Tag Archives: Technology

Twitter Thrives on Mobile Technology and Real Time Updates

Summer is over and college students are making their way back to campus.

Summer is over and college students are making their way back to campus.

By: Stephanie Espina
Evan Williams went to “Burn the Floor” last night and it was fantastic. David Ortiz is eating lunch with a headache at work. Lance Armstrong made it to Paris and thinks it will be good to spend time on some old training roads. Most internet users have heard of Facebook and Myspace, but Twitter seems to be making a name for itself in the social networking realm. It answers a simple, tempting and ambiguous question: “What are you doing?”
Combining the elements of a typical social networking site and utilizing mobile technology as its main source of distribution, Twitter has made it possible for people to directly communicate with many friends at the same time. Just how many friends? A ton.
“Everyone uses the service differently, which is one of the reasons it’s become so popular,” says technology blogger and Twitter user Ed Kohler in a recent blog. “Over time, you’ll figure out who’s using Twitter in a way that’s interesting to you,” he says. One of the beauties of Twitter is that you can schedule “off hours” so your phone or inbox of choice is not too overwhelmed with incoming status updates. “This is useful if you have friends who like to do some drinking and Twittering late into the night, or if you have friends in different time zones,” says Kohler.
Once you are a registered user on Twitter.com, you are given the option to “follow” interesting strangers, companies, media outlets, celebrities or personal friends. Once you have established which profiles you would like to receive updates from, you will then choose the method in which you would like to receive that information. For the not-so-text-savvy, this might be a good way to start learning more about mobile updates and making use of the power of texting. Once you have an update you would like to share, text the Twitter site by texting the number “40404.” Keep in mind that the body of the message cannot exceed 140 characters and that Twitter will broadcast to all of those lovely “followers” of yours. If you would rather not receive text updates and if you do not have a big text plan you can send updates traditionally through the Twitter website or via instant message services like AIM or Google Talk.
You can even follow Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. In a recent TedTalks video podcast, Williams spoke about the importance of using a social tool like Twitter. “The fundamental idea is Twitter lets people share moments of their lives whenever they want…by sharing these moments as they’re happening it lets people feel more connected and in touch despite distance and real time,” he said. What the creators didn’t anticipated according to Williams, were the additional uses that evolved from this particular system. “It seems like when you give people easier ways to share information, more good things happen.”
You will be notified whenever the people you are following are sending a Twitter update. You can also subscribe to other Twitter user’s updates by clicking the “ADD” link on their profile page. If you choose this option, this does not mean they can receive your updates just because you interested in them. Twitter is less about posting or tagging pictures an more about simply updating users on what other users are doing or experiencing on a daily basis. The content you wish to provide can be informative, strategic in guiding your Twitter followers to particular action or realization or it can merely serve as an expressive outlet after an eventful day.
Additionally, if you log onto “Summize.com” you are able to search any event, issue or topic and see who is there sending a “tweet” about it on Twitter.
“I can see how an outlet like Twitter can be useful for all kinds of people,” said Harriman resident and father of two, David Ortiz. “I get updates from the New York Times [and] the New York Yankees but I also follow faithful bloggers who use twitter to increase their fan base,” he said. “If you like fast communication, getting updates on information you are interested in and promoting yourself or ideas you think other people should know about, then there is no doubt Twitter is for you.”


Technology: Friend or Foe in Communication?

By Jacel Egan

In the new age of media communication, younger generations have become so technologically savvy that the preferred method of keeping in contact with friends is through the Internet as opposed to face to face contact.

Although this may seem like a step forward (and in an era where instantaneous communication is vital, it can be) in breaking the distance barrier, I feel as though the personal side of interaction is getting lost in the midst of “OMGs” and “ROFLs.”

Social networking sites have become a main way of communication for college-aged students. Photo from www.socialmediamarketingwatch.com.

Social networking sites have become a main way of communication for college-aged students. Photo from http://www.socialmediamarketingwatch.com.

According to a Fuser study in 2007, “84 percent of college-aged users spend seven or more hours per week on the Internet managing their personal communications.”  Also, 92 percent of college-aged users 18-21 years old also have two or more e-mail accounts while also maintaining at least one social networking account, such as Facebook.

