Friday, February 19, 2016

The Endless Computer

As we were discussing today the digital divide and access to content, I remembered some of the effort that people have made in the past in their effort to provide computers and access to disadvantaged people around the world.  One such recent effort is the Endless Computer, a tiny computer that comes with a bunch of educational content already loaded, for places where internet access is sketchy.
The $79 Endless Computer on the left, bigger and more powerful version (more expensive) on the right.  
You need a TV screen of any sort for a monitor, and users would need to get a keyboard, but it's a step in the direction of having affordable computers for people without a lot of resources.

Digital Inequality

It's interesting to think of the way that access to content and technology affects and is affected by the kinds of things mentioned in the chapter:  Literacy and Capital, Social Class, and Age.  Region is also mentioned, but not a lot about that is said (but I think it's a sensitive issue here in South Dakota).

I'm not sure what happened to make my own experience--coming out of a very poor social class with little social capital or cultural capital.  We had a big heavy set of encyclopedias!  Maybe that did it.  Ha!  I did read in it some, but not a lot.

We had one of the first Pong games at home in the '70s, but I didn't play it much before going on to the Army.  I learned to type.  That was a thing that many people from my time and place didn't do or continue.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Using New Media Process to Investigate Black History Month

The New York Times is one of the pioneers in the wave of old media powerhouses to engage new media readers with their activities, and they do it in ways big and large.
One that has come to my attention recently is the series of photos they post in which they ask, "What's Going On in This Picture?" 

They seem to choose interesting photos that engage the viewer and encourage speculation about the scene, as this one does.  What's going on?

It appears to me to be a campaign photo from the '70s, somewhere in the south, I suspect, where a White candidate has gone to visit a Black woman in what first appears to be a trailer house, but is more likely, judging from the tire revealed at the far right, a travel trailer.  Meanwhile, a group of reporters and observers, Black and White, have followed them, with a Black reporter, his press badge on his lapel, holds a microphone to hear what the candidate has to say.

I suspect the woman (and perhaps the woman behind her in the shadows, is a performer, judging from her long gown and her confident and gleeful expression.  She's the master of the situation.

But what the Times does is offer opportunities like this to its readers, to engage and solicit feedback, creating a community response and a shared experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Social Media Measuring

A lot of the work in measuring social media seems to be simply measuring how well marketers are getting their message out there and how well people are responding to it.  That's the business side of things, the idea that these communities and forums are places where marketers can get and hold the attention of people and make use of that attention.  Either they want to aim their marketing strategies at these people, using the community as a captive audience, or they want to mine it for data to determine how to best market their product to them.

I've been looking at a Ford Ranger forum, which includes all kinds of things, from techniques for fixing common problems, to modifying the pickup in lots of ways, to sharing recipes for things like food.  Strange, it seems to me.  It's a lot of guy-talk, but not entirely.

It's here:

I signed up; entry is free.  People post pictures of their rigs, whether they look cool or not, just to show they have a Ranger (which makes them a part of the community).  I was interested in seeing some of the odd questions that are there, which includes things like, "how many miles are on your Ranger?"  What's the purpose of asking for that information?  Just to be the starter of a thread?

Starting a thread gives the person a little "thread starter" button.  Like this:
So, in the conversation, whatever happens in the thread, he gets to be identified as the thread starter.  Why does he want to have his Ranger make more noise?  I dunno.  

I've tried out picture posting, replying to a thread (against the loud muffler!) and commenting on my own picture.  I also tweaked my profile.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Measuring Social Media

There's a lot of work going on these days as researchers and critics attempt to analyze social media networks.  It's a good idea to look around to see what people are crunching in order to come up with the material they have.