The Best Blogs Blog

Each blog was suppose to have an engaging writing style, apply class concepts , and further discussions that we had in class in new and interesting ways. A successful blog also has a stance on a clear topic, relevant material from outside sources, and was written in the time frame in which it was due. For everyone of my blogs, I feel that these requirements were met. Of all of my blogs that I have posted this quarter though, I feel that “Life Unplugged”, and ” The ‘Troll’ing Under the Bridge” are my two best blogs.

In each of my blogs I tried to use as much active voice that I could, which has is much harder since I write science papers mostly; however, I did find that it got easier as time went on. Active voice is that in which the reader feels as if there is a conversation in the reading that they can further with their comments. I expanded on this to further discussion by ending each of my blog posts with a question to give the reader a topic to further state their idea/opinion with respect to mine. This also made it so that anyone who read it later would also get a more interesting and in depth conversation. The subject of each blog was a continuation of what I felt needed more discussion than was covered in class or a way to voice my opinion on something that I disagreed with from the readings. Each blog also used relevant tags and categories to help place it into context with the rest of my blogs. I also made sure to follow the content requirements in each of my blogs.

“Life Unplugged” covered a topic that was brought up and discussed because of our reading of “How a Plugged-In College Student Spent 24 Hours Without Tech”. I felt a real tie to the topic because of my upbringing without a lot of the trending technologies as a child, which allowed for a different view point to make arguments for and against the idea of unplugging in life. One way that I chose to try and evoke a response to my blog was by putting my opinions out there, a lot of which are controversial, because I feel that when one reads something that goes against them, they are more likely to speak out. Which is discussed by our reading ” The Six Things that Make Stories Go Viral…” with its’ tie to emotion being one reason. In the blog I included a reference and quote from “How a Plugged In…”, a link to one additional source (flow of nature), and  another photo which I discussed with reference to how unplugging can make a difference to people.

“The ‘Troll’ing Under the Bridge” blog covered a topic brought up by our reading of “ Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse“. Being a male college student, I do my fair share of gaming, and there is always that one troll it seems. Knowing this, I felt that a blog about trolling and why I think that some people overreact to it would be a topic of interest for people of the same interest group. I took a quote from the comment section of Rainbow-Cake Apocalypse which is a classic troll and put my spin on why I think that people troll and asked for other peoples opinions. Yet again, this can be a controversial topic, which I hoped to stir up some conversations with that engaged the readers. This once again pulls on emotion as was mentioned in “The Six Things…” reading. There is also a link to what Urban Dictionary defines trolling as along with a link to a video that gives what I define as trolling and how it should be handled.

One of my best comments I feel was the one I made on “Mankind’s Biggest Dilemma- Lazy or Busy?” because I feel that by giving my experience and voicing my opinion I was able to add depth to the blog. I helped to further the discussion by making it relevant to a lot of people here reading it because we are mostly engineers and there are varying opinions that needed to be voiced on the subject of lazy or smart.

Another one of my best comments was the one I made on “The More You Know” . In this comment I feel that I clearly state my opinion against doing the ice bucket challenge and why I feel that way. In doing so I also indirectly quote the reading we did by Will Oremus. I also further the topic of the blog post about STEM Cell research by linking a video to the comment that I had seen earlier that is relevant which I hoped to add more to the discussion.

Each of the blogs had a focused topic that made sense to be discussed along with the class readings and discussions and provoked comments of thoughtful reflection and discussion on each topic. While each of the comments that I made on other peoples blogs were a continuation and statement of my opinion on the topic being discussed that went to further conversation.

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Dump money into charity, not ice on your head

I thought that the ice bucket portion of the Ice Bucket challenge was pointless. Like the article by Will Oremus, Take the “No Ice Bucket” Challenge, says that there really was no real fundamental reason behind dumping a bucket of ice on your head. He suggests rather,

“It’s called the no ice bucket challenge, and it works like this:

  1. Do not fetch a bucket, fill it with ice, or dump it on your head.
  2. Do not film yourself or post anything on social media.
  3. Just donate the damn money, whether to the ALS Association or to some other charity of your choice. And if it’s an organization you really believe in, feel free to politely encourage your friends and family to do the same.”

