Friday, November 13, 2015

Have we become TOO dependent on technology?

Nomophobia. The fear of being out of mobile contact is something that we all (while embarrassing) have experienced some time or another. According to the Psychology Today, it says on their website that the word is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”, a term that was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office. The study found that 53 percent of mobile phone users in Britain felt worried or anxious when they lost their phones according to the study that sampled 2,163 people. 
But let’s take it even further, what if humans started to become so dependent on our phones that we relied on it to do simple every day task. Task such as making to do list, setting up alarm’s or even using it to send a text message. A great example of this dependency would be the widely popular Siri. 

Siri is as a type of technology (generally associated with the company Apple) that acts as a virtual personal assistant that responds to the human voice commands. Some of its features include making phone calls, browsing the web and even looking up the nearest pizza place in your city. The possibilities of the innovative technology are endless but many there have been many questions asking if we have become too dependent on the technology.
 Siri was first developed at SRI (Stanford Research Institute) in the early 2000’s. According to the Stanford Research Institute’s website the technology was developed “through the SRI-led Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO) project within DARPAS’s Personalized Assistant that Learns (PAL) program”, the largest-known artificial intelligence project in American history. (Siri, 2015). In 2007, Siri, Inc. was introduced to the public and raised $24 million in two rounds of financing. Apple eventually acquired Siri in 2010 and later debuted the software on their iPhone 4S in 2014. An article on the HuffingPost says that the phone company Verizon was actually slated to sign a deal with Siri to make it apart of the Android phones in 2009, but Apple later bought Siri and “insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices.” (Bosker, 2013).
While Siri’s technology allows for users to automate simple task through its technology some are concerned with whether it may make humans too dependent on the technology.
Watch the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk about how are dependency on technology is affecting the way that we communicate.

Friday, October 23, 2015

“Give The People What They Want, Not What They Need”

The title of this blog speaks to the very issue that many “traditional” news organizations are facing when it comes to providing content to cater to their audience. Some of the oldest media corporations have been stuck in between a rock and a hard place simply because their content and way of presenting news is on the brink of becoming outdated, thanks to the invention of the internet and influx of social media sites.

            Sites such as BuzzFeed have taken the opposite approach than most news stations when it comes to how they believe that can capture their audience through the new innovations of technology and personalized content. Something that we learned in class this week that has helped give BuzzFeed somewhat of an edge over their predecessors is that it is able to generate revenue through what is called native advertising. Native advertising in laymen’s terms is an advertisement that is presented through an article to promote a product. An August 2015 article by BusinessInsider says a large portion of BuzsFeed’s business model uses Facebook and other social media to promote their “native” ads which helps to drive traffic to their site (Weinberger, Aug. 2015). The TechTimes writes that BuzzFeed “charges clients set fees for creating custom content aimed at that client’s customer base” (Gallagher, March 2015).

Most of the native advertising on BuzzFeed consist of silly videos or pictures that center around a good pun to not only make viewers laugh or scoff but to grab their attention making the audience more willing to share it. I mean, who doesn’t like a good laugh every once in a while? For BuzzFeed, these sort of “click-bait” ads are currently what are driving traffic to the site which now hones about 150 million unique visitors per month (Gallagher, March 2015). Not too bad for a site started nearly 10 years ago.

An article on Business Insider in May this year discusses the benefits of native advertisments for media companies. “Native ads have also proven effective, drawing higher click rates than traditional banner ads, particularly on mobile devices” (Hoelzel, May 2015). That same articles provides stats from the BI Intelligence that spending on native ads will be close to $7.9 billion in this year alone and will continue to rise to about $21 billion in 2018 (Hoelzel, May 2015). I think those stats alone show the future of native advertising for media companies and how important it will be for those who haven’t started to start incorporating them onto their platforms.

In my personal opinion I think that is what makes BuzzFeed so relevant as a media organization because it knows how to adapt to their resources (by use of social media and creating their own content) and cater to their audience. Many people today including myself do not have time to search for news day in and day out and out of pure laziness would rather the news come to us. I think it is coming to the point to now we sort of expect the news that we consume to be given to us directly at all times and find it a hassle to have to wait for homepages of news organizations to load and buffer just to be faced with a page full of words. I know that I am more willing to read an article that is shared on social media by my friends. This could be due to the fact that most people who are friends tend to have some of the same interest making it more likely for them to delve more into the article. 

I think it will be interesting to see what new heights sites such as BuzzFeed will reach in the next few years and will the company continue to be innovative enough to stay on top.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

News Media at a Crossroads

The influence that social media has on the world today is something that can be somewhat attributed to the amount of time that we spend on these social media sites. According to an article on titled “28% of Time Spent Online is Social Networking” it says that the “average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms.” (Bennett, 2015). The article goes into the statistics of how that constitutes to 1.72 hours per day on just social media alone, not accounting time spent on the internet which in 2014 was over six hours per day. That means that over one-fourth of our day is being spent by our eyes glued to either our computer screens or our phones. 
(GlobalWebIndex 2012-2014).

