If I Can Dream…

April 18, 2010

A recent presentation became the second time that I have heard of this interactive reality TV show, and it just seems to get more and more interesting and, well, crazy sounding every time someone talks about it. If I Can Dream is a television show that features five young performers, who are living together, that are striving to reach fame and stardom in Hollywood.

Although this doesn’t sound any different from shows like the Real World, it has a little more of a Big Brother feel. According to Kara Kilmer, an aspiring actress that has agreed to be on the show, the purpose of IF I Can Dream is to help them get a job which will ultimately allow them to move out of the house and “on to a bigger career.” But to me, it just seems like another example of our interest in invading someone’s privacy because we are curious about how other people live their lives. Now you may think I am being a little too dramatic about the show but I left out a couple details….

Did you know:

That the If I Can Dream house is wired with 56 AXIS cameras that broadcast what they are doing all day every day?

That you can actually visit their site, http://www.ificandream.com/#/house, to watch live streaming of what they are doing?

If you don’t like the featured camera footage of the moment, then you can feel like a security guard and view all cameras in and outside of the house.

That while you watch them live on the Internet, you can tweet something to them, which they will see on a screen within the house, and they can respond to you by talking to any of the 56 cameras?

That if you are an avid follower and missed anything, you can visit Hulu to watch all the unedited footage?

That you can catch up and talk to the cast by being their Facebook Fan or MySpace friend?

Hi Amanda...whatcha doing in your room?

Or you can Vlog about them and be featured on their site?

Does it feel creepy yet?

We’ve discussed the great leaps and bounds that technology has made when it comes to being interactive, however, maybe we’re taking it a little too far. Sure we’re displaying real people in the lime light instead of celebrities, but we’re doing it in a more invasive way then what has been done ever before. Do we really need to see what these five people, whom we have no relation to and never met, do each hour of every day? Why are their lives so unique and intriguing to us?

Most interesting of all is probably thinking about whether or not this is the future of reality TV shows. Will we, one day, just be watching a bunch of strangers go about their every day life for our entertainment?

The interactivity is astounding, but I am not sure if this is a show that is worth watching…but then again I may be wrong considering that this show has its fans and is getting more and more popular.

But honestly…it creeps me out.


iPad Pros and Cons

April 11, 2010

If you ask anyone how they feel about the iPad there are usually two very different responses. The first is similar to a little kids reaction to being brought into a candy shop; overjoyed, excited and ready to make an investment. However, there is also the perspective that this new digital device is just a glorified iPod Touch or iPhone. This has been the feeling for many people in my graduate class and even outside of Elon University’s campus.

So does this device has a

iPad 2

valued purpose or is it worthless due to its repetition of previous creations only in a larger format?


People who are pro iPad have said that there are several positive aspects of the device that make them want to purchase it. They have stated that it is:


-easy to use/ intuitive

-when compared to other portable Internet available devices like the iPhone, its larger size is a benefit (especially for those with larger fingers), and unlike the Kindle, can handle many different file outputs.

-10 hours of battery life

-it has a digital compass and GPS

-quality, high resolution images (which makes for better video watching)

– and, found within a CNET article, “Productivity versus consumption: “My home computer will suffice for the number crunching, code compiling and media encoding needs. The iPad will be my encyclopedia, mailbox, newspaper, library, music jukebox, video player for the home and on the go.”


People who question the iPad’s purpose have arguments which state:

– we already have devices that do the same things and are less expensive, the device may offer even more options

-iPads are not really generative electronic pieces

-it’s a novelty product that people are purchasing because of brand loyalty

-can’t handle Flash

-no multitasking; you can only do one thing at a time, meaning you can’t be streaming music while performing another task on the iPad

-no 3G coverage automatically, which forces you to make an additional purchase

-the battery is built in, meaning if it dies so does the entire product

-no camera, no Skype

As you can see, this has many ups and downs, and even I am still on the fence when it comes to the iPad. I don’t think it’s completely pointless though, if anything it has shown us how advanced technology is getting. We’ll find more efficient ways to implement and integrate it into our lives…even if this way isn’t it.

