Reflections

Learning about the internet this past semester has been rather demanding, I have no interest in technicalities or whatsoever. To me, as long as I can use the internet to achieve what I want, that is good enough for me. I have absolutely no wish to find out how it impacts areas like journalism or even politics! (T’was an apathetic person) However, I have no choice because I need to do well for this module……… so I had to pay attention in lectures and create this blog! Whilst my apathy for the know-how of the internet is still exists, it is safe to say that my internet knowledge and interest to find out more about it has grown. Albeit insignificant, it is better than nothing. Interest can be cultivated bit by bit 🙂

This module (especially this blogging assignment) has forced me to research and learn more about the internet. Besides learning, I have also been able to apply what I’ve learnt into my daily life! Isn’t this what education is all about? In this post on multimedia, I talked about how business (in particular blogshops in Singapore) have made use of multimedia to enhance customer experience. Also, in this post on social media, I talked about the various social media and what they do. For me, I would not have evaluated on these if I was not required to do so. For instance, I would not have realized the similarities of Twitter and Tumblr even though I have accounts in both of them for years. Thus, I am thankful for the fact that I can better appreciate the internet. Seeing the internet in a different light is definitely a special experience for me because I learn not to take things for granted. Thinking back, it seems a tad ridiculous for me to know zilch about what I have been using daily. In fact, with the iPhone, I am connected 24/7!

Through the group project, I have gained a new experience as well. Previously, I just did presentations the normal (but boring way). Go up to the front, talk about what I’ve researched on, not be nervous, speak louder and that’s it. However, what the instructor was looking for in this presentation differed slightly from other instructors. On top of content, he was also looking for audience engagement–something that I have never taken into consideration despite the many presentations I have given. No doubt the process of doing the project was tough, we had to rack our brains thinking of interesting ways to engage the audience, it was also fulfilling as we see the laughter on the audience faces as we presented our findings on one of the more interesting topics–Online dating. Thus, I am glad that I have gained something out of this course.

Lastly, I think that without an entertaining yet informative instructor, I would not have been able to enjoy lessons (especially his lame jokes that make me laugh even though they are so lame) and I am glad to say that I have attended all lectures (I did not skip any of them!!!) Thank You Mr Choy~~

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Future of the Internet

As the Internet continues to evolve, from web 1.0 to web 2.0 to web 3.0 to web 4.0 and so on, its impact on people will be altered. Just like how people’s lives are changed since web 1.0 to web 2.0. Personally, I will be looking forward to how the internet will make our lives more convenient. It is predicted that web 3.0 would be somewhat like our personal assistant. Unlike web 2.0, where the internet is used to connect people, web 3.0 uses the internet to make connections with information. For example, if I want to bring my boyfriend out on a date, I need to search for what movies are currently screening, what genre of movies both of us would enjoy, which theatre is currently showing the movie of choice, what time is the movie showing, what kind of seats are available… To go on a simple movie date requires so much information, which puts me off sometimes so I become lazy and stay at home instead. However, with web 3.0, this hassle would be reduced. Instead of me doing all the work, the internet does it for me instead! Hooray!!!! No more hassle!!! What the web does is “learn” more about the user (i.e me!) The more I search, the more the browser learns what I prefer. Going back to the movie example, the web learns that I like romantic comedies but my boyfriend likes action movies. Thus, the browser will filter the search results, omitting other irrelevant genres like horror or science fiction. On top of that, the browser will be able to take into account my current location, and then list the nearest movie theatre that shows the type of movies relevant to what I am looking for! Web 3.0 is so amazing, I cannot wait for it to arrive so I can be lazy all day. It’s like the world is in MY hands.

