Best Blogs

I believe my two best blogs are Digital Native Shopping and The Spreading of Television.  They are my most recent blogs, so I feel for these blogs I had much practice that made me better at making blogs.  Also, both of these blogs had the most and second-most comments I had from any of my blogs.

For the Digital Native Shopping blog, I think a large part of it being a good blog was connecting back to the beginning of the class.  Since I could choose any topic, I thought it would be a good idea to go back to the beginning of the class and bring back the relevant topic of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.  In class we talked a lot about what Digital Natives prefer, how they differ from Digital Immigrants, and various opinions on what or whether Digital Immigrants should change to account for Digital Natives.  In this article, I wanted to go beyond the class discussion and show how something is currently being changed because of Digital Natives, not just why Digital Natives are different and if things should change.  Multiple comments said they agree with the things stated in my article that Digital Natives like about shopping.  Also, someone said they didn’t realize how large of a portion of customers for retailers that Digital Natives made up.  I feel this shows the information in my blog was relatable and taught people something about the topic.  Also, though I didn’t explicitly discuss certain things that make media go viral, I think I somewhat related the topic back to media spreading.  I discussed how Digital Natives opinions can be spread online very fast and affect the sale of a product.  I felt like this was a good way to connect the topics from the beginning and the end of class.

For the Spreading of Television blog, I again think the article was relatable because of some of the comments I received.  One comment mentioned how much social media affects her experience with shows.  Other comments discussed AMC and talked about some cons they believed came with shows being spread on social media.  I think these comments show the topic of the blog was interesting and caused people to think more about the topic.  I also obviously talked a lot about media spreading, which was a huge topic for the last few weeks of the class.  I discussed how easy social media makes it for content related to television shows to be circulated for many different audiences in many different ways and forms.  This relates back to the topic of being spreadable versus sticky from the important article we discussed in class.  This connects a main idea from class to television shows, which is a topic almost all people are interested in at some level.  I also think my tags and picture were effective for this article.  I had several tags related to popular television shows and channels.  Having tags related to popular things like this make it more likely for people to read the post.  Also, for the picture at the start of the blog I used a Walking Dead picture from the new season that had just started.  Using this picture can catch peoples eye for a couple reasons.  One, many people watch The Walking Dead and this could catch their eye immediately and make them want to read it since the show has a very large and dedicated fan-base.  Additionally, the picture was from the season that had just started the weekend before, so this would make people want to read the post since it is in the current timeline of the show.

In addition to all of these things, my roommate has been reading each of my blogs before I post them and these were his two favorite.

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Digital Native Shopping

Digital Natives, those that grew up in the age of digital technology, are vastly different from previous generations that are considered digital immigrants.  These differences are revolutionizing the way retailers have to sell and advertise their products.

Digital Natives are becoming an increasingly important age group to retailers since this age group will be obtaining more spending power in the very near future.  In an article by Toby Elkin on CMO.com, it is reported that millennials ( a huge part of Digital Natives ) will account for 75% of the workforce by 2030.  In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there was $600 billion dollars in spending from millennials, and this number will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020.  Clearly it is in the best interest of retailers to satisfy these digital natives since this is where most of their income will be coming from.

Digital Natives are different in a few key ways when compared to Digital Immigrants.  Digital Natives prefer convenience, shopping experiences over items and brands, and are much more social and sharing with their opinions about products.  In “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” by Marck Prensky, it is stated for the purposes of educating Digital Natives that “the debate must no longer be about whether to use calculators and computers, but rather how to use them.”  This same concept can be applied to retailers.  Things like online shopping have been used for some time now, but how to use these to attract Digital Natives is what is important.

Retailers are making shopping more convenient, which pleases Digital Natives.  As stated in an article by Brianna Moriarty on Star Cloud Services, online shopping is becoming more prevalent, and there has been a significant increase in self-checkouts and mobile payments.  Virtual reality can also play a part in online shopping in the near future, making it completely unnecessary to go to physical stores.  She also discusses how even when Digital Natives go to physical stores, they often try and find the same item online for cheaper.

