Tag Archives: Web

Bullying: not just face to face

Has anyone seen this?

Who’s the bully here? The small guy (Ritchard Gale), or the big guy (Casey Heynes)?

Well, whatever the reason was, I’d like to draw your attention to a bigger issue.

This is bullying that occurs in everyday life. It was fortunately/unfortunately, caught on video.

With the internet, have we brought bullying to another level? Cyber bullying has occurred in many places online. Random trolling on the internet, leaving nasty comments on blogs, forums. Even on formspring, where users get to ask questions, and remain anonymous. Or tumblr, maybe even blogging platforms like wordpress.

The worst part? You’re able to remain anonymous. When you hide behind a screen, anything is possible.

Like the song, Santa Monica, by Savage Garden

“But on the telephone line I am anyone
I am anything I want to be
I could be a supermodel or Norman Mailer
And you wouldn’t know the difference
Or would you?”

You’re able to leave comments that can hurt, you’re able to be an imposter, act as someone else, and hurt somebody.

Does the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” still apply in today’s context?

People have committed suicide due to cyber bullying. For various reasons too. Sexual preference, looks, family background, social status.. the list is never-ending. You can read http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/01/phoebe_prince_15_commits_suici.php and http://www.momlogic.com/2010/03/soccer_star_commits_suicide_over_cyberbullying_formspringme.php

This doesn’t just happen to children. A friend of mine, was being cyber bullied. At her workplace. Yes, it even takes place with adults. Some of her colleagues started a facebookgroup, asking people to boycott her. Now, however the problem may be, or seem to be, bullying should never take place. Much less cyber bullying. It’s anonymous, cowardly. A fellow colleague who knew about the group, told my friend about it, and somehow, my friend’s boss got to know about the issue too. I don’t know how grown ups deal with issues like these, but I hope that something can be done.

How then, are we able to stop cyber bullying? Are we even able to stop it? Or, if it’s not possible, should we educate children from young, on how to react to bullying, and cyber bullying? Should they be educated on the consequences of their actions?

Tutorial 2+1 – Web 2.0 VS WordPress

Web 2.0 is very much based on “interactivity” and “user-generated information”, unlike its predecessor, Web 1.0. WordPress is a good example which applies the concepts of Web 2.0, specifically those drawn out by Tim O’Reilly.

Customisation – Branching-tree interactivity
Wordpress is simply a platform (and perhaps even classified as a tool) where people can create blogs or microsites easily. To aid commoners like us who are unfamiliar with HTML coding, web hosting, etc., WordPress has provided users with a wide range of “predefined choices” such as a selection of fonts, themes and layouts to allow customisation to our liking. It has also given us “privacy choices” where we can: 1) Make our postings publicly available to everyone 2) Make our postings exclusive to only friends or a selected few 3) Lock our postings to passwords

This is a form of close interactivity between human (us in this case) and computer where we are prompted and presented with choices by the latter and have to make decisions (or give the computer directives) instead of merely being allocated with a standardized template or webpage design.

User-generated information
Writing on your own blog is like writing and editing for Wikipedia – though probably less serious or factual. You are feeding the internet with information about your personal experience, thoughts, life and death situations, etc. The point here is: Blogging sites such as wordpress are fuelled by user-generated information. If no one wants to write or no one wants to read and comment, there would not have been blogs.

Thus, WordPress relies heavily on user-generated information. Apart from blog postings, there are also means for interaction with other users who in turn generate information for your blogs through comments, feedbacks, ratings, etc. Again, the focus is on interactivity, both between human and computer as well as human and human (just as what Web 2.0 was meant to do!)

Value-added services (which increases interaction)
There are too many value-added services (which WordPress provides) than we can name. However, we have chosen a few to discuss here. Firstly, WordPress is not only a blog where people access to read and write. It pulls together a network of sites which can be accessed through this single platform or portal. We particularly see a network of social media outlets available as widgets (based on preferences) to your blogs such as Facebook, Twitter, Meebo, YouTube and Flickr. Thus, you can not only update your blog through postings, but also through video and photo uploads, “tweeting” and facebook updates. In addition, you can also engage in a conversion with your friends while working on your blog through instant messaging.

In addition, blog subscriptions and file sharing are available on WordPress. Therefore, you can form a community or pool of bloggers and documents to be shared with others.

Lastly, WordPress can also be accessed through other devices such as Iphones and Android phones which increases mobility and connectivity.

In all the instances mentioned above, we can conclude that WordPress is providing value-added services that may or may not be directly under their server to promote interactivity between users and outsiders.

Sustainability (WordPress part of the story)
For WordPress, sustainability is not a problem. Personal blogs which are allocated for free help WordPress gain revenue by selling personal information (fed by users when they sign up or write about themselves) and advertising space. More importantly, WordPress sells their platform and services to big corporations who want a network of microsites which is easy to use, manage and track*.

*In Singapore, MediaCorp (Media Corporation) engages with this service to help them manage celebrity and channel blogs.

For Produsers who want empowerment and MORE
Produsers are better known as people who produce for and consume media (in this case, Web). They churn out videos, articles, etc. to publicly air their views or showcase their talents in hope of recognition and support which in turn empowers them. However, as mentioned in lecture, how far can interests bring these produsers? WordPress, alongside many other blogging sites, allow bloggers to engage in commercial activities such as posting on behalf on advertisers. Prominent blog produsers are selected to represent brands and companies to sell their products**. And many of them have taken blogging as their career! Other examples include YouTube singers who eventually get contracted by Itunes to sell their music in digital form or paid subscriptions to access blog contents. All these money-making possibilities make produsge sustainable.

** One such blogger is Xiaxue (who unfortunately uses blogspot): xiaxue.blogspot.com

Done by: Andy Ng, Ng Lye Ee, Charmaine Tai