Saturday, February 27, 2010

Why MySpace Went Out of Style

When I think of MySpace, I remember how my friends and I, when we were Juniors in high school, were as obsessed with it as we are now four years later with Facebook. In 2006, being on MySpace was the cool thing to do. I'm sure that others in the class can relate to my feelings on this. From the time we were all in high school, MySpace was at its peak. Everyone was on it, and we all talked about it during school. This was the time during which, Facebook had its policy of only allowing college students to join its network, and we were locked out of it.
Though Facebook did open up its content to everyone, which MySpace did all along, why has it continuously become less of a dominant presence on the web (at least in popularity)? Today, most of us (younger people) assume that we're only members on Facebook and that MySpace is merely an out of style fad that's embarrassing to bring up.
Though there are many factors that may have contributed to MySpace becoming second to Facebook, one of its most significant ones was its loss of "cool factor" with the younger generation. When MySpace was at its peak, at least for me and I'm sure for others, Facebook was kind of a prize we would win once we went to college. The fact that we couldn't get on immediately before the policy changed had us holding our breath until the moment we could. This I think, had tremendous impact on our age demographic's preference for Facebook. And once we got on, and the more Facebook was intellingent in its manner over the past few years of making it more and more user friendly and entertaining, the more we preferred it to MySpace and the more likely we would emphasize its superiority to other generations, older and younger.
This consequence, of having the most technologically capable generation raving about Facebook above all others has certainly had an impact on our parents' generations and our younger siblings' too in believing that Facebook has the edge over MySpace. And Facebook, perhaps more so than anyone else, has us to thank for that.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Chapter 6 of Paul Levinson's book, New New Media, tackles the social "behemoth" of Myspace. When discussing such a social medium, the idea of friends comes up. In the chapter, Levinson appropriately raises the question of what is a Myspace friend? Is it a misuse of the word?

My interpretation of "friends" online is that when discussing social media like Myspace and Facebook, we all must redefine the word first. A friend in social media isn't necessarily someone that you see often, call, spend time with, or even have your trust. Instead, an friend in this realm is someone that shares common interests, share common friends which are online or in person, can be people you went to high school with, or just met. Therefore, the use of the term "friend" begins to have a new scope and meaning when we are using it with regards to those in our social media community.

The MySpace Cafeteria

I only had a MySpace account for a few weeks, the summer before freshman year of college while I waited for Fordham to send me my e-mail address (back when Facebook still required a college e-mail domain for registration). When I first switched over to Facebook, my immediate reactions were very similar to many of the points Professor Levinson brings up. I thought MySpace was much more customizable, a "one stop social media cafeteria," and found Facebook to be very restrictive in terms of its offerings. I think that is where MySpace and Facebook took divergent paths: MySpace became a place for people to express their individuality through music, blogging and other add-ons, while Facebook became very mainstream.

Both MySpace and Facebook are capable of being sites of unfortunate internet activity like cyberbullying and cyberstalking. While I agree with Professor Levinson that "there is no law or enforcement that can completely protect us from our worst instincts, expressed in new new media, old media or anyplace else," I still think there needs to be a system in place to control harassment through these social media sites. Middle school aged kids think they are adults and to some they may seem like it nowadays, but many still do not have a sense of what is right or wrong. Being slammed into a locker or having your lunch stolen may be "character building" and a part of growing up, but there are always adults to physically intervene in those situations. When cruel messages are put on a kid's MySpace wall every single day, there are not necessarily adults who will pick up on it. As social media becomes part of growing up, educators and parents need to teach kids appropriate behavior and values for both the "real world" and internet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Social Media Explained

Paull Young showed us this very clever YouTube video today, so let's add it to our blog.


The Website Digg is somewhat similar to other websites such as youtube, google, and other websites that are used to inform the public about various happenings in the world. As mentioned in the book the these media outlets are becoming more popular and very useful. They are fascinating to me because I did not grow up in the net wolrd.

I "digg" your story

Before reading this chapter, I had never signed on to digg before. I think it's a really good concept and I'm suprised to hear that in 2009 its ranking dropped to 272 in the top American online sites. I appreciate how it is more personal that wikipedia, due to the fact that it requires email account while also encouraging "friendship" when two users become a fan of the same story, allowing them to send "shouts" to one another. Howevor as with any online identity people can be mislead with pseudonyms. Most educated online users know not to trust anyone they meet online anyway, So the sharing of any URL, should not be threatening to anyone.
It's unfortunate that small groups of people who are out to destroy the true intent of this website gather together and "digg" or comment on a post until it gains mass popularity, although abusive comments are reported this "lobbying" by "gamers." What is interesting to me about this are tye past advertising operations done in the past to deliver a certain amount of diggs for a story for $1. This could potentially generate alot of money, but ruins the site for everyone else. The risks seem lower than the benefits on this site and I definitely intend on creating an account for myself on the "digg" website to add to my social media accounts.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I had never really understood what digg was until I read this chapter of Levinson's book. While Levinson explains the concepts behind the site and the social nature of it I feel that I would not like it. Although I like knowing what other American's value in the news (which is what I could see with digg) I far prefer seeing exactly what I value instead. This is why I really enjoy twitter and the way the Nytimes handle is set up. Each section of the newspaper is its own twitter handle, this way I can follow only the sections I want to know about. Then I can choose what I do or do not want to actually read. It comes in as it happens and I won't just get one or two articles that made it to a front page. Most of the stories I like to read come from the Dining section and probably would never make it to digg's front page and therefore I might miss out.

Diggin Digg

Until now, I had never been aware of any such website by the name of Digg. But after reading Levinson's chapter, I researched the site and did some digging of my own. Digg provides a wide spectrum of online articles, with anything ranging from medicine to celebrity gossip. With the freedom to post any desired article, I found that the scale information on the site is limitless.
Levinson talks about Digg's usefulness during the presidential primaries to find articles about the respective candidates. Although a candidate like Ron Paul had many more digs than reflected in his votes, I don't believe that means his support was forged or subject to "gaming". Levinson suggests that people were falsely supporting Ron Paul by increasing his "digs" or casting extra comments on his articles. I think that perhaps the extra "digs" and "buries" show the reason that Ron Paul lost the primary. With the amount of information circulating around a candidate such as Ron Paul, it is completely understandable that people would be more aware of his faults, hence choosing not to vote for him.

