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Top 10 Things I Learned in ICM 501
December 3, 2006, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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We are a hungry world and we EAT information.
November 13, 2006, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We EAT InformationWe are a hungry world and we EAT information. Our hunger is insatiable but as individual tastes develop, demands for accuracy and commitment to the truth will be added to the menu. The standards of web news reporting are experiencing dynamic changes. This blog will explore our hunger for news, judgment analysis of information and the balancing of sources. 

Throughout the 1990’s, many television news stations carried the slogan, “We have it first”.  I remember watching Saturday Night Live when a news cast broke in and reported that Princess Diana was involved in a serious car accident while trying to get away from the paparazzi. A few years later, I remember watching the television as the U.S. armed forces started its bombing of Iraq. On November 8, 2006, while sitting at my computer at work, I was a sent an email feed about U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigning. When I clicked on the email link, I was provided video footage of President Bush discussing the matter. On Friday November 10, 2006, YouTube had a movie clip that shows a man being beaten by a Los Angeles police officer. I, as many people around the world, am guilty of wanting to know what is happening in the world first. Whether the form is a newspaper, television news, email or a website, people are interested in current timely news.  

There is a lot of information being collected. Supermarkets, drug stores, books stores, shoes stores, and more have coupon cards that track all of your purchases, when and what type. To obtain these cards one must sign a consent form and most people do not know how their information will be used. In a New York Times article, “Researchers Yearn to Use AOL Logs, but they Hesitate”, by Katie Hafner, I was very pleased to read that there are some researchers who are hesitating over using AOL query logs that were released.  

“Now it’s sitting there, in cold storage,” said Professor Kleinberg, who works on algorithms for understanding the structure of the Web and searching it.“ The number of things it reveals about individual people seems much too much. In general, you don’t want to do research on tainted data.”  

Although curiosity and research analysis has led to dynamic innovative advancements in all fields, at what cost will it affect public’s perception of the end results? Tainted meat is tainted meat. No matter how long you cook this meat, if someone knows that it is bad from the start, many people will not eat this meat. 

In an article published on Online Journalism Review, Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute discusses the type of content on the internet.

“There’s so much crap out now that most of it is worthless. Information has two forms of value. First, information that is new is valuable, but in a limited sort of a way. More valuable is information that has been vetted and organized in a way that gives the user meaning. That kind of information starts out in the first category, then it is verified and categorized by a credible organization, which elevates the information to the second category. Anyone can achieve the first level of value. It takes a bit of skill and intelligence and knowledge and hard work to get to the next level.”

Kelly McBride’s statement is insightful as to the changing appetites for news information. Information has to be accurate and truthful. Many individuals desire not only to read or hear information, but to critically think and analyze the story from various points of view. Simon Waldman, of Guardian Unlimited, sums up this point best:

“Get the story right. Get it out there as quickly as possible. Do it in that order and you will have no problems. Do it the other way round, and after a while you won’t be taken seriously. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger with a dozen readers a day, or a major news organization with a million or more.”

The proliferation of information in journalism is great. Information that is vetted for accuracy and ethical approval will provide a perception of respect. People crave information and use various tools to fill this hunger. As experience with different websites and news tools become available, people will start to become selective or “picky” to their preferred sources of information. Sources that provide deeper meaning, accuracy and balance will become a favorite.  

References:

AP Los Angeles (2006, November 10) LA beating found on YouTube. CBS13.com. Retrieved November 12, 2006 from http://cbs13.com/watercooler/local_story_314201140.html.

Glaser, M. (2004). On the wild, woolly internet, old ethics rules do apply. Online journalism review.

August 8. Hafner, K. (2006, August 23). Researchers yearn to use AOL logs, but they hesitate. New York Times.



