02
Mar
12

Personal Branding

In this post using storify I discuss why it is important to control your own brand. 

17
Feb
12

Citizen Journalism

15
Dec
11

blarg

13
Oct
11

Midterm Blog

It’s hard to think back to the days when there were no computers, internet, or social networking sites. In the recent past human life was significantly restricted by the unavailability of these technologies. Many people think of technology as a boon to society. However, this is not true in today’s advanced world. Innovations such as cellular telephones have allowed us to connect instantly around the world with one another. Additionally we can now connect to the internet and search for the answer to just about any question we may have. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter penetrate into our daily lives and as research shows, generally have a positive impact on most people’s lives and relationships. Indeed, this is a great time period to be alive. Media and technology are constantly impacting and changing life around the world as we know it.

When Facebook was still a niche social networking site a lot of people still believed the stigma that people who use social networking sites are misanthropic. However, research is beginning to show quite the opposite. Information from the article “Keep calm and carry on ‘liking,’ Facebook makes you a better person, research shows that social networks actually improves people’s social lives. Suffice to say that this research points to the notion that social networks are having a very positive impact on people’s lives and our relationships. However, this is not to say that every facet of social media impacts people’s lives in a positive way. From the article “Feel like a wallflower? Maybe it’s your Facebook wall”, Facebook has been shown to aid in causing a phenomena called fear of missing out. This refers to the mix of anxiety, inadequacy, and irritation that can be caused while looking at social media. For instance, you may feel fine about your life, then you see your 3 best friends check in on Facebook at the local movie theatre posting pictures. You may be wondering why you are missing out, why you weren’t invited, or a plethora of other questions that revolve around your not being there.

Facebook has also spawned a new generation of gaming called social gaming. Most of us have probably played Cityville or Farmville at some point and if so you know how addicting these games can be. From the article “Who says social games are shallow”, they say that Facebook games resonate because they are easy to pick up and play, but difficult to put down. These games also encourage developers to be innovative to keep their players from moving onto another free to play game. This keeps things fresh and interesting for the player and allows them the best gaming experience possible. Because of the massive popularity of these games, they are having a huge impact on the gaming industry around the world. In the past developers thought sinking the most money into a game would generate players, however Facebooks free to play model has shown developers that people will play a slightly inferior game if it’s free.

Recent research is also beginning to show that students who play videogames are better students than those who do not. According to the article “Play games, be better students?”, videogames can be used to teach new ways of thinking among students. However, there has been much resistance among school administrations to erase the negative stereotype that persists about videogames. Henry Jenkins says that videogames can help players to learn new things and to think in new ways. Perhaps in the future our educational system will incorporate more types of education games into the curriculum in order to teach students.

Another popular social media website called Twitter has been gaining momentum as a social media tool around the world the last few years. According to new research from the article “Twitter users congregate based on mood, study says”, people who use twitter don’t organize themselves by age or interests as one might think. Rather, they group up based upon their mood. This research is profound because it shows that social networks may follow many of the social mechanisms that exist in the real world. I think it goes to show that twitter and social networking sites are more than just a time waster in our daily lives. Researchers have also recently started to examine the national mood as seen through Twitter. From the article “Tracking the national mood through Twitter”, many interesting results were found. The research showed that during the workweek people are most happy in the early morning and at night, when they aren’t working. The research also showed that in general people on the west coast seemed to have happier tweets. With people so eager to talk about themselves and there own lives Twitter has certainly created a unique place for researchers to examine people’s thoughts and moods in America and throughout the world.

Social media is also helping to pave the way for things far less trivial than researching one’s mood. In Saudi Arabia social media is helping to give people without a voice a way to convey their thoughts. From the article “Social media helps keep the door open to sustained dissent inside Saudi Arabia”, a woman was jailed for nine days for posting a video of herself driving her black SUV. In the past, the government might have been able to quiet her and any supporters by simply making an example of her. However, because of Twitter and Facebook the internet came to her defense. More than 30,000 comments appeared on twitter within days of her arrest. In Saudi Arabia women cannot mix with unrelated men and public gatherings are illegal. Because of this twitter has given a voice to those who would normally be without one under this oppressive government. Twitter is truly revolutionizing the way people around the world can communicate. In addition, twitter provides a way around government censure and gives a true voice to the people.

In the 2008 election President Obama embraced social media to propel him into the Whitehouse. From the article “Republicans sharpening online tools for 2012”, Obama got 22,000 people to sign up for a town hall style chat on facebook aimed at securing his reelection for 2012. According to many experts the 2012 election will be the first election in modern history where both parties are embracing social media and the power of technology. Voters can still expect to see many televised ads, however, there will certainly be an increase in the number of social media tools used by candidates and particularly republicans come 2012. This is just another example of how social media and technology are impacting and changing our lives here in the U.S and around the world.

Social media is also changing how brands market their products to consumers. From the article “Brands now direct their followers to social media”, marketers have begun to change their tactics in recent years because of the rise in popularity of social media. It is now very common for companies to run online ads which focus less on their products and more on promoting their Facebook and twitter pages. Research so far shows that it’s probably worth their time. Consumers spent about 30 seconds interacting with Facebook and twitter ads compared to just about 11 seconds for traditional ads. This just goes to show the far-reaching implications of Twitter and Facebook. Social media truly has far reaching implications in our world and is revolutionizing many traditional methods.

Games are also having a profound effect in the health care field. From the article “Better health through play”, they found that students who had played videogames for more than three hours per week had 37 percent fewer errors during their procedures and they completed their operations about 27 percent quicker. Moreover, from the article “3-D med school, hold the cadavers”, they mention a new technology called CAVE. This technology allows students to simulate and study an ear without ever having to touch an actual human body. There is no doubt that hands on experience is also necessary, however there is no doubt that the increased use of technology has nothing but a positive effect on those in the health care field. These technological advances are helping to change the way students and doctors train around the world

The cellular telephone is something that many of us in America probably take fore granted in today’s world because nearly everyone has one. However, in developing countries like Africa the cell phone is revolutionizing people’s way of life. In this country the cell phone provides a plethora of benefits to improve people’s lives. Cell phones are affordable, have a low barrier to entry, saves time, reduces transportation costs, provides instant information and pricing, enables mobile banking, and provides immediate contact for medical help. Research has also shown that adding 10 mobile phones per 100 people will increase Africa’s GDP by roughly 6 percent. Africa is an astounding example of how technology is changing people’s lives for the better.

Branching off from this information, from the article “How smart phones can improve public transit” a recent study has shown that people are more willing to ride the bus or train when they have tools to manage their commutes effectively. Participants in the study did not mind handing over their cars as long as they had apps to provide information about transit schedules. This provides just one more example on how technology can be further implemented help to change and improve our lives for the better.

The 13 articles mentioned above demonstrate the many ways in which technology and social media impact and will continue to impact our lives here in America and globally. Social media is not just some trend, it is here to stay and it will continue to have a huge impact on all of our lives. Many technological advances in the recent past have helped to make our lives easier and more complex at the same time. Only by embracing these medias and technology can we truly advance as a culture and a people. I for one am ready and excited to enjoy the ride. Giddyup!




September 2014
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