Category Archives: Uncategorized

Changing the World….One LOLcat at a time!

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lolcat
Throughout the semester, we have had a common link from one week to the next: the power of numbers and networking. From the first few weeks, when we discussed the telegraph, the television and the development of the Internet, the impact technology has had on how people effectively communicate and share knowledge has been the underlying theme.

NSA lolcats?

NSA lolcats?

As often happens with inventions, there have been many uses of the Internet that were not intended by the inventors. The NSA began spying, hackers are stealing information, cyber-attacks becoming more of a threat than physical war and, then, social media has taken over our method of communication with one another, especially our youth. We have become heavily reliant on the Internet and, in doing so, have left ourselves vulnerable. A yin and yang, good and bad.

Marshall McLuhan, with his Theory of Technological Determinism, describes how these technologies have affected our interaction with one another, that as we develop these tools, the tools also develop and shape us. Although he did not live to see the dawning of this new age (the Internet Revolution), his theory can easily be applied to what we are seeing occur, as far as how we socialize.

However, of all the innovations we discussed, television has been the one that Clay Shirky really “picked on”. Where the telegraph (telephone) and the Internet encourage two-way communication, the television was designed for people to sit back, staring blankly at a screen, absorbing information with no feedback opportunity. Essentially, making us watchers of the “boob tube”.favorite show

According to Shirky, television has “absorbed the lion’s share of the free time available to citizens of the developed world.”. In the United States alone, it is estimated that we collectively watch approximately 200 billion hours of TV per year. However, the shift that is currently happening is more people are turning the television off, and the time they spend on the Internet is increasing.

With only so much free time in our days, our cognitive surplus, Shirky believes we should be using this time to be proactive in society. He estimates that Wikipedia took around 100 million hours of collective editing to create. With the amount of television we watch, in the US alone, that would create 2,000 Wikipedia sites. Using our free time to improve society is most certainly an admirable goal, so long as people are spending this excess time in positive ways.

Wikipedia reliability? Ehhh

Wikipedia reliability? Ehhh

The example of LOLcats might be seen as a waste of time to some, but it is harmless entertainment and displays the creativity that we realize when so many people come together to collectively work on a project.

There are so many examples, however, of this collaboration leading to negative effects: the collective communities that are sharing hacking secrets, encouraging hate crimes and terrorist activities. There is also the issue of reliability with sites, such as Wikipedia. For instance, did you know that the U.S. Men’s Soccer goalie, Tim Howard, was also the U.S. Secretary of Defense? 🙂

The first collective project I thought about, which uses cognitive surplus to create it, is the business review website, Angie’s List. This business was created to combine everyone’s knowledge and opinions, in order to rate and review businesses.

In the past, people had to rely on organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, to obtain information about the businesses that they dealt with. BBB was able to let people know if the business was a member, and if there were active complaints about the company. However, people typically wouldn’t complain to the BBB that a company had done a “mediocre” job. These average companies could slide by, continuing their average work.

Angie’s List allows members to rate companies on many different aspects of their business transaction. While you may not make a formal complaint to BBB that a contractor was continuously late and took twice as long to complete a job as they initially quoted, Angie’s List is the perfect platform for such a complaint. Not only do consumers obtain more detailed information about the companies, the companies realize quickly they need to step up their game if they want to survive.

contractorlolI am not a member of Angie’s List, mainly because my husband was a contractor for many years and does the work himself. However, I can see where this would be very helpful to someone that doesn’t have a lot of background information on the work they need done. With so many stories of con artists swindling poor, unsuspecting customers, it is no wonder Angie’s List caught on so quickly.

This also ties into what we have discussed about networking. Just because I don’t have an Angie’s List account, doesn’t mean that I won’t hear about the negative, or positive, comments that are on there. Reputation travels much quicker now. Businesses that don’t operate ethically won’t be around for long.