I completely agree with his thought process, I feel that it means a lot more to just donate to whatever cause that means the most to you. This is due to the fact that I have always been one to never really care for needless attention to myself, but rather to keep as much attention off of me as possible.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am glad that the ‘viral’ hit raised as much as it did because every dollar raised helps the people that are suffering as explained in the Forbes Article, Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Donations From the $220 Million Campaign Enhanced ALS Research. As we discussed in class this week, the money raised was the part that mattered the most because even though people where doing it for the Facebook likes in some cases, they were still spreading at least the seed of discovery for people to look into ALS that way more people might research, donate, or both. The money that was raised has done some good already according to this article with different facts that have since been determined.

The ALS Association‘s website talks about how to do the original Ice Bucket Challenge but they too give alternatives to not dumping water on your head, such as jumping into a lake, pond, etc, dumping a bucket of whatever you can think of that is not water, and finally to just donate without taking a video to share.

So in my opinion, I say that the thing that shows your support for a cause the most is to not seek recognition but rather to just donate your time, money, and or effort out of the goodness of your heart. What do you guys think, should donating be about the recognition or the purpose?

Let’s Be Heard

Do you have any idea how many times that I was just about to leave to do something but at the last minute my sibling, who was grumpy that I got to do something that they didn’t, complained to my parents and all of a sudden I had a tag along? If you have siblings, I am sure you can relate. In a sense, that is a close analogy of what happens in today’s within our media sources.

What I mean by this is that, customers, in today’s technological age, have gained almost a power over the companies that provide services for them. If a customer doesn’t like something about the services provide or the way that a company handled an issue, then they have to power to go to the internet and voice that opinion. Once that opinion is heard by other people and customers it then can begin to build up momentum, causing a public relations issue for the company. A lot of times the company will be forced to take what could be considered, drastic measures, to smooth over relations to avoid a massive loss of revenue due to a decline in customers.

An example of this type of public relations is,

“For instance, there was the much-recounted tale of LaChania Govan, the Illinois Comcast customer whose repeated attempts to resolve a customer service issue in 2005 led to employees changing her account name—and bill—to “Bitch Dog.”

This is just one of the many examples out there that has proof that the person didn’t make it up just to get attention. I don’t know about you but if I was a potential customer, I would take that and the company’s reaction into account when making my decision.

Another great article that I found about how companies are responding to the technological age complaining on business2community.com actually goes through the different ways that different companies have responded in real time to peoples posts on different social media sites about different issues that they have with the company and what was done to resolve them. Sometimes the amount of action taken was appropriate in my opinion while others could have done more to settle the issue and possible saved them customers.

There is also another great info graphic (shown below) that I found that depicts this idea of how the company/customer dynamic has changed with time.

Social Media Customers

In this case it depicts how in the past old mass media services were able to just push what they wanted versus serving what the customers wanted because there was no real easy connections to spread the disruptive powers so quickly and widely as there is today in order to make a company hear your wishes. Now days there are so many different media sites that allow you to post your opinions, share others opinions so quickly that it can get very out of hand for a company who is on the wrong side of the fight with the mass users of social media. Then the only way to save face with the company is to usually give in to what the customers want or go out of business, which is kind of the analogy that I was going for with my siblings in that once they convinced my parents that they should be able to go, I wasn’t hardly able to say that I wouldn’t take them because then I would have multiple people mad at me and be in trouble.

What do you think, will companies ever get to the perfect balance of good customer service both online and offline before they all mess up and get pushed out of business?

Are We Dead Yet?

The classic movie quote “Are we there yet?” from you guessed it, Are We There Yet?, is what came to mind when we talked about what happens to our social media accounts once we die. Rather a spin off of that went through my mind, ‘Are we dead yet?’.

Basically what I mean by that is that I find it rather strange to think about at this age if I want my Facebook account to be deleted or memorialized when I die and all the details that go into that. I have reasons to argue for both ways, but I have to say that I am currently leaning to memorializing it when the time comes. I can say is that it is a very interesting food for thought though. On the one side, if you have them deleted than you, or more, your family and friends loose a valuable source of memories with you, but in that, they also don’t have to be reminded that you are gone if they accidentally go to your page or get a notification about your birthday etc. There are some alternatives to prevent the notifications though, such as a setting on Facebook when you memorialize your account. On the other, by memorializing the account, your family and friends are able to easily look back on the good times, let their feelings be heard that they are missing you, and grieve together more easily in a sense.

The article “When Facebook Friends Die”  goes through the authors opinions on when she heard that three of her friends on Facebook died and described how it felt in relation to how well she felt that she knew them as friends.

“But what I really wanted to write was that, although I hadn’t met Anika, I felt like we were friends and I believe she felt like I was her friend — even though we’d never looked each other in the eye, or given each other a hug or shared a bottle of wine. I wanted her real friends to know that I really cared about her too. But I felt like an impostor.”

