The Big “W”

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What is amazing is that hundreds of English written articles are being translated in languages from all over the world which will lead to an easier international approach for anyone that wants to learn more about a certain topic.

by Raffaele Fusulan

What an interesting topic is Wikipedia. Some of use it almost every day while others use it on more rare occasions. I believe Wikipedia can be the ultimate source finder. The websites group all the sources together and then lists them at the bottom of the page. This way if any of us don’t necessarily trust the content they provide we can always check it ourselves. However since now our smartphones are extremely intelligent and can complete difficult search tasks on their own, Wikipedia can be used as a reliable source, at least when we aim to get the basic information about something. If I need to find out who the director of a movie was, I ask my phone and through an automated Google search I get my response in no time. Where does the information come from? Well sometimes it comes from Wikipedia while other times from IMDB, either way Wikipedia is the one that the phone recognizes the most.

When Wikipedia first started growing, a lot of people made fun of it because they thought it wasn’t reliable or because anyone could pretty much just join the website and edit their content any way they wanted. Nowadays this isn’t possible anymore or at least not as easily. If you really want to, you can become a “staff” member and work for Wikipedia as well. What we have to keep in mind is that Wikipedia is indeed the largest and most used encyclopedia in the whole world. The fact that it is virtual and therefore accessible to almost everyone makes it even more popular. Just think about it? How many times have you researched a topic or a word and the first thing that shows up on your search result is Wikipedia? There isn’t much that we can do to avoid the results but honestly do some of us really hate Wikipedia that much. If Wikipedia is so troublesome for some people all they have to do is click the second or third link listed and they’ll probably be lead to a link that explains the same content. What is ironic is that since that content is the primary source, sometimes Wikipedia might take the primary source and put it into their own article so either site you choose in the end you are reading the same content.

In conclusion I think that Wikipedia is an extremely helpful website. The layout of the pages and the content distribution makes it extremely easy for any reader to understand the topic explained. It is very user friendly and that is also a major reason of why it is so popular. As we use it more often we get more familiar with it and we realize it can be a reliable source. I’m sure most of us at a certain point were having thoughts about some random topic but weren’t quite sure if the memories were correct or not. So what did we do? We double checked on Wikipedia to learn, after all we need to remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and that is exactly their goal, to teach.

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Likes Everywhere

Social networking LIKE

by Raffaele Fusulan

Reading Kosinski’s article made me realize how susceptible we are to our own technology. Nowadays we strive on aiming as many likes as we can on the pictures or posts that we upload. What we don’t realize is that what is more valuable is the meaning that these posts have for us rather than what the others think of them. Studies from the Kosinski article show just how simple it is to determine a demographic entity just by tracing their “likes” history. On one hand I find it to be a very fascinating aspect pf our technology. Our actions are “tracked” and there is little that we can do about it. Some people don’t care about it while others do. For example I avoid clicking likes on any posts that I come across unless they belong to a friend. If an ad of my favorite game comes up, I look at it and then I move on. I don’t think it is necessarily a paranoid feeling but in my case I simply don’t feel the need of liking the content. On the other hand it is an interesting and efficient enough system to actually understand what demographic is interested in what area. Since this is all based off numbers and “clicks” that means that no prejudice is shown and therefore the feedback is objective. The information that is received is then analyzed and studied. I believe that if people don’t feel that others are keeping track of them silently than they can go ahead and keep doing what they are doing. If you are out there on Facebook and you know that what you click on may be tracked than simply be more careful of what you do.

I remember when Facebook first became popular in my country. In Italy at first it wasn’t that well known and celebrities where usually the ones with the most influence on it. There would always be reports on the news channels of how Facebook was easily hackable and vulnerable. Since then we have made giant steps in the protection of our content but I clearly remember not wanting to be a part of Facebook. One day I don’t remember when or why, I made my decision of creating an account and since then I have mostly used it for contacting friends around the world. By the time Facebook obscured MSN it was already extremely popular in the United States. Every app we use has a purpose and since we are not all the same we all use these apps in a different way and matter. Even though our clicks and likes can be tracked it still doesn’t mean that our personality will be just as easily identifiable.

In conclusion I believe it is extremely interesting the steps that we have taken throughout the evolution of our own technology.  On hand we enjoy and take advantage of what we like but at the same time we found ourselves victims of those same advantages. Some probably don’t see it the same way but in the end it is up to the individual to decide what they are comfortable with.

