who are interested in someone's blog to subscribe to it. Subscribing to a blog basically means that you are very interested in what you see and you would like to come back and see more.

It's interesting to read about the invention of Web 2.0, and all of it's components. Web 2.0 makes the web a lot more customizable and user-friendly, which is good because nowadays so many people use the web. It ultimately allows users to not just view the web and get information, but contribute to it and customize it!


O’Reilly, Tim (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation Of Software.
Retrieved August 21, 2008 from ttp:/

A "Purrfect" Place for Cat Lovers!

It's always nice to have a best friend or a significant other who you care about tremendously. In the Yahoo! group that I have followed for the past 5 days, the members are there for one common purpose, and that is to discuss issues related to their best friends: their cats and/or kittens. It doesn’t take long to see that the member’s lives just wouldn’t be “purr-fect” without their cats. The group I observed was a Usenet group. Usenet is a system that allows the world to come together and communicate with one another. It is made up of servers which store messages. Invented in 1981, it has come a long way since its early days. Today, there are thousands of groups on the Internet that allow people from around the world to discuss issues with one another. There are groups out there on almost any topic you can think of. The reason I chose the cats and kittens group was because I was curious to how people interact with each other when talking a topic that is not controversial. For example, in a politics discussion group I was also checking out, you have people arguing back and forth all the time. I was very curious if the same would be true for a discussion group about cats and kittens.

While the group has over 5,000 members, only a handful of those people actually frequent the group on a daily, or even weekly basis. Topics being discussed in the group vary greatly. Members discuss anything from health related issues, to personal stories, to sharing tips on how to raise your cat. The whole idea of a group revolved around cats seemed kind of silly to me at first, but as I frequented the group more, I realized that the group could actually be very helpful. One woman, a 42 year old single woman from Kentucky, wrote a frantic post about her cat who was sick and not eating food. She asked the other members if this was normal or if she should take her beloved pet to the vet, and the advice might have saved her cat’s life because the other users recommended she take him to the vet to get checked out. However, many of the postings are also light-hearted, as the members share stories about, for instance, funny things their cats do around the house.

As I read a lot of these postings, I thought about the demographics of the users. By looking at the list of user names, almost all of the postings were done by women. I clicked on a few of their profiles, and saw that a lot of them were women from the Midwest and South, between the ages of 30 and 60. I was curious as to whether or not any of the users are male, because a group about cats would generally be stereo-typed as a woman’s place to chat. Many of the user names were not first names, but nicknames instead, so that made me wonder as to whether or not there were males in the group who were trying to post without everyone knowing that they were a male in a predominantly female group.

As stated in Brenda Danet’s article “Text as mask: Gender, play and performance on the Internet”, the ability to use a gender-neutral nickname “guarantees to those who type that they will be ‘heard’ without having to compete for the floor” (Danet, 136). This problem usually applies to females in a male dominated forum, like sports or cars, where the men often times overlook what females have to say because they believe that women are less knowledgeable in the subject. But in the cats group, the opposite problem exists. Since women are stereotyped as the ones raising and caring for cats, men might feel like if they post something, women won’t take them seriously or will wonder why they are posting here, and are not interested in something more “manly” then cats and kittens. But the ability to remain gender-anonymous on Usenet groups gives men the ability to post without hesitation. “Because people can type in their pajamas in the middle of the night, it is easy for them to pretend to be someone else!” (Danet, 136). The anonymity of the Internet allows men to participate in this group without having to reveal their gender if they do not wish to.

In this particular group, I thought it was interesting because there are not a lot of males, and there was not a lot of spam or free-riding. Almost all of the postings were legit and on-topic. I wonder if that is because males are more likely to post spam messages than females are. But regardless, I feel like the lack of spam made the group a lot more enjoyable. It felt like a little community of people who got together to make friends and discuss something they are passionate about- their cats or kittens- aka their beloved babies! It is nice to know that other people are out there who share the same interests you do, and you can come online and chat and have conversions with people from around the world about a common interest. That’s why Usenet groups, especially like this one, are become more popular all the time.


Danet, Brenda (1998). Text as mask: Gender, Play and Performance on the Internet. Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting computer-mediated communication and community, 136.