This is a hefty amount of online chatting and interaction. Online communication, in my opinion, sacrifices authenticity and personality for convenience. It’s easy to chat online with several friends at once or with people that are far away, but more often than not, messages are misunderstood or misread, causing unnecessary drama.

Instant messages can easily be taken seriously even though they were meant to be sarcastic, or something entirely differently can be interpreted than what the original message had intended. From personal experience, I have fallen victim to sending the wrong message to someone that wasn’t supposed to see such content. I can reassure you that trying to fix online mix-ups is definitely not the most fun thing to do.

It's easy to send a message to the wrong person on AIM. Photo from www.wackyb.co.nz.

It's easy to send a message to the wrong person on AIM. Photo from http://www.wackyb.co.nz.

Online interaction also lacks the personal touch of communicating with someone face to face. The nonverbal cues are absent on Facebook chat and AIM (though this problem is irrelevant to Skype). Real-life conversations with others also allow for time to gather thoughts more sufficiently and choose words more wisely than chatting online.

Again, I nominate myself the worst online talker because I am that person that types whatever thought comes to mind, good or bad. My housemates are now my IM and text “editors” to keep me in check. Sometimes what someone would normally say to another in person and online can be completely different. The Internet, due to its instantaneous nature, can remove the filter for what someone would usually keep to himself or herself.

Online communication can be either a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends that are hundreds of miles away, yet can also be detrimental to relationships if messages are interpreted incorrectly. So just remember, think before you type.

Australia’s Proposed Internet Blacklist Stirs Controversy

By: Daniel Kopf

A media firestorm erupted last week after the leak of a proposed internet blacklist by the Australian government. The blacklist would block access to the sites Internet Service Providers or ISP’s, rendering the sites inaccessible by Australian citizens. The blacklist includes over 2,400 websites, mostly consisting of sites such as child pornography and online gambling.

The controversy surrounding the list centered on the inclusion of seemingly innocent sites such as a dentist’s website, and a pet care website. Many critics also accused the list of being politically skewed. According to Time.com, sites advocating legal euthanasia, Satanism and Christianity were also on the list.

The news of the proposed blacklist was leaked by the website Wikileaks.org. The list is the product of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the governmental body that regulates all Australian media.

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

The ACMA is overseen by Australia’s Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy, who has maintained that the leak will not stop the government from implanting the proposed blacklist.

Despite the proposed blacklist taking place in a country almost 10,000 miles away the consequences of a government proposed blacklist has startled some Marist Students.

“A blacklist is against anyone’s rights if someone’s site is blocked because someone in an administration doesn’t like a particular political issue, they are infringing on our freedom of speech,” Marist sophomore Cynthia Dagenais said.

Other Marist students feel the blacklist protects people from the dangers of the internet. It would be great if the sites could be blocked because that way people would not be exposed to different things,” Marist sophomore Laura Osberg said.

The proposed blacklist also raises questions about Marist’s non-restrictive internet policy.

“For a college, anything that is illegal or any downloadable content should be blocked,” Marist junior Bobby Reyes said.

Some students at Marist do agree with the Marist’s decision not to block access to any website including the website juicycampus.com which was a main point of controversy last semester.

“I don’t think Marist should block these websites because it appears as if there is a hidden agenda. Marist can’t tell us that euthanasia is completely wrong, or that we can’t see sites on Satanism, etc.If you block one site, other sites might be blocked too,” Dagenais said.

Local Non-Profit Gives Youth a Voice

By Stephanie Espina

Children's Media Project
Courtesy of CMP Myspace Images

If you drive down Academy Street in the city of Poughkeepsie, you might pass a building that resembles an old firehouse – the Lady Washington Firehouse to be exact. If you take a closer look, you will notice that this building now serves a different purpose. It is, and has been for the past five years, a community media production house.

