The Living Is Easy

Social Media and Whatever Else Tickles My Fancy

Are All The Cool People Twittering? I Want To Twitter Too!

I have been using Twitter for about three months now.  So far I am following nine people and six people are following me. I feel like I still haven’t gotten into Twitter as much as I would like since most of the people I know have never even heard of Twitter.  But I still like it.

According to ReadWriteWeb.com, Twitter is getting a new look.  Tge wrote that Twitter is “trying to streamline its interface with its new design.”  Now I am all for redesigning web pages to make them prettier or more user friendly.  But, am I the only wondering about Twitter getting a system upgrade first.  I do not twitter often but it is pretty annoying when I think of something that is “Twitter Worthy” and I cannot get access because their are too many people twittering and the Web site cannot handle it.  I can only imagine that upgrading the site layout will only increase traffic to the Web site.  Will Twitter.com be able to handle all of the traffic?

And Another Thing:

As I look at my Twitter page I have to say that some people twitter too much.  I am sure the makers of Twitter love these microbloggers but I am starting to rethink some of the people I am following.  Some people twitter every few minutes and they are not people that I am that interested in keeping up with. I started following them because they were suggested by my teacher as some of the best and the brightest social media followers.  My goodness one of these people twittered seven times as of 6:45pm today and they twit like this everyday.  I am lucky if I get two tweets in one day.  Maybe the problems lies with me.  Maybe I do not twitter enough.  I think I will go post something right now.

Trip to Fort Lauderdale

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale ready for a week of fun in the sun.  Everyone is excited and we can’t wait to get our week started.  No work, no responsibilities…well at least for three out of four people.  I still have school work to do but I am not going to let it stop my fun at the Wyndham Palm-Aire Resort.

After we arrived and got settled in, we went to the local Family Dollar to pick up a few things.  As I am walking around the store looking at all of the things that I want to buy but don’t really need for my stay in Florida I make my way to the front of the store.  All of a sudden I hear a woman say “I am driving a red car.  Who hit my car?”  Then she says “Oh that is not my car.”  Instantly I think about the rental car that we have just picked up.  It is burgundy which is close enough to red for me.  So I decide to go see what all the fuss is about.  Sure enough when I go over to the two ladies to ask them which car was hit, they pointed to our burgundy car that we rented from a company I will not name at this time.  Oh CRAP!!  Someone just hit our car and drove away.  How are we going to explain this?  And of course we opted not to purchase the insurance from the rental company for an additional $20 per day.  This was obviously not the start to our vacation we has anticipated.  We had only been here for five hours and now we were wrapped up in a hit and run and talking to the local sheriff’s office.

Luckily one the ladies’ asking about the car was a policewoman from Illinois.  She heard the accident from the street and chased the perpetrators car to get pictures and their license plate.

Thank goodness they were there.  We wouldn’t have known what to do if it were not for them.  They stayed with us and gave statements to the police for us.

It was pretty ironic.  On one hand someone had ruined our day but on the other hand, my faith was restored that there are still good people in the world.

Is Tom Cruise Updating Articles in Wikipedia Again?

Scientology is a religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952.   I have never met anyone who is or has been a scientologist.  However, they have a very large media presence especially since they have a large number of celebrity followers.  I must admit, I sometimes stereotype it as a religion for celebrities or rich people.

Recently, I have been checking out the Church’s activity on Wikipedia by researching Wikiscanner.  I have found that representatives of the church are somewhat active editors on Wikiedia.  As of August 2007 there were 170 updates throughout Wikipedia that linked to the Church’s IP address.  The obvious edits were on pages that discussed The Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard (founder), Dianetics, and David Miscavige the chairman of the board of Religious and Technology Center which oversees The Church of Scientology.  Most of the edits included adding links to their Web site or to Web sites that support their causes when it pertained to the subject matter.  They seem to edit on a wide variety of issues to help support their school of thought.

According to Wikipedia, Scientologists are “vehemently opposed” to psychology and psychiatry.   Several edits made in Wikiscanner were made to articles that dealt with depression or anti-depressants.  Articles that were edited that dealt with mental health or anti-depressants were:

·        Postpartum depression

·        Kurt Cobain

·        Schizophrenia

·        American Psychiatry

·        Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

·        Depression

·        Dyslexia

One article that was updated by The Church that I found interesting was about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of the Columbine High School massacre.  They edited the article to include the fact that the coroner’s offices found a “therapeutic amount” of the anti-depressant Luvox in Eric Harris’ system.  This was clearly edited to support their belief that anti-depressant cause suicidal thoughts and violence amongst its users.

I am surprised to admit that I think The Church of Scientology is pretty responsible in their Wikipedia edits.  Obviously they want more people to submit to their teachings so they add links to their site were they fit.  Again, I noticed that there were several links and additions added to support their theories however, I do not believe they were too presumptuous in their editing.

Hello To My Second Life!

Allow me to introduce myself; Um um…I am now Lyndell Watkins. That is my avatar’s name in Second Life. It sounds weird but I like it! I really enjoyed navigating through Second Life. The tutorial and introductions were very helpful but I am a little confused about why a user cannot return to Help Island once they leave. Currently I am still in Help Island because I want to take advantage of the chance to learn but on the other hand I really just want to get out there to see what it is really like in Second Life. I met an avatar named Ayjay Carpenter on Help Island. He is a mentor for Help Island and he was really nice and helpful. I also chatted with another guy who was also new to Second Life. I do not remember his name but I do remember that he said he was from Ireland. I think that is pretty cool that a game can connect people from all over the world.

