I went back and forth as to how I should tackle the interactive part of my research paper.  Finally, I decided on what seemed the most logical to me…a timeline.  My interactive project starts with the date and time Mark Duggan was killed and goes right on through to the end of the riots and sentencing.  I’ve included links to pdfs of my research paper along with pictures of the destruction in the United Kingdom.

The link is as follows:

Interactive Timeline of the U.K. Riots


Augmented Reality

This week we had the option to do something FUN for our blog posts! Derek said that we had two options:

(a) identify and review a new AR app or project (from a critical, thoughtful, and rigorously theoretical perspective, or

(b) produce your own AR demo using a webcam and Flash and post to your blog.

Well, if you’ve ever read any of my blogs you know how much problems I have attempting to use Flash so you know what I chose.  Flash!! Yeah, I’m surprised as well but it was SO easy my dog could do it…no, really my dog could do it.  Below is what I came up with!  I want to experiment with other pictures and produce different projections.

Meka's AR

Cool right?!

Augmented Reality Apps

I looked at several Augmented Reality apps (or AR apps) such as TAT Augmented ID, Layar, TwitARound, Nearest Tube and Wikitude just to name a few.  Some of these AR apps I could see how they would be very useful, while some actually creeped me out! The following are a few questions I had regarding AR apps:

The AR app TAT uses facial recognition to pull up information about a person, i.e. contact and profile info. Why would someone want to use an app like TAT?

Can this type of technology lead to us giving out too much personal information?

Are AR apps becoming the new big trend over QR codes?


The Dark Side of Virtual Reality

I’ve never thought of playing or visiting (or whatever it would be called) Second Life before. It’s just something that never really interested me.  After this week’s reading now I know that it’s more than just a game to some people. I didn’t realize that people could become millionaires, date, get married, assaulted or even raped. This has been quite an educational read this week; who would have known that a video game could be so seedy and dangerous?

After reading “Copyright and You: 
Ethical Issues in Second Life”, by Hope R. Botterbusch and R. S. Talab, my eyes were really opened to what goes on in the under belly of Second Life. In this article we are introduced to Miss Avatar, who is new to Second Life and is visiting this virtual world because she was attending a professional conference (holding conferences in Second Life is something that companies have started doing.). Miss Avatar decides to explore a little bit when she meet another avatar who offers to take her to see the more “fun” side of Second Life, but instead exposes Miss Avatar to the other side of Second Life, the shady world. The article goes on to say how there is little research conducted on the exploitation of individuals of Second Life “and what does exist discusses how cyber- terrorists exploited Linden dollars from a target’s avatar, and also hacked his/her PC.” Who would have known that playing a virtual reality game could lead to someone hacking into your computer and possible stealing your identity along with your possessions in real life?

Miss Avatar decides to play around with her appearance and selects a leopard fur skin, which has some kind of double meaning in Second Life. In fact, according to the article it explains how, “[f]urries are very different than human forms in Second Life; they are very frisky and tricky creatures and attempt to engage other furries in “fun” activities alluded to in the first scenario. Thus, resulting in Miss Avatar receiving unwanted advances from many male furies.

Miss Avatar goes on to meet a friend , Mr. Avatar (who later turns out not be who he says he is) and her avatar gets vandalized and she is harassed. After a while of being on Second Life she sets up a retail store which later gets “robbed” by Copybots. She in turn had to file a notification of possible copyright infringement, thereafter “[s]he then had to wait until real-world lawyers stepped in and adjudicated her case.”

After reading this article I am definitely not interested in visiting/playing Second Life.





Why Virtual Worlds Can Matter

When Thomas says, “[w]hile the architecture of these worlds is distributed across the Internet, the activities within these virtual worlds create a sense 
of shared space and co-presence that make real-time coordination and interaction not only possible, but a necessary part of the world”, is he saying that these virtual worlds make people feel like they are connected, and these connections are a necessary part of the virtual world?


Is the strange and familiar acts of embodiment that Thomas talks about regarding virtual worlds, only experienced by experienced players of MMOG’s or is he saying that this is the experience of anyone who would play an MMOG?


Who are these problem solvers that Thomas speaks about?  Are they gamers or are they experts in a particular field? Or are they gamers who have an expertise in a particular field?

Citizen Journalism and Politics

The internet is a huge part of our daily lives We can search for jobs, recipes, nannies and conduct research searches for school along with all sorts of other things. Then along came social networking sites (SNS). Boom! Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more unfocused, you find yourself constantly checking your various accounts (not to mention how often you check your email!). But, SNS just isn’t for catching up with friends and/or family or sharing photos, it can be used as a sources for news as well.  Many media outlets are riding the social media wave. In fact, politicians are not getting onboard.

According to David Carr of the NY Times, social media played a big role in getting President Obama into office. “Like a lot of Web innovators, the Obama campaign did not invent anything completely new. Instead, by bolting together social networking applications under the banner of a movement, they created an unforeseen force to raise money, organize locally, fight smear campaigns and get out the vote that helped them topple the Clinton machine and then John McCain and the Republicans.”

So many people around the world use SNS and it can be a great way for politicians to promote their “brand” (themselves) and keep themselves in the public eye.  Plus, I think people feel like the know the candidate/politician because they may have their voice heard where it normally would not get heard. According to Dr. Darren G. Lilleker, a lecturer and researcher in political communication at Bournemouth University, “…online environment is becoming a key communicational tool for those who seek election, and potentially a key source of information for the voter; thus an important location to place strategic branded information.

But what happens when tweeting goes bad? Unfortunately, the days of making random comments and then back peddling back saying they were taken out of context are over when it comes to SNS. Everything you post (photos, comments, etc…) is displayed for the world to see any time they are ready to view it. With this fact in mind, you would think that it would make politicians stay on their toes, but this has not been the case.  Take for example, the situation with Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. Weiner sent sexually suggestive pictures and messages to women that were later posted on other sites. All of the scandals and bad press lead to Weiner finally resigning from office, on June 26, 2011.

