Eclaire Kupcake

Bringing life to required assignments

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Micro Assignment #7

Building a Social Network/Collaboration

1. Clearly I find facebook the most useful, as I am logged off so rarely. All of my friends and most of my family members are on facebook and check it quite frequently…which is why I find it the most useful.

2. Pretty much every online application that is not facebook is not useful to me. I only use the others like twitter and tumblr because I am required to for this class. The only other form of online technology I use is email…but only when I really have to.

3. The electronic interactions only slightly enhanced my learning, if at all. Honestly, I probably learned more about myself through attempting to interact through various online means with peers and failing miserably. If I didn’t already know it, this class enforced the fact that I am technologically dumb.

4. My social network is both a business and a pleasure tool. While I can spend hours wasting time doing absolutely nothing, I have been able to communicate with co-workers and group members to be productive. Obviously more times it’s just a distraction from real life, but when necessary social networking can be very useful.

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Micro # 6

Attend a Virtual Event!

1. I attended the facebook event National Hug A Stressed College Student Day 2010. When I got the online invitation a few weeks ago I simply pressed ‘I’m Attending’. Facebook reminded me that I had an event, and being aware of the importance of it, I lived it up! Indeed us college kids were stressed and needed some hugs. I was glad to participate, even if it was merely a virtual event attended by over 300,000 people.

2. Nothing really of importance happened. Throughout the day people wrote on the event wall, but nothing out of the ordinary (not that I know ow virtual events go anyway).

3. The experience was just fine. Simply gave me just another excuse to be on facebook instead of writing papers and studying. This was of course a legit excuse, because by being online attending the event, I was indeed doing schoolwork! I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to others, but if friends were interested I wouldn’t make an negative remarks.

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Macro Numero Dos..aka The Final

      Facebook is a social networking website used by over 500 million people worldwide. Although the Computer Mediated Communications class was not required to create nor post directly on Facebook, every member of the class admitted to having a profile of their own.  Since the formation of Facebook by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2005, communication through social networking sites has evolved at an astounding rate. Six years ago, people had never heard of Facebook. Now, arguably the entire world is aware of its’ impact. Besides the hundreds of millions of users, Facebook is broadcasted enough through the news that people of society that are aware of news and what’s happening in the world should know at least what Facebook is.

            I chose to write about Facebook mainly because I know the most about it. Even though we spoke more about other various networking sites such as twitter, blogger, tumblr and wikis, Facebook seemed to always preside.  One of the reasons Facebook is so wildly popular is the fact that it is so multi-faceted and useful for a variety of tasks. Some use facebook to expand their friend base and become friends with more people than they would generally encounter in real life. Others say that they will only “friend” another user if they have officially met them in person. This approach is safer and smarter, being that there are many creepers out there. Also a safety mechanism, all users must be at least thirteen years of age. There is no real way to prove that a person is how old they say they are, as one can enter whatever birthday they so choose when creating their personal page, which can pose dangerous cyber situations. Dangers aside, Facebook can be useful for inviting people to attend real life events, or virtual events-often to support worthy causes. An amazon user stated that he “…really like[s] the Facebook events options because you can invite non-Facebook users through their e-mail and you can post further information as it comes out…”. With technology at the age that it is today, businesses and personal events are best advertised through the Internet, specifically Facebook. Not to mention, publicizing events on Facebook is free compared to the cost of buying and mailing invitations.

            Facebook also comes in handy when trying to stay connected to loved ones you rarely see, or to catch up with old friends from years ago. The global reach of Facebook is phenomenal. Interestingly, about 70% of users are outside the United States and there are more than 70 translations available. The ability to look at pictures and communicate either publicly or privately with people across the globe allows for the world to grow smaller and smaller. At this point, it is hard to see any negative aspects of this online social networking tool. Many will argue that has a stalker vibe and is in fact degrading society. There will always be differing opinions on controversial applications. Many a college student will find themselves wasting away hours of precious study time exploring the depths of online and offline social gatherings, old friends, new friends and sometimes people they’ve never even met.

            Out of all the ways in which Facebook can be used, I see the best way being able to communicate with others you wouldn’t normally be able to. Beyond just email, with Facebook you can interact in a variety of means and be able to see how someone is doing on a more physical level. Of course one’s Facebook page does not (or at least shouldn’t) reveal the person’s entire life. With the nature of the application, one can manipulate their pictures, comments and friends to appear in a way they think they would like to. Knowing that first impressions are most important, people strive to cyberly portray themselves to appear more appealing. It’s all really a game when it comes down to it.