Link to the Group:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 5 Observation (9/23/08)

It’s my last day observing the cats and kittens blog, and it’s actually kind of weird because I feel like I’m a part of the group. Even though I don’t post, I feel like because I have been checking in every day that I have become sort of used to doing it. Anyway, today I looked to see which poster’s names looked familiar to see if people are regulars or if people just checked in randomly. It seems to be there are a few people who come in every day, but at the same time I noticed that there are also people who just stop by once in a while. Today there were postings about which kinds of foods to feed the cats, handling children around the pets, and just general stuff like that. One woman who was posting said she has 53 cats- wow, now that is crazy!

I’m still surprised though that there are 5,000+ members in the group because I definitely do not think more than 20 or 25 posted in the time I have been looking so far, but maybe people join but never leave when they are no longer interested, or perhaps people like to just come and read other postings.

I’m glad I decided to do this cats blog instead of the politics one, because it was fun to see how people interacted and bonded with each other over their pets. It’s amazing how animals can help people come together and form friendships. I think that’s what made this group unique because in other discussion forums and groups, it’s more about arguing and proving points, but in this one it was the opposite, it was about helping others, sharing stories and learning.

Day 4 Observation (9/22/08)

One of the postings I read today was kind of weird; it was about people talking about how they love their cats more than people. I think it’s kind of weird but at the same time, many people on the blog agreed on the feeling, so it was cool to see people that come together and feel the exact same way about their pets. I came across a posting that was titled “Free 3 Pound bag of Cat Food For First 50,000!” and just as I was thinking “ut oh, spam!”, I decided to click on it and check it out. Well it turns out that it is not spam, it’s actually a legit link to a website that is giving away coupons. That totally took me by surprise.

In the other posts, the discussions vary. One post involves people who are worried because people are selling very young kittens on Craigslist, and they are concerned that they might not be sold to adequate caregivers.

Free-riding doesn’t seem to be a problem on this particular blog, because most people that are here seem to be pretty knowledgeable on the topic. I’ve noticed that in the past few days as I’ve read through the different postings.

Day 3 Observation (9/21/08)

I was curious to see who was writing on this blog, so I went through the names of the people who had been posting today and examined them. Yahoo! shows the bloggers real name and nickname, which made it easier because sometimes nicknames can be deceiving as to whether or not they are male or female. I would say almost all (if not all) of the postings were done by females. Most of them have regular nicknames, but one person’s caught my eye: iluvmycats64. This person posted a lot today, so they obviously are devoted to cats and are not here on the blog to spam.

Speaking of spam, I have not seen much of it at all on this particular blog. Also, another thing that I noticed that I liked about this blog was that people that write are usually very good at punctuation and being grammatically correct. I have also been checking into the Presidential Election blog, and while I was there, I noticed that a lot of people typed using ALL CAPITALS or using symbols to get a point across. For example, people would put $$$$$$ instead of “money”, to exaggerate their point. I find that annoying, we’re not on blogs to catch attention and over-emphasize, we are here to discuss with one another and get or give advice, opinions, etc. Another thing I like about the cats blog is that people are always (from what I’ve seen so far, at least!) nice to one another. Since it’s not an argumentative topic-like politics or local issues- and it’s more of a place where people can go to discuss an interest or hobby, there isn’t bound to be much arguing or debating, more so just advice sharing and stuff. I prefer that personally because every time I go to the politics blog, there is always arguing and people telling each other that they are wrong, when in fact politics is all opinions, anyway.

Day 2 Observation (9/20/08)

Today I started off reading a posting by a woman who was telling everyone about a story she heard on the news about a cat getting stuck in a toilet. Apparently, the cat got stuck in the toilet and the owner called 911. They couldn’t get it out so they had to break the toilet! Luckily, the cat is okay and is happily at home with its owners! A lot of people responded to this posting, probably because it’s such a different type of posting than usual… and because everyone is relieved that the cat was okay!

The next post was from a woman who just adopted a cat who seemed to be very hyper and she desperately needed advice on how to take care of this little kitten! She got about 5 responses to her question, so I’m sure at least one of them turned out to be helpful.

I think it’s cool that on the blog there seems to be a lot of various discussions that take place, from news stories to health crises to taking care of a cat. At first I was thinking it would be mostly just people talking about how cute their cat is or personal stories about their own cats, but in actuality it is a place to go for any type of cat related issue!

{Change of blog} Day 1 Observation (9/19/08)

I was debating between blogging on this and on a politics group. I know they are complete opposites but the politics group seemed like something that is current and that is being talked about now, while cats are something that are personally more interesting to me. I ultimately decided to join the cats group because I was curious to see what people would have to say about cats in a group online.