Retailers also have to pay closer attention to if Digital Natives are satisfied with their products since their opinions are shared everywhere online.  Digital Natives exhibit a high trust rate among their peers, and their opinions can determine whether a product is a success or failure within hours of the product coming out.  Digital Natives give their reviews and let their opinions be known across many apps, social medias, and other online resources.  Plenty of these opinions will be online telling others whether to buy the new iPhone X for example.

Last, Digital Natives prefer new shopping experiences over certain brands.  Also as discussed in the article on CMO.com, Digital Natives expect instant gratification, a personalized shopping experience, and expect to have their opinions heard by retailers.  Retailers can and have started to show Digital Natives instant gratification by thanking them with coupons after purchases, asking them to review their products, or displaying that donations will be made to charity as a result of their purchases.  When they do get to review an item, Digital Natives expect to have their opinions heard to help co-create the next iteration of a product.  Retailers are now considering customer opinions much more in deciding what their next product will consist of.  In terms of personalizing the experience, retailers customize ads, and reward Digital Natives for purchasing their products consistently because Digital Natives care more about store loyalty than what brand something is.

Digital Natives are changing many aspects of the world we live in.  How we shop is changing already, and will continue to change because of Digital Natives.

The Spreading of Television

After reading about how media becomes spreadable over the weekend, and then watching the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday night, I realized just how much social media has done to make The Walking Dead as popular as it is.  There are constantly articles appearing on my Facebook concerning the show, whether it be related to the newest episode, theories about what will happen in the next episode, memes, articles that interview the actors and actresses, or anything else imaginable concerning the The Walking Dead.  This keeps me engaged in the show even during the time of year when new episodes aren’t coming out, and I can always find new information that makes me even more addicted.  AMC had issues with this kind of publicity for their show Mad Men when Twitter came out.  AMC had Twitter shut down accounts of people that were tweeting as if they were characters on Mad Men.  As Jenkins says in “Spreadable Media,” “Part of AMC’s ambivalence about Mad Men’s Twitter popularity was likely driven by marketer’s uncertainty about ceding control.”  They certainly don’t mind ceding control nowadays for free publicity.

Social medias are great for the spreadability of television shows because they make media very easy to share and very easy to find and view.  As Teddy Hunt discusses in his article, television has benefited from multiple social medias.  YouTube now makes it possible to watch videos recapping what occurred in the newest episode of a show, or to watch countless videos that discuss a show, which keeps fans involved and gives them countless media to consume.  Conversations are also started on Twitter using hashtags pertaining to the show, so anybody can see what other viewers think at any time.  This is even true during live episodes, which enriches the viewing experience for some people.  Shows even have their own pages on Facebook where they show sneak peeks.  This is especially advantageous because if one fan likes this page, all of that person’s Facebook friends are notified.

Television shows have even started to get clever with social media to find new ways to advertise their shows.  Amanda Walgrove has an interesting article on Sprinklr discussing interesting ways shows have been advertised on social media.  The popular show Mr. Robot held a Q&A with the cast live on Facebook three days before the season two premiere.  Since this show tells the story of a hacker, the interview was purposely “hacked” by the hacking group from the show, and the first of two episodes of the premiere was released by the hacking group.  The episode was released for a limited time on multiple medias including Twitter and YouTube, and had 750,000 views in less than three hours.  This creativity helped spread the popularity of the show and introduce the show to new audience members that may not have hear about it before this event.  Mr. Robot also made specific advertisements for specific audiences on Facebook and Twitter.  Users interested in tech saw an ad about hacking, while those interested in comic books saw a more artsy and colorful ad for the show.  This allowed the show to reach more audiences, and particular audiences in order to promote the show.

Social media benefits both networks and fans of shows greatly.  It is great publicity for the shows of networks, and lets the network connect more directly with their fans to help improve the show.  It is also useful for fans to get even more engaged in the show whether new episodes are coming out or not, which results in a much more fun viewing experience.

