Text makes the world go round

Its been awhile and a lot has gone on in the world since my last post.  Dom Imus, gets fired for racial slurs against Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team.  Virginia Tech became the worst school shooting in US History.  The presidential Elections for 2008 are already underway.  If its wasn’t for news and bloggers we would never be up to date with current events. 


Access Granted


Information about us often gets placed in the wrong hands and often its used in research for companies and academic purposes.  This predicament is an issue that researchers face from time to time.  Earlier this summer AOL researchers released three months worth of users query logs to a publicly accessible Web site (Hafner, 2006).

Access to these logs without permission should not be permitted because of people’s privacy rights.  What little privacy that we have as citizens  should be protected especially when the government has complete access of our every moves from phone conversations, text messages and Internet use.  “Although these logs of 650,000 AOL users were not personally identified in the data, the logs contained enough information to discern an individual’s identity in some cases” (Hafner, 2006).  Its one thing to use data on people but what happens if this data gets placed in the wrong hands?  Then people will have to be concerned with identity theft.  Its bad enough that someone can drive by your home if your Internet connection is not secured and steal your information and people have to avoid scams on a day-to-day basis.

If I were to put the shoe on the other foot, then I would have to say that I understand why researchers would want to use the AOL logs to better understand how we surf the Web.  In the “Researchers Yearn to Use AOL Logs, but They Hesitate”, their are valid points made about why information in these logs can be useful in academic research.  I think that companies such as Google should look at academia as an opportunity for synergy, not be selfish with their research.   By sharing, Academia profits in their research and Google gets more hits on the Web.

These AOL logs according to a one professor an invasion,  “the AOL data is more like a real violation” (Hafner, 2006).  Just what exactly constitutes a “real violation”.  If people have not given their consent to use their information its wrong  to do it anyway.  The more access that is granted the less rights we have and people’s lives will begin to be exposed in tabloids.  By making these AOL logs public where people con potentially be identified, we are giving the media and researchers complete access to our lives with no restrictions.

I still love Bert from Sesame Street….


Could Bert from sesame street really be a clone to Osama Bin Laden?  Its a pretty scary the resemblance if you ask me.  Bert was one of my favorite childhood characters from sesame street.  The Children’s Television Network was not to happy about the negative depiction of Bert overseas.  “We’re outraged that our characters would be used in this unfortunate and distasteful manner.  The people responsible,e for this should be ashamed of themselves.  We’ve are exploring all legal options to stop this abuse and any similar in the future” (Jenkins, 2006).

It is truly amazing to me thing things technology allows you to do.  It is so easy to cut and paste, edit and merge pictures today to look like anything.  Is this genius or grounds for self destruction, I am not really sure.  When is it too much?  In Dino Ignacio’s case I think he went over board with his collage of Bert and Bin Laden.  “From his bedroom, Ignacio sparked an international controversy.  His images crisscrossed the world…”(Jenkins, 2006).  In a sense it distorted the childlike character, Bert that so many of us grew up with and loved.  In the article Jenkins argues that this is in a sense cultural convergence.  It ties together three key concepts, Media Convergence, Participatory Culture and Collective Intelligence (Jenkins, 2006).

Convergence is apart of our everyday lives.  The collage about Bert is a prime example of this.  “Think about the circuits that the Bert is Evil images traveled –from Sesame Street  through Photoshop to the World Wide Web, from Ignacio’s bedroom to a print shop in Bangladesh, from the posters held by anti-American protestors that are captured by CNN and into the living rooms of people around the world” (Jenkins, 2006).  The whole process is so scary and we wonder why terrorist exist in the world today and why identity theft exists.

Media convergence is just one of many ways that people interact and communicate with one another.  I think more times than not the media converges our lives with the negatives of today instead of trying to find more positives for people to interact and communicate about.

Interesting Article: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/books/reviews/7051/convergence-culture-by-henry-jenkins/

Video Blog…

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Yes, I am a female…Yes, I play sports… and Yes, I will kick your butt…


If I asked you to describe a women, how would you her?  Raney and Bryant suggests that the first things that would come to mind is, “Inferiority, weakness, incompetence, cooperation, passivity, timidity, and vulnerability.  Sport is, according to our commonsense understanding of the world, a celebration of manhood” (Raney & Bryant, 231).  But why does gender have to matter in sports if both the man and the woman are good athletes?



