Dangers of Social Media

Social networks connect the world and allow for some amazing technological feats to be thought of and carried out. In 2009 DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) offered $40,000 to anyone who could find ten tethered, red weather balloons spread out across the U.S. With the aid of social networks, a team at MIT was able to find every balloon in less than nine hours! This was an amazing way to use social media. While many other examples of Facebook, Twitter, etc. being used for the good of mankind exist, there are just as many, if not more ways that social media and user-based online news sites have screwed a lot of people over.

On Wednesday, April 24th, the Associated Press tweeted, “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured”. Almost immediately, the Dow Jones dropped a whopping one hundred points. Twitter and Facebook filled up with retweets and status wishing America the best and some even going as far as to say ‘RIP’ to the current president. It turns out (obviously) that the Associated Press’s twitter account was hacked, possibly by the Syrian Electronic Army. The fact that a few characters of text on ONE account on ONE social media site can change our economy and send the nation into fear is a terrifying thought – one that is scarier than an actual attack. What would it take for our country to fall into a panic? A few tweets and a Facebook post?

Barack Obama looking chipper as ever

With this new era of social networks and online news sources comes the need for a new brand of caution regarding the internet. Sometimes news must be researched to find out its validity. This is just a price we pay for global connectivity. Some websites, like The Onion, create fake news stories on purpose as satire. Many of these articles have been posted and shared on sites like Facebook by users who believe them to be real news stories. While fake news is entertaining and often too crazy to be thought of as real, sites like The Onion have to be careful with their power, and realize that not everyone understands satire. Wildfire spreads easily, especially in the form of news on the internet. Its delivery and validity are key to inciting panic or sharing a few laughs.

‘Antics’ ensue in Vundabar’s new album

The merging of media is always an exciting thing. The one symbiotic, artistic relationship between media I am most interested in is audio and video. A convergence of sound and picture opens the doors to so many things unobtainable to a single medium. The music video is a prime example of this. Sometimes thematic elements can get lost on their way to a listener, but the visual element of a music video strengthens this part of a song. The Massachusetts band Vundabar has just released a music video for their song ‘Darla’. While the video is just the band playing their song, I think it is a good example of the talent and character of the band.

The video for ‘Darla’ comes to us while Vundabar’s long-awaited full length, Antics, is fresh off the press. Literally. Vinyls have been made (and this guy plans on buying one). This album fills a gap in the DIY music scene in the north: an airy collection of melodic indie songs that isn’t afraid step up and smash some heads. New England is dominated by punk bands and hardcore bands and any band that can shell out forty bucks for a distortion pedal. Vundabar takes it down a notch while simultaneously raising the bar. Longer tracks like ‘Greenland’ repeat themes but never get boring or bland, while ‘Sad Clown’ throws the listener through rockabilly hell and out the other side of the album. Antics can be downloaded for free (or if you feel generous, for a small donation) on the band’s bandcamp page. It’s easy to recognize that Vundabar is changing the way the New England music game is played, and the internet is giving them the tools to do it.

Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances

“The milieu of cultural interests one creates for oneself can even be transformational, because cultural consumption not only ‘echoes’ but also actively ‘reinforces’ who one can be.” (Liu, 252) It’s not hard to see the effect social networks have on the world. Obviously the internet was made to connect people, but decades after its invention, people are still baffled by the fact those of us in the U.S. can meet and learn about people from any other location on Earth. Profiles on sites like Facebook and Myspace (I cringe even saying that name. Stop trying to make Myspace happen Justin Timberlake. Myspace isn’t going to happen) let the user create a list or group of things they like. In Liu’s piece, this is shown as a list of books, t.v. shows, movies, etc. on an online profile that define a person. Is this Interest Profiling changing how we see each other?

The answer is yes. While it may not make us proud to admit, judging people on first impressions comes naturally. When this impression is a most likely incomplete list of media someone likes, it creates a very shallow impression. I’ve found people who share common interests in musical taste who have become some of my worst enemies, and others who like Lana Del Rey who I now consider real friends (surprisingly enough). Social network profiles offer the tools to share with others your tastes, but these sites need to shift the focus to what the person is really about if we are ever to escape from the age of judging based on interests.