The Children’s Media Project was started by award-winning filmmaker Maria Marewski. This non-profit organization moved to 20 Academy Street five years ago but the program has existed since 1994. It is an organization devoted to providing local youth and adults with an opportunity to get hands-on with the media arts. Workshops and special screening opportunities allow students to create, analyze and appreciate various forms of media. Radio, television, film, print and online technology are used to empower youth while teaching them how to utilize media outlets to raise awareness of social issues. Among CMP’s completed projects is an entirely youth-run television show called “DropTV.” It has been broadcast on the Cablevision Network in the local Hudson Valley region and has reached international attention to destinations a s far as South Africa.

In a colorful and ecclectic second floor workspace, Director of the CMP Production House and Media Educator, Josh Baum, recites the ever present mission of the Children’s Media Project. “Giving youth a voice in the media of their choice.”

Baum joined CMP in 2006 as a pupil himself; as an intern from Vassar College.

“There’s a lot of young people around here that are either very passionate about what they do or something that they stand for or they want to explore an issue that is relevant to them and the community,” said Baum. “We’re a place that they can come to to learn the skills they need.”

At the start of 2009, the Children’s Media Project found themselves in a challenging situation in terms of the failing economy, which ultimately effected their incoming support from outside businesses and government grant support.

“Being creative people here, we saw it as an opportunity for us to become more self-sufficient and self-supportive ,” said Baum.

In response, the CMP staff initiated an intensive fundraising effort occurring throughout the month of March. The CMP 50K Media Marathon Fundraiser has a goal of raising $50,000 through contributions and productions to attract more interest in the organization and to get the community involved in the cause. “Our goal is to raise awareness as to what CMP does and to support or even expand our programming,” said Baum.

Those that work and volunteer at the Children’s Media Project never forget why they support such a program.

“The kids are amazing,” said Baum. “Seeing those kids pick up on something, really learn to use it and see their final product…That’s why we’re all here.”

Video produced and edited by Stephanie Espina:

Hulu Leads Television Revolution

By Daniel Kopf

For almost 80 years television has been the main source for entertainment. Internet Television provider Hulu.com is leading the revolution causing an influx of viewers to watch television on their computers.

Hulu.com was started in 2007 by NBC Universal, News Corp. and Providence Equity Partners. Hulu offers viewers videos from over 130 content providers including media giants FOX and NBC.

hulu_tv_show-pageWatching online videos on the internet has boomed in the last several months culminating in a record 14.3 billion videos being watched by the U.S in December. Hulu profited from the boom as a record 24 million videos were watched on the website.

Many attribute this boom to the several advantages online videos have over television.

“Hulu allows viewers more control and offers fewer commercials,” said Media Arts Professor Keith Hamel. “It has the same advantages of a VCR and DVR. It allows users to break away from control of the medium.”

Hulu’s recent growth however does not hide its shortcomings, as it does not offer as wide of range as programming as users would like.

“I feel it could expand its content. I know it has to do with rights but the powers that be should extend the length of time a program is on the website,” said Marist College Sophomore Matthew Esposito.

Along with not offering content from CBS and ABC, Hulu does not support user generated content, a staple of online giant YouTube.

Despite Hulu’s criticisms its growing success has ignited the debate whether or not television on the internet is the hulu_main_homepage1future.

“Who knows what the future holds, will it replace television yes, with another form of television I don’t know,” said professor Hamel.

Online videos might be the future of television, but Professor Hamel says they’re not as similar as it might seem. “In terms of actively seeking it out Hulu is different. What you see on Hulu is a diversion. But it’s not as much of a recreation, its constantly calling you back, you are still divided but not recreationally.”

Award Show Goes Tech: Oscars Everywhere


Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By: Stephanie Espina

Television viewers were certainly reminded that even though the Academy Awards is a time to honor the best of the best in the world of film, technology plays an essential role in the mission and purpose of the ceremony and organization. When winners often thank “The Academy”, they are not paying tribute to former schooling, they are offering gratitude towards the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Earlier this month, hosted by actress Jessica Biel, the Scientific & Technical Achievement Awards honored the men and women who have contributed to the film industry in extraordinary ways. Academy President Sid Ganis commented on the importance of the Sci-Tech Awards on an online webisode. “It’s where the academy celebrates the technologies and gadgets and lenses and software that make the impossible possible for filmmakers and audiences around the world. It’s where science meets art,” said Ganis. This year’s winners were recognized for specific technologies including the creation of video assist monitors, lighting innovations, compact zoom lenses and motion picture effects photography.

