Module 3 Summation

This week’s topic brought up many discussions on our blogs about different reasons why we think Wikipedia is reliable or not. My blog post mentions how I used to think that Wikipedia had a lot of false information and that people would often change the articles and topics to fool around and make the information wrong. Many of the comments in my group seemed to agree with me about feeling this way before reading the articles. This could be because of professors and teachers telling us that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, and is not a valid reference for in a paper. However, after reading the articles for this week it seems to give off the impression that Wikipedia isn’t as bad as what we are all taught in school. Nearly every comment under my blog post mentions this, and talks about how it should be okay to use Wikipedia for school projects because it is constantly updated, and it allows the information to be from different perspectives. The idea of information on Wikipedia perhaps being biased was also brought up in my blog, and in the comments there were some responses to this. Others agreed that it may be bias because only those who are interested or have strong feelings against a certain topic would edit and contribute to the article. This bias may give a bias perspective to those who are reading the article to gain new knowledge. However, even encyclopedia’s can have a bias attached to it through the editor of edition and those who give the information. I feel as if there is always a way to create a bias, but Wikipedia eliminates much of any bias as well because of the fact that anyone can contribute.

I thought it was humorous that every single person commented on the picture I chose. It is about someone going on Wikipedia to read about one topic, but ends up reading about something completely different. Everyone commented saying that this concept is constantly happening to them as well, and I don’t think this is a bad thing. If Wikipedia can allow people to change topics they want to learn about that quickly, it is giving more knowledge to us than opening a book and reading on only the topic we were focused on. I think it is good that we get caught up on Wikipedia because there is nothing wrong with gaining new knowledge and learning about something new.

Overall, the comments under my blog this week were mostly agreeing with what I had to say, which allows me to believe that after reading the articles everyone had the same thoughts on Wikipedia. It is a good source of information, and I think that it should eventually be allowed to use as a scholarly source in an educational paper. Just like I read in one of the comments, if professors read the same articles we read this week, I think their opinions on Wikipedia would change and it would be a valid source. 

Module 3: Wikipedia and the information it gives us

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Before reading the articles about Wikipedia for this week, I honestly thought Wikipedia was a lot more unreliable. I always hear teachers, professors, parents, etc. telling me not to believe what I read on Wikipedia, but I had no idea that it is as reliable as a regular encyclopedia. It’s news to me that there are so many people constantly editing Wikipedia articles to make sure they are correct. The fact that they are all volunteers makes it even more reliable because they are not being forced to do anything –they are doing it out of their own time. This could be a problem as well because volunteers may have some free time and just decide to ruin the articles, but then there will always be another individual to edit the article back to its correct format. Having the discussion area of the site is good to have as well.

Therefore, my opinion of Wikipedia has changed after reading the articles, and it has made me realize that “Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation” (Jensen, 2012). This quote was taken from the article   about the War of 1812. I thought it was very interesting that the War of 1812 had such conflict with the article. The fact that there were 3300 comments under that article by 627 of the most active users show that there are many perspectives and opinions with events that have happened in the past (especially events such as the War of 1812). One line in that article that caught my attention though, is when it says “the amateurs are enthusiastic for details but cannot see the forest that has been mapped out in the histiography” (Jensen, 2012). Not entirely sure if I interpreted that correctly, but I think that it is saying we are all amateurs, and none of us are experts on the topic. None of us were there, so we need to rely on the information others have given us or passed down to us.

            One article that I thought was very interesting was the article about Wikipedia having biases and talking about the validity of the information. The Royal and Kaila (2009) article makes a good point when they say that “Wikipedia is more a socially produced document than a value-free information source” and “it reflects the view points, interests, and emphases of the people who use it”. Therefore, everything on Wikipedia is obviously written by someone who is interested in the topic, and only those who are also interested will read and edit it. That is why there is more information, as mentioned in the article, on more popular and current topics. This makes Wikipedia more “socially produced” (Royal and Kapila, 2009), which can go along with what the last article was saying about Wikipedia not being “mature in a scholarly sense” (Jensen, 2012).

            The last article that I thought was interesting was The Social Life of Documents by Brown and Duguid (1996). The part that really caught my attention was about the different groups created over the internet through shared interests and hobbies, and how they pass documents to each other. A long time ago in the Renaissance “letters circulated among the Fellows of the Royal Society in England” (Brown and Duguid, 1996). This is how the intellectual communities would contact each other and develop their scientific journals. Nowadays, communities are created and stay in touch through new technologies. The article mentions that documents being changed into an online document are not helping the economy of the document and may be affecting it negatively, however, society will continue to find ways to make the document “economically practical” (Brown and Duguid, 1996). Even though new groups are being created and staying in touch online, it may be damaging the economy of the document and paper production but there will always be times that a signed document is needed. This made me think about Wikipedia, and how we don’t even need to produce encyclopedia’s anymore if we can gather all the same information online.

