Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Grist is an environmental magazine and now website that has combined journalism, advocacy and lifestyle into a very successful product.

On their website they say that, "Grist has been dishing out environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999 — which, to be frank, was way before most people cared about such things. Now that green is in every headline and on every store shelf (bamboo hair gel, anyone?), Grist is the one site you can count on to help you make sense of it."

They cover a variety of different topics including climate change, agriculture, green building development, politics, public transportation and sustainable living. Their articles cover everything from vegan celebrities to investigative journalism about the safety concerns of GM foods.

Grist is able to do all of this as a non-profit that is supported by donations by readers and advertising as well as by grants from organizations like the Ford Foundation.

Why Mitt Romney is losing at Tumblr

Mother Jones published this great piece on why Mitt Romney's campaign has been unable to have any success on Tumblr and why the Obama campaign has been incredibly popular.

The article argues that it's largely a result of the demographics. Tumblr is primarily a very young audience with, "The percentage of 18-to-24-year-olds on Tumblr is roughly double the internet average." And that no doubt has a lot to do with it. Young people on average are far more likely to support Obama than Mitt Romney. However it's not just about the people who are on tumblr, just looking at the debates on abortion shows that there is definitely a constituency of people who have similar ideas to Mitt Romney, why aren't they taking part in Mitt Romney's Tumblr campaign?

Tumblr users pride themselves on being part of a community and in order to be a part of one there has to conversation and that means a give and take. Obama's campaign got it right because they interact with the community, reblogging and replying to their posts. So while they still use it as a platform to distribute their message, they also use it as a playful way to keep in contact with their supporters.

See this post where someone posted a picture of an Obama LGBT sticker on a wall saying "I've been meaning to get one of these for my wall" and the Obama Tumblr responding by saying "And now we, in turn, covet a cupcake wall sconce for the office." with the hashtag "seriously where did you get that amazing cupcake wall sconce?" It currently has over 800 reblogs and likes.

Being able to adapt to each platform online is an important part of social networking and in this race, Obama is clearly winning.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Man Films Child Being Beaten, and Uploads it to Social Media Websites

Is There No Alternative To Public Shaming On YouTube?

A man films a neighbor allegedly abusing his stepson with a belt.  Instead of simply handing his footage to authorities, he first posts the video to YouTube and Facebook.  Did he need to do that for the alleged abuser to turn himself in?
As time advances technology progressively becomes more and more complex.  We as natural born cyborgs become interacted with technology, and thus have it become apart of our daily routines.  One advantage that technology offers is the ability to record time and space when ever we want.  With just the simple task of pressing a button we now can relive moments of our lives.  This past weekend Anthony Sanchez a 34 year old Imperial County irrigation District director was arrested for allegedly beating his stepson with a belt in his own garden.

Watching the video one might call the neighbor of Alex Sanchez a hero. He not only defends the child being beaten but records the act so there is evidence.  There is one problem with this particular issue.  Instead of recording the act and turning it into the police, the neighbor just uploaded it on Facebook and YouTube.  Was this the neighbors way of making Alex Sanchez turn himself in? or just a way to get view counts and likes on his own page?  I found that aside from either of those questions the neighbor was a hero because in the end he got justice for the crime he saw.  Overall I thought that is was an interesting article because it shows how social media can be extremely influential, it also shows how citizen journalism can actually help the community.

Gangs Promote Through Social Media Outlets

Police: Street gangs embrace social media, too

it comes as no surprise that the best form of communication for individuals are the social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Many individuals post about their feelings, favorite quotes, and what they are doing on a particular day.  One does not think about the other uses that Facebook and Twitter have been developed for over recent times.  Other than personal interests, police say that gang members have fully embraced social media as well. Gangs such as the Crips and the Spanish Gangster Disciples have their own fan pages.  

Facebook has become a way for individual and groups to express their opinions with the world being their audience.  Many can see the influences that Facebook could have on recruitment and voicing opinions on the subject matter.  Usual Gang activities such as graffiti are easily shown throughout pages on Facebook and give more representation of that particular gang through the web rather than on a freeway wall. Police say "It's much easier to post photos or messages on Facebook than to paint symbols on a fens or wall in the middle of the night".

Overall this actable shows the influence that social media can have over individuals and groups that may not be in great terms of police.  I have found that this article was extremely interesting because it provided information that one may not think about in relation to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.  Overtime police will come up with solutions on battling gang development not only physically but virtually as well.  Police have stated "And a lot fo times, if they see stuff that's going on, in social media or on the streets, they need to let us know. We can't be everywhere".  A statement by a police officer asking for a communal effort of help to fight gang development.