The group has 5,556 members. That’s so many more people than I figured would be in the group! It’s been on Yahoo! since 1998, so I guess over the years more and more people have joined. In 2008, there have been 1100 and 2300 postings each month! That’s so many more than I thought, wow!

It’s funny because the first posting I went to look at on the blog was spam, and the spam was about who to vote for as president. Apparently, people were doing this often, because the moderator posted a few hours later, telling people to stop discussing politics in a group devoted to cats.

The next posting was about one person’s cat being sick- she was worried because he wasn’t eating. The person who responded to her said that it’s not normal if the cat is not eating, and he should be checked out by a vet. Already I see why people go on blogs like this for advice from other pet owners. Sometimes when it comes to your pet’s health you are not quite sure if something is normal or not, and it’s good to get other pet owner’s opinions on the matter.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 3 Observation (9/21/08)

Today I decided to pay closer attention to what was being said on each posting. Since there are so many, I just chose a selected few- randomly- and looked at them in detail to see what people were discussing. For most of the postings, it was people's reponses to things said earlier- so it's like a little chainletter in each posting.

The first one I looked at was from someone who was unsure who to vote for. She was saying how as soon as she starts to like one candidate, the other candidate does or says something that makes her want to change her mind.

I'm going in order, and the next post is actually kind of funny. Its short, and it just says "Palin is endorsing Obama??" Then they posted a clip to YouTube that shows what they are referring to.... That made me laugh a little bit because that would be extremely weird if McCain's running mate is endorsing the other candidate!

Ok, so onto the next posting.... which happens to be spam, I just realized. That's interesting because most of the blog so far has not been spam. This is the first time I came across spam on this particular group.

As I went through the rest of the posts left most recently tonight, a lot of them didn't make much sense to me. It seems to be people talk back and forth and aren't very clear about what they are referring to at times. I recognize the names of who they are talking about, people like Obama, Hillary, etc., and also what they are talking about, for example, I see stuff about FOX news, about political issues, about differnet states, etc., however what people are posting about in a few of the last messages does not make much sense. I guess that is what happens when you get such a popular blog with so many people on it- some things are bound to not make much sense!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 2 Observation (9/20/08)

I still really cannot believe how many posts there are in the Presidential Election group! There is a post every few minutes, and at all times of the day. I thought maybe this would be differnet because yesterday was Friday and today is the weekend, and I just figured more people would be out doing outside activities and not posting online, but I guess that is not true!

Again, like yesterday, there is a wide array of things people are talking about. People are discussing Obama's religion, and discussing whether or not he is or is not a Muslim. Other people seemed angry that the press went and attacked Palin's family. And of course, the war is being talked about. People were saying how they believe McCain will keep us in war for too long.

I noticed that a lot of people write informally. Many use CAPITAL LETTERS like these to get their point across. Maybe they are just using that because its easier to use than italics. But it kind of annoys me because some people do it for practically every other word. And it also just makes them seem like they are being more pushy about their opinion then is necessary. Other people use symbols to get attention, for example, put $$$$$ instead of money. That doesn't seem to happen as much though.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 1 Observation (9/19/08)

As I searched through Yahoo! Groups to find a group, many of them seemed interesting to me. I was debating on maybe one about cats, or movies, or even a group about the singer Rihanna. But the one that I thought would be most interesting would be a 2008 Presidential Election group. The reason being, I figure it is one of the most heated issues going on right now, especially with the election coming up in November. The other groups I was looking at only had one or two posts a week, and this group has one or two posts a minute! Therefore, I figured it'd be the most interesting to follow because there always is something being said.
People post about a lot of different issues in this group, I seem to notice. People are discussing Sarah Palin (McCain's VP choice), and how McCain might have chosen her just because she is a female in order to get votes from a certain demographic. Other people are discussing why they will or won't vote for a candidate. Many other people are, of course, trying to get people to see why their pick for President is the right one, by giving various reasons and trying to prove points about each candidate, whether positive or negative.
So far people have been pretty nice towards eachother. They are not being super nice, of course, but I was expecting there to be more rude, angry, and just mean-spirited posts. But in general, everyone is just sharing their opinion in an appropriate manner. I'm anxious to see how this might change in the next few days- maybe everyone in this chat is just happy because it's Friday and that's why they are being so calm about the issues! We'll see.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summary for September 17, 2008

