Response 6- Social Media

When we think of “culture” today we don’t always think of our ethnic backgrounds or upbringing we think of the fast moving tech savvy world in which we live. Social culture today is predominantly online, our news, weather, banking and even most of our interactions with others are all via a screen of some sort. While in some aspects this is highly praised for its efficiency and speed others question its reliability. Even in the texts we read about Wikipedia one of the main detriments to the site was the fact that so many hands could alter a post making it hard to tell fact from fallacy.

Aside from online accuracy what else has a social media culture done to our values and basic language skills? In chapters 8 and 10 of the Jones and Hafner text they talk about the implications that social media has on our ability to properly communicate. I think about that as i type this and try and count how many times i have had to go back and fix a post on this site because i’ve typed it short hand or in “social media” language. Terms familiar on twitter, Facebook or instagram are not real world terms, they’re not accepted on a resume, in a business email or letter yet we continue to use and incorporate them into our everyday use, even speaking them aloud.

A great example of this is the example of the presidential race in the article “How Social Media is Ruining Politics”, where it states that candidates like Clinton and Bush are having trouble “fitting in”. Social media has become such a norm in our culture not having a large social media following as a public figure head actually works against you, you loose your touch with the world. Which is totally ironic because social media is virtual you can’t actually touch anything. For instance look at Donald Trump’s Twitter Feed and see just how many retweets and favorites he has, his following is huge even if he isn’t the most liked guy on the planet. The point is though he gets an edge for having a mass following, one he maybe didn’t earn but gets because his opponents are being in the times. Even decades ago in the Nixon/ Kennedy presidential race kennedy used the “modern” form of communication to win his election, his opponent Nixon was’t savvy on the new medium of communication thus costing him the race.

The language of the world may have its roots in the same places, may share similar meaning to words and symbols but being online changes all of that. There is a whole new frontier to language with social media and though it may not be wildly professional or grammatically correct it is common place on social networks, and to be successful on these apps to gain a following to reach the people and groups you’re targeting you have to know them because the inability to do so leaves you in the dust, obsolete.

Social Media’s Effects on Writing and Language

How do I even begin to define language? Dictionary.com describes language as a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. But I believe language to be more than that. I think it can be viewed as a journey in connecting people, things and giving them an chance to co-exist. As I look to dictionary.com to define writing, I realize there is no true words that can define writing or what has been written or the act of writing. The one word that comes close to writing seems to be magic. Writing is magic because its an art of producing art, despite how mundane that may sound. It’s magic and beauty in the purest of sense.

In Chapter 8 of the Carroll textbook (pg. 253) he says “Both Twitter and the telegraph have been blamed for erosion of language. Email, texting, Facebooking, and chat, too, are likely having a corrosive effect on language.” I was surprised by the bold claim Carroll made about the effects social media has had on writing. When I look further into it, Carroll does have a point. Most of us are participating in emailing, texting, facebooking, tweeting, sharing, instagraming, snapchatting, blogging, and the other mediums and each require the user to be knowledgeable in that space. In addition to the users being knowledgable on how to communicate in these spaces, the way in which they communicate in the space is extremely important. The way in which a composer speaks on a blog or sends a tweet or a Facebook post is entirely different. Sites like Twitter, limit the user to 140 characters to convey his or her thoughts. For this purpose the user must use language that pertains to that audience and the space. By using these many medium they all play a role in our language.  Our communication styles on these platforms significantly affect how we write. Some of these habits make their way into our professional careers or school work. Social media is giving new meaning to writing whether or not we see it as a affordance or a constraint. Even the dictionary has changed. Words like seflie, bruh, fleek, awesomesauce, manspreading, etc.  has someway made it into the dictionary. It is absolutely no doubt the impact of social media and generating new words will have on the way in which we digest information.

