Category Archives: Social Media

Should We All Be Scientists?

Last semester in my Information Studies class I was tasked with doing a research paper on something related to information and the way it is changing in the digital age. We had just finished a unit on Wikipedia and so I was curious if there were other platforms like that where ordinary people contribute to something that used to be entirely the purview of experts. I started digging around, googling things I was interested in, and I stumbled upon Citizen Science. Although I have not yet participated in a project, I have since been in awe of the possibilities this presents.

Before I go too far down the rabbit hole, let me briefly explain what citizen science is. Citizen Science involves utilizing ordinary citizens in the collection of, and sometimes the analysis of, data for scientific purposes. I will not regurgitate my research paper beyond that, but the potential this creates is vast and then you throw in social media and the potential explodes.

Some days I worry that anti-intellectualism will get the best of us as a species when I see politicians mocked for being elitists because they are well-educated, see anti-science legislation introduced, and see “the other side” given equal airtime on the news for “balance” when the other side doesn’t have any science to back up their opinions. For these reasons not only is Citizen Science great for the scientific community; increasing the geographic diversity from which they can collect data, the speed of data collection, and the scope of their projects, but with more and more people participating in these types of projects it should increase scientific literacy. And that is never a bad thing.

If you have never heard of citizen science before or cannot believe scientists would rely on ordinary people to help with their scientific projects, you may be surprised to find out some of the organizations that utilize it. NASA, the United Nations, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Oxford University are just a few examples. There are simple apps that people can download like iNaturalist, trackmyfish, and BirdLog. Most of these apps are to help track plants and animals. There is even a U.S. government catalog of federal crowdsourcing and Citizen Science projects at citizenscience.gov.

The projects that I find the most fascinating are the ones that ask regular citizens like you and I to help map the universe. This National Geographic article from 2016 discusses a few of the most interesting projects of the time: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2016/06/28/you-can-help-make-maps-for-science-no-experience-needed/. These projects are helping to map both the planet and the universe. They highlight a few projects such as one where two Russians are credited with discovering a new cluster of galaxies via the Evolutionary Map of the Universe project. I like that they mention that Citizen Science isn’t new, even though we may not have called it by the same name prior to the 1990s. Bird watchers are the group I can think of that have been involved with this type of work for a very long time. However, with online communities and new apps being created and updated, we have gone from birdwatching to star watching and beyond, with much of the data able to be shared online in real-time. I cannot wait to see where this new frontier takes us.

To find a list of current NASA Citizen Science Projects click here.

  • Jennifer Lindquist 02/15/2019
sky earth space working
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Teens & Social Media: Is it a Good Thing?

Social media refers to websites and applications that enable users to create and share content quickly, efficiently and in real-time.

As we continue to evolve with new technologies, our teens are influencing the popularity of social media platforms such as with Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram.

Most teens believe social media has had mostly positive effects on them.  They feel that it helps them connect more with family members, interact with people their own age, and make new friends.

Social media has gotten a bad reputation in recent years, but there are many positive effects of social media on teenagers.

Users are able to quickly share opinions about people, places or things; buy/sell/review products and services; upload photographs; post events, find jobs, meet new friends and much more!  The use of social media allows teens to:

  • Quickly communicate & collaborate with others
  • Be entertained
  • Learn how to do just about anything, including play a guitar, cooking or anything else you can think of
  • Meet new friends
  • Find the best deals on consumer goods & services
  • Get reviews of products, services or even a restaurant near your present location!
  • Find employment
  • Increase awareness of social, economic and environmental issues
  • Emotionally or monetarily give back to those in need
  • Use new technologies to increase skill set
  • Express ourselves creatively

Teens see the value of social media and also see it as a way to stay up-to-date on trends and express themselves.  At the click of a button, they can spread and obtain all kinds of information as well as influence, or be influenced by others.

One such influencer is Jeffree Star (make-up artist, internet celebrity and entrepreneur) has utilized social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to build an empire and has a net worth in excess of $50M.

Jeffree has been active on social media since 2003 and has built a large and loyal audience:

  • YouTube 12M subscribers
  • Instagram 11.2M followers
  • Twitter 3.3M followers

Jeffree has his own brand of cosmetics and is extremely influential in this market.  His raw and honest makeup reviews are top-notch and can cause products to fly off the shelf if he likes them.

He is just one example of several social media beauty gurus focusing on fashion, hair and beauty related topics that influence male & female teens to young adults.  Teens are being influenced by social media celebrities and then influencing others within their own social network.

Teens spend an average of six to eight hours a day- YES, six to eight hours a day using digital technology. They are becoming less active and more addicted with lower self-esteem, and higher social anxiety.

