Read & Respond – Week 4

This week, we’ll be reading about some fundamental components of online and social communication: The link and the group (or crowd).

Getting Crowded

In chapter 3, Briggs is concerned with the connective aspect of online communication. His three focuses are “crowdsourcing,” “open-source reporting,” and “pro-am journalism.” Crowdsourcing is the main one to understand. What’s meant by this? How does it inform the rest, and the world of communication you all are entering into?

The term “The wisdom of crowds” owes credit (if not its origin) to James Surowiecki, but it’s been around for a while. Sit back and enjoy this short (and catchy) tune on the subject from Nova:

There’s a useful idea here in what groups can know. On the other hand, others like Carnegie Mellon’s Vassilis Kostakos take issue with “the wisdom of crowds,” arguing that those online crowds are often a very small percentage of highly engaged users. With these viewpoints in mind, how do crowds factor into your approach to connective journalism?

Thinking About Linking

Next, move on to links and linking. The simple hyperlink is an obvious use of linking, but it’s not the only kind – social media applications employ linking in their own way. So let’s read about links:

  • David G. Post, in this 1997 essay (ancient history!!!), lays out some common questions and criticisms of the humble link that are still pertinent today.
  • Bill Thompson talks about links as the key component of “the semantic Web.” We may argue, as he puts it, “a link is just a link,” yet often there is more going on in the way the link is used.

What do you think about links? What is the nature of a link, and what are the ways in which we use them? What are the similarities and differences of hyperlinks and the social links involved in crowdsourcing? Finally, how should you link ethically and with good etiquette in your own work?

Remember to respond to this post by noon on Monday, September 9. As always, responses should be around 200 words, links to arguments or evidence on your own blog or elsewhere are strongly recommended … and don’t forget to integrate Briggs!

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27 Responses to Read & Respond – Week 4

  1. The continuous progression of technology brings new challenges and opportunities to nearly every profession all the time, and journalism is no different.

    Today, almost everyone has access to publish information in some way or another. For journalism, this means that we need to accept the fact that we do not know everything there is to know. We can let others reach out to us and provide us with information that can help better our insight on a given topic. I think that this rise in technology is key to connective journalism because it allows readers to interact with journalists. People are no longer passive consumers of news.

    Personally, I do not think it is a bad thing that only a small percentage of highly-engaged users are the people that are providing information because they are probably better informed. I think the bottom line is the fact that people will take interest and speak out about subjects that concern them. For example, Briggs describes a situation with FEMA after severe hurricanes in Florida in 2004. When the editor of The News-Press asked readers to search through the informational database and make note of any red flags concerning financial aid, that is precisely what approximately 60,000 people did. Fitting those puzzle pieces together would have been an overwhelming task for journalists alone. That issue concerned those specific readers enough to reach out, and it helped uncover a story.

    In my opinion, the major issue with crowdsourcing is a matter of ethics. Professional journalists pride themselves (hopefully) in giving honest, objective news to those that want/need it. These professionals have been trained to know and practice the ethics of the job. Not everyone has learned these ethics. How do we know if we can trust anyone who decides to provide input into a story?

    When speaking about links, my mind shifts from an issue of ethics to an issue of legality. Despite the fact that Post’s words were written years ago, I think this still holds true. Changes in law happen all the time though. The progression of technology has changed our laws and forced us to create new laws many times before, and it will continue to do so.

    As Post stated also, we’ve had different forms of links for a long time. We would credit others’ words in our own writing by adding a footnote or citation. I think that is what a great link does. It is a resource for our readers. They are obviously interested in our topic if they are reading our writing, and links give them the ability to find out even more information.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Great perspectives here. I love your terming links “a resource for our readers” – this describes the service-based, open-source origins of today’s internet as a whole. Your ideas on the crowd are interesting too. Perhaps, as you say, it’s okay if sometimes only the most involved are the ones doing the work. After all, what’s the alternative?

  2. kevinmduvall says:

    Links are essential to any kind of online publishing, from small blogs to industry giants. They show people sources of information for an online post and point them toward more content of interest.