Like all things, discourse as we know it, language as we know it, is being redefined by social media. This new development in social media has given new meaning to words such as friend, like, tweet, hashtag. These words are more actionable than before which creates new meaning and new communities. This impressive online community and the way in which they communicate in a short 140 character can have a detrimental effect on language. Many of the our short/crafted responses are limited to characters which leaves many of room for grammatical error for example:

 

JB Tweet

JB Tweet

http://cdn2.mommyish.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Screen-Shot-2013-07-07-at-10.44.12-AM.png

You're

You’re

https://unionmetrics.s3.amazonaws.com/tr_blog/2012/11/Your-in-America-Bot1.png

Awesome-Twitter-Grammar

 

http://giveitlove.com/wp-content/uploads/Awesome-Twitter-Grammar.png

The beautiful art of writing and language is suffering due to social media and it’s up to us to be the guardians of our art.

Blogging vs. Journalism

 

 “Is anyone with a blog a journalist? Is anyone with a camera a photographer? What happens to journalism when every reader can also be a writer, editor, and producer? These are but some of the questions long debated in both the blogosphere and in journalism, and still no clear concensus has emerged.” -Brian Carroll

Carroll poses a great question for his readers to ponder upon and there are multiple interpretations that can be made to answer without a clear-cut “answer”, making it right nor wrong. My understanding of journalism is the gathering, processing, and circulation of news, and information that correlates to news to an audience. Unlike journalism, I believe blogging originally, began as a medium to express oneself through thoughts. Essentially, it began through writing (via journals/diaries) but as technological advancements continued to make strides in society, blogging became available to take place digitally and publicly on the internet. Both mechanisms of writing and producing content for an audience is writing out loud so to speak but the moral compass is entirely different.

For bloggers, the deadline for content is always instant. It entails more free-will, more accident-prone, more alive, and less formal.  Journalism consists of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability which is undoubtedly easier said than done. In order to provide newsworthy content, these attributions must be considered first. Therefore, bloggers who consider themselves journalists cannot sit on their computers all day but they have to go out and interview sources, investigate, and then explain what they’ve understood from all the information gathered. I digress that opinion is not journalism.

The question of whether anyone with a blog is a journalist I think, has been blurred by time to an extent. Blogging has broadened the digital space of ideas by allowing a multiplicity of individuals’ voices to enter discourse communities: blogging and journalism are two very distinct entities. Much of the blogging world has little interest in what you can call proper journalism. A large proportion of the blogosphere is still dominated by opinion-based writing.

People can argue that journalists claim to be the only useful writers found because people want the hard facts but what people also want is prospective along with the facts. Blogging may well be a step along the road to becoming a journalist. By choosing to write on things that bloggers are passionate about such as beauty, fashion,  or food. If a blog gets a ton of hits with thousands of followers, it is without a doubt taken seriously. For instance, one of the biggest fashion blogs out there is Fashionbombdaily.com, where viewers can find the latest on multicultural fashion with nearly 2.4 million visitors. Blogging can be said to equal to journalism with the addition of opinion. Because of the quality of the site’s coverage, their following continues to strengthen thereby encouraging readers to look to the site for takes on fashion news and stories, along with magazine coverage, fashion show reviews, trends, wardrobe advice, celebrity looks for less, and tips on how to break into the industry from the best in the business. The woman behind the site, Claire Sulmers clearly tracks down sources, does investigative reporting, and presents the facts clearly and fairly, she is a journalist with an outstanding blog. Like Josh Micah Marshall’s “The Telling Points Memo”, Fashion Bomb Daily paved the way for “blogging as journalism, or at least established that blogging and the mission of journalism are not necessarily at odds or in any way mutually exclusive” (Carroll 175).

I can’t stand blogs about anything but curly hair… Does that make me weird?

