Surface Level

There has undoubtedly been an increase in participation in social movements due to technology. However, the involvement in these movements is only surface level. People only participate because so little is asked of them, such as liking the Facebook page or following the movement on Twitter. This kind of involvement can only bring social acknowledgment and praise but no actual risks. Once a deeper commitment is asked of people they will stop participating in the movement. This is drastically different than social movements before technology.

In his article Small Change, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/10/04/small-change-3Malcolm Gladwell used the example of the civil rights movement when discussing the difference between movements with technology to movements without technology. More specifically he used the exampled of the four freshmen from North Carolina A & T having a sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina. The part of the article that stuck out to me was his comparison of the ties that the students conducting the sit-in had as apposed to the ties that those united over social media have.

The students from A&T new when they went to start a protest that they would have each others backs and that they were in the protest together no matter what. These boys had gone to high school together and were now best friends in college. They spent a month talking about sitting in at a diner known as Woolworth and then one of the students decided it was time and the others agreed. They were in it together and they gained courage from the fact that their good friends were there with them.

With social media movements those strong bonds are nonexistent. The only bonds that people in the movement have are there belief in the movement. There belief is a good start but they don’t have the knowledge that if things get tough the others won’t bail. There is not a complete trust in each other, which makes the movement weak. A movement may get a lot of media coverage but that coverage does nothing if the people of the movement can’t work together and if they are not completely organized as a group. In his article Exploring the role of Twitter and social media in revolutions, http://www.frontlineclub.com/exploring_the_role_of_twitter_and_social_media_in_revolutions/Daniel Bennett lists that leadership can be lost making it hard for any gains made to be followed up.

Overall I would say that participation has increased on a surface level only. But when it comes down to it surface level participation is not going to help a movement do anything other than get media attention.

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The Harms of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is not all its hyped up to be. Crowdsourcing allows for the ability of inaccurate information to be displayed. As seen on the most common crowdsourcing cite Wikipedia has inaccurate information posted all the time, this can be due to the fact that anyone can edit Wikipedia. Another lesser known example comes from an article from A Breaking News, http://www.abreakingnews.com/politics/editorial-sketchfactor-controversy-showcases-challenges-of-crowdsourcing-h212266.html. This article talks about SketchFactor, an app that allows users to rate the sketchiness of neighborhoods and the sketchiness is displayed with colored dots on a map. The idea may have been good in theory however, in execution the idea does not work. The article states:

Along with operational problems – such as the fact that comments are not screened before they’re                            posted – the app has fundamental problems. Chief among those are many ratings that cite the presence of African-Americans as a reason for danger. Others involve prejudice against homeless people who pose no safety risk.

SketchFactor displays didn’t weigh each individually entry against each other for validity which means that 1 bad rating change people’s views of the neighborhood. If crowdsourcing had been set up differently maybe SketchFactor would have been a good app but with how crowdsourcing is currently the app did not.

I firmly believe that we should leave the projects that crowdsourcing is trying to eliminate to the experts. It may be cutting down on costs for the businesses but it’s also cutting out the experts. When you cut out the experts you get results that are subpar and results that aren’t reliable.

One reason I’ve found that people find crowdsourcing a good idea is that it can save money but I believe that you should not use a scape goat by going to crowdsourcing instead of going to someone who knows what they are doing. If money is an issue try hiring someone who is just starting out with their career who would be willing to work at a cheaper price just to get the experience but make sure to get a contract.

Overall I think that crowdsourcing is unnecessary and we should leave the work to the experts.

The Right to be Forgotten

Take a moment and try to come up with the name of a person who is constantly posting to your social media accounts? Are they posting things that you want your future employer to see? Things that you would be okay if your grandma saw? Maybe it is your grandma posting embarrassing photos or comments to your wall that you don’t want your friends to see. If you delete these things are they really gone or can they still be found on the Internet?

Currently, a person in the United States does not have the right to be forgotten even though there is a need for this. I feel that a lot of thought will need to be put into making a decision on this topic and laying out how exactly the right to be forgotten should work. However, if done properly the ramifications could be extremely beneficial on an individual level.

In his article “The Web Means the End of Forgetting”, Jefferey Rosen mentions that a survey from Microsoft shows that 75% of U.S. human-resource professionals reported that their companies require them to search for information about potential candidates online including social media sites and search engines. This means that if your friends posted something on your Facebook that could reflect poorly on you, you could potentially be turned down for a job.

An article posted by CNN, “We Need A ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Online” informs us that Europe has voted to allow the right to be forgotten. The article makes a great statement:

We should be jealous of our friends in Europe. As Europe protects individual rights, America persists in its belief that rights are for big corporations, people be damned.