Studies show that there are many negative effects of social media among teens.  As teens become secluded in their bedrooms mindlessly scrolling through posts, they are becoming less social, and more virtual.  They are focusing on what people are wearing, how they look, where they are at, and what they are buying.  They are starting to become jealous of one another and insecure about themselves.

As we continue to study the effects of social media on teens, there are both pro’s and con’s.  Whichever side of the fence you are on, we can all agree that social media is powerful and continues to grow – the key for a healthy teen is monitoring and moderation!

Is Facebook good for the world?

It is Facebook’s mission to “To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” says CEO Mark Zuckerberg to The Verge who also shared that a future mission will “develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us”.

Do you think Facebook is good for the world? After taking this class I thought that I would have a more straight forward answer but I was still surprised when I had to think critically about this.

Facebook Pro’s

  • Even playing field, no one starts at a greater advantage or disadvantage
  • Networking opportunities
  • Can reach a global audience FAST
  • Can create opportunity for social change
  • Can reconnect you with people
  • Can save memories
  • Can remind you of memories
  • Can create awareness
  • Good for businness
  • IT’S FREE!

Con’s

  • Once you put it out there. It’s out there
  • What you put out there now can come back to get you later
  • Not always reliable
    • Fact checks are needed
    • How do you know someone is who they say they are?
  • Time consumption (If you or someone you know might have this problem check out Social Media Addiction)
  • Privacy

My pros outweigh my cons. I think the opportunity to create social change is there, it is up to us to use it! I agree that Facebook is good for the world.

I was happy to see that Facebook wants to do better and that they made a comment section so that they can gain insight. This 2 way communication model could provide them with great feedback.

#Freebie #lastblog #SocialChange #ItIsUpToUs #WeHaveThePlatform

Social Media Addiction

World stream advertising states that “76% of Facebook users visited the site daily during 2016, with over 1.6 billion daily visitors, compared to 70% of daily usage in 2015. (Check out 75 fascinating stats about Facebook here.)”. So social media is thriving, but where should the line be drawn for social media addiction? We should each take the time to check our usage. Be accountable for social interaction virtual or otherwise and call out those who are using social media in excess.

32-Stats-That-Should-Guide-Your-Social-Media-Marketing-Strategy-in-2017-1I think that social media can make us anti social, we can be together but are interacting more with our phones than each other. So how can we address the addiction to mobile devices and social media?

We can start by being aware! If you notice that you are looking at your phone while someone is talking to you, think about if you are actually listening to what they are saying? Be mindful of the amount of time and attention you are giving to social media and the purpose of it.

Each social site has its own function, and can be used uniquely by each of us. I love using LinkedIn to grow my professional network, I have my current position because of it. I like activities I find on Pinterest, decorating ideas and I even have a bucket list. I also use Pinterest as a portfolio. Instagram for posting fun pictures. I never was much for Twitter.

Everyone is using social media in their own way, it could be for news, to connect to family, for business and more. But when should we consider it excessive? Is there a magic number of hours a day? If you watched 50 YouTube Videos today, are we going to send you to YouTuber’s Anonymous? Probably not but you should work on limiting your use, ask yourself is this productive?

You may not notice you have a problem; but might be surprised if you asked others for honest feedback about your usage. What about mobile? Your phone for all purposes, is it glued to you? Do you feel sick when it dies? How many hours a day are you using your phone in some way?

Monitoring your own use can cause you to notice the over usage in others, including children. We should begin making these changes now. More and more places offer Wi-Fi and cell phone coverage has made it hard to be off the grid. We need to make living in the moment a priority.

Technology can also help us take a break sometimes. Xfinity xFi allows customers to pause connection to their home Wi-Fi. It seems like a great idea. I know that I have trouble disconnecting sometimes. I think about the generations that have come after me that don’t know life without the internet or social media. Let’s work on the problem now and not set them up for failure.

So again remember that we should each take the time to check our usage. Be accountable for social interaction virtual or otherwise and call out those who are using social media in excess.

Blog Post 4:
Exercising your public voice: making a case for a position
#blogpost4 #publicvoice #givesocialmediaAbreak #IfNotAddMeToSnapChat

 

 

My Instagram Journey

I have always been slightly skeptical of using social media personally. It seemed to me that everyone gave off a well-manicured façade, where everyone “humble brags” and shares a very specific version of themselves. I have been on Facebook for years as a networking tool, but hadn’t been very interested in Instagram. It didn’t seem like there was anything on Instagram that I couldn’t already do on Facebook. I’m so busy with everything in my life that I hardly needed another distraction.

And yet, here I am, several weeks into using my new Instagram account our social media class at Metro State. I have mixed feelings about my experience so far. On one hand, it’s great to be able to share gorgeous visual snapshots of my life. Using Instagram has made me see the beauty in things both big and small in the world around me. I like having a place where I can share them with people I know.

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Knock.

