Newest New Media

ImageThe future of new media technology is bright. The next generation of technology, I believe, if implemented properly, could ultimately foster an even newer generation of new media. From law enforcement to video gaming, from HD, slow-motion instant replay to spatially aware tablets, this new generation of new media technology seeks to take exciting steps toward future media integration into our progressive technoculture. For example, at the 2012 Coachella festival, a hologram projecting the image of Tupac Shakur rocked the crowds alongside Snoop Lion. Realistic hologram projections of humans could be an important innovation for future media connections.

The next generation of immersive gaming is a concept of virtual reality that could change the face of video games in the future. Its attempt at replication of the real world produces high-end display quality using head tracking technology and true stereoscopic 3D. Sound technology allows you to feel the vibration of a gunshot through your entire body.In many ways, technologies like these reflect aspects of technological determinism as well as technological imaginary that “work us over completely” and are evidence of our attempts at a utopian society via the creation of technology that may try to fill the void between imperfect and perfect.

Crowdsourcing & the Boston Marathon Bombing

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It is not uncommon for federal investigators to use crowdsourcing to help identify suspects in a case. FBI Officials used crowdsourcing of the Internet when they asked for public assistance in the Boston Marathon Bombing investigation last week. Yahoo news called it “the most crowdsourced terror investigation in American history.” A subsection on the social news site Reddit titled “findbostonbombers,” where people were encouraged to post photos of the crime scene, yielded many positive matches but also led to many cases of wrongly accused suspects. So many cases, it forced the fed to release official pictures of the suspects to the public in order to limit the damage done to innocent people who fit the description.

This incident shows how misinformation, contributed via social media networks, can be quickly disseminated throughout society and can have detrimental effects on the shared knowledge of the community. It also reinforces the notion that when we think about crowdsourcing we must take into account both the pro’s and the con’s of sourcing such a wide base of public information. Still, I think it is pretty amazing that a group of strangers can come together and create new ways of gathering and organizing information in pursuit of the common goal of catching a culprit.

Investors Beware: Misinformation on social media could cost you big bucks!

ImageTraders using algorithms that automatically buy and sell shares after scanning online news feeds are particularly vulnerable to false information from hackers. A false tweet posted by the American Press Assocication (APA) last Tuesday cost the stock market $200 billion. According to a Yahoo news reporter, this Twitter hoax underscores “the vulnerability of financial markets to computerized trading programs that buy and sell shares without human intervention.”

This past Tuesday, a hacking group was able to hack the twitter account of the APA and post a tweet reporting that bombs had gone off in the white house and that President Obama had been injured in the attack. In just more than two minutes, that single tweet caused the Dow to fall more than 150 points.This type of occurrence can be particularly dangerous for investors who rely on social media networks, like Twitter, for information about the market. When hackers, seeking to buy at a low and sell at a high price, realize that the misinformation of a single tweet can cause prices in the market to fall dramatically, they may use this trend to make huge profits. The close timing of the Boston Marathon Bombing may have also added to the edgy dynamic of the social media buzz caused by this Twitter hoax.

Social Network Profiles and the Cognitive Process

ImageHow we act on social media networks may be an indicator of how we want to be perceived by others in the real world. Many times, people may represent themselves online as having traits or qualities that they wish they exhibited in real life. This is part of the allure of the publicity of social media. The social network profile, which users are supposed to build as a self-described medium that reveals to the public one’s characteristics, such as interests, favorite books, movies, music, and television, may be more representative of the users cognitive process than actual traits he/she exhibits in reality.

When closely analyzed, these self reported traits are proving to be valuable as CRM may use these interests to improve search engines and better aggregate informational or statistical characteristics of large groups of people. The most difficult of these traits to analyze is the music category. The diversity of responses to the music category show a wide range of difference in musical preference. This means that users who exhibit a unique taste for musical preference are prevalent within these online communities. If we can find a trend within this type of information it could be useful to both real-world consumers and producers in the future.

New media in the classroom

ImageThere is no doubt that new media technologies have become thoroughly integrated into our everyday lives. We rely on our cellphones and laptops for almost everything, whether it be connecting with a distant friend or researching an interesting topic. The integration of technology has also had an effect on education and we are quickly learning that it may be an efficient way to reach students. For example, online degree programs allow people who cannot pursue a traditional schooling education to attain similar benefits as those who attend well-known universities. Some teachers may condemn the use of new media technologies within the classroom but computers, cell phones, and tablets can offer students the chance to quickly browse for information and easily collaborate on projects thus becoming more engaged in the learning process. Some argue that even social media networks like Facebook may soon play an important role in the classroom.

Sourcing the Crowd: Good or Bad?

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Crowdsourcing can be a valuable tool for an enterprise, but comes with its share of disadvantages. Crowdsourcing is when a company outsources some aspect of production, that may be traditionally done internally, to non-employees and consumers, usually via an open call on the internet. Crowdsourcing emerged with the invention of the Web 2.0 and in the context of expanding self-service capabilities in all branches of commerce and industry. Companies who utilize this strategy seek to inexpensively harness the knowledge and creativity of a wide base of participants for value creation. A prevalent example of crowdsourcing can be seen in any case where customers can submit new ideas, designs, or suggestions for improvement. Crowdsourcing businesses may collect user reports on new trends, new products, or any news outsiders might be willing to pay for.

There are drawbacks however. Crowdsourcing is possible only when its costs are low and the interaction brings benefits to all participants. Customers who submit their ideas rarely receive adequate financial compensation for the work involved and cheap labor may result in loss of quality compared to hired professionals. For this reason, any task with a degree of difficulty greater than simple, is risky for crowdsourcing. A successful use of crowdsourcing can be seen in CNN who rely on amateur reporters to submit short articles, photos, or videos for publication or broadcast. CNN allows its amateur reporters to make submissions, even via cell phone, but offers no compensation for voluntarily submitted material.

Online friends? Where are your real friends?

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In a culture where it’s socially awkward to reject someone’s friendship, rejecting and even ranking online friends amongst each other can set the stage for never-ending drama and social awkwardness. There is no doubt that social media networks have greatly impacted how we communicate with each other and facilitate a unique virtual community where users can express their individualism online.  They create a sort of imagined community where we can pick and choose who our “friends” are by allowing them access to our shared content, comments, and bulletins.

When content is relevant to individuals, they consume it and then share it with “friends” who they presume are also interested in receiving such content. But how do we determine who our online friends are? The answer may not be so simple. The choice of a person to befriend someone on a social network site can be deeply influenced by the technological affordances of a given system as well as the user’s perception of who might be viewing his or her content. Some people will even attempt to amass as many online friends as possible simply because it makes them look cool.

What makes the negotiation of friendship on social network sites tricky is that it may be deeply connected to a person’s offline social life. People want to have some level of control over their audience, but because of how these sites function, there is no distinction between parents, lovers, schoolmates, or strangers. They are all lumped under the category of “friends”, and what one can see, all can see.The waters become particularly murky in the situations where we must simultaneously interact with our peers and those who hold power over us, like professors or parents. It is no surprise that this aspect of social networking has raised numerous questions about the right to privacy in digital public spaces. So the next time you make a status update, just remember, your professors don’t care about the kegger on upper…