Monday, May 11, 2009

And Signing Out, For Now

Well, the final exam is over and done with, so I already said goodbye to everyone in the class in person, and I just posted the grades, so that pretty much wraps things up for the Social Moose. It's been great fun and great learning, and I thank you all for a splendid semester, and wish you all the best of luck!

This is The Social Moose signing out, for now...

Celebrity Twitter Overkill

How could I not post this?

The Social Moose Thanks BJ Emerson and Tasti-D-Lite

Back on April 27, we were delighted to have BJ Emerson of Tasti-D-Lite as a guest speaker in our class, not the least because he brought us free samples. It was marvelous to hear him talk about his own experiences and approaches to social media in a business context, and we were fortunate that he allowed us to video his talk. It's not possible to present the class in its entirety, but here are some excerpts from his time with us:

And so, the Social Moose, aka the Spring 2009 Interactive Media class at Fordham University thanks BJ Emerson and Tasti-D-Lite for a delicious discussion of social media!

Reflecting Moose

Prior to taking Interactive Media I never appreciated the full capabilities of Web 2.0. After reading and discussing the innovations to cyberspace, it's amazing to see how far the technology has come in such little time. I think about other forms of media that have progressed over hundreds of years while the Internet essentially evolved in a couple of decades. 

Social networking is the current fad in the cyberspace community. I find it fascinating how essentially our entire country is trying to figure out how to utilize this new phenomenon. You have the American people, celebrities, and corporations all adapting to this new way of utilizing technology. I'm curious to see how long this sensationalism lasts. I've learned to respect Twitter and all of its capabilities, but I'm not entirely comfortable with how much attention it's receiving. I'm cautious about the amount of time my generation spends on the computer. There are more and more reasons to constantly check your profiles and there are also so many different ways to check. The Internet is at the touch of our fingers and I wonder how much that pulls us away from reality.  While I respect technology, I'm also wary of its consequences. I'll be curious to see how it all plays out.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Social Moose Goes YouTubing

For our final class, we did some interviews for YouTube, and here are the results:

fordham circle

In my attempt to look for a job, I visited the Career Services office at Fordham today. Unfortunately they were little to no help. I was hoping to get into contact with some alumni from Fordham to network and possibly inquire about job openings in the New York area. Unfortunately the "database" they offered me was over four years old. They reccommended that I try their new social networking site called Fordham Circle. I set up an account and provided important information for my profile. However, when I attempted to upload my resume, it didn't work. Also, I tried searching for communication/media jobs in New York and THREE jobs/people showed up. I am almost positive there are more than three people/jobs in the New York area (!!!) I talked to one of the directors at the Career Services office about Fordham Circle and she informed me that I would not have full access to Fordham Circle until a few months after I graduate. Major fail Fordham. Major fail.

starts somewhere around 1:20

Twitter featured on TV....

Last night, i was watching the Big Bang Theory on CBS and throughout the episode, twitter was mentioned. Leonard. one of the characters, read from his Iphone, that Howard Walowitz was twittering...

TV sitcoms are very popular sources of advertisements, sometimes free, which reach out to the community, especially when a large part of the people are watching...

the beginning of the end

This past semester has shown me a lot of insight into the online community. Since the beginning of college I have used the internet less and less, and with the help of the class I have been influenced by many social mediums I was not aware of like twitter, myspace, and blogging such as our blog The Social Moose. From my prior blogs where I have smashed twitter- Im a big fan. And I thank the class for making me use it, despite my past online prejudices, of hating computers. Well im about to leave for class, see everyone there, and REMEMBER "the medium is the message"!!!!!

My experiences with interactive media

Reflecting back on the semester, I have learned some valuable lessons throughout it. The computer has become the medium for my exposure to virtual reality as stated in our textbook in our chapter on Cybertime. One is very broad but I think valuable : be open to experiencing new networks outside of my comfort zone. Up until now, I have only connected with people that I knew personally, but this class has exposed me to learning things about new people from networking sites I have never thought twice about joining. Visits from individuals such as Paul Young have taught me how important networking sites could actually become in our careers. For instance, LinkdIn, is a great example of that. Upon joining LinkdIn, I have searched for people I could possibly know through Fordham and even my previous employers. I have then stumbled upon people I never knew were connected to either.
Looking at social networking from a less professional aspect of it now, I think exposure to sites such as has really helped expand my iTunes list because once again, I was exposed to songs I wouldn't typically listen to but found as a recommendation from an international listener ( I love international music!).Pandora is also a great site, but the music recommendations are chosen by the website and not other users. Speaking of recommendations, I now started using a heavily advertised by Facebook but helpful site called LivingSocial where my friend's recommendations on books, movies, etc. are constantly updated and help me make a decision based on their judgement. Furthermore, sites such as Twitter not only expose me to updates of my friends but virtually anyone who has Twitter. I am now following a number of celebrities and sometimes listening to their recommendations on books and movies. MySpace, on the other hand also has exposed me to some great bands where I can learn more about their music, their preferences and recommendations all while listening to a couple of their tracks.
I believe that the net has anything that a person is looking for. I have learned about many great cooking websites from our classmates as well as networking sites from other classmates. Watching videos about how technologically advanced we have become has lead me to believe that interactive media has become a necessity in today's economy to follow.
***I would just like to add for you all to start using this search engine : -> every time you do 20 grains of rice will be donated to malnourished children!

My Final Send Off

Hello my fellow moose, this is my final send off to the class, and i am sorry that it had to come to an end. I enjoyed every minute I had in Interactive Media, from twittering to my celebrities without a response to talking to strangers on I never really knew about social networking and new media until I took this class, and to my surprise, it was actually interesting. I appreciate all of you, or to whomever read some of my posts, but i hope we can still keep it going after college. This way we can all check in on how everyone, including you Lance, is doing. Graduation is around the corner and I wish all of you seniors the best of luck for now and in the future. Thanks everyone for everything, and follow me on twitter if you haven't so we can keep in touch; my username is DK_All_Day. Yes, i will follow you back, unlike Tony Hawk or P.Diddy haha! I'll see you all soon, so lets all have fun this last class, and look forward to the future...Sincerely, 1 social moose.


Taking a look back at the beginning of the semester - this was the blog post I came across - this blog post described my media usage at that time:

The internet is an endless source of information and resources. My daily usage of the internet consists of checking email, at least several times a day, checking facebook, and mostly doing some type of research. Three out of my five closest friends currently live outside of New York, one of them is just several hours away by car, while the other is overseas. Checking email frequently allows us to have conversations and communicate with each other on a regular basis. Even though it may be difficult for us to talk on the phone because of time differences, and schedule conflicts - emailing each other regularly makes us feel that in one way or another everyone is quite close. Also, I help come up with different projects for local youth groups, so many a times I spend my time doing research --> looking at other organizations and figuring out how they do what they do, looking for team building activities, and other useful information for youth group leaders. Throughout the day I tend to check the New York Times website regularly to get my daily dose of news. Additionally, I use the internet to instant message friends, check bank statements, and buy books.

