Wikipedia’s Newest Addition

Editing a Wikipedia page never came to mind until this semester, I always thought it was for certified experts. But in reality, Wikipedia is a collection of information from regular people, like me, who just happen to know a thing or two about certain topics. For this reason, it truly embodies the idealized phenomenon of collective intelligence. Wiki pages give regular people the ability to share previously useless information with the world, making rote memorization unnecessary. This type of website encourages democratic online participation and web use. As Danny said earlier in the semester, I think Wikipedia is a great starting point for topical research. So, it is important to keep its information up to date.

For example, I updated the social news Wikipedia page by adding affordances websites such as Digg, Fark, Reddit, and Delicious give users and  their resulting benefits to the community. I also added some information to the general descriptions of Digg and Reddit on this page under “Popular Social News Sites,” including features of the comment section, the social networking aspect of Digg, and the ability to earn “karma” on Reddit. This addition gives users a better understanding of the functions of social news sites.

Social News Wikipedia Addition

I updated Digg’s page on Wikipedia to include the websites ability to delete stories it does not feel fitting for the audience. While it doesn’t happen often, users have complained about this recently and in the past. I also noted the social networking aspect of the website, due to the personalized profile, the ability to follow and have followers, and the story view tracker.

Social News Wikipedia Page Addition

Wikipedia also encouraged me, as a view of this page, to discuss the option of merging this page with Digg Patriot’s. While I believe Digg Patriots could be included on Digg’s Wikipedia page, as a recent phenomenon on the website, not all people who use Digg, use it to express politically conservative ideas. I noted this accordingly.

Digg Addition Under "Features"

Unfortunately, the Reddit Wikipedia page is Semi-locked and my account status prevents me from adding relevant information. However, if I was able to post, I would add that Reddit downvotes stories until they’re gone. This means each vote is weighted equally. Also, Redditors have the ability to earn Karma for their active participation and involvement. Lastly, as part and parcel to the community aspect of Reddit, users often celebrate their “Reddit birthday,” something I found particularly interesting. I would compile these aspects of the website to the social news wiki page, but some of the detail is irrelevant to a general overview.

Although I posted these additions a few days ago, they are still there! I was expecting them to be changed, or deleted, but to my surprise and delight, they have not been touched, which is a very good feeling.


Amazon Review Wiki

So the original wiki for amazon reviews looked like this:

When I added my input, it looked a little something exactly like this:

Catch the difference? No? Well, maybe you should get better glasses, because I added a whole sentence. “If a review is given enough “helpful” hits, it appears on the front page of the product.” Brilliant stuff. I also changed “an optional Badging option” to “a Badging option” because an optional option is repetitive (I don’t think “Badging” is a word, but what eves).

I had thought about adding something about the unfair way “helpful” hits are often appalied to high star rated reviews, but it would be too hard to explain and it may just be my opinion of it. So yeah, there you go. I hope this has been a learning experience for all of you who read my blog posts.

Degrees of S e p a r a t i o n

For my practicum project, one of the social networking sites that I am looking at is LinkedIn. For some reason this is the one that is most difficult for me to use. I think it is the least intuitive for me because it mixes professional with social aspects of social networking. There is one really cool feature that I have noticed however. The main focus of LinkedIn is to make connections with other people, mainly for professional purposes. There is a tab that you can click entitled “People you may know” which helps you find people based on your email contacts, groups  you are in, and field of interest. The cool thing about it is that it tells you how far removed you are from other connections that you have. For example, when  I was looking under the “People you may know” tab, I found many of my co-workers. This is because I have common connections with many of these people. Because these are direct common connections they are designated as 2nd connections. When you click on someone’s profile that you are not yet connected with, it will show you exactly who the people are that link you to this suggested connection.

Here is an example:










I think that this is a really cool feature and I think that it could be really useful and interesting if applied to other social networking sites.

Simple Life? Not if I Tried.

After doing the “research” for this blog post, I realized that even if I wanted to live a simpler life without computers, it would be nearly impossible.

First, I brought my actual computer to class and used it to type notes all day. I then used my oven and microwave to make dinner, two things I wouldn’t have considered computers until this evening. My friend dropped me off at the SERF (lazy, but a free ride nonetheless) where I used the elliptical and treadmill. If you lost count, we’re up to six. After doing some homework, I popped the Italian Job in the DVD player before going to bed, adding the TV and DVD player to the count.

So as an average day, I used at least eight computers. I realize many of these are optional, and merely add to my life, but many other computers are essential to my life, even if I didn’t use them within this time span. For example, busses, air conditioning, cars, stop lights, etc. can all be categorized as computers. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that even if I wanted to live a simple life, it wouldn’t be possible in today’s world. While there are many concerns about this, I think it will aid society in the future.