Social Media is Strong

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by Raffaele Fusulan

With the rising of social media we are all connected. What better way to share our thought if not through the use of the tools and apps that we are so happily provided? Twitter is an app that is in the top 5 most used apps in the whole United States. It allows individuals to post ideas and messages no longer than 140 characters. People have to find creative ways to share what they think without passing the limit that they are given. Users of the app can also use hashtags to specify what their post is about. If people want to relate to another account than they use the @ symbol in order to include them as well in your post. A lot of power is given is given to us through this app so it is important to understand the effects that posts can have in the world. Ellen Degeneres is a great example of how twitter can explode. Adding to her already extreme high popularity is the fact that she broke the world record for the most retweets from a twitter post. Almost 3.5 million people retweeted her post which defeated the previous record held by Obama which had almost 800,000 retweets at the time. This is a great example of the power that twitter holds. Any idea we think of we can share to the world and if other people agree with it than they will promote it through likes and retweets. Twitter is such a simple app to use that allows anyone to follow friends or celebrities. If an individual is really into politics than he can stay updated with its favorite candidate by following their twitter account. If a person loves animals than they can probably follow an animal channel that posts short videos or pictures.

In conclusion I believe that we have to understand that these social media apps that we use are very powerful and can be manipulated by the people that hold that power. Most of us use them for entertainment and pleasure but we have to be also careful with the kind of information that we can run into. We all should know by now that not everything that is posted on the internet is true therefore we have to understand that is someone posts something, it is also our duty to check that fact and not believe at everything we read. This contradicts also the point of following celebrities because we assume that the information we are given is genuine. Since we follow people we indirectly “trust” the content we are given and don’t think twice about it.

How Strong Can Social Media Be?

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by Raffaele Fusulan

We live in a society were social media rules everybody’s life. This doesn’t apply to the whole but we understand what we mean by saying so. We assume that since social media is so popular and influential that whatever we post will actually have an impact. Sometimes it actually does but other times it stays irrelevant. If someone isn’t popular among social media and they decide to post a very important article, quote or story they might actually never be able to get the word spread around due to the fact that they aren’t popular. When we scroll through our Facebook feed we sometimes run into viral videos that get hundreds of thousands of views, if not million. We like them and share them but how many more videos out there aren’t as popular and deliver just as good of a message? We can’t have an answer to that since it is an unknown factor.

Throughout the chapter reading Shirky talks constantly about the impact that social media has among us and in other environments as well. There is an example of how social media can be ineffective. Malcolm Gladwell used the word “slacktivism” to describe individuals that seek social change through low cost activities such as joining various groups among Facebook. He states that the idea of doing so is correct due to the fact that the individual is doing for a cause they believe in. The question raises though, is that is all they will do? Does it mean that if we like on Facebook a group that supports healthy food then we are actually helping promoting healthy food? Well most likely no. The way the author puts it, is that the viewers cannot click their way to a better world.

Influential people can actually use their popularity to share a message among social media. People that follow that certain individual tend to agree with him/her therefor they will share the message as well spreading it even more across the social media network. This is definitely key in the political world when we talk about social media. These days the political world is always bombed by social media for everything that happens. Of course it is usually for people that share the negative information from the political world. In conclusion, social media has an impact no matter what. It doesn’t matter if the impact is tiny or big it can still go both ways no matter what. When we use social media we are linked to all the other users in the world that utilize it as well.

Political Campaigns and Social Media

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by Raffaele Fusulan

The impact that social media has on our daily lives is massive. In a way we depend from it and we rely on it to stay in touch with the rest of the world. According to Clay Shirky the impact that social media has on political campaigns is massive. He gives a few examples of how the power of messaging changed the situations from something that could have happened. The author does say though that the use of social media is unpredictable. It doesn’t mean that if the mass use social media to change the course of history than that will actually happen. It might as easily work against them and nothing would change.

If we take a look at the current events we’ll see that candidates are now running for next year’s presidential election. If we take a look at Donald Trump for example we’ll see that there is a lot of controversy around his character. Many rants about Trump can be found on twitter and other similar social media apps. I believe that even though Trump speaks out of his mind, he and his advisors can simply check what the social media has to say about them and plan accordingly to that. Not too long ago there was a similar case. Donald Trump was giving a speech and was asked a question by someone. This individual asked Trump about when will the United States put an end to the terrorist training camps from across the world. In the process of asking his question though, he mentioned that the current president of the United States, Barack Obama, is a muslim. What did Donald Trump have to say about that? Interestingly nothing. When the individual formulated the question, Trump just stood still and noded his head. This created a lot of controversies among the American community. A lot of people twitted about this occurrence about how they totally disagreed with the fact that Trump did not disagree with the individual. A few days later during another speech he is asked another question. A woman makes the same statement about President Obama only that this time Trump actually stopped her and disagreed with her stating that Obama is indeed an American and not an Arab nor Muslim. This is a great example of how a political campaign can change throughout its course due to social media. What happened is that since the first event sparked a lot of controversies, people decided to use mass media to spread their message. This caused the Trump administration to take that into consideration and actually tell him to state the opposite of what happened the previous time. By doing so he gave a better and more honest appearance to the viewers. This is an example of how social media can also affect the political setting. As mentioned before the use of social media is completely unpredictable.