The Diversity of Digg

Like several of my classmates, I too was not very familiar with Digg. I checked it out for the first time this week and liked how it was set up. There are several categories including technology, science, sports, and entertainment. These categories make it easier for the readers to navigate through the website and focus on areas of interest.

Various links to a multitude of websites demonstrates the democratization of the website. Digg can be great for a blogger if they are fortunate enough to produce a popular article. It's also a great way to read and hear about different stories from different perspectives. Digg gives us an alternative to newspapers to gather our information. In addition, Digg not only features written articles, but includes images and videos as well. Digg has something for everyone and offers different perspectives from normal newspaper articles.

Manipulating Digg

I had also never visiting prior to reading the chapter from Levinson’s book. I find the idea behind the site to be very interesting. It’s important that individuals declare which stories they are interested in and get the opportunity to share them on Digg. The site is a refreshing change for discovering stories other than those broadcasted on television news. This way, individuals are able to share stories untold on the news that they feel are important. This assigns a more active role in promoting idea or change through sharing a particular story of interest. Although I am fascinated by the idea of Digg, I do agree with many prior posts that it should be used with caution. It should be a used as a starting point to discovering stories that should then be further researched on more reliable news sites.

It is also sad to see that the freedom in sharing stories of interest on the social news website is manipulated. Just like anything else, too much of something will be taken advantage of. The fact that companies pay for stories to be submitted to the site or to have their product advertised is truly pathetic. These companies are willing to replace bigger headlining news with their own stories simply in attempts to advertise and market themselves. It makes you wonder what people really value.


This morning, The New York Times ran this article about textbooks that professors can rewrite digitally.

The article details the decision of Macmillan Publishers, which is one of the five largest publishers of textbooks, to introduce a software called DynamicBooks, which will give college instructors the ability to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes. Professors will have the ability to reorganize or delete chapters, and insert course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs and rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

In class, we spoke briefly about academia's hesitance to embrace Wikipedia. I wonder if the collegiate community will be more willing to accept this type of "Wiki," since revisions and changes are on their terms, from their academic disciplines, not from ordinary people.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Digg Really Works

I've been familiar with Digg for a few years now, starting around early 2008. And the truth is, though Levinson has a good theory about how Ron Paul's popularity on the site may have been skewed because of the 13-17 year old age group, I think he overlooks many things regarding how articles and topics become and remain popular.
Though I haven't used the site in months, whenever I did, I would merely scan the front page and possibly search a little more if I felt like it, but would generally only be interested on what were the top articles of the day.
And at least for me, I believe that that's how the majority of Digg users use the site as well. Unless you're a Digg and web junkie, we never really go out of our way to find articles that we like, but just like seeing what's trending and is relevant at the moment on the front page.
Because of this, the election, and other political articles were definitely going to succeed. Even if you're not overly political or an extreme activist, you'd at least be somewhat interested in the articles on Digg during the primaries and the rest of the election, because it's the news that was currently relevant.
Most other times, I can remember, there were many posts about technology and really random stories that became popular. If it was funny, cool, or entertaining, it made the front page. And if it had a good title to convince people to digg it, people, including myself, would do so even without actually reading the article.
I think it's important for everyone to know that most Digg users aren't extreme, but are just merely curious about what everyone is digging, and will jump on the bandwagon most times.

You Digg It?

In complete honesty, I had never heard of Digg until earlier this semester when it was mentioned passively in class. I have still not visited the site, yet plan to at least check it out for myself at some point.

After reading about Digg, in New New Media by Paul Levinson, I have come to the conclusion that it's not that bad an idea. Levinson makes mention of a few alternative sites that serve the same purpose as Digg but have not be as successful. But I don't think there should be such a fuss about the "abuse" of its services as people have begun to "lobby" it, whether fiscally or another means. First and foremost, I'd like to disconnect the association that is overlooked of people who "bury" articles by lets say Ron Paul, and those who use money and other schemes to make certain things more popular.

These are two very different actions because the abuse that is happening when people are providing money to Digg something or promoting articles for money is something that defeats the purpose of the democratic principles of the website. When money is brought into the equation, it is at the cost of rationality and free thought. Let's be serious, who wouldn't "digg" something that may not like or care about for a few bucks? But this is different than those activists who are burying Ron Paul articles, because that's the purpose of the site, if you genuinely disagree with an article or it's content, you bury it. That's all they are doing, it's just in an organized manner.

In all, I think Digg may be a great idea and a good site, I'll found out for myself soon, but let's not treat it as our best source of information and articles. I like to think Digg is a good site to get a little information that will urge you to read something more substantial, similarly to how Wikipedia works, as a base. You Digg it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Digg-ing Power

I also had never had any experience with prior to reading this chapter. I have to admit, without viewing the site first, it was sometimes difficult to follow the trends and anecdotes Levinson details about it. After viewing the site and reading up more on it, I came to the conclusion that the site is extremely participatory, which relates back to how democratic social media platforms are. I think, however, that Digg blatantly reveals the problems of mass participation, of giving people too much power-that coalitions, self-promotion and just overall nonsense articles moving up occur regularly. It again shows how beneficial and disadvantageous social media can be.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Prior to reading this chapter I had never really heard of Digg. According to the website it offers the "Latest News Headlines, Videos and Images". However is this title really fair? Because Levinson does not discuss relevance to time (ie: latest) but stresses that articles make it onto Digg's pages based on popularity. Something that might have been created a while ago can find new found popularity and rise to Digg's homepage if enough people support it. Something old can become new again if it gains enough momentum. This goes back to the concept that things, such as videos and images, can live forever on the Internet. Unlike solitary writing or sound recordings, items on the Internet can never be fully destroyed. Perhaps Digg then also presents an opportunity for long lost things to have a second life.

Social Media Spring 2010 Class Video1

It's very rough, but it's all our own:


As Chapter 4 starts off saying that "We come from a traditon in which knowledge has to be vouched for" it is true I am the first skeptic if wikipedia but when I use it I verify what I find with other sources to keep my information as accurate as possible, as mentioned on page 89 "Authenticity of users is a problem everywhere the world of new and new new media". but Wikipedia is said to be combatting falsehood every second of the day.


