Wikipedia’s credibility

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The conversation of whether or not wikipedia is a reliable resource/reference in college is recurring. On one hand the entire( yes entire) student body utilizes this resource for everything they do not know. Wikipedia is used for homework, papers, research, fact checking, sighting and most importantly learning. Wikipedia is there for students to fill in gaps left by the professors. Unfortunately there are more often than not voids between lessons and assessment. The most prominent tool in filling these voids is google and the first result google yields is always wikipedia. It taught me about my favorite bands, how to make a baking soda and vinegar volcano and what part of the world religions came from to just name a few. I think part of the reason why wikipedia is so heavily debated in the us is not a validity issue rather an insecurity. Insecurity in the sense that the professors I have had who banish wikipedia are the ones who require you to buy the textbook that they authored. There is nothing wrong with teaching a course using the book that they wrote however it is a problem when a professor makes this the only point of reference. Wikipeida is viewed as some unofficial mumbo-jumbo piled together by some amateurs when in all reality a wikipedia post has the potential to get viewed by more editors than textbooks do. The way wikipedia works is that anyone can post content but not anyone and every ones content gets posted because of the thorough editorial process mandated by the users of wikipedia. They even state that what you post must be verifiable and not original research. As per their page…

“You are invited to show that content is verifiable by referencing reliable sources. Unsourced content may be challenged and removed, because on Wikipedia a lack of content is better than misleading or false content—Wikipedia’s reputation as an encyclopedia depends on the content in articles being verifiable and reliable.”

With this being said wikipedia welcomes all content including poorly written articles, they utilize a creative collaborative editing which essentially means their platform welcomes poorly written segments knowing they can evolve over time. A more in-depth look,

“For instance, one person may start an article with an overview of a subject or a few random facts. Another may help standardize the article’s formatting, or have additional facts and figures or a graphic to add. Yet another may bring better balance to the views represented in the article, and perform fact-checking and sourcing to existing content. At any point during this process, the article may become disorganized or contain substandard writing.”

Uncensored or unsourced material is also removed almost immediately, which furthermore debunks wikipedia’s unreliable reputation. This resource needs to be viewed as and regarded as reliable, in addition to being accepted as a citable source in universities and high schools. I reiterate, a wikipedia post has the potential to get viewed by more editors than textbooks do therefore it’s information should be trusted as much as textbook is. I also believe that this source of knowledge is taken for granted, textbooks cost upwards of 200 dollars while wikipedia is free with wifi. The more reflection I do on our schooling the more backwards our system seems to be. With that being said, tools such as google scholar do help tremendously with scholarly sources.

Tapas workshop

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A few weeks ago I was granted the opportunity to participate in a hands on tapas cooking workshop. The workshop took place in a hidden apartment building right off of las ramblas. We were greeted by a wonderful lady who would be our instructor. Once we were inside we were told to wash our hands and put on aprons for we were about to cook; Calamari, tortilla de patatas, y mucho mas. The first thing I did when I saw the ingredients laid out was put it on my snapchat story. Nothing takes priority over the now except for my snapchat when it comes to food. Actually it’s safe to say that about 80% of the content I post any given day is related to food. It’s becoming a bit of an epidemic that I will blame on the hipsters. Now it’s at the point where you can’t even eat the food on the table until everyone has their perfect picture of it. As I mentioned earlier I am the most guilty of this. I also had to add my location to my video on Instagram. What differentiates instagram from snapchat or facebook is that once you click on the location of the photo thousands of other random users photos in that same exact spot appear on that page. Literally thousands of different stories, experiences and recommendation are at your finger tips. This feature is why I follow 25% of the random people who pop up on my feed. I have never met these people but we share this common love for a given place and that manifests into more intstagram followers and potentially actual friendships. I have met a handful of people through common interests and connections on instagram because of this location feature. Anyways once everyone got their pictures we split into several groups and were each assigned a traditional dish. Thankfully I got the calamari station were we simply fried the octopus. All of the stations were chaotic but there was one in particular using a blender and tomato sauce was flying everywhere.  I’m not sure why but an empty plate is a popular as a full one nowadays so naturally everyone including myself documented the damage done on the tapas and again shared this experience with out eager followers. I love that I can share these types of experiences with my friends and family at home despite the fact that they are thousands of miles away. Keeping everyone involved and in the loop is what makes people happy and what better way to do it than with social media. 