            In my opinion, Wikipedia is helping give knowledge out to those who want to learn something new, quickly. Whether I want to know about a famous historical individual, or learn about a music group, Wikipedia is always a fast and simple way to gain that knowledge. It is well organized, and easy to understand. My thoughts on Wikipedia have changed after reading the articles mentioned above, and I will personally continue to use Wikipedia in my everyday life.

I thought the picture below was funny because whenever I go onto Wikipedia to try and learn about a topic, I always end up clicking the links that lead to new topics and learn about something completely irrelevant to the topic I originally went on to learn about. 

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Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of DocumentsFirst Monday. 1, 1.

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of           1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182.

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not: Assessing Completeness    of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

Module 2 Summation of Comments on Social Networking Blog Post

For this week’s blogs related to social networking and the surveillance with social networking sites on the internet, everyone’s blogs in my group were similar. They were similar in a sense that they all mentioned that social networks should have the privacy settings on, we should not share information about ourselves that is too personal, and there are boundaries and limits to the information that should be exposed. What I enjoyed about reading everyone’s blogs was the different personal experiences and personal rules regarding social networks that were mentioned.

            A lot of the comments liked how I mentioned that Facebook almost forces its users to include their school network and hometown. For instance, I don’t have my home town listed on my Facebook right now but it is constantly notifying me to update my profile and add that. Why do I need to say my home town on Facebook? Everyone I have as a friend should know where I am from anyways. The school network isn’t an awful idea though, because it makes it easier to find and connect with people from your school.

            Another part of my blog post that was brought up multiple times in the comments was the rule that my family has about posting when we are off on vacation. We are not allowed to tweet or post a status on Facebook if we are gone for a long period of time (for example, our week long trip to the cottage we do once a year). One comment mentioned, however, that what if we booked a vacation online? Even though we don’t write on social networks that we are on vacation, there must be ways to find out who is gone on vacation through the online bookings. In my opinion, that is a scary thought that could actually happen.

            One last topic from my blog that was commented on numerous times was the idea of predators on social media networks. I brought up the fact that Criminal Minds has episodes that involve victims being chosen through the internet. One in particular was about a stalker who would follow the social networks of certain women and they would be his victims. It obviously scares people that this can happen in reality, and it can be a serious issue. We always hear the cases of adults meeting with children in person that they met online in a chat room. This is why rules and restrictions to what is put online must be implemented in family households, and everyone must be taught the consequences that might occur by putting personal and private information onto the internet. Not only do we have to watch what we put online, but also what is said online. I cannot say it enough, but once someone is on the internet, it can never be taken back. Even a post on Facebook, or a tweet on Twitter, even though it can be deleted, someone somewhere saw what was posted and will remember.

            Overall, the comments on my blog were mostly agreeing with my opinions and what I had to say, and agreed with the rules and personal opinions I had about social networks and what information should and should not be posted. All of the blogs I read had similar opinions, which makes me believe that everyone in my group is on the right track! Everyone seems to be careful with what is posted online, and agree that the idea of conversation is changing with technology. Face to face conversations are becoming less and less, which can cause many problems with interactions in the future. 

Advances in Social Networking and the Problems that come from it

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Balancing public, personal, and private life on social media networks and over the internet can commonly have no boundaries. Through personal experiences I have seen people post comments online that I found to be too personal for everyone to know about. There is also private information that can in fact be dangerous to post online. For safety reasons, I know not to post my address, phone number and where I live online, however, I feel I have crossed the line by putting on Facebook where I attend university, and where I work. I know that shouldn’t be online, but it almost seems like it needs to be there to connect with people that also attend Brock University, or work at the same jobs as me. I think it is acceptable to Tweet what is on one’s mind, but saying exactly where one’s location is at all times can be dangerous. I know my house has a rule that we are not allowed to put on any social network when we leave to go to my cottage for a week because it leaves our home at risk for someone finding out and perhaps breaking in. Whoever watches Criminal Minds would also understand that some serial killers know what their victims are doing through their Facebook status’ and tweets, and I get really into the show so it scares me to think that could happen. The fact that technology has changed what conversation is, and what it consists of, worries me. With texting and e-mailing, the population is using it as a way to avoid communicating with others. What they don’t understand is how important it is to communicate with others and have a face-to-face conversation. In Sherry Turkle’s article, “The Flight From Conversation”, she explains how technology allows us to never be alone, which in fact can make people more lonely. If someone doesn’t know what it’s like to be alone, they won’t know how to deal with it. She also explains that we are relying on technology as an attention grabber. In my opinion, tweeting what’s on your mind won’t grab the attention of peers who actually care. Personally going to a family member or friend about feelings is much more beneficial so they can show they care. Talking about feelings through a text or e-mail makes it almost impossible to show true compassion of the topic through tone of voice and facial expressions. Another topic related to social networking that involved separating personal and private topics online is the fact that employers can see what is put online. Keeping a social media profile “clean” can be very important if there is a certain career you would like to get into, and it can be the make-or-break for an employer to hire someone or not. In Anders Albretchslund’s article, “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance”, it is mentioned that if an employer knows that their employees have a blog, they might read it to see what they are saying about the company. A blog may not only have opinions on the company, but it might let out a secret about another employee. This shows that everyone has to be careful nowadays about what they say to peers and fellow employees because anything could be let out online and come back to bite them. In my opinion, the only time work should be incorporated into social networking is if it is on a site for that purpose –such as LinkedIn. Even on sites such as LinkedIn, it is possible for anyone to make up their own identity. That’s the crazy thing about social networking is you can be anyone you want to be. This can also cause problems however, because people who aren’t happy with themselves may create who they want to be online. The problem with this is that they never get the chance to accept who they really are. The article “Cyberspace and Identity”, by Sherry Turkle, mentions that obese people can make themselves thin and beautiful online, those who are shy can be outgoing, and so on. Trusting people online can be very challenging, because you don’t know who they really are. An online bio and picture can be the complete opposite of who someone really is, which can also lead to the problems online with older men/women meeting children in chat rooms. There is no way to tell if someone is telling the truth about their identity.

