Tweeting Your Feelings

November 21, 2009

When Courtney Love becomes a headliner for a section in CNN, many of us being to wonder where journalism is going these days; however this article asks a pretty interesting and valid question. Can the law keep up with technology?

Taking her frustration out on Twitter, Courtney Love has been accused of posting derogatory and false comments about a clothing designer after arguing over the prices of some items. Due to her tweets, she is now being sued for libel.

This story doesn’t sound too unfamiliar to us. Consider the situation between Amanda Bonnen and her landlord when she tweeted about mold in her apartment. Once the reality company found out what was said, they sued her for libel and seeked $50,000 in damages.

Although social media networks aren’t considered the most credible sources sometimes, it is definitely showing signs of impact on other’s reputation. With this in mind, I believe laws might begin to form for these types of sites eventually, especially since there have been several issues with the networking sites already.

This made me wonder: would the creation of a social media law infringe too much on our freedom of speech?


For Your Entertainment

November 18, 2009

While going through some of my bookmarked sites, I discovered a common thread. Interestingly enough, many of these are either interactive sites or webpages where the public has been the main creators of the content (they have also been saved purely for entertainment purposes). These are considered some of the most popular and most viewed websites today.

This shows exactly how powerful interactive formats and content created by the public can influence the sites traffic and interest. The focus on having an entertaining site is also a huge factor in whether or not people decided to participate or follow them.

Post Secret
Go Fug Yourself: Because Fugly Is The New Pretty
Exploding Dog
Graph Jam
A Softer World
texts from last night
Fail Blog
Awkward Family Photos
My Life Is Average
Chrome Experiments
Ugliest Tattoos
You Should Have Seen This
Poster Boy
This is Photobomb
Passive Aggressive Notes
1000 Awesome Things

The Recyclable Paper Laptop

November 9, 2009

When I first came to Elon University for undergrad, I got a brand new Mac laptop with all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately, after four years of use my computer was considered ancient in technology years; so upon entering graduate school, I got the new MacBook Pro and several new programs. These will probably be out of date within a matter of years, like all the others I’ve had, and end up being hand-me-downs or waste.

Since thousands of people experience this every 2 to 4 years, and it’s becoming quite expensive if you ask me, designer Je Sung Parker of Yanko Design created a more eco-friendly and low costing alternative.


The Recyclable Paper Laptop looks almost exactly like any other laptop except for its cardboard like exterior. Instead of metals and plastic, the computer is made up of paper and pulp materials that can be recycled. The laptop also boasts a piece that props the computer up on the person’s knee for easier use.

The laptop itself contains a blue screen, bio chip and keyboard parts all similar to any other. Now you can purchase a computer for a much lower price and get rid of it in a more environmentally friendly manner. It’s not such a big deal anymore if your computer is out of date because it doesn’t cost much to get a newer one that doesn’t create a build up of harmful waste.

To learn more about the recyclable paper laptop visit DVICE

More recently, our class was asked to split into groups and form a visualization that depicted an overarching concept of interactive media and the World Wide Web.

Although most of us had thought of similar general concepts, such as choice and control or design and function, our group focused on one aspect that we feel was of high importance.

Value is a huge factor and large portion of the Internet’s foundation. Any type of prosumer will not visit a website or even go onto the Internet if it wasn’t considered valuable. This idea can be tied into the communication theory of uses and gratification.

The following layout describes, in depth, the details of our visualization that portrays the importance of value and its connection to interactive media.

Visualization – Architectural Columns


The six different types of prosumers: Creators, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators, Critics and Inactives, are structurally important when it comes to the architecture of the Internet.  We felt that they uphold and formed the value of the content that is presented online.

To visually depict this, there are six columns that are each labeled as one of the prosumer types. These columns then connect and support the top of the structure (or triangle) that would be labeled as Value.  The space or section between the columns and triangle will contain overarching concepts that relate to that particular prosumer.

