Thursday, October 30, 2008

Choosing a blog -- First Educational Interaction

The blog that I decided to interact with and observe happens to be Engadget. Engadget is a technology blog, and to quote the Engadget's about us page they state that they cover the, "daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics." Ultimately the audience is bombarded with countless technology news stories, rumors, and reviews by several indivduals who are employed under WebBlogs Inc, who in part is owned by AOL, Time Warner's online division. This blog is pretty lively it is constantly posted on Digg, a social content website, and because of it recieves constant traffic, which means a community.

I spend everyday on this blog usually looking at each and every entry in hopes of reading someone new and exciting that will one day grace the retail shelves. But for this excursion I spent most of my time with the entry entitled, HD Netflix streaming comes to Xbox 360 first. I revolved around this mainly because I have both services and I am excited that it will simplify my movie renting abilities. One person, doniel, brought up a god point in this blog stating that Comcast has imposed a new data cap of 250GB. Now, this simply states that you are not permitted to download/stream data that goes over 250GB, essentially a limit on the internet. Being that I am a Comcast subscriber at home it makes made me reply stating that I was thinking the exact same thing and that I hope that I get to enjoy the new service and not end up paying countless fees for going over the 250GB data cap.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oct 29: Reading Reaction

The reading for class, Chapter 2: The Blogs in Society, had a lot of interesting insight on the ideal of the blog. Yet these ideals were from the vast majority of the public who seem to mostly look down upon blogs. According to Barlow, the author of Blogging @merica, believes that the community is the heart of the blog. Ultimately I concur on that thought. There are countless blogs out there on the web that have gained so much recognition, not because of their content, but because of the people surrounding the blog.

But this chapter goes on to speak, albeit briefly, about what occurs when just one person in that community starts to upset the norm and starts issuing death threats to the blogger – the person writing the blog. According to Barlow, Chris Clarke of the Creek Running North blog had to step away from the blog for a short time after he received death threats against his dog.

Threats of course bring into question how much of yourself do you want out there on the web? Most bloggers seem to accept the ideal that you cannot please everyone and attaching anonymity to your blog only lessens the material present. Since the blog is an extension of your being and only benefits from your offline experiences, as much as your online experiences. But some individuals like Tim O’Reily, coined Web 2.0, have come together with others to form a “Blogging Code of Conduct” to finally bring some structure to a structure less environment.

I happen to believe that blogs are a great source of information. Most of the time these sources of information are able to post new stories far faster than traditional news outlets and by having that community aspect, and being able to read those comments on their views it only adds to the blog.

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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Third Essay: October 20th

With the coining of Web 2.0, the Internet has exploded with websites that have become centralized around the users. Digg, a social news submitted site, allows users to submit news stories for other users to view. Over the course of the past week I have examined the search engines, Google, Yahoo, and EBSCOhost, in order to evaluate what relevant information exists out there on the World Wide Web about the social website, Digg, and to find the most efficient key terms to achieve said goal by moving past all the clutter to acquire applicable media sources.

Many Internet users today when using the Internet jump right to the big commercial search engines, Google or Yahoo (Tensen, 2004). I am no different and chose Google, Yahoo and an academic search engine named EBSCOhost. Seeing as how I would be researching for credible sources, I needed a unique batch of keywords to make sure the results would be legitimate as well as relevant. I decided to keep the keywords as broad as possible, but not to the point where I would get any type of information. The keyword, CO “DIGG Inc.” was chosen since it refers to finding company information about Digg Incorporated using Boolean Logic (Kaye and Medoff, 2001).

Google rewarded me with countless helpful entries. While Yahoo returned more user submitted news about companies that were posted on Digg. But EBSCOhost returned more results from newspapers and magazines. Since no one search engine is built the same, each search returned different results based upon how they were built. Google happens to have a page ranked system, while Yahoo has a directory-based engine, but as for EBSCOhost it is an endless database of information (Whitaker, 2002). Depending upon what search engine you use the code that lies behind all the images and text really determines what results you will see.

Evaluating the sources that returned from the search engines happens to be a difficult task if unfamiliar with the topic. There are a lot of conditions that need to be applied to each and every source, especially online to determine its relevancy and validity. Books have had standards since they were first published in the industrial age, but in the Internet age there are no set standards, “Because the WWW is not regulated like a library” (Tensen, 2004). Instead of institutions doing the work and filtering out what they consider good or bad, that privilege is passed onto the user. There are six conditions, according to Tensen that each source should go through in order to be considered, they are: reliable, purpose, source, intended audience, date of publication, appearance, and reputation, which seem to be common sense (Tensen, 2004).

