While watching Clay Shirky’s Ted talk for this assignment the only place on the internet that was ringing through my head was reddit. Reddit is a combination of both of the communal and civic sides of Shirky’s argument on making the world a better place. It is communal in the fact that it is home to the lolcatz, as well as silly things like birds with arms, yet upon one visit to their site they have a range of links to news from around the world, much of which I never see while browsing through channels on my TV. The main page has a combination of both communal, funny material, and civic, news articles from around the world. Reddit has a found a way to mix the funny and meaningful into one well rounded website.
This is extremely beneficial to someone like me who doesn’t tend to actively seek out news but if it is placed right in front of me I don’t mind looking it over. I started using reddit a couple of years ago and it has become one of my main news sources as it gives links to articles from nearly every news source so I can see more than just one perspective. That is amazing thing because many people get caught just looking through the eyes of one news source and don’t see all the angles. Reddit is amazing in the fact though that it took someone who was just looking to be entertained by a funny picture or meme and turning them into someone who wants to see what is happening around the world. This type of multipurpose platform is much more beneficial than people think about because most people view reddit as only a humor site, yet it is so much more. They also does things similar to Ted talks but they are called ASA’s or ask me anythings. They get people such as Bill Gates or famous actors to log onto reddit and the reddit users can ask them questions about anything and most of the questions actually get answered.
One of the beautiful things about reddit also is that it is user based so all of the posts that are being placed on there are done by just average everyday people. This website is truly the community informing the community about what is going on in society. I personally have never put up things like news articles but have put up some humorous memes. While this isn’t a much help to the civic side of cognitive surplus it is a start in being part of the community. I am not sure that my talents would be of much benefit to the civics but to the communal I could defiantly help. I think it helpful enough of me to stay informed unlike so many people my age and younger that doesn’t understand enough about what is going on in the world around us.


Free Marketing

Generation like has become entangled with social media to the point that it is becoming scary. There is no line for them between private and public information. The only thing that they appear to care about is becoming famous and most of them believe they can achieve this by putting pictures on Facebook or Instagram for likes. Companies are also using these social medias to see what things kids now a days are in to, whether it is a new apple product or a video gaming system. These companies are also finding a cheap and extremely effective way to market to this teen generation. The older generation still has a small presence on social media sites but are far outnumbered by the youth today. The youth have found an outlet on social medias which is almost like a diary of old. In the video they made a great analogy that liking things on social media is what hanging a poster or wearing a t-shirt was for younger generations. Since these teens are showing the world the things they like, they are giving the companies a way to see what is the new “cool” thing for the kids. I can remember myself as a teen on Myspace and Facebook seeking out certain bands and athletes that I liked. Companies have found a way to put these kids to work for free, also as we saw in the movie. The girl who was obsessed with the Hunger Games said she would spend hours at a time trying to become the number one fan. She would constantly keep tweeting about hunger games showing everyone who followed her anything they needed to know about it.
Another way they are trying to do this is by putting videos of themselves talking about anything from celebrities to pranking random people on the street. While the majority of these people won’t become millionaires some of them have found a way to get some of the things they want, such as Tyler Oakley. Essentially a random kid who started putting videos of himself talking about anything from his favorite band to hanging out with other internet faux celebrities. While he hasn’t made insane amounts of money he has got to do awesome things like getting paid trips to go to the MTV awards. It is amazing to think that some boy band obsessed kid could become an internet faux celebrity and be able to have a paid trip to the MTV music awards. I think, seeing how many people such as myself have probably never heard of these internet faux celebrities from the documentary, the best way to describe them would be faux celebrities. I call them this because they aren’t making the type of money say a Brad Pitt is but they are still relatively well known. These faux celebs however have become quite the marketing tools as well as companies will send them their products in order to market them to the people who follow them. In some of the videos you constantly hear “And a big thanks to my sponsors” followed by a good review on one of their products. While they make a bit of money the company is getting super cheap advertising and getting there product out to millions of people. The real question is what will this do to the advertising and marketing fields?

Don’t Tread on My Internet!