This video says more about the Semantic web! Go go see~~

However, that being said, there are definitely drawbacks to the future of the Internet as well. What really irks me is transparency. The Internet can be a very scary tool when it falls under the wrong hands because it is widely available. There was this case where a fan of Korean group Super Junior committed suicide. While the exact reason for her committing suicide is unclear, many have speculated that it could be due to the bashing she received online. She was overweight, but forced herself to slim down. One day, she managed to take a photo with one of the members of super junior and posted the photo online. That photo of her went viral, other jealous fans started to make negative comments about her, and dig up her past photos to shame her. The bullying was so severe until it continued in school, where her friends all started to shun her because of what happened online. It was believed that the cause of her suicide was mainly due to the cyber bullying. This example sends chills down my spine; the people who were making negative comments about her online are not people who are dangerous offline, the bulk of them being schoolgirls in Korea. It is scary to think that mere schoolgirls could lead to the death of an innocent person, which brings me to the burning question–should we keep our online identity a secret? Is being authentic important or remaining anonymous a better option? Truth be told, I have no idea how to answer this question. In this article, Barry Wellman, the NetLab founder pointed out that “The less one is powerful, the more transparent his or her life. The powerful will remain much less transparent.” I fully agree with this statement. While we have access to snippets of information about an influential person, say Barack Obama, online, we have absolutely no information about his daily life. For example, his thoughts about a topic that does not concern his realm of influence, say, pop music. Contrasting that to myself, I am by no means powerful in any way. In this blog, I can have the freedom to type whatever I wish to say–be it my views on Barack Obama or pop music or technology. I feel that it is because powerful people are influential, as such they have to be careful of their words and actions; any wrong move made online could result in their career being destroyed. As of now, I am unable to decide if I should continue remaining authentic online or turn anonymous, for I am a student and I doubt anything I do online would do be harm. However, when I step into the workforce, it could be a whole different issue altogether. Would it be fair for me not to be hired if my boss does not like what he sees on my facebook? Because work life and personal life has very distinct lines. Anyhow, I hope I can come to a conclusion soon!

Despite the problems that could possibly arise, the future of the internet (the semantic web) is definitely something to look forward to! I cannnnnnnnnot wait!

Leaders of the Internet

The current technology giants are Microsoft, Google and Apple. I’m sure everyone knows what Microsoft, Google and Apple is. Microsoft is the software company equivalent to computers. All computers have Windows as its operating system. Also, everyone uses its Office products–Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, etc. Google is a search engine. In fact, Google’s lead over its competition, Yahoo or even Ping is so much farther ahead that the word “Google” has become a verb. For instance, when one needs an answer to a question, people would just say “Google it”, whereas the proper statement should be “search for the answer on Google”. Such is Google’s influence. Lastly, Apple has left its marks on both the hardware and software markets with the iPod, iPhone, Mac and operating systems as well. It is safe to say that Apple revolutionized cell phones and computers. These three companies, whilst not directly competing with each other (like Google VS Ping VS Yahoo), are often the subject of comparison. This could be due to the fact that they are giants in their field and to expand market share, they are dipping their toes into somewhat unfamiliar territory. For example, Google developed Android to compete with Apple’s iPhone. Soon enough, Microsoft will participate in this war as it has invested in Nokia. Apparently, Microsoft has thrown US$1 billion for Nokia to promote and develop windows smartphones. What is at stake for these three companies? The future.

As a consumer, I am definitely very pleased with such competition. The three technology giants are forced to compete with each other to remain in the game. As such, better products will be developed to attract consumers to buy their products. I, as a consumer, get a variety of options to pick and choose from and then buy a product which I feel best suits my needs. Hooray for competition!!!!!!

Personally, I am a fan of Apple products. Alone, I own a Macbook, two iPhones (3GS & 4GS), and an iPod. Seems pretty much for one person isn’t it? This, is the success of Apple. Their products are not cheap, one iPhone could go up to over $1000! Yet, consumers (like me) still invest in their products! And it is found that consumers have brand loyalty for Apple products. Here, it says that “In a small study conducted at The Arora Report, 88% of Apple iPhone users showed brand loyalty compared to 37% for Android users.” This is true to some extent. A case in point would be consumers who switch from the iPhone 3G to iPhone 3Gs to the iPhone4 to the iPhone 4Gs! How Apple manages to do this is through the brilliance of this one man, Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs managed to turn Apple which was making losses around with the iPod and its success has been undisputed since. However, this is what makes Apple vulnerable as well. According to this, Apple is the most vulnerable among the three companies.

“Apple’s Safari browser received the most patches during the month of March 2012, while the report notes that March 2011 was another big month for Apple patches, with 93 vulnerabilities addressed in its Leopard and Snow Leopard operating systems. A third of those were classed as “critical.”

