Craigslist Inc.

For those who have not heard of it, craigslist.com is an advertising website mostly operating on local basis. The idea started in San Francisco Bay in 1995, by now over 700 cities in 70 countries have a cragslist page. The special thing about craigslist is that you can advertise pretty much anything, from housing and resale to personal adds such as “man looking for woman” ect. The website is the most popular in America where it originated, however it also has a large following in Latin American countries in particular. What I find particularly intriguing is that this website has taken the web to it’s original purpose, connecting people within a community.Whilst many websites of this nature are focused on connecting people over long distances craigslist limits this to city-specific parameters and it still works. Craigslist users are themselves often described as a community effectively making them a community within a community. I find it fascinating how that proves that we are always looking for ways to make is easier to communicate with each other.This makes me consider that perhaps the internet is in fact a natural evolutionary development for human beings as a species.

The website has inspired the media industry too, being the leading theme of two documentaries ‘Craigslist Joe’ and ’24 hours on Craigslist’ as well as a song by Wierd Al Yankovic titled Craigslist.

 

 

Compilation Videos

If you have never wasted 30 mins+ of your life watching compilation videos of funny animals doing funny animal things you missed out on a fundamental internet experience. As much as I adore compilation videos for putting together what are often 10 seconds long samples of video genius into minutes of digestible amusement, I never considered that each individual clip has a separate creator who may want the rights to it reserved.

If you think about it, a large portion of Youtube’s content are video remixes as opposed to original self shot work. If each and every individual had to pay someone to use their footage that they found on the internet a whole Youtube sub-culture of remixes and compilations would likely disappear; primarily due to the fact that these are done by ordinary bored citizens with no production costs, that’s the whole point.The benefit of copyrighting a video of a cat jumping into a bathtub would obviously be the fact that the creator could get potential royalties back from their own work, but it’s unlikely that someone would be ready to pay for it in the first place.

It feels like copyrighting Youtube videos would be a slippery slope to attempting to copyright all original input into the web, and that’s just no fun. The whole point of this tool, dating back to it’s origins, is to share ideas freely and expand on the foundation of common knowledge and resources. The funny thing about Youtube is that more than half of the content would not be of broadcastable standard, but the whole point is that it’s there, it’s free and it’s kind of amusing in a non-committal way.

I say let the compilations be, more funny videos is always better than less.

Who are you?

As I read this week’s blog assignment I couldn’t help but remember the episode of How I met Your Mother in which Ted, after swearing to not Google his date, finds himself freaking out about what he doesn’t know only because she agreed that it was a good idea not to Google each other. However, as Ted was being his typical anxious self (for those who are not familiar with the program: his over-thinking is iconic) I couldn’t help but find that relatable. As much as we are taught about privacy online in school and through employability horror stories, nowadays having a presence online is normal. I don’t think it is either a good or a bad thing any more, it is just a thing. Considering that, I must confess that I find myself feeling frustrated and then alarmed if I can’t find somebody on Facebook or at least on Google. I start imagining all the horrible scenarios in which someone would find themselves so afraid of publicity that they exclude themselves from the online world to such an extent. Whilst I know that is a bit dramatic, I also think that being afraid to leave an online footprint is not an attractive character trait. Is it is so far fetched to assume that if one is afraid to take the risk that comes with exploring the online world, they might also be too afraid to explore the real one?

As for me, I do keep my privacy settings up because I don’t like inappropriate attention, but I don’t allow horror stories to deter me from the benefits of social networking sites.

I’m not calling you a coward if you’re not on Facebook. But I kind of am.

airbnb. money is a good bonding tool

Airbnb is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging/accommodation. According to wikipedia.com it has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Basically, it allows for a person from let’s say Argentina to come over to Iceland and live in a typical I Icelandic household by renting it of strangers. The ideal behind it seems to be the concept of getting even closer to the environment you’re exploring by integrating yourself in the ecosystem of it’s inhabitants. However, it is also a nice way to make money and typically a nice way to save it too.

airbnb

I like airbnb.com as an example of an online community mostly because it is one of the few that exist simultaneously online and offline. It does not thrive on anonymity like many other examples of online communities; Tumblr and Twitter, but rather it is entirely dependant on it’s users meeting up in real life. However, it does make me wonder whether the community like the one represented in the image above is not an entirely manufactured concept, in this case used as a marketing strategy. Surely the concept of a community here is used very loosely as it really only works if you consider these people being bound by a common interests: travelling, culture, money and this website’s way of combining the three. One may however very rightly expect a little more from it all. However, as online communities go this one is a fine example and a very popular one too. There is definitely something cool about being able to say you belong to it.