The Internet is one of the most vital tools that we have as a society. It is becoming like a resource and we all should have a right to have it and at a fair price. We use the internet for so much in our life whether it is to find news or information for school or to keep in touch with friends on social media sites. This week we are to contemplate the idea of Internet Service Providers running a monopoly scheme on us and raising the prices of internet usage. I believe that people for awhile would continue to pay the rising prices and continue to complain about it. It is very similar to the gas situation, which is why I called the internet a resource. While we complain about the gas prices nearing $4 and some places being over, we continue to pay because we need it. We need gas to get around to work, to drive to hang out with friends, and for a lot of us in summer to go on vacation. The Internet has become such a major part of everyday life, I believe that people would continue to pay rising prices in order to keep it.
I live with my girlfriend in an apartment and our internet service costs us $30 a month. This is relatively cheap and around the same price as anywhere in Springfield. As I have said as a society I think we use the internet a ton and personally I know that both of us use more than our fair share of time on the internet, her for things like shopping and social media and myself for gaming and streaming things like Netflix, so this $30 a month I feel is being utilized. For the sake of this blog, let’s say that our Internet Service Provider starts raising the prices on a monthly basis. Since I have already likened this to the gas situation we will keep it the same way. So sometimes our bill for the month will be $35 but it can be as high as $80. This would be out of the question to keep in our eyes as we are tightly budgeted as is while we attempt to save. I think that many people however would continue with this outrageous system as they are so accustomed to the internet. Some may try to just go to place with free Wi-Fi such as a coffee shop but as the prices rose would they not start having to charge for usage there as well?
If all the companies started to try and raise prices I think that my breaking point would be at about $60 a month. I love playing video games and watching whatever I want, whenever I want so it would be tough for me to lose that privilege. I think that around $60 a month it wouldn’t even be worth my time however and I would find a cheaper means of entertaining myself such as going back to the time when you only watched what was on TV (yes, it would feel like stepping into the past now). I believe that many people, especially those that could afford it, would continue into the hundreds however because we are so dependent on the internet. I really hope this stays how we have discussed, just as a hypothetical question, because it would be so difficult to do simple everyday tasks without using the internet anymore.

It is weird to think how much of what we do online is being watched. Whether it is by the NSA or Google we are constantly being tracked for information. I think it is wrong for them to do such a thing. One of the greatest parts about freedom is the idea of privacy. Although it was started with good intentions, such as keeping us safe, they did not pick a good way of doing it. The NSA could easily have used the Thinthread system where they could still listen in on everything but keep it anonymous unless they had a warrant to check who it was. This way if someone was plotting to do something horrible such as 9/11 they would be able to hear it and get a warrant to check who was saying it. This system was never used prior to 9/11 because it was thought as being unlawful because it was spying on our own citizens. It is one thing if they wanted to look at other countries because they always spy on one another but to not trust and look in on your own citizens seems like a whole different ballgame. It really is a case of big brother listening in and always watching what people are doing.

I believe it is a great infringement on people’s privacy and the way they did it was not the most transparent, legal means. If this is as legal as the last two presidents have claimed it to be, how come they won’t explain what they are really looking at and how come the people who have actually told us the truth have been labeled as unpatriotic? Throughout watching the videos about “The Program” it seems like General Hayden had the choice to spy on everyone or pick a better way that keeps private lives private. I think the power was too much for him and he started to run wild with the idea that they needed to look at everyone and anyone. It really says something when a lot of your top people start leaving because they have moral issues with what is going on.

I think it is a real predicament to use cyber weapons. It would no doubt be very effective but at what cost? It is very interesting as well that people are so insanely smart with computers that hackers could take control over some of our weapons. It would be beneficial for our troops if we used cyber weapons because there would be less of a chance that they would be sent out to fight. Also if we could find a way to hack into our enemies electronics we could render their weapons ineffective.

birds with arms

The internet has changed the world. This is one of the biggest facts of our time. Much of the majority of the populations day revolves around the internet one way or another. One of the most major ways that it has taken over is through social media and other user-generated content. I know personally if I get bored, which isn’t a rare occurrence, I grab my phone or computer and look at Facebook or a humor website called Tickld. Both of these websites consist of nothing but user-generated content.