 

Conversations on Death

Death has always been hard for people to deal with, whether it is themselves dealing with their own death or the death of a loved one.  However, social media has changed the way people deal with death and increasingly diminished the taboo of talking about death.  More people now than ever use social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, to talk about their experiences with approaching death or caring for loved ones that are going through terminal diseases.  Facebook even has options for what will happen to your account after you die, which are the account being deleted or memorialized.  According to Facebook, “Memorialized accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away.”  With social media having such an impact on how we approach death, there are both positives and negatives.

The Atlantic has a great article concerning the pros and cons social media has on people dealing with death.  For the pros, using social media can be therapeutic for patients dealing with their own death.  Tweeting and conversing with their followers on Twitter can help reassure patients and establish a support system.  This decreases feelings of isolation and is better than traditional hospital support groups in the sense that conversations on social media are more frequent and can be had with more people.  Also, professionals can share information concerning end of life options.  However, there are always cons.  In the article, one patient nearing death said she felt focusing too much on social media took away precious time she could spend with those standing by her side.  She made an effort to only use social media a couple times a day, so that she could spend her final moments with her loved ones physically around her.  Also, a cancer survivor says she worries constant talk about death can take an emotional toll on people.  People can start to believe everyone has cancer and that there is no hope for them when they are faced with a disease, similar to how social media can cause anxiety in general when realizing all the bad events going on in the world.

I personally believe talking about death does more good than harm.  Certain things are never easy to talk about, but are still important to be discussed.  Talking about death can make everyone more comfortable with this inevitability, and make them more positive in their final moments, which are so precious.

Social media not only affects the way we view our close friends and loved ones deaths, but how we view celebrity deaths.  Vice has an interesting article concerning how 2016 changed the way we view celebrity deaths.  2016 was seen as a year that killed more celebrities than usual, but did it really?  What defines a celebrity makes people disagree if more celebrities died than average in 2016, but social media played a role in how we viewed these deaths.  In 2009 when Michael Jackson died, Facebook had 400 million users, and Twitter had 18 million, reaching 1.79 billion and 313 million respectively by 2016.  This huge increase in users shows how social media amplified celebrity deaths by everyone talking about these deaths constantly, making it appear like more celebrities died than usual.  In reality, the deaths were just covered more by Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other sites.  After David Bowie and Prince died, there were countless Youtube videos to honor their legacies and music.  Social media has made us more aware of celebrity deaths and allowed us more ways to remember our favorite celebrities.

Social media has affected how we deal with death, and it will for the foreseeable future.

Ditching the Phone

I chose to do the bored and brilliant challenge 5.  The challenge was to take note of one interesting person, object, or detail that I would not have otherwise noticed if my face was looking at my phone the entire time.  I ended up noticing a couple things during my day of trying to fulfill this challenge.

My roommates had come home with me for fall break and we decided to go out to eat.  I made an effort throughout the meal to not check my phone, and just make conversation with my roommates while paying attention to the happenings of the restaurant we were in.  Unlike my roommates who were using their phones, I noticed a man trying to flirt with two girls at the bar.  I told my friends and we all humorously paid attention to a 40+ year old man flirting with girls that were at least 15 years younger than him.  From that point on we laughed as his similar aged friends came over and tried to do the same.  I would not have noticed this if I was only paying attention to my phone throughout the meal.

After eating I took my friends to a park alongside the Detroit River where we walked alongside the Detroit River.  Not paying attention to my phone made me notice multiple things.  I noticed the people in the park and what they were talking about as we walked by, such as discussing what restaurant they were going to eat dinner at.  Also, I noticed many things concerning the river, such as the sounds of seagulls or the sight of seagulls fighting in the distance, as well as the sounds the waves made crashing alongside the shore.  I also noticed small things such as a fisherman casting his line and saying “finally” when he caught a fish off the pier.

