Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Media & Society

Without a doubt, the advent of 'New Media' has created a wave of change in society in general. Here are some of the most notable effects: The creation of the virtual handshake/hug We live in a global village- most of us have family and friends who live in different regions, states, countries or even continents. 'New Media' has facilitated a seamless continuity of thoughts, ideas and probably the most treasured,
photos. With 'New Media' even if I'm away from a loved-one for five years, I will not lose touch with how they've matured, significant changes in their lives and how they are feeling in the moment. Before 'New Media,' it could take months for letters to be exchanged and in many cases there were no images which could allow people to view progression. These technologies also provide for instant feedback in most cases, which makes 'interaction' more life-like. An Empowered Audience As I mentioned in some of my earlier blogs, the advent of podcasts and the availability of television shows on the internet, creates a feeling of empowerment that was not available with 'Old Media.' With 'New Media', if I have to work late and cannot watch my favorite television show that usually comes on at 7 p.m. on cable, I can now download the show on a mobile device such as my cellphone, ipod or ipad and not only watch it whenever I want, but as many time as I want. For a premium price, I can also choose to ignore advertisements that are associated with the show. As it relates to social media, I truly feel empowered in terms of rating products and services via the internet and sharing those ratings with potentially millions of people. In a sense, I see myself as a contributing force in making or breaking a business based on the automatic feed-back capabilities associated with 'New Media.' The creation of a level-playing field for small businesses With 'Old Media' the trend is that only multi-million dollar establishments have access to resources to effectively promote/market their products/services. Given the fact that advertising in print, radio and television is very expensive, smaller businesses would be unable to with larger businesses because of limited financial resources. 'New Media' has made it easy and very affordable for any type of business to utilize its tools for promotion/marketing efforts and get desired results. A dynamic outlet for creativity In 'Old Media' creativity existed in the forms of cartoons, poems, fiction (print), soaps, discussions (radio and television.)What was lacking in these original outlets was that the audience got the feeling of being a spectator, and
not a participant. With 'New Media' the audience now has the option of being a part of something that seems larger than themselves. In the world of virtual reality, the audience is actually participating in existing story lines/discussions and even creating them. The highlight of this creativity comes in the form of 'Avatars' and 'Hangouts' where the user invents a creation of his/her self and environment. Featured photo1 sourced from: Featured photo2 sourced from:

Privacy & Confidentiality

Some of the general concerns surrounding privacy and confidentiality in 'New Media' include storage of private information for users on social networking sites and the seemingly permanent existence of past posts no matter how many times we hit the 'delete' button. Now, here are some other privacy issues that must be considered in 'New Media' such as: Who has access to photos of me? In the case of Facebook, there is also the controversy about easy access to photos posted by other users. Essentially, I can go to the profile of another user, copy his/her photos and use it to satisfy my own agenda. This is all without the knowledge of the original user. While on the subject of Facebook, 'tagging' of photos can also be considered an invasion of privacy since other Facebook users. Without the right privacy controls, you can find yourself being 'tagged' in photos that have nothing to do with you and in some cases are lewd, and/or contain text that can have others perceive you in a negative light. This can be of great concern to current employees as well as job seekers, since some companies conduct strategic searches on social networking sites to keep track of employees and candidates.
Who knows where I am and what I'm doing? One word comes to mind, when I think of this concern, Craigslist, an online community which provides local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events. This social network is notorious for attracting users who want nothing more than to capitalize on information posted by other users so that they can create opportunities to take advantage, or hurt other users. Placing something such as, "I'm taking the entire family to India for a two-week vacation," can result in a burglary, people being seriously hurt or worse. That brings me to another point, one should always limit the amount of information that they place in their 'Profiles.' It is not smart to give full physical/mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and date of birth. Putting your date of birth on a social networking site can increase the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft. Downloads and Cookies Whenever a user clicks or downloads content from any website, automatically cookies are placed on the user's computer. Cookies are small data files that the user's server sends to his/her browser when he/she visits the site. While cookies are helpful creating ease at which certain aspects of the website is accessed, however the negative side of having cookies is that they share the same space as other cookies that are used to access banking information for example. If the cookie is from a site that is not trusted, you run the risk of making stored, sensitive information on your computer accessible to hackers. Overall, the user has control of the level of privacy that he/she seeks, since most 'New Media' forms offer options to not make profiles public, not allow the user to be tagged in photos and disabling cookies. However, the user should refer to the concept learned as children, which is, "Do not talk to strangers." I use this example because as a general rule, users should never add someone to their network who they do not know just for the sake of capturing the record of most 'friends' or 'followers' for example. Inviting strangers to share your space, even if they are 'friends of other friends,' can potentially expose the user to negative outcomes. Further, the user should take control of who can see their information, by limiting access to 'friends only.' As an added step, the user should just place scant amounts of information about their personal lives on their profiles to protect not only their privacy but also their lives. Featured image sourced from:

The Next New Thing

A 'New Media' feature that I would like to see created and developed would be one where users can expedite the process of renewing documents such as driver's licenses and passports without hassle. This internet platform will have to be vetted thoroughly for potential security breaches, since any error in judgment could potentially lead to incidences of identity theft. To reduce this possibility, only authorized officials at these agencies will be able to review and approve submissions from the public. The user will enter pertinent information into a virtual database located on the website in encrypted format. This information will then be submitted in real-time to authorized officials, working 24-hours, seven days a week for review and approval. Once there are no questions regarding the information submitted by the user, he/she will receive confirmation from the authorized officials within 24-hours. Thereafter, the user has the option of printing a virtual document that reflects all of the updates that were made, saving it on a secure section of the website and/or uplifting a traditional copy of the document from the issuing institution. Such a 'New Media' will eliminate a lot of the anxiety that comes with losing and/or renewing such documents.

Advice to Brooklyn College

In this position, I would emphasize the point that 'New Media' is now a true extension of traditional outreach efforts and that it will play a key role in spreading the word about the college to both existing and potential students. The college already features a Facebook page with 6,007 'likes.' There is also a Twitter page with 198 followers. Further the college also has a presence on Myspace (3336 friends), and a dedicated YouTube channel with 79 subscribers and 14,003 views.
I think that cross-selling these 'New Media' forms would be a good way for Brooklyn College to intensify its social networking efforts. For example, the college is very good at providing students with timely updates on college activities. Within these electronic communications, the college has an opportunity to promote at least three of its social networking sites via links as a way of expanding its reach. Perhaps, the college can provide incentives for students to join Facebook for example by offering complimentary tickets to performances at the Whitman Theatre in exchange for 'liking' the college. To keep the audience engaged, I would also send a special e-mail to the students, giving them the option to opt-in for periodic notifications via e-mail, every time there is an update in any social network. Overall, the college has kept pace with 'New Media' and even offers the public an opportunity to listen to access podcasts.

