The End to a Successful Semester

18 Dec

For those of you that don’t already know, this is my first attempt at creating a blog. This was an assignment for a technology course but over these last few months, I have grown to enjoy blogging. This project has not only strengthened my writing abilities but also sparked some interest in a way I didn’t think possible. Most of us use social media on a daily basis, but don’t take the time to really look at it as a topic for discussion. The highlights I have written about, among others, are all things that people using social media sites should be aware of.

My last project was a podcast that talked about the risks that come with interacting with strangers over the internet. It references the television series Catfish; for those of you that have never seen it, it is a reality show that brings together people who have met over the internet. Most outcomes are shocking and usually results in disappointment, however this proves that you can’t believe everything you read/see on the internet.  

Since the course is over and social media isn’t quite my cup of tea (from a blogging perspective), I believe that this could be my last post. I hope to create a second blog, but I’m still unsure of what exactly I would like to write about. I will submit a post for those of you that are interested when I finally make the decision, including the link to the page and the first blog post.

I am open to suggestions so if there is a topic that you are interested in that no one else is speaking about feel free to leave a message in the comment section and I will take it under advisement.

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Pinterest Could Be The Holiday Helper You’ve Been Looking For!

7 Dec

According to Leo Widrich, “Pinterest is especially appealing to women under 50”; which makes it less surprising when you learn that this social media site is making the holiday season less stressful. I came upon an article published to Social Media Today that helps explain how and why this is possible. Apparently having categories like DIY & Crafts, Holidays & Events, and Food & Drink is giving people the ideas they need to make their holiday better than all the years before. Women are no longer spending hours searching through catalogs for that unique recipe that will bring smiles to her children’s faces and puts an end to stopping at every store in town for something that they can easily be made at home. “Ninety-four percent of “pinners” say that Pinterest has changed their preparation for the holidays in one way or another”. Personally I am fascinated by the concept and am captivated by the things that others create. There is so much that can be done in preparation for the holidays and with the help from Pinterest, creativity is at your fingertips. I came across a “pin” that I found to be adorable, easy, and the children are bound to love it!

Image

Works Cited

Bourque, Andre. “Pinterest Makes the Holiday Season Less Stressful.” RSS. Social Media Today LLC, 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.

Widrich, Leo. “Social Media in 2013: User Demographics For Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest And Instagram.” Buffer. Buffer, 2 May 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

A Little Off Topic

25 Nov

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday. This is a time to clear your mind of all its negativity and appreciate not only WHAT you have, but also WHO you have. I feel that family plays a large part in everyone’s lives; these people have helped guide you through life and have supported you when you were unable of doing so yourself, now it’s time to thank them for all that they have done.

Let me take this time to thank all of my readers for your support.

Online Learning is Influencing Upcoming Generations

24 Nov

A special report was recently published in the New York Times on the education of the past and future generations.  They predict that online learning will make getting a college degree cheaper and the college experience better. Author, Jon Meacham, states: “When the class of 2025 arrives on each of their respective campuses, these technologies will have reshaped the entire concept of college in ways we cannot yet predict”; however, no one specified whether these changes were going to be beneficial. With technology on the rise, these changes could be catastrophic and take the social aspect of college and dismiss it completely. We see how interpersonal relationships are already dwindling due to the media, are we going to go even further and take everyday interactions away as well?

There are both advantages and disadvantages that come with using the internet to get an education. Recognizably it helps less privileged people obtain a higher education but according to Elihu Katz’s theory of Uses and Gratifications it does more than that. The use of technology is supposed to offer the user some sort of gratification; online schooling both provides that and takes it away. Online classes provide an escape, you choose when and where you take your classes and it is ultimately at your convenience. However, learning from a computer monitor takes away the social aspect that a college campus presents; you no longer have the everyday interactions with people you see on a regular basis and you don’t have the chance to meet anyone new, not to mention the likelihood of an individual obtaining a parasocial relationship with their professor is doubtful. Though taking classes online is beneficial to some it takes away the key aspect that human beings strive on.

It’s no secret that without a college degree you aren’t going to find decent work; the concept of online school is based around the ideology that it can be obtained by anyone and is literally at the tip of your fingers. However, I always thought of a college acceptance as an accomplishment; you do well in high school and cross your fingers in hopes that you did well enough to get into a good college. If every Tom, Dick, and Harry is getting accepted into an online school the value of a college degree is going to wither away to nothing; eventually a college degree is going to amount to a high school diploma. Which brings up the myth about democratic pluralism; it may be true that we are all born equals but reality is that as life progresses we drift from one side or another. Most people work their whole life to get into college and become successful, why should that same opportunity be given to someone that not only did poorly but didn’t make any sort of effort to do better.

Since the beginning of time, hegemony has played a significant role in society; the privileged people always achieved more while the deprived struggle to survive. Though this may be true, there have been many underclass individuals who have worked hard and made their way through college with outstanding grades and changed that for themselves. If an individual puts the effort in to make a life for themself then they deserve everything they get, however those that work hard at nothing and assume everything to be handed to them deserve nothing. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of students currently attending college who don’t put forth their best effort which is shown by the statistics provided by Meacham in his article; “full time students in 1961 devoted 40 hours per week to schoolwork and studying but by 2003 that had declined by almost half to a total of 27 hours”.

This article presents a type of media agenda; the fact that this specific article was placed on the front cover of one of the world’s most well-known magazines and labeled a special report says a lot.  The authors tried to scare its audience into believing that the education system has fallen within the decade but then provided a resolution by installing the thought in them that online courses will become beneficial when the cost of education rises. It’s almost like the media is trying to manipulate the people into believing that it is the answer to all of our economic problems. Though there were some downfalls to this article, it posed some important questions and makes the reader think about what the future has in store.

Works Cited

Meacham, Jon, and L. Rafael Reif. “Class of 2025: How They’ll Learn and What They’ll Pay.” New York Times n.d.: n. pag. Print.

Promoting Your Blog

14 Nov

In order for your blog to be successful you need to find creative and effective ways to promote your website; you can do this through social media sites, search engines, and even face to face interactions. I suggest getting your blog content started and establishing your page the way you want the public to see it before you start promoting, you don’t want to give the readers the impression that your work is unfinished or your material is not updated.

I personally found that social networks are a quick and easy way to tell a large amount of people about your blog. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and even sites like Instagram and Pintrest can all be useful tools to get the word out about your website. Most sites allow you to integrate social networks into the blog itself which can be helpful; having one person “like” your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter could lead to ten more just by association. Adding Pintrest or Tumbler to your page may distract your readers but that is not necessarily a bad thing; if you incorporate the right photos to your blog, you may attract people that would not normally be interested in your topic specifically to look at any new images.

Another way to go about promoting your blog is by submitting it to a search engine; preferably Google or Yahoo. By doing so, your blog will appear in the search results when someone uses a key word that relates to your website; this opens the possibilities for thousands of followers simply by “stumbling upon” it.

 The last way that I advise you to promote your blog is to actually tell people about it. Go to family and friends and inform them that you have started writing a blog and that you would like them to take a look at it. It may seem like cheating but once again, it’s a chain; one person reads your work and tells another and then before you know it you will have hundreds of followers. People you know and are close to are more likely to take the time to read your work and tell others about it.

There are so many other ways to inform people about your website but these are just a few that I tried and found success in. I encourage you to explore a little and find other ways to go about doing this and if you find something different that works leave a comment and share it with us.

Turkish Protesters Victimized

2 Nov

Throughout history, activists have displayed their disapproval of government decisions in creative and effective ways. Since the first protest in 1688, when the individuals of Germantown fought against slavery, people have discovers thousands of ways to get the authorities to appreciate the opinion of the general public. However, with the rise of technology being as great as it is, the ways of addressing these issues has changed dramatically.

Arab Spring, being the most widely known protest of the last few years, has made an impact internationally. It all started in December of 2010 when “26 year-old, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in front of a government building to oppose police brutality. Protests began that day in Sidi Bouzid when witnesses recorded Bouazizi’s bold deed with cellphone cameras and shared it on the Internet” (NPR). With thousands of uploads to the World Wide Web, “social media sites have become the new soft weapon of democracy” (Pfeifle). After three years the Arab Spring came to an end, however, the Arab Revolutions still continue.
As of May of this year, the media has been fascinated with the protest currently taking place in Turkey. “The public has come together to save the green space in the center of Taksim Square and in return, the police have fired massive amounts of tear gas and pepper spray into the crowd while setting fire to tents set up for protesters to sleep in; leading several injuries” (Tucker). Instantly, social media began to play a colossal part in the broadcast of this event. “Within less than 24 hours over two-million tweets containing hash tags relating to the protest had been posted” (Tucker).