For example:

Creators (Column) and its relation to the Value (Triangle)

– Content is determined by the creator

– Usability, Design and Function – determined in part by creators

– Control – making content, crafting presentation


Joiners (Column) and its relation to Value (Triangle)

– Content is seen as something to bookmark or be a part of

– Connectivity- they want to be a part of it

– Choice- decided to join


Critics (Column) and its relation to the Value (Triangle)

– Feedback- to make it more valuable

– Choice – decide to voice opinion, participate in discussion

– Connectivity – feel like contributing to site, part of the content


Collectors (Column) and its relation to the Value (Triangle)

-Quantity over quality – amassing content for value

-Choice – choosing which to “collect”

-Attachment/connection to the pieces by having them in a “collection”


Spectators (column) and its relation to the Value (Triangle)

-Choice – choosing to “watch and learn”

-Time – time spent watching gives value, done passively w/ little effort (doesn’t require large time investment)

-Silent participation – connecting vicariously through others


Inactives (column) and its relation to the Value (Triangle)

-Choice – ultimate choice, choose to reject, not participate at all

-Learning why adds value – why inactive to change to an active prosumer

-Can diminish value if number is too great, not enough “adding value”


Creators Joiners Critics Collectors Spectators Inactives
Content Content Content(Feedback)
Choice Choice Choice Choice Choice
Control Control over collection (Quantity over quality) Can negatively impact value
Connectivity Connectivity Connectivity Connect (vicariously)
Usability, design, function Learning Why

During our course today, we were briefly introduced to Google Conversion University. This online tool focuses on analytics and offering companies a sophisticated and easy to understand their current and possible audiences.

This web analytic site, Conversion University, first started in August of 2007 during a time when the market for businesses relying on analytics was small and the sites that offered this same help were considered very complicated or unclear. With these outside factors, Google’s site was seen as a huge improvement.

Google Analytics Executive Brett Crosby stated that the goal of Conversion was to, “increase the level of sophistication for people who are first time users who aren’t web analytics experts by nature, that they can get right in, the data is immediately obvious what to do with it, and then also allow the analysis, the deeper dive guys, who have been there for a while doing this stuff, to refocus their efforts on getting into the product, we’ve added a lot of tools for those guys that do those things, and we’ve taken out some of the things that don’t need to be…that we can automate.”

It has an interface that is easy to use and navigate as well as so many tools available that it provided lots of information and wasn’t dumb down. Any business using this online tool could add reports to the interface, e-mail reports and export items. Other tools that can be utilize through Google Analytics along with the Conversion University include:

Adwords: used to drive more traffic to site

Google Analytics: used to understand ROI and tracking

Website Optimizer: a free tool that is a platform for multivariate testing

Conversion University and all of Google’s analytic tools help companies manipulate and customize their campaigns and websites in order to attract others as well as improve them for their current visitors.

To learn more about Google Analytics and the tools offered you can visit and watch the product tour video on:


A lot of people have stated that my generation is losing a certain something in their relationships with others because they communicate through a technological medium; and in some cases that may be true. However, Stefana Broadbent recently gave a speech, which was present on TED, that contrasted these thoughts.

The Internet has connected many people world wide and not only enables intimacy, but has  become a norm in our society’s culture. This made me wonder. In the future, will technology be part of the glue that holds them together or strengthens the relationship?

Broadbent explains how she delved deeper into this topic by interviewing several people and the person they talked to the most. These relationships ranged anywhere from close friends and family members to significant others and spouses. These interviews revealed things like:

– A person may have hundreds of friends, but really only keeps in touch and are good friends with a small handful of them.

-Massive communication through texting, IMing, Facebooking, and other Internet and technological forms are being done at 11 am.

– Facebook communication is one of the most popular forms of media used to socialize with others.

–  Of all the contacts a person has in their phone, 80% of the calls they make are only to a group of four people.

– It is becoming more and more popular to Skype with family members to feel like they are in the room. Many people, who have relatives that are far away, Skype in the morning or at night to have breakfast or dinner with them.

– Texting acts as little reminders that tell the other person things like “have a good day”

– Today’s children are being taught to understand and utilize these methods of communication due to the growing need to use it in many professions and (when encouraging independence and taking them on trips away from home) helping them learn how to keep in touch while in different locations.

People are constantly using these forms in order to connect with others and the numbers are only growing. Knowing this, how big a part, do you think, will technology and the Internet play in our relationships in the future?

Utilizing Social Media

October 30, 2009

Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, is becoming a more common feature in companies around the world. Some corporations are embracing it and fully submerging themselves into all formats, yet others still seem a bit hesitant to try this new digital component. According to an article written by Kimberly Maul (which was published on  and a survey from PRWeek, 37% of the 271 marketers that were surveyed do not use social media tools. The survey also discovered that 49% of corporations don’t have a specific approach regarding its use, while 10% “discouraged employees to use social media to communication on behalf of the organization.”


While having a global reach is  considered one of the benefits that have been highlighted by many professionals when it comes to utilizing social media tools, 64% of respondents say its current focus is local. This is interesting because many of the companies and people interviewed say that it is locally focused for now but in the future will provide conversations on a global scale, whether they like what the public has to say or not.

