Project Rationale

The purpose of this project was to spread facts about the declining bee population as well as teach people about small everyday things they can do to help solve the problem. Since this video teaches people how they can save the bees it is an example of civic media. Jenkins says that “Civic media is content intended to increase civic engagement or to motivate participation in the political process.” (219). It is our hope that we have engaged the viewers enough to take these simple actions. The audience for this project was anyone that consumes food because this is a problem that effects everyone. That being said when we started to spread our video we chose to focus on established bee, environment, and food Facebook and twitter accounts. Interestingly enough this idea just kind of spawned during a rapid brainstorming session. It was something that we remembered hearing a ton about for a while a couple of years ago and then it just died off (much like the bees are). When we started to do more research we learned that the situation had only gotten worst since that time and nothing has really been done to solve the problem. We decided that this important topic needed to be brought back to the forefront and that people needed to be taught how they can help.
Digital media can be a tricky media to master. We chose to make a video because we wanted to create something both informational and funny. Humor can be misconstrued sometimes when in written form and we felt that it would be easier to show in video form. I will go more into why we wanted to use humor in the spreadability section. As far as content we wanted to share with the viewer hard facts and that would strongly show the viewer that this is a major issue as well as how this issue could affect them. We spoke earlier in the quarter about how the attention span of the online user has decreased as compared to physical media. This is the reason that we rotated between facts and figures and humorous video clips. We felt that this would help keep the attention of the audience through the end of the video.
As I hinted at earlier one of the main reasons we used humor was spreadability. From Konnikova we learned that “Articles that evoked some emotion did better than those that evoked none… But happy emotions…outperformed sad ones.”. So the question we asked ourselves was how to make a topic about the death of bees in large numbers and how it could devastate our future food supply sound happy. The answer was simply to make it humorous as well as informative. Spread out the sad and kind of scary parts with funny clips. We also wanted to make sure our video had stickiness (Jenkins 4). This was another reason that we used humor. You also may notice that our video starts out with a clip of me running around in a bee costume. This helps with the stickiness factor because it is one of the first things the view sees and will help the viewer decided if they will continue to watch the video or not. We have started to get some traction in it spreading. Below is a screenshot of some different shares and likes we have received so far. Side note it has seemed to spread better on Twitter then Facebook.
I am most proud of the video itself. We spent a lot of time on this video and while not professional I feel that we created a very high quality video that I can honestly say I am very proud of! The people I have spoken to have seem to like it, they think it is funny and most have said they have learned at least something new about the topic. I learned that it takes a lot more work to create a quality digital media product then I ever imagined in the past. I definitely have a new found respect for those that do it.

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The best blog posts of That one redhead Gary

My first best blog is located here

  • I believe this is one of my best blog post because I meet the requirements of having one direct reference and quote to a class reading as well as two outside sources to support my argument. However there is more to a blog then simply meeting the minimum requirements. When I wrote this blog I felt passionately about the topic we were talking about. I feel that it comes across in this post more then my others. I tried to engage the audience by using some light humor in the beginning of the post before I asserted my main argument. I also feel that I went beyond what we talked about in class by bringing up how we should consider there is more going on in the report findings then a quick glance will show us.

My second best blog is located here

  • This was one of my favorite readings in this class and one reason I am picking this post. I of course met the required quote as well as outside sources and this is one reason I picked this post. I spent a decent amount of time trying to find good examples to support my claim and I am proud of what I was able to find. I also feel that I was able to actively engage the reader with the use of questions through the post. Sparking ideas and responses is really the point of a blog and I feel that this post really did that.

My first best comment is here

  • One of the things that makes a good comment is to further the discussion of bring in a new perspective. I feel that this comment helped the further the conservation by bringing up that even though click bait may not stay in its same form of even be called the same thing it will probably still exist. I feel that it opened up the discussion for what this new click bait might look like.

My second best comment is here

  • I picked this post because I feel that I was able to tie in a previous course concept to viral videos. This opens up the possibility that a person personality may have more to do with what is shared then pure emotions.

