Twittersphere: The NEW News

No one understands how hesitant I was to title this post what it is. You have to understand, we, as a generation have been conditioned to believe that twitter is for fun, casual, and NEVER reputable. Imagine the world’s disbelief when the greatest political debate platform wasn’t a town hall in a city ripe for tourism and money making, but it was actually none other than twitter. I know what you’re thinking. Are we really in a place in society where our political leaders are engaging in similar social media feuds that our celebrities made famous? Are our political leaders and celebrities becoming the same people? (Of course they are. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

A 2011 Clay Shirky foresaw social media influence in current events. “The idea that media, from the Voice of America to samizdat, play a supporting role in social change by strengthening the public sphere echoes the historical role of the printing press.” (Shirky, The Political Power of Social Media, 6) So if  we as a society have not completely disregarded the legitimacy of our politicians who engage in twitter debates [and instead, we elect them] then why have we not regarded twitter as a reputable research platform where literal history is being made every day?

It’s also Clay Shirky who recognizes, however, that our progression as a society to be more apt towards twitter and other social media platforms as reputable sources is limited by our ability to communicate cross-cultural ideals and have a “single community” social media presence. In his 2002 “Communities, Audiences, and Scales“ “With such software,the obvious question is “Can we get the best of both worlds? Can we have a medium that spreads messages to a large audience, but also allows all the members of that audience to engage with one another like a single community?”(Shirky, Communities, Audiences, and Scales) The answer seems to be”No.”” Shirky talks about the difference between an audience and a community and how we struggle with connections online because we can’t truly connect with each other in the way a community needs to, therefore our messages don’t reach people in an effective way. Since we cannot reach each other in a community aspect, we cannot connect. This limits the depth of social media connectivity and therefore we cannot explore the full potential of social media transforming them from shallow communication portals, to reputable in depth communication channels.

In efforts to take twitter beyond the threshold of just another social media platform, we have to acknowledge its limited audience. Because twitter is a free speech medium of sorts, it’s banned in many countries which allows mainstream news outlets to take the lead in coverage and access. “Overall, mainstream media appears to have more even coverage, with less clustering around major cities” (Mapping the Global Twitter Heartbeat, Twitter versus mainstream news media.) With Twitter really coming into it’s prime as a social media platform, we have to recognize it’s not prominent on accessibility the way traditional news coverage is which goes back to our inability to reach each other to make twitter more effective.

So what will it take to verify twitter? We have to acknowledge the evolution of news media. If our politicians can utilize the platform to discuss matters of the country, we should be able to take our news from the site. Information falls directly from the mouths, or the hands, of the people we are reporting on. Next we address the communication gap and accessibility for all people across the globe in efforts to take the Twittersphere from an audience, to a community. If we make these changes, we can evolve how twitter is viewed and maybe, how social media is used in future elections. (Social media was a mess due to the this being the first election social media was utilized in this way. Traditions have to start somewhere!)Twitter-South-Africa-Social-Network-Social-Channel-Social-Media


Did Trump Have the Upper Hand?


In general, the internet has allowed our world to grow in terms of global communication tremendously.  Of all the social media platforms available today, Twitter is one of the most popular, especially amongst political candidates.  “In 2016, 44% of U.S. adults reported having learned about the 2016 presidential election in the past week from social media, outpacing both local and national print newspapers” (Pew Research Center, 2016).  In comparison to previous election years, this is a pretty significant change in the way our world is choosing to receive its information. For most “people, especially in the United States, social media is the easiest and most convenient way to receive news.  Social media seems to be a means of connecting in the hopes of receiving real information.  While this is not to indicate that all tweets and posts are inaccurate, the growth of social media is beginning to treat users more like an ‘audience’ instead of an inclusive group with opinions that are being addressed appropriately.  According to Shirky,  “growth in group size alone is enough to turn a community into an audience, social software, no matter what its design, will never be able to create a group that is both large and densely interconnected” (Shirky, 2002, p. 1).  We see this playing out in the world of Twitter.  So many people turn to this particular platform to receive any and all information, making it a very powerful source to users. Unfortunately, the more popular these types of social media sites become, the less personal they will feel to its users.  

