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Is there still any privacy online?

29 Nov


  • Do employers have the right to know what their employees do when they are not working? Why or why not?

I do not think that employers have the right to know what their employees do when they are not working. Employers should judge employees by their working ability instead of personal life. As long as employees have good performance in work, there is no reason for employers to interfere their personal life. However, it becomes harder and harder to draw the line between work and personal life. Just like Abe (2009) mentioned, “people have come to experience the convenience and efficacy of digital interactive media in their everyday life.” The products of digital era such as Facebook, MSN and smartphone make the line between work and personal life blurring. Employers can easily get employees’ personal life information even when they are not intended to.

  • Can these cases with professional athletes (Sanderson, 2009) can be applied to (or compared with) other types of employees — such as lawyers, teachers, advertising sales reps, etc. Why or why not?

I think the cases cited by Sanderson (2009) can be compared with other types of employees. Although the athletes cited by Sanderson (2009) are famous, people may have much interest in their life. We can still see that there are many “normal people” being discussed on certain forum about their special/unethical behavior. For example, there was a case in Taiwan that a nurse was taken a photo when she was maltreating an old patient. The photo was wide spread online and eventually the hospital fired the nurse. It may be hard for other types of employees to interact with online users actively. However, users are willing to provide information when they think the encounter is interesting and worth to discuss.

  • Is the typical college student’s participation in Facebook an example of Abe’s “peer surveillance”? Why or why not?

I think that college students participating in Facebool is an example of Abe’s “peer surveillance” (2009). Although the system of Facebook is not like mixi that you have to be invited by a member to participate in and there is no “trace record” in Facebook, we can still choose to friend with whom, to share life with the friends we feel safe and comfortable. When feeling safe and comfortable, we would be more willing to share our personal life. And we can interact with friends on Facebook. We are “as an active agent of surveillance” on Facebook.

  • When you think about Abe’s claim that “every aspect of our communication via those media can be easily traced back and stored” (p. 76), does this seem good to you, or bad? Why or why not? Consider the idea that everyone is monitoring everyone else.

I would say that communication can be traced back and stored is good to me, but it is definitely convenient. I do not have to bring map to travel, do not have to memorize every word I typed. To be honest, I was the kind of people Abe (2009) mentioned, I didn’t think I may be in the risk of being monitored. I just enjoyed the convenience which technology gives to me. However, the situation mentioned by Abe reminds me the movie “Enemy of the State.” We may not face the exaggerated situation. Yet, if our personal information such as bank account is really easily being got by others, then this seems bad to me.




Crowdsourcing: diversity in the crowd

15 Nov

I chose “Talking Points Memo U.S. attorneys” case since the word “left-center” which Muthukumaraswamy mentioned attracted my attention. I am curious about the credibility of the result of crowdsourcing when the website has certain ideology. Will the result be biased when the “crowds” of the website have common ideology? Or will the common ideology strengthen the users’ determination to find out the truth? In my opinion, I think that bias in crowdsourcing can sometimes be devastating. Diversity in the crowd should be important. The link addressed that diversity of opinion among crowd need to be ensured to bring the potential of the crowd into full play. The crowdsourcing way which Speechology uses may be able to reduce the biased risk because the website invites their users to provide “videos” as testimonies. Speechology becomes an “archive of videos” showing what politicians had actually said which diminish the risk of bias.

According to Muthukumaraswamy (2009), TPM “has capitalized on these services by utilizing simple reader alerts and extensive analysis by its robust audience.” And the author also mentioned that “most readers of TPM are well connected, and have expertise in specialized fields such as law, policy and national intelligence” (Muthukumaraswamy, 2009, p.53) However, I could not find any contributors requirement on TPM website when I sign up. I wonder about how they do the contributors screening process to “recruiting an expert audience” since I do not think that the TPM has the right to ask audience providing their personal information when audience contributes. If the TPM is just screening audience’s contribution by their employees, then I do not see that there is difference from other “general audience” generating website. Therefore, I do not think that the subheading “wisdom of crowds in general-interest reporting by recruiting an expert audience” is suitable. “Wisdom of crowds in general-interest reporting by recruiting generalists” may be more suitable.

Crowdsourcing is definitely a good way to supervise government. Besides the TPM provides a platform for their audiences to gather and contribute information about the government, there are more and more websites also try to supervise government. Therefore, the U.S. government started to “embrace crowdsourcing.” Besides “the President Obama’s goal to create a more transparent, participatory and collaborative government” declared by the White House. I also found many government websites such as St. Louis County Crime Incident Map and Ideas for Seattle. The crowdsourcing trend may change the old administrative way of government.

To sum up, I do not think that the TPM is a good example of crowdsourcing because I cannot be sure that the information on the website is really from “crowd.” Unlike the Ushahidi website has clear way for audiences to contribute information, I do not understand where the “open-source” of the TPM is. To me, it is more like regular news website where users can comment.

Remix: creativity or stealing

7 Nov

If there was no one translating the Bible to different language and spreading it to the world, what would the world be today?

If we set the boundary for creativity, will there still be new technology?

