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 http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/18/candidates-differ-in-their-use-of-social-media-to-connect-with-the-public/


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”

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”

Wikipedia — The Ultimate Open Source Project

Throughout the years there have been many examples of the Open Source method being applied to writing and notoriously failing. On the flip side, one of the most well-known successes of the open source method is Wikipedia. Wikipedia formally launched on January 15, 2001 as a single-English edition hosted at wikipedia.com. By the end of 2001, wikipedia had over 20,000 articles and 18 language editions. (Wikipedia.org)


Wikipedia itself is explained by Clay Shirky as, “Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia hosted on a wiki, a collaborative Web site that allows anyone to create and link to new pages, and to edit existing pages. The site now hosts over 200,000 articles in various states of completion, and many of them are good enough as reference materials to be on the first page of a Google search for a particular topic.” (Shirky)

I’m sure everyone has familiarity with Wikipedia, even if it’s just memories of your high school teacher or college professor reprimanding you for using at as a source in your research paper. Everyone remembers the familiar phrases that Wikipedia wasn’t trustworthy because anyone can post anything they want. Wikipedia almost has built-in unspoken balances in check to make sure information found on wiki pages are truthful and accurate, for the most part. “Both the individual entries and the project as a whole is tipped toward utility rather than literary value—since opposing sides of any ideological divide will delete or alter one another’s work, only material that both sides can agree on survives.” (Shirky)


One of the major purposes open source has served is to turn information into recipes, so to speak. For example, Shirky says “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.”

Wikipedia is the ultimate proof that the open source model can be successful. Shirky explains the value of open source the best “Open Source methods can create tremendous value, but those methods are not pixie dust to be sprinkled on random processes. Instead of assuming that Open Source methods are broadly applicable to the rest of the world, we can instead assume that that they are narrowly applicable, but so valuable that it is worth transforming other kinds of work, in order to take advantage of the tools and techniques pioneered here.”



Social capital in crowdfunding brews small business success

One of the biggest advantages of being online that we shower praise upon social networking websites is the power to bring and connect everyone together in ways never thought imaginable.  This capability of the Internet allowing users to rapidly connect and form interpersonal and romantic relationships facilitates the accelerated growth of social capital. Putnam (2000) provides a clear picture of social capital by defining it as “…connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them” (p. 19).  “Because human beings are largely social animals, social capital is a necessary resource” (Ji et. al, 2010, p. 1106). People want to be a part of society, they want to be a part of collective and fulfill their need for belonging, as outlined by Maslow (1952).

This is why the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness are born from one’s social network because they want to be a part of communities where they feel involved and trusted. Chiu et al. (2006) outlines two facets of social capital: bonding and bridging. Bonding social capital refers to deeper, meaningful social connections and relationship, which is typical built between family members or close friends, while bridging social capital is typically built between groups with a heterogeneous makeup that come together for a similar cause or a commonality.  People in these groups or communities are able to pull their resources such as knowledge or maximum audience reach. Chiu et al. (2006) findings echo this tendency of online communities and the ability to encourage more pooling of their resources, so the impact and social influence of the online community can be exponentially greater. “…the facets of social capital — social interaction ties, trust, norm of reciprocity, identification, shared vision and shared language — will influence individuals’ knowledge sharing in virtual communities” (Chiu et al., 2006, p. 1872).

This leads individuals and groups involving themselves or donating money to something that is important to them and they want to help others reach their goals. As Shirky (2008) explains, the Internet and its new social tools allow groups to organize, coordinate and collaborate at little to no transaction costs unlike traditional businesses and organizations. This is why crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Patreon are successful because groups can quickly and easily organize and coordinate their efforts and resources due to the abundant sources for social capital. Whether it is crowdfunding’s impact on citizen journalism, which allows citizen journalists to cover in-depth local issues that the community cares about, which are not in the spotlight of traditional news organizations or the video game industry in how it subsidizes games and breaks away from the overhead control and influence from high-profile developers, crowdfunding websites have shown to allow for numerous opportunities in accruing social capital. When one is highly motivated and invested, they want to be part of the return process and see where their money is going because there are issues of accountability, and transparency in terms of what individuals see or receive as rewards not being accurate reflections of the final product, especially with the case of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Fingerman (2015) explains investors on LocalStake projects or campaigns will “either receive equity, a share of future revenues or interest on the loan in return.” Sara Hanks, CEO of CrowdCheck, says LocalStake might not attract large companies or campaigns because of the website’s promise for “…receive equity, a share of future revenues or interest on the loan in return” (Fingerman, 2015), but it is best suited for community-based businesses such as craft breweries and yoga studios.

Scotty’s Brewhouse, an Indiana- based brewery generated almost $400,000 from 120 accredited and non-accredited investors in a LocalStake campaign earlier this year after an online campaign through social media and advertisements on the brewery’s menus and bathroom stills.

Scott Wise, president and CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse, said, “It wasn’t really just the money you’re getting in the process. For me, and for a lot of people who dip their toes in these waters, really you are creating fans” (Fingerman, 2015).

Crowdfunding campaigns can show the power, impact and value of social capital in an age where opportunities to accrue it are everywhere. It also shows how motivated users can have their voices heard because the capability of new social tools allow groups to circumvent traditional business hierarchical structures and processes in favor of a self-organizing method.

Where do you think the future trend in crowdfunding websites will be and how will social capital be the potential catalyst?

Politicians Use Social Media To Their Advantage

How many times have you been on different social media networks today? How many times did you check or scroll through your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed? How many times did you comment or make a post on any social media sites? Realistically, there are probably only a few people that can answer these questions with certainty. Others including myself do not know these answers because social media has become an addiction and habit of our everyday lives. People are constantly using and interacting with different social media sites through out the day. It is likely the first thing we look at in the morning, students walk to their classes with their heads down looking at social media, are free time is dedicated to checking it, and I am sure it is one of the last things we look at before going to bed. Continue reading “Politicians Use Social Media To Their Advantage”