I also tried out a few games by Persuasive Games. “Xtreme Xmas Shopping” was interesting especially since you can get into a scuffle with someone if they had a gift you wanted to take from them and vice versa. I also played Airport Insecurity however I was not as successful with that game. I think these games are effectively getting their messages across. Many of these games informative and they also make you think about our lifestyles.  Xtreme Xmas Shopping definitely got the point out that maybe people should not be so rude while doing their Christmas shopping.

Today I read an article about the rise of  “adult” online games provided by GameDaily. These games are for mature audiences and can have material that some may find offensive. Based on the comments under the article it seems to have mixed reviews. Some people admitted to enjoying the games while others said they were perverted. I haven’t tried one of these games but I think I will take a look just to see what it is about. Hey, you have to admit it does sound a little interesting!

Here Comes Everybody and the Lost Sidekick Saga

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky, explains the role the internet plays in making collaboration among people who do not know each other easier.  As someone who is currently using many of the new forms of social media, this book really made me think about how easy it is to connect with people who have the same interests as you.  Before the internet, people who had interests outside of what was “normal” in their communities probably felt alone or misunderstood.  Today someone can easily go online and type in their interest and find other people who are just like them.

The Stolen LOST Sidekick Saga

Shirky started his book with the tale of the Stolen Lost Sidekick (I refuse to link to the site.  Look it up yourself).  These are my thoughts on how two people used the Internet and social media to humiliate a 16 year old and to get their cell phone back.

I lost my cell phone twice within the past two years.  Once while vacationing in Barbados and another time while dining in Adams Morgan a the Bukom Cafe.  Both instances I naturally assumed that whoever found it would either use it or sell it.  Both times I immediately turned the service off so that it could not be used.  I had to admit to myself that losing the cell phone was due to my own carelessness and that I had no one to blame but myself.  While yes, I was miserable and I felt like I’d lost my best friend, I would have never thought about issuing a man hunt for a cell phone and I surely wouldn’t have gone as far as having the person who found it arrested; especially not a 16 year girl.  How could I blame the person who found it?

I think that Ivanna and Evan were petty and childish people playing the same game as a 16 year old.  Ivanna should have just been thankful that all of her information had been saved by T Mobile and left it at that.  What really got under my skin is that they have accused the girl of stealing the Sidekick and there are pictures of her plastered all over the Internet with the wording “I stole a Sidekick.”  Meanwhile I’ve yet to see a picture of Ivanna or Evan online.  Has anyone even thought about the fact that this girl still has her whole life ahead of her?  As I read the story about the LOST Sidekick, I had to wonder if this incident was more about putting someone from the wrong ethnic group as well as the wrong socio-economic background in their place.  I agree with Clay Shirky that this is a great example of what 21st century technology allows us to do but I also have to wonder if this is also a great example of a 21st century lynching.

Am I Afraid of Google?

 

I think that Google is a great company that is leading the way in modern day technology.  But I have to question the amount of information that is easily provided online by Google.  I recently downloaded Google Earth to my computer.  The technology and accuracy are amazing.   I was very impressed with the graphics and the ease of use.

 

I searched for my house, my parent’s house, and my sister’s house.  You could literally see everything in the yard.   I began to think about what someone could do with all of this information.  It was kind of scary to think that a terrorist could easily use this information to plan a massive attack against everyday citizens. So to answer the question yes, I am slightly afraid of Google.

 

I also checked out Google Health.  What a great idea.  Or is it?  I am not sure if I want my health records online.  While I do not have any major health issues, I do not want that information out there on the Web.  I am sure that Google has gone through great lengths to make sure the site is secure but there is still a chance that someone could break into the site.   People are already discriminated against enough in this country.  Imagine what would happen if someone figured out a way to get into these medical records.  They could easily use this information to deny someone a job or even to deny the right to rent a property. 

 

About six months ago I signed up for a free copy of my credit report through one of the major credit reporting companies.  I received an email from the company reminding me about my online account with them.  I decided to log on to see if there were any recent updates on my account.  As soon as I logged in my social security number and my name were both on the screen.  I was very surprised that my entire social security number was on the screen.  I immediately logged out of the site.  But imagine if a hacker was watching my internet activity.  Can anyone say IDENTITY THEFT? 

 

I added the video above entitled “Google Maps: Part I of The Googling” from YouTube since we discussed Google Maps in class.  I thought it was pretty funny.  I hope you enjoy!

Social Media Bill of Rights

On more than one occasion, I have read about a blogger whose site was taken down because of something that he or she posted that the host site did not agree with.  How much freedom does a blogger really have if their site can be taken down at any moment?  I do not agree with this practice.  I am sure that most bloggers do not keep printouts of their blog posts as references.  They naturally assume that when they or anyone else logs on whatever they have posted will be accessible.

In response to issues like this, Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington wrote a Social Media Bill of Rights.  The main concepts discussed are ownership, control and freedom.

After reading the Bill of Rights for Social Media, I decided to check out the terms of service offered by WordPress.  Yes, I know this is probably something that I should have looked at closely when I signed up for a blog on their Web site but hey this blog is a part of my class requirement so I just signed up like everybody else.  I am sure my teacher read all of the terms and conditions, so that and my “A” are all that really matters.

The part of the agreement that caught my eye immediately was section 10 that said, “Automatic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Web site at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”  With or without cause? What if I have not done anything wrong and it was a mistake or the fault of WordPress?   Do you mean to tell me that the WordPress gods could take all of my hard work from me with the click of a button?  The  WordPress gods could take all that I have written and my chance to be a high authority blogger from me without explanation, without some kind of review processs, maybe a warning that I was in some type of violation.  That is kind of scary.  I guess we have freedom of speech but only to certain extent when someone else is in control of the server.

Plea to WordPress gods:

Dear WordPress gods, I promise that this was only an assignment that my teacher forced me to write.  If you are reading this and I have somehow offended you, please oh please don’t take my site away.  Give me one more chance.  🙂