Thursday, March 14, 2013

Smaller Potatoes

In class today we are talking about some of the less popular new new media platforms. Levinson calls these sites "smaller potatoes" and includes Myspace, Reddit, Digg, and Second Life, as well as podcasts in the category. This blog posts is basically just my responses to class discussion questions about those sites.

What is your experience with Myspace?
When Myspace was popular, I was young enough that my parents regulated my computer access. They wouldn't let me have a Myspace account. I didn't know why, but I wasn't that interested anyway. I think that they probably saw news stories about the darker side of Myspace and didn't want me online for safety reasons. I didn't know about any of those things at the time. By the time I started using social media, Myspace had lost popularity and I just joined Facebook.

Any "cyberbullying" stories you are aware of?
I don't know that anything I see in my News Feed would be considered "cyberbullying." I went to a tiny school where making fun of our classmates was really common because we knew each other so well. Occasionally I have seen people post comments on Facebook that have gone to far. Picking on people in person when they are in on the joke is very different from typing a similar comment online where people can't hear the humor and don't know the relationship between the two parties.

What is your take on the Lori Drew/Meghan Meier story? Especially the result?
No doubt, Lori Drew is a really terrible person. That said, I don't think she should be held legally responsible for Meghan Meier's suicide. It is within a person's rights to create fictional identities online and it is within his rights to say something mean to someone when he is conversing with them. Drew did not appear to have a plan to cause a suicide, and those same words said to another person in a similar situation would likely not cause such an extreem response. I agree with the court's decision, but I hope that Drew feels the weight of what her actions did. I wish more parents would monitor what their children are doing online or make sure their children are mature enough to deal with strangers trying to form relationships with them online.

Levinson notes that the Truth on Earth band provided some "medicine" for "cyberbullying" on the internet. What's your take on that?
I think Levinson's argument is very week there. "Cyberbullying" and the song he mentioned may be linked by subject, but I don't see the song functioning as "medicine." For it to be medicine, the song would need to be functioning in a way that was impacting the same people affected by the bullying, and from what I can tell, the song had a very limited impact. The only thing the example illustrated is that the internet can present both problems and responses to those problems. It did not show a solution.

Are you aware of any stories of musical success on Myspace? Check to see whether some of your favorite bands have Myspace accounts. Choose one a check some other sites for their presence there. 
I listen almost exclusively to country music, and as far as I know, Myspace hasn't launched any major county stars. I looked up my favorite country artist, Eric Church, on the site and saw that he had a profile with a some songs. There wasn't much to it. I often listen to my Eric Church playlist on Pandora, but I don't know of any other popular music sites he can be found on. He's a more old-fashioned performer, and I'm not surprised that he doesn't have a large new new media presence.

Describe your use of Digg?
Non-existant. Why bother?

Same answer.

Any spare minute! I pin lots of things I never get around to trying offline.

How much social media contact did you have with the election of 2012?
I think everyone on Facebook can agree that the number of political posts last November came close to ruining the site for the weeks leading up to the election. I once browsed the Facebook page of the Presidential candidate I supported, but the comments on it were so hostile that I was turned off. I would "like" political statuses that I thought were well articulated, and I sent out one tweet after I voted ("Voted early. America's Comeback Team!"). Everything else I looked at about the election came from print, TV, and online news platforms.

Finally, have you ever used Second Life? Podcasting?
I have never used Second Life. It doesn't really appeal to me. I have listened to podcasts from iTunes by speakers that I like. I haven't heard any in at least a year though.

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