    The question of the similarities and differences between hyperlinks and social links for crowdsourcing intrigued me, because after thinking about for a bit, the two are more similar than they initially seem. Hyperlinks are often used for purposes that are ultimately commercial (Briggs uses Google as an example), whereas crowdsourcing links are used more often with community-oriented goals in mind (Briggs’s example here is Wikipedia). Despite this difference, both are based on the idea of growing collective intelligence. Briggs mentions that commercial news sites once balked at the idea of “linking to the competition,” but now acknowledge that links did not keep people from coming back to the sites.

    Briggs’s example of Google as the evidence contrary to this mentality is interesting. Google presents very strong evidence that the site linking will not be harmed, but there remains a gray area over the site being linked to. The companies that sued TotalNews felt they were being harmed by being included in its links. While Post does not specify why, it is quite possible that they thought TotalNews was unfairly making money from them, or that their images as companies were being damaged. In either case, they may have had a legitimate legal claim.

    This issue is especially disconcerting with bloggers and other noncommercial online publishers. Last year, a US District Judge dismissed a lawsuit by a group of bloggers against AOL, in which the bloggers claimed they were owed a portion of the money AOL paid to buy The Huffington Post. The court said the bloggers knew they were submitting content to The Huffington Post without receiving money; like writing a letter to the editor, publication was their reward for contributing.

    More issues arise here. The bloggers did receive benefit, but the benefit might not be proportional to the amount of money made from their work. On the other hand, tighter legal restrictions on payment for content could weaken the potential for collective intelligence to develop. Wikipedia would have never become what it is today without people willing to contribute for free; the site could not afford to pay everyone who ever edited an article.

    In our own blogs, we can use hyperlinks in ways that benefit the sites we are linking to, by a) demonstrating that they were good sources of information for us, and b) including them in ways that indicate they would be of interest for someone interested in the topic we are discussing.

    AOL lawsuit from BBC News: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/30/us-aol-huffingtonpost-bloggers-idUSBRE82T17L20120330

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Great observation: Crowds depend on links just like the internet does. Thanks for bringing in that AOL case for us. There’s a useful question of scale here: We can accept that benefit was received, but is the degree of benefit sufficient for the work provided (and profit gained)?

  3. frostedtsaar says:

    Before reading this chapter of Briggs, I didn’t even know there was a difference among Crowdsourcing, Open-source reporting and Pro-am journalism. I mean, I guess the biggest problem is I never really thought about the difference, but I had heard the terms here and there. Though, without thinking about the terms themselves, it’s not hard to see how we use “the wisdom of crowds” every day, within and without journalism. When I go to a new town and want to find a good place to eat, I check online; I use the crowds. Buying something from Amazon and other online stores is based entirely around the crowd’s opinion.

    We can apply this readily to connective journalism, especially our own blogs. My most recent post (http://timjohnsaar.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-mighty-no-9-creator-keiji-inafune-believes-in-the-power-of-the-fans/) (don’t know if you can hyperlink in these comments) is the most link-heavy post I’ve done yet, wherein I frequently use blockquotes from an interview I cite. I hope I have done it ethically, and I believe I’m in good etiquette. It seems to me that the best way to make sure of that is to cite everything; to be explicitly clear on where quotes are from and to graciously give credit where credit is due. It’s what we’ve been taught since freshman year in the journalism school.

    Links are a fantastic way to involve readers and add credibility. One can bring news from all different sources and aggregate them for the readers, and as a reader, it allows me to explore the topic more in-depth if I want.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Yes, you can hyperlink in WordPress comments. Use the same HTML from class.

      Your blog post is a great example of well-integrated linking. Those block quotes are a potential problem because it can be tempting to run them without saying much on your own; alternatively, it can be easy to run a bunch of material from a single source that already reported it. You, however, don’t do that. That post runs like a dialogue between multiple sources, with you providing helpful interpretation and analysis like a moderator. Keep it up!

  4. ebuchman5 says:

    I have studied quite a bit about crowdsourcing, pro-am (what I call citizen) journalism, and the likes for my thesis research. As a professional journalist, sure it would be hard to trust an un-trained journalist, but there is also a lot of good that can come from it. One thing that intrigued me is the idea of having some type of universal training process for these type of journalists. In “The Dirty Little Secret about the ‘Wisdom of the crowds’- there is no crowd,” CMU Professor Niki Kittur suggests that there should be “an easy way to see a summary of a user’s contributions which would quickly reveal any bias.”