Moreover, when the class first started out - we were instructed to blog about our social networking usage on a weekly basis. However, for me - from a week to week basis - it did not change too much from the initial blog post. Thus, I refrained from writing that I visited the same social networks this week as I did last week, but rather found different social networking sites and shared the interesting ones with everyone in class. Over the semester, I came acorss anobii, ning, friendfeed, italki, etc. And I came to realize that you can find social networking websites for almost any type of commonality or interest. Some of the students in the class also posted their findings - and shared websites about Twitter like twazzup, twitpic, along with flickr, living social, digg, TED, and slashdot, to name a few. It was interesting to visit these websites, look at what they have to offer users, and learn about the amount of people on these social networking websites.
Everyday - i continued to check my email several times a day and went on facebook once or twice a day. After we all signed up for Twitter in class, I started to check that once or twice a week. At first, I couldn't quite believe I was using Twitter, but as time went on I started to like it. We also signed up for MySpace, but I had a difficult time getting used to it. Even though I checked it about once a week and made an effort to making my profile page look a little bit exciting, I still had a hard time trying to get used to it. However, by visiting the websites the students posted - I learned about what is out there. There are a few well-known social networking websites - that most of the people are on, but it was interesting to see how many other types of social networking sites there are out there. People use social networking websites for different reasons - some to connect with their friends, others to market themselves in the business world. However, everyone uses social networking websites for the same purpose - to make connections with others and to feel a sense of belonging. I also learned about blogging. In the past, I had to blog once a week for my internship and sometimes it was fun while at other times it wasn't. Nevertheless, blogging about the readings for the class, being able to read about other student's understanding of the reading, what they found important - was a good way to learn the material. Not only, was I able to share my thoughts about the reading, but I could learn from the students - because sometimes I may have overlooked something.

So - all in all - my media usage has changed- I've become more aware of and learned about other websites and in addition to the websites i went on when the class first started - i also regularly check twitter and myspace.

New Site

Found this new interactive site that is similar to in that users submit the content but unlike digg, the editors choose which stories get on the front page. Warning for everybody: this is a site is kind of directed towards nerds as their slogan reads "News for nerds. Stuff that matters".

Anyways, the site was really fast in posting that story about the swine-flu virus and twitter being partially to blame for the panic that is currently being spread about it. Check out the article here: Twitter done killed us

Here is another cool posting that I thought you guys might enjoy. It is a video about this new speakers that are the size of paper. Check it out here: So tiny wow!!!

So check it out, Cool site for both the nerd and aspiring nerds.

Also, found this great video on This may be kind of contraversial but the name of the video clip is "Do schools kill creativity?"

Sir Ken Robinson references an idea brought up in the "did you know" video Profesor Strate showed us. He says that we have no idea what the future is going to looks like so how can we educate our kids and prepare them for it? To answer his own question he responds, "creativity is as important as being literate... and I think we squander our kids creativity too much."

Anyways, check out the video for the full scoop on why education is bad for creativity:
Education and creativity.

Alright. Fun times.

Monday, April 27, 2009

swine flu infects twitter

The recent outbreak of swine flu has not only taken 100s of lives already, but it has terrified millions around the world. Today, reported that Twitter is partially to blame for false information and scares in certain parts of the country and world. This is just another example as to why we cannot trust Twitter as a news source. One quote from the article read,"This is a good example of why [Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it's just propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions or key information," said Brennon Slattery, a contributing writer for PC World. "The swine flu thing came really at the crux of a media revolution." While Twitter seems to be a harmless form of micro-blogging, it aids in the spread of terror during drastic times like these. See the full article here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Demi Moore uses Twitter to help prevent fan's suicide

As mentioned before in class, I really think it is Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher that blog all the time, judging from an article in this post. Since I follow them on Twitter, I observe what they write and it sounds very personal and I think only they could write that (as opposed to hiring their PR person to do the work). Furthermore, I began to think about the impact that having 30,000+ "followers" on Twitter could have, especially now that most people have the postings sent to their phone. I think Twitter's ability to do that surpasses the impact on getting people's attention as compared to Myspace. Alhought Myspace is accessible through the phone, I have not seen an option where people could receive updates of others sent directly as a notification to their phone. Hence, not getting immediate attention. So, even though you may have 30,000+ friends on Myspace most people do not know what you're promoting unless they CHOOSE to click on your site and check it out.The site does have a great ability to draw someone in with the music and decor, which Twitter does not provide as extensively. Also, Twitter is very popular with the tiny URL's which usually leads you to a site that the person wants to draw your attention to. Myspace is not popular with using the tiny URL's-- it is actually most focused on 'updating your mood'.
To wrap this up, I basically wanted to state how today's busy society doesn't allow for us to spend a lot of time 'viewing' people's site and reading an often extensive autobiography about them to get to know what they're about. We want to glance, read, and move on. Twitter was wisely constructed.
Here, I found an interesting article that was brought to my attention by a tiny URL from one of my Twitter friends. It is basically about the impace that Twitter interactions actually could have on people.

Demi Moore uses Twitter to help prevent fan's suicide
Apr 3, 2009, 06:08 PM | by Alynda Wheat

Categories: Current Affairs, Movies, Web/Tech

A "tweet" may have saved a Demi Moore fan's life, CNN reported today. The actress, whose Twitter blog has some 380,000 fans, received an online threat from a woman who said she was "getting a knife, a big one that is sharp. Going to cut my arm down the whole arm so it doesn't waste time." Moore responded to the grim statement with the comment "Hope you are joking." The unnamed 48-year-old woman's suicide threat was traced to a San Jose, Calif., home, where she was taken into custody for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation. Moore, who was in southern France where husband Ashton Kutcher is shooting the crime drama Five Killers, later informed her Twitter followers that the San Jose police were in control of the situation, and that she was "very torn about responding or retweeting that woman's post but felt uncomfortable just letting it go."

After I read this article I thought to myself, if this lady has posted the same thing with the same amount of friends on Myspace would Demi Moore pick up on it? Would it be brought to attention by someone else? I guess we'll never know but all I know is I'm glad she seen it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Twitter on my mind

I just found this article on about how scientists discovered a way to link Twitter to the brain and to, essentially, post what you are thinking without actually typing. I thought this was a good connection between Twitter and the new technology we learned about in the TED video. Check it out.

Brain-Twitter project offers hope to paralyzed patients

Adam Wilson posted two messages on Twitter on April 15. The first one, "GO BADGERS," might have been sent by any University of Wisconsin-Madison student cheering for the school team.

The brain-computer interface allows people to compose a tweet by focusing on the desired letter.

His second post, 20 minutes later, was a little more unusual: "SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN."

Wilson, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, was confirming an announcement he had made two weeks earlier -- his lab had developed a way to post messages on Twitter using electrical impulses generated by thought.

That's right, no keyboards, just a red cap fitted with electrodes that monitor brain activity, hooked up to a computer flashing letters on a screen. Wilson sent the messages by concentrating on the letters he wanted to "type," then focusing on the word "twit" at the bottom of the screen to post the message.

The development could be a lifeline for people with "locked-in syndrome" -- whose brains function normally but who cannot speak or move because of injury or disease.

Wilson and his supervisor, Justin Williams, made the breakthrough last month after hearing a question posed on the radio. Watch how the new technology works »

"Wouldn't it be great if you could Twitter just by thinking about it?"

That query sparked what Williams called the "a-ha moment."

"We can do that," said Williams, an assistant professor and the principal investigator at the lab in Madison, Wisconsin. "We can do that tomorrow."

In the end, it wasn't quite "tomorrow," Williams said, but Wilson had written the software to link existing technology with Twitter "within a couple of days" of starting on the project in March.

He sent Williams his first "tweet" -- or message -- from the brain-computer interface on March 31.

"I had set up my phone to get Twitter updates, and I walked in my door and got this message, and I knew it was really possible," he told CNN by phone. "My wife was sitting there, and I showed her the message and she immediately got excited about it -- and it's rare that I come home from work and she gets excited about what I have been doing."

