Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anonymity, the "Google Bomb", and the Internet

For all 18.5 years of my life, my parents have warned me to be cautious while going online and surfing the Internet to never put anything up online that might tell people where I live, who I am, what I do, etc. It is for this very reason, along with others, that I have taken up a veil of anonymity online. I refuse to assemble a MySpace or Facebook profile because it requires me to relinquish information to perfect strangers online, information whose secrecy has kept me safe from harm. I even lie online, to keep myself safe. However, it is this same anonymity that has allowed sexual predators to rape, abuse and even molest and kill each of their victims so easily, since they can pose as whomever they want to be online.

I bring this up because recent events have occurred where the anonymous quality of posting online has come into question: a woman is suing Google for releasing her name to a Vogue model, who demanded it after being defamed by the woman in blogs that this woman has put up. The Google employee says that unless it was through a court order or subpeona, the company usually doesn't disclose people's identities.

So with this case comes questions about privacy, anonymity and the right to free speech, according to this recent article in a newspaper. It also talks about "Google Bombing", which is attempting to raise the popularity of a web page during a Google search, which usually involves either something new and/or outstanding and/or extreme. This may point to the fact that a site is not always popular due to its relationship to the truth, but rather other distinct qualities.

One real world example would be radio shock jocks such as Howard Stern, and less-irritating radio show-hosts such as the popular syndicated radio show known as "The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show," where 3 show hosts known as Free Beer, Hot Wings and Eric Zane brazenly talk about certain topics with each other and their two producers, Producer Joe and Associate Producer Steve. The popularity of this show is not for their clean conversations about current events--that sort of [stuff] almost never happens. Instead, it's just 5 guys being, well......5 guys. Candid conversations and teasing one another for their mistakes is a reason why these "fellas" are so liked by radio listeners in the Northeastern quarter of the United States.

So, like the show, the internet is just being the internet. No lawsuits necessary.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Look at the Children of the Media

"Today's television child is attuned to up-to-the-minute "adult" news-inflation, rioting, war, taxes, crime, bathing beauties-and is bewildered when he enters the nineteenth-century environment that still characterizes the education establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects and schedules . . . Today's child is growing up absurd, because he lives in two worlds, and neither of them inclines him to grow up. Growing up-that is our new work, and it is total. Mere instruction will not suffice."

This passage can relate to the world today in many ways, even though it was composed at least half a decade or so earlier. As technology advances with more and more people connecting to the Internet and the world wide web, children and teens alike are becoming attached to technological advances, and are "hooked" on the very "latest trends" that are "in". For example, with cell phones, social networking sites, and Twitter, teens and children are ahead of the news crews that report breaking news and developing stories, many of these being related to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has become problematic to teachers in schools and parents and other figures in authority as these minors are always "rudely" paying more attention to their text messages, Twitter updates, and MySpace and Facebook pages online, rather than spending quality time with their family and friends. This looks to the adult figure that the child/teen in question is more interested in their phones and Internet friends and such.

In addition to the advances in technology comes the advances in alternate methods to accessing information "legally and properly." Contemporary issues include downloading music illegally and witnessing violent and disturbing events online through sites such as YouTube and online pornography sites. The anonymity that comes with the Internet allows children who are as young as 10 to even access sites that only allows access to people of a certain age due to the nature of the content that is being displayed. And illegal file-sharing is a major concern for the music industry. Years ago, people were fine with creating your own recordings of popular songs and radio shows and the likes. But now, the RIAA is suing people left and right just because they wanted their own copy of a particular song that they just didn't want to purchase. Many artists are clinging to their copyrights like security blankets so as to earn more money on "fairer" terms of agreements. They are getting paid for their songs being heard by people in contrast to what work they actually did.

These issues came with the advancement in technology because somebody somewhere has found a way to fulfill a certain task, such as creating your own copy of a cd or dvd and committing crimes of identity theft through even more invisible means of criminal acts. And "mere instruction will not suffice" because the children of our time will not listen: they have seen movies, television shows, pictures, music videos, etc, where crimes have been glorified into this Hollywood-designed world of "coolness" and "fun." They won't listen to us because they're listening to their iPods and the likes. And they have been exposed to so much explicit information that the media is outnumbering the parents, siblings, teachers, relatives, pastors, rabbis, imams, mentors and other "adults" through sheer frequency of advertisements alone. With the numbers out there, stark in the open space where logic resides, it easy to see who is louder and who is pretty much giving up on talking to walls that listen to audible rock music and say "Whatever" to everything someone says.

Start of classes


I'm blogging right now to introduce myself, goes.....

Name: Rachel Rose

Age: 18.5

From: Bangor, PA (Not too far from the Delaware Water Gap and the Poconos; if you STILL don't know where that is, it's a couple hours north of Philly.)

Year: Freshman

Major: "Apparel Design and Retail Merchandising" (a fancy name for Fashion Design--I wonder why....)

Residence Hall: Twin Towers West

Interesting Factoid: I'm also on DeviantArt, an artsy sort of social networking site that allows you to share your artwork online; currently, in the site's chatting section, I am creating a chat room for all the Marshall students, staff, parents, etc. It's not done being customized, though.

I think English 101 will really help me with my writing (I also like to write free-verse poetry--if anyone would like to read some, please ask!) and my communication skills. It will also help me respect not only essay compositions, but also my older sister who's attending her senior year of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, PA, which is just outside of Pittsburgh.

So, I have to wrap this up because it's almost time for classes to start.....I'll be heading over to Intro to Art, which should be fun because I like to draw a lot.....but I'm sure the coming year will prove to be educational and fun.

Don't worry: I'll help provide the fun! ;)

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