Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New New Media

Out of the many books that we have read for this class I found this book to be the most interesting. Every chapter of this book talks about a medium that has to deal with what we consider to be “new media.” Much of the book discusses very current aspects of media in which we can all relate to. I became quite intrigued with the chapters that dealt with my favorite type of medium: social media.

The author begins the book by introducing us with the first forms of media, which is e-mail and the Internet. The author then begins to introduce us to what is considered to be new new media. This part of the book is significant in understanding the term remediation. Many parts of what we consider new media today were taken from earlier forms of media. We must understand that the foundation of new media was established through old media.

To get back on the topic of my favorite type of medium, I have to say that I enjoyed the chapter about “Blogging.” Being the blogger that I am, I found many points of this chapter to be appealing. The section named “Blogging About Anything, Forever” was interesting because the author spoke about how blogs lack the complete reliable locatability of books. I find that blogging is something that cannot be compared to books. Where books focus on one thought, blogging consists of many thoughts. People enjoy the idea of blogging due to the fact that you are free to talk about anything and at any moment that you want, you can delete what you have written if you don’t want anyone to read it. Durability is another issue that is dealt with in terms of books and blogging. Unlike books, you can easily access your blog through a simple connection to the Internet. What I also enjoy about blogging is the fact that not only can you write your thoughts but you can also simply post pictures and videos that interest you. This medium also allows you to interact with other people and get a glimpse of the thoughts of other bloggers. Blogging is highly popular within the new media spectrum. People are more open to talk about there thoughts more then ever. We can honestly look at bloggers as modern day journalists.

The sections that were covered about Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace clearly displays how interaction is the reason behind the evolution of such mediums. Social media is quite innovative and unique given the fact that for anything to be under the “social media” spectrum it must consist of the interactions between people within the web. Although, the three are different in terms of the way people interact, they all still give its users the opportunity to have the freedom in speaking to anyone they want. As a user of all three, I found the usage of social media is the easiest way to communicate with people from all over the world. I have friends that live in other countries and the fact that I can easily contact them through such mediums has given me a greater appreciation for this type of new media. Social media has grown to establish a foundation in the way our society communicates. The way we communicate with those around us is constantly changing. There is no guarantee that the social media we have become accustomed to now is going to be relevant to society in the next few years. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace,YouTube, etc have become mainstream and it seems hard for the generation who has grown with them to imagine life without it.

Communication & Cyberspace sect. 4 & epil.

I found flaming to be a very interesting part of this chapter.  The book listed over ten different definitions that were all interesting and all had the same underlying meaning of vulgarity and unpleasantness on the computer.  My favorite definition is "rudeness, profanity, exultation, and other emotional outbursts by people when they carry on discussions via computer."  People now use the internet all the time.  Flaming is something that happens all the time on the internet.  We can see it on social networking sites or on the videos people post on YouTube.  
The above video is satirical but it gets the point across of what people do on the internet that is wrong, specifically in this case Facebook.  People can use blogging, twitter, facebook, myspace and other forms of new media to influence people with their  flaming.  People do not have to participate in flaming to be affected.  I had never thought about this until I had read this section.  When you write something on the internet it will never go away.  And writing hateful messages on the internet and on social networking sites like Facebook is terrible.  The first Amendment is used here but when you are applying for a job or trying to meet knew people and the first thing they see is hateful messages about people they know or ex-boyfriends/girlfriends they will be turned away.  Having something written down that is impolite and hurtful can be detrimental especially with the internet because nothing is truly erased, deleted, or gone.

New New Media Ch. 1-6

Youtube is a wonderful media.  In its young life it has transformed the way we view entertainment and media.  In the past it was hard to find videos of past events or shows.  Now because of how accessible Youtube is we can watch events that happened before we were born or re-live certain events.  I recently had to write an essay about 24 hour news coverage and what events would keep the media going.  Being able to go on a website like Youtube was a blessing.  I was able to watch clips of the Berlin Wall falling which I was not able to see until this website was introduced. 

Youtube can also be used to watch shows that you missed or watch upcoming Movie Trailers.  Youtube really is something that is unbelievable.  It is a free medium where anybody can watch clips of their favorite movies or watch an important event like what has happened in Egypt. 