That's because using the brain to post Twitter messages is potentially much more than an academic exercise or a party trick -- it could help paralyzed people communicate.

"These are people who have ALS, like Stephen Hawking, or they have a brainstem stroke, or a high spinal-cord injury," Williams explained. "There is nothing wrong with these people's brains. It's a normal person, locked into a lifeless, useless body." (The British physicist Hawking has ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.)

Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from locked-in syndrome, Williams estimated.

Many of them want just the kind of ability the brain-Twitter project seems to offer, said Kevin Otto, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana.

"The interesting thing about this project is they are directly addressing some of the patient desires," he said. "A lot of people think [locked-in patients] want to walk and want fancy prosthetics, but a lot of times what they want are bladder control and basic communication skills."

Otto, who was not involved in the University of Wisconsin project, called it "a very important incremental step to take two existing technologies and marry them together like this."

Williams had been working on brain-computer interface technology "for many years," he told CNN, before the idea to use Twitter.

"The technology we were developing was 10 or more years down the line, so we started wondering, 'Is there something we can do now?' "

His lab at the University of Wisconsin -- like those at Brown University, Purdue and the Wadsworth Center in Albany, New York, among others -- is developing ways for locked-in people to communicate. Projects range from manipulating a cursor on a computer screen to operating a robotic arm, and they can include devices physically implanted into a brain.

But the Twitter project has a lot of advantages, Williams said.

"Twitter fits so many of our needs and patients' capabilities," he said. "Their first interest is in being able to communicate in a normal fashion, and at a distance."

Twitter is simpler than e-mail, he said.

"If I am locked in and I want to e-mail someone, the format is all wrong. You have to be able to select recipients and group them, copy, paste, send. ... We don't think about that much as normal people, but it can become unmanageable.

"Twitter takes care of all those things. They just have to get [the message] to a location where people can come and find it," he said.

Locked-in people communicating by tweet might have followers who don't even realize they are disabled, Williams said.

"Nobody's going to notice that the person at the other end is disabled. They might not have any idea. And that might be very empowering for people," he said.

The interface is not unlike the method the French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby used to dictate his novel "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" -- later turned into a movie -- after a massive stroke left him paralyzed except for his left eyelid. Bauby's caregivers recited letters of the alphabet; he blinked when he heard the one he wanted and they wrote them down.

The brain-Twitter application flashes letters on a screen while the user, wearing a cap fitted with electrodes, concentrates on a letter.

"When the letter that you are concentrating on flashes, we can pick that up," Williams said.

Williams declined to say how soon the interface could be available commercially, noting it has not yet been used by anyone with locked-in syndrome.

"I'd hate to speculate about things being on the market," he said. "Adam [Wilson] is going to graduate in May, and his next role is to start preclinical trials with subjects in New York and Germany."

But Williams said he is excited about the development.

"We were interested in seeing what we could do right now to help people," he said. "The field has come far enough that we need to start getting to people in their homes."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Most Informative (and Entertaning) Money-Related Bloggers" according to MONEY magazine

I was recently flipping through my May issue of Money magazine and I've come across an interesting article on about who Money magazine considers the most entertaining and informative of the money-related bloggers and I've immediately thought of our class. I've come across great recommendations for helpful and cool sites from my classmates but I haven't come across recommending bloggers or sites of that sort which could help our often, poor selves. So with no further adieu, here are the four major players and where you may find them :) :

Tyler Cowan:
Mr. Cowan in the article is described as an economics professor at George Mason University and also a MONEY contributor.He discusses many issues that are economic and behavioral so I've observed that most of his blog is commentary on the crisis that we're in.

Brad DeLong:
Mr. DeLong is a Berkeley economics professor and when Clinton was president he was the deputy assistant Treasury secretary. He appears very liberal and as Money magazine described " you'll get a vigorous defense of liberal-leaning, interventionish economic policy, plus vivid prose." I think that paints the picture.

Paul Kedrosky:
Mr. Kedrosky is a venture capitalist vet and he uses his blog to point to interesting economic ideas around the web. Out of the four bloggers mentioned in the article, I found him the most helpful to me and what I'm looking for. I love the following quote that I think suites Mr. Kedrosky's approach and descriptions well on his take on global finance :"It's kind of like a traffic accident where the parts are still flying through the air.And when it comes back down, it's going to be very different."

Barry Ritholtz:
Mr. Ritholtz is the CEO of a quantitative research firm. He points out what he thinks is a misleading economic statistics and what he sees as the government's "criminal" bailouts of financial giants such as AIG. In other words, he's blunt and to the point and to me, that's very important when I'm looking at someone's opinion, on especially most importantly, monetary situations.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


In class we were talking about group tweeting - while this website does not allow people to categorize their tweets according to different groups - family, coworkers etc. The site does allow users to post their tweet - once it is sent to the group account - any member of the group can comment back. It kind of seems like a private message board.

This is what it says on their website, GroupTweet:

So how does it work?

GroupTweet piggy-backs on the Twitter service via the Twitter API. Setting up a Twitter group is simple:

  • Create a new Twitter account specifically for your group (e.g. initechwebdevs or smithfamily). If you want to make this a private group, make sure that updates are protected in the settings.
  • Register your group's new Twitter account at
  • Tell all group members to follow the group account you created at Twitter. Note that the group account must also follow the group members. (If updates are protected, you will need to approve each follow request)
  • Members can broadcast a message to the whole group by sending a direct text to the group's Twitter account. For example: 'D initechwebdevs Just committed the latest code to the repository'

That's it! GroupTweet is constantly listening for direct texts sent to your group's Twitter account. When a direct text is received, GroupTweet instantly publishes it as a tweet from the group account. Since all of your group members are following the group's Twitter account, they will each receive the message. Easy-peasy!

Have not tested it out as of yet...

Twitter directories

We've been talking in class about if Twitter had groups. There are a couple websites which come to mind. One of them is Twitter directory called We Follow. It tells you the most popular tags, and then you can pick one and it will show you all the Tweets about it. For example, if you click #music, JOhn Mayer is the first one to come up, and it tells you how many followers they have. It also separates Twitters by news, celebrities, comedy, and even things like travel.
Another website I found is called Twitter Campus... although I have found numerous problems with it. It seems as if the website is kind of new, because for some reason I can't seem to figure out how to add Fordham to the list. It does say thought that Emerson has the most amount of students on Twitter... hmmm, we should beat them Ashton Kutcher style!

Celebrity Backlash As Oprah Joins Twitter

Oprah Winfrey, one of the world's most powerful celebrities, has faced a web backlash after becoming the latest star to join Twitter.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is the latest star to join microblogging site Twitter

The American talkshow host sent her first "tweet" on Friday and has already amassed more than 350,000 followers.

But users of the microblogging community have blamed her popularity for causing the site to slow down.

Some estimates suggest hundreds of thousands new users may have joined Twitter after Winfrey promoted it on her TV show.

Her profile has also allegedly been the target of a 'worm attack' - which hijacks users' profiles and sends rogue tweets from their accounts.

It has spread messages mentioning Winfrey and actor Ashton Kutcher in what appears to be a deliberate attack on celebrities with profiles.

So far, Winfrey has used her page to chat to celebrity friends including Demi Moore, inform fans what she is eating and talk about her dog.


Follow @SkyNews on Twitter

But users seemed to turn on the famous interviewer, claiming her popularity was overwhelming the site and making it hard to use.

Twitter founder, Evan Williams, who appeared on Oprah the day she launched her feed, was forced to publicly deny the problem was caused by her profile.

