Design

I was recently told about a website called FiveThirtyEight.com. It is a really interesting website, and even just browsing it, I really took a liking to it.

It originally began as a website for political pieces, but later expanded to sports, science, economics and much more. I will focus mainly on the sports aspects as my website is mainly based on sports- wrestling.

I like how it is organized, and easy to use, it is very straightforward and simple. It has a changing homepage, so the newest articles show up there making it fresh every time you visit.

The background of the website is simple and white. I also liked how on the right side of the website there are extra suggests that are useful. For example, on the side, they have NFL, NBA and College predictions for the upcoming season.

The individual articles are well written and organized. I enjoy that there are links to other sites in order to learn more about what they are saying. They have a great balance of pictures and text, and are very informative but not too word heavy. They offer a really cool perspective on sports that I haven’t seen before. I like their take on the topics they choose to write on.

I would have liked to see more women’s coverage on their website, but that is an issue all across the world’s sports stages today.

Lastly, the text for the name of the website is different than the rest of the website and I am not a huge fan. I am one for cohesion and flow, and that seems to break up the flow a little bit.

All in all, I am really excited that I was introduced to this website, and I am excited to see what comes next. Especially as someone who hopes to have a career in sports broadcasting later on, I like the fresh perspective it offers.

Peer Review #2

I reviewed Kenneth’s website and it was great!

Kenneth website is all about music and the emotion that follows it.

One of the blog post that I found interesting was the article about Lofi, Lofi is a loop of hip hop type music that can go on for hours. Lofi is very versatile and can be used when studying or just hanging out. I personally have listened to Lofi (before I knew a name for it) and I like to listen when I am studying.

Like Debbie Chachra mentioned in her article, when thinking of the community dynamics, “makers” are seen as very important. In this case, Kenneth is a “maker” because he made a playlist for the readers to listen to as well. This playlist is actually really good, and I enjoy it a lot! As a “maker” here in this sense, Kenneth didn’t make the songs, but he did make a playlist for the songs to all be grouped together. Along with these points, Chachra speaks to the idea of what you are trying to accomplish.

Throughout the website, Kenneth displays a modern vibe with a creative spin on it. As you navigate through the website, it is easy to find things, and pleasant to look at. The typeface is simple and modern as well. The course reading title The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, we read spoke about affordances being taken advantage of in design of a website. Affordances are the features that come about because of the technology that is being used. These affordances could be the global reach of technology. This can be seen in Kenneth’s website, because he makes it open for a lot of different audiences. It is easy not only to navigate through, but also allows for many audiences to access and understand the topics that are being discussed. Also, the customization of Kenneth’s website is very nice and that is one of the parts that adds to the good flow and vibe of the website.

The constructive criticism I would give to Kenneth is that there wasn’t much social media integration into his website. He could link his social media accounts in order to create more networks throughout the internet and make his website more discoverable. Another things I would mention is that there are not many comments on the blog posts that he has. I think if he allowed for more discussion on his website, and ended his posts in a more open way, it would then invite more comments to be posted. I also think that more comments would make for a more inviting and discursive space for people to participate in dialogue.

My Audience

When I started this website, I actually had no specific audience in mind of who I wanted to read my work.

Now, as I have worked and written more, I feel I have the hang of it, and my audience, though still broad, has been refined. I now have a clear picture of who I want my audience to be.

I have split them into three different categories:

Group 1: Wrestlers/those who are “in the know” about wrestling. These audience members will be people I know who wrestle or who know about wrestling and want to discuss it more. These people don’t necessarily need an explanation of tings, but want to have a conversation about them. They like to participate in wrestling culture, and this is just and extension of it in the online world.

Group 2: People who know me. These people are my friends and family who may not know a lot about wrestling, but know me. Their knowledge of wrestling has either come from me, or the brief interactions with other wrestlers they know. They have either heard me talk about wrestling or been to a competition of mine, but don’t quite know all about it. They are still learning the language and procedures that come with wrestling.

Group 3: Randoms. Well, these people are those who just “happen” upon my website, and stay for a while! YAY! These are the people who are bored online and have been led to my website and found it (hopefully) interesting! I hope these people stick around and go from “randos” to “regulars”!

Whether my audience is a wrestler, someone I know, or even just a random person who happened to find my site, I hope they stay and read and enjoy! May this website be a place for discussion and learning and social interaction. I hope that we can listen to each other and grow as a community!