Youtube is also for people who want to post their own videos.  It is a place to express yourself.  Many artists are becoming famous because of this website.  Justin Beiber, for instance, was a nobody and then he posted a video of himself singing and became a sensation.  Athletes are now posting themselves on Youtube so they can get scouted to the best universities.  This has become the new generation.  It is a way for people to get their information as quickly as possible and watch small clips without watching the full movie to get to their favorite part.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Final Paper: Online Piracy in the Music Industry

As evolving human beings in this world, we have not only been exposed to the Internet, but we have also enabled the Internet to become our environment. This technology has made both social interaction and the ability to obtain information extremely easy to participate in, in almost every way possible. The Internet, which can be referred to as "cyberspace" has drastically changed the way we humans function on a daily and minutely basis. Thanks to the Internet, new media has been created, and even new new media has evolved from that remediation.

What is new media, and how does it fit into our lives? “We may begin answering this question by listing the categories commonly discussed under this topic in the popular press: the Internet, websites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, virtual reality,” stated Lev Manovich in his book The Language of New Media. It seems as if anything that can be accessed with computerization can be considered new media, however it still may be too limiting. Manovich continues to state, “…the computer media revolution affects all stages of communication, including acquisition, manipulation, storage and distribution; it also affects all types of media—texts, still images, moving images, sound, and spatial constructions” (pg. 19).

New media is a revolution, and it is indeed affecting our culture. Take for example some of the earliest technologies such as the telephone, or television. Sure at first they were not necessities, but as more and more people caught wind of these technologies, they had to have them. I believe that many people strive to somewhat “fit in” with having the newest technologies, leading to making them seem like necessities in our lives. And in reality, people can surely live without a telephone, television, or a car, but they choose not to. As time evolves, so do the characteristics of “new media” and “new new media.”

According to Manovich, there are five principles that help characterize new media: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. These principles state: new media objects exist as data, the different elements of new media exist independently, new media objects can be created and modified automatically, new media objects exist in multiple versions, and the logic of the computer influences how we understand and represent ourselves. I definitely agree with Manovich that new media can be described as cultural forms that depend completely on computers for distribution and presentation; however, it can be hard to distinguish what new media actually are.

In my opinion, I think Manovich’s proposition of “What New Media is Not” helps clarify and almost categorize what is considered new media, and assists us in gaining a better understanding of the characteristics of new media. He teaches us that: New Media is not continuous or digitally encoded, New Media can be played on multimedia machine, New Media allows random access unlike a film or videotape, New Media can be lost because it contains a fixed amount of information, New Media can be copied endlessly, analog media cannot, and New Media is interactive and participatory. While reading The Language of New Media, this information helped me to determine how new media are formed, and how they change our culture throughout time.

New new media is however a bit different. According to Levinson, “New new media are always free to the consumer and sometimes to the producer. New new media give its users the same control of when and where to get text, sound and audio-visual content as provided by new media. Indeed, new new media package all the advantages that new media provide over old media” (pg. 3). However, most would argue that new new media goes above and beyond new media. Us new new media users are both the producer and the consumer—along with hundreds of millions of other users. Levinson does however point out to us readers that new new media can also be both personally and socially destructive, just like any other tool we use.

I would like to shift focus to an issue that new media has helped create and continue to enable over time—online piracy. After distinguishing the difference between new media and new new media, it made me ponder which category illegal music sharing and downloading would fit into. It is obvious that illegal music sharing and downloading is free to the consumer—at his or her own risk, but is it free to the person producing the music? It is absolutely free to the person sharing the file, however, to the artist who actually produced the music, he or she is not directly benefiting financially.

Neil Kleinman, contributing author of Communication and Cyberspace, stated, “Throughout the mid-20th century, the intent of the law was pretty clear—to create a copyright law that balanced two interests: the need to keep the marketplace unregulated and the need to stimulate enterprise…” (pg. 72). The intent of that law does seem pretty clear, however regulating intellectual property in a digital environment is extremely difficult, and somewhat controversial. I agree with Kleinman’s statement that property is indeed a question of control, access, and ownership, but property is hard to control and actually own while being extremely easy to access via the Internet.

