Sunday, August 8, 2010

Anonymity and Self Disclosure on Weblogs
Qian and Scott (2007) pose questions about the difference between visual and discursive anonymity on weblogs and the relationship to the level of self disclosure.
I found the information regarding bloggers concerns (page 11) curious. Of the 207 surveyed, 87 people expressed concern that what they blogged about could negatively impact their lives. Of these 87 people, 42.53% choose to censor themselves. Does this mean the other 63% don't ?
The conclusion that discursive not visual anonymity is related to the amount of self disclosure is interesting. People who refrain from giving identification information are more likely to self disclose, free from the constrains of accountability. However as we and the web progress the ability to search and find connections between obscure sites becomes more prolific. "Oh what a tangled web we weave"
Deception or the intention of hiding behind a pseudonym can be a tricky thing
My curiosity revolves around the need for some people to disclose highly sensitive and personal information. What did we do before weblogs?
Are weblogs some form of a cathartic medium
I expect that some people find the writing and telling of their thoughts via weblogs (even if they are only intended for themselves) a release of some sort. A catalogue of feelings and thoughts to reflect upon.
I stumbled upon the following site as a result of my curiosity about the psychology that drives people to express private and sensitive matters via weblogs. It revolves around the "disinhibition effect" and i found it very interesting, you might too.

Suler,J . (2004) CyberPsychology and Behaviour

Qian, H. , & Scott, C.R (2007) Anonymity and self-disclosure on weblogs. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 12(4)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Indymedia movement

I love the quirkiness of life, those unusual odd things, coincidences, parallels, deliberate attempts to avoid following a path to often travelled by too many, only to find yourself arriving at the same destination, standing in the same queue, realizing that there may have been tremendous value in watching and learning from the patterns of those before you, rather than trying so hard to be defiantly different. Of course that’s just my opinion for the day. Tomorrow I might change my mind.

What tweaked my quirk radar today was the reference to the Participatory/Citizen journalism emergence in Seattle by Leaver (2010) in the lecture notes for Blogging.

Leaver refers to it as the indymedia movement. It got me thinking about a recent documentary I watched about the emergence of grunge rock in Seattle in 1980’s. (Would have been on SBS or ABC about a two months ago)

My first memory of Seattle was it being the hometown of Jimmy Hendrix, I later found out it was also the hometown of Bill Gates and Ray Charles and Bruce and Brendon Lee. Then the grunge rock doco and now the birthplace (in a way) of blogging

So what is it about Seattle that promotes such progressive independent radical free thinking, great music, unique artists and people.

Could be the 100,000 people who annually attend the Seattle hemp fest or is it the reputation for heavy coffee consumption.

Six of the top Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Seattle one of them being

Seattle has the greatest concentration of multiracial Americans and 53.8% of the population over the age of 25 hold a bachelor degree, now that’s a recipe for a hotbed of something – surely?

And so the indyemedia movement seems to follow in the same line as other pioneers native to Seattle. They tout themselves as an outlet “ for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity”.

I for one just appreciate their efforts and the consequential evolution of the blog which allows me to be here right now passing on these thoughts to you.

SEATTLE - YOU ROCK!! (sorry, that’s a bit corny but I always wanted to use the ‘you rock’ reference somewhere somehow.

Leaver, T (2010). Blogging lecture

Monday, July 5, 2010

Colliding Networks

Distributed Conversations  Distributed Communities  Colliding Networks Rettberg(2008). What these terms made me think when I started reading this article was yikes! This is exactly why I have always been slightly apprehensive about social networking. It requires a level of understanding and experience on the Web that a lot of people (I include myself in this group) using this facility do not have, yet. The access to knowledge and information and communication is fantastic, I may never have to visit a library again. I can find a long lost friend online in 10 minutes with minimum expense and reconnect with her. But….I can also just by linking to my sister in laws Facebook site then link to her teenage cousins’ Facebook site and read that she has posted a very detailed recount of her weekend activities. Seems really cool now but, I can suggest that a couple of years from now she will have wished she never mentioned it (and we all know now that “persistence” (boyd 2001) indicates that digital documents tend to stay around for a long time). The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about this is the innocence of her actions, thinking that she is writing maybe for a few of her close friends, not a link to a link to a link to nobody that needs to know these kind of things about you. Might I suggest that in the real world this person (like the rest of us) would have sat in a coffee shop with a couple of close friends and had a quick look around the shop before lowering her voice to a hushed juicy whisper and then shared, but for some reason typing and publishing on the Web negates some peoples usual sense of social constraints. The Internet and Web are like an out of this world new ride at an amusement park with no ride attendant to give you the basic instructions to fasten your seat belts and keep your hands in the carriage. That part is up to you and your personality. Are you the type that reads instructions before operating machinery, click here or do you just like to wing it? If you are a wing dinger then be prepared, its hard to get to a final destination safely if you haven’t checked out the directions, weather forecast or don’t read the road signs. Like any new technology or tool I guess the onus is really on the individual to educate themselves about the safest and most efficient use. The problem with the Web is it is designed specifically to appeal to the masses and as such needed to be very user friendly, that is, so user friendly that anyone and everyone can use it, the friendly, the nasty , the innocent ,the ignorant, the cautious the uninhibited. They’re all out there in cyberspace.