I noticed many  things that I would not have if I had my face glued to my phone.  I noticed that checking my phone less made me relax slightly more and appreciate the activities I was doing with my friends more.  I especially noticed not checking my Rose-Hulman email made me at least temporarily forget about the work I had to do and helped me relax and enjoy the current moment.  Not checking Facebook and Twitter was nice because I didn’t have to be reminded of all the bad events that have occurred, or the latest thing that Donald Trump did to make everyone mad.  Although it wasn’t exactly like our class on Tuesday where we practiced controlled breathing and other tasks, I felt not checking my phone, especially while walking along the river, let my mind wonder and think about more positive things.  In addition to thinking more positively, I noticed things around me that made me happier, like people laughing and smiling in the park.  Overall, I learned that every once in a while I should take a break, forget about my phone that reminds me of stressful things, and do something relaxing to let my mind wonder.

Twitter Has Changed Sports

It is amazing how many ways Twitter has transformed our lives.  We now get our news from Twitter, we can easily see what our favorite celebrities have to say, and there is an account you can follow for almost any interest you have.  For many people, one of these interests is sports.  Twitter has completely changed the way people consume sports.  People can live tweet games as they are happening, which lets everyone see countless spectacular plays from countless games.  In addition, fans can share opinions about certain players and teams, and read and share statistics about these players or teams as well.

A league that has made good use of Twitter is the NBA.  Maxwell Neely-Cohen wrote a very interesting article on how the NBA has used Twitter to become an even more popular league.  The article discusses that the NBA has made a community of many different people, including math geniuses, basketball analysts, hardcore fans, and casual fans.  Once people start to tweet about basketball on twitter, they get sucked in by the vast and diversified information you can find about the sport online.  Any person with a twitter can see constant links and videos to dunks, game winning shots, and other amazing plays.  What happens during the game isn’t the only information basketball fans consume on Twitter.  Basketball Twitter overlaps with other popular topics, such as fashion the players are wearing and information on sneakers, etc…  Another reason the NBA has become so popular on Twitter is the players are also committed to using the social media.  Almost 70% of NBA players use a twitter and many of them actually respond to fans, which engages people even more with the sport, their favorite players, and favorite teams.  The popularity of the NBA on Twitter is undeniable.  During the Christmas Day game between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, ten NBA related topics were trending on Twitter by the end of the game.  The NBA has 3.6 million more followers of its official twitter feed than the NFL.

Twitter hasn’t only helped the popularity of the NBA.  Other sports that traditionally haven’t been as popular as football, baseball, and basketball have benefited as well.  Perhaps the best example of this is hockey.  Although hockey had a decent following before Twitter, it was never close to the popularity of the NFL, MLB, or NBA.  However, hockey has seen a huge spike in popularity across the past few years.  Richard Greene briefly discussed how twitter has benefited the NHL in his blog.  Between 2012 and 2013 the NHL gained over 3 million more Twitter followers, which shows the huge spike in popularity.  Christopher Long explains about twitter that “because it is public, it opens the conversation to a wider public.”  This has absolutely held true for the NHL because it has reached many more people than it ever could over a decade ago, especially in non-traditional hockey markets like those outside of the Midwest and east coast.  The most recent example of this can be seen from this past year’s NHL finals.  The Nashville Predators were founded in 1997, and Nashville is far from a typical hockey market.  However, throughout the years and especially the last few years, the team has gained much more popularity and sold out all 41 of their home games for the first time ever last season.  This team made it to the finals and had fans filling the streets during home games.

Twitter has had a positive effect on sports, and it seems as if the two will never be separated.

Social Media Hurts Politics

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Social media has changed many aspects of our lives.  One of the most noticeable affects it has had recently is on politics in the United States.  Winner mentions in Technologies as Forms of Life that “As the political imagination confronts technologies as forms of life, it should be able to say something about the choices made in the course of technological innovation and the grounds for making those choices wisely.”  Many United States politicians have chosen to start using social media as a tool in recent years.  However, this tool has often hurt the politicians using it or the situation they are seeking to solve.