He told followers her arrival had a "huge effect" on Friday but his team "kept it under control".

"Site slowness today had nothing to with @Oprah," he insisted.

Users have mocked Winfrey's slow arrival on Twitter by proclaiming they were "here before Oprah".

Other stars who have become popular on Twitter include P Diddy, Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman.

Cops have Philip Markoff, suspected "Craigslist Killer" of model Julissa Brisman, in custody

UPDATE: Fiancee of the suspected 'Craiglist Killer' says he's innocent.

Boston cops on Monday night branded a 22-year-old med student engaged to be married as the "Craigslist Killer" who murdered a pretty New York masseuse and attacked at least two other escorts in hotels.

Philip Markoff, a Boston University student who lives in Quincy, a harborside town 10 miles south of Boston, will be arraigned on murder charges on Tuesday.

Cops said the brainy blond doctor wanna-be, who grew up in upstate Sherrill, N.Y., and went to SUNY Albany for his undergraduate studies, has no rap sheet, but they think he has preyed on sex workers for a while. Police begged other victims to come forward.

"He is a predator," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. "There may be other victims out there, and we want to help you."

Markoff, who was arrested after cops tailed him for several days, will be charged in Boston Municipal Court with the murder of Julissa Brisman.

The slain 26-year-old New Yorker advertised her services on craigslist and was shot in a posh Boston hotel last Tuesday.

Markoff also will be charged with kidnapping and robbery in an attack four days earlier in another luxury Boston hotel on an exotic dancer who advertised online.

Police believe last Thursday's armed robbery of a Las Vegas hooker in a Rhode Island hotel is also connected.

Markoff, the son of a Syracuse dentist, is engaged to marry Megan McAllister, a fellow med student he met while they were at SUNY Albany. A Web page devoted to their planned wedding later this year recounts how they volunteered together at an area emergency room and enjoyed their first date on Nov. 11, 2005. McAllister could not be reached for comment.

Brisman's mother was glad to hear there was a break in the case, but she was too distraught to talk.

"Her mother was very pleased, but when she saw the pictures [on TV], she broke down and was just crying. We turned it off. You have no idea how fragile she is," said family friend Mark Pines. "It is great that they found him, but it's not going to bring back our girl."

Cops credited "high-tech leads and old-fashioned shoe leather" for the arrest. Cops stopped Markoff at 4 p.m. Monday as he drove south of Boston on Interstate 95, Davis said. He agreed to come in for questioning and was arrested at headquarters.

The break came hours after police released new security camera photos showing the clean-cut, 6-foot-tall suspect strolling casually to and from the three crime scenes peering into his BlackBerry.

The new pictures were taken last Thursday in the hallway of a Warwick, R.I., Holiday Inn Express, where a prostitute who advertised on Craigslist was tied up and robbed at gunpoint.

Markoff is expected to be charged in that attack, too. Cops say Markoff's first known attack was April 10, when a 29-year-old woman who advertised as an exotic dancer on craigslist was attacked at Boston's Westin hotel. She was bound and robbed of her debit card and $800 in cash.

Four days later, Brisman was shot multiple times in a 20th-floor room of the Copley Marriott, apparently because she fought the thief's attempts to restrain her with plastic handcuffs known as "zip ties."

Residents of the sprawling 800-unit High Point apartment complex where Markoff rented a third-floor flat earlier this year mostly described Markoff, who was on the golf and bowling teams in high school, as an average Joe, but several said there was something not quite right about him.

"The guy was friendly enough. He'd say hello when you saw him and he supposedly had a girlfriend," said John Uva, who has lived in the building for two years.

"But he was never really around much, and there was a creepy factor to it."

Does anyone still go to anymore? has been my favorite social networking website i've used since we have started class, but it has got to the point where I do not even need to goto the site anymore. Applications like Tweet-Deck, TwitterBerry, Twitter-rific, and Tweet-Genius, have made it so easy for us to micro-blog without having to actually goto Tweet-deck, still a beta version, allows us to see everything on our Twitter (@ replies, DM's, Favorites, Other's updates) without having to goto the actual website. Is it going to slow down the amount of people that visit though? I am not sure, but it sure is making the site more enjoyable. Although some celebrities with thousands of followers tweet about tweet-deck crashing on them, users like us (with little followers) can enjoy it without any problems. 

I like to use the combination of Twitterberry (on my phone) and Tweet-Deck (on my computer) for connecting with Twitter. I am posting this to show you guys the possibilities outside of, so that you are fully able to connect without having to goto your Twitter! Could we make something better than Tweet-Deck or Twitterberry? Probably! 

This class, for me, is showing me that I  have the potential to make the next best thing when it comes to microblogging sites, regular sites, and social networking websites etc. We, as a class, must just put our minds in to it, and we too can be the next great Internet developers!

facebook is #1

      Top Ten Reviews, a website that claims to "do the research so you don't have to," rated the top ten social networking websites. They claimed Facebook was number one, while MySpace took second, and Bebo third. Some others on the list were Friendster, hi5, and orkut. This website gave important information about each social networking site, and even rated dozens of features for each site. 
The review stated the minimum age to join, which ranged between 13 and 18, and the percentage of users under 18, which ranged from 4% - 54% ( Although I have not visited each of these sites, it would be interesting to know why some sites require you to be 18, while others only require a 13-year age minimum. 
         The review also indicated what features were included on the websites and which were not. They looked at profiles (i.e. photos, url, friends), security (i.e. privacy, block users, report abuse), networking (i.e.  instant messaging, groups, mail), search (i.e. by name, by keyword, browse), and support (i.e. FAQ, user forums). Some of the features that were incorporated into all of the the top ten sites were an international community, photos, post comments, friends, groups, privacy, blocking, and reporting abuse. These seem to be the most basic standards for a social networking website. I was surprised at the fact that not every site was multi-lingual, had mail, or instant messaging. And, while every site had groups, you could not necessarily create your own group. 
          After looking at the article, I'm tempted to check out the websites for myself. I'll let you know what I find next week in class! To check out the article for yourself, click here

Tweet Police

        Twitter is making headlines recently as it is becoming a more widely-used form of social networking. Not only are regular joes and celebrities getting twitter accounts, but so are police departments. As CNN reported, police departments have been using twitter to report everything from road closures to suspect descriptions.
       Fortunately for police and the public, news is immediate, and the public does not have to wait 24 hours to hear it in traditional mass communication. Twitter is an efficient way to spread the news to the public. With new budget cuts on the rise, twitter offers police departments a cheap alternative to other forms of police reports.
       On the contrary, Twitter as a form of news can be a bad thing. Twitter is limited to 140 characters, so the police are somewhat limited in what they can say. While they could post multiple tweets, it is hard to know, how many is too many? Police do not want to bombard the public with news, as it may lessen or worsen the severity of an issue. There is also the concern that the public might flock to a crime scene once a tweet is posted. 
       All in all, I think that police departments should use tweets with limitations. They should not rely on tweets but also report news in traditional media. It is great that organizations like police departments are embracing new technology and ideas.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Twitter Addict

For the past couple of weeks I have been getting more and more into twitter. For some reason every time I am able to use a computer with internet, I HAVE to look on twitter!! As of lately more of my friends have been joining and tweeting me, so I almost feel better about myself. But the truth is I am an ADDICT!! I cant use a computer without looking at twitter! No matter what people say I have a problem! I feel like a drug addict waiting for my next fix, waiting for the next tweet!!

