how the Web has transformed books and education

Once upon a time, studying required going to a book store or library and searching for hours for what might be that perfect book with the perfect quotation by that specific person.  Today, there is a way that has erased all of the agony our ancestors endured, and that is called the web.  By simply typing a quotation or author you can get what you are looking for.  Today you can have 1000 of pages of writing condensed in one little tablet.

As scary as it is, internet really is replacing everything, including a classroom education, a book, a date, a travel agent, a phone number, my list goes on and on… and on.  “An Oxford study says the internet is now the default place for information for next generation users.”  It is the easiest and most sufficient way of gathering recourses, and our world does not know what to do about it.  How are we supposed to change centuries of traditions?  Perhaps it is all changing for us and subconsciously we are all sucked in it.  We cannot even control our education system, for the internet has taken over.  People are downloading ivy league school lectures on their iTunes, so why do they actually have to move on campus?  “In the US, more than 2,300 school districts have begun programmes using iPads – and a growing number of classrooms have one per pupil.”

Although I believe this is in INCREDIBLE advance in our history, I also feel that it excuses laziness and activeness. I believe that going to school, studying hard, and interacting with teachers and students is all apart of an education. It is not only about the names and dates.  By relying so much on our computer screens we are taking that interactive and growing experience away and I believe that is a shame.  Although this is true, there are many positive aspects that perhaps cancel this belief out.  For example, money.

University tuitions tuitions today are so high, it feels like a joke.  Unless you are academically gifted and can get all the scholarships in the world you need deep pockets to go to a private American university.  With the internet as a source of education, this solves a lot of financial problems.  In this case, these online institutions might as well be called miracles, because now many more people have the possibility of an education and that is all that really matters.

Facebook affects grades of university students

In todays society Facebook is clearly dominating much of peoples social lives.  Because of this, it is one of the biggest distractions, especially to university students.  Even so, is it fair to blame Facebook for the poor delivery of students work or would those students find a way to distract themselves without Facebook?  Alex Wilhelm argues that ‘bad students gonna be bad.’  Before it was chatting all night on the phone, then it was instant messaging, and now it is Facebook.  Wilhelm says that it is not Facebook that is the issue but it is simply that many students “want to do something other than homework…” and therefore they use Facebook, just like people used to doodle in their journals.  Although I understand this hypothesis, I think that Facebook wins the prize for a students ultimate distraction.

Facebook controls  much of kids, teens, and adults social lives.  It consumes so much time out of our day, when you are on and off the computer.  Many even refer to it as a drug or an addiction.  It is such a simple and easy way to talk with others and see what people are up to.  I cannot deny that I too am completely hooked.  Even so, is Facebook really only fun and games?  Is it really a genius invention that has altered the way we can all connect or is it actually this addictive drug?  Facebook has become one of the biggest distractions amongst university students, to the point where their grades are suffering the consequences, more so then the old fashioned all night phone calls.

People pay no money, effort or time when they simply type FACEBOOK on to their browser, making a lazy kids ultimate distraction.  Their is really no way of escaping it… and I have found very few people that can.  Even when I go in to the school library, a place created for people to strictly focus on their studies, everyone has their Facebook pages up.  As much as I think Facebook is positive in terms of connecting people from all over the world, and sharing things about yourself, I think it truly has not helped with anyones academic lives.  Their have been numerous times where I have had to deactivate my Facebook during an exam week, and I know I am not the only one.

The problem is that we have no way of changing this distraction, it is here to stay, and may eventually even get worse as technology advances.  Perhaps, grade schools should train students how to manage their time and then there will be a solution.

 

Politics 2.0: Social Mobilization and Protest

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell

 

After reading this article I realized that their truly has been a revolution in our world today.  Yes, it is partly the internet in general, but I think more specifically it is social medial.  The way social media allows people to communicate and know about each other seems almost surreal.  It takes almost no effort to get in touch with people or just share your opinion to the world and have people read and respond to you.  It takes seconds, as though we are living in a small town where everybody knows everything about you… only it is the whole world.  Websites like facebook allow you to realize this. One of the most positive things this revolution has led to is social activism online.

I find it incredible how people can  protest, share photos, call for help all on their facebooks or twitters, and within second the world knows and people can literally change the world like this.  It puts in to perspective how much power the internet gives us to literally change opinions, teach and learn fro others.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about how in the 60s it weeks to join approximetely seventy thousand people to join in a protest againt segregation, today it it takes a matter of hours.  “‘Without Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy,’ Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, later wrote, calling for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”  Via social networking Irani people could defend themselves and communicate what was really goig on in the world without any boundries.  During the occupy wallstreet movement social media had a huge impact aswell.  We are even able to keep better track of Al Qaeda though the internet.

This way of protesting has almost no limits.  Whether the dovernment likes it or not people are going to post their ideas and opnions and there is really nothing that can stop people.  The internet has given power over things that alwasy made us completely powerless in the past.  It is evident that this is not just a fase or a trend, but this is a revolution that has left a huge mark in human history.

How to use social media and look like a rockstar on a recruiter’s radar 25th March 2012 by Dan Taylor

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/03/25/how-to-use-social-media-and-look-like-a-rockstar-on-a-recruiters-radar/

It is truly fascinating how the way people are portrayed online can literally influence the rest of our lives including your relationships and even careers.  Every piece of information posted online can work to your advantage or potentially destroy you.  This means that all the drunken pictures and silly comments that teenagers and adults post on their facebooks and blogs may actually have more severe consequences then just humiliation amongst their friends.

Today, ” 89% of companies [are] using social media as part of their recruitment process.”  This means that every school or job you apply for may not just be judging you based on your resume’ but also on your online reputation.  It is likely the recruiter might already know more about you that what you want them to.

People seeking to get hired or in to their dream schools must track their online reputations, making sure that everything they put on the internet is consistent and perhaps it is necessary to ask to take those unwanted pictures.  “Whether you’re actively looking for a gig, or simply using social media to present yourself to the world with the ‘I’m employed, but make me an offer, and let’s talk’ sign on in the background, it’s important to always be selling yourself.”  Social media has shifted from being purely for social enjoyment to actually becoming your online persona that is not only judged by friends.  By having an online account you are self-marketing yourself, showing people who you are and what makes you stand out of the crowed.

Whether we like it or not, we must take this in to consideration.  Even my friends finishing their senior year in highschool have changed their real names on facebook so the admissions committees at universities cannot find them.  Although it seems unfair, it such such an easy and accurate way of judging people.  Even colleges are tempted to look.

Although I think there are many positive aspects about self advertising yourself online, I can’t help but feel slightly violated.   I have been on facebook for about five years now, it has almost become like a scrapbook.  I have pictures posted since 2007 with my friends and family.  I use facebook as a way of connecting with people I care about who I don’t see often.  The fact that I get judged by my boss or school because of my social life doesn’t seem right.  This way of judging people says so much about what our societies real values are. We get just by our persona’s on facebook and blogs, not by our qualifications.  It seems like social status and the way you present yourself means more then your actual talent.

The fact that we cannot have a clear distinction between social life and work life online, defies human nature. We do not live only to impress our boss, we also live for our friends and to be happy.  By judging our social lives online we are basing too much of our lives on “success” and work.  I do not think this is the most important thing in life and I don’t think it is healthy either. I am not talking about sites like linkedin, which purpose is to find a job, but I think sites like facebook, blogspot, tumblr, flickr, etc… should remain strictly amongst friends and it should not be used for anything else.

“professionals” to “amateurs”

http://internetglobalizationclass.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/disrupted-professions-citizen-journalism-education-2-0/

http://internetglobalizationclass.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/rating-ranking-reviewing-everyone-is-a-critic/
For centuries people have been required to get up at 7am for their early classes, search for hours in libraries for the right book, awkwardly approach your crush face to face to ask them out, basically people did not have the same opportunities that we do, the internet did not exist.  In order to be successful you needed to study and have the right qualifications to practice what you did with the public.  Today, in the 21st century, that seems to have all changed in a way that will revolutionize the world forever.  Education, journalism, socializing, advertizing, shopping, and more has shifted to our miniscule smartphones, ipads and computers.  We have the power and opportunity that our ancestors could only dream of.  Could we call internet a revolution?  It has turned our society around, given us the power to express ourselves to the public, and communicate to a friend across the globe for free and in a matter of seconds.  We have a sort of freedom that people before us did not have, we can communicate and express ourselves with no rules, with no borders.

