Friday, April 12, 2013

What is a Blog? What is Social Media?

Millions of people each day write or follow blogs, and use social media, but many people are probably not sure of the definitions of these two web content genres.

According to the App for iPhone:

Whether or not you agree with the selected trends identified by Frances Cairncross (Death of Distance, Loss of Privacy, and More Customized Content), it is unarguable that web content such as blogging and social media have become an extremely pervasive and influential aspect of culture today.

According to Social Networking, "47% of American adults used social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkeIn, and in 2011, up from 26% in 2008."

Common pros of social networking include the ideas that social media can increase interaction between friends and family members, and spread useful informational quickly.

Common cons of social networking include the thoughts that social media can be dangerous, by damaging face-to-face relationships, wasting time, invading privacy, and spreading false information.

Photo and Information Sources:

More Customized Content

More Customized Content:

More Customized Content refers to the ability of individuals to find content catered to them. In my opinion, this is exactly the point of both of these genres of web content, and social media and blogs are perfect examples to prove this trend true: you get to choose who you are friends with, whose blogs you follow, what type of content you want to see, what you like, and who gets to see what you do.

One issue with the so-called “customized content” of the Internet is trusting that the source is honest or authentic. This topic is discussed in the European Journal of Communication article “What’s left of trust in a network society? An evolutionary model and critical discussion of trust and societal communication.” It indicates that mistrust in “networks and communities is a problematic one, not only for the media, but society at large.”

Because it is so easy to gain access to the Internet, and so easy for people to create blogs, individuals and society are left to question the authenticity of blogs. So, even though it is easy to find customized content an individual is interested in, as the article says, “the major problem here is the expectation of communication being ‘authentic.’”

In my personal use of social media, I focus on the websites/apps of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. On Facebook, choosing who I am friends with, what groups I join, and what I “like,” allows me to control what I see on my newsfeed everyday, and even what kind of advertisements I view. On Twitter, I am able to follow news about celebrities, events such as music festivals and concerts, and even what’s going on at school socially, in my sorority, and throughout Greek life. On Instagram, I can follow my friends, different organizations, and celebrities to see what they’re doing, and even brands, to see new merchandise.

My main usage of blogs is through following famous fashion and music blogs, the Tumblrs of my friends, and my own Pinterest. I think Pinterest is the ultimate example of “More Customized Content” because it is a website specifically designed to allow you to find and “pin” things that interest you in particular. According to’s “About” Section, Pinterest is “A tool for collecting and organizing things you love” used by millions, which gives you a place for anything you’re interested in. Pinterest also helps a lot of bloggers come up with ideas for blog posts, or find images to add to blogs such as Tumblr.

Photo and Info Sources:

(Screen shots from my phone)

Quandt, Thorsten. "What's left of trust in a network society? An
evolutionary model and critical discussion of trust and societal communication." European Journal of Communication. 27.1 (2012): 7-21. Print. <>.

Word count: 436

Loss of Privacy

Loss of Privacy:

Loss of privacy refers to the ease that governments and companies have to monitor people via the Internet.

According to “Exposed: The erosion of privacy in the Internet era,” an article in Harvard Magazine, “technology has forced people to rethink the public/private distinction.” This is true in terms of both social media and blogs, because everything you do on the Internet leaves a record that cannot be deleted.

According to the article “Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior,” “Facebook is one of the most popular websites in the world with over 600 million users.”

According to Latanya Sweeney, A.L.B., a visiting computer science, technology, and policy professor quoted in the article from Harvard Magazine, “the main reason privacy is a growing problem is that disk storage is so cheap…people can collect data and never throw anything away.”

Since they are surprisingly easy to access and you are unable to permanently delete things you post (on both social media like Facebook and Twitter, and blogs like Pinterest and Tumblr), they can pose a very real threat to being accepted to college, graduate school, and being hired for internships or real jobs.

The overall invasion of privacy is debatable, due to the balance of attempts to make online profiles private, vs. the ability of the government to access these sites.

Photo Sources:

Information sources:

Carpenter, Christopher, J. "Narcissism on Facebook: Self-
promotional and anti-social behavior." Personality and Individual Differences. 52. (2012): 482-486. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <>.
Shaw, Jonathan. "Exposed: The erosion of privacy in the Internet
era." Harvard Magazine. 09 2009: 1-5. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. <>.

Word count: 272

The Death of Distance

The Death of Distance:

The Death of Distance suggests that distance will no longer be the determining factor of the cost of communication via technology and electronically.

In my opinion, this trend, the Death of Distance, could not be more accurate relating to genres of web content when considering social media and blogs. People have come so far from the days of having to be in the same place to speak, to then having to use a landline to make long-distance calls (which have the potential to be very expensive), to having basic cell phones and computers. Now, with the development, improvement, and increased affordability of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, we can use social media websites and apps wherever we go.

According to the article “Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior,” “Facebook is one of the most popular websites in the world with over 600 million users.”

Today, thanks to these websites and apps, like Facebook and Twitter, we can instantaneously follow our friends, family, acquaintances, and even celebrities. We have the ability to see what they’re doing, what they like, who they’re with, at literally any time of the day, no matter where we are. We are no longer bound by the need of person-to-person contact, phones with cords, or even desktop computers.

With products like the iPhone or iPad, we can even video chat wherever we go – we don’t even need Wi-Fi to see friends and family who may be otherwise unavailable to visit due to distance.

 The Facebook App for iPad

The Mobile Twitter App for Smartphones

In terms of blogs, the trend of the Death of Distance also applies.

One example of the Death of Distance in blogs is the celebrity blog genre – some of the most popular blogs on the Internet today. In this way, the Internet serves as a free communication service to the fans of celebrities who otherwise would not be able to travel the distance or logically locate and/or contact a celebrity to find out the latest gossip, or as Twitter provides a service for, even follow the most mundane of everyday activities that so many fans enjoy reading.

Fans can follow and subscribe to the blogs of individual celebrities, or, they can visit a single page of companies like TMZ and famous bloggers like Perez Hilton to find more information about the lives of many stars and celebrity personalities in one place – further reducing the time and monetary costs of following celebrity news.

On a more personal level, students can use blogging as a way to network and keep in touch between schools to keep in touch.

Photo sources:

Word count: 443