Essay #1

It has been said that Social media platforms create a democratic spaces for dialogue. But do they really? Almost 3.5 billion people use social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook, and it is said that each person averages 7.6 different accounts. With this high volume of users on social media, it creates a new type of public sphere. In this sphere, is there a democracy? Or is there a power struggle that is not often spoken about?

Social Media has created a new kind of way to interact with people near and far from you, and the introduction of the internet into the world, was the first step needed for that. Anyone with an internet connection could then gather information, participate in discussions, create content, and so much more. As long as they had internet (and a device) they could do it. This allowed for a democratic space to arise. As Mark Warburton states in his article, the internet’s capability was more anarchic or free of hierarchy. There were no physical barriers limiting people from participating in what is going on. There were also no borders or country lines that would limit discussion and sharing of information. Social Media allows for people to connect in ways never before.

However, as time progressed, updates occurred, and people became more familiar with the internet and social media, there arose a hierarchy. Accounts were able to be “verified”, people began making money through their accounts, and political leaders joined in as well. The number of followers or subscribers a user had acted as a type of social capital. The more followers someone had, they more popular they were, and those with more people viewing there content, they are able to reach more people and often are held on a higher social platform, almost a “high class” for the social media world. Those “high class” users are able to get away with more things than the average user, and this hierarchy created an inconsistency in upholding rules along social media platforms.

With the introduction of algorithms, platforms have changed the way that engagement happens. The algorithms decide what posts come up on which order, and how users see content. There are also other things that impact the way users see content. The use of hashtags allows for posts to be linked and traced, and anyone can see it. Along with that, being in different areas around the world may impact how content is filtered, and even what content gets to different users.

Along with algorithms, different social media platforms all have their own rules that must be followed in order to use. For example, Instagram has a specific set of policies that each user must abide by. The Instagram Terms of Use be agreed to when signing up to use the platform. These include requirements such as; not posting vulgar words or photos, no harassing other users, responsibility for what you post, etc. These terms of use must be upheld in order to continue using the platform. If these terms are not met, Instagram has the ability to terminate or suspend accounts, remove content, etc. Often times, different social media platforms have different policies including privacy, copyright and other terms of use. These rules and regulations of use are to try to, in fact, create a more democratic and just space, however, most of the time, these rules are upheld inconsistently.  Depending on who you are and what your position of status or power may be, the rules may apply to you differently. Those “high class” users are granted more leniency when they did something against the terms of use. 

For example, a few years ago, there was a Youtuber named Logan Paul who violated some rules on the platform by posting a video that was his videos were not taken down, however only because of a lot of criticism from fans, Logan then took the video down himself. He then took some time off of Youtube, but now is back to creating content and being paid for it. If that were a regular user who wasn’t being paid, that kind of content would not be tolerated and those who run the platform would have taken action. This kind of inconsistency is a frequent problem when looking into how that public space is managed. 

Social media started a new type of living. People were now able to participate in discourse and communicate in an entirely new way. All they needed was an internet connection, and no physical barriers stood in their way. It created a public sphere that was equal for all. However, that did not last long. Though social media platforms began as a way for people to communicate as equals, it soon turned into a hierarchy of social power.

Now, though it is still a place to communicate, the algorithms in place have impacted the way information is distributed and viewed, and so it has become a just like the real world in terms of power relations and audiences. The different classes that have been created on platforms have created a barrier; the “high class” users have more of a voice than the “lower class” users. Along with that, the rules are upheld differently for a “high class” user than a “lower class” on. So though social media started as a way to create a democratic space, it has evolved into a social structure that is similar to the real world.

Sources

Dora, L. D., Dubras, R., & Underwood, L. (2019, January 30). Digital 2019: Global Internet Use Accelerates. Retrieved from https://wearesocial.com/blog/2019/01/digital-2019-global-internet-use-accelerates.

            The average person has 7 social media accounts. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2017/nov/17/average-person-has-7-social-media-accounts/.

            Warburton, M. (2011, August 3). Mark Warburton (Global) – Is the Internet a Democratic Space? Retrieved from https://www.idgconnect.com/idgconnect/opinion/1012006/mark-warburton-global-internet-democratic-space.

Gillespie, T. (2018, January 16). The Logan Paul YouTube controversy and what we should expect from internet platforms. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/1/12/16881046/logan-paul-youtube-controversy-internet-companies.