filizefe's blog

Extra-Credit Reading (week 8)

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 20, 2009

Instant Messaging vs. E-mail

Olivine Wai-Yu Lo and Louis Leung in their article “Effects of Gratification-Opportunities and Gratifications-Obtained on Preferences of Instant Messaging and E-mail among College Students” compare the use of instant messaging vs. e-mail grounded on uses and gratifications perspectives. They particularly interested in why college students prefer instant messaging instead of e-mailing.

Below is the comparison chart that I made, which shows the basic characteristics of “e-mail” and “instant messaging” as computer mediated communication (CMC) types, by using the article as a source:

e-mail

instant messaging (IM)

text-based messages and limited size of multimedia sharing

Different forms of messaging such as webcam, talk, any size of multimedia sharing

asynchronous

synchronous

two or more people but NOT in real-time conversation

two or more people and in real-time conversation

NO presence: knowing if peers are available online

presence: knowing if peers are available online + a visible list of other online friends

Waiting time

NO waiting time:  i.e. pop-up mechanism

NO moods

Different mood views of  online availability + emoticons

allows reviewing

NO detailed reviewing

Optional to contact a person immediately or later

consecutive conversation

 

The exceptional features of instant messaging provide a greater array of gratification-opportunities to the audience. According to uses and gratifications theory, people choose certain media according to particular gratifications. Gratification-opportunities reflect the attributes of media. The competing feature of media is users’ time. The synchronous and the multi-function features of instant messaging offer more gratification-opportunities than e-mail.

In conclusion,

1-      Gratification-opportunities are powerful CMC predictors of preference between IM and e-mail.

2-      Reciprocal gratifications of peers make IM more popular among specific groups.

3-      IM usage preference is significantly related to sociability because IM is more spontaneous in terms of receiving feedback and knowing if peers are available online.

4-      Socially anxious individuals may find e-mail and IM easier than face-to-face communication and the use of emoticons enhance understanding when contextual information is lacking.

5-      Male students tend to show a higher level of IM use.

Source

Lo, O.W and Leung L. (2008). Effects Of Gratification-Opportunities and Gratifications-Obtained on Preferences of Instant Messaging and E-mail among College Students. Telematics and Informatics, Retrieved February 19, 2009, from doi:10.1016/j.tele.2008.06.001 

Reading Reflection (week 8)

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 20, 2009

Preserving For the Future

The advent of electronic communication systems introduced new preservation requirements. In her article “Archivists Struggle to Preserve Crucial Records as Paper Gives Way to Pixels” Florence Olsen mentions about the university archivists’ quandary over electronic record preserving systems. According to the university archivists, the raw material of future scholarship and litigation is being deleted. They liken the present situation to a transition between cultures by tearing down the old one without even thinking how to preserve the new one. They point out the requirement of digital preserving systems for the new form of data. University archivists also concern about what to keep for the future among all records. Moreover overwriting is another common problem, where the online authors’ first priority is updating the data without thinking to keep the previous one such as online grade-sheets.

I believe there are two main questions to be considered in preserving the exponentially increasing data:

1-      How will we use records in the future?

2-      What records do we need to share and store?

First problem comes with the challenge of the fast obsolescence of archive technologies: How will we use records in the future?  It’s almost impossible to make long term predictions where we are confronted with new technologies every other day. Even in the last two decades, the preserving technologies have changed from floppy disk to recordable CDs, flash drives and external hard disks. The data capacity of these storage systems have changed from 360 kilobyte to 2 terabyte.

Second problem is not a new one: What records do we need to share and store? Although this problem is not a new one, there is a significant increase in communication devices and frequency. Comparing the memos and fax communication with e-mails will simply show that it is not possible to create incoming and outgoing folders anymore by printing the e-mails. Decision of what to preserve for the future would be the challenging one. That would solve the bigger part of the problem because the dramatic increase of data also creates a junk of information, which keeping for future would not make sense anyhow.

In sum, the emergence of various communication ways and devices bring forward the problem of exponential increase in data to be preserved. Digital archiving systems and prioritization of the archive materials urgently required. University archivists are the first ones those who needs a fundamental solution. The digital storage technologies are changing incredibly fast but choosing the right material to keep for the future would be the most important strategic act to solve the preserving problem for the future.

Source:

Olsen, F. (October, 1999). Archivists Struggle to Preserve Crucial Records as Paper Gives Way to Pixels. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from http://chronicle.com/free/99/10/99101501t.htm

Questions Week #7

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 17, 2009

1.      As the Internet becoming the new public sphere, how can we categorize the web users according to their interests?