“The best blogs create for their readers a sort of ‘targeted serendipity,’ … or a shared point of view and information and sources a reader perhaps did not know he or she wanted to read.” (Carroll 175) As my title may suggest, the blogs that hold anything I might be willing to throw myself into have something to do with big, natural, curly, kinky hair. For those that aren’t to familiar with too many natural hair blogs, I’ll link a few.

http://naptural85.com/

http://www.curlynikki.com/

At one point in around 2010, there were very few people that cared to show the beauty of natural hair. As a fifteen year old with a new-found love for my own curls, I would search Google and Youtube. Although the two examples are not traditional blogs, they do follow” the three hallmarks of most good blogs.” (Carroll 179) Whenever I read a new blog the first thing I look for are regularity in posts. Bloggers that only update every so often do nothing to spark my interest.

In Chapter 4, Carroll expands on the best practices in writing on digital media. for example, “An average of 18 items are viewed before the first selection to read is made. The high number means some headlines or images are seen multiple times before a choice is made.” (Carroll 96) There are many rules and regulations to blogging but there is one question that has not been answered: How do you ever get the courage to make your first opinion known?

 

What I Have Learned from Being a Tumblr Blogger.

Blogging has and always will be for me a way to express my opinions, feelings, and inner thoughts. I have found it to be both therapeutic and informing. I have grown as a person from the open environment of my Tumblr blog space. I have been able to see different perspectives, the rawest truths on high level issues, and the ability for human beings to sensitive and humane.

Before I dive deeper into this discussion let me begin buy offering a crash course in the world of Tumblr. Tumblr unlike other blogs is a platform for microblogging. Quotes are preferred to large blocks of text although they can still be found on those who chose to compose their individual blogs that way. While scrolling on your dash or main frame you are going to come across a multitude of things from cat memes to social issues. I have found Tumblr’s discourse community to have a multitude of smaller discourse communities called fathoms. These fathoms have different languages, known symbols, and leaders that have all been developed around a joint or popular interest. I have seen fathoms destroy other people who knew nothing of their lingo but I have also seen them protect their own as if they were brother and sister. The most important aspect of Tumblr I believe is that it is a platform that does not tolerate inequality. Lastly, it should be known that just as Vegas what happens on Tumblr stays on Tumblr. Your personal blog and what you reblog for many people in a way is private although it is for the entire community to see. When I first became involved with Tumblr I was timid about what I shared but after a while I came to understand the community and its open atmosphere I came to understand that even friends I followed on my blog did not judge me based on the content I shared.

To begin with, the first thing I learned from Tumblr is being truthful in all aspects of reporting. “The more informal personal nature of most blog writing is due to the fact that most blogs are by a single author. This places priority on voice” (Carroll, 178). Being your truest self on Tumblr is of the utmost important. Showcasing your interests and believes builds your credibility and following crowd. Just like any other blog it is important to always report the truth and be accountable for what you have written and published. I have seen many times Tumblr users speculate and have had other users do the work to correct their inaccuracies. Tumblr above all promotes the honesty is the policy slogan. As a member of the community we strive to help and maintain the betterment of our fellow bloggers.

The freedom of expression is another important aspect of Tumblr or any other blogging site I believe. “So subscribing to any code of ethics is voluntary. To maintain or preserve a writer’s freedom of expression, it would have to be so” (Carroll 185).  What a person writes whether agreeable or not is not to be tampered with. If you have an opinion comment, or share, but do not for any reason flame a fellow blogger for their right to expression. Additionally, as mentioned within that quote for any new comer or outsider it should be understood that there is a code by which all users of said blogging community adheres to. As to avoid misinterpretations read further into the blog and the author to understand perspective.

Lastly, it is important to never change any ones work, remove identifying tags, or markings. People have spent time pouring in effort and heart into their work; presenting their voices in what they believe to be the best representation of themselves and ideas. Even authors should not change their work after it has been published, “So, after something has been posted, editing should be limited to fixing typos, smoothing out grammar, and modifying unfortunate word choices, but no more.” (Carroll, 189). Work published should have been revised before and  what is said has been said. Bloggers must understand that if they do not want to misinterpreted that they have to be as clear and concise as possible in order to be understood properly.