Silk Road Forever

 

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The story of former Dread Pirate Roberts account holder Ross Ulbritch is truly unfortunate for two reasons. The first being that he is currently living in a cell right now and the second because the ideas he spread and embodied will never die so him being locked up is unnecessary to say the least. Ross Ulbritch was one of many account holders on the Silk Road but was ultimately the mastermind behind it. He also served the role as a pioneer/ hero within the local deep web community. His involvement initiated with his desire to build an online black market that could avoid law enforcement. It has been said that this was Ross’s last hope and the creation of his sight reached great success. Even to this day his platform is still widely use across the Dark webb. It was more than drugs and getting around laws for Ross. He often preached of peace and a safe Utopia like world that they had essentially created for people to be free from constraints.  He had a goal of using economic theory as a means to abolish “the use of coercion and aggression against man”. This brings me to my next point that the Silk road was so much more than a drug trading site it was a community and still is to this day. Ross is one case that got caught and the government unfortunately made an example out of him but it is rare to get caught on the dark web. There were at least five different Dread Pirate Roberts accounts managing Silk Road and he’s the only one who got caught. There still is minimal law enforcement type risk on Silk Road or the Dark web in general but hackers have been known to gain access of computer cameras among other violations of privacy. The utopia Ross talked about was real but it was a mere Oasis in the most dangerous deep dark world.  It’s noramlly impossible to trace people on the Dark Web because the level of anonymity is unparalleled. First, in order to even access the site one needs a separate browser to even acess the dark web. Secondly, within the silk road for example the currency used is bitcoin, which is untraceable. This is the whole idea behind silk road, the dark web/net however has other incentives for such anonymity. The dark net is where the worst of the worst go for anything they want, they’re people who promote peace like Ross and others online like terrorists and hackers. Ross risked utilizing such a high risk platform to build what is the most integrated and secure drug platform in the world. Unfortunately Ross’s story ends with him getting arrested at a San Francisco library a few years ago but his legacy will live on forever because of what he has left behind. 

 

Podcast

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Podcasting was a lost art and is making a comeback as of recent. My traditional experience with podcasts were ones covering topics of sports or talk shows that didn’t air on the radio. I think as a culture we got caught up in the technological boom and forgot about how powerful the relic of ones voice can be. There’s obviously a personable element to live tv interviews. But focus increases and greater attention is paid to the voice and words one speaks on a podcast because all we have for those are our ears. Anyways as we were distracted with snapchat and instagram updates,  good old podcast were too covering a lot of ground. So much so that I found myself subscribed to two daily podcasts on sound cloud as of last year. One was comedic satire and the other changed the way I saw podcasts forever. As I said earlier podcasts contained an old school stigma in my pubescent mind  but this presumption soon vanished when i discovered Npr’s podcast page. NPR is short for national public radio, it is the most unbiased news source one can listen to offering opinions and stories from every angle. I initially listened to npr because of the way it shared the news and how dynamic their field teams were.

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As time went on I began exploring other shows and it took me to listening to NPR on the radio to realize that their podcasts online contained so much more than news, they covered movie reviews, life stories, interviews with authors and religion. Their diversity in content has kept me busy since first discovering podcasts. Everyone now a days watches shows on Netflix or reads the news on twitter but the real magic lies within those podcasts. Returning back to the basics and appreciating series is eye-opening and informational. Following a podcast show can be as fun as anything on Netflix if you have the patience for it. Podcasts are similar to reading books in the sense that you have to focus on the words and your mind has a free range of what you see and imagine. This  causes you to paint your own pictures out of what your hearing, ultimately increasing creativity and maybe even vocabulary. I’m not saying to stop using new age technology like Netflix or twitter but balancing what you enjoy watching/doing across multiple sources can only increase ones capacity for success and ultimately articulation. They say that you are supposed to surround yourself with people smarter than you and what better way to artificially do this than listen to any creative genius of your choosing. As I said earlier, podcasting is often overlooked but it has continuously produced some of the most important informational content we have available today. To respark my interests in podcasts I’m kicking my first podcast off with a minor California surf culture summary followed by some coastal recommendations.

