Saturday, March 6, 2010

Flames in Cyberspace

Philip A. Thompsen discusses the idea of flaming, in Cyberspace and Communication, an issue which we discussed briefly in class today. Personally, I appreciate the original definition of flaming, "to speak rabidly or incessantly on an uninteresting topic or with a patently ridiculous attitude." This came out of a 1983 version of "The Hacker's Dictionary" and I have to say that translates to a point to today's version of flaming (331.)

But, personally, I have witnessed a lot less of overtly flaming on the internet, but more manipulation in order to transmit the same or similar emotions of anger, frustration, and argument that flaming is defined as. I do not see flaming as much, but more so constructive, relatively cruel, critiques of individuals in a Myspace/Facebook environment, or a blog/academic environment.

I agree with Thompsen when he suggest that flaming is a mixture of media experience and skills, and the social influence of the form. More flaming I have witnessed occurs on message boards, where the open forum makes flaming almost permissible. On blogs or Facebookesc sites, I see less flaming because of the nature of the "social influence" of the forum. As Professor Strate mentioned in class, Facebook is a "safe" environment, and there is no room for flaming to be a common place.

What do you think? I think web 1.0 types of websites allowed for flaming to occur more than Web 2.0, which makes interpersonal conversation more constructive, then 1.0 which made it constrained to a more linear form. But honestly, I do not see flaming as much now than I saw it say 7 or 8 years ago. Why?

-Jessica Vanacore

Friday, March 5, 2010

Getting Over the Edge, or already there?


Taking another look at Communication and Cyberspace drew me to the essay, "Getting Over the Edge"by Stuart Moulthrop. It is an older piece. dating back to the 1990s but it raises important questions regarding the rise of new media that still translate to today. 

Not to mention, his writing style is distinct from other scholarly writings on these issues. ""Cyberculture may just be the last holiday orgy of the yuppies, replete with silicon sugar plums for all" (256).

Moulthrop questions the implications of the soon to be fiber optic data routes, suggesting this will bring enormous change to culture. But the main idea of his article lies in the issues of communication over the web/cyberspace/net and how it is routed in text. He talks about those who are innovating and a major part of the web culture are those routed in old print media, and people who often are highly literate and and "staunch defenders of high literacy and even the canon" (258). 

He also says that the text in cyberspace will not replace that of the print. I agree with him in a way because he discusses a great deal about Hypertext, something that is almost defunct today. On the other hand, I do think that the abilities we now have well smart phones and laptops has effected the print medium, especially in terms of news moving onto the internet, and the growth of online libraries with scanned texts. It's the convenience today, that I believe, is making the "cyberspace text" take the lead.

But I have to agree with the statement, "Even after we have fully given up on print, the majority of "really electronic" text will be hopelessly contaminated with the old ways of knowing" (261). 

-Jessica Vanacore


Hello class:

During the last few years more and more 3-D films are released, taking the film industry to a whole new direction.

What are the benefits and what are the drawbacks of such a change?

3-D televisions are currently on their way to replace “old-fashioned” TV sets and enhance one’s visual experience. It is interesting to witness this transition from the old to a new innovative tool.

Certainly the wide release of 3-D films is mean to ease this transition while increase demand.

It will be very challenging to resist to this change and see how long it will take until everyone feels as if this new tool is essential.

Is the attraction of 3-D the fact that one is now at the center of the movie? Could this be another on-demand effect, perhaps?

What are your thoughts?

Margaret M. Roidi


Hello class:

I am reading Lev Manovich’s book The Language of New Media and I came across one of his ideas about film:

“Cinema is the art of the index; it is an attempt to make art out of a footprint,” (295).

These sentences provide a very interesting break down of what film is about. His perception of film as a collection of frames recording reality, which could be stylistically enhanced by a careful and sophisticated use of technical elements, is very refreshing.

The short video we watched in class is a clear example of this idea. The use of images to tell a story, the incorporation of sound, multiple screens, they all aim to communicate a specific feeling and thought based on reproducing reality.

Manovich’s breakdown of modern cinematic means reveals a demystified approach to this medium.

Margaret M. Roidi

Speaking of Podcasting...

