Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barlow Chapter 2

In chapter two of Blogging America, Barlow speaks about how many people in this day and age are actually blogging. The author states that Technorati claims that they monitor over 75 million blogs. He also states “If we keep up at this pace, there will be over 500 million blogs by 2010” (p. 36). He also speaks of whether this is a good thing or not. There are no editors, or people making sure that the information being put up on these blogs are even factual. The author goes on to talk about how people avoid putting garbage up on their blogs because they want to be respected. This is important because in order for your readers to respect your writing, it needs to be legitimate. He later speaks of whether a code of conduct would work in the blogsphere, and whether it would really keep people from acting disorderly.

The part of the reading that I found interesting was the point about how authors want their work to be credible, because they want the reader to respect them. We spoke about this in class the other day, and the majority of the class thought that they wrote at a higher level then they would converse in, in order to sound smart. We as authors want the audience that is reading our blogs to respect what we are saying. In order to do this we need make sure there are no errors in our writing, and the topics and opinions we have are relevant and factual. As I have written in my previous essays I feel that the issue of behavior on blogs will weed itself out. There will always be people who will disagree with your opinion about a particular topic, but as long as there is a respectful conversation going back and forth then that is the purpose of these blogs, to spread as many ideas as possible.

Barlow, Arron. (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger

Monday, October 20, 2008

Search Engines

For this third essay we were assigned to do research for the Web 2.0 technology that we had picked for our final essay. During the past week of class we have been speaking about search engines, and the reliability of them websites in which it returns. In this paper I will speak of the different results I received from the various search engines, as well as the relativity of the search. The Web 2.0 technology that I had chosen to research is, because of the usefulness it has in my life. I will be conducting background searches using,, and I will also try to find information about this social networking site on Ebsco, a resource we have here at the University at Albany.

First I tried good old Google. This was an easy place to start considering Google is my search engine of choice, and usually returns some quality information. I decided to start this search off with the keyword Facebook. The first couple returned links directed me to the actual Facebook website, followed by the Wikipedia page for the social networking website. Wikipedia always gives you a solid base of background information about a topic, which is why; it is quickly becoming one of the most visited websites. (O’Reilly 2, P.2) It then gave me links for the company profile of Facebook, and finally to the New York Times Website, which surprisingly didn’t return me the information that I thought it would. I did not see any useful articles that would provide me with quality information about Facebook. There was on entitled, “Thanks to Facebook, Your Childhood in Park Slope in the ’80s Never Has to End” which focused on the functions of Facebook as a way to connect to old friends. Next was a webpage from Mashable, which provided great information about the background of Facebook. Satisfied with my first bunch of results, I then decided to change my keyword search to “History Facebook.” Returned first was the mashable article, as well as one from the International Herald Tribune speaking about the history, and lawsuit Facebook is now going through. It then had a hit from Connie Crosby’s personal blog, where she chose to some research on the history of Facebook, and provided a couple links in which she felt were useful. (the mashable one was first again) To be quite honest I was very happy in the results that Google produced for me, and it seems to me that all of the websites were very credible, and reliable.

Next I ventured over to Google’s biggest rival Yahoo. Yahoo is more of an interactive website in which you can login and it will produce news, and sports information that is designed for your characteristics. I tend to use Google for its straight forward approach to searching, but Yahoo certainly offers a lot more, so I am interested to see the successfulness of these searches. To be fair, I decided to use the same two keywords in which I used in my Google searches. Much to my surprise the results were not as effective as the Google results; there were no links to newspaper articles, or even some of the same articles I found useful from the Google search. I had the notion in my head that Google and Yahoo basically returned the same information when the same keywords are used. So I went ahead and added the word history to my search, and still no quality information. There was a Rolling Stone piece on the fight for the rights of Facebook, and even a hyperlink to a Facebook group for students having trouble with History. I was and am very disappointed in the search results that Yahoo produced. The very little information that I found to be useful took many pages of search results to find, and much more time then the Google search from earlier.

Lastly I tried hoping for some quality results, and for the initial search of the word Facebook, none were returned. More hyperlinks were provided to the actual website, the login page, as well as a part of the site for developers. So I went ahead and added “history,” hoping to find some valued information and a hyperlink to then directed me to that same informative website. At least Ask Jeeves found some way to direct me to that website, unlike Yahoo. There seems to be many articles about the offers numerous offers Yahoo, and Google made to buy the site. There were a couple other Websites in which I failed to accept as credible because of the many advertisements on the side columns, as well as lack of credit to an author. Overall this was a fairly unsuccessful search.

The next place I choose to visit were the scholarly resources that our own University Library has to offer. I decided to use Ebsco, a database which searches the many scholarly journals that the University owns. Here is where quality information is to be found. Again I used the same two keywords, and right off the bat everything that is returned it from either a scholarly journal or a newspaper. From the search engines, the initial search of just the word Facebook didn’t really bring me much success, but on Ebsco there is a ton on quality information. I then added the word “history” and there were a bunch great results. One article called “About Facebook” I would certainly use, and in my opinion it is the best one I had seen during this whole experiment. Also returned was an article from Newsweek called “The Next Small Thing” which spoke about the advancements these social networking sites like Facebook have made, and predicting where it might go next. The problem I feel with these database searches is you receive a lot of great information regarding many different aspects of search, but never exactly what you want.

There were many things in which I learned from this activity on search engines. I gained access to many informative websites, and this activity encouraged me to go out and try other search engines that I would usually avoid. Not to my surprise, retrieved me the most quality information. Many of the other search engines returned me websites with advertisements all over, people trying to sell me things, and even blogs that would not be appropriate for research use. I do believe that searching the library databases may take a little bit longer, the quality of the information is top notch. I would say using more descriptive keywords, such as “history Facebook” really helped the success of the searches. I deciphered through a lot of information during these searches, and I honestly believe that Google, and Ebsco are the best tools for gathering quality, reliable information.

O’Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http:/

Monday, October 6, 2008

Search Engines: The end of the Encyclopedia

For Mondays reading we were assigned to read “The Internet: The Bascis” by Jason Whitaker, as well as” The World Wide Web: A mass communication perspective” by Barbara Kaye, and Norman Medoff. Both of these articles focused on the way in which people search the Internet to gain information, and also strategies to have successful searches. Whitaker refers to the Internet as “a huge national library- although one frequently lacking quality control.” (p. 48) This statement talks about the two large issues presented throughout this discussion. The author gives us 12 different search engines, all of which have their own different functions. Whitaker also discusses the use of search tips like using the words AND, or OR in your searches. (I was first introduced to this during a library tutorial for minerva) This may cause the hits to be more accurate in reference to the search. Kaye, and Medoff focus more each different search engines, and goes into detail about all of there characteristics. The author speaks of email lists, and newsgroups. (like we had previously monitored)
I would like to take some time to reflect on the whole idea of search engines, and how they affect our lives in this day and age. Only a few years ago the Internet was not the same as it was today, literally anytime I need anything answered I turn to Whether I am looking for a phone number, definitions, or even directions. I even have google as the homepage for my computer, and my blackberry. I would say personally I visit google ten times a day to find out information. The authors speak of the large amount of hits that a search may yield, but I must sat that rarely I do not get what I was looking for. I infrequently visit other search engines, but this article shed some light on other effective ones such as, and These search engines have made the accessibility of information speedy, and highly efficient.

Kaye, Barbara K. & Medoff, Norman J. (2001). The World Wide Web: A mass Communication perspectice (Chapter 2) Moutain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.

Whitaker, Jason. (2002). The Internet: The basics (chapter 1). New York: Routledge.