YouTube has become a provider of many visual things such as movies, commercials and even embarrassing videos but for many its a way to meet a new beginning. example Justin Bieber a fifteen year old singer was discovered on YouTube and now he is a heartthrob to millions of girls around the world. It has even become a way to capture cyber spacers attention politically since sitting in front of a tv set has become a thing of the past. On page 82 it even states that the Pope uses YouTube to spread his message of Peace.

Chapter 4 Wikipedia

I thought the section Transparency on Wikipedia Pages was very interesting; I did not even know Wikipedia had this feature until now. Professor Levinson seems to find fault or has an issue with the fact that transparency only extends to pages and not readers/editors. I do not think this is a big deal. It is far more important to have transparency for the actual page/text because I feel this way if someone doesn't agree with something they saw on the page or they think a fact that is listed is wrong, they can see what was previously on the page. If what they thought was the correct information had been edited or deleted it could lead this user/editor/viewer to investigate the real truth. It is more important to patrol the content than the users.

I thought the study Wikipedia Vs. Britannica yielded very interesting results. I wonder if five years later and with the amazing growth of Wikipedia how a study like this would go. I'd also love to see if the inaccuracies change between different disciplines.

This does not necessarily have to do with the book but it was my first experience with Wikipedia. Before this experience, and then reading this chapter, I always though Wikipedia was never patrolled. I thought anyone could add whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Over the summer I worked at a PR firm and one of my tasks for the day was to create a Wikipedia page for one of our clients. I did so but got an email shortly after telling me it had been taken down because it was too subjective and glorified the company. They basically told me it was an editorial column. This struggle happened a few more times until I cut out most of my information and stuck completely to the facts. This was eye-opening for me because it showed that there is a filter on the material going onto the site.

Chapter 3 YouTube

Although Professor Levinson was focusing on teen and adolescent violence in his section Viral Videos Gone Bad I immediately thought about Facebook photos. I keep my photos private and I try to regularly go through them and evaluate if they or any should be taken down. I do this because I do not want a potential job to see them and I do not want to be seen in a negative light. A lot of my friends have siblings who are still in high school and from seeing their photos it is as if they do not realize how detrimental the photos of them drinking at 15 or posing scantly clad in a mirror can be for their future. This new new media has created a platform where you almost have to, in the eyes of younger people, upload things that can create "continuing shame in the future," because everyone else is and you want to show you are as well. They are providing harmful evidence and it is sad because it seems there is no real way to review or control this from happening.

Chapter 1 Why "New New" Media

On page 12 professor Levinson discusses how quickly new new media appear and evolve and the speed at which they do. He used Twitter as his example but what is interesting is that at first twitter did not evolve very quickly. It did not take off, as Levinson noted until November 2008, but was founded/created in 2006. I wish he had gone more into why it did not take off originally. I believe this is because some of new new medias success and expansion rests on its ability to perfectly define itself and its capabilities until this is done users will be unsure of the what to do with it.

I think another example of this is myspace. It was one of the first programs/sites for friends to connect and share on and has been pretty good at "holding its own" as Facebook has taken over this platform. But Myspace has become far more successful since its onset of Myspace Music. It has become a popular destination to merge friends, groups and music. I believe new new media must find its niche before serious success can take place.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The following clip from Fox News was posted on YouTube. The news comments on the fact that anyone can write and edit Wikipedia entries. In response, the news anchor describes a search tool called WikiScanner that can trace the computers that were used to edit the entries.

While Wikipedia is often criticized for its open editing and thus some unreliable information, big companies have been taking advantage of such freedom. Corporations such as Walmart and Phizer were mentioned in the clip to have been traced for editing their articles on Wikipedia. Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Whales, comments that edits from such large corporations are usually done by “some employee at work who’s sort of overzealously defending the organization.” But surprisingly, computers from the FBI, the UN, the Vatican, and even Fox News itself have also been traced by WikiScanner. It makes you wonder what’s worse; an individual editing Tony Blair’s middle name on Wikipedia to Whoopdy-doo? Or big name corporations and government establishments editing, and essentially manipulating, Wikipedia articles to reveal some sort of bias or to gain favor?

Wikipedia vs. Britannica

I was very surprised to learn that the errors found in Wikipedia were not very different from errors found in Britannica, in terms of numbers. Levinson cites Nature magazine's research that "the experts found an average of four inaccuracies per Wikipedia article and three per Britannica article (p. 93)." Personally, this does not seem to be a huge difference.

Using wikipedia could actually be more beneficial than using Britannica. This may sound crazy because for the most part, Britannica is widely respected, while Wikipedia has a multitude of critics. My point is simply that students understand the criticisms of Wikipedia and are willing to check the facts using other more reliable sources. However, most students (at least me) usually take Britannica or any other reliable encyclopedia at its words because it is based on experts rather than any normal citizen. As a result, fact-checking is important both on Wikipedia and Britannica.

Another advantage of Wikipedia over Britannica is the speed with which it can be updated. The false reports on the deaths of Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were deleted within five minutes of their posting. Obviously, this presents a drawback of the problem of vandalism, but it also speaks to the power and effectiveness of editing to ensure the information on Wikipedia is accurate. Editing inaccurate information in Britannica takes a much longer time. In conclusion, Britannica may not be the better encyclopedia after all.


The thing that really bothered me about this chapter is that Levinson did not address the reasons why people contribute to Wikipedia. Although he mentions how everyone has an opportunity to be an editor and share their thoughts, which might be part of the allure, he does not address other reasons why people want to take the time out of their days to post on Wikipedia. Although a person might read Wikipedia as a source of information, what draws them to transition from reader to contributor? What are the pulls other than having your expertise posted? Expertise that could be edited or removed by someone on the web that you do not know. Basically, why waste the time?

Another thing that I found interesting was the section questioning "Does Wikipedia Make Libraries Unnecessary?" For me Wikipedia will not replace books because although it provides information, Wikipedia is not in the business of providing pleasure, such as provided in a great novel. Plus, as Levinson points out, information in a book will always remain on the same page. This is in contrast to the web, which allows content to be constantly changed and edited by completely random people. This constant change builds less confidence then books as people usually associate reliability with stability and consistency.