“As free speech and privacy grow out of our commitments to property, so too does copyright law. The same elements are in play—ownership, property, and marketplace valuation.” (Kleinman, 77). The Internet makes duplicating all types of works seem almost legal, however we are cheating both the owner, artist, writer, musician, or entertainer, and our economy. On the other hand, Kleinman does argue that we believe that the idea of copyright is based on property that is actually physical and tangible, meanwhile, new media challenges our idea of copyright. He states, “…I have argued that new media makes a mess out of the delicate balance between the scope of copyright (what’s protected) and the duration of copyright (how long it’s protected). The digital Web-based technology triggers questions of copyright each time a work is displayed, distributed, stored or manipulated, and the technology protects materials long after their useful life is ended” (pg. 88).

So now I will ask, “Is piracy a good thing, or is all of it completely illegal?” This is a controversial issue in which many people, especially online users are affected by, and may not even know it.

If you have ever downloaded music from the popular site “Limewire” before, you can be labeled as a “pirate,” or someone who illegally copies materials that are copyrighted from the Internet.
If you decide to buy your music or movies from “ITunes,” then good for you, you are going about online downloading legally. Whether online users realize it or not, we are doing wrong by many artists when we decide to illegally stream music or movies online, resulting in the artist or industry losing money. However, what we also may not realize is that some artists enjoy their fans listening to their music or watching their movies online, because it is still promotional for them.

Piracy has been on the rise since before the Internet even existed. When radio was the only way to listen to music, the blank cassette made it possible for people to dub songs extremely easily. Since the rise of the Internet, online piracy has began to occur more frequently, and it is now easier than ever. People are able to burn CD’s and DVD’s off the Internet, and now, more popularly, people use illegal downloading sites for music and movie previews and actual views.

One can argue that it is completely obvious why online users would prefer to engage in online piracy; it saves users a fortune, there are many websites that enable illegal downloading to be extremely easy to access, it is not as time consuming when you are streaming from a site, and finally, it enables pirates to sample a song or movie before they buy it. The pro-piracy side of this ongoing, social and cultural debate argues that piracy provides many benefits economically and culturally in our world. The article “Pirates Are the Music Industry’s Most Valuable Customers,” helps bring light to this side of the argument stating that pirates who share music-files online, actually spend more money than non-pirates, therefore helping the industry. The author states, “If anything, the music industry should have more respect for file-sharers, as they are their most valuable consumers. They are ahead of the curve and actually leading the way for the future of digital music, buying more digital music than anyone else. It’s the music industry that has to change, not the other way around.” However, the artists who put a ton of time and dedication into their music are being robbed out of money, but also getting advertising for free. All of these reasons seem perfect to engage in this criminal behavior, but when it comes down to it, online piracy is illegal and people should not partake in it.

Many people will no engage in piracy, including myself, with good reasoning behind it. The Motion Picture Association of America Faq page answers many questions on how to find movies legally online, the penalties of illegal downloading, and if piracy really hurts the film industry. And according to the MPAA, piracy definitely has negative effects on the industry. The website states, “The global film industry lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy. For any industry, this is a devastating impact that means jobs, economic growth and new projects that don't see the light of day. There are fewer jobs to go around. There is less economic growth from this creative industry, and fewer movies and TV shows get made.” Just as Kleinman stated, copyright is not a legal argument, it is an economical argument.

As you can see, piracy has a huge negative effect on the economy, and pirates are not protected in their illegal activity. It is the question of whether or not this illegal activity is actually worth damaging jobs and our economy. Not only does downloading files illegally have high risks of viruses, they also are almost all bad quality, and you are partaking in scamming the music and movie industry out of an abundance of money. Every minute, musicians and actors are losing out, and not making the money they deserve. However, not all artists are against it.

Online piracy can be considered either a huge issue or an advantage to many artists. The laws against online piracy are made to protect the artist and the music and movie industries, but in reality, some see piracy as a huge help, enabling a greater fan base and definitely more advertising for the artist. But then, of course, there are the artists that are more than upset that they are not receiving a cut from their work being distributed and easily shared for free.

Musician and “Nine Inch Nails,” group member Trent Reznor has absolutely no problem with his fans accessing the band’s tracks and video footage on the Internet without paying for it. He also believes that giving away your music is the only way the artist will make money and explains in the article “Trent Reznor Explains What a Musician Needs To Do To Be Successful These Days,” on that new artists need to get noticed, build a following, and build a business model unlike the rest. The article states, “…the formula is basically: connect with fans and give them a reason to buy…and use free music to do both those things.” However he continues to state that signing with a label is the only way to become a superstar, but also a trap to give up everything to the industry. An extremely powerful statement the popular songwriter made in the article was, “The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact—it sucks as the musician but that’s the way it is (for now). So… have the public get what they want from you instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process…” If an artist gives his or her fans what they want, for example, free downloads from websites, the fans will come out and support the artist and attend concerts. This is still allowing the artist to make money but by winning over fans right off the bat.