A project that I would support, using collective cognitive surplus, would be an online tutoring community to help students in impoverished school districts. It would be simple to acquire volunteers, willing to be online to answer questions and explain things. People who were not able to donate their time to these children, due to distant location, would be able to contribute to improving these districts and, as a result, society.

However, as we learned during discussion of the topic “digital divide”, we must first provide these students with the tools they would need to get to this resource, namely a reliable Internet connection. The issue of reliable Internet connection could be solved through a program that provides low-income families with reduced or free Internet service, similar to the program that provides children with free or reduced cost meals at school. Being I have seen several articles and advertisements announcing free cell phone service for low income people, surely this isn’t too much of a stretch.bridge

I admire Shirky’s ideas on cognitive surplus and the difference we can make when we combine our efforts. I agree that we are experiencing a period in time where people are looking beyond what is right in front of their eyes and, instead, participating in advancement and change for the good of society, as a whole.

The Art of War? Who’s the enemy?

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The Art of War

The Art of War

Something that was so telling to me, in the Frontline documentary “Generation Like”, was when the book The Art of War was shown during the Kiip section. Although this book was written on strategies during war, the business world easily adopted its theories and concepts to be applicable for business strategy. The question I have, though, is who is the enemy at Kiip?

If Marshall McLuhan had lived to see the Internet, in its current state, I don’t think it would surprise him. To have this much networking power, and it not be used to market to anyone within arm’s reach, would be foolish, from a strategic point of view. Does that mean it’s right? No.

But is it really so different than when cigarette companies were using cartoon images in their magazine advertisements in order to attract a younger consumer to their product? I think, with any new media tool, we will always have this ethical dilemma, deciding whether using it is being manipulative or not. It seems to me that the tool always ends up targeting our most vulnerable consumers: children.

Thankfully, I’m well beyond the age that I need constant approval from my peers about things I “like”. But, I do remember that age, where others’ opinions affect feelings of self-worth. I feel sorry for kids today because they seem to constantly be “on”, proving to themselves that they are popular. They can’t get a break, or vacation, from the job of people pleasing.During the video, a group of kids were sitting around a dining room table, almost as if they were in a board meeting. It’s like this has turned into their full-time job, marketing themselves to their peers.

evolutionEven worse though, it seems their popularity is now dependent on the entire country (or world, really), rather than just the kids in their school. In the Shirky chapter “Fitting our Tools to a Small World”, the concept of loose and tight-fitted groups is discussed. Social media websites, such as Facebook, relied on such groups to be successful. A witty comment, or link to a common interest, on a friend’s page may elicit friend requests from people that have never been met.

Then, a posting on that new friend’s page may elicit a request from friends of theirs’.It is the same concept as the previous Shirky chapter “It Takes a Village to Find a Phone”, where Evan Guttman tracked down his friend Ivana’s phone, except these teens and tweens are passing along the message of their “brand”, or their created identity. In fact, isn’t this the very concept that the Internet is based on?

 

The Small World Network has been equally successful on YouTube, however, the highly connected people have managed to use their connections to form a business model. While it appears that the highly connected people are gaining popularity because of their uniqueness, personality or daring behavior, I think they end up losing credibility when they “sell out” to sponsors.

The whole reason other kids, or adults, have flocked to them is lost once they start basing their content decisions on what their sponsors want, rather than their audience. Although, it seems that finding sponsors was their initial goal so, in that way, I do admire their entrepreneurial skills.

Reluctantly, I admit I am one of the “older folks”. I don’t have a Facebook or participate in social media, aside from this course. I did have a Facebook account, many years ago, and I can remember the people that really worked their accounts hard. They were constantly online, posting comments and pictures about mundane things, such as, “Look at the scrambled eggs I just made the kids for breakfast. Doesn’t it look delicious?”.edited1

These postings, from people well beyond their teenage years, is exactly why I deleted my account. And, honestly, the things I’ve learned in this course have only reconfirmed that I made a wise choice. But, as they said on Seinfeld, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”. 🙂  tumblr_static_30188hiseinfeld1

I also find that “likes” are quite misleading. So what if 10,000 people “like” a product if 20,000 dislike it? We have no way of knowing about the negative opinions. At one point, Facebook considered adding a “dislike” button, but only to certain areas. They definitely weren’t going to allow people to “dislike” a company that was paying them for advertising.

