Location, Location, Location!

From as far back as I can remember the thought of, “location, location, location,” has always been front and center in where to live, eat, and take part in a community. Yes, of course there are many other things that location is important for but those are just the top three things to come to mind currently.  This statement is no different than how we think of location awareness in regards to the Internet. One of our readings spoke to us about Foursquare and how it almost numbs our minds to what locations are important to check into. The other reading was regarding how much information is given away from our GPS locator on our cell phones. I am going to focus more on the reading from Dean Terry about Foursquare and how it relates to our group blog.

How does one take the commercialization out of Foursquare? We asked this question in class and I am still pondering that thought, specifically for my group blog about fashion. We have many tools to help incorporate location based content in our group blog, but how do we make it not promotion driven? We write a blog that informs people on how to be stylish while staying within a college budget, and if we were to use location content they would probably be about where we found something. If we post to Twitter an image of a pair of shoes that are on an amazing sale, than wouldn’t we be contributing to the promotion through location content when we tag our location? However, this tool would be extremely beneficial to our readers because then they could easily find amazing deals without the effort of locating them.

One way we have already used location content was during the Chuck Palahniuk reading at the DMA. I was at the event and was live tweeting pictures of what was happening and of course what he was wearing. I not only checked in at the event with our blogs Twitter handle but the content from Twitter also translated over to our group blog page. On the blog we have a section of the five most recent tweets from our Twitter handle. If you were reading the blog while I was live tweeting than you could have followed along with everything that was happening at the DMA. Another way we can use this concept is to live tweet while we are out looking for finds. The majority of our posts are about where to find good deals and how to wear them. If we used location content while shopping to do some form of micro blogging or live tweeting from a store than our readers would have a closer relationship to our content.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

On most days I complain that I am going blind and cannot see the board or cannot read the computer screen without my reading glasses on, but today I learned a new side of being seeing impaired while viewing the web.  I have never taken for granted the visually stimulating web that is in front of my face 98% of the day, and today I found out that it is not such a beautiful and stimulate place for 39 million people across the world. [1] The World Wide Web is a tool that almost everyone uses today and unfortunately we take for granted all of the visual elements in our growing HTML 5 world.

When going onto the Internet people who are not visually impaired see a color landscape of photo, logos, videos, and photo based text. Today in class when we were to use the screen reader on the Macbook, close our eyes, then navigate a page, and needless to say we all began to see the light. The Macbook read the html code to you when you loaded a webpage. On the computer that I used you had to use the tab key to navigate, when you finally found what you wanted the computer told you what combination of keys to hit to go to that link. Needless to say for someone who has navigated the Facebook page with eyes thousands of times before I was having a very hard time understanding what the html code meant. The goal was for me to get to Kristine’s profile and when I finally tabbed across all of the other links I didn’t need and got to her profile picture the screen reader just said, “Kristine dot Lauderdale, to click hit command, control, space.” There is obviously a learning curve here with using this program to navigate a webpage. During class we also brought up what it was like to look at a Tumblr page which is very picture oriented. When the screen reader would come across a picture it would just give you the html code for the picture, not a description of what the image was. This for me was a very disappointing realization.

I want to touch on the affects that this has on the impaired in the work place because my job is to design images and sadly the vision impaired cannot see those images. Yes, this exercise made me think about the things I create and if our coders make them “readable” for the blind but it more or less struck a chord with how computer savvy our society has become. My mother and step father always talk about how our society is so electronic driven, and how if you can’t use a computer than you are out of a job. If my parents from the baby boomer generation are feeling the negative effects of how dependant our culture has become upon the Internet and emerging technology than there is no telling how someone who is blind or deaf may feel.  To get a job in retail these days you need to have a working knowledge of running a computer because most POS machines run an electronic operating system. If you cannot use a mouse than most likely you will not be able to run a POS machine at Macy’s for a holiday job in the trim department. After this exercise I honestly do not think that developers are keeping this percentage of our society in mind. It is sad to think that one day when I have lost my sight I won’t be able to use the Internet without frustration.