At Web 2.0 Summit, a Look At What’s in Store
November 13, 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Top internet issues.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/08/AR2006110802094.html?referrer=email&referrer=email&referrer=email



“WHAT AT THE DEUCE ARE YOU STARING AT!”
November 5, 2006, 9:52 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Family GuyThe other day I watched a DVD of Family Guy in which “Snap”, “Crackle” and “Pop” of the Rice Krispies were animated. I was very excited. My beloved mascots of Rice Krispies cereal had personalities. That got me thinking about the marketing of Family Guy. In the United States, if you ask people between the ages of 15 and 40 about Family Guy, the name probably would create a visual of Peter Griffin or Stewie in the majority of minds. Why is that? How can a cartoon create name recognition? Are they breaking new ground with stimulating writing and graphics? This blog will explore the convergence of media and remixing of concepts. 

H. Jenkins from the book, Workshop at the Alter of Convergence, defines that convergence happens when old and new media collide, where grassroots and corporate media intersect, where the power of the media producer and the power of the media consumer interact in unpredictable ways. Family Guy has developed a following by airing the cartoon on Sunday nights on Fox television. From this viewing, a diverse array of products has emerged. A visit to http://www.familyguy.com/ provides the user with ring tones, a message board, blogs, video clips, E-cards, a store that sells T-Shirts, DVDs and more. Ring tones, E-cards and video E-cards not only promote the show but also perpetuates the cultural convergence. Family Guy has crossed traditional media in which a television show is aired and has developed mass marketing of numerous products that reaches a variety of audiences.  The control of what one says in the E-card and where it goes has moved away from the cartoonist, and has created an unpredictable atmosphere that capitalizes and promotes Family Guy. 

In the Family Guy episode, Blind Ambition, “Crackle” and “Pop” are in a bar after an attack by the Keebler Elves killed “Snap”. The segment ended with them raising their mugs to “Snap”.When the characters were illustrated in 1933 by illustrator Vernon Grant, the characters’ primary purpose was to sell Rice Krispies cereal. This remixing or twisting of these cultural products mascots is a spin off its original context.  

The content of the show is about an average middle-class family in New England that struggles with common issues in outlandish fashions. The common issues are not original and many of the situations that they find themselves are absurd, but this mixing and mashing of popular norms in extreme situations make this unique. Content that is newsworthy or in the media can be topics for the show. For instance, in the episode “Don’t Make Me Over”, Meg, the daughter, undergoes a makeover to make herself more attractive. In another episode titled “PTV”, Osama bin Laden is having trouble keeping a straight face while videotaping a threatening message to the United States. Further into the episode Congress is debating censorship. Each topic is serious, but outrageous situations bring a bit of humorous discourse to these topics. 

In conclusion, Family Guy is an example of convergence with mainstream media blended into a variety of alternative media avenues. Popular culture, characters and newsworthy topics can be topics of discussion and story lines for this show. This show demonstrates a successful example of blending and mixing of popular culture into a media modality. As Stewie says, “What the deuce are you staring at?” 

References

Family Guy. Retrieved November 5, 2006 from http.wwwfamilyguy.com.

Felton, E. (2004). Rip, mix, burn, sue: Technology, politics, and the fight to control digital media. Princeton University President’s Lecture Series, no. 1.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Introduction: “Worship at the alter of convergence” (pp. 1-24). Convergence Culture. New York: NYU Press.

Snap, Crackle and Pop. Retrieved November 5, 2006 from http://www.answers.com/topic/snap-crackle-and-pop.



In Teens’ Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year
November 5, 2006, 9:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

An interesting article that ran in The Washington Post on October 29, 2006.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/28/AR2006102800803.html



Turn on the Lights Please
October 28, 2006, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Light SwitchWhen you walk into a dark strange room, what is one of the first things you do? Many skim their hand along the wall in search of a light switch. As the lights are turned on, the room is filled with light. Light allows you to navigate and visualize the colors, textures and design of the room. As you walk around the room, you scan for information as to what this room can provide. Many websites are in essence a room filled with light in which the user will discover its contents. Navigation, userability, design and message construction are part of the information architecture blueprint. This blog will discuss how information architecture contains similar principles to the physical architecture found in a room.