If we did not set the boundary to protect copyright, would there be anyone who wants to create new things?

How do draw the line for “First Amendment?”

To be honest, I still have no answer.




It seems that I did not communicate my message clearly. I  doubt that “you can’t argue creativity when it’s based on other people’s stuff.” Because we will never know where this kind of creativity will lead us to. That is why I put the pictures of Spanish Bible, the English version of the Analects of Confucius and many other “art parodies” in the video. We can see in many cases, parody/remix work make people notice the original work. Moreover, it can even create culture. With the Internet, the effect of it is more obviously. So I put the song “Let’s go crazy.” If you have opinion, just do it. Bring those creativitis out and let the world know.

Although I think it is important but hard to find the balance between copyright and creativity. There is no reason to let “the past controls the future.”



31 Oct

The arguments of these two articles are all based on the era of Web 2.0. Different from Web 1.0, Web 2.0 is an environment in where users cannot only get information but also generate information. According to the solution of correcting content mentioned by Nielsen (2010),

each time you make an edit, it’s sent to a randomly selected jury of your peers – say 50 of them. They’re invited to score your contribution, and perhaps offer feedback. They don’t all need to score it – just a few (say 3) is enough to start getting useful information about whether your contribution is an improvement or not. And, perhaps with some tweaking to prevent abuse, and to help ensure fair scoring, such a score might be used as a reliable way of signalling quality in the face of incomplete or uncertain information. (Nielsen, 2010)

To be honest, I doubt the feasibility of this solution. The amazement of Wikipedia is that everyone can “voluntarily” edit the content of the site.

“Protection is a tool for quality control, but it hardly defines Wikipedia,” Mr. Wales said. “What does define Wikipedia is the volunteer community and the open participation.” (Hafner, 2006)

There is no reason for those “peers” to help editing the content which they are not interested in. And, where should we find the “peers?” According to Baker (2007),

Wikimedia attracts 7 billion page views per month and Google refers 24% of its traffic. The only larger referral for traffic is internal links within the Wikimedia network. Meaning Google sends Wikimedia almost 1.7 billion referrals a month. (Baker, 2007)

This is 2007 data; I believe that the number can be much amazing now. From these amounts of users, how can we find the appropriate user to tweak the content?

Although there are the conflicts of Wikipedia that Nielsen (2010) mentioned about, I think the value of it does not be decrease. Just like Johnson (2010) mentioned,

WHEN TEXT IS free to combine in new, surprising ways, new forms of value are created. Value for consumers searching for information, value for advertisers trying to share their messages with consumers searching for related topics, value for content creators who want an audience. And of course, value to the entity that serves as the middleman between all those different groups. (Johnson, 2010)

Even though the content of Wikipedia is free for everyone, it still creates amazing value.

Basic economics tells us that in a competitive market, price falls to the marginal cost. There’s never been a more competitive market than the Internet, and every day the marginal cost of digital information comes closer to nothing. (Anderson, 2008)

Therefore, I think the connections mentioned by Johnson will stay alive since it is too hard to really charge from users. And the user-generate content will make this medium more and more profuse.

Activism: National Urban League

17 Oct

The political organization I chose is the National Urban League (NUL). It is also known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes. The NUL was founded in 1910 and is a nonpartisan civil rights organization which dedicates to enable African American parity, economic power and civil rights. Unlike MoveOn which points out that they have 5 million members across America, I cannot find the member amount within NUL’s website.

Compare the homepage of MoveOn and National Urban League, I have to say that the website of NUL is much organized than the MoveOn’s website. On the NUL’s homepage, it clear categorizes some basic information such as “Who We Are,” “What We Do,” where can users find their affiliates and how to get involved. On the MoveOn’s homepage, all the information which was mentioned above are put under the “About” button.

Under “What We Do” category, the NUL clearly points out that they “employs a five-point approach to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for African Americans.” The five points are “education and youth empowerment,” “economic empowerment,” ”health and quality of life empowerment,” “ civic engagement and leadership empowerment” and “civic rights and racial justice empowerment.” Beneath the strategy, the NUL operates 25 national programs through their affiliates. Unlike the NUL, MoveOn categorizes their task in two: Political Action and Civic Action and it mentions these under “About” category.

Although the website design of these two organizations are quite different, both of them put the social network links on the homepage. They all operates their own Facebook, Twitter and Youtube pages. In their Facebook page, MoveOn has 102,208 people who like it and the NUL only has 6,342.

On the MoveOn homepage, it clearly shows their current campaigns and indicates the campaign belonging to political action or civic action (Now all the campaigns are political action). And each campaign has its clear goal such as “keep foreign corporate money out of our elections.” People can sign the petition in this campaign (even who are not members). On the NUL website, it also has events people can sign in. However, signing in some of the events will redirect users to other organization’s website. It seems that the NUL also cooperates with other political organizations.

