Transparency is an important concept in the online social media world for many reasons. First it is especially important to have social networking sites, such as facebook, to be rather transparent. This is because they have such a strong user base, and these users provide their information freely. This is important because these users need the ability to freely share their thoughts without having to worry about the company selling it for advertisement purposes or any other means. If the social network site clearly and frequently states that this is possible on their specific site users should then use this knowledge to censor some of their actions on the site or proceed at their own risk. It this is not stated clearly there is freedom of speech issues and privacy issues that violates many of the users expectations of the site. Transparency is also important for individual companies because when they are not transparent their consumers or potential consumers do not trust their product for their information because they do not have reliable sources. Trust is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in the online world and now companies must strive to provide honest and relevant information and products that can keep but with the fast expanding social network sites that are taking over the Internet.
While Transparency is a huge issue in the online social media world it is not as important in the offline world. This is because overall the amount of weak ties a person has in the offline world is much smaller and less accessible then on social networking sites such as Facebook. This makes it less valuable and profitable to try to target someone’s offline network because it is so small and thus it is less susceptible for untrustworthy advertisements, employers targeting them or having their information leaked out to a large company.
For my research assignment I will be comparing FIRE or Feminist International Radio Endeavor to other a network news radio program such as Fox or CBS news. The first type of research that would be relevant to FIRE would be to gather some quantitative research regarding the background of FIRE, what type of people listen to this radio station and how effective it is at getting the message across. I would also like to know how many people and what type of people listen to this station. This information would help me branch off into comparing how each network connects to their audience and how their audience receives the meaning or idea.
Even though the quantitative research is very accessible it would not give my partner and I the necessary information to achieve a valuable comparison of the two stations and how they interact with society. Quantitative research is more useful in this instance. I can use interviews and articles regarding FIRE and the other mainstream sources to compare the two and achieve an educated argument regarding the two broadcasts.
From this approach I want to be able to find how each broadcast presents their point of view and what evidence they have. I also want to find where their proof comes from and if the alternative source does not have as reliable sources as the mainstream source. The presentation of the content will be a great point of interest for me. FIRE, I would assume, seems more radical and very alternative then CBS or Fox. So I can only assume that they are going to have a much more intense frame and idea that they want to get across to their audience. I also assume that FIRE’s audience is much smaller and limited in demographic thus, it can focus more on its own point of view and get the idea across much faster to a smaller amount of people. While on the other hand I want to compare the more “neutral” frames that mainstream radio has because they want to attract a larger audience.
I compared Colbert’s report on who is going to rule Egypt. This event is sometimes references as the “Muslim Brotherhood” taking over in the Middle East. The United States is worried that the Egyptian population will vote in a highly anti-U.S. and anti-democratic government that brings Egypt back to authoritative rule. Senators and government officials are comparing this event to Palestine when Hamas took over. While others are saying that this just can’t happen. “Egyptian analyst Mustafa Abulhimal says this is not the Muslim Brotherhood’s revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood are not behind the organization of the protests,” he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood are not inspiring the protests in the street. The Muslim Brotherhood is a small minority among those who are out on the street.”
Colbert had a different approach to this event then the rest of the political community. The Colbert report is a highly interpretive form of journalism, where Colbert reports the on-goings of the world with his own facts and opinions. I would also call him an alternative journalist in the fact that he strives through satire and irony to defy the conventions of “professional” journalism. The first thing that gave me this impression was when Colbert opened with the statement “are the Arabs ready for Democracy”. This caught my attention right away and I watched as Colbert played devils advocate against Egypt’s freedom to show through intense framing how idiotic the United States were being. Colbert did not share with me any new information; he just framed the information in a different manner. “But the Muslim Brotherhood has 1% of the popularity right now, how is that not a reason to worry!” He exclaims. He also brings up the American worry about how could a revolution that was this quick to climax brings about a long-term government? His final and probably most powerful “observation” was the statement that the United States were worried that the Egyptian people were going to chose a government that did not agree with the United States. In other words the United States only wants to share and spread democracy when their puppets are in the governments that get voted in! The irony and selfishness that the United States has shown was loud and clear in the Colbert Report. But besides the opinion papers I found on CNN and Fox, I found very little information that was accessible and accurate.