Marketing

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Marketing campaigns and techniques are the epicenter of some of the most famous brands/companies we enjoy in 2017. From Nike commercials to Geico billboards we are surrounded by marketing techniques. Even if we don’t immediately see something our brain recognized images subliminally and has the power to store and remember something even if we don’t really recal seeing something. A big example of this is in movies, if someone grabs a cold bottle of sprite and I go to the store later I’ll be more inclined to to grab a sprite. Many other soda company’s utilize subliminal messaging in there marketing techniques. It is the culture of a brand  that is being broadcasted during marketing so some companies have taken heat for false advertisements. Like McDonald’s below.

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Even on the radio, the voice a company choses and what they have that voice talk about says a lot about their company with merely audio, imagine how memorable the ad is with visual reinforcement as well. We also learned about geographic contextual advertising which is represented by viewing or hearing ads based on your location. The best example of this is when using apps such as instagram or twitter ones timeline has ads featuring local brands or movies. Facebook goes a step beyond using geographic location by displaying adds based on web shopping or browser history in general. I’ve been staring at the same pair of shoes i looked at two weeks ago since i went on amazon. Marketing in 2017 is so much more advanced than even ten years ago because of it’s reach. By reach I am referring to how given companies not only have access to reach consumers on social platforms but are given priority on such platforms as well. It is said that if they reach a mere 2% of their audience then the ad is considered effective. Mobile technologies in marketing have also given the consumer some control by featuring ratings and reviews of restaurants and buisness’s on apps like google maps or waze. Google allows you to google any type of food and displays a rating(out of five stars) and hours of operation. Despite all ratings and reviews word of mouth and the evangelist costumer are the most effective form of advertisements. Companies also take to blogs and social media pages for advertisement and this is a very effective way of spreading and promoting brand culture without imposing as much as a paid for add. There are however some bad examples of when companies themselves write reviews for their company but for the most part commercial blogs are rarely critizied and do nothing more than promote a company’s image and culture.images.png

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has done great things for millennial’s and diversified the way we consume news forever. Versatility, mobility and accessibility  are all reasons why citizen journalism is so successful in the spreading of information.  Unfortunately the accesability aspect of it consequently gives anybody an oppurtunity to produce news. All of these bad aspects of citizen journalism are encapsulated by the Boston bombings. Pictures like these

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of the aftermath surfaced immediately. Shortly after the pictures above came self appointed citizen detectives that began raising false suspicions targeted at random event goers. Citizen journalists began depicting pictures with circles highlighting potential suspects for erroneous reasons. This one features a man in a white shirt because he is “suspiciously turned away from the crowd during the bombings.”

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Soon after these photos surfaced everyone joined in and anyone with a backpack became a potential suspect because of such false accusations. A random teen even made it on the front page of a newspaper because a journalists picture featured his backpack. The problem with this type of reporting is in the power storytelling holds, especially in as vulnerable of a moment as the Boston bombings where everybody is looking for details and someone to blame. This need for information is effectively what got these citizens wrong terrorist photos popular, everyone is hungry for information and newspapers/media merely want to report the news as quickly as possible effectively putting them in a vulnerable position for false news. After situations such as these it is impossible to say whose responsible until after a thorough investigation. It is a reoccurring theme after terrible events such as these that numerous people are blamed before the true criminal is brought to light. This happens because people have an inherit need to know whats going on and when it isn’t there they simply fill this void with whatever information they can. This is one of the worst case scenarios with citizen journalism. With that being said, there are plenty of examples of good cases involving citizen journalism. Us citizens unbiased opinions and unintentional appearances in events normally make our stories more transparent and believable among the common man. Such trust is behind the growth of citizen journalisms roll in the global news world. Among other things, citizen journalism is said to be responsible and still fueling the social movement black lives matter in the US. After  numerous videos/reports of police brutality went and continue to go viral via citizen journalism a movement has been born and numerous police stations have been forced to internal investigations because of this. During protests mobile journalists can also go live and spread awareness through live encounters. With all considered citizen journalism has done more good than bad.