            It is easy to say that Facebook is tremendously successful. Facebook attains more active users than any other social networking sites. Why you ask? It is simple enough for all generations to use, yet multi-faceted enough to keep their attention. Success can be measured in two main ways; the amount of attention received from the public, and the sustainable amount of time it is popular for. Although the college aged creators of Facebook intended for it to be an educated-focused social networking site, it developed into much more. The area that states where the user went to college or where they are currently attending college is still present, yet not nearly the main focus. Quickly the network expanded to eager high school students and even middle school children. Parents wanting to get in on the fun began making profiles to catch up with old friends and check up on their children. Whether people join for a legitimate reason, or if they are just curious, almost everyone seems to get hooked. Having more than 500 million active users with 50% of them logging on every day seems to be enough to say Facebook is a successful technology.









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Micro #5

Building “Something”

1. For this assignment I built a wish list/shopping cart on one of my favorite online shopping sites; Urban Outfitters. In order for other members of the class to access my cart of 8 items they would need to know my email address and password. If I wanted to share that information, then anyone would be able to type it into the login page of the site and be able to access my entire list.

2. I chose a site that I visit frequently, so when I began this endeavor I already had three items in my cart. From there, I spent about 20 minutes browsing the hundreds of options from clothing to home furnishings and Holiday gift section. Originally, I was required to make an account though, which was quick and easy. Instead of a username, it was automatically my email, I entered my personal information (to make the check out easier later) and created a password.

3. Yes I love what I’ve made. If only I could afford to buy the entire cart!

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Micro #4 

Playing well with others.

1. All of my comments seemed to be the only comments on certain posts.  Then again, I’m not sure if I was doing it correctly, as it didn’t appear right under the post.

2. First I commented on Leah McConnell’s superior blog post that interested me. Then I commended Jonathan Koenig on his work. Lastly, I asked someone a question, but I ‘m not sure who it was because I couldn’t find the person’s name on the page. Yes, I know I’m horribly dumb when it comes to these kind of things.

3. No I didn’t respond to anyone outside the class.

4. Yes, I think it is a useful way to communicate in a class setting, as it is incorporating communication among the class over the computer, which seems to be the point of the course.

5. An advantage to this form of communication would have to be the ability to talk to almost everyone in the class, with less social fear and effort. In person I probably only would have communicated with one or two students in the class, but over tumblr, the chance to interact with the entire class is present. Although people would argue with me, I feel the disadvantage would be the easiness of communication. It took me a while to figure out where to post, how to know when you’ve received a post, and how you know when people respond to a post on their blog.

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Macro Numero Uno

           Should all published works be available to the public online? Does society feel paper is a thing of the past? Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams explain why they feel information should be publicly shared rather than privately hoarded in Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Illustrating the topic at hand perfectly, Lawrence Lessig published his work Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and The Law To Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity both on paper and online. I chose to save the sixteen dollars the Clark University bookstore was demanding and read the computer mediated communications required book digitally, at no cost. To me, the choice seems clear.

            Others prefer to actually hold a hard copy of the work they are reading and be able to manually highlight points of interest while writing notes in the margins. In our world of technology driven education, one might feel free online literature is the answer. In some ways I can agree, yet I can identify the productivity of traditional book reading. Having a hard copy of a book allows a student to step away from the strong technology driven world to focus their attention fully on the reading. Knowing that the many networking sites and online shopping are only a couple clicks away makes it much harder to stay completely focused on work. There were times while reading Free Culture that I longed to sit out in nature, breath fresh air and fully immerse myself into the world of Lawrence Lessig’s opinions of culture, creativity and the diverse relationship they both have with technology. Attempting to do so caused more trouble than what it was worth. First I quickly ran out of battery power, unable to find an outdoor outlet. Secondly, the glare of the sun on the laptop screen gave me a headache. So once again I found myself curled up in bed on a beautiful day reading…

            Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams spoke about the phenomenon of digitalizing all books in a chapter titled “The New Alexandrians”. The Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt is known to be the largest and most significant library of the ancient world. It functioned as a major center of scholarship for hundreds of years. Reaching over half a million volumes, the library unfortunately burned in 642, yet remains known as the first substantial library in history. The Alexandria insisted on copying all documents that visitors possessed. Similarly, Tapscott relates research data to being shared among peers, like copying and saving publications. He calls it a “pre-competitive information commons”, or the New Alexandrians. In our new world, will our library infinitely expand online, or will it crash and burn like the original?