Citation:

[1] “Visual impairment and blindness.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, October 2011. Web. 2 Nov 2011. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/>.

Digital Divide–Not just about race anymore

Digital divide is an interesting topic because the Internet gives people a blank canvas to work with, one that can be black, white, purple, pink, yellow, etc. In my EMAC 4372 class with Kim Knight, I have gotten a chance to learn a lot about how the digital divide seeps into the viral media structure without warning. During our case studies in her class she brings up lots of interesting challenges, when you may not have originally seen the red flag while watching or viewing the media object. Our social norms tend to skew our perspective when viewing media critically.

Our two readings for today really demonstrated the issue of race within the digital divide and I think it can go even further to talk about gender. It would have been interesting to see some of those graphs that Dr. Famiglietti was showing to see what percent was male or female. When talking about privilege as Jim Jansen did our social norms tend to make people think about white males and this is easily seen in the Pew results. Though we cannot see the gender break down of the Pew study the social norm is that the man of the household brings home the bread. I have a skewed perspective of this because I grew up in a one parent household, and my mother was a single mother. When I was ten I had a personal computer all to myself, at 14 I had Adobe Photoshop, and at 18 I had laptop. I came from a household who put educational tools first yet we were under that annual income bracket that Pew talks about. My family must have been a strange anomaly since it was an all female house hold that earned under the $75,000+ income bracket.

I feel that it is important to go beyond the race idea and into the topic of gender. How do Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube portray women as a whole? My close friend alerted me of a video that I feel is important to reference when talking about gender. If we look at the Internet we can see that at first glance it is an androgynous space. When people go online to participate in communities they can pick their username, which usually cannot determine if you are male or female. However, women are still not seen as equals because like stated in class today men will create a female character just for the demeaning factor that women are not as good as men in the gaming world. The video below shows how women have been portrayed in degrading manners throughout our emerging media. The one that he focuses on is music videos and since music videos are one of the highest viewed videos on YouTube this topic is worth a thought when thinking of how the Internet helps continue the corrupt thought of a woman’s identity.

Tagging and I’m not talking about Banksy

I have never been one to read blogs, or one to write blogs for things other than my classes. For years my only interaction with blogs was for work, and that was just designing layouts for clients. Now, I have the opportunity with my group blog to create posts, and understand what resources help create a well structured blog.

My group has the subject of fashion, design, and lifestyle which really gives us a lot to work with in the way of folksonomy. I think the most relevant thing for me while reading was actually understanding why we use tags. I knew to add them but I did not know why it was encouraged that we do so. After reading The Hive Mind by Ellyssa Kroski, I began to have a better understanding.

Undergrad Society Tags

When writing a post for our blog we add tags to help drive viewers to our blog that might not normally visit our site. If I add a tag for Dallas and budget, when someone searches budget friendly Dallas somewhere in their search results our blog post will come up. The idea is that the viewer will click our post if it sounds like it matches what they are looking for and in turn drive more viewers to our page. The great thing about WordPress is that it keeps a running list of the most used tags for your blog. The larger the word means the more you use that tag. You can see above that my group uses the word budget, Dallas, DIY, and college tips quite often. Kroski says, “Folksonomies also give us an opportunity to observe user behavior and tagging patterns.” This function on WordPress helps develop a running list of our tagging patterns and behavior. During our last exercise of CRAP detection I learned about a website called del.icio.us which can be used to help create a running list of bookmarks that users create. According to Kroski they attribute this synchronization to user imitation of popular tags and to a common knowledge base shared by users of the site.

C.R.A.P.

Analyzing your search results after using a filter such as Google is crucial to getting truthful, reliable information in today’s society.  Though I have never heard of CRAP detection by Howard Rheingold before this class, and I have tried my hardest to not find biased sources when looking for information in the past. I found this particular section of readings and online exercises were the most useful of all of our assignments. I ended up sharing some of these links with my mother who is notorious for bad, biased links.

