The New Year

As we enter a new year, I can’t help but to reflect on the old year and make resolutions to do certain things differently in this new year. I encourage others to make resolutions and stick to them. In order to stick to our resolutions, they have to be realistic, and we have to ask for God’s help.

I expect great things in 2013! There will be major changes in my life and I am ready to embrace those changes. I have some expectations, but for the most part I don’t know what lies ahead for me. I am trusting in the Lord and I believe that He will take care of me. I encourage you to do likewise and face this year head-on placing all your trust in God. All the best in 2013. Happy New Year!

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Internet Marketing

This week in class we discussed how the internet can be used to market a business. Most persons came up with the idea of using social websites such as Facebook or Twitter. These days, most businesses have accounts for almost all the social websites. I constantly come across business pages on Facebook.

Social websites have a large number of users. Businesses that use these websites to market their products are reaching a large number of persons who could become their customers. Marketing in this way is fast, easy, cheap, and in most cases free. Another good thing about it is that this type of marketing is global.

Another tool suggested was mobile apps. A number of individuals have android phones and use mobile apps daily. Businesses advertise through these apps. For example, when you are about to play a game, an ad will come up before you can begin the game or during the game.

The type of media chosen to advertise would depend on the type of customers the company wants to cater to. To reach gamers, game apps can be used. For children, they can use ads during cartoons or children shows. For the young adult population, social websites such as Facebook or Twitter can be used. For older folks, blogs can be used. These are just a few examples. The internet is definitely a very effective marketing tool.

Follow these tips for successful internet marketing.

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Evaluating Information on the Web

The internet is now much more widely used than libraries and other sources of authentic information. The number of persons reading newspapers has declined and more news networks are establishing their online presence. When we want information, we simply type our queries into a search engine such as Google. But do we ever stop to question how authentic the information we are getting off the internet is?

We are given tips on how to determine whether or not information from certain websites should be trusted, how to spot spam and phishing, and how to evaluate our sources. But even websites with an established reputation of being reliable can publish misleading information. Take for example this incident (FBI arrests man in shares hoax) where the public was deceived by one young man who gave false information about a company. The consequences of the publishing of this one piece of misleading information  was severe.  A lot of money was lost. The young man was caught and arrested, but the effects of his actions still remain. The company that published the false information was one that was trusted by many. For six years, they published authentic information and so it was easy for their readers to be deceived. This incident tainted the credibility of the company.

This shows us that we have to really think twice about how credible information on the internet is. Hackers crack codes everyday and there is no telling which websites they will attack and what sort of information they will thwart. It is always good to double check whatever information we get online.

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Should employees be allowed to surf the internet at the workplace?

I was always of the opinion that allowing employees to use the internet for non-job related activities would cause them to be less productive. Despite this opinion, I find myself using the internet for non-job related activities at my workplace whenever I have a computer available at my work station. However, my internet use would mainly be to check emails and do searches. I would not visit social websites while on work because, to me, social websites are off limits in the workplace. It just seems wrong.

I was surprised to read that allowing workers to browse the internet actually enhances their productivity. The reason given was that when workers phase-out for a short while, they become more alert and are able to function better. Using the internet for non-job related activities is a good way for workers for phase-out from the job.

So does this mean that employers should just allow their employees to surf the net anytime they wish? As with everything, overindulgence will do more harm than good. Workers have to use the internet in moderation. According to a University of Melbourne study, workers become more productive if they spend less than 20% of their work time surfing the internet.

In light of this new study (and my tendency to use the internet for personal activities at work), I am now of the opinion that depending on the job, workers should be allowed to use the internet but this should be done in moderation and their internet use should be regulated.

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Cyber crime. Can we avoid it?

We live in an age of technological advancement. Everything is becoming computerized. More and more business is conducted online. We share so much information over the internet. The world is becoming a big melting pot, the internet is truly aiding in us becoming one world.

