21st Century Media.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
  Ping (and I'm not talking golf).
A "packet" in the New York Times new Technology: Circuits section talks about a new kind of instant messenging - "pinging." The Pinger is an application that allows you to send hands-free voice IMs in lieu of text. The application can send the messages between mobiles phones and computers, and from computer to computer, as long as the computers are equipped with microphones. Starting this week, Pingers can be sent to MySpace pages.

Personally, as a consistent AIM user since the age of 13, I don't think it's going to work. While some in the online community have no problem talking singularly into a webcam, to me it always feels awkward outwardly speaking to no respondent. Truth be told, I don't even like leaving voicemails. Plus, the main point of instant messaging is instant response, and I don't see any instantaneous contact involved in any of this.
Monday, September 25, 2006
  What happened to Friendster?
In the past month or so, a lot of people have been talking about an MSNBC report which claims that MySpace.com does little to protect its users, of which there are over 10 million. The oft-used quote many have taken from the report is that MySpace is a "hotbed" for computer infection.

The New York Times has also recently reported about the investigation by 20-year-old blogger Trent Lapinski into MySpace's history (though it has been recently archived, damn you TimesSelect, I will not pay $4.95 for an article you published 9 days ago). According to Lapinski, everyone's "friend" Tom and his partner, current CEO Chris Wolfe, previously worked at a spyware company before the website's launch in 2003. Public outcry - as in, you know, web comments of angry 18-year-olds - suggests that people are going to start leaving the site and seek other methods of online networking.

But seriously - is anyone really going to go back to Friendster?

I logged in today after probably a year of forgetting/not caring that I had an account. Considering that on MySpace I have 138 friends, and on Friendster I have 12, I would say that my Friendster profile kind of makes me look like a dork. Not to mention the fact that my default picture is my yearbook picture from high school. I'd link but I'm too ashamed.

The features are really the same as MySpace - at times, even better. Friend updates enable those of us who actually enjoyed being stalkers with the Facebook news feed to find out what our friends have done to their profiles recently. Album features allow not just for self-aggrandizing photographs of 14-year-olds in bikinis, but also allow for your friends to view your photos and see what you've been up to lately. There are connections to group and fan profiles, as well as profiles of people in your area that are close to your age. There's music, there's blogs, there's classifieds. The best part? Very few ads.

Anything that would take business away from News Corp seems like a good idea to me, and it's unfortunate that Friendster has taken such a backseat when its content is forward-thinking and ad and spyware free. Too bad it won't catch on. Sadly, I still don't even have the determination to update my Friendster profile. Murdoch and MySpace have taken over the world, and I'm just a minion.
Boston.com has recently created a new page - a collection of feature stories that had previously been posted on the front page. I think it's kind of a neat way to access interesting features. Plus, when you first open the page, the main image is a freshly-shorn Pat Badger, the former bassist for Leominster-based Extreme (you know, "More Than Words," the wedding song for several thousand late-eighties brides) tending to alpacas.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
  Forgive me for being so superficial.
Fashion Week Spring 2007! Marc Jacobs video interview on NYTimes.com! Simple pleasures for a simple girl.

Also check out the MJ slideshow - I can't do a direct link, but look for it in the Multimedia column, about 3/4 of the way down the page.

My only complaint is that there aren't very many pictures, but thanks to the new features on the Times website and the immensely advanced search function on Style.com, I no longer have to pay $14 for overpriced import glossy mags to get my fashion fix.
Friday, September 22, 2006
  Bible crazies and YouTube - my favorites!
A few friends of mine recently went to go see Another Gay Movie (yet another instance of my lifestyle invading my blog) and were quite impacted by a trailer for a new documentary that, bluntly, explores a bible camp where children worship a cardboard cut-out of George Bush.

I then heard that ABC News did a piece covering Jesus Camp, but naturally I was indisposed, sleeping or having a life and thus missed the newscast on which it aired.