And, if a company or product is acquiring those “likes” by offering something for free, it also discredits the measurement. How do these people know if they like the product before they try it? In my opinion, “likes” is not a measurement of quality in any way, shape or form. It displays who has spent more money on marketing. These companies purchased their “likes”.

I finished the material this week and was very thankful to not have been a child during this period. These kids have to worry about their image on a much larger level than I could ever have imagined. A negative comment from a peer, which has always been devastating, is devastating multiplied by thousands. I will be holding out on allowing my children to create social media profiles for as long as I can. I want them to build their sense of self-worth based on their personality, character and skills, not on how many people approve of a single comment or picture.

Connected or Disconnected?

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I think the Internet is a combination of both a hot medium and cool medium, depending on what you are doing. There are times in which you are reading information, similar to what you would be doing with a book. Other times, listening to music. Then, there is also watching movies. What makes the Internet so different from what we have seen in the past is the ability to interact. I think this takes the Internet into an entirely new and different direction.Disconnected-from-Internet

To me, the Internet seems to have added a fifth epoch to McLuhan’s work. It is a combination of all the prior epochs, enabling oral, written, visual and, then, instant interaction with all of them. If Marshal McLuhan had lived to see this day, I’m sure he would have much to say on the subject of the Internet.

Gutenberg’s invention of the movable type print spurred the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, through the spreading of knowledge. The Internet has begun a revolution of its own by making our world more global, rather than regional, minded.

The Ultimatum Game, that is described in Shirkys’ Cognitive Surplus, displays that, in general, people feel responsible for others and want to appear fair and just. The Internet has made issues on the other side of the world, which were once viewed as “their” problem, a global problem. Seeing and hearing the things others are experiencing, as they are experiencing it, makes “their” problems difficult for everyone else to ignore.

This is evident when you start thinking about global disasters that have happened since the dawn of the digital revolution. The tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, and the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 received instant coverage due to the Internet. Because of this, a massive number of people donated both their time and money to help the areas. I think the ability to communicate and interact with each other, as a global society, has moved us towards a more unified planet.

I definitely see the downside to being constantly connected though. I’ve noticed, with my own children, the effects the Frontline video described. There are times that my husband, children and I are in the same room, but so very far away from one another. We maybe connecting to more people because of the Internet but, that doesn’t mean we are connecting as deeply.

And, it often seems that people have lost the concept of courtesy when they are with people. One of the students being interview for Frontline mentioned that he was not upset over his friend cutting into their conversation to answer an email or text on his phone because he said he knew he would be doing the same thing soon.

This is a birthday party my friend's son attended. How many phones do you see?

This is a birthday party my friend’s son attended. How many phones do you see? I see five.

A friend and I were recently discussing this very thing. She had recently seen a video, showing how cell phones had affected one particular restaurant. This restaurant had always received wonderful feedback, but had been declining in the past several years. Customers were complaining that their service had become very slow. They decided to investigate and their findings were evidence that our constant “connection” to one another online affects other people around us.

I know many people feel that the Internet has improved their socialization. Applications, such as Second Life, have enabled people to regularly conduct virtual meetings with co-workers thousands of miles away. Then, games have built communities of friends that meet up several times per week. One man said he didn’t have any real world friends that he spent that much time with.

Overall, I think there are both positive and negative effects from the internet. It has the ability to connect us and disconnect us from one another simultaneously. Because of this week’s material, my family and I have started a new tradition of taking a family walk every night. Without our gadgets 🙂

How much am I willing to pay? As much as I can afford!

