Thursday, May 3, 2018

Who Controls the Network? A Look at Social Media Influencers

The question of the week that I tried to answer with my presentation was Who controls the network? I gave this question a lot of thought and was confused about what direction to take it in at first. The question is really broad and I didn’t wasn’t really sure how to answer it. The first thing that came to mind was to talk about the FCC or FTC but I wanted to do something that I thought would be more creative. Then I started watching a TV show while also scrolling through social media and noticed many “social media influencers” were popping up in commercials and promoted posts and it gave me an idea to talk about social media influencers for my case study. My claim was that social media influencers come from a new wave of technology and increased use of social media. That as regular internet and social media users we constantly see these “influencers” using their big social media following and brand deals to influence the products and websites that we use everyday. I discussed what it meant to be an influencer and what we as viewers expect from them. As I was researching, I found out that most people look for influencers that are genuine and real and relatable and honest. Seeing these qualities I then wanted to go find out more about specific influencers. I ended up researching MannyMUA, a “makeup guru,” and Jake Paul a YouTuber. I showed their social media numbers and the brands that they were involved with even showing some news clips of Jake Paul and his fans. At the end of my presentation I asked the class whether a post with a #AD or someone saying they were partnering with X company would make a difference in the way they saw a review, everyone that answered responded no, and said that if they trusted that person it didn’t matter whether it was a sponsored post or not. This further reinforces the trust quality mentioned above. In the end, social media influencers can control the network with their big social media presence by influencing consumers on what products to buy, clothes to get, and even what events we might go to.


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Monday, April 30, 2018

How Consumers Control the Network on Instagram

The question of the week was concerning internet and asked "Who Controls the Network?'.

With the continual advances in communication through technology, social media apps have taken a significant role in networking. I discussed how the social media app, Instagram, portrays that consumers control the network. Instagram uses user generated content, so it allows a user to both contribute to and consume the media. As sites, like Instagram, that are full of user generated content take more users, their value increases. I discussed how Instagram makes it hard for its competitors, like Vero, to enter into the market and gather users because Instagram has already formed a strong following and community of consumers. Consumers control the network on Instagram by contributing personal, political, or business content. They are able to control what they post, who they follows, who follows them, etc. Instagram allows businesses, and every day users, to advertise and market whatever they want and control what their followers see. I asked the class if they would be willing to switch over to new apps like Vero after establishing a presence on their current favorite social media. Most of them who answered said no and I would agree. I would not want to switch over apps because I have already established followers, a "portfolio" of pictures and much more all for free. I would not want to have to pay for an app like Vero. I believe that consumers control Instagram because they own the content they post, according to Instagram's Terms of Service, and they are able to chose what to post, who to follow, what they want to see, etc.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Telephony: Wearable Tech

This past week's question was what social and economic forces shape communication infrastructure? As technology has advanced, new forms of communication have become available. Communication has changed drastically with the introductions of television and the computer – the first and second screens. But perhaps the most influential was the introduction of the telephone and eventually, the smartphone – the third screen. Inventions such as the telephone allowed for long distant verbal communication which evolved into mobile smart phones which allow for nonverbal and verbal communication from practically any location and distance. 

Looking forward, new forms of technology will continue to shape how we communicate with each other. One form of technology that is currently becoming mainstream is wearable tech. Wearable tech has been around since the early 1970s but with the resurgence of smartwatches it’s become relevant to the conversation of future communication. 

Smartwatches act as an extension of one's mobile phone. They alert users to notifications from their favorite applications, messages or calls. They also work well as fitness trackers due to biofeedback abilities. Just as the smartphone changed communication styles, smartwatches have the potential to do so well. It's still quite early to be certain but if they continue to gain popularity, new and alternative ways to communicate may be implemented and thus change the communication infrastructure.

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What social/economic forces shape communication infrastructure?

After the turn of the century and the exponential growth of the internet and internet-based technology, communication infrastructure has been dramatically shaped by our society’s growing need for fast, worldwide communication. The advent of online communication has taken the world by storm and is quickly becoming the standard means of communication around the globe, and in a world where time is money, it’s vital for us to be able to communicate with anyone, anytime, and anywhere, quickly and easily. In a time where everyone is constantly mobile and a person can travel almost anywhere in the world within 24 hours, it is crucial that our means of communicating are not only able to keep up with us but are able to travel with us too.

After the first VoIP transmission began in 1973, it quickly grew and opened the way for a whole new market to emerge. Then, as interest grew in the internet and what it could do, there was an explosion of internet-based technology that pushed the limits of what was capable at the time. Among this technology was online communication, with email and instant messaging. Then, after the turn of the century, a new wave of technology emerged that allowed us to do more than communicate through text, it allowed us to have audio and video conversations. Additionally, doing this was free, and it allowed us to quickly and easily communicate with anyone anywhere in the world.

VoIP has proven to be a real game changer in the realm of telephony. As VoIP has become increasingly popular among companies and individuals, it has also taken over a substantial portion of the telephony market. VoIP offers numerous benefits and options to users, giving them a choice on many aspects of their phone usage. They can communicate through an audio- or video-only conversation, or through basic messaging. They can use traditional telephones, or they can opt to use IP phones, computers, or mobile devise. Also, with VoIP, the convergence of all forms of communication to the Internet is now complete: emails, phone calls, video calls, conference calls and all other forms of data transfer can now take place on a single unified IP network. As this technology continues to develop, I think we will see even more advancements in how we communicate, and I think that the next step will be the use of virtual reality.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What social/economic forces shape communication infrastructure?

Throughout my research and preparation for this case study I have learned that as telephony has progressed from landline to mobile telephones, social and economic forces such as connectivity, social networking and m-commerce have all shaped communication infrastructure. With the exemplification of AT&T as the example for my case study, I was able to dive into their history, progression from landline to mobile phones and their new innovations in the 5G network.

As I discussed in my case study, AT&T was granted the right to operate as a monopoly from the Communication Act of 1934 and functioned as one until its breakup into RBOCs in 1984. The transition from landline to mobile phones has been very quick as 51% of American homes have ONLY a mobile phone. AT&T’s innovation of the 5G network promises to greatly enhance the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks (Cnet). It’s promised to be 10-100 times faster than the average connection.

My case study enhanced my knowledge of the advancement of communication infrastructure. Additionally, the feedback I received from my classmates during the discussion question period greatly added to my presentation, specifically discussing whether or not a student would switch to AT&T just to access their 5G network. The students that responded all said that they would switch to interact with a stronger and faster service. In addition, when we were discussing the transition from landline to mobile technology the responses were more varied. Some people believed landlines are still beneficial to have and some believed that landline technology is too outdated and that mobile technology is the only important means of communication. Overall, my case study greatly strengthened my knowledge of communication infrastructure and the social/economic factors that influence it. 

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