In class we have seen numerous films on twitter all making fun of how crazy people are that use twitter. So I have been on a quest to look for a video that can make me feel more normal and not like a total nut. And I have finally found it--

For the people who have similar addictions, your not alone! and its OK

I also just started using twazzup a search engine for twitter uses a real time stream of updatesn showing top tweets and a list of top tweeted stories and topics. 
features- list of official twitter users who have tweeted about a certain subject which allows twazzup users to follow people they think are interesting

YES I AM AN ADDICT AND I NEED HELP!(damn twitter forever)

MySpace + Journalism

An article I came across...

MySpace launching citizen journalism site

Partners with sibling Fox News for uReport hub

By Mike Shields, Mediaweek

April 20, 2009, 05:54 PM ET

MySpace has partnered with corporate sibling Fox News to launch the MySpace uReport community, a new hub within the social-networking site designed to showcase journalism produced and contributed by average citizens.

Fox News launched its uReport program two years ago on the heels of similar initiatives from CNN (iReport) and MSNBC (First Person). Each program encourages average users/viewers to contribute photos and videos of breaking news events. From time to time, user-submitted material was used on-air during Fox News broadcasts.

Now, Fox News is looking to unearth citizen journalists within the vast and likely younger-skewing MySpace community. Initially, the new uReport channel is soliciting content from users for the pre-set categories USA, World, Entertainment and Politics -- while enticing them with the possibility that their photos or footage will be used by Fox News or Any user can upload content, though Fox News staffers will curate and edit what content makes it onto the MySpace uReport community -- as well as the network's own properties.

Besides user-generated fare, the new channel also serves as a promotional platform for Fox News, featuring links to profiles of Fox News anchors and hosts like Greta Van Susteren and Bill O'Reilly.

I was looking at news articles about social media and I came across this one. Apparently, according to Hollywood Reporter, MySpace is partnering with FOX News and launching a uReport community. This website will celebrate journalism of the average citizen. Users can upload pictures and videos to supplement current news - the article mentions that their content may be aired on FOX News. Even though uReport will celebrate the talents of the average citizen or aspiring journalist - I think websites like this - raise a real concern. The question becomes: How important is news anyway? If anyone can post something they consider newsworthy - sometimes it is good: local communities may benefit by knowing what is going on in their neighborhood, while learning about other things going on in the world. Sometimes - newscasters may leave some newsworthy information out of the news and people may be able to fill in the blanks through uReport. However this poses a question - how effective are journalists? are newspapers, television newsports and radio broadcasts necessary? While some may argue no, I think they are still important today. People look towards those mediums to find out what is going on in the world, even if a website like uReport allows people from across the world to share and spread news.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ashton Kutcher battles CNN for Twitterer of the Century

So if you have been living on mars or in Indiana for the past week, then maybe you haven't heard that Ashton Kutcher, everyone's beloved prankster, challenged CNN to see who could be the first to reach a million followers on Twitter. The winner would donate 10,000 mosquito nets and the loser 1,000 on World Malaria Day. Well, CNN's twitter account "cnnbrk" came up short even after holding the lead for a substancial time. Kutcher's account "aplusk" crossed the one million mark around 2:13 a.m. on Friday (4/17) morning, according to CNN. It took CNN's feed til 2:42 a.m. the same day to reach a milli. Aside from how weird it is for a person to challenge a corporate news company to see who can get more followers, the publicity surrounding the bet did create a lot of buzz for Twitter and for World Malaria Day.

Oprah Winfrey, the inventor of hugs, kisses, and motivational posters staring kitty cats, joined up on Twitter, and also pledged to give 20,000 mosquito nets on World Malaria Day. Not to be outshined by Kutcher, CNN, God or anyone else that gets in her way, Oprah obviously had to double the highest pledge amount. I know that it sounds like I really dislike Oprah and this whole publicity stunt by these celebrities, I do have to admit that there will be probably be a record amount of mosquito nets donated this year. CNN upped the ante and pledged 10,000 even though 1,000 was agreed upon by the loser. Ryan Seacrest couldn't miss out on all the fun so he too pledged to donate an undisclosed amount of nets. All in all, Kutcher did manage to get a whole lot of mosquito nets donated with just a little social networking and a computer.

As a side note, Oprah is definitely getting ready to take over Twitter as she had around 73,000 followers before a single Tweet went out. Bullsh*t. Someone follow me already. I'm just sour because I am incredibly jealous that only 36 people want to know that "I like to rock the party," which was my last tweet, but 73,000 pepople want to hear Oprah say "hello." Why do you have to be famous or incredibly good at social networking to get lots of cool followers? I guess I should work on forcing freinds to join up so that I feel like someone is actually listening. I just wish Tony Hawk followed me back, because he is the man. Oh well, watch out for Oprah, she catching on. Sorry for ranting, I just want to be loved on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Domino's Effects

I'm just providing the links here, check it out at your own risk:

The Domino's Effect from Social Media Today


the response from Domino's: An Update to Our Valued Customers

Responses are welcome!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This is pretty funny! not only can you basically search for anything on Twitter, but there is even a website called Cursebird. Not sure why the things I post are usually so ridiculous... but I think this is pretty funny. It tracks every curse that people use in their Tweets and automatically puts them on the site right after they've been Tweeted... haha. You can even search for your own username and it'll tell you exactly what curses you've said and give you a ranking! I've never sweared! Just something fun I thought I'd put up.

The Story of the Internet

OK, just a quick note here, to say that this video is really well done, and I like the way it shows how a number of different developments in different kinds of technologies, in different nations, and at different times, all came together to form the internet. Really impressive work!

Of course, taking a big picture perspective, we might say that the bias of electric technologies has been towards greater convergence of technologies and services--this is a point McLuhan made decades ago, and Mumford before him. It's not that the internet was inevitable, there are many different ways that things could have worked out. The evolution has been dynamic and fluid, and chaotic, like a stream, but like a stream, it has followed a certain, unmistakable direction.

Digital Nation

In my documentary class we came across an interesting program on PBS. For their Frontline series there are a couple of documentarians and media analysts who are creating an interactive documentary called Digital Nation about our nation's dependency on the internet and other forms of media. The project explores how technology affects our daily lives. It stems from a documentary aired on PBS in 2008 called Growing Up. It followed teenagers and their interactions with the media. I thought that this project goes really well with a lot of the topics we've covered in class so far. 

I highly suggest checking out the PBS Frontline Digital Nation website and watching the videos. 