Tumblr has taught me to also be truthful and represent myself in the best light as I see fit. My words, photos, and what I choose to post are a clear representation of my online identity. In order to be not only an abiding Tumblr user but an active blogger I must respect guidelines set by not only Tumblr but the general blogging community as a whole.

 

Response Blog #4 – Ethics for Bloggers

As a new blogger, I find blogging to be one of the best ways for self expression. Writing has always been my thing and as a shy child, it was my way of expressing my thoughts and the things I wanted to talk about.  At secondary school, my essays would often be displayed around the building and that was a confidence booster.  So I can see why so many people enjoy it. The idea that we can attract a community around us and singularly share our creative content has a powerful effect on bloggers.  But as with each technology, blogging has its affordances and constraints. With blogging sites being so easy to setup, it is important for each blogger to design their webpage with integrity and responsibility.

Although bloggers enjoy the fact that they can build relationships with their readers, which involves making it easy for them to connect and share information, I think what most people like is that sense of uncensored freedom that blogging affords.  However, it is that same uncensored freedom that Carroll warns against in Writing for Blogs (Carroll 184). Without a standardized code of ethics, the casual style of writing is often misused and misguided.  While it is true that not all bloggers are journalists, Carroll says that bloggers should seek truth and be honest, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable (Carroll 185).  I believe that responsible bloggers have an obligation to their readers to show that they can be trusted.  Depending on both content and context, the public have a right to reliable information.

I believe that the most important quality of blogging is to be genuine and honest.  But being honest isn’t always easy.  Advertising is growing vigorously and online media has given it that boost it needs to flourish. Bloggers are bombarded with offers of free products in exchange for them giving a review on their webpage.  How can viewers be sure of the integrity of the blogger and the content?  Bloggers have to be mindful of obligations that could influence their content and exercise caution even if it means that they have to refuse products or services.  It is far better not to align creator content with advertisements but if there is an agreement, then bloggers should be prepared to offer full disclosure.

It is a blogger’s duty to uphold the truth even if that means admitting a mistake.  Carroll’s advice is that if a correction is needed, the blogger should first of all, take responsibility for the error and correct the mistake immediately (Carroll 188). The best way for bloggers to guard against inaccuracies is to be clear between what is an opinion and what a fact.

 

The Effects of Accessibility. . .

When I think of blogs, I think of my own personal blog Black Attire Aficionado, The Blonde Salad, The Finance BarBusiness Insider, Buzzfeed, Elite Daily, J. Crew Blog are just some of the ones that come to mind. The blogs above are diverse in many ways, I never thought of them as a discourse community until now. What these blogs hope to achieve is to bring users together to engage in variety of topics and give users a chance to engage in discussions and connect through doing so. As a blogger myself, I realized lately I’ve failed in the consistency department. I have been extremely busy over the past four months and have not had time to contribute to my blog that I love so much. In chapter 7 of the Carroll textbook, he creates a list of the “Ten Steps to Better Blogging,” it goes as follows, write everyday, schedule your blogging time, be authentic, carve our a niche, be curious and take lots of notes, engage, learn the software, promote yourself, breakup the text and be ethical. The list is sort of the undisputed rules of successful blogging. Since many of your materials exist online it is essential to practice these rules. I think if each of us can practice and perfect these rules, we will be very successful in our careers. 

