Friday, September 14, 2007

Creed's blog

Even NBC knows that blogs are the new thing...


When we watched the “Internet People” video on YouTube in class today, I was reminded of this past summer.

I spent the months of May, June, and July here in Athens as an Orientation Leader for UGA. It was a whole lot of fun and one of the things I enjoyed the most was “Orientation Live”, a Saturday Night Live inspired variety show we did at the end of the first day of each freshman session. When we were brainstorming for OL Live, one of my teammates, Morgan Cogswell, suggested doing a spoof on Lazy Sunday from SNL.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the original, I’ve posted it below. I’ve also posted our spoof “College Sunday”.

It was cool to see Morgan’s visualization for the video materialize. She is a whiz at these sorts of technological things – you name it, Morgan knows about it. I think this a trend that will become increasingly common among teenagers and college students over the next decade. With greater emphasis on technology in the classroom and increased accessibility to technological programs and devices, I wouldn’t be surprised if elementary school students had a working knowledge of social media tools.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

YouTube'ing your own crimes

Getting ready for tomorrow's in-class conversation about images in social media, this article from a few weeks ago stands out:
Teenage gangs in Liverpool are using the popular video-sharing website YouTube to flaunt their culture of violence and law-breaking, taunting each other, making threats, and showing off guns and cars ....

Read the article before class & we'll talk about this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All I have heard about since I missed MTV's Video Music Awards Sunday night is what a huge disaster Britney Spears's "comeback" performance was. She had lame dance moves. She looked pudgy. She tried to lip synch (badly). She tripped on stage. She was drinking before the show.

Even celebs are throwing their two cents in. Kanye West jumped to her defense while Donald Trump, once a supporter of a Brit comeback, called her performance "disgraceful".

So of course I had to check out the infamous pop star in all her newfound glory for myself.

I headed to YouTube, searched for "Britney Spears, Gimme More" and there it was. But when I clicked on the link all I got was a banner proclaiming:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom
International Inc.
In my next search, through Google, I stumble upon the Machinist, where blogger Farhad Manjoo informs me

Viacom is MTV's corporate parent and a YouTube archrival. The company has
Google, YouTube's parent, seeking remuneration for the many Viacom
videos people
have watched on YouTube. So it's understandable the company
would quickly
pull down its wares from YouTube -- and, as this search shows,
completely ridiculous, because rather than helping you watch its
videos, Viacom is standing in your way.

Don't worry, you can still get to the video, but exclusivley on MTV's Buzzworthy
blog. How would you know? Because MTV has conveniently placed a sponsored ad
right there on your Google search page.

MTV and Viacom are not the only ones getting huffy about people watching their videos on just any old site.

Steven Colbert's bitingly sarcastic speech at the 2006 White House
Correspondence Dinner was ordered taken down from sites like and by C-Span, the original network to air the speech. A short time later the full video was posted at and a DVD could be purchased online.

In another Viacom incident, Chris Knight made a humorous Board of Education campaign commercial and posted the video to YouTube. VH1 picked it up and featured it on their Web Junk 2.0 show. When Knight tried to post the new segment of the show featuring his video on YouTube, he was informed it was copyright infringement and that Viacom was pulling the video.

So how justified is a company in pulling a free video off of YouTube to post it for free somewhere else? Is it just to get the hits on their own site?

Does taking something off YouTube and putting it on a company site affect how viral something is? I doubt Miss Teen SC would have gotten as many hits if her clip was solely posted on NBC.

And what about Viacom playing both sides? How is it fair for a large corporation to throw its weight around on the little man?

One of YouTube's many appeals is that anyone can post, watch, search and use it for free, from high schoolers to digital videographers. I hope that situations like these will not undermine the foundation of social media outlets like YouTube.

Freedom of Blogging

As Americans we see somewhat of a balance of opinions in our media, but in other, lesser-developed democracies the Internet is one of the only sources to get different outlooks.

This article from RadioFreeEurope uses Russia as an example of how blogging is affecting the political landscape. Surprisingly, Russia is the second largest user of Live Journal. Many of the blogs are about politics and government, offering a point of view different than the mass media.

We have talked about corporations trying to deal with two-way communication, but its important to note that governments are also facing the same problem. As popularity of alternative news sources grows, governments are scrambling to protect the image it has created for its citizens.

Citizens around the country can have conversations about the inefficiencies of the government and if enough people keep talking then something will have to change.

I’m grateful that we have the protection of free speech and so far it has extended to the Internet. However, it is not a liberty we should take for granted, as governments like Russia are trying to censor the communication.

“President Vladimir Putin created a new government agency to monitor the media and the Internet, sparking fears that sites like Live Journal would be censored.”

In light of this article, I think that it is important to take advantage of political blogs. Sometimes I can get more out of a blog post with good responses than I can with a segment of Hannity and Colmes.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Another SecondLife article to read before class

And this one posits that SecondLife is a place where advertisers are spending lots of money to reach few people.

SecondLife Article in NYT

Just in time for our upcoming visit by Dr. Shamp in class to talk about SecondLife, the New York Times published an article about the online world. Please read this article before class on Tuesday.

Virtual Schooling: The Way of the Future?

What if students did not have to go to class everyday? What if they got to wake up when they wanted and not have to worry about leaving thirty minutes early to make sure to get a seat on the bus? What if they never set-foot in a high school classroom and still managed to graduate?

Online classes are not all that unfamiliar to students at major universities; however, until recently they were almost unheard of in the K-12 levels of education according to a Yahoo NEWS article "Virtual Schooling Growing at K-12 level":

Online learning is used as an alternative for summer school and for students who
need remedial help, are disabled, being home schooled or suspended for
behavioral problems. It also can help avoid overcrowding in traditional
classrooms and provide courses that local schools, often rural or inner-city, do
not offer.

A new form of education, Virtual schooling, is steadily growing in popularity, particularly in Florida where Florida Virtual has become “one of the nation’s largest schools”. For students who like to work at their own pace this is the place to be; here students interact with teachers online using e-mail and other online media.

Interacting online is seen as a positive social experience for individuals who believe that children should be “socialized in the world they live in”. Opposition to the idea of online education believes that face-to-face social interaction is essential to the full development of a child.

It would be ignorant to completely ignore the fact that this world continues to increase reliance on the Internet. It would also be equally ignorant to phase out face-to-face interaction. I believe a balance needs to be found for both situations. In this age a child should not graduate high school without having been exposed to computers and the Internet; however, relying only on the Internet strips children of beneficial experiences one can only find inside the non-virtual classroom.