The thing that stood out the most to me in this chapter is the quote on page 73 that reads "The end of the line for audio-visual popular culture has become immortality on YouTube". Levinson points out that unlike older forms of media such as television, video clips on YouTube can be replayed over and over again and shared with anyone in the world. Once someone captures you on film and shares it on YouTube your embarrassing fall or outrageous comments leave the comforts of your immediate circle and are shared with people that you have no connection to or desire to share with. Once posted, that embarrassing moment can be re-played over and over again, haunting the person forever because as Levinson states the clip has "immortality". Plus through editing, someone can manipulate an image or speech and take it of context and make it seem worse than it actually was or was meant to be.

Honestly, there have been times when I have chosen not to participate in things for fear that it will end up on YouTube. I might not be afraid to do something silly in front of my friends but on the off chance that someone tapes it and posts it on YouTube I often refrain. And although a post might not affect me now I definitely would not want something silly I did when I was 20 to haunt me when I am 35. I hope that the things I do in college do not come back to haunt me fifteen years later and I am careful to guard that privacy. YouTube has affected my life, even though I am not a contributor, as it has made me less wild and more guarded.

New York Times Article: Facebook

This article was published in The New York Times today. It is about a South Florida teenager who was suspended for creating a Facebook page criticizing a teacher. A judge has ruled that she can proceed with a lawsuit against the school for the suspension. I know we are not up to Facebook in the course yet, but I think this shows how the government and the courts really are in unknown territory when it comes to social media and the legal issues surrounding it.


With the popularity of Wikipedia, it presents a challenge to not look to it for quick facts. Famous persons, places, and things often have Wikipedia pages devoted to them. If there is a Wikipedia page on something chances are it will be one of the top results when typed into any search engine, so why not take the quick information from it when it’s right there?
Wikipedia serves us better as a constantly updating newspaper not encyclopedia. In Levinson’s chapter of New New Media he talks about how Wikipedia and how it is so quick to publish information that sometimes the information turns out to be false. Wikipedia excels in its ability to create facts backed by popular belief. Anyone is able to edit a Wikipedia page so chances are that the person editing it probably has no background in the topic they are commenting on. Wikipedia will produce lots of correct facts, but if the topic of the Wikipedia page is controversial the page will most likely be over edited and incorrect.
A famous comedian by the name John Oliver talks about how is there is a Wikipedia page on him mentioning an incorrect middle name. Thinking that middle name he comes across on the page is funny, he decides to keep it, saying by popular demand his name can be changed. Facts are not opinionated they are facts. Facts are not subject to change and should written about by accredited professionals in their field only.

“Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.” –Michael Scott (Steve Carell) The Office.

Monday, February 15, 2010

No More Books?

Chapter 4 of Paul Levinson's New New Media focuses on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia teachers seem to hate most. I suprisingly found the debate over the use and reliability less interesting than the question Levinson asks of "Does Wikipedia make libraries unnecessary?" The answer from the book seems to be, "Not yet."

However, I would have focused on how it isn't Wikipedia making the case against books, but the internet. There is an increasing availability for entire books, excerpts, and information from books online. Teachers are copying things on to Electronic Reserve for students to read on the computer or print out instead of buying the books, and Google and search engines are encyclopedias themselves. I agree that books aren't in danger, and they very well may never be, but it isn't Wikipedia that is their problem,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wikipedia-What the Top Searches of 2009 Can Tell Us

As Levinson discusses at the end of the chapter, Wikipedia has expanded into becoming a news outlet of its own. Nowadays, web users find Wikipedia's content as reliable as our newspapers and other media.

And after reading "The Top 100 Most Visited Articles on Wikipedia in 2009," I definitely believe it:

What this list shows is that (besides for the sexual searches) during the past year, people turned to Wikipedia immediately for or after hearing headline news. Some of the list's highlights include:

-Michael Jackson
-Barack Obama
-Deaths in 2009
-Current Events Portal
-Slumdog Millionaire
-Transformers 2
-Lady Gaga
-2009 Swine Flu Outbreak
-Taylor Swift

and many others.

These topics were all relevant in the news, and especially in the entertainment industry during 2009. Levinson definitely seems to be onto something when he states that Wikipedia is becoming a large news source.

But I think this list shows that Wikipedia, at least in 2009, was more of an entertainment and pop culture news outlet more than anything else. The entire list includes Twilight, Kristen Stewart, Megan Fox, and plenty of other celebrity and entertainment topics. Additionally, though I agree that Wikipedia has become credible, I feel that it's primarily a source turned to by users after they have received initial information on a topic elsewhere- from a more traditional news source. I can remember when Michael Jackson died, that I first read the news on and heard it on the TV, and then I eventually looked up his article on Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wikipedia vs. Academia: An Information Battle

Professor Levinson's chapter on Wikipedia taught me a lot I did not know about a site I use basically on a daily basis. I was not aware of the "deletists" and "mergists" roles people take on and the theory about heritage playing no role in determining who gets an entry.

I think it is interesting how Wikipedia is both glorified (seen as an amazingly democratic information resource) and villainized (seen as untrustworthy source never to be used for serious purposes). I actually went to a lecture during my freshman year at Fordham sponsored by the English department that instructed students never to use Wikipedia and how it was basically ruining the academic community.

I personally think that the site is great for quick background information (I had to write a short piece on investment liquidity last week at my internship- something I knew nothing about- and Wikipedia saved me). Other information resources online are not as organized and accessible, and other online encyclopedias charge for use. For longer research papers, I actually find myself beginning my research on Wikipedia. I obviously NEVER quote Wikipedia directly- instead I read the background it provides and then I refer to the primary source links at the bottom. These sources are often very reputable, contain great information and would not be easily located through a general Google search. I think academia's hesitance to embrace Wikipedia is understandable, but I think instead of banning it completely, they should teach students how to use it as a channel that leads to other information, information that often actually comes directly from their academic community.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

iKnow. iQuit.