Here’s how the “right to be forgotten” works in Europe: information that is deemed old and irrelevant can be requested to be taken off the web, however, the websites don’t necessarily have to comply with the request they just have to take it into consideration and can refuse the request if they have a good reason.

So what would the ramifications be? Let me give you an example. 18-year-old Nikki Catsouras was in a gruesomely fatal car accident in California. Not long after her family buried her they began receiving anonymous emails and text messages of the photographs taken of the car accident and of her nearly decapitated body. A California Highway Patrol officer had leaked the photos and they were now circling the web. The photos made their way onto 1,600 Web Sites. These pictures are still on the web 8 years later despite the best efforts from Nikki’s parents and lawyers to get these photos taken down. If a “right to be forgotten” act where in place a judge could rule to have them taken down and it would be mandatory for the photos to be removed and Nikki’s family would not be afraid to use the internet.

I strongly feel that there is a need for a “right to be forgotten” act for people in the U.S. like Nikki’s family. We just have to be smart about how we setup this act and how we execute it but I think that when we do, we could have amazing results.

Sources:

https://mycourses.purdue.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-4734511-dt-content-rid-15790320_1/courses/wl_16552.201520/Rosen%20%282010%29.pdf

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/14/opinion/randazza-google-right-to-privacy/

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3872556&page=2

Is the Internet Making Us Stupid?

Is the Internet making us stupid? We all have our own opinion and thoughts on the matter. Some people find themselves in the middle. I do see both sides of the argument, but when I have to choose a firm stance I choose the side that the Internet is making us stupid. Here are four reasons I feel this way:

  1. Laziness – We no longer take the initiative to learn or remember information because we know that we can look it up if and when we need it. We don’t memorize phone numbers because they are programed into our phones.
  2. Believing everything that’s online – Most of us can remember a time when we were blown away by something we read online only to find out that it wasn’t true. The source that we got our information was not credible. A lot of people believe everything they read on the Internet even if the source isn’t credible leading me to believe that if this is how the Internet is used then yes, the Internet is making us stupid.
  3. Easily Distracted – As Carr mentions in the following article, https://mycourses.purdue.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-4675129-dt-content-rid-15160109_1/courses/wl_16552.201520/Carr%20%282009%29%20Is%20Google%20making%20us%20stupid.pdf, the internet has made it so we get distracted easily. We cannot focus enough to read books anymore and we stumble from one website to the next.
  4. Loss of Creativity– The Internet has taken away the ability to think outside of the box and to think for ourselves. When projects are assigned today we go and search Google for ideas where we used to have to sit and brainstorm ideas all by ourselves. We’ve lost the ability to think for ourselves. We now have to look everything up online before making a decision.

When told to make a decision on if the Internet is making us stupid I really had to sit and think. I went back and forth several times. I asked others for input and their reasoning and in the end I decided that the reasons for why the Internet is making us stupid are greater than reasons it’s making us smarter.

Time for a New Semester

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It’s that time of year. Time to reflect on the mistakes of last semester and time to set goals for the new semester.

Every semester my goals are similar:

  • Stay organized
  • Stay on top of the assigned readings and assignments
  • Get good grades
  • Attend every lecture, recitation, lab, and practice study observation for all of my classes

I don’t only set goals for each semester but I also make a list of things I hope will happen that semester. Every semester I have the same 6 aspirations:

  • I’ll learn something useful in every class
  • I’ll improve my GPA
  • I’ll become more familiar with campus
  • I’ll meet more people
  • I’ll find a group of Christians that I can count on to help me expand my knowledge of the bible and who will hold me accountable to my faith
  • Get one step closer to my dream of working with animals

So as I reflect on last semester and make my lists for this semester the thought occurred to me that if I write it down in a list, I’ll be able to look at them when I need some inspiration and motivation. And maybe someone else will get ideas for their own semester.

So this semester I have decided to make my goals as follows.