The highly anticipated 81st Academy Awards Presentation, although different than the Sci-Tech Awards, certainly adopted a technological twist through its marketing and presentation. With the inclusion of modern technology, viewing audiences were able to participate like never before. Through Sportvision technology, spectators have been able to witness the virtual first down line in football games, the flaming puck found in National Hockey League broadcasts and NASCAR’s car-tracking system. This same Sportvision technology was used at the Oscars, especially during the well known red carpet event prior to the ceremony. The E! Channel, in particular provided eager viewers with a pre-show broadcast of their annual “Live from the Red Carpet” coverage. Sportvision’s “Star Tracker” image-based system allowed for real-time tracking of red carpet celebrities. This technology was also used at the Golden Globes, but new features including a “three dimensional perspective”, arrows and labels allowed viewers to identify their favorite actors walking within close range to other celebrities.
Photo courtesy of Oscars.org

Photo Courtesy of Oscars.org

“Mobile technology has made great advances in recent years,” said Marist College Media Center Specialist Kyle Carson. “It’s perfect for marketing major events or just getting people interested in what’s going on,” said Carson. In addition to Sportvision technology, the use of mobile technology was used to alert mobile subscribers of Oscar winners and happenings throughout the program. On Oscars.com, many interactive features were available so that viewers would “Play Along”. Here, you were able to sign up for mobile alerts by simply entering your cell phone number. “If it’s easy to use and convenient to sign up over the Internet, people will be more likely to participate,” said Carson. From the online “Thank You Cam” featuring uninterrupted acceptance speeches to the “Oscars Live Challenge” where people could send in predictions and retrieve their score after the show’s completion, viewers had plenty to do on the Internet during commercial breaks.

Even the production of the Academy Awards exercised a new, and appropriately cinematic program unlike previous years. What used to be a straightforward awards ceremony with little detail transformed into an experience of its own. Presenters were accompanied by various lighting techniques, visual tricks, high quality digital video and the musical performances resembling that of a Broadway performance. Carson would agree. “It was a very successful attempt to revamp the Oscars,” he said. “As a person who works in media, I’m excited to see how these technologies will not only upgrade the film industry but how they will be used to package an event like the Academy Awards in future years.”

Facebook Changes Back to Original Terms Of Service

By: Daniel Kopf

Facebook reverted back to its original terms of use Wednesday after facing thousands of complaints from its users.

Facebook’s term of service policy came under fire last week when the website The Consumerist pointed out the deletion of a line in Facebook’s Terms of Use. The line was replaced with the following “You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. … However, you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

These terms state that Facebook has rights to all information on a users profile even after it is deleted.

Marist College Res Net employee Joey Carmello supports Facebook’s previous policy, “If people use Facebook than the website has the right to do what they want with their content.” The users of Facebook disagreed however, as 58% voted yes to a Facebook poll asking if a change in the terms of service was needed.

Along with the resounding poll results thousands of groups protesting the new terms sprouted demanding action and spreading petitions.

“It seemed fairly unconstitutional, Facebook as a system works why change it” said TCNJ Sophomore Dan Frieri.

markzuckerbergAccompanied by a media storm and pressure by its users, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted an explanation on his blog Wednesday explaining the move back to the old terms of service. “Going forward, we’ve decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now. As I said yesterday, we think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don’t plan to leave it there for long.”

“They had the right to distribute my information you put on Facebook as well as the right to sub-license it out to other companies. I’m glad they can no longer use my information for profitable gain,” said Marist College Sophomore Andrew Fritzer.

Zuckerberg has also invited Facebook users to input their opinion into the next terms of service.

“I’m glad to see Mark Zuckerberg put his best foot forward and offer a chance for facebook uses to have an input in the website,” said Marist Sophomore Nick Seinfeld. It was a foolish business decision not to take into account the ramification of holding on to people’s personal information forever.”