I thought that you might be interested to know that, on the advice and urging of Paul Levinson, I've started a podcast, well, just one podcast, so far.  So, you can find my profile at, which is separate from my podcast page, it just seems like every site nowadays has to have a profile page, as part of the social media trend.  As you can see, I set it up at, a site that Levinson recommends, and over there they call your podcast a show, a term I find amusing (as in, somewhere up there Neil Postman is laughing, I know).  And I had to come up with a name for the show, so I named it, Ear Relevance.  Maybe it's a bad pun, but the pun itself is a play on the spoken word.  So, I also decided to keep the title consistent with the name of my two blogs, and call it Lance Strate's Ear Relevance.  I figure it would be a loose and open-ended educational program, at least, that's how I tried to describe it.  I'm not sure how far I'll go with it, at least a few episodes though.

So, in setting up the show, they asked for a picture to represent the show, and rather than use another picture of me (one, which was already there from my profile page, is more than enough), I asked an outstanding artist I know from MySpace, David Arshawsky, if he would do something up for me, and gave him an idea of what I was looking for, and here's what he came up with:

So with that image, all I needed was the actual podcast itself, which took a lot more time than I thought it would, but I finally got my first episode completed and uploaded last month.  I recorded and edited it on my Macintosh laptop, using the GarageBand program, and I had two options, so I first uploaded the episode in the better quality MP4a format.  But I learned that older devices can't play it, and when accessed online it plays more slowly than the more universal, lower bandwidth MP3 format, so I uploaded a second version in MP3, and I'll stick to that format from now on.

So, here is the URL for my podcast page  If you go there, you can "become a fan" and get email updates from Mevio whenever there's a new episode, and there are also links so you can subscribe via RSS feed, Zune, or iTunes--the URL for the iTunes subscription is  Mevio also gives embed codes, much like you can get for YouTube videos, so I'll give that a go now.

Before you listen, let me acknowledge that it's amateurish, my recording expertise is limited and my equipment far from professional (for example, you may need to push the volume all the way up, depending on the system...  oh, and let me warn you that the episode is about forty minutes long).  But that is part of the whole point, isn't it?  Anyway, here it is:


I'm getting a better microphone and pop filter, so the quality should better next time. I don't have any specific podcasting schedule, it'll just be whenever I can get them done, and whenever I want to get them done.  If you subscribe, you'll get them automatically, if not, well, I'll be posting them on my blog, and tweeting them too.

Websites for All...

Hello class,

I was reading the headlines from New York Times and one article draw my attention. Here I am providing a link to read it further:

There are so many issues with this story. The fact that there are websites promoting such actions illustrates how cyberspace can be used to reproduce imagery that is powerful enough to generate social uproar.

The public’s anger is fueled by the demand to punish the woman subjecting the kitten to a cruel and painful death.

The internet can provide a stage for all to perform the lead role of their sickest obsession.

Margaret M. Roidi

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Media Strategies


I was just browsing the web, and decided to plug “new media” into Google to see what would pop up. I’m surprised I didn’t do this before…anyway, I found a very interesting company called New Media Strategies. What this company does is online marketing and advertising, by means of social media.

The company performs word of mouth campaigns, and utilizes the new new media for advertising campaigns. On their site, their most recent client is Chrysler auto.

On the “Areas of Expertise” section of their website, they say, “And we have helped our clients achieve a greater understanding of how their corporate brand (as well as individual product brands) are perceived and discussed by members of the online audience.”

They then give an example of a campaign they did for online advertising of JC Penny’s Jewlery sales and “Beware of the Doghouse” campaign. Their goal: to promote and generate online buzz for JC Penny.
This is the process that they took:

Interacted with targets in parenting & motherhood, women, men,
bargain shopping and marketing & advertising communities through word of
mouth messaging, digital PR, and micro-blogging to build awareness and drive
video views
Created an official Twitter handle, "askJCP," used to promote
campaign initiatives and build brand recognition

NMS efforts
reached more than 4.4 million unique users and garnered over 18.2 million
estimated impressions across 200 communities, increasing campaign and brand
discussion by 90%
"Beware of the Doghouse" video received more than 3.4
million views during the 2-month campaign
NMS outreach grew the "askJCP"
Twitter handle to more than 300 followers and was featured on influential
Advertising & Marketing blogs including, No Turn On Red and The Caffeinated

It’s amazing how an old media such as advertising has adapted to an online environment, using social media for promotion.