During 2009-10 there was a massive rise in fashion blogs— it was unprecedented! Back then fashion bloggers suffered from not being seen as an authentic source or credible source for information. It was seen as a “hobby” to take photos of your outfit, write silly posts about trends. In the infancy phase of fashion blogging, many bloggers like The Bryan Boy (the forefather of fashion blogging) were not taken serious. Many fashion houses and photographs discredit as an enterprise. Fast forward to today, fashion designers are begging bloggers to promote their brands. The fashion designers send bloggers free clothes/accessories, invitations to shows, getaway trips, you name it they do it. Additionally in on page 197 (Carroll), he poses the question is there a major difference between journalist and bloggers? Is one not the other and vice versa? Just like the fashion bloggers who have changed fashion due to social media and other technologies, are they less credible? For instance when I take a photo on my iPhone and then edit it and post it to Instagram and I receive likes, am I now a photographer? Is calling myself a photographer and in doing so, does it discredit “professional” photographers? In some ways it makes us equal but I’m sure a few would say that Instagramers have ruined or taken away from the true art of photography, that moment of waiting for a perfect shot whether its been hours or years. . . Maybe everything is becoming to easy in this world. How can any decent work of art be consider a work of art if it is so easy/ accessible now? I think perhaps that is the true challenge for any writer, is to stand out in a sea of look a likes . . .

Maybe for all fields, there will always be a fight for individuality, to be unique, to have a gift unlike anyone else.

Response 5- Blogging

“New communications rarely eliminate those that preceded them..” (Caroll, 17). Blogging is a fairly new form of communication that is a common and often very sought after source of information. There are various forms of blogs or purposes for them, diary style blogs that catalog a persons daily life or experience and ones that are opinionated or news oriented that cover a variety of views and issues. Blogs like The Gothamist , Horacio Jones and Humans of New York are examples of these. The Gothamist is news I often read it to catch up on local happenings and whats going on in the world. Horacio Jones is a personal blog where he shares his views and thoughts on love and life experiences. Humans of New York is my favorite of the three because his blog is photo oriented, he chronicles the life stories of the people he meets on the streets of NYC as well as people he meets on the trips he takes around the world. Three blogs, three purposes all with different words on the screen but written in similar fashion.

In chapter one of Caroll it goes into how to be effective in your writing, how to be aware of the audience you’re speaking to or how big that audience may be. The content also matters, siting never to be too general and make sure the content is well organized. I thought about how often i lose interest or close a site because its not well organized and too difficult to navigate. When we use a site as the book says we layer (Caroll, 100) meaning we scan scroll and surf to find the things we need, rarely do we sit and read the entire content to serve a purpose. Blogs are great sources of information because they’re like a house and the hyperlinks they can provide are like the rooms of a house (Caroll 117) and a great example of this is Wikipedia which uses the ability to hyperlink often. When i click on a wiki page i find sometimes dozens of links to other related sources and articles on the topic, the possibilities are seemingly endless when many sites use this ability creating a rabbit hole of information (Caroll 126).

When i read a blog any blog, no matter what its host is i wonder how accurate it is. In todays world media comes at us so fast its hard to sort fact from speculation or media bait. Even major broadcast stations like CBS have had their share of faux pas as noted on page 177 of Carolls chapter 7. The station failed to verify the documents they aired and it was a blogger named Buckhead that lit up the internet with replies. Users were able to verify and debunk the documents and add their input to the issue in a very rapid time frame. CBS later admitted they hadn’t done their homework. So is that blog one form of journalism hawking another or is that blogger just one person sharing their views. Where do we draw the lines, where does accountability begin and end. Noted in the text is the reality that a code of ethics doesn’t create or guarantee ethical behavior which is absolutely true. Too often we see doctors defrauding the health care system for payouts, lawyers stealing money from unknowing clients and investors embezzling money from their clients. In those professions a solid set of rules govern the practice and repercussions exist yet its still a problem.

So when we think about journalism, blogging, online interaction who’s to say whats right and wrong. What determines who a journalist is because in a way we are all authors online but the audience we reach varies greatly. A major corporation or organization publishing online would be scrutinized much harder than a college student writing an op-ed piece for their campus paper. I think when we’re writing in any forum we need to be mindful of who may see it, as Professor Belli said about our blogs and being mindful that the people we hyper link may be reading, when we tweet or share things theres no end to how far they’ll go. Think about the shared posts we see on Facebook and the trail they leave, millions of people see that. Blogs are a terrific new age medium in sharing, news, ideas, stories and concerns but i think the true verdict of what rules govern that is still out right now.