Today if a citizen wants to express an opinion there is nothing stopping them, all it takes is the click of the send button on whatever device is in front of them.  A person who hasn’t gone to school a day in his life could become the next best-selling author or most notable journalist.  There are blogs and websites that provide news and history and these websites are sited and viewed by millions of researchers and students.  “Established journalists have been forced to adjust to the realities of “citizen journalism” where anyone can start an online news source and compete with large-scale players. Teachers and professors, too, have been forced to come to terms with the impact of online technology with the emergence of online education and “virtual classrooms“ (http://internetglobalizationclass.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/disrupted-professions-citizen-journalism-education-2-0/).  Technology is forcing employers to change their ways and adapt to this new monopoly called the internet.  Citizen journalism, such as blogs, gives everyone the opportunity to get noticed and send out a message, not only the professionals.  This leads me to question, if today everyone is replacing physical life for the internet, what will our society be like in 50 years?  If everything just going to turn in to one computer?  Although the freedom to express yourself on the internet is wonderful, how do we know who to trust if you are not required any qualifications? Perhaps the internet does cause some dangers.

The internet allows for a certain kind of democratization.  People have the power to review almost any product, restaurant, city, and even professor, making it impossible to maintain a falsely clean reputation.  In order to critique something, your name or background makes no difference, it is only what you say that matters.  “Many people now trust these sites more than they do “professional” critics” (http://internetglobalizationclass.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/rating-ranking-reviewing-everyone-is-a-critic/).  On websites such as yelp, people read the true stories that are unedited, unpretentious, and most importantly unbiased.  These honest reviews are useful for the clients but also ruin the reputation of professionals, businesses and even schools.  For example, because of the website ratemyprofessor.com there is now a list of the top 25 schools with the worst professors.  This list includes Drexel University and Pace, two world-wide respected schools.

This system of communication via internet has opened an infinite amount of doors to society.  Every citizen can get their message across today because on the internet there are no limits, rules or laws.  It is a way of connecting the world, and expressing your ideas in a way that only 30 years ago would be impossible.

Megan Meier Tragedy

http://msl1.mit.edu/furdlog/docs/newyorker_articles/2008-01-21_newyorker_megan_meier.pdf

This article in the New Yorker by Lauren Collins is both utterly disturbing and surprisingly eye opening.  I simply cannot fathom the idea that my friends mother could ever try to hurt me in such a deceitful and humiliating way, no matter how bad my feud with her daughter was and no matter how wrong I was.

Megan was thirteen when she took her life.  Already struggling from mental instabilities and deep insecurities most have in their teen years, she was taken advantage of by her neighbors and family friends, Curt and Lori Drew.  Megan struggled with her weight all her life, her mother even recalls her comparing her legs to the other girls in her class at the tender kindergarten years.  In the third grade she confessed she wanted to kill herself and was sent to a psychiatrist and was put on heavy medications.  Even so, the people around her saw her as an imaginative and courageous girl.

The Drew family, having spent a lot of time with Megan in the past, was well aware of Megan’s low self esteem and they used it as a medium to completely destroy her, and eventually they succeeded in their task. The Drew mother and daughter created a false myspace account of Josh, Megan’s dream boy, handsome and completely crazy about Megan, but little did Megan know that he was in fact her friends own mother.  They made sure that all of Josh’s information matched Megan’s interests.  Megan believed she met her dream guy, her escape, and her happiness, when in fact it was anything but.  Josh was her biggest trap.  Collin refers to him as “an online Frankenstein’s monster, geared to the needs of an insecure, excitable teen-age girl, Josh’s components were carefully chosen to exploit Megan’s vulnerabilities. His profile picture was lifted from that of a handsome teen-age boy. He listened to Rascal Flatts, Korn, and Nickelback. His “turn-ons” included tongue piercings and being nibbled on the ear.”  They seduced and manipulated an innocent, insecure, and young girl.”   How on earth could a mother ever invent such a thing?  And how could she not have any consequences for it?  This mother is clearly more troubled then anyone else in this whole situation.

As time went on “Josh” and Megan began arguing.  She began calling her demeaning and offensive names, poking at Megan’s insecurities.  The last conversation they had before her death, Josh wrote, “You’re a shitty person, and the world would be a better place without you in it.”

Soon after Megan Meier hanged herself.  This leads me to ask, who was it that really killed Megan?  Was in her own instability or was it instigated by the Drew family.  I cannot help but hold Lori Drew and everyone involved accountable.  Because of their insensitiveness and cruelty that Megan panicked and died.

Absurdly enough, Lori Drew received no consequences but she will not ever be free because she will have this guilt following her for the rest of her life.

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