125 Revelations!

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From the past 3 months I have been incessantly blogging about my lessons from our COM 125- Introduction to Internet. At first I thought it was a real pain, writing a blog every single week and making sure I listen in class. However, now that it has come to an end, I do believe that there are some valuable things I have learnt from this course.

The first most outlandish concept I learnt was Second Life or virtual reality. The fact that so many people logged in to a cyber space that has its own currency and countries was pretty astonishing to me. People are completely giving up human contact for a virtual one was intriguing and fascinating. This concept is surely going to become more ingrained and apparent within our society in the coming years.

Another most profound thing I learnt was how deeply connected we all are to each other. Social Media was a familiar term to me before and I knew that it had considerable influence over us but through this module, I learnt just how much! Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn and so many other sites constantly monitor where we are, what we are doing and who we are doing it with!

Although it might not be such a great thing too, especially after knowing how badly viruses, Trojans and malware can completely take over our systems and disrupt everything. Hackers are smart and rampant and cyber crime is at an all time high. The fact that sometimes we don’t even know that our sensitive information is being used or corrupted is a troubling thought that thanks to 125 now I know about.

May it be businesses going digital or politicians using social sites for their campaign, the internet has become resourceful to everyone at every given point of time. So much so that a new genre of exchanging information has emerged in the form of Citizen Journalism, where people take power in their hands and report news with firsthand accounts without biases, online.

There will always be a section of society that will constantly argue about the adverse affects of going digital, like losing human touch and interactivity. However, there is no denying the fact that the Internet is not going anywhere but up. Its influence will only increase as more and more people log in. Thanks to 125 I have understood its various intricacies and how I can use them to my advantage. J

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Back to the Future!

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Technology and the Internet evolve every single day. We just have to look around us for evidence, there is always a new Iphone application or a tablet launch or a revolutionary website that gets people hooked for a substantial amount of time. However, it is only until a new and better version comes out.

Internet in 2020 looks promising with a lot of amazing new developments.  First and foremost, is perhaps the price of availing the World Wide Web would go down drastically. It will also be a lot faster with services probably developing to 15G from 4G today!

Another subtle change would be the way we present information. We have already brought “SMS” language to our lives. Today, LOL and FTW are not only replacing other words, they are also juxtaposing emotions. Needless to say, in 2020 it will become a lot more severe and we would all be “Twitterized.”

More things will migrate to functioning online. Right now, we already have TVs, fridges and washing machines integrated with the Internet. By 2020 we will have other things like a sofa which would warm up to your body temperature if it is snowing outside or lighting that adjusts to your mood the moment you enter a room. Everything around us would be net friendly. In addition to this, things that are already online will get better integrated, for instance Online TV would become a necessity and even though Mobile applications have become a lifeline today, in the future they would be a lot more perceptive of individual needs and preferences.

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Cloud computing would become an everyday affair. Apple has recently introduced this phenomenon to the world through its ICloud. However, in the future a lot more other IT companies would be adopting this feature to make it information sharing more centralized.

Stemming from the idea by Tim Berners Lee, the internet will become semantic. Machines would be able to “talk” to other machines and be able to process the meaning of things. Although we can see some early versions of this today with RDF and OWL, it will be a lot more enhanced and apparent in the near future.

Digital superpowers like Google, Microsoft and Apple would still hold a lion’s share of the web. We can see the change now with the way these companies are buying almost everything available to us, may it be Google buying YouTube or Microsoft acquiring Skype.

The future might not be easy to predict but it is become clear that it will become even more centralized and connected!

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Citizen Journalism

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Citizen Journalism is essentially user generated information that is shared through online portals, forums, social networking websites or digital newspapers. It follows the principle of “for the people, by the people and of the people.”

Today’s technology enables an average citizen to shoot a High Definition video from their smart phones of a current event and upload it on YouTube within seconds. It gives us access to our Facebook and Twitter accounts from virtually anywhere in the world, letting us comment on current news posts and give our own opinion. Footage taken by victims of the recent Boston bombings was the first piece of news to be aired on TV networks when official reporters could not gain access. All of these are examples of Citizen Journalism.

Internet has made Citizen Journalism rampant. It’s easy access and global reach provides an avenue for people to state the news, tempered with their own opinions.  There are two types of Citizen Journalism: Independent and Semi Independent.

Independent Journalism is when citizens use blogs or individual websites to release information. They are in no way related to any official network or newspaper.

Semi-Independent Journalism which is sometimes even called “collaborative journalism” is when a citizen contributes to the news site in the form of a video or comments on a professional article, adding information to an article written by a professional or actively working with a journalist to produce a story. If we look around the news today, we see that this type of citizen journalism is very popular. News sites take footage from the videos shot by citizens and incorporate it in their news piece to make it more authentic and accurate. As the above video illustrates, this can change perspectives about social issues drastically.

Citizen Journalism has not yet reached its peak. People are still discovering how they can use this powerful medium to express news without any biases. Even though there are concerns about the validity and accuracy of the news reported by a citizen journalist and most of the people would still rely on news given by a professional source, there is no denying that citizen journalism is here to stay and grow. Collaborative Journalism is a an example of how it is integrated so seamlessly in our lives.

Politics and the Internet

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“All communication media, not just the Internet-enabled kind, are inherently political.” Howard Rheingold

The Internet has become a powerful tool to express thoughts, promote products and raise awareness. It was only a matter of time before politicians understood its significance and started exploiting it for their campaigns.

Politicians, especially in the United States, now have dedicated websites that tell citizens about their campaigns, their backgrounds and their beliefs. They also have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that constantly feed people information about their campaigns. However, the highest traffic is seen during the months before an election, where politicians both in the Republic and Democratic Party compete to get the most amounts of votes. The Internet provides fast, cheap and easy access to potential voters.