Society has created a gender barrier when it comes to females playing sports.  “Because of our society’s oppositional view of gender, when a woman succeeds in sport, she can be seen as a challenge to the established gender order and an unwelcome intruder into the world of sports” (Raney & Bryant, 231).  Just think of the unwelcoming that Michelle Wie from the male dominant world of golf.  Rush Limbaugh was quoted saying in an be a interview with BadGolfer.com, Wie is a triumph of marketing…Do you think these PGA Tour guys really think she deserves to be in a tournament with them?  The political correctness situation will just not allow them to say it…. [Golf champion Vijay Singh, who was criticized for saying of another female player, “If I’m drawn with her, which I won’t be, I won’t play”] learned like many people in our unfortunate society where political correctness is prized most.  Vijay was honest and look what it got him.  Attacked by a bunch of liberals and femi-nazis,” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/03/28/rush-limbaugh-golf-prodi_n_18055.html) 

Why do you think this gender barrier exists?  One would think that after Title IX was past in, society and the media would have moved past gender issues of being a woman and playing sports.  A big contributor to these gender issues is the media.  “When female athletes are the focus of media attention, the images often of sexualize and trivialize their efforts” (www.womenssportsfoundation.org).  Athletes such as Anna Kournikova and Brandi Chastin are sexualized in sports magazines and the media in general mainly because in this male dominated world of spots, sex sells.  Many look at Kournikova as this beautiful blond with a great body, not as the athlete who by the way plays tennis well.  “This lack of representation combined with stereotypical depictions may lead many to believe that few woman are interested in sports and those who do participate are successful only when they “fit” traditional standards of appropriate behavior,” (www.womenssportsfoundation.org).

Some other gender issues that often go under radar are female athletes and their sexual orientation.  Society and the media assume that if you play sports, you have a muscular build and you’re female then you’re manly.  Women who play sports and appear to have mannish qualities, have to deal with misconceptions of lesbianism, so their so heterosexuality must be defended …” (Raney & Bryant, 241).  Sexual orientation is also a concern with female athletes and college sports.  Many young girls consider not playing sports because of the sexual orientation phobia that exist in college and some professional athletics such as the WNBA.  What are your thoughts on sexual orientation and female athletics?  I think your sexual orientation should be kept private; there is no reason to let the world know.  One of the greatest sports disappointments for me as a college athlete was when I found out that Sheryl Swoops was lesbian.  The reason for my disappointment was because the media had portrayed her as a beautiful athletic female basketball player.  Growing up she was type of athlete I wanted to be.  I remember when she was on the cover of “Women’s Sports Illustrated” when she was pregnant with her son Jordan.  Young girls saw that you could play professionals sports after having children and still be successful.



The power of the media is greater than some of us really understand.  What the media presents to society is how we form our opinions and beliefs about issues.  Personally I think we should be well past the gender issues in female athletics.  We have proved that we can compete with the best of the best.  Yes there are some things athletically that men are better at than woman but they should be left at that.  The media needs to focus less on the male and female differences in sports and report on the positives.

~Charmaine Steele

Some interesting readings on the topic:





Works Cited

Raney, A, & Bryant, J (2006). Handbook of Spots and Media. Mahwah, NJ:
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers



Information Architects

Just what exactly is an information architect?  I did not even know this job existed.  “Information architects often work closely with software and Web teams but typically focus on navigation schemes and usability rather than pure design or hard-core coding” (Hoffman, 2006). 

So how does one become an information architect?  According to Hoffman, their is no direct path.  This seems to be like what a consultant does.  You cover a variety of topics and let people know what you think.  Pursuing this line of work can be challenging.  I don’t believe their are set courses to take to be a consultant but the job exists in many fields that people are unaware of.

Is this a job that you and I could do, I am not sure that it is a job that I would want to do.  The reason for this is because of the technical aspects  and the confusing terminology.  As  the information architect job is better marketed more people will become aware of the many opportunities that are available to them. 

Electronic Voting

Do you think that electronic voting will help in tallying votes or just hinder the process?