A small search of YouTube, however, and I got the goods - the ABC segment featured kids crying for salvation, speaking in tongues, and a pastoral leader who basically indicated herself as a complete weirdo. Check out the woman whom the reporter calls a "secular feminist liberal." I do hope that when I'm interviewed that's the description people come up with for me. I also saw the trailer, which I have to say is a little unnerving to watch, especially considering that 90% of the people going to see Another Gay Movie are most likely young, liberal gay men, and the other 10% are their hags.

I still think it's interesting that in the modern age we can hear about things and no longer be desperate for information - it's all at our fingertips. Particularly the juicy, moderately horrifying and scandalous. What can I say, I'm an American.

The documentary's website, which is Flash-based, wouldn't load since my computer at home was purchased before Bush took office. I did, however, get the audio - and the creepy factor went through the roof. I'm quite intrigued and want to see the film, but I'm afraid my brain will bleed in horror at the new brainwashed generation. I was born 20 years ago, thank... Jesus.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
  The internet and spread of non-truths.
Recently there has a been a bit of controversy over a group on Facebook called The Truth About Homosexuality (log-in req), begun by Pepperdine student Joe Grable. The group makes claims about homosexuality that have caused such outrage that the group has been made inactive. Naturally, the "truth" Grable was spouting seemed outrageous, and the citation of sources seemed slightly suspicious. I spent over 2 1/2 hours today researching official websites and came up with a rebuttal which was so time-consuming, I thought my blog readers should view it.

My research follows his original "facts":

1. 75-85% of AIDS cases are homosexuals (this costs America approximately $10 billion and 11,000 lives per year)

FACT: According to the CDC, homosexuals account for only 54% of all AIDS cases. The remaining 46% are intravenous non-homosexual drug users, heterosexuals, and those who attained the disease through transfusions, etc. In 2004 alone, homosexuals accounted for only 46% of all new AIDS cases. There is absolutely no way to calculate "cost." In 2004, AIDS took well more than 11,000 lives - 15,798, in fact.

2. The average life expectancy of homosexuals, male and female, is 42, with only 9% living past age 65.

FACT: This is no truth to this statement. It was "substantiated" by researchers at the Family Research Institute who read obtituaries in gay newspapers/magazines and attempted to calculate an average, as described in an article on Slate. There is no real way to calculate a homosexual life expectancy.

3. The fidelity rate for homosexual couples is 4.5%, compared to 75 to 85% among heterosexual couples.

FACT: Data on this subject is almost impossible to find. I have read in several sources that lesbian couples have the highest fidelity rates of all couples. Do not be skewed by the presentation of the facts - the INFIDELITY rate among heterosexual couples still remains at about 25% percent. The best source of debate on this is a blog called "Dust in the Light."

4. 25-33% of homosexuals are alchoholics.

FACT: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that in 1992, which is the latest that conclusive data for both genders and sexual preferences is available, 7.5% of lesbians and 13.2% of gay men reported frequent heavy use of alcohol. Comparatively, 2.5% of straight women and 11.52% of straight men reported frequent heavy use.

5. 78% of homosexuals are infected with STD's.

FACT: Only 17% of men who have ever had male-male sexual contact have been treated in the past year for a non-HIV sexually transmitted infection. I am aware that this figure does not include those who have not been tested, but this was the only relevant statistic I could conjure up from the National Center for Health Statistics. Interestingly enough, however, is that among males who have had sexual contact with other males, 91% used a condom during their last intercourse. Only 36% of males who have never had sex with men used a condom the last time they had sex.

6. The intimate partner violence rate is 15.4% among homosexual males, and .05% among heterosexual males.

FACT: The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder estimates that 11% of women and 23% of men in homosexual relationships report being raped, assaulted or stalked by an intimate partner. However, 20-30% of American women will be physically abused at least once in their lives, making the heterosexual rate provided virtually impossible.

Joe Grable used the following sources to provide all that misinformation:

marysremnant.org, a ministry out of Wells, Maine.

new-life.net, the New Life Community Church in Stafford, Virginia.

frc.org, the Family Research Council, a Christian conservative non-profit lobbyist organization formed by James Dobson in the early 1980's. The Council's current president, Tony Perkins, has been accused of racism and has been linked to Ku Klux Klan head David Duke.

exodus.to, Exodus International ministry "addressing homosexual issues," which encourages people to "leave" homosexuality and teaches adolescents how to suppress homosexual feelings.

precept.org, Precept Ministries International, based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Not a single source Grable used was official, academic, or non-partisan.