    I don’t know how plausible something like this would actually be, but it got me thinking it may be easier for each individual newspaper setting up their own guidelines for what they expect from citizen contributors. Having some set of guidelines would help crowdsourcing overall, as Briggs noted in his text. “The best journalists are embracing technology and a more open approach to gathering and presenting information,” which is exactly what trained journalists are being asked to do, as staffs continue to get cut down and reporters are asked to do more, requiring them to rely more on the public for sources, story ideas, and information.

    Linking is a great way to cultivate ideas and sources, and I think both hyperlinks and more social links are both incredibly valuable. Personally, I’m starting to notice a lot more that when I type in something to research on Google, more often than not blogs are what comes up as some of the first documents Google suggests I search. This speaks volumes in my opinion for the state of the media, and journalism. I’m certainly glad the mentality towards linking has changed, because it is incredibly helpful to anyone using the internet really, no matter the purpose. It is a great way to drive web traffic to websites, and if your website proves trustworthy, evidence suggests that users will continue to come back to your site.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I take Brigg’s “pro-am” term with a grain of salt myself. He’s the only one I’ve ever heard use it, but like you, I know what he means. Your idea about guidelines is interesting, but does it have the potential of lessening citizen journalism’s strengths? Right now, anyone has the potential of saying anything; with additional rules, that might not be the case. On the other hand, maybe that tradeoff isn’t so bad – is there value to having some checks built in? Or would the worst offenders be the least likely to follow them?

  5. ryanglaspell says:

    Prior to this week’s readings I didn’t quite understand the depth of links. Anyone can throw a link on a page, but they add a completely new facet to a web page if used in a way that connects communities. It’s like name dropping someone you know in a conversation to give yourself more credibility.

    Also, they can fill gaps in a post where you aren’t as versed as necessary. I love Jeff Jarvis’ quote in Briggs’, “do what you do best and link to the rest.” Links should be viewed as not only complementary to a post, but enhancing. Link to an info-rich, interesting page and no one will think, “This person sucks, they didn’t think of this themselves,” but they’ll be saying, “This post not only provides an interesting perspective, but it links to other informative pages. I’m coming back.”

    As for the ethical/legal aspect of linking, both the BBC and David Post links show important points. While the Post essay raises concerns about using links in inappropriate places (linking a deceased girl’s picture to a “Babes on the New” site), and advertising, the BBC articles states, “a link is just a link.” The BBC article discusses the actual use of a link as a connection. While it is legal in most cases to link away, ethically linking should be done to direct readers from one source of information to another, related source. In my latest blog post(http://ryanglaspell.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-holy-grail-of-facebook/), I linked things to posts directly relating to the content of the post.

    If my post is about a new pair of headphones and I link to a newly opened Credit Union in Missouri, that is not only irrelevant to my post, but taking away from my credibility and sending the CU uninterested people.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Nicely self-aware – a pointless link isn’t just a failure as a link, it’s a failure of the post that goes to the credibility of the blog (and blogger). Your example from Jarvis shows how, like any good journalist, you don’t need to know everything – you just need to know who does.

  6. ryanfadus says:

    Crowdsourcing is the most important to understand, since as journalists it helps us answer many questions, that would otherwise go unanswered. It allows journalists to delve deeper into certain issues by asking many people at once. Briggs gave a few examples such as voting problems and disaster relief money distributed by the government. With the advancements in technology it is now easier than ever to find the answers to these questions or even get the public’s opinion on them in a matter of minutes. By getting a community’s view on an issue it will make the report more informative and give others an inside look on the issue and those that live close their thoughts on it.

    When trying to connect with the audience, one thing that I feel is very important is try to talk to people who seem coherent and serious about the issue. You never want to include someone with crazy ideas or thoughts in your story since that will make you lose your credibility. Plus it could lead to other problems down the road. The best bet would be to connect with someone who has a good grasp on an issue and if they are on the opposing side see what they think. By getting someone like this it will make the report more interesting and appeal to those who feel the same way.

    Links can make an article can add a whole new element to the story that you are trying to tell. By including them you can make a reader want to find out more about a topic and they may click on one of the links you have included to see what other people’s opinion on that topic are. Most posts are all about sharing information, by linking to other articles on the same topic, they might include some of the same information in your post and they also may not. Links are also a great way to build connections online, people may like one of your posts and link to it. This will draw people to your post and then they make go to the links you’ve included, so it could be a never ending cycle in a way.