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

A virtual world can best be described as a three-dimensional environment on the internet in which users can create graphical extensions of themselves called avatars. These avatars are capable of inhabiting certain 'hangouts' and interacting with other avatars in cyberspace. Popular examples of virtual worlds are: Second Life, Whyville, Moove,Kaveva, There and IMVU. For starters, businesses can use virtual worlds as a creative option for facilitating meetings from different corners of the office or globe. In addition, business owners can host virtual events which will allow them to get to know their target audience and other members of the virtual community. Pros of Virtual Worlds Reduced Costs- for example, in hosting virtual events, there is little or no cost associated with this activity Time Flexibility- it would be easier to change the schedule of a virtual conference for example, than it would be to do this in a traditional setting. Multi-tasking- Users can literally be in be in two places at one time. For example they can engage in networking in both the real world and the virtual world at the same time. Fosters Creativity- Users can get to see the fun side of their customers and business partners because creating avatars and environments.
Cons of Virtual Worlds Security- users of virtual worlds should be cautious regarding the amount of information that they share in virtual worlds. All is not what it may seem in this environment and there are cases where users pretending to be something they're not. Thin Line Between Fantasy and Reality This fact can be especially of concern to business owners because they cannot be sure if other users in their 'hangout' are genuinely interested in their message, or if it is all fun and games and deemed useless. If other users within the network are just using virtual worlds to escape reality, then their feedback and approach cannot always be taken seriously. Creativity is fostered in virtual worlds because it gives users to create extensions of themselves and environment which leads to individualism. Based on the images contained in someone's environment, and the way their avatar is dressed for example speaks volumes about who they really are, or who they aspire to be. This information can be helpful to business owners because it allows them to get a better feel of who their target audiences are and what they are trying to accomplish. With this knowledge in hand, business owners can then create products and services that are responsive to the observations that they would have made in the virtual world. What will the future hold? Larger virtual communities, and more 'life-like' experiences can be predicted for virtual worlds. In terms of business, there could be potential growth in its use but personally I think that the 'seriousness' of the virtual world would always come into question. Nevertheless, in an article titled, 'What’s Next? Your Future in Social Networking' Chuck Hamilton predicts:
"Virtual worlds are quickly becoming a powerful tool and a driving force to what many are calling the 3D Internet – one that is open, immersive, innovative, and social. We believe it will enable new or transformed applications for business and society, many of which we can’t even imagine yet."
Featured image sourced from:

Social Networking

Businesses should not be afraid of the changes that will accompany social networking; instead they should learn as much as they can about the various newtorking sites that are available, determine their business goals, and select social networks that can likely help them to reach their business goals. The Bright Side of Social Networking When a business owner creates a presence for his/her business on social networking websites, essentially they are able to take advantage of the 'multiplier effect,' in terms of exposure to new and existing audiences. Any good business owner will tell you that networking is an excellent way in which to gain new customers, as well as establish strategic partnerships with other business owners. However, to network physically, usually means joining an local professional organization, paying annual dues and in some cases paying an additional fee to attend networking events. Also, to attend such an event, the business owner will have to physically remove himself from the operation of his business to network- this is not always an option in the case of small and/or new businesses, which require a very 'hands-on' approach. By engaging in social networking, the business owner will have more flexibility as it relates to time, there will be little or no costs to participate, he/she will benefit from the 'multiplier effect,' and feedback from his/her audience will be instant. The Dark Side of Social Networking The 'dark side' of this form of 'New Media' is that in order to be effective, it requires a 'hands-on' approach as well, especially as it relates to updating statuses and responding to audiences in a time-sensitive manner. Also, some customers and other business owners still place great value on actual 'face-to-face,' interaction, or the old 'hand-shake' and may not view this social networking as a sincere form of interaction.
If this view is garnered, then the process of true relationship building can take a longer time to form. Another negative area of social networking, is that the 'multiplier effect' can also be applied in the form of bad ratings about a business from audiences. Sometimes, low ratings are valid, but research has shown that these ratings and general feedback may not always be accurate. In the article titled, 'Can You Trust Crowd Wisdom?' Kristina Grifantini quoted this statement from Vassilis Kostakos, an assistant professor at the University of Madeira in Portugal and an adjunct assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU),
"If you have two or three people voting 500 times," says Kostakos, the results may not be representative of the community overall. He suspects this may be why ratings often tend toward extremes."
What does the future hold? In terms of future evolution, social networking may be viewed in a more positive light in the future and be embraced by society at large. In the present, there are still a lot of questions that exist about this form of media and there's also distrust to some extent. Facebook has faced a great deal of criticism in the past regarding privacy issues. For example, it is possible for photos of users to be simply copied from the Facebook website and used for some other purpose without the knowledge of the user. Right now I believe that we're in the 'Hey, this is a great idea, but how do we use it securely and efficiently," stage. So in the future, I believe that the makers of social networks will work harder to make the social networking environment safer. By taking these steps, users and potential users will feel safer in this environment and look to social networking as a standard way to developing dynamic personal and professional relationships with other users. One thing seems definite however, and that is the growth of LinkedIn as a preferred tool in making business connections. In the world of social networking, the future seems bright for employers and job seekers who use LinkedIn. In recent years, several success stories have been reported, praising the functionality of LinkedIn. One such testimony came in the form of an article by Frank Langfitt titled, 'Social Networking Technology Boosts Job Recruiting,' in which he states:
"Such sites also help job hunters market themselves online by setting up profiles, listing work history and specific skills."