 

2.      Maximizing the Internet population: Is it a key for democracy or a possible online tragedy of the commons?

 

3.      Facebook, as becoming our social capital tool, follows a path from offline to online in building social networks. By this means, since our offline and online presence are perceived as one, what makes an online political activity different from the offline one?

Reading Reflection (week 6)

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 17, 2009

“The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom”

by Yochai Benkler

Chapter 6: Political Freedom

Part 1: The Trouble with Mass Media

 

Yochai Benkler in this chapter analyzes the question of how the Internet and the networked information economy affect the structure of the public sphere over the mass media. Starting with the end of nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, mass media, and modern democracies co-evolved together. During this period, mass media (print, radio, and television) was dominating the platform of public sphere. Today, with the Internet as a technology and the networked information economy, we need a substantial alternative platform for the public sphere.

 

The interaction of culture, organization, institutions, economics, and technical communications infrastructure shape the public sphere. Mass media structured the public sphere of the twentieth century in all advanced modern societies. The Internet affects the public sphere on the cultural practice of public communication. The statements of the public sphere in the Internet are the invitations for a conversation, not a finished product as it was in mass media.

 

Design Characteristics of a Communications Platform for a Liberal Public Platform or a

Liberal Public Sphere

 

The communications system that offers the platform has to provide some design characteristics:

 

          Universal Intake: Filtering and accreditation to a set of political discussion topics.

 

          Filtering for Potential Political Relevance: Filtering the domain of organized political action.

 

          Filtering for Accreditation: Accreditation requires different kinds of judgments and provides a critical point of control. Credibility is a source of accreditation for the public at large.

 

          Synthesis of “Public Opinion”: Synthesizing the varied versions of beliefs and positions and rendering them to form a condensation point for collective action.

 

          Independence from Government Control: Converting privately developed observations, intuitions, and opinions into public opinions.

 

Basic Critiques of Commercial Mass Media

 

In liberal democracies, the advertising-supported, commercial mass media dominated the construction of the public sphere in the twentieth century. Sometimes, these media have played a fundamental role as “the fourth estate”. The emergence of the networked public sphere challenges this dominance of mass media.

 

Three primary critiques of commercial mass media:

1-      Too limited intake. Many unrepresented views due to distance from journalists.

2-      Too much power to the owners.

3-      Entertainment over news and analysis because advertising-supported media needs to attract large audiences

 

Three primary defenses or advantages in commercial mass media:

1-      Independent from government.

2-      Economic power for large newsrooms to support to perform the watchdog functions in society.

3-      Visibility and independence to identify important issues percolating in society.

 

Mass Media as a Platform for the Public Sphere

 

Basic characteristics of the communicational structure of mass media:

1-      Communication from a small number of people to a big audience,

2-      Vast difference between the number of speakers and the number of listeners,

3-      Immense audience of mass media affects the filtering and synthesis functions of the mass media as a platform for the public sphere.

4-      Functions of intake, sorting for relevance, accrediting, and synthesis are all combined in the hands of the same media operators because of high costs of organizing these media.

 

Media Concentration: The Power of Ownership and Money

The power of the commercial mass media depends on the degree of concentration in mass media markets. The two concerns of media concentration are:

1-      Lack of competition in a market,

2-      Mindshare: Media is concentrated when a small number of media firms play a large role.

 

Commercialism, Journalism, and Political Inertness

Another concern is that commercialism undermines the capacity to provide a platform for public, politically oriented discourse. The concern is that the commercial interests of these media will cause them to pull content away from matters of political concern.

Three components:

1-      Advertiser-supported media need to achieve the largest audience possible which leads such media to focus on lowest-common-denominator programming and materials,

2-      Issues of genuine public concern and potential political contention are toned down,

3-      Journalistic ethics vs. necessities of commercialism.

 

The core characteristic of mass media is that the content is produced prior to transmission in a relatively small number of centers and then transmitted to a mass audience, which consumes it.

 

The Internet communications alleviates the worst weaknesses of mass media as a public sphere. New models of public communication such as greater access to individual communications and to collaborative speech platforms can significantly improve the platforms for the public sphere.

Vannevar Bush’s MEMEX – A diagram depicting “Computing’s Family Tree”

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 4, 2009
A diagram depicting “Computing’s Family Tree sources the Memex at the root of all modern operating systems.

A diagram depicting “Computing’s Family Tree" sources the Memex at the root of all modern operating systems.

Questions Week #5

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 3, 2009

1-      Vannevar Bush in his article “As We May Think” introduces “Memex” which later referred as the basis of the Internet. This article was published right after World War II and Bush was one of the active scientists of the war. What do you think the social influences of the war on the pace of his projects?