            Lawrence Lessig describes Free Culture as an account of “…the consequence[s] of the Internet to a part of our tradition that is much more fundamental, and, as hard as this is for a geek-wanna-be to admit, much more important” (pg. xiv).  Lessig fluctuates in his opinion of the amount of information shared on the Internet and whether all works should be digitalized and potentially free of cost, or whether doing so would eliminate traditionalist values and minimize the creativity of society. He focuses on how the creation of shorter renewable periods of copyrights and limitations of derivative rights are crucial. For example, if materials should be digitalized, the publisher should have the ability to stop the publication of copies of an author’s book at any time. This way, “The New Alexandrians” will have some guidelines, making sure it will not become a published free for all. Lessig goes into detail on his support of a compulsory licensing scheme to ensure that creators obtain direct royalties for their works based upon how many people have accessed the material, the accessibility of the material, and the readers’ reaction to the published material. I wish that Lessig had touched more upon the idea of money and the economic effect of losing the traditional printed book.

            Technology is known simply as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. In the technology driven world, people seek out the most efficient and up-to-date ways of completing simple tasks. It is inevitable that all emerging publications will be digitalized in a matter of time. Traditionalists will always argue the progression of technology, but Naturalists and conservationists will be grateful that the natural resources that go into printing books will be conserved. Time spent sifting through libraries while gathering information for research papers has already been greatly decreased. With search engines yielding results within seconds, why waste precious, expensive time venturing through huge libraries and then through large books? Make like the early Alexandrian Greeks and collect all of the world’s knowledge into one huge online library. Once complete digitalization is achieved, information can be shared, cross-referenced, and repurposed like never before (154 Wikinomics). Tapscott states that “knowledge can build more quickly within networks of firms and institutions that cross seamlessly over disciplinary boundaries” (154). His optimism illustrates that by digitalizing literature; society’s available time for learning will increase and be able to expand over inaccessible boundaries that exist in traditional paper libraries.

            Although Wikinomics and Free Culture are written differently and have differing opinions on many of the subjects at hand, they seem to agree on the topic of digitalization. While at times Free Culture seems more supportive of digitalization, Wikinomics is not at all opposed to the idea. Just a day after Free Culture was released in two forms of media, it was highly encouraged that people chose a chapter to narrate and record for the general public’s use. Having the work not only digitalized, but also vocally recorded, expands the potential exponentially. Now people can listen to the book while driving, working out or simply if they are a vocal learner rather than a visual learner. If this drastic step were to be ultimately taken by all authors and publishers, society would ideally stretch their brains, expanding their knowledge, and potentially become smarter!

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Micro Assignment #3

Numero tres…

1. I wrote the projects entry. I explained the macros I had knowledge of and summarized what we are required to do for our major projects. I edited a few different links including ‘grading’ and ‘to tweet or not to tweet’.

2. Because I was not set on editing the main central page, it was not too difficult to make an entry. It seemed as though the main page was always occupied so I explored the lonely less important pages.

3. I noticed that through editing pages, there was a slight opportunity for social interaction, but I also thought that it was easy to work in my own little world. Nope I did not speak to the author of the entry i edited…frankly I didn’t even know who it was. No one spoke to me either. I think it’s safe to say that we were all pretty anti-social in class. Order definitely arouse in a very natural way, I liked it.

4. Yeah, I can see how one would think this method of editing was a useful tool, even though I didn’t particularly care for it.

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Micro Assignment #2

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

1. My twitter handle is … eclairekupcake.

2. Definitely the direct twitter website is my primary tool.

3. No difficulties setting my account up, although I didn’t exactly enjoy the process.

4. I’m having trouble seeing the ‘good’ in this technology. To me it is just an un-legit facebook. I guess it could be used for communication, but very limited communication. More useful for people to talk about themselves.

5. Well when I tweeted and directed it to members of the class with the indicated hash tag, I got no response. Twitter is like speaking to a wall.

6. The 140 character limit is definitely a drawback. Not everyone tweets because it is certainly not necessary and doesn’t have many productive features.

7. I cannot see myself using Twitter unless I am required to.

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Micro Assignment #1: For real this time.

I chose tumblr because I thought it would be easiest. Guess I was wrong.

Initially I thought it was super easy to set up a blog until I realized I was doing it all wrong. My difficulties were mainly figuring out where to post the assignments and how my professor would be able to access them.

I have barely touched the surface to use tumblr as a social opportunity. Noticing I had one friend (or do they call them followers on here?) I was excited, until I read that it was the staff… Once I get my stuff figured out I will search for friends or randos to creep on. It’s weird though, because in a way I feel like I’m just talking to myself. On facebook I would have some sort of purpose to contact one of my 600 “friends”, but here I have no idea who will read this. Hopefully it’ll stay pretty secretive.

I definitely plan on using this beyond the conclusion of Computer Mediated Communications. Even if I have no followers, I feel it’s a great way to express my thoughts on a somewhat PG level.