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Bringing the aspect of price into the discussion this week has turned it into a topic of great interest to me, being a marketing major. Most purchase decisions are based on price. Consumer behavior will evolve, and become more complicated, as price increases.

On the other hand, if regulations would require providers to only offer an increased speed option, without slowing down the existing option, people could choose. For me, I would be perfectly happy with my current service. Someone that uses their computer for far more technical things, involving advanced video, audio, gaming, etc., may feel the faster speed is worth paying more.

Will some of us go backwards?

Will some of us go backwards?

What is my breaking point, when it comes to price for internet activity? That’s a really tough question. Right now, so much of my life is internet dependent. I recently had my modem struck by lightning (or it just broke) and was offline for almost a week. The impact that had on my everyday functions and tasks was a little alarming. Everything was complicated.

I have three courses online this semester so, obviously, most of the work I do for assignments is online. When I lost my internet service, I was completely lost also. I attempted to work on my iPhone, however, the tiny screen just does not make for an enjoyable viewing or reading experience.

It reminded me of the topic of the “digital divide”. The issue is for rural areas of the country, or world really, that do not have the internet connection options that urban areas have. People are being left behind because they do not have adequate service at a reasonable price.

Some friends of mine recently moved from Chatham, Illinois to a home about five miles outside town. Those five miles have made a huge impact on the quality and price of the internet service they have available to them.

The only option they have is satellite internet at their new home. There is a limit on the amount of data they can upload and download every month, and the cost far exceeds the cost they had in town. One of them works from a home office so internet is not just an option, it is a necessity.

If providers begin increasing their prices to absorb their increased costs, I believe it will immediately increase the digital divide to include even more lower-income people in urban areas. Public areas that offer free internet connection may start charging also.

Any company that we purchase a product from will have to account for an increase in cost they incur to do business. This will come from price increases on their products. So any cost increase this widespread could increase the price of every product we purchase, not just internet service.

I think my breaking point now, and in the future, is completely dependent on what I have going on in my life. While a student, the internet is worth quite a bit to me. Having service at home means not having to drag my children to McDonald’s to get work done. It means being able to cook dinner, or switch laundry around, at the same time as researching for a paper or project. At this point in my life, my time is worth far more to me than a little more money each month.

With that said, when I am working somewhere I have internet access to do my work, while I’m at work, my breaking point will decrease. However, because my children will still be students, their need for home service will make me continue to pay.

When my children are all off at college, and I live in an urban setting with many businesses that offer free internet use, I would consider that a likely substitute when pricing home service. If I’m in a more suburban setting that would require me to get in my car to get somewhere with service, I would value home service a little higher, and be willing to pay more.

My husband and I plan to retire to some tropical location in Mexico, Central or South America (don’t we all?). 🙂 At that point, I’m not sure how important home service will really be to us. I could see us simply packing our laptops up and biking to a coffee shop or restaurant for a few hours everyday. There will be no urgency or need for frequent use like we have now.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

I really think this comes down to individual needs and what alternatives are available. For marketing purposes, you really don’t want consumers to start considering substitutes for your product. If the internet service providers increase their prices too much, I believe it will backfire on them with a loss of customers.

Security or Privacy? Can we have both?

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Albert Einstein

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

– Albert Einstein

 

What’s surprising to me, after watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, is how surprised people were that our government was doing this. We have read books and watched movies about this very thing for decades. The imagination that these writers have shared on paper and film are probably only the tip of the iceberg to what actually occurs.

 

It took me some contemplating, after this week’s material, to come up with an opinion. And, I’m sorry to say I’m just as two-faced, walking the line, as I was before. This is such a sensitive subject, with many angles to pursue. I can see President Obama’s dilemma with this when he was briefed on what the Program actually did. Unfortunately, the American people are not happy about the results, regardless of intentions.

