September 24, 2008

Apparently blogs are more honest and reliable than mainstream news sources. That’s what Newscred’s Anayltics page says. As of August 3rd, blogs average a 99.6 CredRank, and the mainstream media ranks around a 99.3. This seems to be a small difference, but according to their nifty graphs nothing goes below a 99, making blogs 33% more credible.

So what conclusions can we draw? Apparently in all that editing, fact checking, and use of mostly non-anonymous (nonymous?) sources, the mainstream media loses cred. I assume this is street cred, because I always thought that standards and fear of libel is exactly what made the mainstream media credible.

So this leads to the obvious question: How do you rank credibility? According to Marisa Peacock and Newscred, its according to everybody. The community votes on credibility. Who knows more about credibility than the same people who believe in the Loch Ness Monster? Who can I trust to know honest news more than National Enquirer subscribers? Who can I rely on for fair and balanced journalism more than white supremacists?

All these people are unfortunately included in everyone, and everyone determines what’s credible on Newscred. I barely trust anyone, I definitely don’t trust everyone.

I’m not saying that bloggers aren’t credible as a whole, or that I don’t like blogs. If Hunter S. Thompson hadn’t blown his brains out, and had been born late enough to give a shit about the internet, he’d be a blogger.  But Dr. Thompson was unashamedly biased, and he thought bias was what journalism needed.  I agree to a degree.  I enjoy a nice gonzo fiery diatribe as much as the next guy, but you need some straight facts to balance it out.


In response to the responses

September 24, 2008

Wow, I didn’t expect that much feedback.  Thanks to all who posted.

I’m not really criticizing Delicious for not having pictures or for not trying to be like myspace or facebook.  For pure utility, it wouldn’t really add much.  But pure utility isn’t what makes web sites go mainstream.  Usually, anyway.

I actually like Delicious and find it pretty useful.  I just don’t think that, as it is, its going to capture the hearts and minds of millions of casual users that are removed from the tech world:  the stay at home moms, the teenage girls, and the metrosexuals.

These are the people that made myspace and facebook blow up.  They don’t know about Digg, and they didn’t mess with Google until it became a verb.  If they end up tagging and bookmarking regularly (and they very well might, but they probably won’t call it that), it won’t be through Delicious, it will be through the next social networking site that implements those ideas.

Delicious works very well, and I’m glad that it won’t be gummed up by masses.

Three Reasons Why Delicious Will Not Go Mainstream

September 17, 2008

Number One:  The Name

It’s confusing and vaguely sexual.  Delicious is a great name for a recipe database or a transvestite craigslist hooker, but it doesn’t exactly scream social bookmarking, or help to explain the concept.  And techies’ tendency to spell it certainly doesn’t help.

Number Two:  It’s Being Buried in Jargon

As I read through the assigned articles today, I couldn’t get away from buzzwords like metadata or Web2.0.  I could post pages on my hatred for these meaningless words (and probably will some day), but for now I’ll just say this.  When I hear those words, I turn off.  I stop listening, and start to think negative things about the producer of those words.

Other, less cynical people turn off too, because they don’t understand what metadata is or what makes Web2.0 different from the internet that they’ve been using for years.  But metadata is really just data, and Web2.0 is Amazon, Ebay, myspace, and facebook and every other site you’ve been using for years.  If you can post, vote, or make a list; if it’s even vaguely interactive, then it’s Web 2.0.

These words make simple concepts sound foreign, and as long as Delicious supporters use them in their sermon, they’ll have a hard time getting converts.

Number Three:  There’s No Pictures

What really draws people to myspace and facebook?  Is it the ability meet interesting people, or reconnect with long lost friends?  Is it the chance to express themselves through blog posts and internet poetry?  Is it because they really want to hear that 300th struggling band?

Nope, it’s the pictures stupid.  There’s a reason people always look better online.  I believe they enjoy going through hundreds of pictures of themselves, scrapping the bad, posting the good.  Trying to find that one that hides the double chin, and makes their boobs look big, or their manboobs look small.  That becomes their icon, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Then they can look at their friends’ pictures, and leave comments that their boobs do in fact look big.  This while voicing actual comments to their other friends that said boobs look way too big, and slutty.

Or they can post very embarrassing pictures of their friends looking very intoxicated, and nearly get those friends fired…for fun.

Either way, get pictures Delicious, then we’ll talk.

Readings: Week Two

September 10, 2008

Is Google making us stupid?  Maybe, it’s definitely making us unfocused.  I don’t agree that it diminishes book reading skills.  I’m still pretty able to knock out a book in a weekend if the mood strikes me.  But I know for damn sure that I wouldn’t be able to finish that book if I was sitting in front of my computer.

I probably checked five other websites and sent three pieces of e-mail while I was reading these articles.  I can quickly research any thought that pops into my head on the same device that I do my homework.  This doesn’t make for a focused reading experience.  I can’t even count the times that I’ve gone to Wikipedia for something school related, and an hour later I realize I’m knee deep in the epsiode breakdown “Salute Your Shorts.”  I never had that problem with Encyclopedia Brittanica.

I think the internet is creating a society of temporary experts on everything.  Who needs to retain knowledge when you can always access it with Wi-Fi.  This can lead to a variety of problems, of course.  It makes it very easy to spout out information on any subject, but without the understanding that years of study and experience get you.  It can also make one look very stupid when confronted with a real expert.

Readings: Week One

September 3, 2008

Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think” was pretty damn interesting, and bucked the trend of boring home readings established by just about every class in my loooong college career.

I found myself playing spot the technology with his essay. He’d make a prediction for how an scientific issue could be solved, and I’d find the product that eventually solved it. He essentially outlined search engines, Wikipedia, microfiche, polaroid cameras, the mouse, desktop computers, robotics, and cookies (trend finding digital cookies, not macaroons.) Not bad Bush. He certainly has a much greater grasp on where technology was headed than anyone I’ve heard in the modern era. I guess rapid advances make it harder to predict.

Engelbart’s 139 page monstrosity, I don’t know if you could call it interesting, but no scientific journal ever is. I read the introduction, and the background concerning Bush’s essay. I thought it was neat how Bush outlined what Engelbart would later create, and that Engelbart recognized how influential he was.

Hoppin’ on the B train

September 3, 2008

Alright, so now I’m a blogger.  I’m blogging, I blog.  I guess that makes me the latest person to force a pop culture buzzword into being a verb.  Oh happy day.  Texting, Friending, Flickering, and Googling, you don’t have to be lonely anymore.