Politics

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Politics has always been a topic of relevance or great importance since our generation was  young. Even when we as a society graduated to mobile cells phones with 4g capability politics was still readily available on yahoo news or Bbc. Politics has always been within focus, but politics began to focus on us consumers/user in 2008, specifically with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.  He took to Facebook and other platforms to broadcast and spread his message of change. He reached out to the whole nation and his presence and voice was heard because of this. He also spent twice as much campaign money on social media than John McCain and posted 100 times as much but his background and personality is essentially what got him into office. The percentage of adults who took to the internet for news also increased 26% from 2000 to 2008.

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Facebook didn’t need political support to survive before but in 2008 not only did everyone use facebook for political insight but everybody’s parents and grandparents were on the platform as well. This is the point where I walked away from Facebook, I did not want to interact with friends and  family on the same site. The 2008 election was great for politics, great for showcasing social networks potential, great for the older generation. But for a handful of people it ruined the old school facebook experience if you will. This was 9 years ago and of all the people who stopped using facebook within my friend groups are now back on Facebook. When I returned to facebook I noticed that it simply adapted all of my favorite aspects from other apps such as twitter and Instagram and copied them onto their platform. For example, I used to love twitter because of the video feature and facebook not only adopted that but also used instagram’s live feature. Facebook succeeded in becoming the determining factor of the 2008 elections for president Obama. Now surprisingly enough the most controversial president in our history Donald Trump managed to win his election because of Facebook videos while simultaneously gaining publicity via his Twitter handle. His success came because of his versatility on these platforms. On one hand there were videos of him, some true, some fake circulating facebook, It got so bad that people couldn’t tell what was fake or not, but since it was on facebook everybody shared and liked the post as long as it supported their favorable candidate.  Here is a video of some of his false claims.It wasn’t the content that helped him it was the fact that people were consistently talking about him, whether users supported him or not his face was making rounds around the internet and that was his whole strategy. On twitter his approach was a bit different from on Facebook but he did it for publicity nonetheless. His twitter handles featured and continues to feature a live stream of his conscious. Literally he will post the first thing that comes to mind. The republican twitter world ate this up and retweeted everything, while the liberal twitter world quoted and exposed his tweets. The reoccurring theme of him trending and his face being everywhere mirrors that of Facebook but merely markets a different audience. His tactics are still heavily criticized and don’t show the least bit of ethics, but the way he stirred the world up and got them to continuously talk about him lead to his presidency.

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Guest speaker

 

During wednesday session we were graced with a  guest speaker represting the well known Catalan beer Estrella dam. She somehow manages all of the social media for Estrella Dam. what was unique about her story was that she truly started from the ground up. By ground I am referencing her project not her job level for Estrella entrusted her a great deal to be responsible for such a task. With that being said when she was initially assigned the duty of social media, social media wasn’t as pervasive as it is today. Sure ten years ago media platforms such as Facebook or Skype were around but the clientele wasn’t as available as today per say . Facebook for example has since become so big that I could go online right now and know exactly what my grandma is doing via her daily posts. A grandma posting to facebook even five years ago was unheard of let alone everyday. So she was in the right place at the right time but her position allowed her to grow the companies popularity via platforms and an annual video

The videos we watched each told a similar mediterranean themed story. Each year the story budget has gone up and she grew her budget from 100k the first year to 1 million last year. The annual videos add character and explanation to the brand and this is a perfect addition to the social media pages. In terms of the pages on twitter and instagram it is rare to find the actual product in them. This strategy works because Estrella(she) focuses on painting the mediterranean lifestyle. Upon visiting a brand page it is impossible to forget about the product behind the brand so featuring pictures of places like costs brava or Mallorca allows consumers to relate Estrella with their lifestyles. I too feel mediterranean when drinking estrella at bars or on the beach. On twitter their game plan was a little different, there page is simply a calendar of events that they sponsor. Such events include anything from a concert to a film festival. Again not incorporating the actual drink in physical helps their popularity because people begin associating the drink with events and venues that they love to go to. This technique of leaving the actual beer out of their marketing campaigns is great because they are merely building their image. Estrella isn’t the first to use this technique, companies like red bull have embodied and focused on the extreme sports and since their brand success has skyrocketed. The motto is that redbull gives you wings and because of their marketing you cant see someone back flipping a dirt bike or parachuting without there brand logo. Redbull is as common around action sports as gopro. It is insane for a drink to be compared to a high intensity camera but redbull reach is long because of sponsorship but more importantly linking their brand to the action lifestyle. I strongly believe in the “fake it till you make it mindset