The article I read was called "The Internet: The Basics" by Jason Whitaker. The article described a few key components of the Internet. One of the first things Whitaker explained was what hypertext is. Hypertext is an important part of what makes up the World Wide Web. It is what allows us to click through pages, and without it, the Internet as we know it would not exist. As it was explained in Literary Machines, hypertext is "non-sequential writing- text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen" (Whitaker, 59). The best way to emphasize the importance of hypertext is to say that without it, the Internet would be more like a book and you would have to go from page to page, instead of being able to click around as you desire.
Whitaker then explains different things that make up the web, from images to audio. He explains the difference between bitmap and vector images, which I personally never knew until I read this article. Bitmap images record information about each pixel, while vectors differ because they use mathematics and equations to make up the direction of lines. Audio is another interesting component that he describes. He explained how MP3 file formats can be downloaded ten times as fast as songs stored in a normal CD format. He describes other types of media as well, such as WMA, MP4, as well as others.
The article describes a lot about different components of the Internet, however, I felt like it was written for an audience that was already familiar with computers and certain terms, and not written for people, like myself, who are relatively unfamiliar with the Internet and how it works. Often times, I got confused and didn't quite understand what he was explaining.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Summary for September 10th, 2008

The article we were to read for todays class is called Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith. The article starts off by describing communications systems and how they effect the relationships we have with others. Computer-mediated interactions are a relatively new thing, that have become more common recently because of the many blogging sites, networking sites, etc. Often times, though, there is the issue of whether or not individual success and achievement is more or less important than group achievement. An example I thought was really interesting that was described in the article was one that I had not heard of before, but seems to be something that occurs often in daily life. This would be the "tragedy of the commons". Basically what it means is that there is an issue of whether individual or collective rationality is more important. If someone told you that you could get an A in a class but everybody else would get a D, would you accept that offer? Contrary, if the teacher said that together you guys can collectively take a C and there will be no Fs or As, would you choose that option to benefit not just yourself but all of your classmates? The issue is also known as the free-rider problem. The free-rider problem means that people often times want to enjoy the benefits of a group-effort but without putting in the work themself. In other words, enjoy the end result thanks to others hard work but not do any of it yourself. I agree that this is a serious problem on sites like Usenet, which I will explain in a little bit. Free-riding is an issue because it is not fair that people are contributing based on what other people believe. People should post their own individual thoughts and not anything based on what others have to say. However, on sites like Usenet, there probably is not much that can be done to avoid free-riding, since it is a public site that is accessed by anyone and everybody can see what was written before them. So what exactly is Usenet, anyway?

The Usenet is made up of many discussion groups. Developed in 1981 as an alternative to APRANET, it is a large computer-mediated communication system. It is similar to email and sites like Facebook, in that it allows members to communicate with one another. Things that are blogged on the site are saved forever, so one must be careful as to what they say because there will always be a transcript of it in the computer system. There are current events newsgroups, sports, arts, movies, etc., almost anything you can think of, there is a discussion group for it on Usenet. Contributing to the group is easy, all one must do is type their response to a previous writing, and post, similar to how you would send an email- the only difference is that everyone can view it, instead of just one person. There are rules that apply on the Usenet. For example, members are strongly encouraged to stick to the topic in the group and not go off on un-related tangents, to avoid clutter and spam. Also, groups are attempted to be kept as small as possible. Reason being, as a group gets larger, there is more of a likelihood for free-riding. People can see what others have to say and copy off them instead of posting their own individual beliefs and opinions. Usenet tries to prevent this from happening by making a kill file. Kill files are used in order to prevent certain people from posting if members feel they are violating the rules in any way or manner.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Is The Internet!?

The Internet is something many of us not only use daily, or even more than once a day. We rely on it for things such as news, school assignments and for our jobs, like spreadsheets and emailing one another. But we also use it for leisure purposes, like online shopping, weather forecasts, vacation planning, etc. And because there is just so much information online, the question of what is the Internet, becomes a very interesting one if you think about it.

So when did the Internet originate? explains that it was first thought up by a man named Licklider. In 1962 he thought of an idea to have a global network of computers that would be linked together. A lot of time was spent doing research and figuring out what this network would be like. In 1969, ARPANET(United States Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) was formed and it linked together four universities. The system was not perfect but it was definitely a giant step to lead to the Internet we know and use today. Decades later, in 1993, images were able to be viewed online, which as you can imagine made a huge difference in how web-pages were viewed to the public. Before the mid-1990s, the Internet was used mostly by scientists and experts. The public was really only online when Netscape Communications was formed and a browser was released that the public could use.