Youtube has coexisted with itunes for a long time now. Now more recently itunes and Youtube have started to become rivals. Youtube has always offered media such as videos and songs for free on its site, but with the exception of podcasts and some apps, iTunes has always charged money for their inventory.

In New New Media Levinson suggests, in his chapter about Youtube, that Youtube will eventually put itunes out of the business for selling songs. He states that while iTunes continues to charge for their songs Youtube offers them for free which will eventually become impossible to compete with. Levinson concludes that iTunes will eventually go out of business, but Apple will continue to say strong because of its iPhone and iPod’s ability to access Youtube.

I disagree with Levinson in the fact that Youtube will ever put iTunes out of business. To gather support for my point I look to an economic model. If a good’s price continues to fall there becomes a point where people will no longer produce that good. The music industry is a money based industry and if the people who make music no longer get paid to do what they do, there becomes a point where they will no longer make music. Now granted people who are passionate about making music will continue to do it, but the music industry will still for the most part disappear. We must pay people for the services that provide us whether we like it or not. People in the music industry know that they are losing ways to make money, but that isn’t going to make them quit their search more financial backing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Attitude Evolves With Technology

Since I graduated 8th grade in 2003 there have been tremendous developments in digital media. In chapter one of New New Media Levinson talks about how far software and hardware have come in such a short amount of time. He uses the example of a phone used in the James Bond movies filmed only two years apart from each other to show how far the phone has come. In just two years time the phone has better capabilities, but also better technological prowess. I believe that in such a short time not only has technology evolved greatly, but also our attitude towards it.
I remember very few of my friends using facebook during my freshman year of high school and seven years later I cannot think of one of my friends who does not have facebook. I feel that when facebook first came out people were very hesitant to accept this new trend. Seven years ago most people stuck to phone calls and AOL instant messaging for their social communication. As facebook grew more popular it also became more technologically advanced. Facebook now allows its users to post videos, chat, and play games, all of which did not exist when I first signed up for it. Facebook is not alone in gaining acceptance among technologies
I don’t think I ever sent a single text message when I had my first cell phone in 2003. I don’t even think I knew how to send a text message with my old phone. Now I send about 50 texts a day made easier by the keyboard on my phone that my old one did not have. I used to feel that sending texts was so pointless. Why send a text when you can just call and say the same thing? I now find myself avoiding calls at any cost and even texting people from across the room. Technology will continue a special place in our heart.

Police using YouTube

In Chapter 3, Levinson discusses “viral videos gone bad” (Levinson, 71). He expresses that although brutality and violence recorded and posted on YouTube can be removed, the harm done to the victims can’t be undone. However, Levinson states that such videos can help bring the offenders to justice. An article by USA Today titled, “Cops using YouTube to find criminals,” gave examples of such cases. On Dec. 14, a street fight broke out in Suffolk, Virginia. Those involved fled by the time the police arrived and witnesses weren’t talking. However, police got a lead from cellphone video recordings of the fight posted on YouTube. Seven men were easily identified from the clear footage and were taken into questioning. Similarly, Los Angeles police used videos posted on YouTube to identify participants in the riots following the June 2009 NBA Championship.

Levinson poses the interesting question of whether or not people are actually empowered by the technology. Would these people commit these crimes or similar acts if YouTube didn’t exist? In November, Minneapolis police arrested four individuals for assault after viewing the videos they posted of themselves committing the crime. The fact that these four people willingly posted the assault on the web makes one question their motives. However, I agree with Levinson that there is no real evidence to claim technology’s role in influencing violent behavior.

YouTube-On the Path Toward Media Concentration?

Like Levinson explains about YouTube, and almost all new new media- they have democratized society in unimaginable ways. The ability, as he explains for amateurs and nonprofessionals to post videos that can be viewed by anyone and everyone is revolutionary.

Within the past few months, however, YouTube has started placing advertisements before some videos' content. On the surface, this seems almost expected as it allows for YouTube to increase its revenue, and to receive other benefits from doing so. But after reading Levinson's chapter and giving more thought to this, enabling ads on videos is possibly one of YouTube's many steps to toward it becoming just another highly concentrated media. There are ads now, which makes it possible that in the future, YouTube will force viewers to pay for content (similar to what Hulu is in the process of doing now).

And if this happens, does that take away from what Levinson has been saying about YouTube and new new media in general? Will YouTube become a part of the machine that it first broke down? Does it make YouTube less of a democratizer? My initial thoughts tell me that though the consequences of YouTube becoming more commercialized over time won't be extremely drastic and horrid, but it still changes the foundation of what YouTube was when it was first created.

New New Media

I like the phrase coined by Levinson "New New Media," however, as we discussed in class, what do we call the next generation of media that are more progressive than the current ones? And at the rate in which we're going, media such as 3G iPhones and Twitter for example, will be outdated before we know it.

For me atleast, this fact is worrying. The speed at which our culture adopts new technologies and media is ever increasing. Like the video watched in class of the students in the lecture hall revealing facts of their technology and media use, there is simply not enough time to do everything that's required of us without extreme multitasking. And just as the PBS documentary pointed out in their study of students who were considered skilled multitaskers, the truth was that they weren't as talented at this as they originally thought they were. Where do we draw the line?

Blogging for a Greener World

In Chapter 2, Levinson touches upon the power that blogs have to “influence something real in the world” (Levinson, 46). I found a wonderful example of a blog that serves to do just that. Sustainablog is “blogging a greener world.” This site provides news and inspiring stories about people, businesses, and non-profit organizations that are dedicated to making a greener world. Sustainablog allows individuals to shop through an extensive collection of eco-friendly products. It also suggests ways that we can make greener decisions in our everyday lives.

Blogger, Max Gladwell, posted “Ten way to Change the World Through Social Media” on Sustainablog. He touches upon Levinson’s point on “long-range blogging” (Levinson, 26). Gladwell comments that social networks like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. have “a global reach with viral capacity, and yet it’s bringing local communities closer together.” Organizations and CEOs are beginning to acknowledge that these interactive and social networks are powerful tools that enable people to make a difference like never before. Gladwell elaborates on ten different ways to promote awareness, fund-raising, green jobs, eco-friendly products, etc. through different types of social media including, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, JustMeans,, “Make The Difference Network,” Alonovo,, Ning, SocialVibe, and

Sustainablog and Gladwell’s post are just two inspiring examples of ways in which blogging can work to change the world.