Socially, Trent Reznor is giving his fans exactly what they want, and they love them for it. Is that what an artist needs to do to gain a greater fan base? Fans appreciate their favorite band doing things for them; it shows that they care about their following and want to give something back in return. According to, “Nine Inch Nails” released a digital download of their studio album The Slip on their website, for absolutely free. Obviously doing this for his fans, they responded with helping the video going viral after a short period of time. Online piracy is giving artists the opportunity to connect directly with their fans, which may or may not be giving fans the reason to get out there and buy albums or movies.

According to the article, “Radiohead’s Manager: File Sharing Should be Legal; It’s Great for Music,” it states that the popular band “Radiohead” also supported online piracy by conducting an experiment that allowed their fans to “pay what you want” for its last album. Their manager stated in the article that, “The sharing of music where it is not for profit is a great thing for culture and music.” It worked for Trent Reznor of “Nine Inch Nails,” and “Radiohead,” so can it work for just about any artist? Sadly, it is a risk that not every artist is willing to take, and I personally don’t blame them.

Not all artists want to take the charity route, or do not feel that they need to. As humans, money is naturally a number one concern in our lives, and the more you make, the more you want to make. Many artists do not want their albums or tracks to be easily accessed on the Internet for free. They work long and hard hours producing and recording these tracks and feel as if they should not be available for free, especially because it is illegal, it is going against copyright laws, and they are not making any profit.

Although I do not plan to work in this industry, I think working for free can be compared to any industry. The music and movie industries are based on expression and creativity, but making movies or albums is still a job. It does not matter how luxurious a career is, the individual still deserves compensation. A police officer would not enjoy fighting crimes for free, so why would an artist enjoy recording music that is just going to be shared on the Internet for free? It seems that the answer would be that musicians should be “all about the music,” and not about the profits. I can also see an argument that since “Nine Inch Nails” is extremely popular, well-known, and established, they can leak videos and tracks enabled to be downloaded for free because they have already earned more money than they probably have hoped for. Well, what about artists such as U2 or Madonna? They are also indeed established artists, but they both are against online piracy and believe it needs to come to an end.

According to, Madonna has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, is a huge pop icon, and is considered to be one of the most influential women in contemporary music. So why is she against online piracy? In the article, “Madonna Curses at Music Downloaders,” it states that Madonna wants all of her fans to think twice before illegally downloading music, and actually went as far to recording the saying, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” to play when someone thinks they downloaded one of her actual songs. The author states, “This follows what had appeared to be a “softening” of her stance, when she released unrestricted mp3s of her new songs to people who paid up early.”

After reading this article, I feel as if my stance on online piracy in the music industry may have become more liberal. Artists do have many reasons to be upset for not receiving profits for their work, but to go as far as recording a degrading statement to her fans was nothing short of ridiculous. I think it is respectable that Madonna is promoting the law of copyright, however I do not think the way in which she chose to promote the law was as respectable.

The well-known rock band from Dublin, Ireland, U2, also joins Madonna in taking a stance against file-sharing. They did not go as far as Madonna with insulting their fans, but they do believe that online music piracy is causing an extreme downfall in the music industry. In the article, “U2’s Manager Lashes Out Yet Again: Blames Absolutely Everyone for Not Making U2 Even Wealthier,” U2’s longtime manager, Paul McGuinness has no remorse in saying that the music business is being destroyed by online piracy. Bono agrees with his manager that, “Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies—companies that have used music to drive vast revenues from broadband subscriptions and from advertising,” are to blame. Basically they believe that absolutely everyone besides the recording industries is responsible for this ongoing problem—which is all made possible by new media. So, how do we solve it?

In my opinion, we have two options. We can keep fighting this ongoing issue, making more laws, punishing pirates, and asking artists to stand by our side, or we find an alternative way to get our artists and industry paid. I will remind you of the statement Trent Reznor made that I believe to be true, “The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact—it sucks as the musician but that’s the way it is (for now). So… have the public get what they want from you instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process…”

I personally agree with Trent Reznor that no matter what, music is free, and it is going to be extremely hard to establish laws that pirates cannot get around. However, just because these songs are released on the Internet, it should not automatically mean that since they are not tangible they need not to be considered under copyright law.