Colbert used his own opinion and his own facts to frame the information toward a certain conclusion. While I do agree with his conclusions, I also see this venue as a dangerous venue as American’s trust Colbert equally or more so then other news programs. I am worried that people are going to give Colbert too much credibility, but I also have noticed that he has earned it and has not used an invalid source just yet.
The current event I chose to cover is the protests in Egypt. The protestors took to the streets on January 5th and are now in their third week of Protesting in Cairo. The protestors want the long time President Hosni Mubarak and his supporters to be forced out of office. Mubarak has ruled Egypt since 1981 with immense power and control of the police state. The protests started with riots to dismantle the government in part inspired by the Tunisan revolt. On January 27th the government shut down the Internet and texting tools to hopefully stop communication between the anti-government protestors. Mubarak wants to stay in office till his term is finished but the protestors say they won’t quit till he gets out and dismantle his rule. The article I chose was the headline on CNN. “Third week of protests begin in Cairo” speaks out about this current event, yet this article is framed toward an anti-Mubarak and American audience with little information that praises what the government is doing or how they are handling this situation. It gives little information about the opposing side at all actually.
The article’s language even reflects the hate and aggression that the Egyptian citizens are feeling. They also used well-known figures such as actor Khalid Abdalla, the star of the 2007 film “The Kite Runner,” to support their viewpoints in a way that both appeals to the American audience and gives this audience an “insiders’ point of view on the conflict. The information regarding how the government is handling the situation gives the sense of control and power, such as blockages and curfews. While in this situation it is hard to see the opposing side, Mubarak’s government, it is also very hard to find information regarding or supporting the government. The pictures that accompany the articles shows people praying to the shy and fighting for something they believe in while dealing with the harsh and violent environment. The source for this violence is always centered at the government and the photos always show this force in a very negative manner. When asked about the government it is stated that the Mubarak government must stray from their normal tactic of stalling and must act. This action is to step down from the government and is shown through framing that this is the only option they have because the world is watching and supporting the protestors.
It seems to me that CNN has given their own opinion of what our own government and the Mubarak government must do to please their people and the world. I would like to see more opposing statements from supports of the government and why they are also in the streets fighting for their country. I do know that the US does not support the efforts of the Mubarak government or their actions but I would like to see actual statements from both governments. I am not supporting the Egyptian government or their sense of control, I am merely stating what I biases I see appear within this article. I hope the best to all the protestors and hope that a stronger, healthier, and free Egypt will appear out of all this mess.
After reading this prompt for this blog, I found myself in a dilemma. I had no idea where to look for online discussions, forums or blogs about Comcast or where I could find costumers discussion ideas, problems or issues with this company. So the first place I went for information was of course Wikipedia. There I found that Comcast has the most subscribers in the United States. It has 49.7% of the market share. Time Warner is trailing it with 19.4% of the Market share.
After this I ventured onto Google to see if it could direct me to a better site. At first I found a small blog. I found that many customers were concerned with how Comcast was taking over the television providers and much more. There were also complaints about how there should be up front fees and very clear services. Many people seemed overwhelmed with what Comcast offers and may want to downgrade programs. Yet there has been a mostly good review of costumer service. I had also found Comcast’s own personal blog. This blog kept the community updated on most of the recent endeavors that Comcast was trying to overtake or thinking of overtaking. There were also posts from A-listed customers raving about how Comcast is helping the overall community and has created jobs around the country. The following article caught my attention though. It was not a blog or a discussion, it was about how Comcast has been monitoring twitter, blogs, and other online sites to get feedback and provide faster customer service, or so they claimed. There were stories of people complaining online about Comcast and then the next day they would receive a call or someone would show up to fix the problem. I thought this was especially interesting because it brought up the idea of privacy and if this is right of Comcast and the brilliance of this action. Comcast is using they’re own media and modern day modes of communication to go above and beyond the normal customer service. But the question that keeps appearing in my head is, is this right of Comcast to be watching their costumes and what does this mean if a giant company can effect our lives so closely?