As Levinson states, all new new media transcend both space and time. This is something truly remarkable. As humans, death is inevitable, but with the advent of new new media, death is quite different. "YouTube, in other words, has robbed death of some of its meaning..." says Levinson.

Levinson provides several great examples of some celebrities whom have been kept alive after their death thanks to YouTube. He points out the tribute to Roy Orbison in the song "End of the Line," where his guitar is placed on a rocking chair during when he carried the lead. George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" still lives on in various versions despite his death. YouTube will make sure great musical artists live on in one way or another (Warning: This could also mean that terrible music lives on, but that's a matter of opinion).

For the most part, Levinson focuses on music, but YouTube can preserve several other celebrities, in particular athletes. Throughout YouTube there are highlights of Allen Inverson, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan which could be fascinating for future sports' fans to watch. When discussing great players from your generation compared to great players of future generations, YouTube becomes extremely valuable.

Mutually Catalytic

New new media add to the already competitive world of media for our attention much like Charles Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest. Print threatened the spoken word and television threatened radio. Although print media had a profound effect on our memories it gave us the ability to save our history and narratives for future generations. Radio also survived due to the recording industry as most actors and actresses moved from radio to television. The evolution of older media to new formats allows for its survival. As print and television benefitted older media, so will new new media benefit new and older media today.

Blogging and YouTube threaten newspapers and television as they each compete for our time. However, when a blogger or a YouTube video becomes famous enough it could end up on another medium. For example, "Julie and Julia" tells the story of how a blogger became very successful in the medium of cinema. In addition, when we finish our blog or upload our YouTube video, we can use widgets as a way to get the word out quickly by posting a link to our Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter pages. All these media can benefit each other, despite some of the negative effects they may have on older media.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Youtube vs. iTunes?

The most intriguing part of Chapter 3 in Levinson's book, New New Media was the issue of Youtube and iTunes. I had never really seen the tension that could exist between the two modes of entertainment. Levinson posits the question that with Apple's iTunes now charging $1.29 per song and Youtube remaining free, will the Youtube ever beat out iTunes? Personally, I don't much tension between the two at all. Granted there is certainly overlap in their uses as you can search and listen to music or watch music videos on Youtube and do the same by purchasing them on iTunes, but they remain different.

Youtube offers so much more than iTunes because it is a medium for everyone and everything. The content is vast and the uses are too but it's not in competition with iTunes. iTunes allows you to sample a song and purchase it to have to yourself. You can put it on your iPod or another device and you now own that track or CD. Youtube however doesn't allow for this, and every time you want to hear a song you have to find it again and scroll through all the bad quality and false videos to find the one you want.

I can see there may be tension between the two, yet I feel like they are too different to compete to the level of one defeating the other. They serve similar purposes sometimes, but in completely different manners.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Young on YouTube

Like Professor Levinson pointed out in Chapter 3, YouTube has had many effects on our culture and has become part of our everyday routines. I think that despite the copyright issues YouTube faces, it has served as a great platform for aspiring videographers, directors, actors, comedians and writers to practice their skills for the large online community.

I think an issue that arises that Dr. Levinson does not address directly is the fact that young kids go on YouTube even more than adults do. These kids grew up online and possess very natural, largely intrinsic computer skills to navigate the site and upload personal creations to it. I think it is important to take into consideration how their regular use of the site will affect their childhoods and futures. My younger brother and cousin are 12 and 13 and all of their friends have camera phones and digital cameras. They hang out on Friday nights in eachother's basements, make silly videos, edit them to add effects and weird noises and they post the final product on YouTube. It is all very innocent and even all their parents get a kick out of the productions they make, but I kind of worry about the type of message they are getting. Is it really ok to post all your behavior online where strangers have access to it? Do these kids know the limits of what is acceptable to post and will they grow up to put other less appropriate things up for all the world to see? Will their future employers find these videos 15 years from now? I think this is all important to consider.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Defining "New New Media"

Paul Levinson, in the first chapter of his book New New Media, uses the opportunity to describe what he means by "new new media." They are media that are so new that looking back four or five years ago, they did not exist. There are no textbooks on them and just recently, classes like ours are beginning to form content including these media.

Levinson also draws comparisons of how new new media share similarities to new media of yesterday. Principles like the ability for the user to still have tremendous control over the usage of the medium and the ability for a user to control when and where content is received.

Using the first chapter as an introduction to what the book is based on, we get a clear look at what each chapter's topic will be about and how new new media differs but also builds off of the "older" new media.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Digital "Datedness"

In chapter 1, Professor Levinson discusses how most of the sources he cites throughout the book are from Web site articles rather than published books. He explains this is "for the simple reason that most current books that seek to address new new media, by whatever name, are out of date- even if published in 2008" (Levinson 8). He goes on to explain that the book "Mousepads, Shoe Leather and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campign for the Future of Internet Politics," has no listing in its index of Wikipedia, Twitter or Digg and has limited Facebook and MySpace references. Basically, Levinson is addressing the issue of digital datedness, how many of the new new media he discusses simply did not exist as recently as the 2004 democratic nomination for president.

Howard Dean came to speak at Fordham last semester, and I had the opportunity to interview him for the school newspaper. I asked him if he thought his use of online media paved the path for future technology-savvy campaigns like President Obama's. His response was that he did not like taking credit for Obama's successful campaign because, even though they both used media in innovative ways, the platforms used were entirely different. Mr. Dean, like Levinson, explained that Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Wikipedia and rampant text messaging simply were not around during his 2004 campaign and therefore his media driven campaign seemed really dated in comparison with Obama's. He also told me to beware of the fact that traditional campaigning will soon cease to exist, that campaign strategy will be entirely drive by new media in the future.