Obviously there are pros and cons of online piracy that we all are definitely aware of. What we are not aware of is that there are many different stances from artists about illegal file-sharing. I definitely think that the continuation of artists either speaking out for or against this issue is benefiting us fans and giving us a little bit more knowledge than we already have. In closing, Neil Kleinman said, “The point is that a discussion of copyright is not merely a legal argument, nor for that matter, an economic one. It reflects a view of language, culture, and the relationships we mean to have with each other. It is this we have to work through” (pg. 95).

How Social Media Can Make History

Inter- Personal Communication in the Age of New Media: Social Media

The emergence of new media has had a tremendous impact on the way we communicate What we used to consider as new media has today evolved into what we call social media Websites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as text messaging and Skype, have enabled people to connect from distant locations at a speed unimaginable to generations passed These innovations in social communication are fundamentally changing the way businesses and governments operate, but they are also impacting our personal lives. By transforming our world into a “small village”, social media is increasing our global awareness and breaking down the barriers of nations, religions, and ethnic groups In many ways these developments have been positive As cultural awareness and familiarity increases, prejudice and mistrust seems to simultaneously decrease Unfortunately, improvements in the realms of convenience and understanding have come at the expense of our ability to effectively communicate in person In other words, applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and text- messaging, could potentially damage our ability to communicate effectively It is therefore important to understand and analyze all the different aspects of the new social media before coming to a conclusion regarding their utility in our society

With over 600 million users, Facebook was not the first, but it is certainly the largest of the social networking sites As the blockbuster film “Social Network” reveals, Face book started as a website aimed primarily at college students but has now become popular among junior high and high school students, as well as adults Facebook has re-united friends and families through its search mechanism Facebook has also have been of great utility to businesses that are trying to get a better understanding of who their potential customers are The “Like” button has been the key to a world of valuable consumer information

Facebook is obviously increasing the amount of time that people communicate but is it diminishing our abilities to communicate in person? Consider an article written by Lisa Valentine in the Star Tribune during the summer of 2009 Valentine, a school counselor, argues that the art of communication is being lost to technology She believes that this development will have a large and negative impact on the youngest generation Some would certainly argue that the author is over-exaggerating and that social networking sites such as Facebook, are only improving our communication skills They claim that the new generation will be even better than their parents at communicating Although, some of these critics may be right, it is hard to ignore some of the evidence that suggests otherwise

Consider a study done by Stephanie Tong, Brandon Vander Heide, Lindsey Langwell, and Joseph B Walther in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication The Authors found that there is a direct correlation between the numbers of Facebook friends someone has and the amount of time they spend socializing in person In other words, people who spend more time on Facebook are less likely to engage in real life socializing Now some would certainly suggest that Facebook is merely a variable in this equation, and that it is not the cause of people’s lack of social skills but merely a way in which people that are less-socially inclined communicate with one another Even if this were to be true, it does not negate the fact that Facebook is enabling these people to avoid person-to-person communication Although, this study was focused more on people who are less-socially inclined, it has some implications for how Facebook is impacting society as a whole Furthermore, it may be more informative to observe the impact that Facebook is having on people who are at a medium level of social activity

When Facebook reached the 500 million-member mark in 2010, it was clear that this was no longer a site used only by hyper-social college kids and “teenie-boppers” Facebook has reached the mainstream across many layers of society

One cannot write about the impact of social media on interpersonal communication without discussing Twitter A brief history of the domination of Twitter is as follows:
Twitter is a website that offers a social networking and micro- blogging service Users are able to send and read messages called tweets Tweets are posts limited to 140 chracters isplayed on the user's profile similar to the statuses on one’s Facebook profile page Tweets can be seen by the public; though they can be made private or restricted to a user’s followers Anyone who creates a twitter account can subscribe to another user’s account to view tweets and other information posted by that user Twitter has had such an influence on the world that terms such as ‘tweet’ and ‘twitter’ have become a part of the mainstream lexicon used by the youth, not just in America, but also in many countries across the globe