Hamby addresses the issue of the lack of experience that political reporters now possess. It seems that more and more political candidates are turning to social media to make their mark on the public.  “More and more, the mainstream political press is being cut out of the election process, raising questions about the value of being a reporter” (Hamby, 2013, p. 5).  Interestingly enough, we saw this to be true in the most recent election.  While Clinton, Sanders, and Trump all had active social media accounts, Trumps were the most successful with the public.  While both Clinton and Sanders focused more on linking their followers back to their campaign pages, Trump focused moreso on connecting his followers to the news media online.  Essentially, he relied less on reporters and his campaign team and strived to direct his followers to material that was already floating around in the media that was available to him.  In the end, this gave Trump the upper hand in terms of retweets, comments, follows, and Facebook reactions. Could it be that the way Trump utilized social media was one of the main reasons he won the election?

Lastly, I want to address the way Trump handled the public in terms of social media. McGonigal states that “The economy of engagement is also an economy of feelings, in which positive emotions—pride, curiosity, love, and feeling smart—are the ultimate reward for participation” (2008, p. 16).  Trump played on these “feelings” as McGonigal states.  Over time, our world has been brainwashed to believe that money is the root of all motivation.  Of all people for this statement to fall on, it would be Donald Trump.  However, he proved us wrong in terms of the election. Of all the candidates, he was the one to engage with the public most.  He took the time (or maybe people he hired took the time, which would be ironic) to answer the public and post what they were saying.  He cared more about the people following him than his campaign.  Do you feel like his engagement with the public was sincere?  Did you notice that Trump seemed to be the most prominent presidential candidate on Twitter during election season?  


Candidates differ in their use of social media to connect with the public. (2016, July 18th). Retrieved from

Under the Microscope

Benchmark_Restaurant_Dining_Room_Photographed_by_Evan_SungThe first blog post I ever wrote was a crash course of how to survive in the restaurant business.  With having most of my work history being in this industry I felt it would be a good starting point for my first piece that was going to be online.  As the semester winds down, I have decided to go back to the restaurant industry to discuss a topic that has an opportunity for examination.  Application of open source systems within the restaurant industry.  The first blog post, hit on various topics of how to run an efficient restaurant while looking at social cognitive theory by Bandura.  After one develops an efficient operating business, it is time to analyze how efficient the business really is operating.

While analyzing operations, one can do a variety of activities.  For the sake of this discussion we will look at a fairly new way to measure the performance of a restaurant.  The customer is the main driver for how these restaurants stay afloat.  Returning customers indicates that the restaurant is doing a good job on a variety of different levels within the business.  Online survey systems are ways that companies can evaluate how well they are doing from the eyes of the consumer.  These surveys are set in place to evaluate the different aspects of the restaurant.

Every time some pursuit or profession gets computerized, data begins to build up in digital form, and every time the computers holding that data are networked, that data can be traded, rated, and collated. The Open Source pattern, part collaborative creativity, part organizational style, and part manufacturing process, can take hold in these environments when-ever users can read and contribute to the recipes on their own. (Shirky, 2005)

In respect for the topic at hand, this recipe is a recipe for success.  This data that is collected is analyzed to determine the both efficiency of the business plus other vital areas within the restaurant.  These statistics are shared within the restaurant itself, or in the case of a chain of the same business through the headquarters.  This open system of communication will then be interpreted by the leaders of the business to improve on these different categories.  These consumers are illustrating what they would like to see during the operation of the restaurant.  They are trying to contribute to this recipe of success.

To continue this conversation within the open system, companies will give incentives to complete the online surveys.  Whether it be a discount or a gift from the business itself, this reward will continue the conversation.  With an active open system communication operating, the leaders of the business can analyze what areas can be addressed for improvement and note on what is being done well within the establishment.

This open system of conversation through technology, does not have to be exclusive for restaurants.  Any form of assessment can be linked as an open system.  The data that is collected from these different systems can be used to create that recipe of success for business owners.

Shirky, C. (2005). Epilogue: Open Source Outside the Domain of Software and Source. In Perspectives on Free and Open Source Software (pp 483-488). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Open Source Reviews

As the holiday season approaches people are starting their Christmas shopping and looking for the best deals. As the years go on, the amount of people that are shopping online has rapidly increased. Personally, I have found that I end up doing most of my Christmas shopping online for a few different reasons. Just this past weekend my mom and I were shopping in Erie, we were looking for a few specific items. We were able to find the items, but we walked out of the store empty handed. Which leads me to the reasons why I have chosen to shop mostly online. First, the item we found ended up being twenty dollars more expensive in the store than online. The second item we were looking to purchase was picked over in the store and did not have the correct size. Also, resulting in us turning to online to buy the gift. Continue reading “Open Source Reviews”