Facebook and Twitter have become the standards of all user-generated content. You can get on anytime of day and see what people are doing or what they are reading as feeds are constantly filled with links to articles on other websites or pictures that people just added. These articles are usually ridiculous things about “20 hilarious things kid say” or I personally never update anything on my Facebook. The only thing that may happen is that new pictures other people took may be put on. I have become what is affectionately known as a lurker.

Lurking is when you go to a website like Facebook or discussion forums and don’t add or contribute but just read on what others are doing. I had always vowed never to make a Twitter account because I am very against this social media craze and I believe it gives away too much about our personal lives. This class of course made me break that vow but I have tried to keep my account as bare-boned as possible. I can’t understand why people put up everywhere they are and every little thing they do. The main reason I have tried to stay away from new social media is the hashtag. It has become incredibly annoying to see people who use these especially when they are using five plus. I think that these have become part of the problem of dumbing people down

In our readings when we came across the Lolcatz, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite sub-reddits, birds with arms. This consists of people photo shopping human arms on birds. While it sounds extremely dumb, and really is extremely dumb, for some reason I find it hilarious. The absurdity of things like this on the internet has become, for people like me one of the greatest aspects of it. I think that Reddit is a great place to look at how the internet is helping spread knowledge, yet at the same time putting up dumb pictures and memes. Just one look on the Reddit homepage and you can see how all of these mix together. It is full of user-generated content as well as nearly all memes are created by users. There are an infinite amount of sub-reddits that people can go to that show all different types of material for any interest.


Tickld is similar to Reddit and many of the same memes can be seen on both sites. It is a community that is generally humor based but can have fact based material or emotional stories. These are all user-generated content as well. The internet has become the hub for people to say anything they want. Whether this is good or bad is up to the user to decide.

Week 2

                This week we are discussing the similarities between the “internet” as it was in the beginning, starting with the telegraph, and what it has become. We are also to talk about the similar problems that each faced at their respective begins. Even though there is a major time gap between when both were invented they both had troubles at the start.

                For the telegraph the initial troubles were quite easy fixes but since the men who were building them were amateur inventers they didn’t know the technology for their instruments to go long distances were already created. The problem that they were running into was they were using a voltaic current instead of an alternating current. The voltaic current isn’t able to carry an electromagnetic field far because as it travels it loses larges amount of energy. The alternating current on the other hand can carry an extremely high voltage because it stops and reverses the current to make it collapse back on itself. Essentially this means that the energy that is being lost in voltaic currents is being pulled back in on an alternating current to keep up large amounts of energy.

                The next major problem that the telegraph ran into was an unwillingness for governments to use and help fund them. Both governments in the US and across the pond were unwilling to part ways with the optical telegraph for the electric telegraph. That is until William Morse showed the potential of the telegraph by relaying a message an hour quicker than the out dated way. Once it was shown to be successful they very quickly spread throughout the US and in Europe.

                The internet didn’t quite have the trouble of unwillingness to use the new invention. The trouble was figuring out an easier way to connect different computers at greater distances. At the beginning the internet was a collection of small server hubs located primarily on the West and East coasts of the US. These servers were generally part of military bases or universities. There was three major players that really help make the internet what it is today and they were Whit Diffie, Tim Berners-Lee, and Linus Torvalds.

Whit Diffie had the idea of giving people “keys” that would allow people to communicate with others that they had never met before. Tim Berners-Lee was the true father of the World Wide Web so to speak. He came up with a way to connect all the different types of computers, such as Apple, Unix, and IBM, together so that each could communicate with one another. Linus Torvalds devised a way to create a new operating system and put it up for free on the internet so that people could add to what he was doing to create one of the best operating systems of its time. The best part about it was that it was free and anyone could add anything to help it run smoother and better than what just one man could do alone.

                Once both of these inventions showed how easily they could connect people around the nation and world they exploded. They both spread like wildfire and by that I mean they grew extremely quickly. People began to expand on the ideas of one another, especially in regards to the internet, which allowed for a cheap, simple, and quick way to spread new ideas and information from all around the world. Without these inventions communication as we know it would be much slower, costly, and just all around tougher to do.