Are you aware?

As with most of the tools we have learned about this semester, I never used Digg (or reddit), though I have heard about them.  After just learning about RSS feeds, it seems like Digg and reddit are RSS feeds for not one specific person or not as customized as what RSS feeds can be.  With these sites, you can see which stories are the most popular, which are those categorized on the top on the pile.  According to Greg Voakes, Digg is now in decline.  He says a new site, called thruzt, is a more interactive site.  To be honest, I do not see the appeal for Voakes, Digg to me has more categories and better organization than thruzt, though the interface on thruzt may be more read-friendly (with pictures, who doesn’t love pictures??)


I just realized I was looking at it all wrong, thruzt is pretty cool.  “Open Paths” at the top of the page gives way to sooooo many more categories than Digg has to offer, with the option to see which words are being tagged the most in the cloud, and the top articles of today, yesterday, last week, last month.  Though not all of the categories have tons of articles (it has only been online since May 2012, so that’s understandable), it is user-generated so people have to post it to the site.  It is advertised as a game of social media networking, so once you post an article, you need to advertise it to get the most views.  Interesting marketing ploy, we shall see how it turns out.

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Internet Connection vs. Fertility Rate

     My research paper was on the relationship between internet connection and fertility rate.  I found that they are negatively correlated (the higher the internet connection rate, the lower the fertility rate), though they are not dependent upon one another.

The World Factbook 2012. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012.

     World connection has become denser, enabling transmission between all continents around the globe.  A study by Gallup World in 2009, released that two in ten households have access to the Internet at home across the globe.  Across the globe, birth rate has been dramatically dropping.  To compare, the world fertility rate in 1970 was 4.7, in 1990 the rate dropped to 3.2, and in 2010 the rate was 2.5 births per woman (UNdata 2012).   Niger, the country with the highest fertility rate in 2011, dropped from 7.8 births per woman in 1990 to 7.1 births in 2010.

     The above maps show the comparison of regions with higher internet usage and higher fertility rates.  As can be seen, the maps almost are directly negatively correlated, with the areas with higher internet usage related the areas with lower fertility rates.  Though there seemingly is a correlation between fertility rate and Internet usage, the rates are not directly affected by one another.  The current trend is a dropping fertility rate possibly due to higher education that comes with Internet connectedness, but studies by the Central Intelligence Agency show that although Internet connectedness continues to increase and will continue to do so, fertility rate will plateau at the low rates and potentially increase with political stability, government compensation, or increased education.

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My interaction with forums now has to do with googling my problem and being directed to a forum where someone has posted a similar question.  That being said, I think there is soooo much repetition on the internet on many different forums asking about the same questions.  I’m more of a gatherer rather than a hunter — I utilize what is available for me rather than post a question asking the public for help.

I did check out Lonely Planet travel forum, a book series I became quite familiar with during my travels in Asia, and liked the more personalized questions being asked –who will be where at a particular point and if they want to meet up.  Another site that I heard about on my travels is CouchSurfing – a site you can join and find places to stay, for free!  Because the site is based around travelling, there are boards with different topics of where to travel, what to see and eat, best mode of transportation, etc.

As always, it is important to be smart on the internet.  I feel forums are a place to fool more people because we trust what people post; it is a community joined for help from the public.  By being aware (and smart) of the scams out there, we can be more wise to the tricks played on forums.

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RSS Feeds


As the video above warns, be careful, starting to use these are ADDICTIVE!  I went to my Google Reader and already I had suggestions…I spent 2 hours just looking at what was already there without me adding any of my own sites into the mix!  It is such a convenience to have what you are interested in delivered to you all in one place, but it can be dangerous if you are only interested in looking at one or two sites and then get sidetracked looking at others (I guess that’s the point of having multiple tabs).  This article shows the results of a study done by Google Reader about user consumption…I think this can also be linked to how much time we spend not doing work when we should be (Tuesdays seem to be the day with the highest level of lack of reading done).  It also shows what time of day we tend to do more reading…9AM, 4PM, and 10PM having significant spikes.

Social networking is said to have taken away from the need of RSS feeds, though RSS feeds will never go away.  The benefit of not having to create an account to sign up for a feed to be delivered to you is a huge plus, and the rise of mobile devices with RSS capabilities has turned the interaction into something similar to a personalized newspaper or magazine being delivered directly to your smart phone, ipad, or laptop for free.  Want some recommendations for RSS reader apps?  Check out this review!

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Lost in the Cloud


I LOVE using the cloud.  What is the cloud? It is a way to share documents with anyone, anywhere, OR storage for yourself if you, like me, change computers quite often so can’t save it on only one computer.  I personally use GoogleDocs for quite a few of my papers – but mainly I use it for group projects.  It has been so handy to be able to edit a paper together where we could all be on the page together, or not, and change what we thought should be changed without making corrections then sending those to a person to compile – which I used to do (not fun!).  To make our lives easier (or keep us working ALL THE TIME), Google has recently bought Quickoffice to allow their GoogleDocs to be available on mobile devices.

Though I do not use it personally, we use Dropbox at work which has been truly awesome for updating housing contracts and seeing which spots are available for students to move in to (though it is a bit more inconvenient than GoogleDocs because only one person can have it open at a time).


Really, it depends on what you want to use it for and what site you find to be the most clear.  And if you run out of space on one file sharing site, you can open a free account on another one!

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Social Bookmarking

Interaction on the internet is not limited to chatting and blogging, but social bookmarking is a great way to have a discussion without saying very many words.  By bookmarking a website and tagging it with [what you believe to be] relevant tags, you are creating a system of categorization in ways in which you, and most likely others, believe the topic should be categorized.