White House hopefully, Herman Cain is now feeling the heat from social media. The former National Restaurant Association CEO has had sexual allegation scandals play out via Twitter.  In an article posted by abc NEWS it states, “Social media and the blogosphere are making it virtually impossible to respond to every source of criticism, said Arjen Boin,  an associate professor of public administration at Louisiana State University who studies crisis management. The Internet is creating a “democratization of the crisis process,” by expanding the number of people reporting and commenting on a possible scandal, he said.” It will be interesting to see how the election in 2012 will be affected by citizen journalism and in the years to come how citizen journalism will affect the media as we know it today.

New Media & Society

Currently, how does (and how will it in the future) citizen journalism affect politics and person’s pursuit of a political position?

By allowing everyone’s voice to be heard, does citizen journalism create a more balanced media?

As citizen journalism becomes increasingly popular, what does the mean for traditional news media? Will it suffer the same fate as newspapers?



To Post or Not to Post…?

I have always been a private person, keeping my cards very close to my vest. So I never understood why people would allow complete strangers into their lives.  Yes, I understand the carelessness of youth, but yet again I was never the typical young person. Though, I can give young people the benefit of the doubt.  What do they really know about the repercussion of disseminating too much personal information? It’s a part of being young to want to rebel against “the system”. But what about adults who share their personal information on SNS? Shouldn’t they know better?

Eva Galperin

This morning we had a chat with Eva Galperin via Skype and the discussion was quite an eye-opening experience for some of my classmates. They did not know that their pictures could tell their exact location and that there are sites on the web that dispenses information regarding their income, education level, address, and race. Only God (and Google, Facebook, Twitter and of course the government) knows what else is floating around in “cyberspace” for those who are savvy enough to retrieve the information.  Oh, and forget about deleting it so that it will not longer exist. Don’t you know that all of the information you post on the internet is remains there for the world to see? Delete does not exist in its vocabulary.

The internet allows us to share even more than people care to know about us. Yet, we continue to force-feed our whereabouts, who we were with, why we were there and our thoughts about the location/event/thing/person(s). Has no one ever given any thought to the fact that person could steal your identity from the information you share online? For example, security question #1 from your bank/credit card, etc.: What’s your mother’s maiden name? Oh look! You have your mom listed as your “friend” on FB and she’s listed by her maiden name. How nice of you to share that information with the world. Security question #2: What’s your date of birth? You get the picture.

Now, FB is launching Timeline! So now your posts and pictures can become the gift that keeps on giving. Giving that company you are dying to get an interview with, the impression that you’re a heavy drinker, with family issues and who thinks your supervisor is an incompetent boob. Good luck securing an interview with that company or any other company trolling your profile.

Thanks Facebook!


Danah Boyd

I really appreciated Danah Boyd’s e-journal Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What? but I wonder if the suggestions she has proposed will really be accepted by adults (parents, teachers, etc.)? Also, if adults do decide to do this how receptive will the youth be?

Eva Galperin

After reading Facebook Users Brace for Site Redesign, written by Eva Galperin and A Case for Pseudonyms,

Jillian C. York

written by Jillian C. York, it makes me wonder if Facebook is trying to hide behind the façade that using real names creates a more civil environment? Have they not heard of cyber-bullying? Where do they think cyber-bullying is happening? In the streets? At school?  On other social networking sites? Not only that, it makes me question what’s the real reason Facebook want people to use their real names? I really doubt it’s to prevent stalking and harassment.

A Conversation with Rehab El-Bakry

Rehab El-Bakry

I found it to be a great pleasure to hear Rehab El-Bakry speak today in our Theory and Audience Analysis class.  There were a lot of points that I took away from her conversation with us, but one thing in particular that I remember was what she said about blogging.  Basically, she told us that you might as well be honest when you blog, if not don’t blog at all.  It’s a very small point amidst all of the informative information that she shared with us, but one that I really believe is a good point. Since I have started blogging consistently (a little over three months ago), I have heard many of my classmates (from time-to-time myself included) gripe about all of the blogging we have to do and I believe we have just been going through the motions and not really getting the full benefits of blogging.  I’d like to be fully engaged in my blogs from here on out (not that I didn’t try to do well, but I think my previous blogs really lacked me being fully engaged in them, so I am going to attempt to put my whole-self into my blogs more.). But, I don’t want to take this time to really go into all of that; it was just a point that I wanted to briefly speak about.

Now back to the conversation El-Bakry (and her blog). I found her topics to be very engaging, not just the topics she talked about in class but from her blog as well.  I really like her post from September 14, 2011, entitled, “In Loving Memory of My Friend Sherif Turki”. In this blog El-Bakry takes a very personal turn, taking a moment to honor the friend that she has recently lost due to a heart attack.  I like it when people give you a brief glimpse into their world. Nothing overly personal where you feel you should not be listening to or reading about what they’re discussing; just a small peek to let you know that they experience the same things that you experience. I was very touched by this written memorial to Sherif Turki.

It really saddened me to hear about how the Christians in Egypt are still being persecuted and recently executed. How can a government really think that killing innocent people (because they want a safer place to worship) is justifiable? How can the journalist really call themselves journalists knowing that they have incited people to go out and harm others? It will never cease to amaze me just how trusting people are of the media; just because it’s on the news it must be true?  Sadly, we as Americans have fallen victim to the sort of hype.  Maybe my eyes have been opened because I used to work in the media field and I know all too well how the top story or breaking news can be skewed any way the television station wants it to go. After all, if it bleeds it leads.