Facebook: the Social Judge

HitRecord: Innovation in Online Art

Social media sites like Facebook and twitter serve as, obviously among other things, decent platforms for presenting creative multimedia. It’s easy to tweet your bands new song or set the picture you just drew as a cover photo. The downfall of uploading your creations is that these sites are unfocused stages. They reach a very wide audience that most likely will not be devoted to the genre of media you have produced.  The piece had better be completed, because the only contributor (unless forces combined offline) is YOU! These websites that original media are so often found on are presentations, not collaborations.

HitRecord is the opposite of other social media sites when it comes to sharing creativity. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, etc.)  started this website with his brother in 2005 as a place to post their own ideas in the forms of videos. Eight years later, HitRecord has evolved into a creative community where any artist can post their drawings, poetry, music, writing, or any other form of art in any medium. The website strongly encourages collaboration, so don’t fear if you’re missing an ending to your story or colors in a drawing – HitRecord makes it easy to work with other artists. It also acts as a publishing company, and in the near future Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be hosting a variety show based on HitRecord submissions. This website is the future for internet collaboration, and takes creating art online out of the dark, lonely depths of Facebook and Twitter.

Un(der)paid Innovators: The Commercial Utiliza-tion of Consumer Work through Crowdsourcing

It has always been very simple to whine about a product that is released and doesn’t meet the consumer’s expectations. With the help of social media and sites like Yelp, it is extremely easy to project those issues to the wide internet audience. The consumer used to be able to sit back and play the role of critic for every product they bought. Things are different today. Frank Kleeman introduces the topic of crowdsourcing in his paper Un(der)paid Innovators: The Commercial Utilization of Consumer Work through Crowdsourcing, and shows how the practical consumer has changed from a bystander to a part-time worker.

Crowdsourcing happens when consumers come together to contribute to a product they want. This could range from giving input on internet forums to actually contributing to the creation of the product itself. This idea may seem like it’s something that doesn’t happen all too often, but crowdsourcing is everywhere. This website lets any user that visits it help contribute to a music video by tracking the consumer’s mouse pointer and giving them point-and-click commands. Earlier this year, the band Protest The Hero started an IndieGoGo campaign to fund their fourth album, free of record labels. In just one week, the band had raised close to twice as much as they intended. This is an example of a smaller part of crowdsourcing: crowdfunding. While most contributions to the album were monetary, one of the perks the band offered to those who gave the most was a guest spot on a song. Many people coming together to create art, made possible by the internet? Awesome. Crowdsourcing is a fundamental part of the current relationship between consumer and producer.

The band Protest the Hero inviting those who contribute to their album to come play with them and their puppies.

 

Pinterest

I have been playing music for well over a decade, and I’ve been playing video games for even longer. I decided to do my two Pinterest boards on these topics because they both have very special places in my life. Live performance has always interested me, so as soon as I could I formed a band with some friends to experience the life of a performer. It’s such an interesting way of creating music; an art form in itself. Researching the true purpose of live performance enlarged my understanding of it from a musician’s perspective as well as the perspective of a viewer. I have always been inspired by video games, whether it is through lessons they have taught me or just a touching storyline. I wanted to see how video games have effected other people who are passionate about them.

I want these boards to show you that one medium does not stay confined: so many performances would be missed without audio and video, and the experiences of a video game do not stay within the console they are played on. The effect of each of these media stretches across all other media.

I mostly found content through my prior knowledge after selecting board topics. I made sure I had a good mix of content.

I think Pinterest is a good tool to, in a way, summarize what the internet has to offer on a certain topic. It is very valuable to be able to go anywhere online and collect content appropriate for a board, but the downside to this is that Pinterest is limited to things on the internet. It is easy to submit your own content through other websites though. I would like an easier social set up on the site, with a better, more concise way to view followers boards.

Any content people create can be uploaded to the web. This means that Pinterest’s content is seemingly endless, as long as it remains relevant and popular among users. The ability to follow interesting boards that users themselves have not created is helpful in spreading content and popularity. Image