The documentary "Digital Nation," mirrored both Levinson's and Dean's points, discussing the phenomenon of technology advancing faster than researchers can analyze what it is doing to people, that new social networking sites and online games become dated before these researchers reach any conclusive results about them.

the Internet vs Journalism

Blogging:Female or Athlete,217525

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Iran and Blogging

To add to the previous post on our blog by Sheena, Facebook and Censorship in Iran, here is a short video called Iran: A Nation of Bloggers:

IRAN: A Nation Of Bloggers from ayrakus on Vimeo.

Chapter 2

The book New New Media by Paul Levinson, is actually an eye opener for me since the whole idea of blogging is actually new to me. So this book is not only a reference but the beginning of new information for me. The book describes how New Media is accessible through laptops or phones, so it is more accessible than lets say the newspaper when they use to call it current events to find the latest news; but it had to be presented the next day now with access to all on a phone per say the inquiry is immediate. This could be a good thing but it can also be bad since not all you see is fact parts of it are just opinions posted as facts.

Digital Nation

Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, a new documentary courtesy of PBS Frontline, seems worthy of our attention.  Apart from the content, we might consider how the old medium of television is covering new media.

Chapter 2 Blogging

In the very last section of this chapter Levinson states "not everything in the natural, Darwinian world is competition;" he continues on to say that things can live in mutually beneficial relations and this is exactly how I feel about old-media reporting and new new media journalism. I do not think that blogging will become so over powering that it will take over old-media reporting but I think that having both forms creates a more informed and active public. If information is coming in from multiple sources people might be more inclined to research or continue looking for the truth. People may not just accept things and as they learn more they have the ability to share their findings and new new media will continue to growth with the support of old-media.

I was also interested in how a journalist was defined in the section Are Bloggers Entitled to the Same First Amendment Protection as Old-Media Journalists? I agree with Martin Garbus when he stated "I would define a journalist as someone who brings news to the public." I feel we have glorified journalists in old-media, we have given them more power and a greater voice than their job descriptions deserve. By doing this many in the old-media format have become more subjective harming the objective of news gathering and journalism. This is not to say that bloggers do not also have a strong voice behind their posts I am just trying to point out that the criticism that bloggers are faced with should also re-evaluate the old-media journalists.

Blogging:Chapter 2

Prior to reading this chapter I had the "blogger in pajamas" view that Levinson discusses towards the end of the chapter. I think it was difficult for me to understand the purpose for having a blog. Why would anyone want to take the time out of their day to type out their random thoughts on random subjects and share them with people that they don't necessarily know? I often wondered where people found the spare time or why they would not use this spare time to do something more productive. I wish I had extra time and if I did manage to find some I highly doubt I would spend it online. Plus, I thought, as a non-expert, as many bloggers are, why would anyone even want to read a blog that I wrote? Why would anyone care what I had to say? And if someone has something they really want to say why not call a friend to discuss? Why use the Internet to discuss?
So basically I was full of these questions, mostly seeing blogging as a waste of time that is slowly replacing vital person to person, face to face, interaction. However, upon finishing up Levinson's chapter I realized that blogging has other facets. I really liked the part where he didn't know an actresses name and instead wrote "XXX". The blog was then used as an information source as a reader was quickly able to fill in the "XXX" and provide a name for the unknown actress. Levinson also discusses that a blog can be used as a money making tool. Obviously I could understand why someone could take an hour out of their day to post their thoughts if they had a monetary incentive. Maybe the payoff isn't always large but its still existent and has room to grow if the blog becomes more popular. Finally, I liked how he pointed out that a blog can be a platform. Of all the writers in the world not many of them have the opportunity to publish and share their hard work with a large audience. If their writings are picked up by a publisher the writer is placed under the hand of the controlling company seeking to make a profit. However, through blogs writers everywhere have found an outlet through which they can freely share their work. The writer has total control of the blog, therefore they also have total control of their work, being able to edit, add or erase anything whenever they see fit. Plus, readers can post their opinions, so the writer has a constant opportunity to receive feedback and improve on his or her work.
Through reading this chapter I gained a greater understanding of what makes blogs so appealing. Although blogs still might not be something I would do outside of class, I enjoyed learning more about them.

I'm Yris

Hey everyone!

My name is Yris Moran. I’m a junior double majoring in Communications and Media Studies and Urban Studies. I am a commuter - I was born and raised in the Bronx. I often go to Dominican Republic throughout the year during vacations and weekends to go visit my family. I am the Vice President of Academia Hispana here at Fordham; I am also a Diversity Peer Educator. I work in the Office of Residential Life and a law firm in the city.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facebook and Censorship in Iran

In Chapter 1, Levinson briefly discusses how new new media has been controlled and censored by different forms of government and political systems. I was subject to such censorship during one of my trips to Iran. In the summer of 2008, I traveled to Iran to visit my family. During my stay, I was able to access my e-mail account but I was restricted from Facebook. I tried using a number of proxies to try and access the site. One proxy actually worked, but it too was restricted a few days later. Iran remains one of the strictest enforcers of censorship of the Internet. Many websites are blocked for being considered immoral and for containing words that are seen as anti-Islamic.

However, Facebook has quickly become an increasingly popular social networking site in Iran. Other forms of social media including YouTube, Twitter, and blogging also gained popularity especially during the last presidential election in Iran. Reformist activists used these sites to gain support against the regime. Female activists and students used different forms of social networking to promote human rights and organize political meetings on the Internet. On May 23, 2009, Facebook was blocked in Iran. However, it was unblocked just three days later because Iranian users protested the censorship enforced by the regime just prior to the elections. The users’ reactions to the attempted censorship of the new new media reinforces Levinson’s idea that “the reader has total control” (Levinson, 1). The Iranian users protested against the censorship as an attempt to maintain the freedom of speech that such networking sites enabled them to exercise. The following article discusses this issue in Iran in more depth:

Capturing The Reader

     Towards the end of chapter two in Paul Levinson's New New Media there is a section titled "The Need for Old Media Reporting in an age of New New Media". This section addresses the topic of how bloggers have become their own publishers and investigative reporting is on the verge of doom. The fact of the matter is, yes, bloggers can and are always self publishing via the internet and yes, this is putting actual newspapers out of business, but no it will never fully steal the audience of these newspapers. Just because you can publish something doesn't mean anybody is going to read it. Newspaper writers are newspaper writers for a reason, because they are good at what they do. Newspapers hire people with degrees and writing experience who now how to captivate readers, they have a selective style, and they get their information from other accredited sources that work for them in the field. 
     There are no criteria for bloggers other that owning a computer with access to the internet. Anyone can write a blog, therefore down playing its accomplishment. Not only does blogging allow for any writer to publish, no matter how bad the post may be, but it also lends itself to little or no rules. Newspapers follow a certain code of conduct when they publish and a certain consistency of release. Bloggers can publish as frequently as they want and write anything they want, no matter how offensive or lackluster it is. Bloggers do have an infinite amount of publishing power that people with only a Xerox machine could never achieve, but as far as creditability they are matched.

