Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My New Media Class - So Far

The internet is the root of the evolution of new media technologies. Without the invention of the internet, we would not be enjoying what we have right now.

Learning about these New Media technologies has helped me understand how the internet can be used as a powerful tool to spread vast information and provide various opportunities depending on anyone's objectives/ goals.

Virtual worls, MMORPGs, Social Networking Sites, Wikis, Web Televisions, Online Radios are all parts of new media technologies. They all evolved from Old Media which are the newspapers, magazines, books and most print publications, the radio.

Blogging, browsing through different Social Networking Sites and even Twittering (to update my status) were never the things I imagined for this class. This is the first time I have taken a hybrid course where some of the work are done using the computer and at the same time, having the traditional way of learning in the classroom preserved. Deadlines for homeworks have been set and one can do them on their spare time.

Learning in this course will depend on one's pace. Flexibility in learning is one advantage I had in this class. Working on wikis and communicating/having discussions with other students in the class using Twitter and Blogging is a good start to learn New Media, by actually using them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Modeling Reality With Virtual Worlds

A virtual world is an interactive simulated environment accessed by multiple users through an online interface. Virtual worlds are also called "digital worlds," "simulated worlds" and "MMORPG's (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games)".

Virtual worlds have been created for many different purposes; but they are widely
used for commercial gaming. Commercial gaming worlds tend to focus on a singular fictional theme and consistently follow formal conventions like character-focused avatars, progression through an interactive narrative storyline, and a series of competitive events.

Many commercial community-focused virtual worlds also emphasize socializing. Participants are not necessarily there to win or play a game, but rather to socialize with others. Casual games may be incorporated into a social world, in many cases, to create and decorate a personal space such as a home, room, apartment and even a farm. Social worlds tend to use settings based on idealized versions of reality.

Some virtual worlds have been created for educational purposes. Educational worlds come in a wide variety of forms, including 3D recreations of museum and gallery spaces, computer programming tutorials, virtual libraries, and meeting spaces for online university courses. They are used as models as well. For example, for architectural purposes, before actually building something, you can use virtual worlds to create buildings and design them to at least have ideas on how they will look like.

The US Military also uses virtual world technologies to recruit potential soldiers and develop military simulations. Before shooting real weapons, they allow you to try virtual simulations first to have ideas on the impact of shooting heavy weapons.

What's interesting with virtual worlds is that anybody can make an avatar that will represent themselves in the virtual worlds, regardless if you are disabled or if you have a social disorder or illness. Your avatar will be your character and you can customize it anytime. Virtual worlds allow many users to participate at once. They allow and encourage the formation of in-world social groups like teams, guilds, clubs, cliques, housemates, neighborhoods, etc.
Therefore you will be able to virtually meet the people who have the same interest as you have. They allows users to alter, develop, build, or submit customized content. This is how they foster creativity among users. They continue to exist regardless of whether individual users are logged in. Interaction also takes place in real time.

From a particular video I saw in class, virtual worlds allow disabled people to represent themselves in the virtual world as people without disabilities. For example, if they cannot walk in real life, they can do so in the virtual world and even surpass the abilities of a normal person. They boost their confidence yet I think this also make them believe to a world that does not really exist.

For the future of MMORPGs, there may come a time where people will play MMORPGs for a living, or momentarily forgetting if you yourself is playing in the real world or in the virtual world.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Twitter Discussion Experience

I did this homework at the due date. I was confused on using Twitter at first. But now I understood why we needed the hashtag. It's to sort and narrow down tweets which were related to a particular topic or reference. I realized I was not follow the instructions of typing the class section tag every time i reply to tweets. All I did was just reply to the tweets.

My discussion experience was limited because there were limited number of people who reply back to the discussion and not everybody is online at the same time. They are only able to see your tweets about the discussion when they log in. However, the Class Tag hashtag really helps to sort out the regular tweets from the discussion tweets.

Compared to the Blackboard Discussion Board, Twitter is much easier to use because you can see the specific tweets of a person, and sort them out. The only downside of Twitter is the limit of characters to only 140. The Blackboard Discussion Board is confusing to use. You can create different forums from it but you will need to open each post to reply to it and read the replies posted by other students. They work like inboxes wherein you can see how many unread posts you have and how many read ones. I am not too familiar with forums and threads so that's probably why I don't really use the Bb Discussion Board.

I still prefer the "traditional" in-class discussion because discussions are more interactive and there are no time constraints. You get to say what you feel and people can actually see your expressions and gestures while having the discussions with you. Twitter makes discussions public so everyone can actually see every tweet you have. I think Twitter will be more beneficial if you want other people's opinions in the discussions from other countries.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Social Networking

Some people use social networking sites for meeting new friends on the internet. Others use them to find old friends; and there are those who use it to find people who have the same problems or interests they have. This is called 'niche networking'.

Niche networking sites are specialized groups of social networking sites. There are niche networking sites for people who want to learn a language or for people who want to control their finances or for all anime fans. There can be niche networking sites on all sorts of topics: friendship, community, a sense of belonging, online help with math problems or information on a condition you may have; people who like the same interests as you, or listen to the same music you listen to; a place to add your photos, let people view your videos and listen to your favorite songs.

Social networking sites have received a lot of attention from the nonprofit world because they align with nonprofits' desire to reach out to larger communities. For example, if your local animal shelter could tap into a network of cat lovers in your area, the logic is, wouldn't that allow it to find homes for more pets?

Marketers are also provided with information about users' interests and buying habits as related to their network of choice. They have a detailed look at the profiles and habits of social networking users on the web today, that makes them easier to study users' web usage and use these promote products efficiently.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Check Out Social Networking Sites

Nowadays, networking plays a vital role. It is now possible to know other people who are on the other side of the world without actually meeting them in person. We now have what we call online profiles where we put our name, location, hobbies, age, and other information about ourselves. These sites where we could post profiles about ourselves are called Social Networking Sites.

According to statistics, Facebook, MySpace and Friendster are some of the most popular Social Networking Sites. All of them offer the features of uploading pictures on your profile and apps (applications) you can put to make your profile a little bit more interesting. Yet, as a user of these SNs, I have compared all of them so that we can see the differences.

Friendster was the very first one that I used. When I first started using it, you cannot add apps (applications) to your profile, or update your status (What are you doing right now?) or receive activity updates from friends. But Friendster has the feature called "Who's Viewed My Profile?" where one could see and check who looks at their profile and the number of profile views you get every month. Myspace and Facebook do not have this profile views tracker. Just like MySpace, one can also customize your profile page by making your own designs for your page backgrounds and layouts or you can choose to use some of Friendster's templates. Friendster has a CSS editor for advanced users. Users can also create blogs using Friendster blogs which are only available for Friendster users.

MySpace on the other hand, does not have the "Profile Views" feature but when you edit your profile, you can exactly see every change you make, may it be on the layout or background colors and font changes. MySpace also offers users a MySpace blog and a MySpace email address which you can only access every time you open your MySpace account. Like Facebook, it also has live chat where you can see who among your friends are online.

Facebook started as a social networking site where only college students with a valid school email address could post a profile. It is the new evolution of Friendster and Myspace. Facebook is different from the SNs I mentioned above because in Facebook, users have walls where you can write to (compared to 'Page Comments' in MySpace and Friendster) and you cannot customize your page. But there are apps that you can add and games you can play to keep you entertained. It was from Facebook that I first saw apps where you could actually purchase something (electronically, but by using your actual money) and send them as gifts to your friends.