    Post compares hyperlinks to a footnote in an article or an index in a book. He says how these links help connect global information together and how new things can come about because of them. Social links are just between a few people, while hyperlinks can connect millions people together based on a topic or issue. Social links seem to be present in smaller groups of people, which in some cases is good since then the topic may not get twisted such as if it were used in a hyperlink.

    Linking should be used in order to give to the original author, especially if you took their idea and put your own opinions into it. Plus it is also a good source of information, if someone reads your post and then wants to see what the original author says about it. By linking to the original article you are also giving that person more views and it could provide some interesting feedback between, them and other readers.

  7. I think the Brigg’s chapter on crowdsourcing is important for a few reasons. We consider crowdsourcing a fairly new way to gather the news, but if you think about it, it’s really been around for quite some time. According to Brigg’s “Crowdsourcing harnesses the sustained power of community to improve a service or information base” (p.65). While communities have always done this subconsciously, the Internet and 24 hour news cycle has really allowed crowdsourcing to become a professional activity. As journalists, we must understand how important crowdscourcing can be when it comes to enriching our content and providing something new to the viewer that other news outlets may not provide. In addition, crowdsourcing is important because it allows more two-way communication, and it also allows the viewer to provide the content they want to know and are interested in. While it’s still in a sort of experimental phase in professional journalism, I think crowdsourcing can be a useful tool that pushes both professional journalists and citizen journalists to think outside of the box and push the envelope to dig deeper into certain issues that are important for the community to explore.

    I found the Carnegie Mellon University study very interesting. With so many internet users and so many opinions out there, I would have expected more people to participate in comments and two-way communication to companies, etc. That being said, it makes sense that only a small group of individuals respond because there are so many niche markets and niche markets often contain a smaller group of people. If this is the case, then I think we need to make more of an effort for connective journalism. Connecting with a few hundred people when there are thousands of people in a niche market is really unacceptable. While two-way communication is happening, the majority of the people are not participating. If the majority of people are not participating, how do you know the content you are producing is effective or even what the majority of people want to read about. In order to have a more effective two-way communication process, we as journalists need to think of more innovative and creative ways to generate feedback from viewers.

    The link is supposed to be a way to connect pages of the World Wide Web together. In theory, this is a good thing because it drives traffic from one site to the next and allows audiences to follow their interests to different pages gaining more information and knowledge about their specific interests. Links are essential to most posts and pages. They can be used to simply showcase sources and check facts or they can be used to increase the interest of users on other sites. I found the article that talked about the lawsuits really intriguing because I’ve never really thought about linking in that manner. I’ve always viewed linking as something good that you should do. Advertising issues never really crossed my mind. It definitely got me thinking. However, I think situations like that are really hard to determine an outcome for due to the simple nature of the Internet and linking. The Internet was built for sharing, and linking makes this possible. While advertising brings new issues to the table, linking won’t stop because it’s an essential piece of online publishing and regulating advertising in regards to linking on the Internet would be a challenge.

    I think the connection between hyperlinks and social links for crowdsourcing is interesting. Both ideas are based on collective knowledge and information. Both also seek to provide something more—more knowledge, more information, different information etc. They are different in nature because hyperlinks generally cover a broader spectrum, while crowdscourcing is more concerned with local or community niche news. However, they do share several of the same qualities. I never really thought to consider how similar they actually are.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Absolutely – turning to the crowd of your community is as traditional as journalism gets, but now that community isn’t limited by physical geography. As you point out, in both cases we’re seeking to mobilize the collective to tell a story or relay knowledge.

  8. samanthacart says:

    To invest in crowdsourcing methods of journalism, we—like Sir Francis Galton—must first agree that the ideas of many (the crowd in this case being anyone on the Internet) are better and worth more than the ideas of the few (professional journalists). According to Briggs, crowdsourcing focuses on community power. While it may not work every time, Briggs gives multiple examples (such as The News Tribune’s online map and Innocentive.com) where the input of the crowd made a story more detailed and better overall. We as a new generation of journalists are entering into a field where we must let go of our reservations to open-sourcing and pro-am journalism, because if we refuse to use the larger audience, our stories and ultimately our careers will suffer.

