Monday, November 24, 2008

brought together through myspace

For today’s final reaction of the semester I have read chapter nine of Clay Shirky’s book called Here come everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Reading this chapter I found myself liking it more and more because it made me think about different social situations. In this chapter the author describes the reasoning behind how we always seem to know somebody somewhere and, how with so many people in this world it is still so small. Also, discussed is how social networking sites have only increased this likely hood of knowing more and more people.  This quick description of course is putting bluntly.



            The author first discusses how it is not the world being small that sets us up to run into someone it is how we increase our percentages. The author calls is “hemophily” which, is basically the situations that we put ourselves in that only a small percentage of people able to do (Shirky, 2008). For example, if you are a communication major in college taking a political communications course what is the likely hood you will be surrounded by people who are interested in politics? The answer is a very good chance. When you put yourself into a situation where a few people are able to do the same the likely hood of running into someone you know based on certain characteristics of the occurring event is very likely. This is also typical in business matters as well. Say you have a list of business contacts stretched far and wide and at a conference you run into to someone who knows someone now you have added another contact to your list (Shirky, 2008). This is probably the most common means of growing your contact list in business today. The author takes this concept to the next level.


            The Internet, which gives us social networking sites like myspace, facebook has changed social introduction forever. You are now able to become friends with a group of people just for being friends with someone else. You can do all this without actually meeting the people. This is where I disagree with the author. The author describes how knowing this denser cluster of people is easier because there are fewer degrees of connections between everyone (Shirky, 2008). I see this as being more fragile and, much more costly in the long run. Lest say you get into a fight or disagreement with one of these people instead of losing one person you have now lost a whole group of people. Remember the group has not met you and there only opinion of you is based on the original contact member. 


            That was my only disagreement with the entire paper other then that it was a good read and had a lot of good points to it.




Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Pe

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Technology levels off society??????

Technology tends to have a way of leveling off the playing field of society. All it takes is a little gadget the size of a deck of cards to close the gap between the upper and lower classes. This point is laid out very clearly in Aaron Barlow’s book Blogging @merica The New Public Sphere. I will not only be using Barlow’s book to help explain my point I will also be using technology itself. For one week I followed a blog online and observed what went on with it. My observations help me to realize what this web 2.0 Technology has done to help change the world.



            Allow me to explain in more depth the blog, which I observed for a week. The name of the blog that I chose is called This blog is a place for the fitness savvy and not so savvy to come and enjoy. I suppose the enjoyment level varies on how you spend your free time. I say this because this fitness blog is about giving tips on how to maximize workouts. It also goes into depth on nutritional planning and maximizing your fitness level. I did not realize it at first but the blog can only have posts written by one person named Rusty. Rusty seems to due his research very well; he only posts things that have been proven to work and help people who are really struggling to increase their level of fitness. This blog became very interesting to me because I am at a point right now in my life where I am trying to gain strength. This will help me achieve my ultimate goal of competing in a full iron man triathlon. A full triathlon is a 2.5-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride topped off with a marathon (26.8 miles). You can see how a high level of fitness is needed to compete in such an event. During my observations, I noticed that a lot of people were having the same reactions I was. These reactions were nothing but positive things to say or questions about the articles. I did ask a question in regards to one article about a strength training method used by the Russian Olympic teams. My question did go unanswered as Rusty seems to only answer a limited number of questions per article. This was not of grave concern to me because the information I had unknowingly been looking for was eventually found. From my observations, my overall conclusion of this particular blog is that I can still train like a Russian Olympic athlete but not have to be a Russian Olympic athlete.


            This brings me into my main point of the essay; technology has a way of leveling out the playing field for everyone. In chapter 5 of Barlow’s book he explains how people in Africa are becoming cell phone owners at an enormously large rate (Barlow, 2008). These cell phones have Internet access and perform all the same functions as many computers do. I can guarantee you not many people know this fact because I know I certainly did not. The fact that in an underdeveloped area, such as Africa, can be as technically advanced as some rich person in the U.S. is astonishing. This is all in part thanks to Technology. People that were once shut off from the world will now have news updates at the same time as people from countries that are considered technologically advanced. These people will now be able to expose their culture through things like blogs, photos, and videos. This also gives these people a chance to be exposed to other cultures. This can be argued as a good or bad thing; everyone knows blue jeans ended the cold war. This also can be a smack in the face to upper class cultures. This is portrayed in a story in chapter 5 of Barlow’s book when a Dutch man tries to help African teachers by offering very cheap laptops. The teacher is shocked when the reply is basically no (Barlow, 2008). This is partly due to the fact that they are not looking for cheap hand me downs; they are looking for something they can truly use.  Lower class cultures are not looking for low-end equipment that upper class cultures think they can give to them and feel as if they have done something nice (Barlow, 2008). Today a person can find a cell phone that does everything a computer does for a very reasonable price when you compare them to computers.