Advocate for clicking

So you want to be an advocate? You want to support a cause and help change the world for the better! That is great news and with the word today it’s simpler than ever. All it takes is one simple click on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platform. That is right all it takes is one click and you’ll fix all the world’s problems! Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well that is because it is. Simply clicking like does nothing to help the cause however that doesn’t mean that it is a useless task. It is a first step for the cause. In Henry Jenkins book spreadable media he says “In turn, the act of sharing such videos has the potential to pull participants into closer emotional ties with the communities that produced them”. What he is saying is that that first like or share can spark an emotion. Emotions lead to sharing and perhaps a deeper since of caring about the subject. This may prompt you to learn more about the subject and then to start participating more. That being said there is conflicting information on the subject. One week a study says clicking makes you more likely to help in greater ways later and the next week we hear the exact opposite! So which is it? Does it help, hurt, or change nothing. It seems to me that the real question is why is there such a discrepancy in these reports? Is there something else that is to blame? Perhaps the personality of people plays a part or how the campaign is set up? Emotion is important in determining what we share and perhaps the type of emotion brought up has an effect on if we help later or not. I don’t have the answer, but what do you think is the cause?

Here is a link about how likes don’t save lives.

Here is a meme about how likes don’t save lives.

Sexting! The new Polaroids!

That is right 40 something year olds we know about that box of Polaroids from your past. So how do Polaroids play a role in sexting today you may ask. Well sexting today is thought to be a new idea, but when you think about it it really isn’t. Its biology and something that is a natural part of life and sexual exploration. In the article Why Kids Sext by Hanna Rosin we learn that “Surveys on sexting have found pretty consistently that among kids in their upper teens, about a third have sexted, making the practice neither “universal” nor “vanishingly rare,””. This statistic may surprise you. Some of you may think that is incredibly high while others might think that it is much lower then you expected. Why is this? Why is it that the same statistical number can have such a different meaning? I believe it has to do with a generation gap. While sexting isn’t really a new concept, the invention of mobile phones and other electronic devises have made it easier and easier to participate it. The saddest part about this generation gap isn’t just how different we think, but how it influences our laws. Our laws about sexting in regards to teenagers are horribly outdated. In may sates they fall under child pornography which means that if you are 17 and take a naked photo of yourself and send it to your significant other you could be charged with up to four felonies. The blog YurDamnWright says it best when she says “The current protocol involves the identification of individuals as minors but prosecuting them as adults involved in child-pornography.”. There is something insane about this logic. You are to young therefore you can’t do this but because you did this we will charge you for a crime as if you are an adult. It seems that the general conses in regards to laws is to make it illegal. I say this because even states that do have laws specifically about sexting still make it illegal. So the question becomes should it be illegal? Clearly there are parts that should be illegal such as posting these photos online, but what about sending it to a significant other? Should this be a crime? Or is it a healthy part of growing up?

Here is a video about the Dangers of  sexting

Digital Death

Death is a difficult subject to talk about even if it is in regards to your Facebook account. Its interesting to think that when we pass away (and not if but when) everything we have posted online will still be there (that is unless you tell Facebook to delete it upon your death). All those cat videos you posted to YouTube, pictures of lunch on Instagram, and your blog about your trip to Europe will still survive. Now more then ever it is easy for our memories to live on and for our experiences to be viewed by our friends long after we have departed. So the question becomes is this a good thing? Sites like Facebook and Instagram allow users profiles to be memorialized upon death and this has created a new environment for those close to the deceased to grieve and share memories in ways that used to happen only at funerals and grave sites. As this form of comfort has expanded so have the options for digital accounts after death. One such example is an app called LIVESON that after you pass will continue to tweet for you. LIVESON has created software that studies your previous tweets and learns about your likes, interests, and even the way that you speak. It will then take that knowledge and continue to tweet for you. This technology is something that most people haven’t done in any form in the past. Sure one could argue that writing letters to be opened on your child’s wedding day is similar, but that letter was composed by you. You wrote it yourself, you took the time to think about what you wanted your child and their significant other to hear and learn from you. So what do you think about LIVESON? Is this the way of the future? Does it help those grieving? Does it memorialize you? Or is it creepy?

If you would like to learn more about LIVESON here is the link to their page.

Censorship on the internet

So you like to troll the internet huh? Well I must say that it can be quite fun to troll as well as read others trolls, but at what point do we say enough is enough? Recently I read an article entitle “Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse” that gives an example of what starts out as a fairly innocent trolling comment and quickly spires out of control. I mean when a recipe post turns into an argument on parenting skills and global politics you know a wrong turn was made somewhere along the way. The question I keep thinking about though is did anyone do anything wrong? I mean sure more then likely the things posted in the comments would never have been said in a face to face conversation but should the site allow these type of posts? One could certainly argue that they are rude and hurtful to some people. Possibly even offensive in some cases, but is that a good enough reason to censor that user? Websites are owned by companies in most cases and therefore they have the right to decide what they will allow and what they won’t (Click here to read more). So when you agree to terms of use you are agreeing to follow the rules they set. Some sites are obviously more open with what they allow then others but what really should be allowed? Should we really worry about offending people? Or is that to extreme. It seems obvious that threats of physical violence shouldn’t be allowed and sites for certain ages should be kept age appropriate. However when we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should we have to worry that what we post will offend someone? That if we offend someone we could potentially have our account suspended. So what do you think? Should censorship by internet companies worry about being offensive or only deal with actual threats?