Because of all of this, it is becoming easier and easier for crime to be conducted over the internet. Cyber criminals are also advancing along with technology. They are always one step ahead. Criminals stay in one country and commit crimes in other countries. They make laughing stocks out of the official attempts made to stop them. Criminals all over the world collaborate to commit the most crippling cyber crimes.

The question is, what are we doing to prevent cyber crimes? Even greater, can we prevent cyber crimes? I do not believe that cyber criminals will ever be totally stopped; however, I do believe that the amount of crimes they commit can be reduced significantly. This would take a united effort from countries across the globe. Unified laws will have to be put in place to deal with these criminals. Harsh punishments should be put in place. It will not happen overnight and the laws will have to change as fast as technology advances.

On a smaller scale, every user of the internet around the world should become educated about cyber crimes and how to avoid falling victims to them. It is our duty to keep updated as the technologies change. Stopping cyber crime takes a concerted effort from people across the globe. Let us play our part in protecting ourselves from cyber crime.

Read FBI – Cyber Crime to find out more about how the FBI is playing their part to stop cyber criminals.

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Phishing and Spam

Every day, our email accounts are bombarded with spam and phishing emails. It doesn’t matter how many filters we put in place, we can still fall prey to criminals who are trying to steal our hard earned money.

There are some emails that we can know are spam without thinking twice. But, there are emails that appear very genuine and if we fall prey to them, we can get into serious trouble. This is why it is important for us to be aware of the tell-tail signs of phishing and spam. Knowing how to detect them and avoid them will save us time and money. Our lives can be turned up-side-down by cyber-criminals. Our identities can be stolen and we could lose all that we have worked hard for.

This week in my Internet and Society class, we learned about ways to detect phishing and spam. Some emails appear as though they are from genuine businesses that we know and conduct business with on a regular basis. I will point out some of the things we learned.

One of the things to pay attention to is the URL for the email. If it does not take you to the company website then it most likely is spam. Another thing to look for is spelling and grammar errors. Real companies will not have spelling and grammar errors. Also look at who the email is addressed to. Generally, real businesses address their emails to you directly, for example, Dear John Doe instead of Dear Valued Customer. You should also pay attention to what details is given in the body of the email, any instructions should not be vague. Instead of clicking on links from the email, go directly to the company website. You can also call any phone numbers that might be given in the email to verify that they are for the company.

These are just a few things you can pay attention to in order to avoid falling prey to phishing emails. Take the SonicWall Phishing IQ Test and learn more about how to detect phishing emails and spam.

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Fair Use

In this post I am going to address two ways in which the fair use doctrine is used; ways in which it was not intended to be used when it was created.

In 2007 Stephanie Lenz posted a video on YouTube of her son dancing to a Prince song (www.eff.org). Universal Music Corp. ordered that the video be removed by YouTube and it was. More information about the story is can be found at the following link: Dancing Baby Video Battle.

I am of the belief that Universal Music Corp. overstepped their boundaries by having the video removed. This innocent woman in no way violated the fair use doctrine. The main focus of her video was not the song, it was her son’s dancing. So many times, songs are used as the background for performances in videos. When songs are used in this way, it is fair use.

Artists and corporations with copyrighted work should not use the fair use doctrine to exploit other individuals. The fair use doctrine was implemented so that the creativity of others would not be impaired.

This brings me to the other way in which the fair use doctrine is being used. This way is a positive one. Artists are being inspired by copyright rules, including the fair use doctrine. Artist such as Austin Kleon, who writes poems based on inspiration he gets from copyright rules. He explains how he does this in the New York Times article Copyright Rules and the Art They Inspire. This is so cool!

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Remix and Reuse

Today remixes and reuses are prevalent. Artists, piece together different recordings to create something new, or they use an old creation in a new way. This is a new form of art. In this post I am going to look at a recent remix done of a “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” episode.

Remix: Mr. Rogers Remixed. Garden of Your Mind. PBS Digital Studios.

Original: Mr. Rogers. Garden of Your Mind original footage.

