Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Scripps Networks Launches New Online Network

Scripps has the intention of launching an online network for the building industry. It incorporates building tips, new product information, and insider information on trends. The network introduces "the virtual trade" and "contractor stories" aspects that makes it possible for its memebers to recieve first hand testimonies and experiences. "Contractor Stories" allow the HGTVPro visitors to sit in on refreshingly open roundtable conversations among contractors. Unrehearsed and unscripted." It is reported that the online community creates an atmosphere for builders, allowing them to learn from each other's experiences. Additionally, each of the video segements offered on the network are hosted by professional contractors."While it is a site for pros by pros, it still allows prosumers to 'peek over the fence' and better understand their builder's world."

iPhone teaser ad

for those of you that watched the Oscars on sunday- did you see the teaser add for Apple's iPhone?
i thought it as brilliant- simple, fun, and a great concept. it seems as if licensing the clips from the major studios will pave the way for new multimedia content that will be featured on the iPhone.

shuffling speakers

tomorrow we were supposed to have marco ilardi of myspace speak at the class. marco can no longer make it tomorrow but will be coming in to speak next week - march 8th. I had planned to show a documentary on blogging that day so I'm going to switch that. tomorrow the second half of the class we'll watch blogumentary. and lest you think that means you have permission to leave during the break, I'll be taking attendance at the end of class.

Microsoft vs. Playstation

Online gaming was met with many objections. However, with the recent flow of online gamers, it is obvious that this market creates enormous potential to advance the experience of gaming. It is reported that communicating with freinds and strangers, and creating an identity for yourself is core to the online gaming scene. Some players maintain a reputation of "invinsible" in the online gaming community, and players from different countries are able to link up with thier favorite gaming buddies in the US. This behavior is common with game such as "Call of Duty" and "Madden." With the sucsess of online gaming experienced by Microsoft, Playstation 3 was determined to rival its competitor with the release of the system. Many gamers say that playstation's online capabiliteis with plastation 2 were "patchy." Among many of the extreme gamers, suspicions have been raised with the efficiency of playstations ability to provide a compatible network for its users. Consequently, 3 out of 5 gamers prefer Microsoft's online gaming community vs. that of Playstation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Myspace clip!

I thought that this clip tied in well to how people create their identities on myspace...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

MySpace Postcards

My friend dirrected me to the site On this site you can make postcards/commentcards to post on myspace pages. You can search for any type of postcard you want from cute to flirt or everyday. The pictures move also. Pretty cool... check it out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As I am not familiar with Friendster at all, I was not fully sure what the Danah Boyd article meant when it referred to "fakesters." Simple put they are people who make fake accounts that aren't really who they are or sometimes even people at all (they may take on objects, abstract nouns, historical moments or people etc.). Here is a pretty substansive article by Lessley Anderson in the San Fransisco Weekly that does a good job of explaining what fakesters are and how they have changed and influenced friendster (paying special attention to how Friendster CEO Jonathan Abrams objects to them.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gmail opens its doors

As of Feb. 14, gmail is now open to everyone who wants an account. Since its start in 2004, users had to be "invited" to start an account by current users. A week after deploying open access to Asia and South America, Google announced the dropping of the invitation only requirement. Log on to to get yours.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Half never used telephone?? Really??

I found it hard to believe when Marrisa said that half of the world population have never used a telephone. So I looked it up in the internet and I found that it's actually true. From _the_world_old.html, it said that Thomas Homer-Dixon made a speech when he said in 2001 that "...half the people on the planet have never made a phone call." Tatang Razak of Indonesia told the UN's committee on the Information "After all, most of the poeple in the world have never made a phone call...", in speech from April of this year. I don't really know who these people are. However, it's still really hard to believe! How can that be? We have over 6 billions people. From, there are 6,689,114,878 (and still counting) people in the world! It's just really hard to believe that over 3 billion people have never made or received calls.

Did anyone else enjoy Rebecca Woolf?

