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!