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On the other hand, what concerns me the most about being on Instagram is that everything I do is turned into data and picked apart by marketers and sales people. It’s no secret that Facebook (who owns Instagram) tracks everything we do and is also continually developing new image recognition technology which already learns faces, but will some day learn places, products and more. Everything I share with the world is archived, digitized and saved on a server and put into an algorithm for analysis.

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Why did the ducks cross the road? #bridge

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I go back and forth on whether or not this troubles me or not. My initial reaction is to be freaked out that I am being watched and my actions analyzed. It makes me feel like my privacy has been violated and I don’t have control over how it gets used. On the other hand, it’s going to help marketers sell things to me more effectively. If it helps them do their job better, and means I get better recommendations, I’m not totally against that. I guess it concerns me that I don’t have transparency in terms of where it’s going and what’s happening.

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First Instagram #selfie.

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I know I’m not going through this journey alone – so I look forward to being a part of the Instagram community in this course. As to what happens after this … I am undecided.

The Manchester Attack and Different Approaches To News Storytelling

Hi everyone,
Like many people, I’ve been walking around with a heavy heart because of the horrifying suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday. My Facebook news feed has been filled with an endless supply of articles about the attack — breaking updates, recaps, biographies of the victims and opinion pieces. All of this reading has really demonstrated the difference in news storytelling between the more “traditional” news outlets and newer, Millenial-focused publications. The former is still focused on long-form, newspaper-like articles and the latter uses more images, multimedia and information shared in tweet-like tidbits.
Take this article from The New York Times. It’s a great piece that both updates the reader on the increased terror levels as well as give a recap of everything that’s happened since the attack occurred. The voice is formal and professional — it definitely feels like a global newspaper. Moreover, the paragraphs are long and the language is fairly academic. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this style, as the Times is often considered the best newspaper in the world.
In contrast, there’s this BuzzFeed article. For one thing, it’s a “developing story” type article, which acts more of a social feed. As updates are created by the editorial team, they’ll get pushed to that link. This is nice, because it can be a one-stop-shop for all info on the attack, including the latest updates. There’s also no need to hunt down a bunch of links. But the different tone and style is what is so different from the Times. Beautiful images, embedded social posts and links fill the page. The paragraphs are short, bite-sized and succinct. There doesn’t seem to be a single wasted word. The language also feels like it’s catered for younger, social media-savvy readers.
In conclusion, I am not trying to make a judgement over which style is “better” — although I do appreciate the highly visual, succinct style of the Buzzfeed article — but rather demonstrate how journalism and storytelling are advancing and changing. The Times is sticking with its tried-and-true style, which originated in their newspaper, while Buzzfeed is taking advantage of digital and social media to its full capacity.
Thoughts? Thanks!
Norka

Navigating Social Media Can be a Nightmare for us Older Students

v reali understand nothing

As an older student returning to college after thirty years has been a challenge. Learning how to do and submit class assignments electronically has been a culture shocking experience. Depending on your career prior to returning back to school can make a huge difference in your chances to be a successful student and acquire a degree. I will use my self for an example. Prior to my returning to college i was a furniture mover. I was required to know or use zero social media or electronic communication engines. I did have a Facebook  and an E-mail account. These were the extent of my electronic and social media communication experiences. After taking the placement examination i was placed in the classes appropriated from my scores, OK dandy. Where i immediately hit a road block was navigating D2l and understanding the language of the instructions by the instructor. I was clueless and scared to death. But willing to give this college thing a shot.

My first college essay was due in three weeks and I was determined to write it and turn it in on time. My instructor directed us to turn in our essays via Dropbox by a certain date and time. So i work on my essay with vigor and pride. finally I am done and ready to turn in my first essay. I find my professors office but cant find the dam Dropbox. I looked all over for the dam thing but i found nothing. Well i get to class on Monday, paper was due Friday, pissed off because my instructor did not have her Dropbox where i could access it. I approached her stating that i looked for her Dropbox on Friday and could not find it. She looked at me with a huge smile and said “its OK Albert, stay after class and i will show you how to use the Dropbox on D2l”.\

So since that time i have learned how to navigate D2l, write 8 page essays( with supporting references) and even copy/paste, lol. I am 8 credits away from attaining my BA degree in Org Comm. I figured this should be smooth sailing the rest of the way. Well after walking in MDST 485 i realized how smooth was not gonna happen. I don’t know how to Blog, tweet,re tweet or re- Blog. I am hanging on a thread. However i will learn this stuff but for know, Steve Carell says it best for me.

Will Slack Replace Facebook’s Role In Your Life?