The original video is copyrighted to Family Communications Inc. PBS has the right to reuse the footage, so they created the remix. The video was produced for commercial purposes. The original video is a creative work and a significant portion of it is used to make the remix. This violates the fair use doctrine; however, the remix was made to increase (or revamp) the market for the original work – the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood show.

The remixer (PBS Digital Studios) and the audience benefits from the remix. The original creator, Fred Rogers, cannot benefit from it because he is dead. PBS will pull more views for the show from the remix so they benefit in this way. The audience also benefits because valuable information is given in the video and the way in which it was remixed, makes it easier to remember what was said.

Walking On Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age (PART 1/3)

Walking On Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age (PART 2/3)

Walking On Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age (PART 3/3)

In “Walking on Eggshells,” Jordan Roseman said, “there’s no question that at some point using other people’s recordings is 100% your creativity and then at some point it is 0% your creativity.” I think what he meant by saying its 100% your creativity is that  the way in which the recordings were manipulated to bring about the new piece of art is because of the artist’s vision and abilities, his or her ability to produce or create something different and interesting. It is also considered 0% creativity because the remix artist did not actually create the recordings. They were done by someone else so the remix artist cannot get the credit for it.

This applies to the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood remix in that the PBS remixer did not record the episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood that was used to do the remix. However, the remixer used their creativity (100%) to produce something different and interesting from the original.

I agree with most of the viewpoints expressed by the artists in “Walking on Eggshells.” I believe that any creation was inspired from another creation. Artists get their inspiration from different sources and once they put out their creation, there is no way of stopping someone else from being inspired by it and using it.

In the cases of the mashup and remix artists, I do believe that what they produce are their own creations, it was their ideas and skills used to put the recordings together. However, since the actual recordings were done by others, I believe that credit should be given to the original producers of the recordings. The entire work cannot be attributed solely to the remix or mashup artist

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Anonymity and Net Neutrality

I am aware that people are generally forced into anonymity on the internet. I am also aware that some people chose to use the internet anonymously and I am going to use the gratification theory to try to explain why people do so. The uses and gratification theory basically states that users chose which media they access and how the media will affect them.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, at the top of the pyramid is morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts. He also adds that blogs are usually the social media that fulfills these needs. I believe that posting anonymously also helps to satisfy this need. People can do all of the above, especially with the lack of prejudice, if they are anonymous. It gives them a place where they can share their views and their work without having to worry about being judged. This way, more information is shared.

As for the issue of net neutrality, there are pros and cons, as stated at http://www.buzzle.com/articles/net-neutrality-pros-and-cons.html . I am in favor of the arguments for net neutrality. Just as there is network neutrality, there should also be internet neutrality. Everyone should be on a level playing field when it comes to the internet. Everyone should have equal opportunities to get their information shared around the world.

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Free Speech on the Internet

The issue of freedom of speech has been a long drawn out battle for years. Many persons have dedicated themselves to fight to preserve freedom of speech. As new types of media arise, new conflicts arise and the battle is prolonged.

In my opinion speech should be as free on the internet as it is in other types of media. The news published on an internet page should not be censored any more than news printed on a newspaper.

Along with the advances in technology, we see many reporters moving to online reporting. These reporters have been put under tremendous pressure from the government. This is unjustly done. A reporter should be able to share the same story  online as they would on a newspaper. An author should be able to share the same information on the internet as they would in a printed book. The government has no right to censor what authors or journalists say. When they do, it can be seen as an act to manipulate the public and sabotage news companies. The government can use censorship to control what information gets out to the public. This is not right. In the following article, examples of the attempts made by different governments to censor journalists are listed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/free-press-free-speech-meet-internet-censorship_n_856707.html

Some may say that we have to be mindful that children have access to the internet, so information on the internet needs to be censored. To me, the same way parents put restrictions on what books their kids can read and what TV shows they can watch, the same way parents can put restrictions on what internet websites their kids visit. Controlling what their children view on the internet is solely up to the parents. The entire adult population should not lose out on information because of the fear of children accessing the same information.

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