For example, the healthcare industry is finding more benefits in adopting the iPad (or some tablet like it) then most of us. From a recent article within http://www.mobihealthnews.com, they found that the high resolution images displayed from the iPad actually help them do specific tasks at work (and with more tweaking, could provide medical applications that will benefit doctors, nurses and other medical professionals even more).

“SoftwareAdvice surveyed 178 care providers, health IT professionals,  and medical students to gauge their interest in the iPad and tablets in general. Here are the features this group listed as “must haves” for any tablet (not the iPad is lacking many of these)”:

Medical Tablet Feature Must Haves

According to Rob Campbell, the CEO of Voalté, “The form factor is ideal for patient education, medical image viewing and interacting with the EMR (electronic medical records). However, point of care workers need a smaller footprint, that can go into the pocket of their scrubs. Everyone needs more effective communication, so you can expect Voalté on both platforms!”

Maybe, with the improvement of the device (smaller in size and the addition of medical applications), it will better serve the public in the healthcare field.

-Network neutrality: everyone has access to information and can contribute.

-Hourglass model: Internet doesn’t rely on one thing; accomplishing the same task differently on each layer

-Procrastination Principle: figure things out as they come

-Reputation bankruptcy: gone so far beyond the bounds of what is considered not acceptable…can try and reclaim it and clean the slate


Wikipedia was highly spoken of by Jonathan Zittrain saying that this website, which is very generative, should be modeled or closely watched. Zittrain states that this online collaborative resource allows for some monitoring and ethics conversations.

For example, everyone has the ability to go online and educate each other by offering their own knowledge on Wikipedia. However, if someone uses this in a inappropriate fashion, there are people that will remove it. These same people also have conversations about whether or not they should include certain details that may harm another person. This was shown with the Star Wars Kid incident, who does have his own page on Wikipedia but his name is never mentioned because they felt that pointing him out was not necessary even though the media has already.

Today’s Historian

March 5, 2010

In today’s society, people’s lives have been influenced and documented by a technologically based historian…the Internet. This has proven to be both a wonderful invention as well as one that we have come to question.

During our Media Issues course this week, we have discussed several topics that Daniel Solove brings to light in his book entitled “The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet.” A subject that I find most intriguing is how a public realm can be used to punish someone and, at the same time, be created with confidence within a private area.

We have seen the overflow of information, and the overwhelming amount of times in which a person is publically “punished” by today’s norm police. Many times the people who are criticized for their behavior or style are celebrities, but there are more and more regular people being covered and criticized online.

We have seen this occur several times with YouTube clips that capture moments like the ones of the Star Wars Kid or the person that was dancing to the Numa Numa song. Even Solove gave us the example of the “dog poop girl” whose reputation was changed dramatically not only in her home country of South Korea but across the globe because of the public’s use of the Internet.

The public humiliation has been distributed not only through videos but blogs as well. This display of anger or bullying has been justified as something they deserve because they acted a certain way in a public space that goes against what we consider right or does not adhere to our societies norms. But do they really deserve this harsh a punishment? Are our online responses the second wrong that does not make a right? Or are we practicing freedom of speech a little too freely?

It seems as if people are much more willing to express their dislike for something if it is through their computer in the comfort of their homes. Obviously they find it more freeing, which might be due to their ability to be anonymous. This can be a double-edged sword because it’s great that people can express their beliefs and feelings in a public area online (as I am on my own blog), but it can also have consequences.

This reminds me not only of things that have happened on social networking sites or blogs, but of Juicy Campus. This site was a concern for many universities a few years ago, not to mention several students. It allowed anyone and everyone to post anything about you whether it was true or not. This influenced their reputation and even employment.