Overall, there are boundaries for different sections of one’s life that should be taken into consideration. For example, Facebook should be for catching up with old friends, Twitter for posting interesting information or thoughts and opinions (though being careful about what is being said), and LinkedIn for work life. I don’t think any of these social networking sites should ever cross private boundaries or personal boundaries, however, it is hard to define what these boundaries are. With everyone being so opinionated online, it can be difficult to set what these are. The main idea is to be careful about what is put online, and understand that it can be found by anyone. 

Regarding the idea that society is now using technology to replace communicating face to face, and that a group of friends can be hanging out but no one speaking –everyone on their phones, I have attached a picture that I thought could relate. Even though you cannot see in the picture, there was a group of people around and the girl caught on camera was texting. Why isn’t the girl participating in conversation with everyone else? I have no idea. But it is fun to look at pictures that are posted on Facebook of parties and big gatherings, and look at how many people are holding their phones in the pictures, or even how many phones are close by.Image

A little introduction about myself & the topic chosen

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Hey everyone! Welcome to my blog! My name is Nicole and I currently attend Brock University. I just finished my 3rd year in a program I absolutely love…psychology! Even though it involves a lot of memorizing and reading, it is the one course that interests me the most. Throughout the past 2 years I have taken popular culture and communications courses, and I found them to also be very interesting. That is why I took this Comm2F00 course! This is my first time enrolling in an online course, and so far I like what I see. I think it’s neat to have all the assignments online, this way I can do it all in my pajamas and not have to dress up to go to school (not that I really do anyways). I currently don’t know what I am going to do in the future –career wise, but I do plan to travel a lot before I start a full time career! I may attend college for a few years after university, once I figure out what I may want to do with my life.

The idea of blogging is new to me, but I definitely enjoy it. I think it is fun to be able to tell my thoughts, opinions, personal experiences, etc. over the internet and have others be interested in what I have to say. It makes me feel like a somewhat interesting person, and shows me that other people can be just as nosey as I am!

I chose the topic of youth and cyber bullying because lately it has been a major issue as shown in the media. On the news, in the newspapers, and ironically over the internet, cyber bullying has been shown lately to be a huge issue in youths, especially when it leads to a young individual committing suicide. I feel as if it is natural for children to be bullied or be a bully and that’s the way the world turns –it will never disappear. However, I don’t think it should EVER get bad enough to cause the victim to commit suicide. Being a victim of bullying when I was younger, and in some cases minor cyber bullying, I take this topic to heart and feel very hurt when I hear about someone being bullied in any way. No one deserves to be bullied to that extent –or in any way for that matter. As technology advances, it gives more opportunities for cyber bullying to occur. It started with MSN and MySpace, and has moved up to tons of different social networking systems, with Facebook and Twitter being two of the most common. Children and teens need to learn how to use the new technology wisely, and learn how to take comments over the internet less personally. Once something is on the internet, it’s there forever, and I think youths sometimes forget that.

 

Blogs related to the topic:

https://blogs.mcafee.com/cyber-security-mum-india/teens-and-social-networking-sites

https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/keeping-your-teen-safe-online-even-when-they-dont-want-your-help

http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2013/04/21/cyberbullying-on-the-rise/

http://www.firstpost.com/tech/cyber-bullying-leaves-one-third-of-uk-youth-depressed-576221.html

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/cyberbullying

Tweets related to the topic:

https://twitter.com/ETCBtweet

https://twitter.com/Cyber_Bullying

https://twitter.com/search?q=cyber%20bullying&src=typd

https://twitter.com/Bullying_Bytes

https://twitter.com/search?q=cyber%20bullying%20in%20youths&src=typd

Websites related to the topic:

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/how_it_works/direct_attacks.html

http://kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Bullying/Cyberbullying/Are-You-a-Target.aspx?gclid=CJL3nbCMiLcCFfR9OgodOlAAFQ

http://www.cyberbullying.ca/

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/cyberbullying.html