 

First, I must say that if someone were to spy on my calls or messages, they would use them for a bedtime story. If there happens to be someone out there spying on me, they have the absolute worst, most boring job on the planet. I have nothing to say, write or take a picture of that the NSA would be interested in. Unless they love Food Network too. 🙂

 

With that said, if running my messages through a filtering program will allow an organization to prevent another 9/11 attack, so be it. If it will allow a pedophile to be apprehended, before committing a horrible crime, I’m all for it. Sign me up.

 

I know this is a silly, abstract suggestion but, how about an “opt-in” option for people who don’t mind being watched? The organization would get a far better idea of who might be up to no good, based on who doesn’t “opt-in”. Or, they will discover very quickly that some of these people just aren’t willing to give up their Constitutional Rights.

 

Googles’ use of personal information to market products was their core business plan. People have now realized that there was a price to use Googles’ services, even if it wasn’t monetary. That saying, “Nothing in life is free”, comes to mind. They made no disguise that they were targeting you with personalized advertising. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the day after searching online for outdoor cushions, I was bombarded with advertisements for outdoor furniture and decorative items. Something I wonder is whether Google’s Incognito mode also keeps information private from Google.

 

So, to the question “Do you view your position from the short-term gain or long-term, unintended consequences perspective?, I have to say both. I see both sides and feel like we’re between a rock and a hard place. If I were presented with an option between my own privacy and saving a life, I would give up my privacy willingly. However, I wasn’t asked. I really don’t know how my personal information is being used. Are bored analysts using our lives like reality TV shows or soap operas? Stalking their exes? If it were simply a computer scanning for suspicious behavior, that would be one thing. But there are human beings that are reading our private messages, listening to our conversations, looking at our pictures. That is disturbing.

 

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Atomic bombing at Nagasaki, Japan

It also saddens me that, somehow, anything can be turned into a weapon. Unfortunately, once invented, it can’t be taken back. It reminds me of the Manhattan Project and the thoughts that the scientists had running through their heads after the initial deployment of the atomic bomb at a testing sight in New Mexico. These men immediately realized what they had done, inventing this bomb. But, the damage was done.

 

Technology, in the right hands, has been wonderful for education and sharing knowledge. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, in causes destruction. I think this is true for any discovery though, whether that be computer science, physics, medicine, etc. Discovering the secrets of a virus, initially to create an antidote and save life, becomes a quest for creating a super virus that destroys our opponent. We, as intelligent beings, are constantly battling to find that balance, where the discovery remains pure and unadulterated by wants and agendas. But, the wants and agendas pay for the research.

 

Amateur Publishers

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My post is a little late this week. I apologize to everyone. Although, I doubt anyone was waiting on pins and needles for me. 🙂

 

Once upon a time, I had a Facebook page, like everyone else under the age of 80. I deleted it because I was tired of hearing what people ate for breakfast or bought at Walmart. I found the big issue was the content on my own page was determined by what other people found interesting. The people I was interested in keeping up with already text messaged me new information about their lives.

 

Also, I just wasn’t comfortable posting my personal life online for people I wasn’t really friends with. That has shown, on many occasions, to come back to haunt someone. I can remember another manager, at a previous job I had, being fired for posting negative comments about the company. I wonder how many careers have been ruined because of careless social media comments?

 

The sample postings, at the beginning of the chapter Publish, Then Filter, are perfect examples of why I deleted my account. I often wondered why people did not utilize the private message function more. Based on my experience, I found Facebook to be juvenile and useful only to spread your personal business places it shouldn’t go. 🙂Stop-airing-your-dirty-laundry-on-facebook

 

Once, during my short Facebook experience, an acquaintance had a public Facebook conversation with her friend, wishing her good luck and that her prayers were with her. This started a swarm of people responding, concerned and asking if everything was ok. My acquaintance’s response? “It’s kind of personal and not my place to tell anyone”. Really? Wow! I remember rolling my eyes and thinking “why the heck (or a similar word) did you post that on Facebook then?”. Attention seeking behavior from amateur publishers?

