15th Nov2011

Polarization on the Internet versus Television

by sam

After reading Republic.com 2.0: Polarization and cybercascades by Cass Sunstein I had mixed views on polarization.  He makes a lot of very interesting points on how many things we do today are polarized.  People choose which news stories they want to appear on their homepages and which network news programs they are going to watch because of their political views.  I personally use Google News and don’t really pay attention to the source when choosing to read one of the top stories.  I will also read more than one on the same topic just to make sure one story didn’t leave something out that may have been important.  But I am inclined to reorder the way the categories are listed.  I leave World and US news at the top but then put Technology, Entertainment, Sports, and then finally Health and Politics.  I blame part of the reason I am not interested in politics on being younger than everyone in my grade at school.  Whenever politics was brought up senior year of high school I would barely pay attention because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to vote in the next election like everyone else.  It made me angry so I never payed attention.  I know it’s childish and I certainly don’t think that way now but it has certainly had an effect on my view of politics.

Although I do not have a specific new source for the regular news, I do have a preference for entertainment news.  I always follow Perez Hilton’s website and tweets for the latest in pop culture news.  I will never intentionally go to the TMZ or E! News but I follow them on twitter just to make sure I don’t miss anything that Perez did not cover (which barely ever happens).  I feel more connected to Perez Hilton’s website because there is a face to connect with the source.  With TMZ and E! I do not know who the news is coming from and if it is true.  Perez also admits when he gets something wrong which I really like.  I am probably on his site once a day getting spoilers and updates on all of my favorite TV shows and actors.

Sunstein talks about a study where they found that Republicans chose Fox and Democrats were split between National Public Radio and CNN.  I found it interesting that Fox News is preferred by Republicans who are more conservative because other shows on that network are certainly not conservative.  It intrigues me that the news and other programing on the same network could be so different.  The show Glee celebrates gay couples and has teenage pregnancy which conflict with the views of many Republicans. Fox also shows the shows The Simpsons and Family Guy which are almost never politically correct.


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?

20th Sep2011

How Search Made Watching TV Easier

by sam

After reading How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture by John Battelle I have realized how Google controls so much of the information I intake.  I almost always go to the first 3 links on Google when I search for something.  It doesn’t matter if I got all of the information I needed from the first link, I feel the need to see what Google recommended I look at.  I now know after reading this excerpt and from class discussion that companies can pay for being on the top of the list.  Although I kind of feel cheated, I will still use it at least 10 times a day.  If I missed an episode of one of the hundred shows I watch, I just simply Google (yes I believe Google is now in the dictionary as a verb) watch insert tv show name here online free, and almost always can find a version of it in the first 5 links.  I also use Google to look up characters on TV shows, movies, and so many other things.  I can also Google the times that TV shows are on.  I can’t imagine my life without a search engine.  I have also recently started using Bing every once in a while just to see how it matches up to google.  I like it but I don’t think it’s significantly better or worse than Google so I’m going to stick to what I know.  I rely on Google for everything, not only as a search engine but as my main source for news as well.  I also like how recently (and when I say recently I mean a year or 2 ago) they have increased their video search.  That also helps make watching shows for free online much simpler because they show youtube videos in the search results.  Also discussed in the excerpt is SEM/SEO (Search Engine Marketing and Optimization) which explains how some websites get to the top of the list without paying and being in the advertised sections.  I can add tags to this blog post that tell the search engines that this post is about SEO, Search, Google, Television, etc… It’s crazy how the internet originally started out at this open and free environment and now it’s controlled by so many different companies and organizations.  What’s even crazier is that a lot of people have no idea!  I wonder what would happen if you Googled Google?