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For instance, Obama was reported to spend 25% of his campaign funds online in 2012. YouTube was perhaps his most influential Internet tool. He would upload campaign speeches on the video blogging site and then share it on his various social networking pages.  This increased the interactivity between the voter and the candidate. It reduces the power distance between them and also reaches out to the younger audience in an informal way.

Obama’s campaign effectively stemmed from his website. It  allowed supporters to create personal profiles, form groups, plan local events, raise funds and connect directly with other supporters and voters locally and around the country. It also had an application that trained volunteers in telephone and in-person canvassing, then provided phone numbers and addresses of those people that might be most receptive to contact from a particular volunteer. This application was even adapted into an iPhone app.  Therefore, we see just how powerful the Internet can be in advertising a Politician and urging people to vote.

However, there are some limitations to the elusive power of the internet. Even though it is hard to imagine, there are whole secotrs of the population that do not have access to the internet. It may be the poor, who do not have enough resources or the old, who are not inclined to learn a new technology and its intricacies.

Also, the political campaigning online is effective to reach current supporters but has not been a huge influence on people who do not or will not support the candidate.  In addition to this, negative feedback cannot be controlled too. If the candidate has done something controversial, chances are that it will spread like wildfire online. It is almost impossible to remove all sorts of negative feedback from social networking sites, blogs or forums. This may lead to negative press and a downward spiral in the polls.

Therefore we see that the internet can be a powerful medium  to enhnce and deliver a political campaign, however if not used properly it can be just as destructive. For an online campaign to be a success, politicians should understand the magnitude and influence of the internet and venture in the virtual world only after they are confident of its success and aware of its limitations.

Sources:

http://politicsandthenewmedia.commons.yale.edu/2011/02/25/internet-tools-in-political-campaigns/

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/ballot-2012/2012/06/19/both-political-parties-harnessing-the-power-of-the-internet

http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/essays/essay_16.html

Multimedia and Us

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This video is just one example of how the online world is fast becoming seamlessly integrated in the real word. One key point that should be taken from this clip is the fact that in a sea of products and services how does one company stand out from its competitors. The answer is using different mediums to create a unique identity.

The sole purpose of marketing is to sell a product. In order to do so, the company has to know exactly what its consumer wants and devise ways to make sure that they get it. Essentialy the “4P’s” of marketing: Price, Product, Promotion and Place. The focus of it all is to instigate a want for the product and attract attention.

In order to better explain how multimedia in marketing works, I would like to take up two similar products of Samsung and Sony. Both sell phones; however they both employ different strategies to reach its audience.

Samsung and Sony have dedicated webpages that display the range of all their products and services. They also created accounts in popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, constant updates about new additions or special offers help generate and maintain interests among fickle minded internet users.

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They even came up with extensive advertising campaigns to raise awareness.

Personally, I feel that Sony’s marketing is better than Samsung because Sony has more frequent updates on its Facebook page than Samsung. Its 8.6 million “likes” ensure that there is a constant flow of comments. It is also youth oriented with bright colours and contemporary references that make it relatable. The video advertisement is fun, light, youthful and highlights the key feature of Sony mobile; its camera.

While Samsung tries to take the humour approach by hiring celebrities like Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd who exploit its various applications. The constant bylines like “accessories sold separately” take the audience away from its “funny” element and makes them consciously aware of the persuasion of the advertisement . The commercial seems more about the actors than the mobile. “The Next Big Thing” does not necessarily mean Samsung Galaxy to me here.

Cyber crime in Singpore

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According to Networksasia, A news report estimates that more than 1.4 million people in Singapore fell victim to cybercrime in 2012, suffering approximately US$944 million in direct financial losses.

May it be using laptops, mobile phones or a tablet, no digital apparatus is completely free of cyber crimes or various malicious software. The fact that most of us do not even know for sure if we have been attacked, unless our computer crashes is also a major concern.

Singapore has the highest amount of credit card fraud and identity theft globally. Since a bulk of monetary transactions made by citizens is digital, cyber crime has become prevalent.

Just as our technology evolves every single day, so does the sophistication of viruses. Now, they can affectively go undetected in our computers, taking sensitive data with them. Due to this, banks in Singapore have to take steps to prevent proliferation.

Networksasia reports that banks have refused to transition into cloud computing because they fear that information can be easily obtained by hackers.

A survey done by then states that when it comes to migrating technology functions to the cloud, security concerns (36%) top the list of reasons why Singapore firms are holding back, followed by data integrity (24%) and lack of internal knowledge on cloud computing (18%).

Even though there are spyware detectors that claim to wipe off all viruses, malware, Phishing or Trojans, one can never be too careful. In the cases of banks, they hold a person’s whole life savings and the risk of not being a 100% sure is too great. Even though cloud computing would be an effective strategy and significant advancement in the long run, when losses go into millions, such measures seem justified.

There are steps that everyone can take when it comes to preventing cyber crime like not opening suspicious emails or clicking on links that advertise instant gains. We can also run random scans on our computer to ensure it is clean and invest in good anti- virus software. However, knowing what is genuine and actually effective is another battle all together. The fact a majority of the population is not able to distinguish between real or fake software is exploited well by hackers. 

 

 

Reference: http://www.networksasia.net/content/cyber-threats-preventing-banks-embracing-cloud-computing?src=related

Teenwood!

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This week< we chose to express our thoughts in a different way. We chose to do it through video format.

My video is about teenage movies over the years. I have taken the help of Windows movie maker and inserted [ictures and music to enhance the viewing experience. It explores how cliches in those movies have not changed from the 1950’s till now. However, we all still love them.

 

Hope you guys like it!