Open Source Warfare

The ideas behind how Open Source patterns are being applied to areas outside the realms of software, as Clay Shirky discusses, that “…my initial optimism about simple application of Open Source methods to other endeavors turned out to be wildly overoptimistic” (p. 484, 2005). Personally, I find this as an intriguing statement because at that time, a group the world knows as “Anonymous”, a collective of activist and hackers all over the world had existed for at least 2 years using the Open Source pattern to function as an organization. The only problem here was they were not in the public eye by any means as they had yet to really show the level of Open Source operation they would eventually develop. A similar group, formed in 1999 has garnered similar status in its use of this format and currently is effecting citizens around the world is the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Both use the same pattern of operation to great effect and both of them fall into the category of extremist groups, something I am sure Shirky would never have wanted to see as so successful.

Continue reading “Open Source Warfare”

An Open Source Economy

Open source methods do have value in the way in which people (experts) can collaborate together as well as resource availability for multiple groups. Open Source software is a model of what can happen in an open environment but it is mainly a model of improved quality and efficiency at a lower, but typically still financed cost.

Outside of Wikipedia, it is important to note that some open source authors (that spend extensive time on projects) are often paid employees. For instance, some organizations, like IBM and Oracle, figured out that a number of large corporations were spending a lot of time and money writing duplicative software when done independently that also fell victim to interoperability issues. By working to provide resources to collaborate on the same solution, they found the overall quality of the solution could be improved for a lower cost.

Coders have been impacted greatly by open source methods. Code that was written twenty years ago has been supplanted by more expansive solutions in open source software. Consider IBM’s sale of Visual Age (for Java) that is now open source (Eclipse) and used as a framework for many solutions. These open source resources still have positive economic implications. Large industries benefit from these collaborations and in turn support financing them. While there are many hobbyists and programmers that participate in writing the solutions for free, the end result does tend to have economic implications for someone.

These economic implications are among the reasons writing, using open source methods, does not have the same success. Our current economic framework presents challenges for open source methods to have success. Industries and organizations expect to be able to benefit.

In part, one of the reasons Wikipedia experiences success (in terms of use) is because of the number of pages and available information it provides. However, the open source nature of it has also made it vulnerable to “sock puppets” and credibility issues. It is no surprise that other industries are looking for ways to capitalize on the open source nature of Wikipedia through this sock puppetry.

Does Wikipedia’s nonprofit nature and reliance on integrity of sources make it vulnerable to others trying to gain economic advantage? Does our current economic framework still present obstacles to open source methods be used to create higher quality and more efficient models through expert collaboration?

Education is an industry that could really reap the benefits of open source methods and software. While schools embrace technologies and improve device access, the feasibility and opportunity open source software presents is one that has become worthy of discussion. How can open source software help to meet the collective educational need? Is there a way for resources to be allocated “gratis” to provide these solutions to students and districts? Perhaps open source methods provide the greatest opportunity for equity and quality in educational opportunity regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location.

Lessons can be gained in looking closely at Wikipedia and other examples of open source methods. The value both in the expansive solutions open source software provides and the opportunity open source methodology presents is difficult to measure.

Clay Shirky and Video Game Mods

American educator Lawrence Lessig once said “A culture without property, or in which creators can’t get paid, is anarchy, not freedom.” Lessig apparently, wasn’t much of a gamer.

With the ever-growing power of technology more and more we see programs and services giving the power of creativity to it’s users. Technology such as Open Source programs take the typical idea of paid software and turning it on it’s head by allowing people to change the source code to create something sometimes entirely different from what it started as.

One very model that it taking more and more advantage of this Open Source idea? Video Games.


Clay Shirky states:

“One surprise in the modern world is the degree to which production of all sorts is being recipe-ized. Musicians can now trade patches and plug-ins without sharing instruments or rehearsing together, and music lovers can trade playlists without trading songs. CAD/CAM programs and 3D printers allow users to alter and share models of objects without having to share the objects themselves. Eric von Hippel, who wrote the chapter in this book on user innovation networks, is elsewhere documenting the way these networks work outside the domain of software. He has found a number of places where the emergence of the recipe pattern is affecting everything from modeling kite sails in virtual wind tunnels to specifying fragrance design by formula.

Every time some pursuit or profession gets computerized, data begins to build up in digital form, and every time the computers holding that data are networked, that data can be traded, rated, and collated. The Open Source pattern, part collaborative creativity, part organizational style, and part manufacturing process, can take hold in these environments whenever users can read and contribute to the recipes on their own.” (Shirky)

Continue reading “Clay Shirky and Video Game Mods”