-Jessica Vanacore

Cyber Scalpers

I read an article in Tuesday’s edition of the Bergen Record regarding Cyber Scalpers. This seems to be an on going issue with the use of online ordering for ticket sales. A new software called CAPTCHA Bots is the latest system that generates tests, such as distorted text visuals, which the buyer must re-enter in order to process with the purchase. Current computer programs are supposedly not able to use this function. The CAPTCHA Bots stands for “complete automated public turing test”, which distinguishes between computers and humans. The recent scandal found that programmers in Bulgaria to established a nationwide network of computers that impersonated individual visitors and vendors. I find it interesting that we need systems in place now to tell us if a human is real. This is scary as a user, and makes you think of the future of the security of cyberspace. Cyberspace crimes are on the rise and I wonder if we can really control everything and every system that exists. Now I know why I couldn’t get tickets for Hanna Montana for my daughter last year! The more and more we depend on our high tech devices and computers, and the less we have interaction with humans, we will be finding ourselves searching for the human element in this cyberspace.

Thoughts on Second life

I believe that certain areas of Second life have gotten out of hand and are weighing in on how we interact as individuals face to face. The Second life lifestyle has given people the opportunity to live out their fantasies and establish a personality that they do not possess on a daily face to face basis. At first, this idea seems entirely harmless, possessing an alter ego and expressing it online to the people you most likely will never meet, seems like it may be playful with no long term consequences. However, every guilty pleasure could be taken to the limit, and so has this idea of a second life.
In the cyber world we are given opportunities to interact, to be journalists, to be sellers and buyers, but at what cost? When individuals are restricted, they may find ways to rebel against that restriction, or they may not. However, when the access to the world is readily available without any restrictions, it is difficult to hold yourself back. Prostitution has found a way to no longer consist of girls on the street, but can be conducted via internet without the fear of being prosecuted by the law. The second life that people live over the internet has created crimes that were not possible to commit before the internet age. I suppose we put ourselves in certain virtual world situations voluntarily, however it becomes more dangerous each year and we should protect ourselves from being trapped in this cyber world. I believe this changes the way people act in person entirely. The internet is no longer only on our computers, it is also on our phones making it impossible to escape. The world is only a click away and we are a very easily influenced society. Whether we are at home, in the car, at a restaurant, it is all irrelevant; we can access the web at any time and any place.
People have become anti-social to a certain degree due to the fact that everything is conducted through email, since it is now easier and a more efficient way to contact a person via email rather than giving them a phone call. By the time these individuals get home, they are more likely to text their friends rather than actually call them. Therefore the people who have an entirely different personality over the internet when conducting business or sexual relations, it most definitely will eventually interfere with their personal lives. Some may spend even more time on the internet simply because they are more comfortable with their internet personality rather than their actual one. This kind of behavior will inevitably cause a drift in their personal relationships outside of the internet, their communication skills will suffer, and there is no doubt that they will lose the people they love over a guilty internet pleasure. As seductive as the cyber world may seem, too much of something is damaging, and therefore it is best to avoid it rather than let yourself turn into a person that you no longer even recognize when you look in the mirror.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


New New Media- Podcasts
I feel sometimes like I am the biggest critic of new new media, and am always trying to look at the darker sides to find the biggest problems they could have on society. Podcasting, however, has had me completely dumbfounded for the longest time. I don’t like them, but I don’t hate them. I honestly never gave them much thought, but noticed more and more that my friends (with iPods and Macs) were becoming obsessed with them. Specifically, podcasts were becoming a huge part in the online Harry Potter fan culture.

Lame, I know. I used to be completely obsessed, but since the seventh book was released I dropped off the HP online planet. But, it still exists, and podcasts have become a huge drive for these sites. is a site that was founded by a bunch of kids who really liked Harry Potter and it became a tremendous phenomenon to the point that it is the world #1 Harry Potter website. Time Warner and Chevy have advertising spots right on home page, and a counter at the bottom is indicating to me now that there are over 1500 people on the site.

I figured this would all die down after the books and movies came out, but they have embraced new new media to its fullest extent, and the site(still ran by kids) produces podcasts to keep the attention and liveliness of the fan site alive. They are able to book interviews with writers,and actors in the HP films and discuss aspects of the movies and books in a new way. After reading Levinson’s chapter on Podcasting I can see how it is becoming very popular, especially now that people are able to load podcasts into their cars and listen to them any time they desire. His explanation of Grammar Girl’s success as a podcaster illustrated this and made me think of Mugglenet as another example.

In addition, the way he describes the ease of producing a podcast makes me want to do it. It is easier to manage sound for the amateur more than video, and it is cheaper to produce as well. Another interesting point was podcasting and music, and the issue of copyright law. The solutions that podcasters have found, such as Adam Curry’s “Podsafe Music” website really shows how this is a growing aspect of new new media that will remain as more and more people utilize it.