Greenlight means GO!

Steam.com is an on-line platform that enables users to purchase PC games; their account also hosts gaming data and makes sure that downloaded games are updated. However there is more to it, as the website also enables users to share and sell their own mods (modifications) to games as well as publish their own games on the web engine, making them available for purchase. Furthermore, not everyone’s games can be published on the website as that is decided through the other users showing interest in purchasing the game, through a system called Greenlight. Greenlight is not a compulsory experience and only those interested in indie games explore that part of the website. The system ensures that the engine is not cluttered with sub-par content as well as ensuring that all published items make sales, making it a reasonable business model.

Greenlight.JPG

This kind of crowd-led decision making however can sometimes backfire, particularly when the content does not come under much regulation as it is not produced for mass audiences by big companies. There are many examples of arguably inappropriate games being Greenlit by the community, possibly more so because of how inappropriate they are rather than due to genuine interest, as the young users set out to test the system. An example of this is a game which came out on early release in December 2015 called ‘Who’s your Daddy?’ in which the player is put in the shoes of a father trying to prevent a baby from committing suicide by baby-proofing the apartment. ( A video of the game play. ) In the past Steam editors have taken down games they deemed too inappropriate from the website without allowing the users to vote for it. Like in the case of Hatred, a game in which you can be the perpetrator of a school mass shooting. The game however was later restored to the website as the decision generated backlash from the community. ( Read more here )

Steam is a very popular gaming engine, and it is largely due to the fact that it gives it’s users creative freedom, or at least it appears to.

Radio as a visual experience?

We live in the times where the radio presenter can no longer be just the pleasant welcoming voice that we learn to recognise, they are also required to be a pleasant welcoming face. Thanks to the internet the radio now has a visual presence.

bbc 1

I guess according to the BBC there are things in this world that cannot be described in words, so they opted for creating visual content for the radio (so that they no longer have to rely on the audience’s imagination to really get the joke).They have things such as live interviews and performances that can be streamed online, or re-watched later on in the week, all available for free on the BBC website. At first, personally, this seemed to defeat the point. The radio is a platform for audio entertainment solely isn’t it? However, after some consideration, it made sense to me; multi-platform productions are the future, and if the radio wants to stay afloat (and believe me it does) then it must keep up. The reality is that the notion of the ‘visual generation’ is very much real. We are surrounded by the media and it’s images 24/7 and we in a way expect it. Publishing recordings from interviews with celebrities on the online platform, is a good way of satisfying and attracting the new, more visual, younger audiences to a traditional medium without changing it fundamentally. What the convergence means for the audience is that it gets more content and more than one way of consuming it which creates options and perhaps a sense of identity; are you a consumer of the audio, the video or both?

Internet and Surveillance

Internet and surveillance: the challenges of Web 2.0 and social media by Christian Fuchs.

This book is an interesting insight into the variety of different aspects and relationships between the internet as a tool, it’s users and it’s uses in particular for monitoring society. I found it to be a good in-depth source on the topic as it feels well researched and well sourced, with a mixture of academic writing and intelligent and interesting analysis. The author takes us through the general ideas around changes in the way we use the internet all the way down to political implications of surveillance.

We have access to the first chapter of the book online, however the book seems to be worth referring to in it’s entirety as the author has a good understanding of the topic, furthermore the author is in their later adulthood which gives them a very interesting foundation for drawing comparison making their insight much more valuable, especially to those born admits the internet age.

For example, in the first chapter the author writes “Surveillance is new. Surveillance is the cardinal point of the internet.” He then recalls a time where secret police surveilled him when he participated in a prisoner’s conference, where the stalking and following of his actions was physical and detectable. He the makes the point that: “What is new now is surveillance that is hidden, unseen, and impossible to trace.” I found that to be a very effective use of personal experience to make a point.

The online version is available here with university login.