    Sometimes I wonder why everyone gets to be a journalist when I had to attend four years of college to call myself one. While journalist may not mean the same thing it did 20 years ago, I have learned through this and other classes that my job is not simply to gather information and report the news, but to use the information that is being put out by citizen journalists, synthesize it, and add my own layer of reporting to make better stories than I ever could have on my own. If you can get past the idea that you have to rely on others, it is extremely exciting to think of the kind of information we are putting out as news organizations.

    Vassilis Kostakos’ idea that these “crowds” are made up of a few engaged users does not change the fact that utilizing these engaged people makes journalists better. To be a journalist today, you have to be able to (as Briggs said) “do more with less.” We are required to have more skills (not just writing, but video, Internet skills, coding, etc.) and compete for fewer jobs. This makes the idea of connective journalism look very different. Working on a deadline and doing something you’ve never done before (like creating a Google fusion table or editing a video) makes the idea of connective journalism incredibly appealing.

    All of this ties in beautifully with the conversation on the ethics of linking. When we utilize the crowd, we must give credit where credit is due. We cannot use crowdsourcing as a journalistic tool and then pretend we came up with all of the information on our own. The reason people engage in citizen journalism without promise of payment is because they love getting their information out there (much like social networking). Similarly, linking is a great way to add to an article or blog post, allow readers to gain more information on a specific topic and make a better-rounded story. However, as with crowdsourcing, linking must be done in a way that is not disrespectful to the site to which you are linking. We talked about hot links as one unethical way of linking in class. However, as with the TotalNews and TicketMaster examples in David Post’s article, there are many ways that linking can be negative for the site you linked to.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That’s a useful but humbling realization: “[one] must first agree that the ideas of many are better and worth more than the ideas of the [journalist alone].” And perhaps that’s part of what makes you different for attending journalism school. A term we’ll be exploring is “curation.” Where once journos were considered gatekeepers, now they may serve a function more like that of an enlightened generalist and facilitator. They don’t profess to know everything, or to know more than the collective, but they do know the most about how to bring that information together to serve the collective.

  9. The “to do more with less” idea that Briggs mentions about crowdsourcing is simple enough to understand yet complex enough to leave room for debate. Whether a larger group can outperform a smaller more experienced group and help provide the public media with answers and information or not is the idea of crowdsourcing. Although the research by Carnegie Mellon University professor Vassilis Kostakos looks into the “wisdom of crowds” and if it is a useful and trustworthy aspect of the web and current digital generation, I do believe that crowdsourcing is a strong and useful force that is available on the web for us all. Even if it is small groups, these smaller groups clearly have an interest and knowledge of the topic they post about, so I do believe that the big impact of the small group is in fact accurate and helpful! Connective journalism should leave room for more answers, links and connections between readers and journalists and anyone on the web. Therefore I think any crowd is better than no crowd and because of the Internet and web we are able to link a crowd to its source and gain information. Briggs also mentions that crowdsourcing is a newer term (thanks to Jeff Howe in 2006) and I also believe that that is because of how the internet and all forms of social media and the use of the web from this current generation that crowdsourcing is becoming a relevant part of current journalism. The most interesting read I came across was about Joshua Micah Marshalls 2000 award-winning coverage over the U.S. attorneys scandal and because of crowdsourcing and a popular blog, eight U.S. attorneys were fired from information and documents that would not have been either put out in public or read by the 2 million website viewers. This just proves that crowdsourcing can make a giant impact one way or another.

    As for links I think they are just as productive and useful as crowdsourcing but if taken and used properly, just like anything on the Internet. The nature of a link is to connect sources together while making connections and providing information, all easily through a few clicks on the web. Linking can be very useful especially when blogging to both connect and share news stories and ideas for example. Links are great because they go different ways, someone can search for keywords and hyperlinks to find connected websites and information, as well as Internet users can hyperlink and connect whatever it is they please on their own posts. Since the World Wide Web connects an endless amount of information and computers to each other it is important to use links and crowdsourcing wisely and my tip to that is to use ethical journalism skills. I never just link on my blogs without letting the reader know what he or she will be clicking on. As well be careful about what websites, stories and pictures you are linking to because it is important to keep good etiquette and respect the readers. It is also extremely important to make sure the links you post are up to date and honest. Crowdsourcing and linking are similar in the fact that they both depended on the Internet and social media applications involve many readers, viewers and online users.