Once they reach this global scale, it can change the marketing landscape drastically. Some of the companies that are already taking advantage of the benefits of social media include: General Motors, PepsiCo, ING Direct, and American Express Open. This was shown in PepsiCo’s recent social media strategy where they turned campaigns into conversations and using these outside perspectives to improve.

To see the effectiveness of the social media campaigns, many companies have looked at web site traffic and the impact it has had on sales or brand awareness. Visualizing this ROI may also be done with surveys.

As companies begin to adopt or increase the use of social media tools, this will go beyond a form of communication but evolve into a much bigger business and marketing device online.

To view the article and survey charts visit:

What’s Your Brand?

October 28, 2009

Defined as the way you market yourself to the world, personal branding has become a large component of today’s digital era. It is the formation of your reputation, which, nowadays, is shaped mainly through online sites.

personalbranding2 Internet tools such as blogs, social networking accounts and curated network profiles have transformed from    communication between friends and groups with common interests to your professional and personal digital resume,    whether it was intended or not. This can affect anyone, positively or negatively, especially when it comes to careers.

Luckily for us these profiles, accounts, and written pieces on the web can more or less be controlled, allowing each    individual to mold the way they would like to be viewed by the public. So how do you want to be seen?

Dan Schawbel, the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success and owner of the award    winning Personal Branding Blog, has offered some tips on Mashable’s website that discusses how one can discover  how to self brand and how to implement these ideas.

He focuses on people finding their passion and branding themselves according to that rather than personal branding just for the sake of doing it. Schawbel also provides insight into what he calls the “personal branding toolkit” where one could find out a variety of techniques to put your brand out there.


To learn more you can visit:

And find more tips from Dan Schawbel on the LinkedIn blog at:




A Hodgepodge of Information

October 27, 2009

While immersing myself in my research, I have stumbled upon a variety of interesting interactive media news pieces. Since they are unrelated to my research, and we aren’t having a face-to-face Friday this week, I thought I would share the hodgepodge of sites I have learned from or found entertaining this past week.

1. The Internet Makes You Smarter:

Apparently the work from a UCLA research team has discovered that the use of the Internet actually changes brain functions and increases activity in areas of the brain that are related to complex reasoning. The results of this study were presented at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference on October 19. I guess that means it’s not necessarily rotting our brains away like our parents told us.

2. Mercedes Vehicles Getting Safer:

Mercedes have recently demonstrated their newest safety technology entitled “Smart Stop.” This  wireless safety device, when it detects a red light, automatically stops the car if the driver fails to slow or come to a stop. You can watch the presentation of the new feature on the website above.

3. Life Savers (Not the Candy):

This Yanko Design product is the newest version of the rescue lifesaver ring. It includes a built in GPS, heating feature to ward off and delay hypothermia and compartments to store food and water. This was created to save lives and increase the chances of survival of those lost at sea.


4. Interactive Clothing:

This site is a little entertaining. Although it shows creativity and interesting clothing interactivity, I couldn’t help but laugh at things like the bikini life jacket.


5. And lastly, if you are bored….. an Interactive Online Game:

Turn up the volume to hear the sounds you create. If you want to test out some other interactive games check out

Analytics 101

October 23, 2009

“Analytics is one of the most important aspects of our field…well everyone’s actually.”

During today’s interactive media theory course, Travis Lusk, a Digital Media Manager for WCBS New Media, discussed the importance of analytics within communications careers.

He touched on how helpful it is for companies to see when people visited their web pages, how long they stayed on, their demographics and what linked them to the site. These can help corporations, in this case a network of radio stations, to understand what peaked visitors interests enough to get them to visit the website. You are then able to cater to the appeals of the public, in accords to what they want to hear, and tailor the site to their satisfaction.

Lusk also presented our class with several online tools which help measure website elements, such as page views. These include:

  • watching page views and visits (keeps history of status as well)
  • shows line graph of visitors each day, can watch visitors move around on the site
  • shows who’s listening online (can also see the hours of the day that they listened)
  • Google analytics

He also explained bounce rates (which may be measured within the analytical site the company is utilizing) to us. This is the average number of people that come to the website and don’t do anything. If this happens it could mean that the person did not know what to do, could not navigate the site or accidentally stumbled up on it while they were searching for something else. This is not normally a good thing for websites to see a lot of, unless the goal of the site is to redirect you to another page.

This is only a brief overview of web analytics. To learn more about what web analytics is here is a short tutorial online: