In the article about what makes things go viral, it was mentioned that people will share stuff because, “It allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” Believe it or not, the internet has articles and videos on it that have actual practical value in life. In this day and age where memes and viral videos rule over everything, I feel we sometimes overlook how useful some stuff on the internet can really be. Whether it is be going on WebMD to see what fatal disease you have, or going to Buzzfeed to look at reliable news and quality articles that would be impossible to live without, the internet is so useful and diverse.
The internet is full of many useful things, one of which is how to videos on YouTube (yes, there is actually useful videos on YouTube). How to videos are huge on YouTube and I am sure that many of the people reading this have likely used one at some point to figure out how to do some household task, or how to do a homework problem. Here is an example of a very useful how to video about how to fix a cracked screen, one that I actually used to fix a crack on my phone.
Beyond just how to videos, there a a variety of other things that are useful on the internet, like news. The internet is obviously the only way to find out about news these day, and without this news source, people would struggle to learn about new and important things happening in the world. An example of important news is this article about a new amazon service that I cannot wait to take advantage of!
Online communities are another useful thing on the internet. They can be for anything from video games to just everyday life, and they give people a place to discuss their problems. Online communities give people a chance to talk with people who have been through similar experiences and help people through tough situations. This article talks about the potential healing power that online communities can offer, even though many may believe the internet is a place where people tear each other down.
We often seem to overlook how useful the internet is in modern day life, and how often we use it when we face a problem. What useful things do you use the internet for?
After doing the reading this week about what factors make things go viral, I began to think about the things that I see shared on social media all the time. I usually ignore or scroll past the plague of Buzzfeed and Upworthy articles, but they are always being shared on social media as both pages have a good grasp on how to get shares. I found it especially interesting when it was stated that, “The irony, of course, is that the more data we mine, and the closer we come to determining a precise calculus of sharing, the less likely it will be for what we know to remain true.”
Even though some pages seem to have a pretty solid grasp, the article says that the more we look into what leads to sharing, the less likely it will continue to be true. This got me thinking about situations when people, groups, or companies try to use a previous technique to try to make their post or article go viral. This satirical article from Clickhole perfectly illustrates this idea. In this article it talks about how cancer researchers are trying to find a new way to go viral after how the success of the ice bucket challenge. The thing is, any of the groups mentioned above would love to have something spread as much as the ice bucket challenge be it for financial gain, to spread awareness, or to just get shares and become popular. The more we think about it, the more realize how big having a social media presence is for so many groups these days. It is at the point where nearly every big company has a large social media presence in order to stay connected with people and become more popular. There are people employed solely to run the social media of a company because it is that important to companies in the digital age. Here is an article that discusses how different social media websites can be used for a businesses.
This image illustrates the insane popularity of the ice bucket challenge.
It is crazy to think about how going viral and being on social are so important to businesses, charity groups, and normal people these days, and this trend only looks to be continuing.
One of the articles we read in class this week talked about how social media “is about presenting the ideal version of yourself.” While this may be the case for some people, I think many people cannot relate to this way of using social media. Social media is such a diverse place that offers people a many different ways to express themselves, where presenting the ideal version of yourself is just one. After all, Facebook has other more important uses nowadays.
I myself do not post often on social media and do not really try to create my ideal self online. I find that my social media use very much reflects my real life personality. For example I have a good sense of humor which is reflected by all the meme pages and funny pages I follow on Facebook, which often involves me tagging people to share the jokes. Overall, this is the only reason I use Facebook as I have not done a status update for years. I also use it as a way to keep up with my friends from another country and from other schools since it is the best way to see what they are up to and talk to them. This article from the Independent examines a study that claimed there were four main types of Facebook users, however I feel that many people are a combination of all of them with a dominant type or two. I think everyone may feel like they relate to one of the types mentioned and everyone definitely knows people who fall into all of the types. I just think there is so much more to social media for a lot of people than constants updates of themselves to create an ideal version for everyone else to see and ‘like’.
Overall, I believe that a person’s personality on social media is almost as complex as their actual personality, and that there is so much more to social media than just getting likes and showing off. After all, no one will ever be able to get more likes and shares than the image in this article which was shared by both LeBron James and the Dalia Lama.
This week I did the challenge of not taking a picture with my phone for a day.
See the world through your eyes, not your screen. Take absolutely no pictures today. Not of your lunch, not of your children, not of your cubicle mate, not of the beautiful sunset. No picture messages. No cat pics.