Jack Dorsey created Twitter in March 2006 and launched the site in July 2006 Twitter has since achieved a massive popularity in the United States and abroad It is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day At the time of the creation of Twitter, Dorsey was an employee of the Odeo Corporation It was on March 21, 2006 that the first tweet was sent by Dorsey, “just setting up my twitter” Then launched publicly at Odeo on July 15, 2006, Twitter then branched out into its own corporation in April 2007

Steven Johnson, a Time essayist, explained the basic mechanics of Twitter as "remarkably simple” He wrote “As a social network, Twitter revolves around the principle of followers When you choose to follow another Twitter user, which user's tweets appear in reverse chronological order on your main Twitter page If you follow 20 people, you'll see a mix of tweets scrolling down the page: breakfast-cereal updates, interesting new links, music recommendations, even musings on the future of education”

Twitter has been ranked as one of the ten-most-visited websites worldwide according to Alexa's web traffic analysis, however daily user activity fluctuate as Twitter does not release information or statistics on users’ active accounts and profiles A February 2009 Twitter was ranked the third most used social network based on their count of 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits by competecom In March 2009, Twitter was ranked the fastest-growing website by the Nielsen organization From 2008 to 2009, Twitter had annual growth of 1,382 percent, increasing from 475,000 unique visitors to 7 million

According to Quancast, twenty-seven million people in the US used Twitter as of September 2009 Twitter is primarily used by older adults who may not have used, had access to, or were unfamiliar with other social sites that existed prior to Twitter, according to Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media Because of its relatively easy manner to use and lack of other applications as compared to Facebook or MySpace, older adults are now joining teenagers and adolescents in using Twitter According to Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times, only eleven percent of Twitter's users are aged twelve to seventeen She attributes this to Twitter's "early adopter period" in which social media networks were gaining an increase in user usage in companies, corporations, and other organizations in professional settings News outlets such as CNN and Fox News and other news outlets also used Twitter in their broadcasts and dispensing of news, which has led to Twitter attracting primarily older users Twitter has also appealed to celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher, and Britney Spears These celebrities are able to maintain regular access to their fans and offer communications and self-promotion in quicker and newer format than previously allowed in the past to celebrities Another term brought into the modern day lexicon is Twitterati, which refers to celebrities who use Twitter.

Another phenomenon to have a major impact (if not the biggest) on interpersonal communication is Text messaging Texting refers to the exchange of briefly typed messages between two users (either through LAN-line phones or cell phones or computer or other devices through a network) Originally texting referred only to text-based messages, however through the increasing development of modern technology texting messages can also refer to images graphics, and video & audio content

The first text message or SMS (Short Message Service) was sent by Neil Papworth, a test engineer for Sema Group in December 1992 He sent the message, “Merry Christmas” through his personal computer to Richard Jarvis’ telephone via the Vodafone network
Standard text messages are limited to 140 bytes, which are 160 characters from the English alphabet While texting arose in the 1990s, it did not reach its current popularity until the early 2000s The lack of early growth and usage was due, in part, to billing and charging issues

Today, however, text messaging is the most widely used mobile device service in usage As of 2007, 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide, or 24 billion out of 33 billion phone subscribers, were using text-messaging services

Text messaging is primarily used between private mobile cell phone users, as an alternate for voice calls during moments where voice communication is impractical or unfeasible In some areas, text messaging is considerably cheaper than placing a call to a mobile cell phone Text message services have developed and continue to develop quickly worldwide It is so popular that ‘texting’ has entered the common lexicon Text messaging has also become popular enough that many companies and organizations advertise by sending mass texts or repeating texts And it has even been incorporated into mainstream television and reality shows where viewers can vote for their favorites in various contests on such shows as American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.

The introduction of text messaging has made possible new forms of interpersonal communication and interaction that were impossible prior to its invention. What some consider a benefit is that an individual can now carry out an entire conversation without the effort of having to actually speak to another person Another benefit is not having to worry about the expectation of having to respond in quick amount time or without having to set time to physically hold a conversation

Texting and social media have played a major role in world politics as evidenced by the use of social media during the recent events in Egypt and the Middle East During the events, protestors were able to communicate with each other and the rest of the world via text messaging and posts on Twitter and Facebook CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and other news media outlets were receiving reports from journalists and reporters In fact, some would say the initial ideas for the revolutions sprang forth from social media with postings on Twitter and Facebook
Web based social networking services, like emailing, instant messaging, and sites like MySpace and Twitter make it viable for people to connect and share their interests, opinions, activities, and happenings across political, religious, economic, cultural, ethnic, national, language, and geographic borders Through e-mail and text messaging, online communities are created, formed, nurtured, perpetuated and are encouraged through cooperation amongst vast networks of users Information is readily shared and made available to the public and other users via the Internet Most of this information can be beneficial, but in some cases, detrimental as will be presented further along in this paper

