My Future with Amazon Reviews

So I believe I’ve covered every technical thing I can with Amazon reviews in my previous posts. My current state on reviews is around 164,000, which is a good 2,000 lower then I was last time. This is due mostly to inactivity and no reviews added until today. Today, of course, I’ve written five more, making my review count 20 and hopefully raising my ranking just a little bot more. As before, I’ve continued to write about films and am genuinely curious if anyone else will find them helpful. Just have to wait and see, I guess.

As for my future with Amazon review, I think I’ll continue on, at least for now. My goal is to get 100 reviews in by the end of January and without school in the way, I think I’ll reach it. I also want to reach the coveted Top 500 reviewer mark. A lofty goal, I know, but for just one day I want to be placed among reviewing gods. A man can dream. I will try to go more in depth and branch out a little as well, honing my Reviewing skill until, hopefully getting more “helpful” harks to tell me what I should keep on doing.

Amazon Reviews has become a fun little hobby where I can put my general opinions of things, and people will actually read it (hopefully). I would strongly encourage people to participate in these reviews. At the very least, you could find my reviews “helpful” 🙂


43 things year in review

So I have only had an account on 43 things for part of the semester, so my accomplishments on the site are far from what they could be with more invested time. However, there is a  tab that you can click that gives you a summery of your year in review and sums up what you have done, the entries that you have written, and the cheers that you have received and given.  It shows when you were most active in the year in a graph and gives you a statistic of how many cheers you received for each cheer that you gave. Looking at my year in review, it is kind of sad. I think that with further use of this site I would be able to develop my goals further and make a more impressive year in review report.

Here’s my year (or few months):

There’s an App for that!

Why wouldn’t there be an app for Pinterest? Since the site is becoming more and more popular and currently receives about 2.5 million monthly visits, Pinterest has created an App. Like many other apps, Pinterest is being marketed through Itunes. Now users can pin anywhere they can use their cell phones. Pinterest is expanding at a fast pace. According to an article titled, “The Rise of Pinterest and the Shift from Search to Discovery,” Pinterest’s user growth rate is what Facebook’s was five years ago. Earlier in 2011, it was valued through venture financing at$40m and, most recently, just a few months later, at around $200m. Though the site is growing a lot, I have seen comments about Pinterest that are negative. One person wrote, “Pinterest is a Reddit for chicks.”  I disagree I think Pinterest is a great site with so many things to offer and judging from the numbers, I am not alone.

Second Life and Deomcracy

For my final post of the semester, and probably the last time I play Second Life, I decided to visit the Oval Office. I thought for a while about the last place I wanted to visit. I knew I wanted it to be a real place and I had already visited many cities so I chose the Oval Office. I read the description of the destination and was even more enticed to go. The description read “Virtual Oval OFfice: This replica of the Oval Office mimics the current decor of the real-life building, capturing all the tiny details even down to the paintings on the walls and the screen on the laptop! Have a fireside chat or sit in the presidential chair as you experience what its like to make key leadership decisions for the United States.”

I was teleported to the Virtual Oval Office and was a bit surprised. The office was in a white building on a street surrounded by other buildings. I was confused but proceeded to walk towards the building. However, when I reach the door I was unaware how to actually enter the room.

When I finally did walk into the office, there was another avatar already in there. I guess we had the same idea to act as President for the day.

While sitting at the virtual desk…

I started to think a lot about Democracy. We have spoken a lot about democracy, government, and regulation throughout the entire semester and I think it has been a vital part of my learning. In lecture we learned a lot about the Public Sphere and how it is a place “where citizens can come together to form public opinion and make it heard.” Fraser explains the Public Sphere as a Subaltern Counter-publics where group interests reached in alternative spaces, than brought to mainstream. I think this partially applies to the Second Life community. I think groups interests are met in alternative spaces, most specifically the virtual world. Not only can people blog on but they can travel and explore together in the virtual world. People can chat through the game and learn features through other avatars. But, I do not think the Second Life community wants to be brought to the mainstream. This is a place for people to be who they want to be and create their own identity. It is the ultimate way to be alternative from the mainstream.

I think it is better to call Second Life a Networked Public Sphere. Papacharissi explains the Virtual Sphere as a complex network of publics  and counter publics in common virtual space and that the Internet is the new kind of public/private sphere. I believe that Second Life completely falls under this category of virtual space. In Second Life you can be as private, like my experience, or as public as you want to be. People come together and form a community and open up to one another. But regardless of how public or private you choose to be in this game, every avatar is in a common virtual space.

This is the conclusion to my blog posts about my Second Life experience.

Online communities: Contribution to Wikipedia

Instead of contributing information to the Wikipedia page for media fandom, I chose a broader topic and opted to contribute to the Wikipedia page for online communities.

On this particular webpage about online communities, I found information about identity formation and potential problems with such formation. To this section of the webpage, I added information about self-presentation and the potential, negative implications it can have on the construction of one’s individual identity.

