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Monday, September 27, 2004

Threaded Discussion Mini-Analysis

So, with the Third Mission Impossible flick starring Tom Cruise in production, I was curious what people had to say about the previous two prequels. I had my own opinions, but I've never read through a thread about this topic. So I found one. I spent about five hours doing so. it was actually enjoyable to read and reread threads and following the authors' trains of thought. My analysis was actually fun too.

Here's the link:


There wasn't an explicit question, per se, but all 29 posts were obviously answering the same unstated question, which was: What do you think about the second Mission Impossible? I was amazed at the length of the posts and the detailed information they offered. In this single thread, one could get a summary of the movie and an entire background on the Mission Impossible franchise. There is no way that all of these posts were written from memory. there had to be some research done, just to be able to post the information. So, this made me wonder, what would cause people not to just post stuff quickly that was in their heads, but to take the time to look stuff up and post what appeared to be quality posts.

Can altruism truly be the explanation? Personally, I don't think so. Maybe to some degree, but not entirely. I do subscribe to the mixed-motive belief, yet I think there are two prevailing motives. I might be wrong, but I'll wait until that emperical study comes out showing that I am. I believe that people put so much time and effort into putting up quality posts because, one, they want to establish themselves as a knowledgable person in a particular area, and two, writing helps to organize thoughts and why not post those organize thoughts somewhere.

I think the current blog phenomenom has very comparable motives. Why would people post things about there life, their thoughts, their direction in a blog? Well, to get their thoughts out their so as to appear knowledgable in a certain area, and to organize their thoughts (because, hey, why would you post unorganized thoughts for the world to view?) Again, there is some altruism involved. Some people just post in blogs in hopes to better the world, but I don't think it's the prevailing motive.

But, who am I to say...I'm pushing a grand total of two months being involved in Social Software, so maybe my takes will change with experience.

Monday, September 20, 2004

My Experience with Google Groups

First off, my last minute postings are not a result of procrastination; instead, I have scheduled to work on 7150 for five hours Saturday evening and for five hours Monday morning, and I tend to try and maximize this time.

Figuring out how to post in Google groups has not been easy for me and much of my groups surfing time has been dedicated to learning this. This is my first time exploring groups and Usenets...it is not easy, but I'm starting to understand how they work. I will be posting to alt.showbiz.gossip under Mission Impossible 3 as soon as I can figure out how. I think I have to register to be able to post, but I'll only know once it works. I've spent nearly six hours so far exploring these groups.

I've also checked out Star Trek groups, Punky Brewster groups, and the Blair Witch Project groups...talk about being surprised at how much talk goes on about these topics...I tried to be obscure in my searches, but there was something for everything.

After reading Wade's posting about how online groups can affect a movies success, I got to thinking about how online groups can destoy a movies potential success. I was specifically thinking about The Blair Witch Project, which I've never seen. it was a major success because of people thinking it waqs a real story, which wasn't the truth. After word got out that it was fabricated, I wonder how that affected ticket sales. The Google groups shows a lot of activity right after it's release, and a lot of it was due to people telling others it was a farse.

Overall, I was surprised at the lack of moderation of these groups. A lot of stuff was just garbage, but I guess that's the beauty of it...you can say whatever you want.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Personal Internet History

For me, using the Internet and using computers happened at the same time. I really can’t distinguish when I began using one and began using another. Throughout high school (up until 1993) I toyed around with word processing programs, math programs, and video games, but I never really used computers. I had friends who tapped into their grade records at the school district level via the Internet, so I knew what was possible, but I guess I had an inherent fear (my dad is a farmer and resists computers entirely) and insecurity about them. In fact when my friends got caught for their little grade-changing adventure, my biggest defense was that I didn’t have a clue how to do what they pulled off…so, I didn’t get in trouble for that one. Experiences like this gave me additional security in my ignorance.

Then, during my first year of college (1993/1994) I resisted computers while concurrently being introduced to the Internet. I’d love to say I was attempting to complete some class project or expanding my formal education, but I wasn’t. This is the truth and, in some respects, I’m opening myself up for criticism of some kind for admitting it in an open forum. I learned of the Internet in my search for information about a famous model of the time, Niki Taylor. I wanted to know everything about her and the university librarians were very helpful. They introduced me to CD-ROMs containing info on many people, famous and not-so-famous. Then, one day, some computer geek told me I could look up GIFs (he pronounced them “jifs”) from places all over the world by connecting to various “servers.” I had no idea what he meant but, hey, if it meant I gathered more information, then I was willing to give it a try. I watched him as he typed in information to connect to various places. He would say things like, “Hey, here’s someone in San Diego will a lot of stuff. Wait, this guy in Philadelphia has more.” I was amazed at the possibilities, but still was resisting learning how to do them myself. My best friend even wrote to her mother using Pegasus, a thing she referred to as “email” because she said it was cheaper than long distance phone calls, but I never wanted to learn more than that.

Then from 1994-1996 I was serving a religious mission in Spain and had no contact with computers except on two occasions. One, my mother sent me a letter where she said I could send he a message from one computer and she would receive it. I was fascinated, so I went to a Cyber Café and sent a message. I was astounded a few weeks later to find out, in a letter, she had actually received it. The second occasion was when I was talking with people on the streets and noticed a huge display for something called Windows 95. I knew it must be something important but I had no idea what Windows, or for that matter Microsoft, was.

After returning and restarting college in January 1997, I realized I had some serious computer catching up to do if I wanted to be considered a capable college graduate. I will never forget the day when I was determined to learn computers and entered a computer lab alone. I sat at a computer and had no idea what to do. I fiddled with the keyboard and monitor, but nothing happened. I reluctantly asked the computer lab assistant to help me out. He came over and sat down and said, Okay, what do you want to do?” I said, “I want to learn how to use this thing.” He said, “Alright, let’s get started.” I just sat there. He said, “Well you have to turn it on.” I said, “I don’t know how.” His countenance faded, “You don’t know how to turn it on!?,” he said, not so reassuringly. “No,” I responded. He questioned, “Well, what have you used computers for, so far?” I said, “I have never used a computer for anything serious in my whole life.” Then he became very unbelieving and frustrated. He said, rather harshly, “I can’t help, I won’t help you, I’m not here to help people who cannot even help themselves. Please leave this lab. Take a class where you’ll learn the basics and then come back and I will help you.” He was serious, but then, so was I. I took a class, then another, then several multimedia-type jobs, and now, years later, I am very proficient with computers. And, I’ll never turn back.

The Internet plays a very important role in my professional and personal life. Social software, however, plays a smaller role. I do not even use Instant Messaging yet. This is probably because I view these services as intrusive. This is the same reason I refuse to get a cell phone. I don’t want to be bothered with people wanting to get a hold of me at all hours of the day. I know, it’s silly, similar to my initial reluctance to using computers. I’ll overcome this reluctance, just as I did before, and soon will use social software properly to enhance my life (this is partly the reason for taking this online interactions course at this point in my life).

6 hours (for my current Instructional Technology 7150 Course)

Monday, September 06, 2004

Hello World

Hello World