Saturday, 11 February 2012

Google: the One Stop Shop for…EVERYTHING

Google is. Google just is, it is everything we want. We want shoes – Google, we want housing – Google, we want weather, news, directions – Google. It has become a part of our lives, it may just be a search engine to us, but in reality it is the search engine, and it is a massive company as well.

Google is consistently rated the highest used search engine ( and and it’s no surprise, it’s the easiest source to ask simple, to unthinkable/embarrassing questions. Yet, in this society this innovation is feared, and thought of as a threat, really? Well here is how I view this search engine in respect to the reason why people are fearful:

·         It caters to us we, use Google to find things that interest us on the web.

·         Google then uses web searches to find the exact article/picture/site that  we want

·         Google takes the information about ourselves (I call this our online profile) and stores it, using it as a reference to specify our proceeding searches eventually following a pattern created personally for us.

Isn’t this exactly what we enjoy about the internet? The fact that it is a tool catered to us, for our needs, our desires – retrieving this information lightning fast. Our society moves and grows at a quick pace, and this is just what Google has been formed to assist.

Some of the reasons why people are not impressed by Google is due to the feeling of their privacy being invaded. They also feel like it is threatening their extension of knowledge. By continually searching the same terms, pages, and areas they are missing out on the depth of information available. We cannot take full advantage of this tool (and that is exactly what Goolge is) without first being able to master it. In Siva Vaidhyanathan’s book The Googlization of Everything (and why we should worry) the author states that “Google is thus dangerous as the airplane and the automobile have proved dangerous in ways their pioneers did not anticipate in the 1920s. These technologies of mobility and discovery are dangerous not just because they physically endanger their users but because we use them recklessly, use them too much, and design daily life around them”. (19, Vaidhyanathan) After reading 100 pages of this book, I don’t think I have come across a more meaningful, perfect quotation to describe what Google is doing to our society.

We use this tool so recklessly with respect to careless inquiries, and idiotic/pointless searches for pure amusement. Google is a tool that should be used to enhance an understanding, to gain something meaningful, or insightful; instead because we rely on Google so heavily we have allowed it to slowly creep its way through every inch of the internet. There are no boundaries for Google, no corner of the World Wide Web left untouched by Googles caressing fingers.

The fact is that Google was created for searches but has since expanded to, email, RSS, blogger, youtube, calander, shopping, directions etc. and now it is being used as a social networking organization? Facebook is the place for social networking in my mind, of course there is also twitter but now a social network entitled “Google plus” is about to break new ground… well if you are as confused as I was watch this video and then try to imagine the future of our Google (

 Airplanes are still around, and so is the automobile, both come with their downfalls: pollution, cost, not everyone can use/operate them, there is limitations (age, speed etc.) but they have up as well: convenience, safety, connectivity, and style. They are always changing and being enhanced, and perfected, this is exactly how I see Google, with ups and downs, but ultimately here to stay and attempt to create a lasting impression on our world.  

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Making New Media Make Sense

*I’m going to backtrack now, from my last entry, to the first chapter of the book Making Connections in the Digital Age*

Whether we like it or not, there is always going to be a new source of connectivity. From the wheel, to the telephone, to the internet; as a species we are always evolving, and therefore our surroundings must evolve with us. Our society has turned into a balancing act between culture and media.  

I don’t believe one (culture nor media) can really change without affecting the other. This can relate to a theory in Nancy Bayms book Making Connections in the Digital Age that is called “technological determinism”. Broken down, technological determinism is: technology driving the development of our society, and our cultural values.       

