Monthly Archives: March 2012

Head in the Clouds

When I think of Cloud computing, my first thought is of the commercial where Windows users go “to the cloud”.

On one hand I like the idea of this. I mean, being able to store movies, pictures, and music in one place and being able to access them anywhere else is a pretty cool concept. However, the obvious issue of privacy is called into question.

Firstly, all your info is being transmitted wirelessly, which, if someone wanted to, wouldn’t be too hard to intercept. Also, anyone who gains access to any of the sources of content would be able to access everything you have.

In a personal setting this may be alright, as you’d typically keep this stuff to yourself. But in a business setting it becomes a privacy issue, I think. If an entire office is submitting and sharing stuff on the same network, you’d have to be very careful with your information. Personal emails, credit card statements, etc. may be open to perusal by others.

Whatever the challenge to privacy, I believe this is the way of the future. Eventually it’ll become ubiquitous and just happen without us even noticing. I’ll add a contact on my phone and think nothing of it when I go home and they’re added on my Facebook (or whatever we’re using by then) and Skype and MSN, etc.

For now I think Cloud computing is an interesting idea, but there’s going to have to be a lot of thought put into ensuring that privacy can be maintained—at least to some degree—or people may not buy into it as much as they would.

Although if Facebook is any indication, maybe this wouldn’t even matter.

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Tweet, tweet

I would consider myself to be a pretty avid Twitterer.  This wasn’t always the case, though. In high-school I was never really into any social media, including Facebook, Twitter, etc. I did cave and get Facebook upon coming to university, but Twitter didn’t hold much interest for me. At that point there were jokes and gags running amok about how people would literally tweet exactly what they were doing, i.e. “going outside”; “sitting on the porch”; “kind of have to pee” etc., and I just didn’t see the point.

Until, that is, I came to Fanshawe and began my journalism adventure in earnest. Through many classes and experiences, the importance of Twitter slowly became clear to me. Whereas some people used Twitter to keep everyone updated on every aspect of their lives, we could use it for other reasons. Breaking news was one of them.  This year when we got word that a house that had gone up in flames was in fact housing a grow-op, we were the first to tweet it, and that’s exciting to us.

When it comes to news, many people just read headlines or the first little bit. This makes Twitter ideal for the news world. With 140 characters or less, precision is the name of the game. I now use Twitter daily for my schooling—as a reporter, before, during and after events, and as a newscaster, to tee up what I’ll be talking about. Our station has its own Twitter account from which we tweet about stories, retweet reporters’ tweets from events, put out breaking news, and monitor other news sources.

One of the great things about Twitter is that you can follow anyone. I follow many news sources such as AM980, 1290CJBK, the London Free Press, the Globe, etc. Having their tweets visible in your timeline is great, as it lets you see what they’re saying is the most newsworthy information at any given time.

One thing important to note about Twitter is that sometimes it leads to lack of verification. One example I have came earlier in the year. Another news station had tweeted that a dog had been found wrapped in a wet blanket and frozen to death in a woman’s refrigerator, and the woman had been charged and arrested by London police. Being on the desk at the time, I saw this and immediately called the police media relations officer, Constable Rivest. When I asked him to comment on the tweet, he had no idea what I was talking about. I told him that other stations (at this time there were two reporting it; the second probably taking from the first) were saying this is what happened. He responded that he could not confirm that as he had received no word about it, and to hold off. Later it turned out that the woman hadn’t been arrested by police, but by the Humane Society. This just shows how you have to take a second to verify, and also be careful when reporting based on what someone else is saying.

As a journalist not only for the radio but a newspaper as well, I have two Twitter accounts. Thus, my life is made much easier by Tweetdeck.

The ability to have more than one account open at the same time is very useful. I have mine set up to see tweets from everyone I follow for each account, as well as mentions for each account, and I leave one column for a trending topic I may want to look at. This past little while I’ve been following the Rafferty trial.

I think microblogging is a very useful tool, especially in the news business. It’s exactly what people want—short, concise updates, sometimes with links to more info, that tell exactly what you want to know. Although I don’t see the need to tweet personally, I think it’s a great tool for an aspiring journalist such as me.

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Becoming a Redditor

For out assignment this week we had to join a social networking site that we hadn’t previously been a part of. I decided to try out the apparently-popular www.reddit.com.

At first I struggled to figure out whether or not this would count as social media, but then one of my friends to whom I mentioned it said, “It’s a place where people socialize, and it literally has different media everywhere you look”. With that my problem was solved.

I found out that apparently Reddit is very popular– a ton of my friends are avid enthusiasts of it.

Reddit is basically a site for anyone and everyone. It follows a forum type of layout, with posts covering nearly the entire page. Any member can make a post, and comment on existing posts.

Reddit has ensured that it will hold its place in the larger conversation of people by making absolutely certain that it has something for everyone. The site is divided into what are called sub-reddits—each sub-reddit focuses on a specific topic, like politics, news, rage comics, memes, etc. Users can personalize their profile so that certain sub-reddits appear on their homepage, making it quicker to get to.

My experience on here was that people take it either really seriously, or not at all seriously. By that I mean people either put a lot of thought into their posts, or don’t seem to care at all.

The wide variety of content is the main attraction, as well as the socializing with other users. Breaking news appears on the site very quickly after it happens, as all users can be kind of thought of as citizen journalists. On the other end of the spectrum through, more inappropriate content also gets posted.

I found my favourite sub-reddits were memes, news and sports. Memes are basically jokes that can be portrayed in many different ways. One of my favourites is something called a rage comic. Users typically draw situations that occur in ever day life, with the comic usually ending with a “rage face”—this is an angry person shouting FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU- (seven effs and 12 yous, very specific). There are many other meme faces that make for entertainment.

Obviously I like news, as it pertains to my chosen career. We are taught to be news sponges and anything that helps with this is always welcome in my book. I also am a huge sports fan, so the sports updates are always good.

One thing I found is that people can be very harsh. I attempted to post my own version of a rage comic. The format wasn’t the same as a typical one, and people went nuts over it. Most of the comments were very derogatory, although there were a few laughs in there.

I don’t think of Reddit as a Facebook, but it’s definitely something I can see myself continuing to check on and every once in a while contributing to.

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