  10. zvoreh says:

    In Briggs chapter three covered how journalist can use groups of people to help present the news. Some of the ways discussed were open source reporting, crowd sourcing and pro-jornalism. i can see ways that each of these could be a useful tool to use in different situations. Crowd sourcing such as using twitter was used effectively during the riots in Egypt when professional journalist were forbidden. open source reporting also can be well used in a local or rural area where there are not enough journalist to cover the all the events that would be of interest to the community. Pro-AM journalism could have great effect in the same types of areas also because individuals could send in the minutes from there church meeting or video from a cell phone of a car crash.

    All of these forms of journalism are only enhanced by the internet but with great power comes great responsibility. One of the major tenets of journalism is ethical sourcing of information. With the ability for users to post anonymously it can become a challenge for journalist to use information from amateur journalist and to treat them as a reliable source.

    This can also be difficult for journalist when the are gaining their information from webpages exclusively. this issue is discuses in Post’s article for example wiki-leaks is a popular source of information for many news networks and presents a unique challenge to journalist because the sight prides itself from revealing its sources.

    In general a journalist should strive to attribute information found or received from techniques such as crowd sourcing to the original author.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You cite ethical sourcing as one of today’s challenges. What’s an example of this? Try to incorporate more of the readings to provide a more fleshed-out response.

  11. The majority of the questions raised in this R&R post are digging at how we as journalists are planning to adapt to the changing digital landscape, so here’s my manifesto.
    If you look at internet usage by our population, you can see how important the internet has become in our daily lives (“we” being citizens around the globe with access to information infrastructures.) A large chunk of the population accesses the internet almost constantly thanks to our increasingly connective mobile devices. Given the amount of time spent online, what is being done there is starting to have consequences on the real world, either socially or financially. Look at these charts of global internet usage. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
    These observations have led me to a conclusion: given the frequency and decidedly non-anonymous future of the internet, we as individuals and journalists should not brush off the internet as a frivolous, newfangled toy: our actions online are connected to our true identity, except with more intensity. Now everyone on the planet can see everything you post.
    Equally, you can see everything that other people post. This gives you the incredible power of crowdsourcing – the ability to garner information from many individuals directly.
    I’m prone to agree with Vassilis Kostakos when it comes to the wisdom of the crowds, however. A lot of people on the internet haven’t learned to treat the web with respect, and a lot (if not most) of the comments and blog posts spread around the web are brutally biased drivel. In some cases, a posts’ inaccuracy is more serious: The blog of Amina Abdallah Arraf al Omari, “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” was an elaborate hoax created by American Tom MacMaster. Behold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amina_Abdallah_Arraf_al_Omari
    Because of these variables, I see a journalist’s job a little differently: we are the lifeguards of the internet, sifting through piles of rumors, unaccredited information, and accusations, identifying what is true and what is not. We can use crowdsourcing to get news faster than ever before, but we must never forget our devotion to ethics. We must always act as a devil’s advocate, investigating every alleged controversy with a sharp and discriminating eye.
    Plus, we should probably keep an eye on grammar. Lord knows nobody else is.

  12. cricha18 says:

    It goes without question that anytime we surf the web we’ll come across a website or some article that contains a link. People use them all of the time, and usually that blue-colored text adds some new element or context to what we are currently viewing on the webpage. I think links are extremely useful, and in my opinion, are very vital especially in the field of journalism. A journalist can write an article about a specific story, but they can include a link that could lead to another story to provide a greater perspective. Bloggers also link to other bloggers, and this provides a greater opportunity for other bloggers to pick up viewers.

    In the Briggs text it talks about how crowdsourcing is becoming the way of the future for journalism. In essence crowdsourcing is a way for a group of people, or community, to come together to provide input on a specific idea or story. A good example of this is Wikepedia and how anyone can contribute their facts to the website. In some ways links used with crowdsourcing are similar to the links we use on an individual basis. For starters the links in both situations could lead to other stories that provides greater context to a specific subject. The Briggs text uses an example of crowdsourcing to highlight voting problems in a specific area due to other witness accounts, facts and links dealing with the issue. On an individual basis if someone were to write a story about voter problems they could provide a link to another story where the same issue is discussed.