I'm still relatively amazed at the accuracy of information that can be attained with a bit of effort and the resources that are available to journalists, thanks to the world wide web. I'm also appalled at the endless incorrect information that comes up as soon as you enter a phrase and hit "Go" on Google.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
  Championing for real images.
Poynter is reporting that the Society of News Design, a well-known visual journalism organization, has adopted a new ethics code in light of recent controversy over the integrity of photojournalism.

This move comes not long after L.A. Times staff photographer Brian Walski was fired for submitting a composite image on assignment in Iraq. At the end of August, Adnan Hajj was also dismissed from Reuters after they discovered he doctored an image to make Israeli attacks on Lebanon seem more severe.

Yet again, the ethics of journalism have been challenged by technology. Photoshop and endless other tools stand at the disposal of visual journalists to use at their discretion - either to display and distribute the actual news, or some altered version that the journalist finds more appealing. The rising number of altered images indicates the fall of the honest photograph. This is a huge issue concerning the internet news community - often just as quickly as images are sent to editors, they are put up on the web without being checked for credibility.

I applaud the development of new codes of ethics. In an endlessly changing multimedia world, the integrity of visual and textual news should be protected.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
  The British are coming.
It appears that UK journalists are a little closer to the cutting edge than the old American fogies. The Telegraph recently unveiled a revamped newsroom, boasting virtually unending multimedia capabilities. The paper stands at the forefront of new media by offering RSS feeds, podcasting, Blackberry and mobile hourly updates, and an afternoon PDF. It is a self-proclaimed "online newspaper," yet its print edition has the highest circulation in the UK, according to their own press release.

Pieter Kok, publisher of the Telegraph, said:
"The multimedia approach is quite simple, if customers change their approach to news then we change with them."

Smart business, considering that the newest generations of news consumers aren't too keen on print.

But perhaps the most lucrative feature of the Telegraph's journalistic powerhouse is the e-paper. While the 50-year-olds I know have no idea what a "podcast" even is, I'm sure they would pay for the e-paper with pleasure, which is set up like a regular paper but with extra features. Equally so, those in my generation could find something of interest in the other services offered. Kok also said:

"If you ask a person of 15 years of age or a person of 50 about the news, at the end of the day they know the same amount. It is just that the 50-year-old gets it from newspapers and the 15-year-old grabs information from several places, from Messenger, mobile phones, the internet and TV."

Going for all demographics with varying online features? The British have us beat.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
  Effortless subject.
As I scoured the web for my first subject to critique (or, as it tends to be in my case, utterly destroy), I was smacked in the face by an obvious point of contention when attempting to go to boston.com. Bombarding the reader immediately is an ad announcing the opening of a new L.L. Bean store in Burlington. After several minutes, the page failed to load past the ad and I gave up on my attempts to read the news. This brings a new issue to the table in the consideration of journalism of the web - what happened to our ability to see news before ads?

In this modern world of pop-ups and spyware, it seems that internet media, whose appeal is in its convenience, is becoming more and more of a hassle. We already have to accept that we can't walk across a college campus or ride a subway without being bombarded by ads. How much are we willing to put up with to get the news? How much more muddled is the news going to be by the advertising that surrounds it? The business of journalism is closely linked to advertising - always has been. But it seems that journalism, rather than being the dominant in the relationship, is taking a backseat in the online realm.

This also connects into an interesting e-tidbit about ad overload on Poynter, Online Advertising Extravaganza in Norway, highlighting the loss of journalism and how far the advertisers are willing to go. It disappoints me to even see sites like Myspace - which, of course, is no real journalistic enterprise - covered in ads for movies and television. The journalism of the web may be increasingly more accessible, but only if we're willing to sift through ads and thousands of subliminal messages to get to it.

Or, in my case, wait 5 minutes for the L.L. Bean ad to disappear.
Monday, September 11, 2006
This is the first entry of what shall be many exploring the world of media as it has been transformed by the internet.

September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 /

Powered by Blogger