I don't know about anyone else, but I really enjoyed listening to Rebecca Woolf in class today. She was so interesting and friendly, and I really enjoyed listening to her opinion of virtual communities. I think one of the reasons she was so enjoyable, at least for me, was because she was much younger than usual guest speakers in classes. She's relatively close to our age, therefore it was easier for her to relate to the audience. Lots of times when I listen to guest speakers who are at least a decade older, the lecture tends to seem more formal and stiff. But Rebecca seemed very friendly and informal. (Plus not to mention that what she does on is very admirable.)

Did anyone else enjoy Rebecca Woolf today? Just curious. :)

next week's speaker: lockhart steele

just confirmed next week's speaker: lockhart steele. and yes, that IS his real name. Lock is the founder and publisher of the Curbed empire as well as the general manager of Gawker Media, which includes Gawker, Defamer, Wonkette, Fleshbot (NSFW) and others.

Source of USC trivia

This is an amazing website about everything you wanted to know about all the public artworks on campus. Just in case you were curious or wanted to impress your friends with cool trivia.

Reminder: rebecca woolf

just a reminder - today's speaker is rebecca woolf of girls gone child and babble. rebecca was mentioned in last week's Time magazine and she posted a response on her blog. she'll be discussing this dust-up on the issue of our intersecting private and public spheres, as well as her experiences writing the blog, getting a book deal and hosting chats for the starlight foundation. see you all later.

LA to get free wifi

Downtown Long Beach has it. Culver City has. Now it looks like all of LA will have it too - by 2009. Villaraigosa plans to install municipal wifi across LA: "Such a project, covering 498 square miles of the sprawling city, would be a massive undertaking, costing somewhere around $54-$62 million." Of course, the day the mayor made this announcement, Houston decided to one up us, and announced a plan for 600 sq miles of free wifi.

Its not clear yet if LA's free wifi will be as "free" as Culver City's - which installed filtering software to prevent illegal downloads and surfing porn. The software can also prevent all peer to peer traffic, even the legal exchange of content. (but its unclear if that has ever been activated).

what do you guys think? does this amount to goverment censorship or protection? does it defeat the purpose of free wifi or enhance it?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, including those anti-valentine's people too. lol

The Evolution of Dance

If anyone read any of the blog posts in response to Virginia Heffernan's article for why "The Evolution of Dance" became so popular on youtube, you would have noticed that many people countered her argument by saying that the reason it became so popular is because once it became number 1, it continued to stay at the position by the very nature of the fact that it was put on the "most popular" list. This inherently draws more people to it. While I agree with Heffernan's point that music is a very universal language, many of the blog's counterarguments made a good point. One person compared it to the "Most Photographed Barn in the US" effect as described in Don DeDillo's White Noise. Here is an excerpt of what DeDillo wrote. Essentially, the effect is that people cause the perpetual popularity of something not because they like it or even understand it, but because they want to be a part of that "popular experience."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New online community

A new online community has emerged that promises to give educators around the world an opportunity to collaborate and share curricula in hopes of expanding the educational options available to schools. Called Curriki, the resource pairs the benefits of social networking with the freedom of open technologies to create an organic, constantly evolving online repository of free resources for teachers and students.
Thanks to the internet and the evolution of web-based software programs in schools, however, many of those geographic barriers no longer exist. Now, a new online community has emerged that promises to democratize the process of curriculum development, giving educators the ability to tailor instructional content to the needs of their students, wherever they are, free of charge.
Dubbed the "Wikipedia of curriculum" by its creators, the online community known as Curriki -- accessible at -- aims to provide a place online where educators from anywhere in the world can post curricula and lesson plans for review and use by fellow classroom teachers.

Coca Cola Commercial

If anyone was interested in that GTA coke commercial we discussed in class, I found out the production company that animated/created it is called Nexus Productions. It is based out of London and they do some other pretty cool stuff too--check out the website.

Toyota's Scion parks in Second Life

Toyota launched two new cars simultaneously; one in the real world and one in the virtual world.

This can also be related to last week's class where the guest speaker was taking about "point-of-reception" marketing, and Toyota is marketing to those who have not necessarily considered the Toyota brand. Who knows, their point of greatest receptivity might be through Second Life.

A MySpace for Mom and Dad

I found this article regarding a new website that is targeting parents who will be able to digitally connect with other members of their families. I figured this article is perfect for our class since we give a lot of attention to the social network scene.

