07th Nov2011

A Whole New Meaning to “Where you at?”

by sam

(Disclamer #2: This post does not have to do with television at all, but it is really interesting anyway)

Mobile and Locative Media has recently become one of my favorite topics because it is always changing and being updated constantly.  When cell phones first started out you think about meeting up with someone and then take out your phone and call them to see where they were and if they wanted to hang out, now  the phone is capable of doing it all.  Although a lot of people say that cell phones are hurting our social interactions with people, Lee Humphreys makes a great argument against them in, Mobile social networks and urban public space.  He explains how many applications on phones are making it easier to meet up with friends and are actually encouraging social interaction by using examples like Dodgeball.

Dodgeball was a service that let people alert their friends of their location at a specific time.  It was the early version of the modern day Foursquare, which incidentally was created by one of the co-founders of Dodgeball.  Humphrey’s did a study on Dodgeball and found that many people would change the direction they were walking because they got a notification that a friend of their’s was only a block or two in the other direction.  People liked it because it took away the step of having to call people to see what they were up to and then deciding on a place to meet.  You knew the person was already near by and they purposely checked in to notify everyone of where they were so that anyone could come join them.  It helped them meet up with people who they might have otherwise not known were around and free.  Someone also said that they use it to avoid interactions with someone such as an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend because through Dodgeball they saw where they were and made sure not to go there as well.  I hadn’t thought of it that way but it certainly is a useful part of the application.  I know I always check Facebook events guest lists before responding to them just in case someone I have an issue with (and list of people I have a problem with is very short, 2 at the most) is attending.  I know to avoid them so that I can go out and have a good time without risking confrontation.

Another program that Humphrey’s talks about is Google Latitude which uses Google Maps to show a map of all of your Latitude using friends’  locations.  I think that this is a useful service but I think it would be more useful within the confines of Foursquare because Foursquare lets you check-in with friends, get special deals, and leave reviews of places.  The two together would be a powerhouse application.  I would love to see where my friends were on a map, check out the reviews and specials going on where they were, and then possibly have the application give me directions to get there.  A girl can dream can’t she?

06th Oct2011

Online Groups Making a Difference

by sam

In Group Dynamics by Katelyn McKenna and Amie Green, a group is defined as consisting of “two or more individuals interacting in such a manner that each person is influenced by and exerts influence on the other individuals”.  They also go on to explain that people join groups both in the real world and the virtual world to achieve goals.  With the invention of the social media, it has become much easier for people to become involved in groups that include others from around the world who have the same interests.  In another reading, Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky, there is an explanation of how Flickr makes it easy for people to allow their photos to be combined with others of the same topic by using tags.  These tagged photos create a group of people who all share an interest in that topic and in one case generated a conversation and a connection between them.  Eventually these people arranged a meeting as a result of these shared tags.  It changed the order of group formation from gather, then share” into “share, then gather”.

There are many groups online dedicated to discussing and analyzing any and every television show.  The show Lost has one of the biggest online followings because it created such a hype and a lot of confusion when it was still airing.  If you type in TV Show Lost groups you will be bombarded with general groups for people who like lost as well as specific groups for people who are “devoted to literary references in the TV show LOST.” I actually watched the whole series after it had stopped airing on ABC so when I was confused about something that had happened on the show (and this was very often do to the craziness and unpredictability of the show) I had a plethora of different fan sites with discussions and debates over what happened to look through.

Group Dynamics mentions that groups entail “sharing to cooperation to collective action” and I have recently seen this happen twice.  After Betty White was in a commercial during the Super Bowl there was a group formed on Facebook to convince SNL to make her the host of an episode.  After only 2 and a half months the group had several hundred thousand members (me included). They then announced that Betty White would be hosting the May 8th show.  It shows how powerful virtual groups can be.

Another example of virtual groups making an impact is the I WANT MY 90’s NICKELODEON BACK group on Facebook.  The group has over 1 million followers and this summer Nickelodeon began airing the 90’s Nick shows from midnight to 2 am on weekdays to accomodate the 17-24 year olds who have been asking for them.  A few days ago Nickelodeon released that they are going to start airing the shows earlier (10 pm) as well because of the great ratings and success they have had with the reruns.  I know I also belonged to this group and had my tivo set for every episode they played.  My brother and I love watching them together and catching references to the 90’s that went over our heads back in the day. Entertainment Weekly says, “TeenNick says The ‘90s Are All That has scored huge gains for the net, posting double-digit increases over last year (50%) among adults 18-34 in the time period.”

Bottom line is, if you want to get something accomplished….start a Facebook group!

26th Sep2011

Impression Management and who does it best!

by sam

Impression management is a process individuals use to control the perceptions or impressions about themselves in the eyes of the public.  Many companies use social networking sites to help control this and help brand themselves and create a personality for their company.  The show that I have noticed does a great job of keeping their viewers interested and up to date is Glee.  Their facebook and twitter pages are updated constantly and always have something for their viewers to check out.  I find myself watching videos they link to almost every day.  They are always update you on the newest news surrounding the show and also what the cast is up to so it’s not just limited to the show.  Their twitter is updated even more that the facebook page and gets the followers involved by asking engaging questions which create a buzz around the show.