The Internet is definitely the first of its kind in terms of the mass communication it allows to occur. But you might be wondering: So what exactly is the Internet? It is a system of networks that, according to, cooperate with each other to exchange data, through telephone wires and satellites. TCP/IP is the "language" that computers use. That stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The networks that make up the Internet allow web-sites to form, and once those web-sites are formed, Internet users can browse them. Packet switching is something else that contributes to what the Internet is. does a good job of explaining packet switching by comparing it to postcards. Postcards can get lost, or not delivered in time. You can send a postcard but there is no guarantee the person you are sending it to will get it in time, or even at all. Postcards are compared to Internet packets. TCP, the Internet "language" is what we have to prevent this from happening when we are on the Internet. TCP will find packets that might have been lost or put them back in order. This of course happens very very fast, but in essence what it does is make sure everything works together and links correctly when we are trying to browse, just so nothing gets lost or messed up as we click around.

A lot of people think the Internet and the World Wide Web (also known as the WWW or the Web) are the same thing, but in fact they are not. The definition of the Web, according to, is that it is a hyper-textual, multimedia interface to the Internet- put more simply, you can point and click with a mouse to navigate your way through different web-sites and different content on pages. Hypertexts are what make up the Web, they are what allow you to click from one site to another- basically, the blue, underlined text you see on any web-page you visit. Basically, the WWW is just one component of the Internet. An example of another component to the Internet would be e-mail systems- the ability to send electronic messages to people throughout the world. The WWW revolutionized the Internet because it allowed all web-sites to link together and there were no gaps or networking issues when it came to linking everything together.

The Internet has especially effected the way we communicate with others, and communications as a field. Without it, most ways of communication are one-way information sources. For example, we get information from the news channels on TV or from a newspaper, but we have no way of putting our own input into what we are hearing or reading. However, if we are getting our information on the Web, we often times have a place to express our feelings and share them with everyone else out there. The same goes for communicating with others; before its existence, it would be virtually impossible to ever get in contact with somebody from, say, South Africa. But today, that is as easy as turning on your computer and going to a blogging, social networking or practically any other web-site that allows people to chat with one another.

How many people use the Internet today? There is no way to know for sure exactly, and numbers vary greatly. But some sources, including, state that there may be one billion people who use the Internet. That’s a lot of people who are all using a common tool. The place where it is used most frequently is according to figures, North American. I have always heard a statistic that three out of four Internet users are in North America, which seems like it could be accurate. People in Australia and then those in Europe come in behind North America. The statistics vary greatly for how often people use it, why they use it, etc. But no matter how mnay people use it and where they live, one things for certain- the Internet has revolutionized the way we collect and share information.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Summary for September 3rd, 2008

The article starts off by explaining how the internet is used as a communication medium/tool. It explains how the internet is unique in that it does not quite fit into the original categories of communication, and it can actually fit itself into many of those categories, not just one of them. For example, the internet can be used for interpersonal communication (talking to a friend on Instant Messanger or through email), or the opposite, mass media (trying to advertise a product to the general public).

The bulk of the article goes on to explain different aspects of the internet and how it works. One of the main things it discusses is the reliability, speed and distribution of the internet. Basically, the Internet should be a reliable place where people can store and share data without having to worry. Speed referes to how fast data gets from one place to another- since the 1970s it has come a long way, as most of us can probably notice as we use the internet and it gets faster and faster oh-so often). Lastly, it discusses the distribution, meaning who uses the internet, from where do they use it, and other questions that make us wonder just how popular the internet really is.

The article also did a good job of explaining what certain things were. For example, on page 36 there is a box that lists different plug-ins, most of which we have all heard of but are maybe not too familiar with. Such programs are Adobe Acrobat Reader, Flash/Shockwave, RealPlayer, Quicktime, etc. It also described what hypertexts are, which was interesting because I have heard of those before but never quite understood exactly what they are until I read the article (they are basically what compromises the internet and allow us to click on one thing to another to get from one site or article to another). In the very end of the article, it explains things such as MP3s, bits, etc.

I thought the article was interesting because it took a topic I was pretty familiar with in general (the Internet) and explained it more in detail. Now I have a better understanding of what makes up the Internet. It's cool to have that knowledge, because the Internet is something I use almost every single day, and while the extra information may not be exactly necessary, it definetly helps to be knowledgable in something I use that frequently.