This article got me thinking about what is going to happen when I die, I have several friends that it is harder to get a hold of except through Facebook. Will my loved ones think to do that? As the article reads, yes, we all probably have those people as ‘friends’ on Facebook that are more of an acquaintance than anything. I can’t agree more with the author about being torn between wanting to attend the funeral of the friend she never met but seemed to know rather well. Is that how some of the ‘friends’ that I know through Facebook will feel? I hope not, but I guess I will never know.

There is also a really good info graphic that goes into the facts about ‘social life after death’. It gives several interesting facts about things such as the year will be 2060 when the number of live Facebook users will equal the number of dead Facebook users, all the way through the different social accounts and what may happen to/ who can access said accounts. I was surprised that a lot of them didn’t really allow for easy access to family or deactivation, but rather had to have what to me is absurd amounts of documents to prove you are actually dead and the person should have access.

So what do you all think, should you delete deceased accounts, or memorialize them? Why?

The ‘Troll’ing Under the Bridge

Do you remember when you were a little kid, when you would go across a foot bridge somewhere, and that a relative would try and mess with you by telling you that you have to pay a fee to get across to the troll underneath?

He always trolled me that way, and it is not the only troll I have ever dealt with. As a normal player of multiplayer games, I have seen a lot of trolls. For instance I consider a type of trolling using a grenade launcher on just about any war simulating game. It is my opinion that they are over powered, OP, and that the people using them are trolls because they spam the grenades in order to get the best score. I find this unfair and really annoying. However, I do realize that it is just a game and that they only do that because they find it fun, especially when the other people get upset by it.

This is a different kind of trolling than seen in a different article that we read.

“Farts” as Stuffnfartsinyomouth says is just a different way to troll the people, and I found that type very funny considering the article that contained it. This is because of the complete randomness that it was said in and the obvious way that this user was trying in a sense to diffuse the situation by being a kind of troll and get them to forget the reason that they were all fighting which was for no reason at all.

Yet an even better example that I found quite a while back that is perfect for this is the Youtube video titled TROLLING THE MOST INSANE KID EVER ON MINECRAFT!!. Basically this video goes through a guy and a kid playing minecraft together online where the guy just completely screws with everything the kid does and just pulls different pranks throughout to mess with the kid. The kid however does take it like a champ though and doesn’t get too upset because he knows that in all troll situations, that it is just in fun and that it should not be reason for anger etc.

However that does bring up the point, that trolling, by definition from Urban dictionary is

“The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off…”  this is just a small part of what it talks about completely, it goes through how it requires that you make the other user believe what you are saying, or that you are trying to help when actually you are just being a troll.

So the point that I am trying to make here is that trolling, even though it may be annoying, or that it can be taken too far sometimes, is all in good fun. What is your opinions, should we get upset when people troll us, or just take it with a grain of salt and recognize that they are just pulling our chains?

Wikipedia and its’ Gender

I don’t care about what percentage of people that edit Wikipedia are male or female. According to this article,

“…surveys suggest that less than 15 percent of its hundreds of thousands of contributors are women.”

It is my opinion that we as humans are all created equal, both male and females. So what’s the big deal about how many times males post edits versus females if we are all equal? There is no where a rule, regulation, or law stating that you can’t share your knowledge on Wikipedia if you are a female. Just because more males tend to be doing the editing means nothing in my opinion besides the fact that we don’t really care what people think about our opinions. I’m not saying that females do care so much that they can’t put their own opinions out there but rather, from in class discussion about females editing Wikipedia,  if we are all equals then why are women afraid to put their opinion out there? There is no reason for them to be afraid of the opinions they get back and if it happens to be a rude opinion push aside the rude part of it and take just the information from it and move on. Yes, this may be hard to do at times, I won’t deny it even as a guy, but it is do-able.

My argument as to why there are more males on Wikipedia is that I feel that since it is, to me at least, a more technical oriented resource that maybe it does appeal to males more than females; however this idea is reversed it appears when it comes to social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, etc. This is shown in a research article by the Pew Research Center, in which it goes through several different demographic compilations of the popular social media sites and makes comparisons about them. One of these comparisons shows that there are a greater deal of females who use the social media sites versus males.  This idea to me just goes to show that maybe it’s not that females are afraid, but rather more interested in social media sites, kind of like how men are more interested in technical issues. social-media-infographicThis info graphic posted on FinancesOnline.com goes through several different data sources. It goes to further my argument that it’s not that it is a problem of females posting things to Wikipedia, but rather that it isn’t necessarily in their interest range like it is for males. It shows several examples of how when it comes to the social aspect of posting things that females actually dominate over males.