This weeks reading

The opening chapter of the book explains how people have become connected with other through the use of cyberspace while becoming less social in the everyday world. Despite people constantly updating their status online and using the internet to talk to people all over the world, people are becoming less interactive in the real world. I believe that more people using the internet and cyberspace is setting real world interaction back. With more and more people growing up online and living their whole life's using the internet, people become less inclined to have social interactions in the physical world. To further help this argument of people becoming less interactive in the physical world, David Alsberg's death is used. By being part of cyberspace Alsberg had created real relationships that could be "as rewarding as their face-to-face friendships. 
The next chapter goes more into cyberspace being a part of the human body. By using machines to look at images and other mediums, cyberspace becomes an extension of the mind. This theory of computer being an extension was first seen through the use of science fiction. People becoming one with computers to be able to perceive that they are part of cyberspace (virtual reality) I believe Phelan states it the best that "the paradox of cyberspace, which enhances the illusion of images as reality because we can move and change the images and thus are deluded into thinking we are effective in the real world." 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thoughts on The Reading

Chapter 1 explained how people are becoming more and more connected but at the same time more alone. Even though people are emailing, interacting with others through social networking websites, blogging and updating their status' regularly to keep their friends and family informed about what is going on in their lives, people are increasingly becoming distant from others. The more we interact with computers, the less we are interacting with others. This chapter mentions how people do not even know their neighbor's name several times explaining that even though people communicate more they seem to have forgotten the fundamentals of social interaction - the physical aspect of meeting others. The argument of whether or not people are interacting with each other less and less can go both ways. People go to work, spend time with their friends and family, and go to school - all of which involve social interaction. I do not think interaction with others via cyberspace has eliminated the physical contact that people have, but rather extended it through an additional medium. However, social interaction has definitely changed due to cyberspace. People connect with each other through the internet and to an extent that has decreased physical interaction. Oftentimes we will just send an email instead of making a phone call. Could that be because we do not have time? because its more convenient? because it avoids direct confrontation? It could be a combination of all. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that there are people out there - our neighbors do have names. Chapter 2 focused on cyberspace and stated that cyberspace involves: people controlling devices through computers that give them the feeling of feedback as if the devices were parts of their own body, suggesting that the cyberspace is an extension of the self. This chapter also mentions the convergence of technologies. Through various forms of technology people can take pictures, watch videos, dictate to their computers, read books digitally and many other things. The reading explains that cyberspace content is "non physical" only to the extent that people do not interpret messages, designs and commands. Moreover, language itself is meaningless without the interpretations of the minds. Hence, suggesting at cyberspace involves a physical medium aside from that one that includes the wires, computers and everything else in between that connects millions of people across the world to each other.

My uncle Bob

A part of the readings reminds me of my uncle Bob (for privacy reasons I made up a pseudonym for him). The reason I bring him up is that I noticed a significant difference in the way him and I communicate with people. For example, when we go out to places, he always seems to get into a conversation with a random stranger or if we are at a restaurant, with the person serving us food. These conversations rang from the weather, to business and even very personal discussions. This surprised me because I had always grown up in a family, and even a societal time where one kept to him or herself.

For example, I grew up in and around NYC nearly my whole life so I would spend a lot of time in the city. When I would go out or take the subway, everyone kept to themselves and I rarely bothered anyone. Sure I got into the occasional conversation with a stranger but for the most part, I felt it was rather difficult to spark up a conversation with a stranger unless the social situation was conducive to do so.

My uncle on the other hand did not play by the same rules. He was raised with a community that let down there social walls and talked freely to one another. He looked at every situation as a way to interact with people. He was not limited by social stigmas that inhibited face to face contact with people. Grumpert & Drucker write:

“Once upon a time, not so many years ago, people could go out into the city lights when the fancy struck them, when they had nothing better to do, when it occurred to them that it might be fun to be with others. They wandered out to the square to talk... to the park to stroll among others... to the public realm to vanquish loneliness, discuss politics, or simply talk. But it is no longer that time past, and old and familiar have become hostile and menacing”.

Because the “familiar” has now become hostile, many of us have reverted to digital communication to get our social fix. We feel less anxiety through cyber communities that break down the sometimes scary social boundaries necessary in the real world:

“there is something seductive about electronic communication with others, and we in the United States have begun to rely on mediated communication and even to prefer that mode to the old, particularly because it is safe, forgetting that there are qualitative differences between the two (Grumpert & Ducker)”.

We are losing the desire to interact face to face, something my uncle managed to avoid doing. He kept the old way of communicating and did not have the option of digital communication to fulfill his basic human need for social interaction. So what does it all mean?

I think the answer is very unclear and will be until this digital age plays itself out a little further. But I can speak for my own experience and say that I think there is a real danger for people who rely too much on digital communication to lose the ability to interact in the real world. Because of the ways in which we communicate on the net is so different from face to face interaction, spending too much time online could cause a type of social disability. Beyond this, I just think that real contact with human beings is necessary for people to be happy.

online addiction

Blackboard on the iPhone?

Here's an article about how there are applications in the works for Blackboard. This could be pretty useful to students and teachers alike. By the way, I love this website, it's a blog about new apple products. Lots of stuff about the next iPhone :)

I also thought I'd share something I found to be interesting. Last class when we shared what was new in our online worlds, I didn't really have anything to say because I had given up Facebook and Twitter for a week. It made SUCH a difference! I never realized how much time I really spent on the two. I allowed myself to be so distracted from doing work, class, and even from face-to-face communication. I didn't slip up at all during the week, but even the smallest things made me want to just check my notifications. Really stupid things; like I went to a party and knew there had been pictures put up of me and I wanted to see them... so dumb. It reminded me of something that chapter 1 said about playing alone on the Internet and chapter two when it talked about online addictions. Even though I'm talking to my other friends and even famous people through Twitter, it is still time wasted where I could be doing something productive or hanging out with others. When I think of how much time I have probably spent alone in my room at my computer, it's kind of scary! I'm making connections to others, but at the price of losing connections to those who are right here in front of me! I definitely think that by giving up my social networking, even if only for a week, has helped me to see where my priorities are. There really is too much information! Facebook and Twitter help me to get to know people who I don't even really care about, yet I am addicted to that information. It is just so easy to press refresh that I can't help but look and see what new information is available. Nowadays there is even a website for those addicted to the Internet and want recovery! I am so curious as to where this Information age is going. What if there really is too much meaningless information as Postman suggests? I can only wonder about the future.

Friend Feed

As I was reading about social networking websites I came across:

Friend Feed

I just signed up for it - so as of now i do not know much about it yet. But as I'm exploring it, I've discovered - that the website links together Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Flickr and about 56 other services. These websites range from providing status updates, to sharing pictures and videos, bookmarking, news and a few other random things.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Google may be buying Twitter??

So I've read a few articles lately that have talked about Google buying Twitter, and I am not too sure what to think about it. This article has been my favorite so far. Google could make Twitter more mainstream than it already is, which may not be a bad or good thing. Looking at it from a negative perspective, Twitter, if bought out, could be loaded with advertisements and other non-sense that could almost make it unbearable compared to what it is now. On a positive note, it could attract a lot more businesses/news stations etc. to join and expand the network of people and information. The article i just posted talks about why Twitter could be so valuable right now, and this is my favorite quote from it:

"Twitter's real value is in search. It holds the keys to the best real time database and search engine on the internet, and Google doesn't even have a horse in the game."

In my honest opinion, I didn't realize Twitter's actual value until I read that statement. It would only make sense for a massive company like Google to actually buy it out and put it into the hands of the masses. I've read about and even followed some news stations and companies/brands on Twitter that send you updates daily and that is what I believe Google is after. I believe they'd like to be in control of Twitter's information, like how people interact with brands, with news stations, and with everyone in general. I know I've seen our own professor, Lance Strate, interact on Twitter with Magic Hat, a lovely brewing company, and to me, that is pretty interesting. When has there been a time when you can interact with a company that you may like or dislike at any time of the day, and most likely get a response back. It's all really coming to me how much Twitter was actually worth and how much it is worth now. It also makes me think as a young soon-to-be college graduate, how could I/We create the next Twitter or the next Myspace? I really need to get started on this ASAP if I want to be the next youngest millionaire ha-ha... Lets all pray that the idea comes to one of us before the end of this semester, and we too can become the next Internet/Business pioneers. I say we all split profits! Any Takers?

