The Glitter of the Internet

Recently, we learned the difference between viral media, spreadable media, and sticky media from the excerpt of the book Spreadable Media. What most of us call viral would actually classified as spreadable. Adorable cat videos that your friends post all over your social media feeds are an example of spreadable media. Your friends found them and they appealed to them so they wanted to share them with you in hopes that you’ll enjoy them. Opposing spreadable media is viral media that holds true to its name. This media comes in the form of such things as pop ups and diverted web pages. A person doesn’t go looking for it, it just shows up and spreads itself through clicks in the right places.

Where viral media uses trickery and lies to spread itself, spreadable media needs to convince actual people that it’s worth sharing. The following graphic from Harvard Business Review shows why the sharers of a particular video shared the video.

F1509Z_VS_VIRALVIDEOS1

From the chart, opinion seeking is the biggest reason why people share. The video made an impression on them and they want to see if their friends and associates have either a similar opinion or possibly even a dissenting opinion. The other top reasons for sharing, social utility and conversation starting, also revolve around a sharer’s friends. With this tidbit of information, the best way to make a video, picture, or hashtag go viral is to make it so that people will want to share it with their friends and their friends share it with their friends and so on until it’s everywhere, like loose glitter.

Another aspect of getting spreadable media to launch is to launch it from the right location(s). A video of rabbits playing hockey loaded only to YouTube might go ‘viral’, but it’ll take a long time for someone to sift through the millions of videos on YouTube and find it and then share it. If you load your rabbit hockey video to YouTube and then link it to every access point you have on the internet, then it has a better chance of spreading. Eventually someone of note on the internet will find it and post the hockey bunnies to their blog or site that has hundreds of thousands of followers and then it becomes glitter.

Just think of places you were introduced to ‘viral’ videos on the internet; chances are it was on a popular site. Have you ever seen a ‘viral’ video before it was ‘viral’? Have you ever posted something that was found later on somewhere you didn’t expect to see it?

The Online Parasite

This past week we talked about online harassment and in what ways occurs. According to Pew Research Center’s online harassment summary, about three quarters of adult internet users have either witnessed or experienced online harassment. Online harassment varies from less severe name calling and embarrassment  to the more severe form of threats and stalking. The article discusses who experiences the different forms of harassment and where they are most likely to encounter it; however, the articles doesn’t really go into much depth of how people should deal with harassment. When it came to the less severe forms of harassment like name calling and rude comments a lot of us where of the opinion of just to ignore it.

The newest episode of South Park, Safety Space, addresses Online Harassment and offers it’s own way to deal with it. Cartman posts a shirtless picture of himself and is then upset when he reads all the mean replies about him being a fat-ass. In South Park fashion the obvious solution to the harassment is to have someone run his accounts and filter all his social media comments and give him a daily report of only the nice comments. This task falls on Butters who ends up running the accounts of several insecure people and celebrities and creating their safe space, a place where its only supportive nice things and nothing mean. It makes a statement that the internet is a cruel place and that no one is really invincible from ridicule on the internet and that a lot of it shouldn’t be taken so seriously.

However, there are instances where internet harassment can’t be ignored or shouldn’t be ignored. In the John Oliver segment about online harassment, he talked about the more serious forms of harassment such as threats and revenge porn. The internet has advanced so much faster than the laws that help regulate it that things like revenge porn and serious threats are still possible and there’s not much that can be done to prevent it or punish the culprits. These acts leave people feeling traumatized and helpless, which are feelings nobody want, especially from the internet.

I’m all for freedom of expression on the internet and everything, but to a certain degree. There’s no way to ever stop name calling and trash talk but once harassment gets to the point where it affects someones life it’s crossed the line. The only true way to stop harassment is to disconnect from the internet when possible; especially if someone doesn’t want to deal with it or can’t deal with it. The sad thing is that online harassment isn’t going to go away, because the internet is too free of a medium. If the internet gets monitored to the point where all harassment stops, the internet is basically lost as an outlet of expression. Would you be willing to give up internet freedom for a less hostile environment in some situations? Has harassment affected you, or ever ruined your internet experience?

Twitter Threats and You

What amount of freedom with your speech are you really allowed on the internet? Everyone in the United States has a right to say what they want without threat of punishment, given to us by the first amendment. 

People usually interpret this as they can say anything they want, against whoever they want, whenever they want. This is not true. The amendment protects your right in regards tot he government, not that guy you really don’t like down the street. this idea is also contested on the internet. Social websites, where people can post anything they’re thinking, are a hot spot for this debate. in an article from the Washington Post, a twitter user known for being a “far-right mega-troll”, was banned for allegedly threatening someone over twitter. He fought the ban, but lost because twitter is a private industry. As a private industry twitter can set it’s own rules on how people should behave and conduct themselves on their platform. Charles Johnson, the user that was banned, behaved in contrast to how Twitter wants their users to behave. He threatened someone and whether or not it was meant to be serious it was still a threat and Twitter acted upon it. Another instance of people crossing the line with their internet behavior is when a teenager made a threat to American Airlines over twitter.Twitter

American Airlines did not take it lightly she ended up getting arrested. Even is she meant it jokingly, it was not taken lightly. This is just another instance of people saying what they want whether it’s serious or not and having it backfire on them.have you ever been banned from a website or received repercussions from something you said online? Do you always think over a comment or post before actually posting it? Unlike what I do with my blogs.

Let’s Change History

Wikipedia is fastly becoming the top location for someone to learn something new or research on the internet. According to the “Define Gender Gap?” article, Noam Cohen reports that 53 percent of adult internet users use Wikipedia as a research source. This is back from 2010 so that number has most likely grown since then. The thing is though, is that Wikipedia is a peer based encyclopedia that can be edited and changed by anyone with an internet connection. Contributors usually provide knowledgeable information that is accurate but sometimes there is a jokester that decides to abuse their editing powers and add misinformation. For example, someone decided to edit the page for a children’s book with false albeit funny facts.

…and, of course, children's literature. With all the unrestricted access to articles that people can edit, they can change history to say whatever they want. In the clip from the Colbert Report about Wikipedia he changed articles to show how easy it was to edit an article to a belief rather than a fact. His modified the article about George Washington , so that it said he never owned slaves and he made a statement that the elephant population is rapidly increasing. Both of these changes actually happened on the site. According to an article written after the show people kept changing elephant related articles  so much that Wikipedia actually locked the articles. We all were tasked with making our own changes to a Wikipedia page and it just didn’t seem right that it was so easy to do. Especially how we’re all used to having to make accounts and register on other websites to do anything. Do you trust everything you read on Wikipedia? Have you ever contributed anything major to Wikipedia? Was there anytime you came across misinformation on Wikipedia?