I kind of want to try making a podcast to work on my style of producing, and use it almost as practice in the professional setting. I feel as if the podcast, especially in the broadcast world, could be great practice for producing...even if no one listens to it!

-Jessica Vanacore

Green Day's Lyrics

I came across the lyrics for the rock band Green Day’s song “American Idiot”. There were very interesting to me. They read:
Don’t want to be an American idiot
Don’t want a nation under new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria
Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow
For that’s enough to argue….
One Nation controlled by media
Information age hysteria
The song is right on point with the notion that the new age media is causing hysteria. The digital world we live in is changing us… the way we learn, communicate, socialize, work, and perform everyday functions. For an example, the IPhone is advertising a new application, which can now turn off your lights at your home if you forget. Cyberspace can now control functions in real time. Are we now living in the world once portrayed in the cartoon series “The Jetsons”. Is this what the song writers meant when they wrote “Television dreams of tomorrow “? Every day I can pick a newspaper (yes, I still read the news in paper form) and there are stories regarding the new digital world and the effects that they are having on us and our surroundings. I think the “hysteria” is more the obsession with all our new toys, and the quest to get your hands on the latest and greatest edition of our devices.

New new media abuses

On the internet, we are all journalists in our own right reporting of our daily lives and experiences and this has opened the door for all eyes to see. Once you post, you really have no way of knowing who can see all of this information regardless of how much you secure your privacy settings, you really have no way of knowing who will be looking at this information. In this information age with an extreme lack of privacy, we have opened the door for anyone to put their two cents in regards to what we post, and not all of the feedback will be positive. Although this behavior is unfortunate it is somewhat expected. In such a multicultural and multiethnic world, we cannot expect everyone to agree and therefore we are unaware of the fact that maybe what we consider to be entirely innocent, another may consider it offensive and therefore they may react by insulting you in forums and other social websites. Cyberbullying trolling, flaming, online gossiping, amongst many others are becoming a real issue lately. It in fact reminds me of the story, which has been previously mentioned, about a teenage girl committing suicide due to the cyberbullying she was receiving from her classmates via internet. The worst part about this story is that this is not the first case of suicide due to cyberbullying nor will it be the last. At schools, if there is bullying, it is easier for school officials to track it down and prosecute the students involved. However, in the internet age it is impossible to track and therefore the students doing the bullying usually do not get punished for their behavior until it is too late. Although it does seem impossible at the moment, I believe that a solution is very necessary because this will get out of hand, if it has not already. The internet has in many ways desensitized us as human beings, there are certain things said over the internet that one would not be able to say in person. The distance from one computer to another has given us incredible strength in terms of what we can say to others. Although, it may sometimes seem that your insults will do no real harm except temporarily hurt a person’s feelings, time as well as the news, have shown a different side to the effects of cyber taunting.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Wikipedia has created a name for itself unlike any other online source of information. Many students have grown to become extremely dependent on this site, and I am no exception. Whenever I need quick facts or information regarding anything I tend to turn to Wikipedia. It became a bad habit, and that is why many professors do not recommend the use of Wikipedia as a source. I personally like using Wikipedia because unlike encyclopedia which tends to have a fee for using the information on the site, Wikipedia is completely free and it possesses the same amount, if not more, information. What really amazed me is the study that has been conducted in 2005 to examine the accuracy of information distributed in both Wikipedia and Britannica. The result showed that “an average of four inaccuracies per Wikipedia article and three per Britannica article- in other words, not much of a difference” (93).
However, as great as this website may seem, it really should not be considered as the final word for the research. Although Wikipedia does have editors to make sure the information is checked, most of the information written is by ordinary people like us. If I decided that I was an important enough figure in the society and thought I should have my own identity on Wikipedia, I would be able to write out a biography of myself and my accomplishments. The editors may track that information and remove my page; however, they also may not. Also, If you are someone who tends to visit Wikipedia often, you will begin to notice that the information on the site changes, due to new information regarding the topic. Therefore, whatever information is on the website is not to be taken as something written in stone.
Another important factor is that since editors have little say on how people would see or use Wikipedia, we cannot say for sure whether Wikipedia is an encyclopedia or a newspaper. Since there is a wide range of people that have daily access to it across the world, we really cannot be certain of how they would distribute information. As Levinson said, “All consumers, in general- always determine how the new new medium is used” (96). Over all, I think that Wikipedia is good when it comes to getting a general idea on a topic but it is in no way a substitute for a library or books. Sadly the internet age has deterred us from libraries because we feel we can apprehend all necessary information over the web, when in fact sometimes it is best to go back to basics in terms of research.