The Social Petridish

         As Rheingold stated, the Internet is a medium with virtual communities, like micro-organisms that grow in petri-dishes. Cyberspace has its own rules, it is unharnessed. It seems as though our generation has adapted a culture unfamiliar to other generations. It is not like years ago when our grandparents disproved of our parents listening to Rock N' Roll. The Internet has had much greater of an affect on our lives and the way that we communicate, learn, and live. There has been such an impact that, even if our grandparents and parents refuse to use and understand the Internet, they are coming into a time when the must make the Internet a part of their lives. 
           This summer, I worked at Samsung Experience, a show room of media related products such as phones, mp3 players, etc. We had 10 computers available to customers with free access to the Internet. In order to use the Internet, the customer had to type in their email in order to log into the computer. It was shocking to me the number of people who did not have email addresses. They tended to be the older crowd. One guy that came into the store looking to use a computer did not know how to use the keyboard. He didn't even know how to put a space between words. All he wanted to do was Google his name, so I helped him out. It's crazy that the idea of the computer was completely foreign to him...and it's 2009. 
             Cyberspace is such an unfathomable concept. It is more than what we might think it is. It is logistically and relationally more than just the relationship between the user and the computer. The Internet itself exponentially grows each and every year. I remember a commercial several years ago stating that there were over 33,000 websites on the Internet. Today, there are millions of websites and billions of web users. While the expansion of the Internet is a positive thing, we may begin to see more of the negatives in the near future. Almost all information that is put on the Internet is public. Advertisers will surely take advantage of this in the future. They will use detailed psychological profiles to narrow in on their target demographic. This is a scary realization, but the power of the Internet is unstoppable.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Celebrities on Twitter

For this post, I'll just send you over to my blog, where I incorporated the article Dom brought to our attention into the post: Celebrities on Twitter.

Twitterdee and Tweeterdum

Twitter is once again in the news. Hollllaaaa

Twitter does it again. This time Twitter outshines the powerhouse social networking site Facebook based on its yearly growth. The CNN story reports that between February '08 and '09, Twitter's users jumped from 475,000 all the way to 7 Million according to Nielsen NetView. That's just one year with a 1,374% increase in users. I can't even imagine what the statitistics will be next February.
Nevertheless, the interesting part of all this is the comparison to Facebook who reached 65.7 millios users, with a growth of 228%. So if my general arithmatic isn't as bad I remember it being, that would put the amount of Facebook users just below 30 million. Considering that in just one year Twitter went from under half a million to 7 million, it seems like Twitter could certainly contend with the amount of users of Facebook in a just a couple of years.

By comparison, Facebook grew 228 percent, to 65.7 million users, during the same period.

saw a 1,374 percent jump in unique visitors between February 2008 and February this year, up to 7 million from only 475,000, according to

come to see HEAT this weekend!

I have been performing with Expressions Dance Alliance for the four years I have been at Fordham. It is a student run dance group that puts on a performance once a semester. This weekend (April 3rd and 4th) we are putting on our spring show entitled HEAT. It is at 8pm in Collins Auditorium both Friday and Saturday. $3 with Student ID, $8 without. I hope everyone can make it!! The clip below is a preview of one of the Hip Hop pieces I choreographed with another senior. It is the last number in the show and it will definitely get the crowd moving!

April Fools - Conficker

April Fools is tomorrow and there is quite a bit of news going around about a virus, Conficker, that is expected to attack computers tomorrow.

I found an article on CNN:

How will the April Fools' computer worm affect you?

Take a look. It will be interesting to see whether this supposed attack will be successful or not.

Users Call Skype App For iPhone 'Buggy'

The Channel Wire
March 31, 2009
The Skype application for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch is available in the iTunes store Tuesday, bringing the VoIP capabilities to the Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

According to the iTunes store, the Skype application has already been reviewed 1,376 times and has an average rating of 3.5 stars. Already many of the user reviews written on launch day are negative, with users calling the app 'buggy' and complaining about crashes.

One user, identified as Klaudosky writes in the iTunes store customer review section that the Skype app should be considered a beta release. Reviewer Golalmo also says that the app crashes upon launch, asking "Did anyone at Skype actually try to use this app?"

In addition to crashing at the launch of the app, other users are finding that phone calls placed with Skype aren't lasting long. PatrickPatrick wrote in a review of the application that the duration of calls lasted up to 60 seconds.

"Crashed repeatedly, usually within 30 to 60 seconds of starting. Powered down the phone to see if it made a difference. It didn't. I'll give it a second try next update."

Jasmer tried doing a soft reset after experiencing problems with the Skype App.

"I have done a restore and a soft reset on my iPhone. This still crashes. Over and over and over again. C'mon we waited forever to get this? Please fix it"

Of course, not all users are having a bad experience with the app. MonkSEALPup and Casualfacebooker, among others, don't appear to be having any issues using the application.

ApolloXI urged users to calm down, noting the recent release of the application.

"Give it time. You have to remember that this application came out only but a few hours ago! This is going to happen with any application this big and popular. If [Skype] doesn't send out a patch within a day or two that works, then complain all you want."

According to the iTunes Store, the Skype app is in version 1.0.1.

Skype; The Computer Phone Becomes Available on the Iphone

The popular Software program known as Skype was unveiled as a free Iphone application today. For those of you who have never used Skype, it is a download-able program which allows a person to use their computer as a phone to call people around the world, or down the street. Not only can a person converse openly through their [built-in] computer mic, but they also can video chat with a person if both computers are equipped with a webcam. Instant messaging is also available through the Skype service.
The program which has a simple interface on a computer has morphed itself to appear much similar to the interfaces of many Iphone Applications. It's Iphone features include the ability to filter contacts by sorting them alphabeitcally or by who is currently online and available to chat.
Skype is predominantly used for keeping in touch with friends or family that currently reside in a different country or far away region. The reason ofcourse being because Skype uses your own internet connection to place a call. The person calling or recieving does not have to pay the hefty chrages incurred for calls placed across the globe.
Personally, I use the program to keep in touch with friends studying abroad, the ability to keep in closer touch with those induviduals through my mobile phone will only further the diminishing digital divide between my peers abroad and myself. I have not yet been able to download the application just yet, for some minor glitch concerning my Itunes account, but this application will undoubtedly be the very next thing I download for my phone.

Twouble with Twitters

A while back, I was checking my e-mail, and I found a link to a YouTube video that was sent to the Media Ecology Association listserv. The video is called Twouble with Twitters, and is described simply as, "A young man struggles against the pressure to Twitter his life away." And here it is:

Media Ecology Meets Futura (reposted from my blog)

So, back in August I was interviewed about media ecology for the Brazilian television channel Futura. The interview was videotaped at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, and it being a beautiful day, we went outside in the late afternoon and sat on a bench and did the interview outdoors.

The interviewer, Tania Menai, a Brazilian native residing in Nova York, asked me questions in English, then asked them again in Portuguese, and I answered in English. Later, the English-language questions were edited out, so that it appears as if Tania is asking the questions in Portuguese, I'm understanding them perfectly, and then responding appropriately, albeit in English. You gotta love when they make you appear to be smarter than you really are! Ah, the magic of editing.

She was especially interested in media ecology, which I was very happy to talk about, and she had a particular interest in Neil Postman's work, which was just great. And we talked quite a bit about new media as well.

The interview was
broadcast on November 7, 2008, but it was only recently that Tania got me a recording, and I was able to upload it to YouTube, broken into three parts--the segment in its entirely is about half an hour.

And that's about it. I'll just embed the three videos and leave you to watch it for yourself.

And with that, I will just say, Até logo!