For example, Ted Cruz’s twitter account has recently showed him liking a pornographic tweet.  Within a few days millions upon millions of citizens heard about this, and Ted Cruz has had to answer many questions concerning this topic.  Like other politicians and celebrities who have done regrettable things on Twitter, Ted Cruz blames this on someone else.  He blames one of his staff members that helps run his twitter account for accidentally liking this.  Whether it was his fault or not, this will have negative consequences in the future for his political career.

However, the most noteworthy politician to use social media is Donald Trump.  Social media has both hurt and helped Trump in the last couple years.  It helped him get elected, and continues to help him contact the American people constantly.  However, even more people have recently started to disapprove of Trump for his comments on Twitter, whether it be about football players not standing for the national anthem, or the United States’ conflict with North Korea.  Trumps comments on twitter made an entire professional sports league oppose him during football games this past weekend, and his comments regarding threats to North Korea have the potential to start a war between the two countries.  Many citizens disapprove of these tweets.  Trumps tweet threatening North Korea also shows how not only social media has affected politics, but how politics is affecting social media.  Many blame twitter for not taking down Trump’s tweet, but twitter has stated they left this tweet because it is news worthy?  As The Verge suggests, this can create problems for twitter later because they will have to determine which peoples tweets are newsworthy, which can become controversial.

As discussed in The Atlantic, social media has become a popular tool for politicians and citizens to exchange information.  Politicians can’t resist going to social media to view citizens opinions because they can then do exactly what the citizens want and gain higher approval ratings.  However, this prevents them from taking more tough stances that could be more beneficial to the country.  Similarly, citizens can go on social media and choose to read any political information they want.  This often leads to citizens only reading things from the politicians or party they support and agree with.  This leads to a confirmation bias where people will only read things that agree with their opinions, and this is very detrimental to finding effective compromises and solutions to problems that many people disagree about.  Not as many people turn to journalism anymore for an independent perspective when they can just read things they know they agree with.

Social media has made it easier for everyone to see relevant, important information and opinions, but it has made us blind to information we don’t want to see that could lead to effective solutions.

Silly Sports Statistics

Statistics are constantly misused in almost every aspect of life, including the world of sports.  You don’t have to watch any sport on television very long to hear announcers spewing out statistics left and right.  Most of these statistics are useless.  Do you really care the average passing yards Tom Brady has only during the month of November? Do you really care a teams record historically against an opponent when most of those games were played in the past with completely different players?

Thesportster has a great article showing the ten most flawed statistics used in sports.  These are great examples of how statistics need to be viewed in detail, and multiple factors need to be considered to determine the usefulness of a statistic.  Since I’m a huge hockey fan, I will discuss a couple great hockey examples.  The article states GAA (Goals Against Average) as a very misleading statistic for NHL goalies.  GAA is the average goals a goaltender allows per game.  At first, somebody would think a goalie with a GAA of 2.8 is worse than a goalie with a 2.5 GAA.  However, there are factors this doesn’t consider.  First, total shots are not considered.  The more shots a goaltender faces in a game, obviously the more likely they are to let in more goals.  In addition, quality of the players around the goalie, particularly the defenders, can have huge affects on their GAA.  If the goalie with 2.8 GAA had the worst defenders in the league on his team, but the goalie with 2.5 GAA had the best defenders, wouldn’t this change your mind about who is the better goalie?  Another related example is +/- rating for players in hockey.  While a certain player is on the ice, they get +1 for any goal their team scores, and -1 for any goal scored against their team.  This would seem like a good way to decipher the best players on a team, but this doesn’t factor in the quality of players that player plays with, or what a person’s position is.  For example, there are many times you can’t blame a forward for a goal that his defenders let in.  NHL.com has Alex Ovechkin with a +6 rating for the last NHL season.  Any hockey fan knows that Ovechkin is one of the best players on the planet, and this stat severely underestimates his value to the team.