Various articles say that it is due to Steve Jobs. Because Apple is built around Steve Jobs, once he leaves the company, it could signify the long, slow death of Apple. Sadly to say, Jobs has left the world. This world needs more people like Jobs, to change the world and make it a better place. Jobs has no apparent heir, and Apple’s future seems uncertain. Hopefully, Apple can still remain, simply because I want Steve Job’s legacy to be remembered as he is such a great guy! However, nothing is certain. We can only wait and see what will happen in the future.

Internet and Journalism

According to Dictionary.com, journalism is the profession or practice of reporting about, photographing, or editing news stories for one of the mass media. Mass media, in this context, refers to newspapers, radios or television. However, there have been complaints that the internet is destroying journalism.

Here is a video about online journalism in Southeast Asia! It’s quite long, but trust me, it’s worth it.

The internet has become a tool for anyone to be a journalist, causing a shift in news creators, distributors and owners, and thus journalists lose their cartel over news. Because journalists are professionals in this field, they are obligated to generate useful content for readers, as their reputation is also at stake. For citizen journalism, when the user generates content, this content is more likely to be amateur content. Amateur content will result in misinformation–either partial truths or lies. A classic case of the partial truth would be Kony. Reporters used to be information gatekeepers, but with social media, it seems like reporters have lost this task. There is a very obvious threat to their jobs, many reporters have been laid off because of citizen journalism. In this age of the internet, people are more likely to get news online as compared to obtaining news on the newspapers (as reflected in the video), thus journalism is losing its importance.

It is hard to come to an objective conclusion on this matter, simply because information that can be obtained come from either professional journalists (who would argue for themselves) or citizen journalists (who would also debate for themselves). However, with the limited knowledge I have, I do stand by the fact that citizen journalism should be taken with a pinch of salt. Unlike reporters who have to go to the scene itself and report what they witness, citizen journalists obtain their information online and write or blog about it. Information obtained online may or may not be accurate and for that matter, citizen journalists could convey wrong information unknowingly. Me writing this blog entry is an example. All I have is some information I got from the video above, some websites I’ve browsed through and some information from lectures. How am I to know that this knowledge I possess is 100% reflective of reality? I don’t. Thus, I would choose to believe in the professionalism of journalists. Furthermore, in this article, it says that journalism is still highly prevalent in traditional media.

Whilst I am no predictor of the future, I would still like to give my two cents worth. It is evident that the internet has changed journalism to the point that obtaining information can come from tweets and facebook as well. Using today as a predictor, in 10 years down the road, I can foresee the internet becoming even more integral in people’s lives than it is now. I feel that citizen journalism will gain even more importance and value than what it is today because the internet will overtake traditional media. This trade-off would be journalism. If citizen journalism expands, journalism will decline. The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are inversely related because people tend to only get news from either the internet or traditional media. Whilst it may be saddening to witness the decline of journalism, perhaps, citizen journalism will generate professional content like what journalism is today. Because citizen journalism today is only at its infancy stages, this could be one of the reasons why amateur content is generated from this source. What do you think? 🙂

Political Apathy

Lee Kuan Yew, Goh Chok Tong, Lee Hsien Loong. These names should be familiar amongst all Singaporeans. Even my primary school cousin knows their names. What about Ng Eng Hen? Lim Hng Kiang? Lim Swee Say? Gan Kim Yong? Lui Tuck Yew? These are Singaporean ministers too! However, I dare say that there are many Singaporeans who are unaware of these people. I had to google their names too. To say that I am unfamiliar with them is a lie. I definitely have heard of their names before, but if I was asked who were they and what they did on a test, I’d definitely fail that test. Why are Singaporeans so politically apathetic? Even the Education Minister Ng Eng Hen agrees. Personally, the only time when I am mildly interested in politics is during the elections. Currently, (correct me if I am wrong) the PAP is deciding whether or not there should be a by-election for the Hougang SMC. This news has been going on for a few months, all I know is that there could be a by-election. Why and How this came about? I am clueless.