The 5 minutes ago

Each and everyday, I go online at least ten times checking my email, Facebook, twitter, etc. Without these outlets I would not know what was going on in the world. Without Facebook, I wouldn't have learned that Bernie Mac had died, and without I wouldn't be able to keep an update on the ever-evolving economy. However, this lifestyle is quite different from that of my parents or grandparents. My parents get their news through 24 hour networks and other news programs on the television, as do my grandparents. That being said, how can we determine what medium offers "presentation to the masses?"
While generations before me might disagree, I find the Internet to be the more accessible and reliable medium for news and mass information. Unfortunately, studies show that only a minority of the population/world is actually online. How can we account for the millions of people (who seem to be 55+, lower education, lower income, etc.) who do not have immediate access to the Internet? The government has attempted to make big attempts to broaden the usage of the Internet through the implementation of the Digital Divide Summit (1999). The government hopes to push the wide usage of the Internet because they see it as an "economic emergency." In Chapter 10, Dance says that many people think of the Internet as the "major driving force of economic growth." It is unfortunate that the government is typically slow in its push for certain changes in our nation/economy. Especially in a time where we need major economic change, maybe a focus on making Internet a norm in our lifestyles would give the economy the push it needs to get out of this recession.
In my opinion, the Internet has several advantages over television. The Internet is a haven for public thought and opinion. Our society relishes in this outlet for free speech. While some things should be censored, most of the content on the Internet is not. This is both a good thing and bad. But it does help that you can find almost anything on the Internet. I find it especially good that you can surf the web, read the news, and check your email without disrupting commercial breaks. While there are advertisements, they do not take away from the actual content on the web. Unfortunately, advertisers use every aspect of television to sell their products (i.e. product placement), which causes you to question the validity of the content.
In the future, we will come to find that television is dead. In fact, each year, television viewership decreases because everyone watches their shows online. I probably watch about 30 minutes of television a week, but I spend many more hours watching my favorite shows online. While the Internet is rising in numbers, and seems to be more useful in daily life, we must remember that we are faced with a whole new set of issues concerning privacy and publicity. As Rushkoff said, "we cannot let ourselves be fooled into thinking that simply having the right to select our data with the click of a computer mouse instead of a TV remote means we have won the Information Arms Race."

Control of Cyberspace

The use of Harvard Yard is a perfect analogy for the control of cyberspace. By paving over the newly made paths of the students, they are "in favor of decentralized control by emergent popular habits," which is much like cyberspace. I believe that Michael Benedikt gives the best interpretation of cyberspace, being "a common mental geography, built in turn, by consensus and revolution, canon and experiment." There is no single entity controlling cyberspace, it is controlled by the social interactions of millions of independent individuals. The reason for no single entity controlling cyberspace is because it consists not only of material things but non-material components, such as relationships among individuals and the cybercultural contents of their heads. I believe that no single entity will ever control cyberspace because it is a form of world wide communication where millions of users have some type of say in control. Another great quote is by Douglas Rushkoff who speaks of cybercapitalism-" who's going to own the new electronic frontier?asked the squatter. Who owned the last frontier? replied the cattle baron." This quote goes very well with the question of control over cyberspace because no one has ever controlled cyberspace and no one will ever show control! With that there can be no use of copyright infringement in cyberspace because nothing is tangible. Copyrights can not be controlled because it is on a medium that has infinite information. 

Am I the promoter of death?

All three articles dealt with control of cyberspace and the content on it but the thing that stood out for me was Rushkoff’s article. What he basically says is that major companies are trying (with al lot of success) to turn the Internet into a one way portal where goods/information are given to viewers. By doing this the companies hope to control the distribution outlets from where these goods/information is traded. This, in Rushkoff’s mind is bad news because the Internet is about two way communication and growth. By hindering this part of the Net we are not allowed to evolve.

The above point is very valid and the way he writes is poignantly lyrical, canvassing his opinion in beautiful language. But it made me wonder about my communications major because in many ways, I’m being trained to be the big company he warns about. I learn everyday how to decode the signals and trends going on around me. This skill can be used to ride the waves of the market, influence public opinion and to stop positive change if it was economically beneficial. Aren’t these the alarm bells Rushkoff talks about when he says, “Coercion and influence are simply the pushing of a fixed point of view. In this sense, the coercer is promoting death.”?

On the other, I believe Rushkoff is illuminating the reality of the situation. For those of us who gain the skills to influence, it is our responsibility to become aware of the potential to stop positive change and use these tools for the betterment of all. Rushkoff states, “Because the chief agents of change are interaction and communication, these will be the activities that the enemies of evolution will want to keep in check”. In others words, in order for us to fight for evolution we must utilize the Internet’s ability to interact and communicate.

However, the staple of today’s online world where interaction and communication are utilized is social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs (to mention but a few). Is he implying that we create more sites like these that further interaction and communication? Because if he is, I think it could help fight the Internet from turning into a “shopping mall” but where is the incentive?

On the monetary side there is still a lack of economic incentive for people to create these sites. For example, while blog sites do offer some creative ways to earn income from user popularity, the reality is that only a very small number are able to achieve this. Even for those who do get some money from their blogs, most of the time the earnings pale in comparison to the amount of man hours one puts into a blog. So the question I’m asking is why put thousands of man hours into something that will most likely have a minimal return in monetary value, if any at all?

The immediate response to my own question is that people receive personal value from getting feed back from their blog posts. People feel like they are listened to and enjoy the social environment. However, the only way to fight back agianst the “coercers” is to start sites like facebook where interaction is opened up to huge volumes of users. But from what I hear, facerbook is earning some money from it’s advertisements but this is not yielding a profit margin that major investors are looking for (I could be wrong on this point).

What I am trying to say is that we need big companies to find ways to spur spending on the net and if this means a loss in communication/interaction then so be it. Especially in these hard economic times we need create new ways to spur economic growth. Therefore, companies finding out our habits and utilizing this knowledge is not always a bad thing. So maybe me joining a big company and finding ways to use the communication skills I learned at Fordham to "trick" the public into giving up their cash is alright. In the end, who says there can’t be a balance between big company influence and the communication/interaction that the Internet was built on.

Cyberspace and Control

The reading for this week focused on who controls cyberspace. Chapter 3 started out with an analogy, comparing cyberspace to the Harvard Yard and then explained how cyberspace, unlike the Harvard Yard, involves more than just physical space. Also, the chapter suggests that cyberspace is divided into two classes, namely, those that value of cyberspace and inherently good, and an end in itself; and those hat see cyberspace as a means to a particular end. Chapter 4 explains the issues of control with cyberspace. With so many users from around the world, how does a person or an entity regulate something like the Internet? How does someone enforce copyright laws in cyberspace? Two possible solutions proposed in this chapter were limited protection combined with a rather extended period of protection, or broaden protection combined with a ore limited period of protection. Cyberspace brings up a concern about the control and freedom. The amended Copyright Act of 1976 explains that, "Copyright protection subsists in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression." However, with cyberspace it is difficult to apply and enforce this law it is increasingly difficult to find fixed, predictable, and tangible shapes. The chapter provides four reasons with examples to explain why enforcing copyright laws will be difficult: it is difficult to police who copies what and distinguish whether or not it is authentic, the concepts of originality and authorship are making less sense in the context of digital expression, it will not work for economic reasons, and because the structure of the Internet is constantly changing. Chapter 21 provided anthropological examples and examples from religious history to explain how information campaigns depend on concretizing living myth with fixed data.The chapter explained how when a public relations person describes a group of people as a targeted market removes communication with equals from the equation. Similarly, advertising focused on creating needs rather than fulfilling needs.