Second Life Update

“Update” in the title does not refer to me updating you guys on my Second Life adventures. It literally means update. Today when I tried to open Second Life to explore more worlds, I had to update the software I have been using. When I opened up the program and attempted to type in my username and password, a message popped up that read “Software Needs to be Updated. Second Life must restart in order to update the software.” I was really angry because whenever I update anything on my computer it takes a good 15 minutes before I can use the application again. The computer usually needs to check for all available updates, than prepare computer for updates, than download new software and a few other steps that I do not really understand, but all involve that slow moving bar, and lastly restart the entire computer. I was expecting a long process so I pulled out my iPad and began to play “Words with Friends.” Before I could even add one word to the board, I am usually very quick with the games, the upload was complete. Unfortunately, I had to put my games on hold and get back to Second Life.

The program automatically reopened and a window (image below) popped up that read “Display settings have been set to recommended levels because of change to the rendering subsystem.” I had zero clue what that meant.

There was a new aspect of the home page that caught my eye. It is called Linden Realms. There was a scrolling picture on the homepage that promoted and explained Linden Realms. It explained the Linden Realms is a new game inside Secon Life where you “complete quests, find adventure, and earn currency.” I debated whether that would be my new stop in Second Life because I thought it would be fun to play games. I was a little hesitant to try it because I still do not understand Second Life fully but I figured it was worth a shot.

I clicked on “Select to set as your starting location” from the picture above and it advised me that I would be teleported there once I log in.

So You’re Engayged

This blog, co-founded by two ladies who while planning their own seperate weddings, realized that there needed to be a blog for the LGBT community supporting couples in the weddling planning process.  With gay marraige being a socially and culturally current topic, the blog here is very emotional, passionate and a little more heavy than the other two I am following.  For these reasons, there is a disclamer within the “about” section listing the policy about comments:

 Another interesting thing with this blog is that the co-founders do not do all the writing, in fact they do very little.  Real life couples are able to apply and blog about their wedding process, and if chosen, blog for about 8 months.  While the authors do post many photos from real weddings, the in depth discussion about wedding planning/ideas comes from actual real life couples.  This makes each wedding story very personal, as the blogger is reflecting on their actual ceremony.  During the semester, I closely followed Michael’s story, who married David this past September in NY.  Michael starting blogging for the site this past Marched after being “accepted” by the founders.  He first posted about how he and David met, sharing details and little stories that made me feel as if I was their best friend. Since the first post, Michael has been very open- sharing all his thoughts and details on his wedding planning process.  With actual couples blogging here, everything is much personal, which the viewers respond to and interact with on a higher level.  Unlike the “OMG I’m Getting Married” blog, here Michael responds to viewers comments, and there is a greater sense of community and bond within this site.

When blogging about whether or not to include traditional wedding elements, Michael asks “from all the weddings you have gone to, which one really sticks out in your memory and why?” to which readers respond to.  This type of direct interaction did not happen in the other wedding blogs. 

Another personal and highly emotional blog was when Michael disscusses his joy about the Marriage Equality Bill passing in NY.  However, he goes on to explain his frusteration that only now his friends and family are taking the wedding seriously, making Michael question what they thought of the engagement and wedding prior to the legalization.  He states in a blog, “talking about our wedding now taps into my fundamental fear that people did not consider our wedding real from the get-go.  I don’t believe that to be true, I really think people just want to see us get legally married, but I am not going to lie and say it does not give me pause when some talk about it with more legitimate terminology”. At the end, many readers reacted and shared their own stories of going through the same troubles.  Here, much unlike the other wedding blogs, people are able to relate via the internet and connect over the complex issues gay marriage presents.

The posts about the wedding day were also filled with personal stories, feelings, and jitters.  Michael shared photos, explaining the space decor, bow ties, ceremony songs/readings, and personal touches he added to his special day.

Here too, the readers react emotionally to the post, and interact between each other.  Michael also replies to viewers comments, although I am still waiting for my response! 

Michael shared his partners creative idea of  labeling the tables:

Overall, I am surprised at the level in which the blogger and the viewers connect here, given that they are complete strangers, who have never met!  However, everyone can relate to a topic that is held special by all: ones wedding.  It is amazing to see what the internet does for people, and the endless possibilities there are for people to connect within it.

Consumer Review Questions

My practicum is on Amazon reviews and here are some amazing, mind blowing questions related to it!

How much value should we put on consumer reviews?

Is it reliable to read a strangers opinion of a product or place?

How much personal information should be given in these review site?

Does knowing a person’s real name and location make their recommendations more reliable?

What are the benefits and problems with Amazon’s consumer reviews?