P.S. Feel free to tell your parents about the new site!!

René Magritte

Currently at LACMA museum on Wilshire and Fairfax, there's an exhibition of a renown surrealist artist, René Magritte, who painted the famous painting "The Son of Man" (posted here). The exhibition features 68 works by Magritte and an equal number by 31 contemporary artists, including Marcel Broodthaers, Vija Celmins, Robert Gober, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. It will be held from November 19, 2006 – March 4, 2007. Unfortunately, you will have to pay for the admission ticket: For student (with ID) the ticket cost $14 on weekdays and $17 on weekends. The price after 5pm is $12 on weekdays and $15 on weekends.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Virtual world meets real world

My friend showed me this YouTube video, and I could not believe it. It didn't seem like it could be real because there was just no way someone would cut their hair like that on their wedding day. Anyway, according to US Weekly, the bride was not a bride at all but a waitress who got paid to act in this video. Jodi Behan, 22, did the video to get a few extra bucks, and now, over 3 million views later, is recieving calls for roles in the real world. Who knew that a waitress could gain fame and opportunity through a YouTube video!
(I couldn't figure out how to post the video so here is the link.)

Tragic News

I am reluctant to say that Michael Jackson may be signing a contract that will make him "just another attraction in Vegas." I, for one, am devistated. Although his career may have faltered a tad with the latest accusations of child molestation, I feel he is not a "B" caliber artist- He's the greatest entertainer to walk this planet. Contrary to my beliefs, he has chosen to walk the Vegas strip with such artists as Toni Braxton, Cher, etc. I have to say, becoming a recurring act for Vegas would be detrimental to his career. Afterall, Michael Jackson is known for his exclusive celebrity quality (an interview with the guy is noted as a primetime event); now anyone with a twenty dollar ticket can watch him perform- I'm pissed people!

watching all the oscar movies - now

far be it for me to advocate illegal downloading, or encouraging piracy, but just as an fyi: boingboing points us to this site, that allows you to download all of this year's oscar-nominated movies:
OscarTorrents is an audacious new site from The Pirate Bay: a search-engine for torrents of this year's Oscar nominees.
from the site itself:
OscarTorrents is the Oscars as it should be -- everyone can download the year's nominations using the popular BitTorrent service, watch the movies, then use our rating system to choose their favourites. Why restrict the voting to a few bought-off jurors when the whole world can have their say?

midterm assignment

Comm 321 Midterm Paper Assignment
Due Date: March 8, 2007 by end of class

Relationships and CMC
Your paper must be based on the assigned readings on these topics. You should also include additional sources, but to satisfy the assignment your paper must clearly demonstrate that you have read and integrated the specific assigned material into your approach to the topic. The primary criterion for grading the paper will be how well you have used the reading materials to answer the questions posed.

Paper Length: 6-8 pages
References: Minimum of eight articles.

Assignment: Drawing upon your personal experiences (your blog, your social network profile, your “wild card” community, and even your email interaction), please examine how computer-mediated communication contributes to the formation and maintenance of relationships. What is different about relationships formed and maintained through CMC, as compared to face-to-face, and what is the same? In what ways is our ability to express ourselves constrained or expanded through virtual communication? How have the communities you participate in contributed to the process of identity formation? What constitutes a successful virtual community and what failures have you recognized? Use concrete examples from your experiences on Blogger, Myspace and Facebook, SecondLife, Youtube, Wikipedia, etc.

In addition to the assigned readings, feel free to also use the articles and books below as the source material for your paper. You may also search for additional relevant sources though Lexis-Nexis, the USC library, and the E-Resources available through USC’s library (

Baker, P. (2001). Moral panic and alternative identity construction in usenet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 7 (1). Available:

Birnie, S. A., & Horvath, P. (2002). Psychological predictors of Internet social communication. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 7 (4). Available:

Boneva, K., Kraut, R., & Frolich, D. (2001). Using e-mail for personal relationships. The difference gender makes. Available:

Flanagin, A., Tiaamornwong, V., O'Connor, J., & Seibold, D. (2002). Computer-mediated group work: The interaction of member sex and anonymity. Communication Research, Vol 29(1), 66-93. Available:

Krikorian, D.H., Lee, J-S., Chock, T.M., & Harms, C. (2000). Isn't that spatial?: Distance and communication in a 2-D virtual environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 5 (4). Available:

Knox, D., Daniels, V., Sturdivant, L., Susman, M. E. (2001). College student use of the Internet for mate selection. College Student Journal, 35 (1), 158-160. Available:

McKenna, K. Y. A., Green, A. S., & Gleason, M. E. J. (2002). Relationship formation on the Internet: What's the big attraction? Journal of Social Issues, Vol 58(1), Spr 2002, 9-31. Available:

Parks, M.R., & Floyd, K. (1996). Making friends in cyberspace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [On-line], 1 (4). Available:

Putnam, R.D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Touchstone.

Walther, J., Slovacek, C., & Tidwell, L. (2001). Is a picture worth a thousand words?: Photographic images in long-term and short-term computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, Vol 28(1), 105-134. Available:

Wellman, B., et al. 2001. Does the Internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist 45(November):437-456.

Another piece on the digital divide

this ran last week on NPR. give it a listen and let's discuss. what impact do you think dropping prices for new technologies has on the digital divide? is this the most important factor in the divide or simply one among several?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Youtube Scandal

Recently, youtube users posted a video containing x rated images of a Brazilian model, Daniela Cicarelli. Daniela sued sued youtube "after a video of her apparently having sex in shallow water on a beach with her boyfriend (a well-known soccer player) was posted to the site." She is sueing the site for 116,000 dollars each day the video is accessible to viewers on youtube. It is stated that some copies have been taken of the site, but viewers continue to repost the videos. In a third lawsuit, the the model requested that the site be shutdown as long as the video is available to users. In the final settlement, youtube was ordered to remove all content that promoted racism and/or child pornography as well.

For more info and pictures visit:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Displacement Theory

In response to the lecture on the displacement theory, I have come across some related information. Moreover, one of the stipulations stated that there was a cut-off where media use will begin to displace other useful activities. This is called the thresh hold effect. Its states that onces a viewer goes beyond ten hours per week of viewing media content, the dispalcement theory can then be applied. Only after ten hours or more will other useful activities be displaced. After ten hours, media use is no longer considered to be a substitute for down time. However, it seems that this measure was randomly assigned. More directly, even two hours of vieweing media content can and will displace other activities. They go further to describe what qualifies as a useful activity, yet even thinking or meditation is useful. The stipulations of this theory seem very objective.

Friday, February 9, 2007

"Caught on Tape" 20/20 (on now!)

I realize this is short notice, but in case any of you are spending the evening at home tonight, you might want to turn to ABC to check out 20/20 (it started at 9pm, and I believe is on until 11pm). The focus is on the internet and it's home to "the viral revolution" (discussion covers almost everything from the influence of YouTube to Perez Hilton).

Here's the link to the 20/20 page which includes a few clips and such on the subject:
"Caught on Tape"

Cell phone spam

Thought this relates to our talk in yesterday's class. Draws a good distinction between cell phone spam and mobile marketing

Get outta my phone!

Spammers are getting crafty - they're sending text messages to your cell phone. But Fortune's Julie Schlosser is fighting back.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

additional reading for week 6

from time to time, I will augment/revise the syllabus. I'd like to add another reading for next week's class. please read, in addition to the assigned readings already on the syllabus, Effective use: A community informatics strategy beyond the Digital Divide by Michael Gurstein.

Recommended, but not required, is this article from the UN Chronicle: Digital Divide into Digital Opportunities.

pushing midterms back

midterms will now be due march 8th, rather than feb 22nd. I will hand out the midterm assignment this weekend via email and on the blog. we can discuss your questions online and in the next class.

administrative stuff

just a reminder, nick desai of juice wireless will be our guest speaker today.

Additionally, I unfortunately have to cancel our April 26th class. that was supposed to be our conclusion and review class. if you feel you need a review class in order to work on your final papers, I'm happy to schedule a supplementary class, or try to conduct the class online.

see you all later today.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

If you eat as much as I do...