    However, where these areas differ sometimes is the purpose of the link. For crowdsourcing if a link were provided chances are that link will lead to information that shines more light on a specific topic. The purpose of crowdsourcing is to get the most information as possible to have the greatest context. On an individual basis if someone provides a link it could lead to another blogger who doesn’t talk about the same issue, or another story that doesn’t highlight the same problems.

    I have used links in my posts before and there are a few rules that I try to follow when linking. For starters I try to make sure that my links will take you somewhere that is relevant to that current post. For me, the link has to provide greater context to what I’m posting. Secondly, I try to make sure that I don’t violate any copyright laws and avoid legal issues altogether. I understand that certain websites have advertisers (as discussed in the linking article on the course blog) as well as copyrighted information, so I make sure that I’m very careful with using certain pages or information.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Interesting observations on links, and I especially appreciate seeing your personal standards for using links. Make sure you’re referring to the week’s online readings, not just Briggs.

  13. rachelwvu says:

    I agree with Briggs, crowd sourcing is important. Citizen reporters can often provide more insight and facts than someone paid to do the job. Because these ordinary people care enough to contribute, they can evoke more detail and emotion to a story. Briggs gives the example of the “PBS” water supply system story. The network sought out people in the area to give their take on the issue. In this case, crowd sourcing can be helpful.

    On the other hand, Kostakos sees this type of reporting differently. It can be biased for the same reasons that it’s good. For example, Amazon reviewers either passionately hated the product or experience or absolutely adored it. Theres typically no middle ground for people who take their time to review things online. Personally, when I make a purchase from Amazon, I never post a review–simply because I don’t care enough. The problem with crowd sourcing is that it’s usually small group.

    After reading the article by David Post, I realized that hyperlinks can lead you in the wrong direction. Even Google can give prescience to the site that paid to have their hyperlink come up on the first page. Thus, readers can search beyond the first results. For example, Wikipedia is always a top hit–and that’s fine; however, readers should take the time to check out the source links at the bottom before whole-heartedly believing what the page is reporting.

    Linking is proof that you did your research. Substantial linking is a must-have for crowd sourcing. In my opinion, as long as there are links to follow, crowd sourcing is fine. It’s all about checking the source for yourself–don’t just take someone’s word for it. As long as the audience isn’t completely naive, crowd sourcing isn’t harmful. There will always be “uneducated” opinions among the essential ones in life. We shouldn’t be lazy when it comes to checking sources–with anything!

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That idea of linking as “proof” is a powerful one. It’s like a citation as well as a service. Likewise, not getting involved is a stance we shouldn’t take for granted. Those Amazon reviews stand out because, as you’ve noted, they tend to be extremes: Ever read a review where somebody gave the subject 1 star not because it was bad but because they were in a bad mood or some similar foolishness? We might argue that the average works out to be accurate, but it presents a world where everything is either awesome or awful rather than just okay.

  14. Connective journalism is what keeps a community alive. In order to form ideas and viewpoints, we must discuss and be open-minded to other views. From blogs to social media, connective journalism is a substantial way to bring people together. In terms of crowds on the Internet, there is clear and obvious bias that affects the readers. Journalism has to be accurate. It HAS to be accurate. The whole point of journalism is informing the readers of facts and news. The problems with crowding come down to statistics. There has to be a way to control crowds and curve the feedback in an unbiased, easy to read way. This seems like it could be relatively easy for someone who has a degree in statistics and a computer scientist to find a meeting ground. Then again, I could be completely wrong.

    After reading the articles provided for us about links, I am uncertain how I actually “feel” about links. However, I think they are absolutely necessary and keep the readers more informed. It makes the writer more informed as well. In our text, Briggs puts it simply. Links power the web through the use of links. They’re what keep the internet community interactive. (76) We use them in that way. We use them to interact with each other, gain followers while following others, and more. There have been cases where there has been a fine line of what linking really means. It the PirateBay case, the site itself wasn’t necessarily doing anything illegal, but it was openly linking others to do something illegal. Like stated by Tim Berners-Lee, though, “A link is just a link.” No implications are made just because someone provides a link. I have a hard time getting behind this statement.