The internet has changed culture so much already, one huge example I can think of is dating. There are online dating sites all over the place, and why not take advantage of these tools. No more wasting time getting to know each other, instead you just view a profile and see if you have anything in common, or if this person would just be a waste of time. I guess this is an upside to the internet, but on the same spectra what about false profiling? There are all kinds of pedophiles and people who lie on these sites, and doesn’t this just defeat the purpose? It’s putting many legitimate people at risk, and not only for a heart break but for safety as well. One of Nancy Bayms readers was quoted in her book Personal Connections in the Digital Age say this: “I am deeply in love with a man who is handsome, smart, and loving. We are engaged and happy together. The problem? We met on the Internet. Abby, he thinks I’m 26, but I’m not. Everything I’ve said has been a lie. I’m really 12.” (34, Baym) This is just the reality of how our culture has progressed and been shaped by media. Although dating has always been a part of life, never before has been this veiled. It allows the mind to wander and contemplate the future of relationships.

…The future of anything for that matter, I remember watching a video entitled Did You Know? 3.0 – Shift Happens ( I was completely blown away by the statistics thrown at me in under five minutes. What stood out though was the fact that because of the ever changing media, and the attempts to continually adjust and adapt; the information being taught to students in media programs in the first year, will be outdated by their third year. I am part of that statistic and it’s a bit intimidating, but I realize that it makes sense and that this program - this field,  thingswill always be changing and that’s the beauty of it - it's inevitable to expand our knowledge.

New media is evolving today, and we should not be scared or shocked because it has been this way since humans began roaming the earth. Their caves have turned into our penthouse suits, their oral entertainment has turned into our televisions oripods, and so on. If we fail to accept this process, we challenge society and insult the brilliant minds that have brought us to the 21st century with such amazing contributions to our world. There will be downfalls, as there always is in life but all we can hope is that the up rise is that much greater.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Is Media Effecting Careers?

In the conclusion of Nancy K. Baym’s book “Personal Connections in The Digital Age” she suggests a thought that crosses everyone’s mind when introduced to new technology: “what they do to us, and whether it is good or bad”.(109, Baym) Of course this question is necessary. We are always searching for things that will improve our generation, and I wonder if this desire is pushing our acceleration into overdrive. Nancy also touches on a similar comment I made in my last blog about us being socially incompetent in reality, therefore making us socially powerful online. She foreshadows the concerns we have now, for lack of face to face conversations, and impersonal relationships with even our families. I fear that these concerns are so obvious today that we are about to struggle in many aspects of our lives, especially in our careers.
This class is part of the Media Studies program at Guelph-Humber, and although social networking has been a vastly expanding tool for our future jobs, I believe it is also damaging our field. Part of the course is journalism; this entails social skills, the ability to act comfortably around people, and perform interviews. Public relations suffer similarly in respect to event planning, and public speaking. If we cannot maintain the skills of personal communication (talking, striking up conversations, asking questioning etc.) where can we expect to gain the insight needed for news coverage? I don’t think journalism in drowning, in fact I think it’s thriving, language, and conversation will never die regardless of the medium. The issue I can see is that print media is declining. The internet has no doubt taken control of the majority of news coverage, it is fast and easily changed which coincides well with the fast paced, ever changing world we live in. When something newsworthy happens we are no longer hearing about days later, but with digital media it is instantaneous.
Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message" under a century ago. His quote still holds true today, I think what he meant was the medium is more significant then the content it provides. If we compare that view to the internet then that means people have expectations of this medium: to have endless amounts of information and to have it all immediately.

Seven Ky Concepts

Baym also strikes a discussion worthy topic about seven aspects of affordances which digital media offer. Which is the most important of the seven key concepts (interactivity, temporal structure, social cues, storage, replicability, reach, or mobility) in shaping our communication in a positive, negative, or mutual way?
Interactivity is an interesting topic, it is the way in which all aspects of media work, and how they have multiple abilities. When the telephone was introduced for example it was one machine, created for one purpose. No wonder we are hesitant at the thought of a “cell” phone that will allow us to not only make the calls as a usual telephone but to also text, check Facebook, get directions, etc. The challenge with interactivity is that it may not be influencing us a positive direction. There are multiple usages for multiple technologies, but we are taking for granted the connectivity, something such as the internet, is providing us with and instead using it for (as Baym suggests) shopping for shoes. This is where the topic gets tough, are we advancing in technology for the greater knowledge? Or are we rather advancing for the greater leisure experience?