February 2009

This reading discusses topics presented in the article “Effects of gratification-opportunities and gratifications-obtained on preferences of instant messaging and e-mail among college students” by Olivine Wai-Yu Lo and Louis Leung.

After reading the article on the reasons young people choose IM over email, I would have to say that I generally agree with what the study shows.  The younger generation prefers IM to email because they like the instant gratification one receives when chatting via IM.  You type something, whomever you are speaking to recieves it right away and responds almost instantly.  I look at this as being practical.  It is the tool that most accurately mimics human conversation.  Especially with features such as chat rooms to allow multiple people to engage in the conversation, as well as most mobile devices allowing IM service.  Its as if friends can have an after class discussion, without being on school grounds, or at the mall, or any other place that young people congregate at to talk amongst themselves.

Another reason that I prefer IM to email, is that there are less barriers in place between messages.  There are no spam filters, no long gaps in pieces of conversation, and if something is not 100% clear in a message, I do not have to write back and then wait for a response for something to be cleared up.  Therefore work situations can go a lot smoother.

The level of interactivity offered is the biggest driving force in preferring IM over email, and the article had this to say on this point:

e-mail lacks the majority of functions that IM can provide, especially those considered as ‘interactivity’ items such as webcam, voice chat, conference chat, on line games, and voice mail. This deficiency can determine the choice of IM and e-mail.

This reiterate the fact that IM mirrors real face to face conversation, something email cannot presently offer effectively.  The sociability of IM is what its users like over email-instant response as well as knowing when their friends are online and free to converse with.  In my opinion and experience, it is this sociability that makes IM so popular.

I thought my discussions all went well, I consider my presentation to be a success due to the feedback I received.  Throughout my presentation, my audience seemed in tune to each point I was trying to make, and were engaging every time I presented a question or theory, which was my main goal.  The biggest challenge was to interpret the work and make it so it was able to be understood by everyone else, no matter what their background was or how familiar they were with the topic.  The feedback I received reflected that this goal was accomplished.  I tried to avoid going more than 3 minutes of straight lecture without asking the audience a question, to keep them involved in the presentation.  All in all, this was a good experience and I really enjoy spending time discussing all of these topics with my classmates, and teaching them what I gathered from my reading also helped me have a better understanding of the material.

1.  How do you believe the Digital Age and Social media has helped the preservation of the Commons?  How might it be hurting it?

2.  What interest groups have you joined or learned about in your time online that are doign the most to combat the problems our planet is facing?  Could these groups exist offline and without the help on the Internet?

3.  How could social networking sites organize members to not only become more aware of these problems facing Earth, but do actual physical work towards the common goal of protecting the Commons?  Which existing social networking site is best suited for this task?

Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Published in 1968 and written by Garret Hardin, Tragedy of the Commons provides a startling look as to how we are killing our own planet with our irresponsible attitude in areas such as population and pollution. The “Commons” that is the focus of the article is any resource or area of the planet available to any member of the population. As our population grows in number, the abuse of the Commons becomes more and more noticeable on the environment. A few centuries ago, if a wasteful act was committed by someone, its impact would be minimal, if at all. Now as animal populations are nearing extinction and pollution ravages our natural habitats, those abuses are magnified. Hardin says that there are no technical solutions to this problem, this problem can only be addressed by the human race as a whole making a decision to determine what is a want, and what is a need, and we will have to come to realize that our planet is a finite resource. As in a growing population WILL eventually exhaust Earths ability to sustain this population. (more…)

Human language has undergone 3 major developments in our existence
-spoken language
-written language
-digital language

Digital Language = Far Reaching
– It is the 3rd great metamorphosis that allows us to communicate with others on a far reaching scale.
– Because of digital language, we are now “one homogeneous mass”, to quote Samuel Bowles.

Digital Language Timeline
-Not all technology is readily adapted…

-Amateur radio does still exist among hobbyist and enthusiast, and this proves very useful when national disasters or wars interrupt traditional means of communication.
-What amateurs today report things that “the media” sometimes misses?

Benkler On Todays Digital Age

“The Internet allows individuals to abandon the idea of the public sphere as primarily constructed of finished statements uttered by a small set of actors socially understood to be “the media” (whether state owned or commercial) and separated from society, and to move toward a set of social practices that see individuals as participating in a debate.”

New Media
As our world becomes computerized, media begins to change.
Lev Manovich’s 5 principles of New Media
1. Numerical Representation
-Media becomes programmable.
2. Modularity
-Fractal Structure
3. Automation
-Media creation, manipulation, access.
4. Variability
-Infinite versions.
5. Transcoding
-Computerization of media

And when you set it all in motion…….http://ultimateanna.com

Interactive Media
-“Closed” and “Open” Interactivity
-Following the mental structure of the creator, a predetermined path.
-Clicking a link, that goes to an image, that goes to the next image etc etc.
-True interactivity allows its users to choose their path.
Lake of Death


Manovich, Lev, The Language of New Media (MIT Press, 2001)

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale University Press, 2006);

Roger Fidler, Understanding New Media (Pine Forge Press, 1997)

Fidlers’ “Mediamorphasis” takes readers on a journey through the third great metamorphosis in communication – digital language.  The first two monumental steps in man kinds ability to communicate with one another was of course, spoken and then written language.  It is this third step that truly brings us together as a species.  We are no longer existing in our own pockets of civilization around the planet, with news of other far away lands simply trickling in and letting us dream in our minds about what these places could be like.  Because of digital language, we are now  “one homogeneous mass”, to quote Samuel Bowles.

The need for digital language arose from a need for communication across distance.  The construction of railroads (these play an important role throughout this story) led to an increase in social and economic development.  With this increase, it became clear that instantaneous communication would be needed to properly synchronize the moving of goods across these distances.  Enter the telegraph.  Previously, the quickest way for news to break was using various transportation such as the pony express to rush news to the newspaper presses.  With the invention of the telegraph, these were rendered obsolete. (more…)

1.    In Bush’s article, he made several predictions about where technology would make advancements in the future.  His thoughts on compression of resources such as encyclopedias materialized in the form of the world wide web.  Where do you see compression affecting other print volumes in the future, and do you believe we are too attached to the idea of holding physical novels to ever replace those with digital copies on a large scale?

2.  Bush discusses records throughout his article, and talks about the possibilities of ways to record vast amounts of information (his “memex” idea in part6).  As more and more records are converted to digital form, the emphasis always seems to be on how vast amounts of information are at our fingertips, and how much space it is saving us….why does there seem to be less of an emphasis on how this is better for the environment to not have as many things printed?

3.  Christensen talks about how Moores Law has affected business models, as customers demand more performance out of products.  How has overshooting allowed companies to change competition?