            With the surge of social media in the past decade, many big new corporations as well as local are starting to come to a seemingly bitter crossroads with whether to ride the wave of the social media train or continue to find new ways to generate traffic to their websites without selling out. A 2015 article by Matthew Ingram on gigaom titled “Nick Denton says the traffic game is over, and Buzzfeed has won” discusses how Gawker founder, Nick Denton plans to shift Gawker’s focus from the amount of traffic a story to the likes of the views of their news-editor-in-chief Tommy Craggs. (Ingram, Jan. 2015).  Many people know Gawker for their controversial headlines and the traffic from those types of stories has been a large part of the success of Gawker. Buzzfeed, which is an internet news media site prides itself on being able to cater to a broad audience with its colorful user-interface and daily content. While both Gawker and Buzzfeed generate traffic through people visiting their site via online browsers, Buzzfeed is more actively viewed through shared links on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. 

 (Courtesy of, 2012). 
An article by Business Insider editor Alyson Shontell titled “The Story of How Jonah Peretti Built The Web’s Most Beloved New Media Brand” says that Buzzfeed’s founder Jonah Peretti rather prefer readers of the site to “tweet out an article than actually click on it.” (Shontell, 2012). He also says in the article that “People are what spreads the media, and that’s a stronger and better signal than a media company could [build alone].” (Shontell, 2012). I feel that this is a huge part of Buzzfeed’s success because I think of how often I go to a .com site in my browser to read news versus me scrolling on my timeline and clicking on the links in a tweet or on Facebook to keep up with the news. In regards to Gawker deciding to change its attitude of how it views the traffic of a story to a more “newsworthy” approach I think that it may have some effect what content Gawker will produce in the future, but I don’t think that their audience will drop anytime soon due to it being such a huge force news media.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The shift from traditional newspapers to online-based content

This week in class we continued our discussion on the transition of print media to the web and how companies have continued to extend their brand onto online media. 

In Wednesday’s class I asked a question regarding whether or not there will be a need for newspapers, radio or television in the future seeing that everything seems to be becoming more online-based. While that thought is still up for debate, Mark Briggs, author of the book Entrepreneurial Journalism suggest that the idea of news organizations needing to hire large staffs are becoming a thing of the past. “In the near future, instead of a daily newspaper with 150 journalist, a small city might have 20 digital news operations, each with a handful of journalist and each working in a clearly defined content and audience niche.” (Briggs, pg. 12). 

This shift will most likely be to the due to the digital age of media where most of the news content will be posted online and allow for news consumers to “customize” their news experience when deciding which niche suits their needs. In my opinion, traditional newspapers do not offer consumers the type of flexibility when it comes to letting consumers choose the news that they want to see versus sites such as that provides a user-interface much more diverse for news consumers to enjoy their content and getting a more rich experience while reading news. 

Social media apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and Periscope are also providing their users with the ability to view news through their sites according to their liking. Below are just a few of the options that Snapchat users can enjoy if they want to get a quick update on news. 

While online-based news and social media sites can offer more to consumers to take over the need for traditional newspapers and reporting, the next concern would be how to keep them from monopolizing the market. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Internet and Its Impact on Journalism

Open to the public in 1991, the internet has become one of the most important and popular forms of media that journalist use today. It has left many other media’s such as newspapers, televisions, radio trailing far behind in terms of its reach to the public. A 2014 article written by David Carr says “Newspapers continue to generate cash and solid earnings, but those results are not enough to satisfy investors.” While the internet is still a fairly new industry compared to the other types of media, the impact that it has had on my other fields, specifically journalism and how we receive how news is staggering leaving news organizations wondering how to make a profit.

For my generation and beyond, I believe that some of us have become so accustomed to using the internet (and now social media) for our news that we tend to take newspapers and radio for granted. In the future could eventually cause those forms of media to become extinct due to the internet having everything we need all in one. Amy Mitchell states in the 2014 article “State of the News Media 2014” that “Full-time professional newsroom employment declined another 6.4% in 2012 with more losses expected for 2013.” (Mitchell, 2014). The transition of news organizations to more online-based content has both pros and cons and adapting to the internet could be the decision that can help save the company from collapsing.

One pro being that news organizations have become so competitive in getting a story out first, the internet allows for them to post news articles within a few minutes or even less versus having to spend long hours developing a newspaper. This method is not always the best because rushing to get a story out first could lead to fact errors which could ruin the credibility of that journalist. Another pro being that posting content strictly online saves paper which could mean more money to put into other things such as advertising and things of that sort, though for some people this could be an issue. In class I remember one student bringing up a great point stating that he and many others still believe in having access to tangible newspapers to read their news. Reading the Sunday paper is a tradition for many families in America and taking that experience away can leave a bad taste in many people’s mouths causing news organizations to lose readers.

Many people feel that the internet is making it harder for news organizations to make a profit for their companies because they would then have to depend on strictly advertising and clicks to make money. In my opinion I think it would be beneficial for companies to be more creative in terms of making money because the world is constantly evolving with new technologies and I am excited to see how the next generation will expand upon these technologies.