 

Here is a link of a movie clip on You Tube about Vannevar Bush…

 

2-      The government, the business sector and the individual users of the communication technologies have been trying to get in charge of the media and the message throughout the history. Do we need a controlling system over the media? If so, who should be in charge managing this important responsibility?

 

3-      After the Titanic incident, a chaos of wireless communication took place. What happens if a disaster occurs in the present? Ref. Cowan – A Social History of American Technology

Discussion: Controlling the Communication

Posted in Uncategorized by filizefe on February 3, 2009

Click for my Presentation on slideshare…

Throughout history, the issue of controlling the communication has always been a controversial one. Controlling the media and the message is one of the most powerful tools. The three actors of this competition are the government, the business sector, and the individual users of the communication technologies. These three forces also determine the evolution of the communication. The government can put regulations related to the functions, ownership, distribution, usage of the media but at the same time, the government itself uses the media, which creates a conflict. The business sector can develop the media with the economic power, but the same risque of monopoly destroys the objectivity of the media. The individual users can create chaos on the communication patterns when there is no system at all. Moreover, electronic communication is one of the most important national security issues since World War I. Therefore, communication technologies change over the centuries but the question remains the same: Do we need a controlling system over the media? If so, who should be in charge managing this extremely important responsibility?

Electronic communication devices sector -from wireless telegraphy to personal computers- is one of the technological systems that have dominated twentieth-century history. Even at the end of the nineteenth century, telegraphy had become a feature of modern industrial life requiring government regulation. Therefore, controlling the power of communication was an important issue. Cowan, in her book “A Social History of American Technology” provides a comprehensive history of American technology. In the chapter 12 “Communications Technologies and Social Control” the author argues the same question “Who should be in charge of all the various technologies of communication?” (Cowan, 1997)

A historical approach lends itself to a clearer understanding of the evolution of the media. Twentieth century staged big social events in the United States. The Titanic Disaster was one of the big incidents in the history of wireless communication technologies, which made a turning point from a free-for-all industry to a government-regulated system. The Titanic disaster led a chaos of wireless communication. Journalists began demanding government regulation of wireless communication and Congress began taking testimony. Such as the Titanic Disaster, World War I and II made great impact on the development of communication technologies due to their military usage. The Godfather of the Internet Vannevar Bush had also a leading role in the development of the atomic bomb.(Vannevar Bush, 2009)

The final radiotelegraph transmissions from the Titanic. This recording is in all likelihood a simulation, but its exact origin is not known. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snkwsU98QlQ

Even though many individuals and organizations tried to dominate the media in the twentieth century, none of them could remain long in control of the business of communication. According to Cowan, there were three main reasons of this lack of control: Amateurs innovating; government weakening monopolies; and free market economy. The technologies change but these actors remain the same. The names change; ham operators in the past, hackers in the present. (Cowan, 1997)

The issue of controlling the communication was controversial in the past, and it will be in the future, too. The charm of the ‘controlling the minds’ will never get old. The three main forces of this competition are the government, the business sector, and the individual users of the communication technologies. While they are competing to get in charge of the communication, they also determine the evolution of the new technologies. There is an incredible balance of this system in the United States, where the influence and interaction among these actors make the system sustainable and somehow independent from the absolute control of one. Therefore, there is no one straight answer to the question of controlling the communication. The mechanism works by keeping the questioning attitude. According to Cowan “Every technological change has profound social and ethical consequences, and we cannot rely on experts to make wise decisions about those consequences for us.” (Katzman, 1999)  

 

Sources:

Bush, V. (July 1945). As We May Think. The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/194507/bush

Cowan, R. S. (1997)A Social History of American Technology. (pp. 273-300) New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from https://eres.lib.washington.edu/eres/docs/145925/social_history_technology_ch12.tif.pdf

Czitrom, D. (1982). Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan. (pp. 3-29) Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from https://eres.lib.washington.edu/eres/docs/145926/media_american_mind_ch01.pdf

Hargittai, E. (1998). Reinventing Universal Broadcasting: Parallels Between Radio’s Early Years and the Internet’s Emergence. All About Internet Society. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://www.isoc.org/inet98/proceedings/2f/2f_1.htm

Howeth, L.S. (1963). History of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy. (pp 153-165) . Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://earlyradiohistory.us/1963hw12.htm

Katzman, S. (August, 1999). Slippery Technic: Beyond Control. H-USA, Humanities and Social Sciences Online. Retrieved January 31, 2009, from http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=3328

Thompson, P.B. (2000). Book review. Agriculture and Human Values 17: (pp 409–410). Retrieved January 31, 2009, from http://www.springerlink.com/content/m6h7267xu7tnv114/fulltext.pdf

Vannevar Bush. (2009, January 5).In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vannevar_Bush