For those of you who didn't already know about these, here are two fantastic websites that deliver from several restaurants around 'SC (including CPK, In-n-out, Bistango, and a lottttt more)!


I messed up the link, sorry. Here is an actual link to the beginners guide to geocaching.


I just posted this in my blog by accident so excuse the repetition, but if anyone was interested in the concept of geocaching brought up in Derek Powazek's article "Getting Real: Virtual Communities that Break the Fourth Wall," here is a pretty good beginners guide to what geocaching is all about realeased by the official geocaching website. The concept seems pretty interesting as it basically is one big worldwide scavenger hunt prompted by posting tracking coordinates on the internet. You can limit the areas of where you want to track to stay within areas near you or expand globally. If I had a GPS reciever I would partake in the fun. (I did register with the site so if anyone has GPS in their car let me know.)

Steve Jobs and DRM

this will have many interesting implications for the music industry now that the largest online music retailer supports having restriction free music.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

social music sites

since so many of you are fans of pandora, I thought you might enjoy this article that provides an overview of social music sites.

speaking of which, I found it on digg, a social news site.

Monday, February 5, 2007

all the super bowl ads

marketingvox provides a handy roundup of all the places you can watch the super bowl ads online.

so, what's your favorite? overall, I'd say they were pretty disappointing.

my favorite isn't exactly new - in ran in theaters last summer and has been all over youtube for months now, but I just love it - the coca-cola video game ad. not only does it subvert Grand Theft Auto's unrelenting violence and grittiness celeverly, but it also draws from and further's coke's brand attributes. It continues the coke tradition from its Vietnam-era "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" (yes, that song was originally a coke advertisement, and no, I dont really remember it when it first ran on TV). its been such a long time since coke was making great ads. I'm glad they are again.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Doritos Commercials

Here is the link to the Doritos commercials we were talking about in class. The top five "fan-generated" commercials are on the Doritos website. Each finalist has already won $10,000 and a trip to the Superbowl in Miami this year.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Long Tail

If anyone was interested in what Jason Calacanis was saying about wikipedia, you should definitely check out the book The Long Tail. Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, wrote it and he describes the current culture we are living ("the long tail" of culture) in which niche markets and interests are growing at exponential rate due mostly in part to the internet. There is an entire chapter which looks at wikipedia as a case study and describes how it is a fairly accurate source of information built entirely my "amateur" internet users. The book is very relevant to yesterday's discussion and to our class as a whole in general.

100% of p.i.n.k.'s profits are donated to breast cancer research...

In October of 2005 my mom opened a boutique in Hermosa Beach where 100% of the profits are donated to a breast cancer research foundation she started. Pretty cool, huh? Anyways, we have an online website now so check it out! We carry a lot of cute stuff including stuff by Nicole Miller, Catherine Malandrino, Paige Premium Denim, Cynthia Steffe, Rachel Pally, Walter, Hanky get the point :) It's called p.i.n.k. standing for "People Inspiring New Knowledge". Check it out at!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Meebo mentioned today in class

I just signed up for a Meebo account. It is a very clever little idea for web-based IM clients. It also allows websites to have an IM client on their webpage so that visitors can chat with them live.

Colbert on Blogs:

"Ted Hitler"

I ran across this clip and thought it was a nice complement to our discussion about blogging and democracy - and it even outs those "attack bloggers" who would seek to reveal incriminating information about Colbert's dark past...

Meeting planning online with Diarized

A friend suggested this as a way to get people together for a meeting or other event. The free service allows you to set up the meeting and details and then invite people. Then, based on availability, it suggests what times are best overall. It even sends messages to those who can't make it apologizing!

Second Life Celebrities

i found this article in today about celebrities in the world of Second Life

Dot-Coms Getting Smart About SuperBowl Advertisments...Moving to YouTube

From's The Browser. A cool little blurb about dot-coms putting their SuperBowl ads directly on YouTube and promoting them through blogs and online social networks.

The Browser:
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Superbowl ads ditch the Superbowl for YouTube

Colbert Report - Wikilobbying

after it was brought up last week in class, thought you might enjoy colbert's take on microsoft's attempt to edit wikipedia.

and for an academic take on "the wisdom of crowds" you might want to check out James Surowiecki's book with that title.