Blog Type #1
As students of this course on social media, we’re spending a lot of time investigating new emerging tools and channels to communicate, network and collaborate with each other. One of the most fascinating ones to me was Slack. I had heard of it in passing, but never had a chance to test it out. From chatting with other classmates, I know I’m not the the only one. We’re all living in something of a digital renaissance and its our collective jobs to decide which social media platforms are meaningful to us.
Along those lines, I wanted to share this article at The Atlantic, a magazine known for critical thinking and digging into global trends. It looks at how Slack could be positioning itself to kill Facebook, which is the long-running giant in the social media world. It talks about how Facebook has always tried to take its competitors features and make them its own (such as the new Facebook Stories, which are a ripoff of Snapchat.) But, Slack is using the same strategy:
Slack has always found useful ways to integrate third-party apps within its service—or, in Slack’s parlance, to reduce the “context switching” that eats away at productivity. But the move also reveals quite a bit about Slack’s larger ambitions, and may hint at the larger direction of the social web. The main point is, Slack doesn’t want you to have to log off—ever. This is a familiar mentality online these days.
It’s a really interesting point of view. And that begs a good question: Could you see Slack replacing Facebook’s role in your life? How about email? Messenger services like WhatsApp? I am curious what everyone’s thoughts are. Personally, I think Slack does offer a lot of features I use, but I already have other apps or places that I prefer. It would take a lot for me to switch.

So much unwanted advice

In the day and age of social media, things like blogs, web pages, Pinterest and Facebook are all peppered with things you should or should not do to raise a child. To spank or not to spank, homeschool, public or private school, are you a creative lunch maker or just a boring sandwich pusher, do you teach them things or let them figure things out on their own, and I could go on and on!

I admit, when I have an issue with my child, I first go to family and friends for advice. But, if I don’t find an answer that seems to fit my situation, I know I can turn to the world wide web. There are many professional child psychologists, pediatricians, nannies, childcare workers and moms that provide sound and calming solutions. It amazes me the wisdom you can glean from these sites. However, when articles pop-up on Pinterest urging you to read it or someone rants on a Facebook post about how they saw a mom doing or not doing something, this barges in on me like a neon sign and tends to irk me more than entice me. Why? Because advice for children is not one-size-fits-all. What my child needs to curb a certain behavior may not work for your child and vice-versa. The fact that a lot of these posts insinuate you are a bad parent if you AREN’T practicing their latest finding is downright maddening.

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Mischievious

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There is pressure for our kids to be the best soccer player, the smartest student in school, the highest jumper, the most advanced in technology and the healthiest of eaters. I miss the days when it was okay for kids to try out a sport and see if they liked it before signing their summer away to be on the team. There is pressure from every angle, even from ourselves, to raise a kid that will overachieve as opposed to just succeed in this world.

Just don’t read the articles!

If only it were easy NOT to notice the articles.  However, because these articles pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, or as a header on a website you are shopping on, it is difficult to ignore the taunts. “What IF I’m doing something wrong?” If you suffer from anxiety or depression these articles can deepen your feelings of inadequacy and make you question everything you are doing or not doing for your child. The internet can be a great tool, a way to connect people with the latest information, but it can also be a dangerous web luring you in to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I think it is okay if you want to post what has worked for your child, but it would be great if you didn’t claim this to be the fix of all fixes and look down your nose to people who don’t share your ideals. I’m grateful that you had the luck to find that magic ticket in your family’s life, I might just try it on my child as well. But if it doesn’t work, or if I find that it isn’t in his best interest, then I will file your idea in my “things that didn’t work” file and move on. Don’t judge, don’t talk behind my back, don’t push your convictions on my family and give people a break for choosing their own path.

toddler

I do my best each day to try to be secure in who I am, what I’m doing and embracing the love and comfort of my family. If the internet is going to keep throwing out pop-up shaming and unsolicited advice, what I may have to re-think is the amount of time I spend on social media.

Social Media is Great, but What about Good, Old Fashioned Book Reading?

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Everywhere I look, new advances in technology are being made—and seemingly, this happens every couple months when some unique form of technology appears to solve society’s daily problems. When I was younger, I had an mp3 player (really a glorified USB drive) that used an AA battery and held up to 60 songs at once. Then I owned a Motorola flip phone that I used to text my friends and buy cool ringtones. It fit in my pocket, so it was a huge “level up” from the old, clunky phones my parents talked about.

(Does anyone remember the Nokia phones from the 90s? It’s OK if you do; the 90s were pretty cool!)

With these advances in the early-to-mid 2000s, it’s not surprising that now, in 2016, we’ve soared even higher with our interactive watches, Google Glass, and virtual reality. Through these gadgets, we get the latest and greatest features in social media and have the ability to constantly plug into our Twitter, Facebook, and other social circles. We no longer live in a world where we need to disconnect. Our signal is boost 24/7!

Continue reading Social Media is Great, but What about Good, Old Fashioned Book Reading?