In addition to knowing the conditions these statistics are collected around, it is very important to know how reputable the data source is.  As an article on fastcodesign.com discusses, “Data collected by an amateur is more error-prone than data collected by a professional scientist”. Professional baseball teams know this concept extremely well.  Baseball has many great statistics to compare professional players, but it is much harder to statistically evaluate amateurs.  There is much variation among high school and even college players skill levels, which can make some players seem elite when they’re not, or vice versa if they are facing tough competition.  Due to this, professional baseball organizations rely on expert scouts, not random statistics you see in the newspaper or on ESPN.  Like the HuffingtonPost discusses, Dick Groh helped the New York Yankees acquire Derek Jeter, one of the best baseball players ever.  The Yankees trusted Groh’s assessment of Derek Jeter because he was an expert who could determine the immeasurable aspects that Jeter possessed, not just focus on the statistics.

When interpreting statistics, you must be sure they come from an expert, and they need to be looked farther into to determine all the details that could cause the statistics to be misleading.

 

Has the Music Industry been Ruined?

Social media and other modern technology have changed multiple aspects of our lives.  As Winner said in Technologies as Forms of Life, we must be mindful of the “psychological, social, and political conditions as a part of any significant technical change.”  One such social condition that has changed immensely due to technology is the music industry.  Now more than ever, technological determinism can be seen in music.  Technology completely governs how we listen, share, and interact with songs, music videos, and the artists we listen to.

Social media now connects fans and artists like never before.  People can congregate on Facebook, Twitter, and other social medias to talk about their favorite bands, anticipate new releases, and make conversation about all other things music.  Artists use social media to connect with fans and bloggers to promote their music, as well as to gather information on the reviews and reception of their music.  This information can be used to tailor music more to their fans’ liking in the future.  According to Brandwatch, music was the third most popular topic on Twitter in 2013.  Streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music make it easier than ever for consumers to have access to millions of songs.  These services help fans discover an abundance of new music, and help artists kick-start their career and have instant exposure to millions of users.

With all the benefits technology has brought to music, these changes are not without cons.  Due to streaming services, revenue purely from music sales has dropped drastically for artists.  Artists once could depend on song and album sales for a majority of their profits, but now no longer can.  As discussed in PBS Newshour, an artist named Rosanne Cash stated she had been paid $104 for having 600,000 streams in an 18-month period.  While major artists like Taylor Swift or Kanye West will still have no problem selling albums, beginning artists or moderately popular artists are extremely hurt by this lack of payment.  Due to this lack of revenue, concert tickets have skyrocketed in price compared to what they once were.  As reported in cleveland.com, a Rolling Stone article reported concert tickets are over 400 percent higher than they were in the 1980s.  This is detrimental to some fans who can’t afford to spend large sums of money to go see their favorite bands.  Technological determinism can be seen once again in changing the value of concert tickets.

The changes in music due to technology have clearly been immense.  However, have these changes been for the better?

References

  1. Mirror (2016, March 23) “Foo Fighters Dave Grohl backs teenage metal band after they’re banned from practicing in garage by council chiefs,” Mirror. [Online]. Available: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/foo-fighters-dave-grohl-backs-7617455
  2. K. Franklin (2013, Aug. 29) “Social Media is Revolutionizing the Music Industry,” brandwatch. [Online].  Available: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/social-media-the-music-industry/brandwatchBrandwatch
  3. H. Sreenivasan (2015, Feb. 4) “Can the music industry survive the streaming revolution?” PBS Newshour. [Online]. Available: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/music-industry-survive-the-streaming-revolution/
  4. T.L. Smith (2015, Jun. 9) “How streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify affect concert ticket sales,” Cleveland.com. [Online]. Available:http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/06/how_the_rise_of_apple_music_an.html
  5. L. Winner, Technologies as Forms of Life. pp. 111 – 113