From my observation, a lot of events which are held by the NUL are not based on the Internet. It emphasizes on local events which people can attend. Therefore, it does not take the three features of the Internet mentioned by Rohlinger and Brown (2009) as the useful tool. It may “provides a free space for challengers to form oppositional points of view away from dominant groups” (p134). And since it has many affiliates which are managed locally, it may be able to “move challenges from the virtual to the real world” (p134) easily. However, the risk of associated with activism still exists. Challengers cannot participate anonymously. I think it loses the biggest advantage the Internet which can help the NUL and its members achieve their goal.

Media Diary 7: analysis

17 Oct

I woke up about 10:30am today. As routine, I checked my email, Facebook and MSN. After reading the news on Yahoo Taiwan, I started to work on my assignment.

Just as I wrote yesterday, it was a day full of readings. However, after dinner, I still took a rest watching TV with friends who came to our apartment afternoon making caramel candy with my roommate. The movie we watched on TV was Step Up. I knew that it got sequel which was shot in 3D. I am curious how it will look like.


From these days of writing media diary, I think there are some interesting things which I did not notice before.

First, I cannot imagine the days without the Internet. I obviously too relied on the Internet to do anything including contact friends since I did not text now and barely called others on cell phone. And I do not own a home phone. The time which I spent on chatting with friends on MSN and watching friends’ status on Facebook seemed to be much than the time I talked to human beings face-to-face. I do not think it is a good phenomenon but I am afraid that will become a trend. I know one of the reasons is lots of my friends and family are in Taiwan and I have to use the Internet to contact with them. And the other reason may be that is the life of graduate student. However, I thought back the time I was in Taiwan, I often hung out with friends after work or school. And I made calls and texted a lot. I was still addicted to Facebook and MSN. Well, I really do not want to see the day that the only things I talk to are laptop or smartphone.

Second, I loved to watch TV when I was in Taiwan. However, I found out that I only watched TV about 3 times and less than 3 hour combined. Instead, I used laptop to watch Taiwanese show and Korean drama. I think it is a good for me that even when I watched some show which I was really interested in on TV, I can cut it off anytime. Unlike the days I was in Taiwan, I could spend like 5 hours watching TV and do nothing.

Third, though I still spend a lot of time on the Internet, the websites and software I use are really different from those I used in Taiwan. I used to get on PPT everyday when I was in Taiwan. But now, I may only check it one time a week or even less. I never used Funsion or other online TV watching software before. However, I watch shows on it almost every day.

The last but not the least, there are much more media I used in this week than I expected. Before writing media diary, I thought that I might only be able to name 3 media I used. However, after thinking and watching carefully, there are so many media around me every day such as billboard, advertising on the bus, flyer and even menu. I know that the media I used may be less than others since I do not text and barely watch TV. Nevertheless, I am still happy that I could mention media other than the Internet.

Media Diary 6: Orlando

16 Oct

I was woken up by my cell phone about 10:20am since my friend called me saying he was ready to pick us up to Orlando. I called my roommate to get ready on cell phone (because I did not want to waste time to walk to her room) while got my things ready in short time.

We set the GPS and turned on radio. Because my friend loves to listen to Chinese music, he brought a lot of CDs. We randomly picked a CD to play and sang all the way to Orlando.

On our way to Orlando, my roommate saw the “Cracker Barrel” billboard beside the highway and really wanted to eat in that suddenly. Therefore, we decided to have our lunch at Cracker Barrel around 01:00pm and reset GPS to the nearest one. In Taiwan, billboard beside the highway is illegal since it may attract drivers’ attention and influence traffic safety. There were even some cases which created car accident because the drivers were too concentrating on the billboard to drive. However, we can still see a lot of billboard beside highway in Taiwan; maybe its effect is really high.

Anyway, we arrived Cracker Barrel and got attracted by the gift shop before eating anything. We had a lot of fun by playing all the toy instruments. I even checked the price label because I really wanted to buy one. My friends stopped me and said that it will definitely become one of the junks when I move.

I always have trouble with reading menu in the U.S. since there are too many categories. There are appetizers, entrees, and drinks. And after these, I have to decide what kinds of sides to order and my meat is medium or well done, etc. There are so many decisions I have to make before eating. Not mention those words which I cannot understand in the menu. I picked a cheeseburger and one of my friends decided to have the entrée on the flyer which was placed between the menu. The lunch was good anyway! After lunch, one man came to introduce himself as chef and manager. He politely asked my friend to fill out the questionnaire about the entrée he ordered. My friend gave it really high score because he was so full and satisfied.

We arrived the Mall at Millenia about 03:00pm. There are many screens in the round plaza within the mall in which it was broadcasting some catwalk show. It was weird since I did not see any relevance between the show and any store in the mall. Perhaps it was just trying to create some fashion atmosphere.

Before leaving the mall, I grabbed one catalog of Urban Outfitter. I love those print catalogs because its quality and ink smell.

We had our lunch in our favorite Taiwanese restaurant in the U.S.! We did not need the menu to order since we went there frequently. I wrote down the dishes we wanted on paper (Because we are really familiar to the restaurant and even called the owners aunt and uncle because they treat us so kindly) and waited while watching digital TV in the restaurant which was broadcasting some Taiwanese drama. After a fulfilling dinner, we drove and sang all the way home.

Tomorrow will be a day full of readings.