I found this article regarding the pros and cons of social networking summed up a lot of the really great and really crappy things about social networking.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pimp my Blog

Yeah i know it's not much of a posting but i just wanted share this link, i thought it made for some interesting reading on blogs
If you checked out the link you could say that the Huffington Post blog exemplifies the turn around in traditional media toward the Web as a platform. Seeing it's (the Web's) popularity as just another means to reach the masses. This could kind off make Rebecca Bloods ideal of Weblogs as an antidote for the crippling effects of a media saturated culture in the year 2000 seem like  just a wistful hope for the integrity of the blogs future.
Of course there are two sides to every story and the multitude of independant decentralised blogs running on individual domains and journaling everything from biscuit making to views on world politics speaks multitudes about the ability of blogs to enable the traditionally passive public (the little guy) to contribute to the media via the Web, to voice a unique and independant point of view. And according to Technorati (2008) there were about 12.8 million blogs and that excludes the the 72 million Chinese blogs, so that's a lot of little guys with a lot of stuff to say about stuff.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Customer is always right

Ok, so old habits are very hard to break (‘scuse me while I top up my coffee cup and grab a handful of chocolate bullets). My old habit is that I am a marketing gal from way back I can’t help but look at most things from a marketing or business perspective. It is this habit that tweaked my interest when I read in O’Reilly Media Inc (2010) about recently. Now I know and use and have done for quite a few years but I never really considered its success until reading the article. I was really impressed by the dotcoms’ initiative to enhance its existing data by adding publisher supplied cover images, and index, and sample material. The most significant evolution was to trust the users to annotate the data, with their own contributions thus making the primary site on books and also a great reference source. Constantly evolving, harnessing the collective experience and intelligence of its users, it is a self fulfilling organism. The more users visit the site, the more material and annotations are added, thus increasing the level and quality of the site and therefore increasing its user numbers.

Brings me back to an old text book of mine called The Customer Driven Company: Moving from Talk to Action. Whiteley (1991) in which he propounds the virtue of “saturating your company with the “customers’ voice”. Amazon has evolved and adapted from a website that supplies a product to a service provider perspective and in doing so they have as Whiteley (1991) pg 87 explains liberated its “customer champions”. They have done this by Whiteley (1991) pg 92 “engaging every person’s whole mind in improving your organisation” or as it applies to engaging every user’s whole mind in improving your website. Whiteley emphasizes that listening to customers requires open communication. I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between rules for traditional business success and their mirroring in current Web 2.0 successes. (Fascinating eh!)

Whiteley, R. (1991). The Customer Driven Company: Moving from Talk to Action. U.S.A. Addison Wesley

O’Reilly Media Inc. (2010). What is Web 2.0? Retrieved from

Saturday, June 12, 2010

To be or not to be a tech junkie - that is the question

Having devoured week 1 & 2 readings and ilectures for this course (web101) I am more aware and reflective of the saturation of media that intrudes into our lives from the Internet and technology in general.

The sudden trend of families reliance (dare I say addiction almost) to technology within our homes. Dad's on the mobile talking business all night. Mums on facebook checking out who Jenny Longbottom remarried. Amber is texting while doing her homework and Billy is on the PS3 with some kid (i hope it's a kid) who lives across the other side of Australia.

No one is connecting anymore. I have been reading about a few social experiments that people are conducting in their own homes, you know the ones where all devices are removed for 6 weeks / 6 months. After the initial DT's and tantrums subside (and that's just mum and dad). People start connecting on a more personal level, the intervention of TV's, mobile phones and laptops is removed and people start relying on one another for interaction. Got me thinking about introducing a one night a week moratorium on all technology for us. Maybe a board game a book and some connection the old fashioned way. I'm not saying to wipe it all together or that it's all bad (Gosh i am the biggest tech floosie in our house). I'm just thinking i would like to try and strike a balance

I was also thinking about the way in which the Internet has inadvertently brought about a level of accountability in communication that we have not seen before. This includes me in my home or politicians in Canberra (who can forget "Utegate").

You can't play dumb anymore (and I was really getting good at that) and just blame Australia post for that cheque that you really sent last month. If your working with the Internet to communicate with people or pay bills or snooping around for whatever reason just remember every click can be traced, every site you visited is cached, every version of that website you may have created as a joke is recorded out there somewhere.