Here is a video about tolls online vs. offline

The video below has strong language and may not be appropriate for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised!

Here is a video about If real life had troll Comments

Gender Gap statistics

We recently read an article by Noam Cohen that talked about the gender gap in Wikipedia contributors. The article stated “surveys suggest that less than 15 percent of its hundreds of thousands of contributors are women.”. While this statistic definitely shows a gender gap the article talked about how this has led to gaps of information on the articles. There is even a Wikipedia page that talks about the information gap, you can find that page here. The interesting thing was the pages Noam chose to represent as pages with information gaps because of the gender gap. Now the article never says how he chose what pages to study, but I have a feeling that he used stereotypical pages as examples. What I would like to see are the pages edited by a majority of women. It seems to me that if the pages he speaks of (friendship bracelets and sex and the city) are edited by women why are they still short? Why wouldn’t the women who edited them make them longer? It seems to me that if they were confident enough to edit them at all they must feel like they are somewhat of an expert. Now it is possible that these pages were edited by men and that is why they are shorter.  I don’t know which is the answer, which is why I would like to know for sure what has been edited by women. I think we may find that the reason these articles are missing information is due to the gender gap but not the way that the article implies.The article implied that these articles were edited by women and since not very many women edited they were short. I think that this isn’t the case though. I think they are short because they were edited by men, I think if you look at the articles that are for sure edited by women you will find the information is just as comprehensive. While the gender gap still is a factor it may not be in the same way implied by the article. So what do you think? Should we consider that there are other ways that the gender gap is causing problems or is it really as simple as Noam implies?

If you want to learn a little more about what Wikimedia is doing to help close the gender gap on Wikipedia watch this short video.

The visual culture

Why do we trust infographics? Why would we as a society and people trust a visual imagine over the words written by an expert in a technical report? It seems to me that a technical report is easier to cite and to grasp the full meaning that the author hopes to portray. Also we know that some infographics can be misleading in the portrayal of data. It is a common enough practice that Randy Olson goes on to say in the article Infographics Lie. Here’s How To Spot The B.S that “However, time and time again we have seen that data visualizations can easily be manipulated to lie. By misrepresenting, altering, or faking the data they visualize, data scientists can twist public opinion to their benefit and even profit at our expense.”. So why do we continue to trust them? I think it has to do with our desire for instant understanding. We discussed earlier how technology has changed our attention span in regards to reading. I think that this has caused us to trust images more then then written word. Now this seems like a slipper slope because anyone can create an infographic with little to no experience. For example in class we made one in 10 mins with some of us fabricating our data. That was far to easy to do for us to trust them like we do. Now sure someone could create a fake technical report but the amount of work it would require would be significantly higher then that if an infographic. What I find the most concerning though is how once a misconception is released to the public how difficult it can be to dispute. The general public often doesn’t look at references or credentials and I see this as a real concern in regards to the trustworthiness of infographics. Still unsure about the trustworthiness of infographics? If so check out this infographic on the topic! So are you a member of the visual culture?

Is unplugging necessary?

I recently read an article about a college student who went 24 hours “unplugged” and listened to a podcast about how technology is making us unobservant. It got me thinking do we really need to unplug? The part I found interesting was how the podcast implied our creativity is suffering because we don’t observe things like we do. I don’t agree with this though. It seems to me that it is more about self-control and choice then about technology distracting us. While I can’t disagree that technology is designed to be distracting we also can choose to not let it distract us. The man in the podcast spoke about how his creative thoughts would often come from the observations made during his taxi rides, but that now all he does is tweet. Why is that? Why would he tweet when he is aware that tweeting could prevent a creative thought? He could chose to put it down and observe the world around him, but he doesn’t. The question is why? Could it be he physically can’t put it down or that he is actually addicted? Perhaps but I don’t think it is likely. It seems to me that he made the decision to continue tweeting. In the article about a college student who went 24 hours unplugged Emily Skorin says “But, since this project, I’m trying to unplug a little bit more every day.” After going 24 hours without technology she concluded that she doesn’t need to eliminate technology but that simply putting it down sometimes is enough. She made the decision to put her phone down sometimes. It seems so simple a thought. That we can choose to be creative simply by putting our phone down. The real question though is that do you think you can put your phone down? Or is that just too hard?!