Imagine walking into a dark room where couch after couch is put in the doorway and entrance of a room. How painful and frustrating this experience would be. Many would turn around after the second bump and leave the room. A website’s navigation provides the user with the blueprint to browse through the site. It should be immediately recognizable, not necessarily the prime focus, but it must be visible. It is a tool for the user to navigate and must be prominent. If your site contains the navigation on the left hand side of the page, it should be in the same spot for other pages in the site. Word selection should be carefully chosen to lead viewers toward important information. A link that doesn’t work or goes to a page not found is frustrating and the viewer will leave the site.  

Navigation, search and collaboration are the invisible threads that make up the userability of a website; it is the underground wiring behind the light switch. It is the digital structures in which information is shared with spaces. Compatibility to the person’s computer or mobile device is an important aspect with userability. The ability to key word search either for the site URL or within the site has become commonplace. It helps prioritize information within the mind of the user to find quick results. The ability to collaborate images, hyperlinks, sound and video to other website allows for further userability within sites. 

Besides navigation and userability, design is a first impression a person has when entering the website and provides individual uniqueness and identity. Design can encompass color, visual texture, sound, video and font style. A site with bright yellow/green, which can be found at http://www.dontclick.it, is screaming that its message is important. Pale tones or earth tones, such as the ones found at http://www.spamagazine.com/, may denote calm and well-being. A serif or script font, Times New Roman for instance, may imply elegance or sophistication. A sans serif or straight font such as Helvetica, may imply a modern, fashionable, uncomplicated message. Many subscribers have cable modem or DSL but not everyone. Graphics should not take more than a second or two to download. If it takes longer, people likely will leave your site. The overall design is the architectural features of a website. 

Text, images, sound and video are the messages of a website; it is the picture that is inside the picture frame. Each item on the site represents the overall theme or purpose. Messages should be chosen to create an impact for understanding, the “WoW” factor, sharing, etc. For instance, www.macys.com provides various merchandise for shopping, http://www.dontclick.it promotes reasons not to have a button that clicks and http://loc8ed.com/501/ promotes the latest blog posts for ICM 501. Messages are bundles of data in which viewers may have a variety of expectations. The news site www.cnn.com provides messages about important stories around the world, while www.techblog.org provides messages on technology and a place for someone to comment. Messages provide the overall tone and emotion felt when walking into a room or a website.  

There are numerous websites on the web. A schematic that allows for clear navigation, userability, design and message construction will allow for interaction and connection to places within or to other websites. It is the proverbial light that illuminates the pages and invites people to explore. 

References

Catani, M., Chadwick-Dias, A., Connor, E., LeDoux, L., True, M., Tullis, T., A Study of Website navigation methods. Fidelity Investments. Retrieved October 28, 2006, from http://www.eastonmass.net/tullis/WebsiteNavigation/WebsiteNavigationPaper.htm.

How to find articles. Retrieved October 22, 2006 from http://www.library.yale.edu/instruction/journals/pages/stepfourcard.html.

Kiley, J., The immutable laws of effective navigation, Part 2 Let it stand out. Logo designworks. Retrieved October 28, 2006, from http://www.logodesignworks.com/articles/ar23_navigationlaw2.htm.

Krug, S. (2000). Don’t make me think. Indianapolis: New Riders, pp. 1-39.

 Wodke, C. (2001). Defining information architecture deliverables. Boxes and Arrows.



Building a ‘Googley’ Workforce: Corporate Culture Breeds Innovation
October 25, 2006, 6:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

There are a lot of interesting points in this article about culture, personality and breeding of new ideas. Google seems like an incredible place to work!

Building a ‘Googley’ Workforce: Corporate Culture Breeds Innovation

By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 21, 2006; Page D01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/20/AR2006102001461.html?referrer=emailarticle