Pinterest is ranked as one of the top 15 most popular social bookmarking websites (according to eBiz) at number five and StumbleUpon at number 3 [Twitter holds the number one spot].  These sites allow for the user to mark sites to refer back to later, share them with friends, or easily categorize different websites or pages.  StumbleUpon categorizes the websites you “like” for you, while Pinterest is categorized by the users – though you can only tag it in one category determined by you, all the categories a page is tagged by each user is recorded (I believe a duplicate is is put into each category that it is tagged into).  On Pinterest, all the pages a person “likes” is posted on their bulletin board, where all their “followers” can see the posts they pin.  If you want to only see a certain category, or specific tags, you can search that tag.  On both StumbleUpon and Pinterest, if you want to find what a specific user has liked, you can search the specific user.

Here are a few fun links that I’ve Stumbled in the past:

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Video killed the radio star

I never actually realized how long it takes to upload a video to youtube!  Here is my five-minute clip of a tour of the school I went to in Hong Kong (Lingnan University) and it took me over three hours to upload it!  Maybe bad internet connection, who knows, I now know to keep uploaded videos short!


I have created videos in the past and think they are very useful and beneficial in educational settings [and allowing for procrastination].  Since Google has bought Youtube, anyone with a Google account now has the privilege of uploading videos to Youtube, thus becoming an official partner.  The above video was my first one I have uploaded to Youtube from my account (I have tried in the past on group projects, but due to copyright infringement they were taken down), and received an email welcoming me to the community and advice on how to get started (after the video was uploaded, it could have been helpful before).

As I said, it took me forever to upload the video, so a potential drawback would be the time devoted to uploading videos to Youtube.  I have read online that Youtube uploading is not available to every country, so language or geographical barriers is a drawback.  I can only think of benefits of joining Youtube, which include sharing [almost] any content you can think of, earn money [potentially] while doing something you enjoy, and share your work with a large audience…what more could a creative genius ask for??

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Podcasting is an easy way to receive audio information delivered directly to you.  Podcasting is used in schools, for how-tos, news, entertainment, or anything really.  Podcasts have been rising in popularity, though this bandwagon never passed me.  I went from CDs directly to live streaming, which is also gaining popularity.  Though you can turn your podcast into a live streaming experience and it may be better for saving for later, I just have not really had enough experience with podcasts to give a recommendation on them.

Podcasts, and internet in general, has greatly affected education methods.  Itunes has “iTunes U”, a place where professors can post books, audio of class, homework, and any help that is needed.  These are all categorized in the teachers course, which is easily accessible to students using iTunes U.

A 2009 study by SRI International for the Department of Education found that online education is better than traditional classroom education.

In high school I taught myself Algebra 2 and it is very difficult to have such freedom and allotting the correct amount of time to the material.  I had some help from a friend who was also teaching himself the same subject, but I think I did not retain as much information as my friends who took the class in high school with a teacher.  Though this is not the same as online teaching because online you will have more help and resources to ask questions, one still must have the same determination to learn on his or her own, not under the constant watch of a professor.  I do not believe online coursework is for everyone, so I do not believe traditional classrooms will go away altogether, but my generation and the generation after me have grown up with computers, so may lean towards online learning.

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Virtual World – Like the Matrix, right?

Hmm…should I go out to workout today or should I go to the gym in Second life….yeah, the gym in Second life sounds so much more appealing.  Though I’m sitting in front of the computer in the real world doesn’t mean I’m not working out.

Mmmm….yeah, no.  I understand the addiction of virtual games like Second life, I would get sucked into Sims or Sims Online for hours and then realize I had not eaten all day and it was now nighttime – not really healthy.  I see the appeal of wanting to create a whole new character and be a completely new person online, but, really, is that a good thing?  To be two different people, yet one person?  What happens if you meet a friend from online in the real world, who are you then?  I feel like when people use the internet and virtual world’s they feel they can create a new person and be more bold than their real-life persona because they are hidden behind a monitor.


The idea behind creating things and making your imagination come alive is a very cool concept behind Second Life, I must admit.  I do not think this is exactly how is has been used since its creation, but if someone wants to test the limits of something, they have a venue to do it.

It’s sad that video games like this can interrupt a person’s life so severely that ridiculous stuff like getting married to an video game character and people considering divorce because of an addiction to a video game.

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Photo Sharing

Growing up, I was always taught whatever you put on the internet will be there forever.  Even if you delete it, it will always be there.  Because of this, I have never shared too much on the internet for 1) fear of being judged by people (I am a pretty boring person, they may think I am the crazy cat lady) or 2) it could come back to haunt me one day.  Like I said, I am a pretty boring person, but I do not want particular people (though I do not know which particular people these are just yet) to know every intimate detail of my life (for example, that I like to eat at Moe‘s over Chipotle).  For this reason, I have not been one to publicly share all of my pictures, be it through a photo sharing site such as flikr or a social networking place like facebook.  When wanting to edit photos, though, I did have a photobucket account for a while, though it looks like a completely different site when re-introduced to it today in class.

Inserting pictures in blogs is another issue all together.  In my travelog, I tried to put as many pictures as I could, but the formatting would be so difficult

to work with, as you are probably figuring out inserting your own pictures in your blogs now, that I would get frustrated and not add nearly as many as what I had hoped.  Maybe it is just me, it just takes me forever and drives me crazy!

Woah, update, I just learned about the “toggle full screen mode” (the button of the square with the arrows pointing towards the corners) — so much easier to deal with!  Man, you learn something new everyday!

Update #2:  Sigh, it didn’t actually worked, the picture in the actual post was in a different place than on full screen.  Oh well.

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