    There definitely are similarities and differences between hyperlinks and social links for crowdsourcing. Google is the example that Briggs uses as a form that’s purpose is commercial. He makes a good point that people continue to come back to Google, even if what the people are searching for has nothing to do with the site. (77) He also uses the example of Wikipedia as a social link. These are links that have a more community, interactive goal.

    When it comes to ethics, the internet is a definite gray area. Can the ethics of journalism be applied to the broad internet use? That is something that is still yet to be determined. As a journalist, it is a priority to make ethical decisions regarding reporting. This applies to blogging as well. Thus, if blogging is included, linking would also be included. Like the Temple link states, there is law scattered about the legality of hyperlinking. For example, trademark law, copyright law, unfair competition, privacy, misrepresentation and more. Therefore, as a journalist, I will link how I find fit ethically as in print. For literally everyone else who blogs and is not trained in journalism, who knows how they will link “ethically.” It won’t be until some doctrine is formed until we can finally say what is ethical and what is not.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      It’s admittedly a little weird to have to formulate an opinion on links. It’s like having an opinion about water – it just kind of is. But just like water, you’d miss it if it were gone.

  15. dkrotz says:

    With the ever advancing state of technology, there will continue to be questions of what can actually be allowed to be posted on a site. And, especially now, with the huge rise in popularity of personal blogs (I mean, we have a whole class about it!), and the ease with which a blog can be created, these issues will continue to hang around.

    However, after reading David Post’s 1997 essay, I somewhat thought that maybe his analysis, perhaps obviously, was a little outdated. The popularity and use of the internet had really just taken off when he wrote that piece, and I believe that today there isn’t as much scrutiny over who links to what website. Whenever I try to link in a blog post (my blog for this class is not my only blog), I always try to make sure that I would not violate anything that I would not want violated on my site. By this, I mean I always give credit and attribution. I never use anything out of context, and only ever use sources that can be considered credible. Thompson’s piece somewhat echoes the worries of Post, however in a different sense. It’s not so much of “who is linking to my page,” as it is a concern of a third-party site linking to information of which it does not own a copyright.

    Before watching the short video, I had never really heard anything about the concept of the “wisdom of the crowd.” It was an interesting concept which could provide very useful for someone trying to collect data in person. However, the wisdom of the crowd, as was explained in the piece by Kostakos, is not a very good method to use on the internet. When it comes to an online poll or any user-generated content on the internet, that information tends to only get information from the same people or only from those people who are motivated to vote on that issue. And, people are also able to use different accounts or clear the cookies on their browsers to vote again, so any results collected via the internet can definitely be skewed. For a real collection of information, it’s best to randomly talk to people rather than allowing the internet to decide. As he writes about Wikipedia, “1% of Wikipedia users are responsible for half of the site’s edits,” which shows how this concept does not work online, because Wikipedia prides itself on saying that it is written by a community, when it turns out that that community is not very large.

    This concept goes along with Briggs talking about crowdsourcing. Briggs also uses Wikipedia as an example, saying that Encyclopedia Britannica could never keep up with Wikipedia, because the site is constantly getting information from “the crowd.” And, whether or not the crowd is really that great of a percentage of actual users of the site, it is still constantly being changed with the everyday influx of information.

  16. mikeymartinny says:

    Links are crucial in blogs. Without links you will lose readers because they will have to go to different sites to relate to what you are talking about, rather than you giving them the info they need to connect similar events. For example, on my blog I used a link to A-Rod getting hit by Ryan Dempster because it will show my readers why it was a big deal (http://massmediameltdowns.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/a-fraud/).

    Crowdsourcing is also crucial to blogs because linking an event you are talking about to others can give people a better idea of the importance of what you are blogging out. It was a great comment on “Crowd Sourcing” that Briggs brought about in Chapter 3 when he said, “As my mother likes to say, “Many hands make light work.”

    Linking ethically includes showing things that people may call “SFW” or Safe for Work because most people have large demographics. You don’t want to upset or turn off your readers to your site. You always want your viewers to feel like you’re connecting to THEM, so it’s important to put links that will connect to your demographic and more importantly connect to your story.

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