  • Get Organized and Stay Organized- I have a binder set up for each class where all papers related to that class are kept. My goal is to make sure I utilize the binders for their intended purpose. In the past when the semester gets going I become lazy and I tend to put papers wherever is convenient and the binders lose their purpose of keeping me organized. But this semester I plan to change that. I also keep a TO-DO-LIST. I use a large-sized sticky note and am constantly cross items off or adding items along with their due date. This helps me stay on top of my assignments and keeps me from ever missing the due date of an assignment. The To-Do-List is something that I started last semester and I had a lot of success with it so, I plan to use it again. And the last thing I do to get and stay organized is to always keep my workspace clean. This may have to do with my touch of OCD but if my workspace is clean and is set up just how I like it, I’m less likely to get distracted and I can find what I need without spending a lot of time looking for it.
  • Have a Routine- Routines are so important yet so overlooked. Having a routine was a lot easier in high school than it is in college, but having a routine in college is still possible. My classes are the same every week. The same time, and the same place. And so is my work schedule. I will always work the same shift on the same day every week. This means I can have a weekly routine. I can decide when I will wake up each day of the week, decide when I need to leave for class, where to go between classes and what I will do during any downtime. I can have a certain time I work on homework, and hopefully have a time that I call it quits and go to bed each night. Now each week won’t be exactly perfect because classes do get canceled or I will have an exam thrown into my schedule. But if I make a point of keeping to the schedule I have come up with and make it my routine then I will keep myself accountable for attending all lectures and class meetings, having time to work on homework, and time for studying and doing my assigned readings for each class. And in the end a routine will help improve my study habits and hopefully my grades.
  • Get to Know at Least One Person in Each Class- This is a big one. If I make a point to go out of my way and get to know someone in each of my classes then not only am I meeting new people but I am also opening a door to having a study partner. Having a study partner can motivate me to take better notes, attend class, and start studying for exams before the day of the exam. With a study partner I will have someone who I can compare notes with, have someone to sit with in class (which makes attending a large lecture more bearable), and have someone to discuss an upcoming exam with. A study partner can help explain a topic that I’m confused about and that not only helps me but it helps my study partner because if you can explain a topic to someone then that means you really understand the material and its a great way to study.
  • Set Goals for Each Class- This can be tedious but by having goals or things I hope to get out of a class can prompt me to try harder in the class, ask questions, and stay on top of the material. What I’m hoping to get out of each of my classes this semester are as follows:
    • Com 251
      • I want to learn about different avenues of technology that I don’t have experience with.
      • I want to be able to effectively communicate what I mean when talking about different types of technology.
      • I want my mind to be opened to trying different things. Things that I would normally stay away from because I already have something that works for me. For example, using Google Docs instead of using Microsoft programs. I’ve been dragging me feet on this one for a while. I know Microsoft and I’m comfortable with Microsoft so I’ve not wanted to change. I want to be more inclined to want to try all the new technologies instead of fearing the change.
    • Agec 217
      • I want my knowledge of economics to be expanded
      • I want to be able to apply economics to the agricultural world.
      • I want to see if I can apply the economics that I already know to the new material.
    • Chm 112
      • I want to learn more chemistry. I’ve been taught the same concepts multiple times over the years and this class will finally move beyond that. This will test my ability to apply the chemistry concepts to new material.
    • Stat 301
      • I want to test my knowledge of statistics and expand on the small amount of statistics that I took in high school.
      • I want to be able to understand exactly what statistics are and how we come up with them and be able to understand statistics in their everyday application.
      • I want to be able to apply statistics into the other courses I take.
    • Gs 490
      • I want to expand my people skills.
      • I want to learn better skills for mediation and conflict resolution.
      • I want to learn how to work in group setting better than I do now.
  • Set Aside Time for God- After moving away from home and going to college I realized that I have to be more intentional about making time for God. I don’t have a church here that I can go to every Sunday and spend time with a congregation worshiping and learning about God. I don’t have youth group once a week to again spend time learning about God. Instead I have to intentionally make time for God. I have to remind myself to slow down and pray. I have to look up sermons to listen to online Sunday mornings since I haven’t found a church that teaches what I believe that’s within walking distance of my dorm on Sunday mornings. I have to remind myself to pray before meals because my parents aren’t choosing one of my siblings or I to say grace before we eat and the craziness of a dining court can distract me but then I remember, and I have to stop eating and talking and paying attention to the people I’m with to thank God for the food I’m about to eat. Things about my faith that were a given when living at home or that my parents would remind me to do I now have to do by myself. But I’ve found things that help. I found a bible study that meets once a week that is made up of girls that live in my dorm. My church started uploading the sermons to our church website, http://www.encountertrinity.com/#/media. When I feel down and need to feel closer to God I can play some of my favorite worship songs. Even if I’m not worshiping in a congregational setting I can still feel closer to God when singing songs that praise Him. And I can set aside time in my routine for reading God’s Word. I even found a weekly planner that gives me a section of the bible to read each day.

So this semester I plan on focusing on all the things I covered above and at the end of my first week of the semester I can already say that I’m sticking to my plan.