With Google, as I said above, I was given an overwhelmingly amount of information, but most of the information that was returned was reliable. The first source that comes up is that of BusinessWeek, detailing the company information from the key executives to phone numbers to recent important business news involving the company. Applying the conditions to this site it is evident that it is giving me a brief overview of all the important information, and since it is Business Week, I know based upon its reputation that it is a reliable source.

Now, the next entry on Google is every professor’s worst nightmare, but in Digg’s case I believe an exception needs to be made. Digg is entirely user driven and the information is seen as creditable for other websites back that information up, which is very similar to Wikipedia. The information of the website is very in depth and gives the text citations, for questionable information. But I would have to say that the information is creditable and I would more than happy reference it in a final project as an example of how social content is changing the Internet.

Oddly enough Google has page ranked Digg’s own about page as the last result on the first page. Now what is better than going to the horse’s mouth and finding out all the information about the medium. This source is pretty self-explanatory. Who else is going to know more about Digg then well, Digg?

The last entry from Google happens to be the overall ranking of Digg on the web. Alexia is a website that ranks the traffic of all the websites on the web. With the information changing constantly about the rank, the site is continuously updated. Although the website is not an exact science it has been around long enough to once again have a reputation of being reputable and would make a perfect addition to any project requiring statistics.

As for Yahoo, their results were quite different, but helpful in a different way. Since Yahoo serves as a directory, the results were mostly submissions to Digg, with the exception of another Digg page, about the founder, Kevin Rose. Once again I feel that this website based upon its location is already considered important and valid, and worthwhile in being used in a project.

EBSCO on the other hand provided countless information. For instance the first website, BuisnessWeek, as we have already proven valid as a source. It speaks to users as a newspaper, as well as looks like one, and is recently dated. I would quote this article without looking over my shoulder. Since it is so reputable for a source EBSCO included in another time. The articles are quite business oriented but BussinessWeek does a great job capturing the social aspect, as they know their audience.

Since we are talking about newspapers the Wall Street Journal appeared by offering a bit of financial information about the social news website. Being available in both print and online, bolsters its ability of being professional, not to mention the name makes one think of Wall Street.

The last two articles are cover stories, one from Time, and the other from Computerworld. Both magazines are quite renowned in their own areas and have a extensive reputation, although Computerworld might not be as renown as Time. Yet, they serve their purposes to their groups that they serve.

Search engines are just that, they search. Some hit, and some miss. But when it comes down to it, they are just tools that we use to make our lives easier regardless of trying to seek out something that is valid or not.


Grossman, Lev. (2008, May 12). Jay Adelson. Time, 171(19), 121.
Havenstein, Heather. (2007, May 7). Revolt Against Digg Tests User Content Model. Computerworld, 41(19), 1-16.
Kaye, Barbara K. & Medoff, Norman J. (2001). The World Wide Web: A mass communication perspective (chapter 2). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.
Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research strategies for a digital age (chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth.
Whitaker, Jason. (2002). The Internet: The basics (chapter 1). New York: Routledge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oct 15: Reading Reaction

According to the reading for October 15th, the author, Michael Zimmer, states that Internet search in its current state could be far better, and more personalized to the each user. Zimmer makes the case for a “perfect search” engine that essentially knows each user through a profile that has been compiled through each search that they have made on this new Web 2.0. Also the searches of tomorrow, according to Zimmer will also be able to differentiate between keywords entered to know exactly what you are seeking out and tailor them to your needs at that given time. Now although he does set aside specific guidelines on how to achieve such a task, he does mention the other side of where if one were to improve the search capabilities and cater them to the user making the search, one would also allowing governments and other organization ask to retrieve these compiled profiles and quite possibly use it against them, bringing to light the question of privacy.

Zimmer cites a number of areas of where this is a problem but one example provided where the big search engines in the United States were asked by the government to turn over million of search queries to uphold a child pornography law, while everyone complied, Google resisted. This of course, from a user of search engines, like Google, creates some confidence that the information I seek is between just Google and myself. But Zimmer also states that with laws like the Patriot Act, it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore all the power law enforcements pose, especially where they decide to direct that power towards. I for one, like many Americans, enjoy my privacy but with more and more companies compiling data, which threatens my piracy, it is hard to keep a smile on your face.

Zimmer, Michael. (2008). The externalities of search 2.0: The emerging privacy threats when the drive for the perfect search engine meets Web 2.0. First Monday, 13. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from