 

This story reminds me of the portion of Publish, Then Filter that discusses the invention of the telephone, not for an audience but for personal, face to face, conversations. It seems to me that people have combined their personal conversations with their audience conversations. I live by the rule of “don’t air your dirty laundry”.

 

I don’t remember there being an enormous amount of advertisements on my friends’ pages, at that time, other than for family run businesses in the little town I lived in. Had there been a huge amount, it would have been yet another reason to delete my profile.

 

The only account I currently have, other than the Twitter account for this course, is Linked In. I prefer to portray a more professional presence on the Internet and to keep my personal information, and photos, private. I can easily share photos, with the people who actually want to see them, using my iPhone.

 

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Networking is easier because you recognize people you have never met in person before

I’m also not sure I would put a photo of myself on my Linked In account. For professional networking, I would hope my appearance would be irrelevant. However, in some situations, I can see the need to be able to recognize the people in a network at events and conferences.

 

For researching, I am from the “don’t believe everything you read” club. I prefer to go to the websites of major news providers for my facts. It is just too easy for someone to create “news” based on gossip. Reputation for providing facts, not simply hearsay, is an extremely important attribute for sources during my information searches.

 

However, I also know the major players make mistakes too. Just look at the presidential race of 2000. I can’t remember which organizations mistakenly called the election for Gore, then retracted it, then called the election for Bush. To say it was a fiasco is an understatement.

 

With that said, if I read something that interests me on my internet home page, even from a reputable source, I typically research the topic further. “Did Amy Winehouse really die?” for example. (Not that I was particularly surprised; she wasn’t exactly the poster child for healthy living). When multiple sources confirm the first story, I start to believe it. There are just too many web companies that are like online versions of Star magazine.

 

Until information has been reconfirmed by numerous, reputable sources, I assume it is gossip 🙂

 

 

Knowledge is Everything

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Wow, I must say that I have jumped into social media head first this semester! Along with this course, I have Internet and American Life, which approaches social media from a research perspective, based on research conducted by Pew Research. As a marketing major, I think I made a great decision taking both courses. I would not have sought out all of this information on my own, however, I find it more interesting everyday (too much sucking up?) 🙂

One topic, or concept, that I found existed in each case has to do with increased innovation in a knowledge sharing environment. In all the cases we read, or heard, technology growth quickened as collaboration, and the sharing of information, became easier.

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Michael Polanyi, economist and author

The material reminded me of  The Republic of Science, by the economist Michael Polanyi, which I read in the course Business and Society. The portion that popped in my head follows:

“A group of women shelling peas work at the same task, but their individual efforts are not co-ordinated. The same is true of a team of chess players. This is shown by the fact that the total amount of peas shelled and the total number of games won will not be affected if the members of the group are isolated from each other.

Consider by contrast the effect which a complete isolation of scientists would have on the progress of science. Each scientist would go on for a while developing problems derived from the information initially available to all. But these problems would soon be exhausted, and in the absence of further information about the results achieved by others, new problems of any value would cease to arise, and scientific progress would come to a standstill.”

Polanyi states that information should be shared, openly. He encourages the scientific and academic professionals to network with one another because, otherwise, they will all be “discovering” the same thing, at the same time. No great innovations will occur.

The inventors discussed in “Internet Underground” began their projects to improve collaboration for the sake of sharing information and advancing innovations in computer science and academia. Each saw a flaw in the current method or protocol that was stunting further growth and knowledge.

Tim Berners-Lee found that information was unable to be shared, due to all makes of computers speaking different languages. This sparked the idea that created our current protocol language. This was a huge milestone towards the Internet we all know because it opened the door for communication and, therefore, the exchange of knowledge.

Linus Torvalds began his project when Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, refused to share his knowledge. With collaborating partners, Torvalds created Linux, which ended up being superior to MINIX. An extra kick in Tanenbaum’s face was when Torvalds decided to make Linux open source, meaning it was free to all. This innovation allowed everyone to enjoy their own internet server, pushing the Internet Revolution over the edge.