More specifically, I added the following text:

The construction of an individual’s identity within an online community requires self-presentation. Self-presentation is the act of “writing the self into being,” in which a person’s identity is formed by what that person says, does, or shows. This also poses a potential problem as such self-representation is open for interpretation as well as misinterpretation. While an individual’s online identity can be entirely constructed with a few of his/her own sentences, perceptions of this identity can be entirely misguided and incorrect.

I felt that this was a significant contribution to this particular section of the webpage as it’s important to understand that an individual’s indentity is constructed by others as well as by oneself, and one’s identity is not always perceived as was intended by its creator.

Through collective intelligence, like that which can be seen on Wikipedia, internet users can be seen as playing a part in participatory culture (knowledge-based). I have in this very post, in fact, identified myself as being involved in this culture as I expressed one of its underlying assumptions: “Members believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another” (Jenkins, et al., 2005). Knowledge is a commons rather than a property, and (through one’s ability to edit/add to information present on its webpages) Wikipedia demonstrates support in this ideal.

Wedding Blogs: Advertisements

Something which I have been wondering is how exactly these bloggers are making money, and especially the “Style Me Pretty” editor, for it is her living!  Perhaps it is because I am always surrounded by advertisements online, but I didnt even notice the advertisements on the right side of the page for both “Style Me Pretty” and “OMG I’m Getting Married”.   The blog “So You’re Engayged” has a location on the side of the page labeled “Advertisements”, however so far none have been there!

Although each blog is from another country, the similarity between the two’s advertisements is interesting!

ads from OMG I'm Getting Married

ads from Style Me Pretty

Something I did notice between the “Style Me Pretty” blog, which has an “American” take on weddings, and the “OMG I’m Getting Married” blog (based in the UK) was how they presented their advertisements.  While both blogs had advertisements from various companies ads at the right side of the blog, the UK site took it one step further, including a tab within their homepage for “Sponsors”.

Here, the sponsors are interviewed by the author, and given space to share their work (whether they are a photographer, baker, rental supplier, etc).  This way of advertising doesnt seem as commercialized, and could easily be mistaken for actual blog material verses a sponsor.  Also within the “OMG I’m Getting Married” blog are sponsored photo-shoots, fashion shows, expos, and other events that the UK blog author attends and then posts about.  After searching the blog for awhile, I was unable to locate a link or find information on how one can advertise or become a sponsor… I am assuming you would just have to email the author!

Sponsor interview on "OMG I'm Getting Married"

Style me pretty however has a less subtle ad effect, and doesn’t give advertisers commentary space like the UK blog does.  Rather, at the bottom of their page they have a link “advertise”.  Here, detailed information is given on the blog readers, as well as the various slots companies could advertise within.  I feel that Style Me Pretty is more up front about advertising due to the nature of their business, and dependency the author has with the blog for her income.  It also seems like Style Me Pretty is in a different league than OMG I’m Getting Married.  I was shocked to find these stats on Style Me Pretty’s advertising page, describing their audience:

12 Million Monthly Pageviews and over 1.5 Million Visitors. Our RSS Monthly Views are over 1,500,000. We have a brag-worthy Google page rank of 6.

Thats amazing- and explains why the blog has a more business feel to it than the UK based one.

More Time Spent on DailyStrength

Again, at the self-help website that I looked (Dailystrength) at I feel that I have spent ample time looking at posts and comments made on different users and have really gotten to see how interactions take place on this website. There are many other aspects that make a self-help website successful though so I decided to take a deeper look at these other aspects.  One part of this site is the health blog section where posts are made regarding different recipes explaining how to eat healthy, how to master portion control, and spiritual guidance among other things. I really like the recipe aspect of this website and it seemed that the users did as well. There was one post regarding a healthy chickpea recipe that was the most recent and there were many comments on this ranging from “yummy, can’t wait to try this” to “what a great high protein snack”. The users seemed to appreciate getting tips on how they can eat healthy. There was also a section on this site called expert answers where users were able to ask any question that they could think and have it answered by a specialist in that particular field. Questions were asked about the basics such as what is anorexia, to more complex topics about whether there is a link between biochemistry and eating disorders. I have included a screen shot of the question and answer to: who is at risk for anorexia.  Another section of this website is different treatment options, descriptions of each treatment, reviews made by different members, and the percentage that it helps most of the time. Here is an example of that: The first listed is psychotherapy (counseling), which is defined as “a range of techniques which use only dialog and communication and which are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient or to improve group relationships (such as in a family).” Then there are the success rates for the treatment: 81% found this successful in helping them get over their eating disorder. Finally, different members leave comments regarding whether this method of treatment worked for them. An example of the first comment left regarding counseling as a treatment is, “I have gone to counseling a few times. My counselor is great and helps me keep things in perspective about the relationship.” Finally, the last section of this self-help website besides the discussion forum is a goal tab where users can post different goals they have for themselves on their road to recovery. What I found interesting about all of these different sections is that they were all still very much interactive with users still commenting one another and giving support to each other.