The Skill of Blogging

In New New Media by Paul Levinson, there is a discussion considering the power of blogging. Not only does the experience bring excitement and a feeling of importance to the blogger, but also the feedback can be immensely rewarding. Having read the chapter discussing blogging, it gives me a new view of the phenomenon.

I have personally only blogged as a part of class last semester and this semester and have never really seen the true lure of the practice. I'm sure for people who have influence or great knowledge of a certain area or topic, blogging can be a great tool for them as Levinson suggests. I have become more and more tempted to create a blog, but remain unsure of what I could ever offer the internet community because it would otherwise be pointless to create a site that doesn't help anyone in any way.

Blogging has become a culture of its own world-wide and will continue to grow, the question the blog culture seems to be asking is, can you offer anything with your own?

The Power of Blogging

The optimism and excitement with which Paul Levinson writes about blogging is apparent. He makes the saying "you can make a difference," very believable. In the section "Changing the World with Your Blog," Levinson gives an example of how Joan Walsh, editor of the blog Open Salon and frequent guest on several MSNBC shows, and himself, to a lesser extent, influenced Barack Obama's decision not to delay the debate between himself and Senator John McCain in 2008. Walsh responded to Levinson's blog saying, "Paul Levinson speaks, Obama listens!" Although this may be an exaggeration, it highlights the potential that every blogger has to influence anyone even the President of the United States.

Earlier in the chapter, Levinson discusses several instances in which he received feedback from several actors or from family of the actors who read his blog. Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane in AMC's "Mad Men," not only corrected Levinson but expressed his gratitude for Levinson's reviews. A similar exchange took place with Idris Elba, who played Stringer Bell on HBO's "The Wire." Like Sommer, Elba also thanked Levinson and the two shared some musical interests. Levinson also heard from Len Cariou's ("Brotherhood") wife and Aaron Hart's ("Mad Men") father. This must be a rewarding experience for any blogger. Influencing the President and chatting with certain celebrities, which a few years ago was seemingly impossible, are just two prime examples that demonstrate the power of blogging.

Monday, February 1, 2010


In this chapter, Dr. Levinson briefly noted an incident in 2004, when bloggers had an uproar over a CBS 60 minutes show that questioned if President Bush had completed his service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War (p. 48). Instead of showing the blogger's perspective on this incident, as I expected him to, he quoted the criticism that Jonathan Klein (former CBS executive) aimed at the bloggers.

It is really important I think at least, to demonstrate that this incident was a huge victory for those in the blogosphere. And actually, in one of my other classes, this incident became a major discussion to demonstrate that bloggers have the potential to have a major impact on news, print and broadcast. It is covered in detail in Fordham Professor Arthur S. Hayes' book, Press Critics Are The Fifth Estate: Media Watchdogs in America.

Hayes describes how the right-leaning bloggers responded to the broadcast furiously, and how they easily discovered that the documents serving as evidence in proving that Bush didn't complete his service were most likely created on Microsoft Word quite easily. In no time at all, they had convincing evidence of their own to prove that the report was false.

These bloggers then called for action: they demanded that Dan Rather and other CBS executives be fired immediately. They protested in pajamas at the CBS studio to make their case known and soon enough, some of their demands were met. Dan Rather resigned from CBS a few months after the incident and CBS fired one of the executives responsible for the reporting on the issue.

This incident shows the progress and more importantly, the credibility that the blogosphere had created in just a few years since its birth. It's one of the biggest examples of how citizen journalists matter too nowadays, which Levinson discusses.

The Blogosphere Democracy

Dr. Levinson's chapter on blogging was very interesting. I think the incorporation of his personal experiences with the "new new media" platform definitely enhanced his analysis of the medium. More than that, I think the use of anecdotes was smart way to convey his points, since blogging is a rather recent phenomenon without many measurable, quantifiable effects as of yet.

On page 22, he discusses the democratic nature of blogging, specifically the commenting tool's ability to "serve not only as a voice of the people but as conveyors of truth and correction," "epitomizing the democratic alternative to expert-driven information." In many ways blogging is a much more democratic than the traditional publishing and journalism industries: the opinions of everyday people can be heard, not just the contributors to the WSJ or New York Times editorial pages; there is no editor posing judgment or directing the content in any way and there are little to no monetary-based advertiser interest to keep in mind. Individuals are empowered by their ability to contribute to the world and influence society in some small way. Because of new new media, the monarchy-like hierarchy of traditional publishing has, in many ways, been overthrown.

On the surface, this seems like a great thing, kind of like when American colonists broke away from England years ago with dreams of a fully participatory democratic state. In the years since then, however, political scientists and ordinary observers have realized that a full-fledged democracy sounds great on paper but lacks realistic application. It is the classic "too much voices drown each other out," in that it is very difficult to get anything accomplished when you need the approval of every single individual. This is why America transitioned to a representative democracy and this may be the eventual fate of the blogsophere.

While the comparison is not exact, I tend to feel that there just may be too many voices posting online and that this influx of voices is actually making decision-making and objective research more difficult. It is becoming harder and harder to decipher what is a news item and what is a blog post even on major news websites, who now run just as many blogs and regular articles. I also really struggled trying to find objective information while writing my senior thesis last semester, constantly evaluating the credibility of online sources. Young people today are being inadvertently trained to resist "the expert" in favor of the "guy in his pajamas," which devalues the hard work and years of dedication the expert has that the latter lacks. Overall, the benefits of blogging are obviously positive, easy to see and exciting to analyze but there are costs and complications which I think also deserve attention.