Although it seems that adults are the ones grappling with these issues, we can’t forget that our digital natives are now mainly youth. It was stated in class that even 7 year olds have blogs and are already beginning to document their lives with the help of the Internet. There is a positive side to this because they are learning how to utilize the Internet to their advantage, however they also must be warned of what repercussions can come from what they post. Why? Because the Internet truly can be a cruel historian.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

February 26, 2010

People have had many concerns when it comes to today’s search engine giant known as Google. These range from the security and privacy of all our information to how overwhelmingly large and influential they have become. The incident with China hacking into Google and collecting information along with the current privacy issue they are facing in Italy only validate the public’s concerns. It was even shocking to media students to see that Google, who once stubbornly said we’re sticking to word of mouth, have bought into advertising and revealed a commercial for the search engine during the 2010 Super Bowl. While all these topics make us a little apprehensive of the company, there was an interesting concern brought up in this morning’s discussion which I have never really thought about before. Is Google making us stupid?

For a company that started on a small scale and armed with a big idea, their intent of providing the public with easy and limitless access to information is now being questioned as to whether or not it has a positive impact or negative one.

In a short video, from the Atlantic Project, we were able to see an on-the-street take of whether or not the public thought Google was making them stupid. Some took a more positive perspective and stated that this Goliath of a search engine makes them more informed and allows them to self-educate.

On the other hand, people also said Google wasn’t making them stupid, but their reasoning did not seem positive to me. For example, one girl said if she were asked to write a paper for class, all she had to do was look up information online, copy and paste it into her Word document and it was simple for her to do. She never learned anything. This seems to be a more negative idea of the company and completely opposite of what Google intended; and maybe that leads to another question of whether it is the public’s responsibility to know what to do with the information and if it is good and bad? Or maybe it’s the content producer’s responsibility instead?

In my opinion, to be quite blunt, I believe that Google isn’t making us any more stupid than we started out. It offers, as one man on the street said, a breadth of information and a depth that we can determine. It may not exactly provide the depth we could find within books at a library (within your first search) but if you are motivated to dig deep enough and utilize credible sources, then maybe you are getting a certain depth of knowledge that is somewhat equivalent to what some books can provide.

Like everything else, Google has both pros and cons, but maybe our real concern should be focused on how we are using it instead.

So what do you think? Is Google making us stupid?

To view the Atlantic Project video visit: http://vimeo.com/9253811

As technology advances, we have found ourselves facing several questions not only about the media, but ones that connect it with human rights, social situations or concerns, and even the education of future generations.

Robert McChesney has brought up several points about media conglomerates being for-profit evils that create uniformity in content that is presented to the public, but something even more important to consider is their impact.

Obviously this issue is affecting not just our information intake but the health of our economy as well. These new technologies are having such a prominent role in our lives that it’s changing the infrastructure of our global economy. Other countries are realizing this as well and attempting to adapt and even mimic the U.S.’s communications model.

In a related part of our group’s discussion, David brought up some very good questions: “Is access to information a human right? Should it be? At what point do we recognize that high-speed access to information is becoming as important to a nation’s economic stability as is their access to natural resources or their ability to produce valuable exports? Unfortunately, if a nation cannot keep up with the fast pace of global economics, we will continue to see the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This does not bode well for current third-world countries, and is just another item to add to their list of needs when considering global aid.”

In some countries laws have already been formed to accommodate for these technological developments. Finland, for example, became the first country to “declare broadband Internet access a legal right” in October of 2009. Do you think that other countries should follow suit? Is Internet access a human right since its role in our economy today is so grand?

Later on in Chapter 16, McChesney also says that new communication technologies cannot solve social problems because “only humans acting consciously can address and resolve these issues.”

To me it is understandable to say that alone and without the participation of people, these technologies will not solve problems, however, I feel that this is one of the great things about the Internet. The Internet has become a place where people can consciously fight for something they believe in and try to gain support. They discuss social issues they are concerned about and many people share suggestions or their perspectives as well. I feel like the Internet is a main facilitator for change socially.

So when he states that new communication technologies can’t solve these problems because only people acting consciously can…well it makes me ask questions.

What does that mean for the people who are stating their opinions and suggesting solutions for issues online nowadays? How about the nonprofits that gain more support through the reach of their websites, which are focused on addressing and changing these social problems? What about our president who utilizes e-mail and video elements to communicate how he’s addressing issues we’ve deemed important?

Isn’t this use of the Internet showing people acting consciously to address valid concerns?