In this article, it explains why are Singaporean youths uninterested in politics. Because they “are so caught up with myopic self-centred interests”. I find this to be true to a certain extent. At the age of 13, I see no need to be involved, or even be slightly aware of politics. All I had to know was how to sing the National Anthem and maybe the what the President looks like so I know who is the one waving to the crowd during the National Day Parade. Why is this happening? I guess we have to attribute it to the fact that Singapore is politically stable. No doubt we do have opposition parties, but PAP has been dominating Singapore’s political scene since independence. The opposition is of little threat. Whilst the recent general election has shown that people’s mindsets are changing, when the opposition party won a GRC, the general consensus is still that PAP is dominating. Unlike the US where there are Republicans VS Democrats, in Singapore it is more lopsided. To me it is more like PAP VS SDP/WP/the rest of the opposition parties I do not know. I do not see the point in dabbling in politics at a young age simply because it does not concern me. Furthermore, the nature of Singapore’s society is that we are so results-driven. Anything that does not aid in you getting better results is considered time wastage. Grades are all that matters. No matter how excellent one is in his/her Co-Curricular Activity, if his/her results are below standard, he/she is rendered “not good” in Singapore’s society. Thus, with so much emphasis on grades, why would youths be interested in politics? Knowing a whole lot about politics does not benefit me academically at all. These are the two main reasons why Singaporean youths are politically apathetic.

However, this phenomenon could be changing with the power of the internet. Taking the recent general election as an example again. We could all see how the ministers campaigned online such as George Yeo uploading a video on his facebook page. Well, it it not only the ministers who are actively using the internet. Clicknetwork.tv, ” is an online video network that offers hip, fun, and edgy entertainment programming.” Many Singaporeans visit this site, with over 16,000 people liking the clicknetwork page on facebook. During the election period, clicknetwork started this new show entitled Now You Know General Election 2011, where they upload videos of the different political parties, educating the young masses on politics. They really reach out to a large target group, with this video of George Yeo in the hot seat hitting over 50,000 views. On top of that, we have Singapore’s most famous blogger talking about the elections as well. Teenagers are so reliant on the internet these days, these few examples showcase how the internet is changing politics in Singapore, with more coverage going online. Perhaps, youths and young adults would be less politically apathetic in the future.

Multimedia

Multimedia. What is it actually? From here, we know that multimedia is the integration of data, text, image, audio, or video in a single application.

An important element of multimedia is interactivity. To put it this way, multimedia is multiple media. Various forms of media like animation, video, audio, images, etc are used to interact with the user. This interactivity brought about by multimedia bridges the gap between the real world and the internet. How? It engages the user. Catering to all 5 senses, such as audio for hearing and images for seeing. With multimedia, there is now a connection between the user and the internet. Companies have been building on this, there has been an increasing trend in businesses utilizing multimedia to boost sales by advertising.

This website tells us how to use multimedia for business marketing–sharing photos with the online community, hosting videos and webcasting, podcasting and mobile marketing.

Awhile ago, I came across a website that uses multimedia for its business–http://loothavn.com/. Click on the link!!! (Ok before you click please continue to read what I have to say first so you can better appreciate it hahahaha)

Anyway, loothavn is an Online Flea Market website. Like flea markets, loothavn essentially consists of virtual stalls where consumers can buy, sell or trade their items. What I really enjoy about this is not the items that are actually being sold, but the user interface.

The website uses multimedia to make the buyers’ experience more memorable. Unlike normal blogshops, consumers click to navigate through the stores. On first click, the page will direct the consumers to either to flea market or the townhouse. Because this website is still very new, the townhouse is currently unavailable. Clicking on the flea market will then bring the user to the flea market. Then the user can choose whatever category they wish to shop–clothes, accessories, bags, footwear or novelties. When I first found out about the website, I was very intriqued by the use of multimedia because it is the first time I encountered this. Usually, blogshops usually anchor their virtual spaces on Livejournal because the features of Livejournal is very clean which makes the space uncluttered so customers have better viewing pleasure.

Although using livejournal is useful for businesses, customer experience is not as enjoyable without the use of multimedia. The interactivity factor is lost. The market for blogshop is so competitive, to have a cutting edge over competitors, perhaps owners should device of new ways (besides making exclusively manufactured items) to attract loyal customers. However, it is evident that more blogshops are following the trend of inculcating multimedia into their webspaces.

Many have updated their user interface, similar to what is above. After the lecture on multimedia I began to appreciate the use of multimedia more…… and applying it to my daily life like evaluating the use of multimedia on webstores! I would expect more businesses to make use of multimedia to boost sales in the future because it gives consumers a more fun experience in purchasing of their items! Maybe I should consider learning how to create multimedia content as well………..