Participatory Media: News as Conversation

Corporate participation within social media hasn't been limited to Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, but now the up and coming photo blogging site, Instagram, which most of its users post photos of their personal lives. During the most recent season of American Idol, the entertainment show utilized this platform by regularly uploading photos of contestants behind the scenes and off the studio stage to give the world a personal view. By extending their media interaction beyond the one-way broadcasts on its regular television program, American Idol's social media presence allows audiences to feel more connected to the reality of the show. In a very limited sense, the updates can be seen as both news and entertainment.
While some, however, argue that such updates do not constitute journalism or news in the slightest bit, the disconnect is that these updates aren't purposefully traditional reports in nature. In other words, through digital technologies, journalism has come from a read-only lecture to a participatory conversation. As such, audiences aren't just consumers, but producers and participants. Add this to the way news is consumed: American Idol, whose young viewers access most of their news from instant sources and other social media outlets, had to adjust their media output.

Companies are realizing the necessity for participatory media and their branding strategies. Along with Starbucks, GE, Levis, the list goes on with those using Instagram aside from Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook's recent $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the corporate presence within social media will become more apparent.

More from Lauren Greenfield

The work of Lauren Greenfield that we discussed in class last week, including her piece for the New York Times, 'Showcase: Dubai's Improbable Tale,' provided an interesting discussion about the effects of photojournalism as a recognized form of journalism. In her work, Greenfield typically portrays the wealthy, elite members of a given society, focusing on their lifestyles and opportunities. I personally think it's most effective for a photojournalist reporting on the wealthy, to also offer a counterpoint - showing images of the other side of the spectrum.

In another piece she did for the NYT, Greenfield examines the effects of money and material wealth on kids in Los Angeles. The documentary she put together, 'Kids + Money,' proves itself very effective because both sides of the issue are explored. She talks to Alyssa and Gabby, both 16 years old, who love shopping, and find that spending four digits on well-made items is acceptable. They love waxing their eyebrows, because it 'feels good.' These girls come from a wealthy family, and use their wealth to enhance a public social image of themselves. These girls clearly seem embarrassed by some of their actions, but maintain that its a social norm. On the other hand, Greenfield interviews 17-year-old Zoie, who lives in the same bedroom as her parents - Zoie in a lofted bed, her parents in a queen size bed at the foot of her ladder. Cohabiting in the same space makes privacy a bit difficult in their family's cozy apartment. But Zoie and her mom don't mind; they find each other's presence familiar and entertaining.

These drastically two different viewpoints and lifestyles that Greenfield depicted in her film make it that much more effective. If either side existed without the other in this documentary, the viewer wouldn't get the full picture. For instance, Greenfield could speak of wealth amongst teens in LA, but seeing what it's like to not be wealthy and in the same region and age group, gives her story more meaning, depth, and credibility. Viewers are able to grasp a better understanding of what Greenfield is trying to get at with her documentary by seeing all sides. Despite Greenfield's tendency to report on and investigate the wealthier side of various lifestyles, she recognizes the need of the 'other' and its role in creating a well-rounded story.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better !

Word on the web is that Google and Apple are going head to head in competition over a mapping application. According to a report by MSNBC news, Apple has decided to break off from using Google maps on their iPhone devices and instead is pursuing to introduce its own mapping application “as one of the most- valued features on the iPhone”.

Apple is said to make the news public on Monday at the company’s own annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) held for software developers. Google, as one of the biggest power players will be in attendance, but the news is not in any way slowing them down. Recent reports have said that Google too has been hard at work and will be launching a new and improved Google maps. The application will allow for off-road and offline searching, whether on a subway or no internet connection. The newly renovated app will be made available for its Android phone in the next few weeks. With its new capabilities, consumers will experience 3-D features and access to download maps directly to their mobile phones. 

In the process of newly renovating their approach with technology and maintaining consumer interests, Google has also created its own news site dedicated solely to the company’s whereabouts and doings. Providing an online news site provides details of investments, company gains, new and updated software, as well as future and current deals with other tech companies.

Its latest article for example discusses the expansion of the technology accelerator IGEN Networks Corp. branch, ‘Gogiro Internet Group,’ across North America. The site reports on the company’s regional coverage and full synchronization of “Google Apps suite of Gmail, drive/docs, calendar, and Google+.

According to the Google Apps News site greeting, the website “is your site for the latest news, information, and uses cases that exemplify how Google Apps can be deployed in parallel with other applications and services to drive business efficiency and reduce communications costs”. For the tech savvy and Google consumers, the featured articles are your one stop shop for greater technology.