Are we the men to be blamed for stopping the women from adding what they know to a subject? Or is rather a matter of what catches a persons attention?

Info graphic Source

This article was found through academic search premier but the I can’t find the link since I saved as a PDF so now I had to post it to my blog to allow for it to be seen from Pinterest. This article only gives a brief set of data on STEM jobs but it is still semi decent information. It is from an actual magazine that just happens to be online also, although not nearly as credible for the information from say “Forbes”. Salary Comparison Entry

The Internet, The Bane of Research?

In this day and age, almost everyone knows how to get on the internet. That can be a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. This is because anyone can post what they want to online saying what ever they want. Some of the posts are actually good while some of them are bogus saying that George Washington was the twenty second president (totally made up for an example). There are still sites out there like that, and there always will be because there isn’t enough time to sort all the bogus out with the masses of sites that are out there. Instead it is left up to the person who is doing the search for some topic to be able to tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. At first, like many things, this can be a difficult task and seem overwhelming. This idea is echoed in How Teens Do Research in the Digital World, by Kristein Purcell, Lee Rainie, Alan Heaps, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich, Amanda Jacklin, Clara Chen, and Kathryn Zickuhr.

“Large majorities also agree with the notion that the amount of information available online today is overwhelming to most students (83%)”

I say with this much data being thrown at us that it only goes to make us better researchers by forcing us to weed through the information finding the data we need and push the bogus aside. Yes it may be hard for some students but as long as the importance of the work is seen then this task should be possible. One article that I found shows in a survey that  there are different levels of information that is found in research varying from good to best and the closer that you get to the best information, the less of it there is. Figure 6. Quality of Information

This just goes to show that of the information out there that we find that is actually in the best range gives proof that those who research on the internet have a great skill that is not necessarily hampered by the shear amount of data out there.

Just think back to the Senior research paper that you wrote before you graduated high school, how many hours did you log just sifting through different sites to find the data you needed to make your argument? Was that an easy task? Or did it take some thought to decide what was true and what wasn’t?

Title Image from: http://studebtsjob.blogspot.com/2014/01/make-money-freelancing-by-easy-internet.html 

Life Unplugged

People these days spend way to much time on their electronic devices, that is my opinion anyways. There are many differing opinions on the topic though, and several of which have been discussed in class. These discussions did not change my opinion though, and I feel that is mostly because of how I was raised as a child. Growing up I was that kid that was always just a few steps behind the technology curve, such as I was nearly in high school when I got my first cell phone and even it was a ‘dumb phone’ by the standards back then or the fact that the Playstation 2 had been out for several years before I got one. Even once I got them though I wasn’t allowed to be on them except when I needed my cell phone to call someone or just an hour or so on the PS2. This really shaped my opinion on the topic of being unplugged because I was told as a little kid not to become completely attached or dependent on our technology, otherwise we will miss a lot of great things in life. One of the cases I found that true in was when I went hunting; I was completely isolated from technology and people meaning my mind was free to wander and observe the beauty of the nature around me.  Not to mention I would have missed my target had my face been buried in my phone. Whenever I go hunting, I be sure to leave my phone in my pocket even to this day still because I can not describe how much more relaxed that I will be after sitting there just watching the world go by for a while. I feel like a lot of people would benefit from extended time away from all the technology of today if they are stressed out about anything just because they are forced then to see the beauty that is our world. This beauty is been shown in studies to even possibly be one of the best ways to be more productive if you ‘unplug’ and just take a walk through it and let your mind feel the flow of nature which is described in a post by Jared Green. Who can stay stressed after that? As Emily Skorin wrote in her post about being unplugged for twenty four hours,

“Unplugging can be a time to reflect on where you are and what you’re doing. It can be a time to look up and see the people around you. It can be the chance to laugh hysterically with your friends without the constant vibration of your phone. It can be a chance to take a breath.”

outdoors(photo courtesy of Smokey Mountain National Park where I recently went on vacation)

Just take the picture above, who could say that they would  be able to not just sit on the rocks in front and close their eyes and just soak in the sounds and not feel the stress melt away? It would work for me every time so long as my phone wasn’t going off in my pocket every few minutes. I am still open to suggestions of what could possibly be other methods of stress relief though and thoughts on how much use of electronics that people should interact in each day…. maybe someone will actually change my opinion on the topic…..