Twitter has been an essential part of this affair since the beginning and because of that, the struggles these people are experiencing has been broadcasted throughout the world. However, because the protests have used social media to recruit new protesters, the police are using it to identify who is responsible for starting chaos in the Taksim Square. “According to Turkey’s Aksam newspaper, police have turned over at least 35 names to prosecutors in the city” (Turkish Government Combing Twitter…).
These people represented their dissatisfaction with the government’s plans for the Taksim Square with civil disobedience and in return four people lost their lives. The first amendment allows individuals the freedom of speech and the right to protest and Turkish law enforcement has taken that from its people. If destroying a historical landmark is causing uproar among the community, is it not clear that maybe the government should fold and allow the city to keep the milestone? If officials wanted to tear down the Empire State Building, would you be willing to risk your life in attempt to save the most significant building in New York?

Work Cited

NPR. “The Arab Spring: A Year Of Revolution.” NPR. NPR, 17 Dec. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

Pfeifle, Mark. “Changing the Face(book) of Social Activism.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 14 June 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

Tucker, Joshua. “A Breakout Role for Twitter?” The Monkey Cage. WordPress, 1 June 2013. Web. 27

Oct. 2013.

“Turkish Government Combing Twitter…” Turkish Government Combing Twitter in Search of Protest Organizers to Arrest – RT News. TV-Novosti, 29 June 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3_jyLp5FK0

Police Firing Tear Gas Into The Crowd

Police Firing Tear Gas Into The Crowd

Protesters Taking Action

Protesters Taking Action

Updating Social Media Sites About Current Events

Updating Social Media Sites About Current Events

Social Media within the Workplace

21 Oct

Because social media is such a big part of each person’s everyday life, it was just a matter of time before it made an appearance in the workplace. However, is it fair that your personal life is on trial when you are at your place of work? Most individuals feel that what they post to their social media sites is meant for only the eyes of a filtered audience, yet, employers use sites such as Facebook to monitor its employees.

When applying for a job, some businesses require you to include the user name and password to your social media site; which is now illegal in 7 states. This allegedly helps the employer understand who you are as a person and what you could potentially offer the company. By accessing your personal Facebook page, employers get to see not only who you present yourself as during the interview process but also what you say and how you act outside of the work atmosphere. To some this may seem like a logical way to find possible employment candidates, however, it is seen as an invasion of privacy to most. “A social media monitoring service recently surveyed over 300 hiring professionals to determine how job recruiters are screening job candidates on different social networks. The study found that more than 90 percent of hiring managers have visited a potential candidate’s profile on a social network as part of the screening process. Moreover, 69 percent of recruiters have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profiles” (Gordon). Though this could be useful for weeding out serious candidates, should you be judges solely on your personal life and not your qualifications for the job at hand?

On another note, there have been many accounts where employees have been fired over what they have posted to social networks. Apparently, “public employees do not relinquish “the First Amendment rights they would otherwise enjoy as citizens to comment on matters of public interest,” simply by virtue of their employment” (Sloan). This is apparent in an article published to the Huffington Post in 2011. “The National Labor Relations Board looked into 14 cases of workers who had been fired over Facebook activity. In four of the cases they found the firing to be unlawful because the employees were engaging in “protected concerted activity;” meaning they were acting with fellow employees to initiate group action against a perceived injustice by their employer. In five of the cases, the board concluded that the employee had been in the wrong and upheld the employer’s decision” (Emerson).

It seems to me that the only people that are benefiting from social media in the work place are the employers and is deciding the future of employees. I’m not necessarily saying that it doesn’t have any advantages but it brings a lot of downfalls at the same time. Take a second and think about your profile on Facebook; based on the information you have posted, do you believe employers would see you as a potential candidate for a high paying job opening?

Works Cited

Emerson, Ramona. “13 Controversial Facebook Firings.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

Gordon, Phillip, Amber Spataro, and William Simmons. “Workplace Policy Institute.” Littler. Littler Mendelson P.C., 31 May 2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

Sloan, Jeff, Christina L. Checel, and Albert Yang. “Social Media and the Public Workplace.” Reading. Public Law Group. Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP, Sept. 2012. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.