For our exercise in class I used this link to make sure I was going through all of the motions of CRAP detection, in addition to the reading we had from Howard Rheingold. http://www.workliteracy.com/the-crap-test This particular link spells out what the acronym means when looking at a result from a search engine.

C- Currency, how recent is the information? How recently was the website updated? Is it current enough for your topic?

R- Reliability, what kind of information is included in the resource? Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is it balanced?

A- Authority, who is the creator or author? What are the credentials? Who is the published or sponsor? Are they reputable? What is the publisher’s interest? Are there advertisements on the website?

P- Purpose/Point of View, is this fact or opinion? Is it biased? Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Although, Rheingold gives very good examples of other motions we should be going through when looking at a webpage on a topic, this link proved to be the most helpful for me. This link helped me identify that the page I was looking at was not as reliable as I would have originally thought. It was interesting for me to look at a page and think about how all of these things relate or make something reliable.

During our class discussion today Dr. Famiglietti brought up some amazing points when we were going over our presentations of our exercise. When the first group was presenting their findings of the most reliable source, which was a book, Dr. Famiglietti wanted to know the publisher of the book and if it was fiction or non-fiction. It did not occur to me to check this information until he mentioned it because the person publishing the book may have had a biased motive for publishing the book. Luckily, when we presented our findings for the most reliable source we lucked out that our book had been published by a University press. The fact that the book was published by a University press means that it was reviewed by a board of scholars which helps make the source more credible.

I have never realized how often we look at something and think it is reliable, but really it is biased and personal thoughts on a topic that we were searching. I ran into this thought when we found our least reliable source which was basically what looked like a gossip column. Today Dr. Famiglietti mentioned that the first thing people may notice is that there were advertisements all over the webpage. That made me think about how many websites I go to for information and how many of them have advertisements cluttered on the page. When I analyzed my findings it was more than I had expected to see. Obviously we need to be more proactive when searching for information to make sure we are getting our information from a credible source. I thought that Howard Rheingold’s suggestion of using easywhoisit.com and delicious was incredibly helpful, and I will most likely use those tools in the future.

 

Google for President 2012

I think this idea of Google being regulated is extremely difficult to comprehend and completely out of my reach. If Google is “taking over the world,” why not just switch to Yahoo to search for the things we need? Today when I needed to search for something for work instead of going to Google I went to Yahoo because I felt I wasn’t getting a biased search result. In a day-to-day manner I think as a public we can make steps to creating a change in our culture. Vaidhyanathan talks about how Google has monopolized the search results since they own Blogger and YouTube and how that alters the results we get while searching. We turned Google into what it is today in some ways because we use it so frequently. We use it so much Google is now a word in Webster’s Dictionary.

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It’s a bird, It’s a plane, IT’S A FILTER!

In today’s society, especially in the degree program I am currently in it is hard to think about life without filters. Today while announcing to my boss that I needed to pay attention to all of the filters I used my other co worker pointed out to me that I should pay close attention to everything I used in Aprima since it is all one big filter. Speaking of filters I just used google to filter the image search to try and find an Aprima image to use in this post, there aren’t any good ones.

Aprima is a medical billing software that many doctors use and I get the great pleasure of getting to play with the software on a daily basis. When I say that the software itself is a huge filter I am speaking of the fact that the entire interface uses filters to create each criteria of the desktop. When logging into my doctors account one of the first things that comes up is my messages which is a filtered list of messages that were just sent to my username in the account. After that there is a filtered list of all of the appointments that the main doctor, Dr. McKee has for the current day. When I finish my brief glance over the main desktop I load my first screen of many filtered screens called the Process Claims screen. In this screen the software filters all of the superbills that are in Queued Primary status. In this screen I can also filter by the insurance company, the day of the visit, the charge amount, and the rendering provider.

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