Check Out Social Networking Sites

Create a new post on your blog with the above title. In your post, discuss the following. Visit Facebook, Myspace, Friendster - and one other social networking site of your choosing. Compare your impressions of these sites. Note that you probably should register and log in to get the complete picture. Facebook The slogan for this social network is, "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life." Staying true to this slogan, Facebook provides a platform with which thoughts and images are freely shared with select 'Friends' that are also Facebook users. There are various levels of privacy control, which allows the user to
determine who sees content that they've uploaded (friends only versus everyone)and also making the decisions about whether they want to be tagged (documented) in photos that other people took of them. There's a 'Newsfeed' tab which is where the user goes to views all status and image updates that are made by people within their social network. The 'Notifications' tab provides real-time notes about friend requests and/or comments that the user receives in response to something that was posted, and included the user. There is also the 'Wall' which houses comments and general greetings from people in the user's network. In addition to these features, there's also a 'Message' tab, where users can receive personal messages (privacy of not posting on wall) from people within the user's network or anyone (depending on the level of privacy that the user has chosen.) Myspace Myspace credits itself as being, "The leading social entertainment destination powered by the passion of fans. Music, movies, celebs, TV, and games made social." This social network is one of the original ways in which celebrities were able to make direct contact with their fans and vice versa. Like Facebook, it gives users the ability to make status updates, and has a 'mood' button which is a smiley face used to express how the user is
feeling in that moment. Users are also able to post images and share with other users within their network or a wider audience, depending on the privacy options that are chosen. The same upload system is used for streaming videos and and playlists. There's a 'Comments' tab in which the user can review comments that were made about them by other users within the network or at large, again depending on the privacy options chosen. Like Facebook, there's also a 'Notifications' and 'Message' tab. Friendster The slogan for Friendter reads, "Play free online games and meet new friends by joining Friendster today." The unifying force here is slightly different than Facebook and Friendster, in that this social network is bringing people together to play online games. The rage of gaming sections include, 'Featured Games,' 'Popular Games,'New Releases,' 'Shooting,' 'Strategy,' 'Puzzles,' 'Card Games,' 'Arcade,' and 'Simulation.' Users have the option of
linking their Facebook account to generate more players for games. There's a 'Leadboard' tab, which documents top players in real-time. In addition, there's also a 'Recent Activity' tab which allows users to see what games are being played by people in their network. In addition, there's also a 'Forum' feature which serves as a platform for players to interact with each other and exchange insights about strategy and general feed-back about games offered by this social network. LinkedIn "The world's largest network,' are the words that LinkedIn uses to describe itself. Unlike Facebook, Myspace and Friendster, LinkedIn is the leading social network committed to creating a platform where professionals can 'network' and exchange valuable ideas with other users within their specific field of work. This network also has an 'Updates' feature where users can see posts that are being made by other professionals in their network. There's a
'People You May Know,' tab which gives the user an opportunity to browse through listings for other users who they may have done business with in the past, or share the same 'connections' (friends) as the user. LinkedIn can serve as a resume for users, as it enables them to list their educational and professional accomplishments, and allows them to indicate whether they are interested in job opportunities. This resume-like format can also be exported in the form of a PDF. All of these networks contain some form of advertisement, which can be very beneficial for business owners who would like to broaden their reach to different community groups. Featured images were sourced from: Facebook, Myspace, Friendster and LinkedIn websites