Technology has a way of leveling off the playing field for today’s cultures. As I found out through the blog I observed, just because I do not get paid like a professional athlete does not mean I cannot train like one. The only reason I can do this is because of the technology that I posses; it allows me to research the tools necessary to train like a professional athlete. This technology goes even further to help understand other cultures and have them understand us. Perhaps this will help to create the beginning of a world where each and every culture is valued and accepted.





Barlow, Aaron, Blogging America.(2008). Blogging in Popular Culture (Chapter 5)



Monday, November 10, 2008

Today’s reaction will be based on Blogging @merica “Blogging in Popular Culture”. Before going into this chapter I really tried to get myself involved in it. I say this only because this book has been a bit of a challenge to me. It is not any of Barlow’s ideals or any o the wording that makes this book difficult to read. It is the fact that this book is written in a blog form. To me, he comes off as overwriting an idea that could be written in half the amount. He concentrates on making his point with so much information that is takes away from it at the same time. With that said I will try to summarize what I got from chapter 5 of this book.



The main point from this chapter that I gathered from Barlow was that technology has a way of leveling the playing field. Barlow explains how if the government taps of phone lines and monitors our computer activities we to can hack into their network (Barlow, 2008). This brings up the next point of the chapter that people have a desire to be equal. Being equal I mean that people want the same technologies available to them that are available to others. Barlow best describes this with an event in Africa. A Dutch man had made a low-level laptop available for children in undeveloped countries. This idea was rejected but the Africans based on the fact they do not need low-level equipment (Barlow, 2008). This brought up how there is still this constant struggle between high class and low class countries. The struggle being if you want to do something nice for someone make it something they need and not something you want them to have. The laptop problem seemed to be all but solved a while later. Barlow told how cell phone ownership jumped by a huge percentage and, how these phones would do the same as laptops would (Barlow, 2008). Although Africa is an underdeveloped they still found a way to stay level with technology and, not spend the money that developed nations do.



Although a group of people may be underdeveloped compared to others they still find a way. They found a way to maintain a level playing field in the world of technology. 

Barlow, Aaron, Blogging America.(2008). Blogging in Popular Culture (Chapter 5)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blogging 5

Nothing to exciting today about the blog read a couple more workout articles and commented on one. This blog experience has been an eye opening one. When I used to hear about blogs I never thought of myself going onto one looking for useful information and actually finding it. I will more then likely be keeping track of this blog and holding onto some of the tips I have read about.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blogging 4

No real change on the fitness blog today. I tried to ask a querstion on a certain article but, received no answer. Tommorow I will try and ask another question on another article and see if I can get a response there. The community in general seems very nice and people are willing to give advice to those who are looking for it. Have not seen any 'free rider' issues or anyone being abnoxious or inappropriate.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog day 3

Today I asked a question on the blog I have been following. To see my question you can go here. My question had to do with an article posted about periodization with weights. This is way to back off on your heavy weights in order to lift more in time. This article was very intriguing to me and in the future I might use this technique in order to maximize my strength training.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

fitness blog day 2

Today I just explored the blog a little bit more. Reading the posts and articles and the associated comments attached to them. Nothing terribly exciting everyone seems to be friendly and willing to put in positive notes. Tomorrow I will probably think of some questions for a couple posts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Tonight as I sit and watch the election results flow in I have decided something. I picked my blog I will be observing and commenting on for the next five days for my fourth essay. It is called and its a blog all about fitness. I decided to pick this blog because I have been on a fitness binge lately. Also, I am tired of talking politics and arguing with people. In order to maintain my sanity I will be reading the blog threads and adding my thoughts and possibly asking question. We will see what the next few days bring politically at least I might get some good workout tips.