A second thought that came to mind is that each invention would not have been as impressive had it not been for others participating and spreading the innovation. These inventions, or situation in the case of the stolen phone, needed people to succeed. The telegraph, for example, was not the technological advancement of the century until more and more lines were added.

Some of you may remember when text messaging first appeared. If you were the only one of your friends with text message capabilities on your phone, how valuable was the service? How would you even use the service if no one you knew had it? It wasn’t until more and more friends jumped on the text train that it became the popular mode of communication that it is today.tin-can-telephone

In the reading It Takes A Village, Evan, in his pursuit for justice, needed his personal network to pass information to their network, who passed the information to their network, and so on. This is what started the movement that, eventually, returned Ivana’s phone and punished the wrong doers. What began as a single person, easily became millions because they all joined in something they believed in.

A third thought that kept popping into my head is that knowledge is power. In several management courses I’ve taken, we discuss the concept of power. Who has it, how did they get it, etc.? An example that is always given is that the IT department, in any company, has an enormous amount of power. This is because they control information and information is always a company’s greatest asset.

Starting with the telegraph, as soon as the technology was obviously taking off, the railroad company wanted to make sure they would be entitled to some of the power. Linux was invented because someone else refused to relinquish power. The NSA fought Whitfield Diffie because they would lose power. Ivana’s phone was returned because the power, from the massive number of people involved, forced the police to take action.

I learned quite a bit about the history of the telegraph and the Internet this week. Thanks to all of the innovators we learned about, I was able to complete this assignment from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas. 🙂

Forced To Adopt

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Hello Everyone,

My name is Jennifer Quertermous and I am a Business Administration major (marketing) here at UIS. This is my last semester as an undergraduate and I will begin the MBA program this fall. I’m hoping to continue on to a PhD program after that and begin a career in academia.

I am a returning student, having spent over a decade at home raising my children and trying my luck in various industries. In the midst of my domestic goddess period, I dabbled in real estate sales until the housing market crumbled. From there, I thought selling PRINT advertising for a newspaper group in Southern Illinois would be a successful venture. Obviously, that wasn’t my best move. 🙂

The first thing I realized when I returned to school last June is how very different the academic environment is now, compared to 2002. EVERYTHING is online now! I knew immediately I needed to improve my technology skills to have any kind of differential advantage in the job market. For this reason, I have added a few courses from the Computer Science department and, then, this course.

Many of the theories discussed in the reading assignment for this week are very similar, if not the exact same, theories and concepts I have studied in the marketing courses I’ve taken so far. Adoption also plays a very critical role in a product’s marketing strategy. Likewise, we considered the decision-making process in the Consumer Behavior course I took last semester.

So, identifying my own adoption category is quite easy: I am the most lagging laggard that ever lagged along. As much as I absolutely love MY technology, I hate moving forward. I don’t have the time, energy or desire to keep up with the latest and greatest. And, as someone else in class pointed out, it’s really expensive to buy new toys.

For example, I was perfectly content with my old Blackberry; the one that had a piece of tape across the front so the scroll ball (not technical term) didn’t fall out in my purse. After many pleas from my husband to upgrade to something new, which fell on my deaf ears, he finally presented me with an iPhone and told me, “I shut the Crackberry off so it doesn’t work anymore”. So, that was the death of the last working Blackberry. 🙂

My Favorite Thai dish to make: Penang Chicken

My Favorite Thai dish to make: Penang Chicken

That being said, I have been wanting to learn how to blog for ages. I visit blogs constantly, most often in search of new recipes for international or exotic cuisine. I love trying new food and think Anthony Bourdain has the most amazing job in the world (except when he eats bugs, rodents and fermented funk. Ok…maybe I just want to go to the places he does and be a little pickier about what I eat). 🙂

I hope we all have a great semester and I can’t wait to see what we can all accomplish at the end!