Response Blog #3- Google Street View Helps Ease Your Travel

Google’s Most Recent Move that Doesn’t Invade Privacy But Helps Consumers!

According to this Mashable article that Liz posted to our class’ Delicious feed,  Google has added local business annotations to Google Street View. Right now the application is offering the top business listings for the surrounding areas, but will continue to add more on when they receive more information about each area.

I could not be happier about this. I have recently been on quite a few job interviews and I often find myself getting to the area of the company a lot earlier than my interview time is and it’d be nice if I knew where the closest Starbucks was. Or if I’m really early, a Sweetgreen or Cosi for lunch.

I think this could also be really useful when planning a vacation. Say you’re planning a road trip down South and you want to know what’s around the hotels you are considering to stay at when you stay in Charlotte, NC or Charleston, SC– sure the hotel’s website or an online travel agency site like Travelocity will list some landmarks around it, but the Street View with business listings can actually give you a visual of how close they are in relation to your hotel.

I also like the idea of this because it can help out the local businesses receive more attention. But do they have to pay to be listed? Not quite sure about that…

Normally I am opposed to innovations on Google due to fear of  the unavoidable lack of privacy that seems to be quickly approaching Google users. But I am a fan of this! What do you think is next for Google?


April 26, 2010 at 4:10 PM Leave a comment

Weekly Response- #11: What to expect from the 2012 Election

Thanks to the Obama campaign in 2008, it is no longer an issue if the 2012 presidential candidates will use social media and other online tools to mobilize the masses. It is only a matter of how effective they will use these resources.

In Garrett Graff’s piece in Infonomics, he states “Barack Obama understood that since the last open presidential election in 2000, the technological revolution that has changed every aspect of American life had fundamentally realigned the power dynamic in politics as well. So while Hillary Clinton and John McCain set out to run the last campaign all over again, Obama forged ahead and ran the first campaign of the 21st Century.”

Barack Obama had perfect timing. Last semester in my Grassroots class I read Barack, Inc., which is a great outline of how the Obama Campaign strategized and executed their stellar plan to raise awareness and get the voters out to the polls. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was read by many people behind the 2012 elections.

Social media provides the means to effectively communicate with your market; communicating in human rather than institutional terms. People are having more conversation online than offline, therefore it is no doubt that social media and social networking will be front and center in the 2012 online election. According to CNN, in 2012, those social media tools will move from your computer screen to your pocket, as mobile technology helps define the new terms of campaign engagement. I can definitely see that happening especially with all the applications and different types of phones on the market.

Another aspect to consider is how the candidates will use the technology that we are not even aware of at this point. Our technology continues to get more advanced and I’m sure innovations will affect the 20112 campaign as well. Who knows what we could have by then…

One thing that I think is crucial to the candidate’s success of the 2012 campaign is for the voters to be able to relate to him or herself. According to a study conducted by Edelman, the most trusted source of information is consistently “a person like myself.” Obama definitely has that going for himself, but maybe another candidate will be able to challenge this? What do you all think??

April 26, 2010 at 3:17 PM Leave a comment

Personal Blog #3- When Traveling IS NOT Fun

It’s 6 am on a Saturday and I’ve been sitting in the Buffalo Airport for the past hour. This is not how I generally like to spend the early hours of my Saturday mornings. I am heading back to DC after a really tough few days at home for my grandfather’s funeral. Thanks to Boingo Wireless, I am able to connect to the Internet and speak to all of you!

I thought it would be a good idea not to drink coffee this morning so I could sleep on the plane, but then I remembered I’ve never slept on a plane before and the lack of coffee is immobilizing my legs to get up and get some now. But of course the Buffalo airport doesn’t even have a Starbucks and since I’m lactose intolerant, attempting to drink coffee without soy milk would probably cause me to vomit. Soo I’m going to avoid coffee altogether.

During my exhausted stupor this morning, I forgot to pack my eye mask. This is the best eye mask in the whole world. I have been a fan of eye masks for a few years now, but this one is unlike any other. Because my mother refuses to ever send me anything I forget because she thinks I need to be “taught a lesson”, I am ordering a new one immediately.

Right now I’m sitting here listening to probably one of the most ridiculous group of girls I’ve ever encountered. Their conversation is similar to this:

Hysterical right?

Well my flight is boarding…until next time

April 24, 2010 at 7:55 AM Leave a comment

Response Blog #2- Facebook: How much sharing is too much sharing?

This article that was posted on our class’ Delicious page is making me pretty nervous about the future of Facebook. I think the site is just getting way too invasive. There is talk of a location tool (most likely to compete with companies like Foursquare, users’ public posts being available for search on sites like Google and Bing in real-time, and what I find the most threatening,  users’ personal information to some select third-party Web sites…UMM

Yeah…my thoughts exactly

A part of me wants to just get off Facebook to avoid eventually everyone knowing everything about me. But another part of me feels like I would just be disconnected if I weren’t a part of something this large. This CNN clip about Facebook with an interview from Mark Zuckerburg discusses just how large it really is and where it’s heading. Facebook is now in more than 70 languages and and 180 different countries.

One fact that the clip gave that I just found ASTOUNDING was the Facebook application, Farmville‘s members exceeds the number of actual farms in the United States. 76 million to 2 million! That’s insane. I never played Farmville before, but seriously? How can that many people care about having a virtual farm?

Facebook as a social-networking company is so far ahead of any of its competitors that it would be virtually impossible for anyone to compete. And I really do think it’s had quite a positive impact on the world, especially in countries like Iran where Facebook has most recently been used to upload videos of social protests. Even when these people are being restricted by the law, a sense of democracy prevails from social media tools like this. Journalists are also benefiting from Facebook and Twitter to develop stories.