McChesney, I’m not sure how I feel about you.

Celebrities in Headliners

February 12, 2010

“Kim Kardashian Isn’t Engaged to Reggie Bush!”

“An Exclusive Interview: Angelina Jolie from Haiti.”

Not to completely bash news corporations and media conglomerates, but honestly are these really headlining pieces? The world of celebrities and entertainment has seemed to become more of a common feature within news outlets, not to mention a concern for many journalism and communication focused people. This has brought about many questions that mainly come down to the inquiry of why entertainment has been published as news.

News, defined as the presentation (to the public) of important current issues and happenings, has been evolving to fit a new audience, one that seems to be reinterpreting the idea and possibly value of journalism.

Within Robert McChesney’s book, The Political Economy of Media: enduring issues, emerging dilemmas, he states that the faults or defects within the news system existence primarily because of the for-profit mind-set. By providing the public with entertainment, they will gain readership and in turn stay afloat financially. However, while discussing this topic with my media issues group, there was one point that stood out.

Although the media is slightly straying from their traditional mission of providing the public with what we need to know, they are not the only ones to blame for the substitute of hard-hitting and investigative news with entertainment. To carry some of this burden of blame is actually today’s audience that has become the driving force behind the appearance of celebrity-centered articles outside of the entertainment sections.

Why does the public demand such coverage? Patrick Butler of the Collegiate Times asks the same question and determined that a 24 hour and 7 day a week schedule has actually diluted the news by trying to fill spaces with less substantial stories. He also claimed that money talks, which helped to form stations that try to give us what we want to hear above anything else.

I do feel that as consumers for this industry, we have found that entertainment is just more fun in comparison to the more realistic, complex and sometimes horrifying news that is presented to us today. I mean who wouldn’t want to view something entertaining or happy rather than depressing? At the same time, we’ve got to know that this preference is affecting the coverage of news and the younger part of our generation that may not fully be able to establish what is actually news. In case you were wondering…celebrities in headlines such as “Brad Pitt Trims his Beard” in my opinion is not news.

Although the solution to this issue has not fully been found, I wonder if there is a possibility of just making the news more interesting or packaging it in a more entertaining fashion to keep the audience both entertained and informed.

We’ve seen Jon Stewart and his Comedy Central program, The Daily Show, gaining quite a following due to a more sarcastic and intellectual twist on current events, so maybe this is something to take note of. Instead of celebrities becoming headlining news, let’s just repackage the facts so they are presented differently. It’s worth a try, I think.

Let’s Shop Interactively!

February 6, 2010

To fellow shoppers and anyone in or interested in advertising…

While reading about interactive media I stumbled upon a more interactive way to shop online. What if you could see the product on a person and watch how the clothing changes with movement (including the movement of dancing to music)? Check out this youtube clip that shows how Wrangler can use drag video functions so that visitors can see the clothes on a person, make the person move, or remove, unzip, and button up their products.

As digital interactivity has changed many aspects of how we do things in our daily lives, I have found one creation that I wish I had come up with first.

The touch screen has changed the way we use computers, phones, are exposed to advertisements and even how we teach our children. It has become considered the epitome of convenience as well as technological advancement.

Take, for instance, the phone as an example. Our cellular phones were great portable means of communicating but now they are much more. They are basically a computer that keeps our schedules, communicates beyond the normal voice to voice by utilizing e-mail or texting, and supplies us with Internet access, games, music or even GPS navigation.

What’s the most popular phone today that have these capabilities? The Apple iPhone that comes complete with…you guessed it, a touch screen.

iphone's touch screen

One of the most exciting TED conferences of 2006 was actually the reveal of Jeff Han’s high-resolution multi-touch sensing touch screen and his statement of “there is no reason in this day in age where we should be conforming to a physical device…we have so much technology now a days that these interfaces should be conforming to us.”

To view the conference, go to: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jeff_han_demos_his_breakthrough_touchscreen.html

Why was this such a good idea? The touch screen is considered convenient because, as Jeff Han states, it conforms to us and allows us to accomplish what we want with the swipe or movement of a finger…and what is simpler then that?

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.

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