At first I did not think it would be that hard, as I thought I did not take many pictures, but I forgot about Snapchat. I did not think of that as taking photos, until I went to do it. I got around this by sending messages in Snapchat, but it was definitely more challenging than I thought it would be.
I wanted to related this challenge to a problem that happens more and more today. That problem is people with their phones out during things like sports events or concerts. I went to several concerts this summer and I found it ridiculous that people would rather record bad videos on their phones than listen to the actual concert. I am not totally against recording small parts or getting a picture or two, but when people start recording entire songs or large portions of the concert it just is not the right way to experience it. The point of seeing a concert is experiencing the music live, if people want to watch a recording, there are many recording of concerts online or professionally done recordings. This CNN article discusses how recording concerts on your phone ruins the experience for others as well as how performers do not enjoy the experience as much since the crowd is not as involved in the show. One of the worst things is when you are stuck watching the show through the phone of the person in front of you.
Overall, it seems that people with their phones out at concerts, or sporting events, is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, and it affects everyone involved. These people will not contribute to the atmosphere of the event, one of the main reasons people go to live concerts or sports, and they get in the way of people trying to watch the event. I am okay with people using their phones a little bit, but it bothers me when people are on their phones for the majority of the event. Do you share my view on people using their phones too much at live events?
One more reason to put phones away during sports events.
The reading this week about live tweeting in a classroom setting got me thinking more about how I use twitter. In particular the idea that, “live-tweeting draws a diversity of perspectives.” I used to think of twitter as just a social media website, but now I realize that my use of twitter is more related to getting sports news and discussing stuff about sports or reading discussions about sports.
This article about twitter as the 21st century news source discusses how twitter is a crowd-sourced news source that offers a different perspective than other news sources. Firstly, the way I use twitter as a news source is to see news about Manchester United or any players from the team as they are more reliable than newspapers, especially with all the fake transfer news going around, and they usually tweet stuff as it happens. This allows me to keep up to date on accurate transfer news and and injury updates or announcements from players, as well as one player who does a weekly blog post. This represents one of the perspectives that we don’t usually get from newspapers, hearing from players directly is something that did not really happen before twitter. I find it really cool to be able to have this connection to professional athletes that I watch every weekend.
Example of player making an announcement on twitter. This was made in reference to him re-signing for the club for an additional year after his contract running out.
In addition to the team and players, I follow many sports accounts, ran mostly by normal people (i.e. not sports journalists). They tweet about soccer games as they go and are interesting as they give different views on players and teams as the season goes on. It is always interesting to hear what other people think about certain players, clubs, or coaches. Overall, twitter is much more than social media, and gives people a way to get news and discuss things with people who share similar interests. In what other ways is twitter different from other social media sites?
The reading last week about how reliable Wikipedia was for a source on academic content was interesting in that it proved to be much more reliable than many people give it credit for. The reason Wikipedia has been so successful isn’t just because of the quality of information, but the quantity and the fact so everyone can edit it.
Wikipedia has harnessed the work of millions of people to produce the world’s largest knowledge-based site along with software to support it, resulting in more than nineteen million articles written.
Wikipedia however is not the only wiki out there that people use. I myself find that I constantly use wikis made for certain games. These are so powerful because they allow the whole community of a game to pool together all their knowledge of the game to help everyone else out. Wikis have improved my gaming experiences in so many ways, whether it be looking at the consequences of an action in an RPG, or looking at the stats of weapons and gear to be best equipped in online games. Wikis offer a huge knowledge base for games as people who play the games are always discovering new Easter eggs, bugs, or items and they can quickly go online to let the whole community know about their discovery.
An example of a bug I have had to look up on the Fallout: New Vegas Wiki which helped me find a way around the bug.
Beyond just gaming, wikis can be used in businesses to help people learn and share what they know about something. This How Stuff Works article that goes into depth about how wikis work, are maintained and cleaned from vandalism, and how they can be utilized by many different communities. In the article it illustrates a situation where wikis could be used by a group of people who use some type of app or software.
2,000 people using the program can build their own documentation a little bit at a time. Each time someone learns something, they can toss a sentence or two into the wiki to let other people understand how to use the feature. Over time, the 2,000 users will build complete documentation for the entire application.
Wikis offer people a way to find information that goes deeper than just the basics as they usually are made by people who know the topic well. I find myself using wikis for almost every video game I’ve ever played, and they are always helpful. There are wikis out there for everything from TV shows to programming languages that go into depth about everything from the big ideas to small things only a few people notice. Wikis show the power of allowing collaboration from a group of people. Are there any wikis you use regularly?