Opportunity

Has it ever occurred to you to wonder why people spend so much time contributing to sites and memes on the net such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, LOLCats, or any of the myriad communities discussed in the “Motive” section of the book? And why they do so for “free?” If not, do Shirky’s theories of opportunity make sense or not? What is the importance of the distinction between the question “Why do they do all that on YouTube” and the question “Why do they do all that on YouTube for free?” Do you agree or disagree with Shirky’s claims about the real difference between generations (such as Generation X and Y), and why?

As I’ve stated in previous posts, being in a fandom or participating in memes makes a person feels included in a group, productive with their time, and (in many cases) happy with the effort they exert to impress others with their work. Regardless of whether or not the creator is being paid monetarily, they are paid with a wealth of feedback, viewers, and appreciation for their work. (On this point, I would like to note that not everyone has success with posting their work online, and many receive negative feedback. However, they’re still being recognized – and sometimes recognition is worth more to a person than any dollar amount capitalism may place on it.)

Shirky argues that the real difference between generations is “less because people differ [and more] because opportunities do.” (page 121). It is easy to see how opportunity can fluctuate through the years; as Shirky points out, the economy is a great factor in creating and destroying opportunity. With Generation X and the 1987 market crash (ensuing recession included), opportunity was seen plummeting deep into the ground. As the markets transformed, opportunity grew and so did participant motivation. However, I think that – in this sense – our Generation Y is quite similar to Generation X. There isn’t a copious amount of opportunity to be found, so one can’t help but to be disengaged from typical means of participating in the economic culture of our society. Therefore, plenty of time is spent producing content for the web in the hopes of creating opportunity for oneself. In this way, we are different from generation X, but only because the means of achieving such goals are far easier to access than in days past.

 

Let’s Talk About Blogs: The Onion

Onion

Time for one of my personal favourite blogs/news sites: The Onion. This blog is certainly the shining example of Political Satire, if nothing else. The reports do concern a number of recent events and can provide the news in a roundabout way, but most everything concerning The Onion is falsified and simply written for the sake of satire itself.

The Onion concerns itself largely with current events – and like all other blogs right now, the Boston Marathon Bombings take up a majority of the recent posts to the site. As is the norm with many humor sites, there are some language issues and (depending on how offensive you find swearing) may be best to avoid if you’d rather have the hard facts on reporting. However, seeing as reporters haven’t exactly wowed anyone with their deductive reasoning lately, The Onion may be just as good a source for your news as any other accredited station.

BREAKING

Semi-Detailed Review

General Theme: Satirical

Political Slant: Left

Cite Sources? Not typically.

How does the blog’s information compare to the newspaper? The paper certainly competes with quantity of news reports, but is somewhat higher on the scale of quality. Don’t go to The Onion for your news.

What you didn’t like: I love this site. There’s nothing for me to hate here.

A link to a specific post you felt was interesting: Next Week’s School Shooting Victims Thank Senate for Failing to Pass Gun Bill.

Let’s Talk About Blogs: Little Green Footballs

GreenFootballs

The minimalistic theme of Little Green Footballs was a bit bland for my tastes, but it didn’t stop the posts from being quite colourful and – a number of times – shocking. The blog is – like Daily Kos – a compilation of multiple authors reporting on similarly-minded subjects. However, unlike Kos, this blog seems highly-dedicated to pointing out the mistakes which mass media tends to make in reporting. Right now, it’s been dominated by the Boston Marathon Bombings, but they do offer a good place which pulls everything together in a clear picture.

Again, this is a socio-political or economic blog dependent on who the author is and what the latest happenings in the world are. It seems to be an entertaining blog to those who enjoy a bit more abrupt reporting or who like to confer with others about how ridiculous large media corporations can be. It’s one I would spend some time perusing, but I most likely wouldn’t be going back to check it out anytime soon.

Semi-Detailed Review

General Theme: Journalistic, Political, Media, Informative, Opinionated

Political Slant: Moderate to Left

Cite Sources? There are internal citations for most every article.

How does the blog’s information compare to the newspaper? There are probably too many opinions here to compete with real news, but the things reported are eye-opening and somewhat jaw-dropping.

What you didn’t like: I’m fine with the language and the voices, but the theme was the only truly grating thing to me. I personally dislike stark white pages.

A link to a specific post you felt was interesting: Anti-Muslim Demagogue Pamela Geller’s Firehose of Hate Speech. This is pretty much why I stay away from Wingnuts like Glen Beck and Pamela Geller.

Let’s Talk About Blogs: Daily Kos

KOS

I was, admittedly a bit wary when I first entered this blog’s website. An icon of a man waving a flag, articles with sarcastic and yet literal titles, copious amounts of sarcasm… I initially wondered what odd part of the net I had stumbled upon. As I scrolled through the posts, I became increasingly amused by the titles and articles being posted. 

Surprisingly enough, it is a very informative blog which addresses political, social, and economic issues through somewhat satirical blurbs and posts. The group of writers publishing to Daily Kos are well-versed in the discipline of what I like to call ‘eye-opening writing’, in which the author makes no point in sugar-coating the details to simply lay out the base of the issues at hand. It’s a fantastic blog full of things which make you go hmmmm… Definitely food for thought, if nothing else. This is an entertaining blog to read through.

Semi-Detailed Review

General Theme: Journalistic, Political, Informative

Political Slant: Moderate to Left? Because of the varying authors, there are varying voices and ideas. It’s difficult to pin a single one down.

Cite Sources? There are internal citations for most every article.

How does the blog’s information compare to the newspaper? It’s definitely more news-worthy than some of the things the newspaper reports, but I can’t speak much on the issue. I stopped reading the paper some time ago.

What you didn’t like: I can’t say there isn’t anything which bothered me about this site. I would definitely give it a 9/10 to 10/10 for its overall entertainment and information value.

A link to a specific post you felt was interesting: Not Necessarily the News. Finally, someone who shares my frustrations about the reports concerning the Boston Marathon Bombing over this past week.