We Depend on Diversity

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We should be thankful for diversity. It offers alternate choices to a non-linear developing society.

by Raffaele Fusulan

The author, Kevin Kelly, touches many subjects throughout the second part of the book, but one that I found interesting to read about was the Diversity section. Before he gets into details he explains how diversity is present from the very roots of our existence. Over the creation and expansion of the universe everything is changing and evolving creating diversification. The author keeps explaining how the invention of life greatly accelerated the diversity in the universe. If we take one second and think about this we realize how significant this quote is. Before life ever came into existence the universe was already changing but once we added that one extra factor we, as all living bean
s, changed and accelerated the process of diversity.

If we take a look at our present days we can see that there isn’t a one choice of only a brand. We have dozens of different choices for each department we are interested in. If you want to buy a car there are many more choices than what you originally thought. Each brand has its sub-brands and sub models which only amply the diversity among cars. That is just one example. If we take a look at smartphones we can see how diversity works. Rarely will you encounter a room full of people holding the same phone brand. If you go and travel you will notice that the brand that might be popular in your country will be completely submerged by the popularity of other brands in that country.

“It is true that too many choices may induce regret, but “no choice” is a far worse option. Civilization is a steady migration away from “no choice”.

Kelly couldn’t have put it any better. No choice will ever be ignored among the population. As individuals and human beings we are attracted to make one choice or another. Even if we think of the simplest options. Should I put this shirt or this shirt today? I don’t think you will walk outside shirtless because you didn’t make a choice. Kelly makes a good example of a paradox. Uniformity would be the opposite of diversity. Ironically though, the uniformity of a standard writing system unleashes the unexpected diversity of literature.

Diversity is an important concept to study and understand. If we didn’t have diversity we would all be the same, we would all drive the same car and we would all speak the same language. When put it this way, to me it sounds like scenario for a movie. Thanks to diversity in technology we have companies pushing themselves to beat their competitors. Without competition the same results would not be achieved. Let’s take WW2 as an example. So many technological advances where made throughout those years, with the ultimate goal of beating the enemy. During the Cold War the United States managed to land on the moon. If it wasn’t for diversity and competition this could have taken even more years to achieve or worse, it wouldn’t have happened.

Our Evolution through Technology

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We move on with our lives and don’t realize that some people won’t even know what we experienced with the technology we had available ten years ago.

by Raffaele Fusulan

We live in a society that can barely live without the use of technology. We have come to the point of being so dependent from it that we forget how to live without our gadgets and “smart” accessories. I am not saying it has to be a bad thing but we have to realize that we did indeed reach that point in our generation. Past generations would have the availability of using technology as well but the rate at which is developing now is tremendous. Every year we hear of new technological masterpieces. In 2016 Samsung even announced that they might release their first plastic bendable smart phone. This simply proves how much we constantly push to achieve better results. These are just examples related to the commercial industry. The type of advancements that they have made in the medical and military field is astonishing. Marines might have in the near future robotic dogs following them around and helping them carry weight. They have already been tested and prove to be extremely helpful. It is important to understand that none of these technological advances would be able if it wasn’t for all the great minds in the world working together. Sure Samsung is a South Korean company and the Marines are from the United States but there are scientists from different parts of the world that contribute their work to achieve the final result.

“Newness is such an elemental part of our lives today that we forget how rare it was in ancient days.”

Let’s take a look at this quote which can be found in the book. The author, Kevin Kelly, states exactly what I have been talking about this whole time. We keep recycling through new and more advanced technological improvements that we forget how it used to be once. It is funny to think about this now, because imagine putting yourselves in the shoes of someone that lived in the 19th century. When you would have heard of the first plane ever taking off you would have thought that was the discovery of the century. Of course it was an amazing discovery but it simply shows how superficial it feels to us now. We live in a century were people can remotely drive planes. The military uses non-manned airplanes, also known as drones and now the general public can also pilot their own tiny drowns simply using a remote or even their own cellphone. Think about this, our smartphones now have more computer power than the first capsule that landed on the moon. The power of what we create and hold seems extremely simple to us but is indeed something we tend to overlook and take for granted. Who know maybe as technology evolves one day we will be taken for granted.