So maybe I won’t be leaving Facebook anytime soon, but I am definitely becoming hesitant to have much activity on the site in fear of what may come of it. What do you all think?? I leave you with some funny cartoons about Facebook.

April 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM Leave a comment

Weekly Response #10- The Internet Reveals the Reality of War

I must admit, before this assignment, I had never read any other war stories that weren’t written by professional journalists from news companies like CNN or The New York Times. I had seen the occasional war video on YouTube, either from a friend or teacher showing me, but that was about it. But i have now been exposed to military blogging, most commonly known as miliblogging, which has a huge presence on the Internet and I think it’s fantastic. It is a way for soldiers to talk about their experiences and to have an outlet to release their feelings, families and friends of soldiers to connect and share their troubles, and for amateur journalists to cover war stories while revealing a lot of information that would normally be censored in a traditional news outlet.

A lot of things I saw were quite graphic and startling, but I believe this should be out there in the open because guess what- it’s actually happening! It’s so easy to hide in the dark about this, but the reality is people are being killed everyday and we need to know about it. I also think using the Internet to record what’s going on, either through video, pictures or words is a great way to record history. My favorite war blogger and author is Michael Yon, a former Green Beret, who has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004.

His pictures are absolutely amazing

And many are heartbreaking as well

My grandfather passed away this Monday and I am now home in Buffalo, NY (much sooner than I originally planned) for the two day wake and funeral ceremony. He served in the Korean War and received two silver stars and a purple heart. I am so proud of him, but wished I had known more about his experience. He never wanted to talk about it while he was alive. Perhaps if he had fought during this time, there would have been more of record on his experiences. It would have been nice to have that instead of just a picture of him in his uniform and the awards he received for his strength and courage. Overall, I think the Internet is a great tool for soldiers, war advocates, journalists in the making and the general public to connect and understand what’s really going on. My only fear is how easy the Internet allows terrorists to connect to one another. This definitely needs to be monitored! What do you think about all this?

April 22, 2010 at 9:39 AM Leave a comment

Personal Blog #2- Traveling: My Favorite Escape from Reality

One of my favorite things to do is travel. Lately the travel bug has been taking me Europe. My junior year of college, I spent a semester in Rome, Italy. I loved the food, culture, siestas. What I most loved about being in Italy is how accessible and affordable it was to visit other countries. Budget airlines like Ryanair, Easy Jet and cheap hostels make it easy to plan a weekend trip. During the 3 ½ months of studying in Rome, I visited the Amalfi Coast, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Munich, Amsterdam, Budapest and Prague.  It was so amazing to immerse myself into a different culture for the weekend.

Once I was back in the states, I was happy to lose the 10 pounds I had gained from eating pizza, pasta, and gelato. As delicious as those foods were, I needed more variety. I love how in the states on any given night, I can get Thai, sushi, Mexican, you name it, we’ve got it. The best apart about living in a “melting pot”? The food! Italian food obviously couldn’t compare after my time there though.

A year later I was finding myself yearning to go back to Italy so I planned a trip to see my friend who was studying wine in Florence. We also visited Forte dei Marmi, which was just a quick train ride away and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

Forte dei Marmi

We then took a trip to Rome. It was so great to go back, see my old apartment, eat at my favorite restaurants. I had gotten the bug out for awhile..or so I thought. I started dating someone who was going to be spending a semester in Roma so I just had to go back right? We planned a trip to meet in Paris and then go back to Rome and then spend a couple days in Siena. Best trip of my life. Paris was obviously amazing, but what was the real surprise was Siena. It was there that we discovered the most incredible restaurant I have ever been to. It was a really tiny place that had a small sign that said “as seen in Rick Steve’s”. We decided to try it. And boy am I happy we did. Life changing may seem dramatic to describe food, but seriously.. IT WAS. Thanks Rick!

Papa al pomodoro- my boyfriend’s mother emailed the chef and owner of the restaurant for the recipe. Ahh thank god for technology!

Tuscan Soup

Fresh Homemade Pasta with Boar’s Meat

My trips to Europe are over for awhile, due to work and lack of resources, but I am hopeful I will make it back there, particularly to that restaurant.

Next vacation spot? Buffalo, NY! Whoo!

April 17, 2010 at 10:54 AM Leave a comment

Weekly Response #9- Global Voices Connects Bloggers

This week’s assignment was to explore Global Voices Online, a website that provides translations and reports of blogs and citizen media around the world. It is translated into more than 15 languages by over 200 volunteer bloggers, with an emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media. Before this assignment, I was not aware of this site, but I’m happy I know about it now. It’s a really interesting solution to linguistic barriers between the many cultures in the world’s social networks.

Everyone knows Turkey is a very beautiful country, but what about its blog culture?

I took a deeper look at Turkey’s presence on Global Voices. Most of the posts were politically related and quite a few about the Armenian genocide dispute. I think this site is useful because it showcases some of the most important issues to the Turkish community.

However, I did notice that almost all of the bloggers weren’t Turkish, like Onnik Krikorian, journalist and photojournalist of Armenian and English descent. Although these contributors seem to have a deep understanding of these issues at hand, I wish there was more about the Turkish social media culture on this site.

I found this blog post on the Global Voices site and it discusses how in 2008 Blogspot was restricted in Turkey due to a case of intellectual property infringement.  This also included  WordPress, YouTube and Google Groups. I am not sure of its current standing on this issue, but perhaps this is why were not seeing more open/casual dialogue written by the Turkish natives?

April 13, 2010 at 9:58 PM Leave a comment

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