Facebook and other social networking sites are progressively more the object of scholarly research Scholars in many fields (including business, science, engineering, psychology, etc) are beginning to scrutinize the bearing of social networking sites and are investigating how such sites may play into issues of self identity, confidentiality, society, youth, and education.

Several websites are starting to note the power of the social networking model for charity and philanthropic work These websites and social media outlets make available options for connecting otherwise disjointed industries and small organizations without the capital to reach a wide-ranging audience with similarly interested users Social networks are forging ahead with different ways for individuals to communicate digitally The capabilities of texting and social media allow for the sharing and dispensing of information and ideas

Taking such a pivotal role in world affairs is just one of the many examples of how social media has impacted positively on interpersonal communication Social media has forever changed how the world communicates within itself People who are unable to pay high rates for calling, can send a message via text message They can send photos and videos via Facebook They can comment on their activities via Twitter They can ‘chat’ via instant messaging They can even video chat with the use of a webcam and programs such as Skype Also, the speed with which people can communicate is increased exponentially Another positive aspect to social media is the fact that people can communicate in large numbers They can keep in touch with people who they have not communicated with in years Also, awkwardness can occur when people physically speak via the phone or even face-to-face Social media alleviates the stress of personal encounters between two or more people Social media is like a cyber window into the lives of its users

The aforementioned examples listed above with regard to the type of technology imparted to the world by social media, the speed with which one can communicate, and the quantity of simultaneous communicators However, many more examples can be given for the positive benefits of social media As previously stated with the role of social media in Egypt and the Middle East protests, social media links and connects the world in quick massive bursts of texts, videos, and other data formats to get messages across Social Media outlets like MySpace and Youtube allow artists (both cinematic and musical) venues for reaching a much larger and wider audience in a faster manner Artists such as Lily Allen, Justin Bieber, and Rebecca Black have all risen to fame (and in some cases notoriety) through the use of social media They release audio tracks on their websites They then make corresponding videos released on YouTube Within days or weeks, they can have nearly a million “hits” Hits refer to the number of views a specific video clip or also refer to the number of times an audio track has been listened too Hits also generates “word-of mouth” buzz around each artists On a plus side for the fans, but perhaps a negative for the artists, viewers are also able to comment or give their opinion about the particular artist This is an active forum for users, giving them a semblance of creditability for which they can offer their critiques While in some cases (like Rebecca Black), the criticism can be hurtful and downright cruel for the artist In other cases (like Justin Bieber) the viewer feedback can translate to deals and contracts with major record labels and producers “Hits” to various production or recording companies translates into monetary gain through which they can profit from their musical or cinematic artists

In 2010, Michael A Stelzner, who organized the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, has compiled a comprehensive list of the seven social media marketing benefits, after surveying 1,898 marketers

These seven benefits include: (1) generate qualified leads, (2) sell products/services – both contributing to revenue growth, (3) generate exposure, (4) increase subscriber traffic, (5) generate new business partnerships, (6) reduce marketing expenses, and (7) help sell services and products

As with all things, there are negative aspects to social media Some see the heavy reliance to social media like Facebook and Twitter as an addiction People will spend hours logged into their computers avoiding the outside world, to the extent of lack of self-care Hygiene and health can be impacted negatively Also some see the dangers of social media with the lack of privacy and censorship Many users broadcast every minute deal and their up-to-the-minute activities Online users who share private and personal information online sometimes fear that this gives access to cyber criminals who may attempt to steal one’s identity There is also the general fear that organizations like Facebook and MySpace sell or reveal their users’ information to various companies that can abuse this information for financial or personal gain

Social media has developed into the new age of what we consider new media With this said, social media has grown to establish a foundation in the way our society communicates. The way we communicate with those around us is constantly changing. There is no guarantee that the social media we have become accustomed to now is going to be relevant to society in the next few years. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, texting, etc have become mainstream and it seems hard for the generation who has grown with them to imagine life without it.