Author Archives: Jesse

You Won’t Believe How People Make Thousands of Dollars With FAKE NEWS (Not Clickbait)

I bet that title was pretty intriguing, you probably clicked on it thinking this article would teach you how to make money. Looks like you fell for the clickbait. It said not clickbait in the title? It’s 2017. We all know that if the article doesn’t have a clickbait title no one will read it. However, this post will show you what fake news is, how clickbait works, and how people make money writing fake news. Moreover, this article will prove that fake news can create real money.

Fake news, false news, or whatever you want to call it, is everywhere right now. I don’t mean to say that everything is fake news, but everyone is being made highly aware that it is out there, especially if you paid any attention to the 2016 US presidential election. But what is fake news? Well if you are Donald Trump, fake news seems to be any story that views you in a negative light. According to Penn State University’s library fake news is:

“Sources that intentionally fabricate information, disseminate deceptive content, or grossly distort actual news reports”, (Novotny, 2017).

Now this type of content is different than satire, rumour mills, and junk science but it does often use clickbait. Unfortunately for creators of fake news, clickbait titles aren’t enough to spread fake news. One of the huge ways that fake news is spread is through automated accounts or “bots,” (arXiv, 2017). This is very scary because without direct intervention from sites like Facebook and Twitter people can create thousands of these accounts and manipulate algorithms to spread their fake news. The people creating these bots are smart, they are designing them to direct the fake news tweets/posts at influential users, (arXiv, 2017). This is concerning because influential users can create real momentum if they share what the bots are feeding them. This would then result in their huge followings receiving the fake news. A real example of this is a story that ran on a website called the “Christian Times Newspaper.” It used the momentum of an idea Donald Trump mentioned when he said he was afraid the election would be rigged for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US Presidential election. The website then ran a fake story about how tens of thousands of fake Hillary Clinton ballets were found in a house in Columbus. This story reached approximately six million people, (Berman, 2017). This is an example of the scary power fake news holds. In sum, fake news is created; it is shared by bot accounts on social media, and then is shared to a plethora of influential users that create real buzz around the articles. This is how fake news is spread.

The big question is how do people make money from spreading fake news? Two ways that fake news websites make money are through advertising networks and posting sponsored content, (Gillin, 2017). Firstly, looking at advertising networks, people can connect their websites to third party advertisers who will pay the user a fraction of a cent per click, (Gillin, 2017). Obviously a fraction of a cent is not much money, but if you multiply that by hundreds of thousands of times people can make some serious money. Secondly, people use sponsored content to make money for their websites. This method works similarly to the first method. Instead it uses advertisements that are designed to look like real articles, (Gillin, 2017). For example, if you see a post titled something like, “this new soap will blow your mind,” and then you click it to read information about some soap product and want to buy it. That is sponsored content. Adding to the example above about the fake news that there were tens of thousands of fake Hillary ballots ready to be used in the 2016 US Presidential election, the man who created that website made roughly $22,000 from that post and other various hoaxes. Not only that, but his website at one point was worth $125,000, (Berman, 2017). To sum up, people have been able to monetize their fake news websites to make real money from advertising in the form of advertising networks and sponsored content.

In conclusion, fake news is apparent and is being spread to us like wildfire. The use of clickbait and automated social media accounts to spread it has significantly affected people’s lives. People have been able to set up fake websites, write fake news, and monetize that content to make actual money. The era of fake news has hit us hard since the 2016 US Presidential election and is unlikely to be curbed until major changes continue to be made by the social platforms that share it. Now you know that fake news can make real money.

References

arXiv. (2017). First evidence that social bots play a major role in spreading fake news. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608561/first-evidence-that-social-bots-play-a-major-role-in-spreading-fake-news/

Berman, N. (2017). The victims of fake news. Columbia Journalism Review, 56(2), 60-67. Retrieved from http://proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=125432045&site=ehost-live

Gillin, J. (2017). The more outrageous, the better: How clickbait ads make money for fake news sites. Retrieved from http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/article/2017/oct/04/more-outrageous-better-how-clickbait-ads-make-mone/

Novotny, E. (2017). “Fake” news. Retrieved from http://guides.libraries.psu.edu.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/fakenews

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@jessefinkle

Big Changes Ahead

This week I made some big changes to my website.

Based on some feedback I received recently about the site, it was brought to my attention that on my about section the grey text on white background was hard to read. Therefore I changed it to a solid black, as suggested, hopefully this brings the readability level back up.

There were other changes suggested, but because of my lack of skill in custom coding website templates and I didn’t find them very useful, I won’t be making anymore changes. For example, there is no way to edit the navigation bar on the template I am using. Although I find it incredibly easy to use/read and reflects the bare bones design I am going after.

Hopefully I don’t come off as pretentious or stubborn, just my opinion.

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@jessefinkle

Third Try at Discovering Joffre Lakes

Joffre Lakes is one of those hikes that I have seen a lot of pictures from and have had a lot of friends do, but I never got to experience myself. Sort of.

If you aren’t aware, Joffre Lakes comprises of 3 lakes. the first lake is 2 minutes from the parking lot and is pretty cool. The second lake is a couple hour hike from the parking lot and features beautiful colours, an epic mountain view, and that stupid log that you see everyone standing on for pictures. The third lake is 20 minutes past the second lake and is similar to the second lake, but closer to the glacier.

I have been to the first lake a couple times, but have never been able to make the full hike to the second lake. the first time I tried we didn’t have enough time to do the hike before having to be back as a group and the second time we got to the trailhead and a terrible thunder storm broke out so we headed back to the car. When the opportunity presented itself to do the Joffre hike another time, on a day with time to spare and good weather I couldn’t pass it up.

The hike was more challenging than I anticipated. The trail pretty much is straight up for the majority of the time and that sucks. Since tearing my ACL a couple months ago I have been pretty inactive, the reality of that hit me pretty hard during this hike. Finally getting to the second lake made it all worth it though.

It was a pretty busy day up there, I was very surprised at the amount of people there. Pictured above is the infamous log that everyone walks out on to take pictures. There was probably a 45 minute wait to go out there so we just decided to skip it and take pictures in between people leaving/entering the log. We also were there around 3:30pm where the light isn’t great. Sunset would be the best time to be up here taking pictures for light and the crowds would be lesser for sure.

The above image on the right I created in photoshop as a composite. My friend Matt is always down for a rope swing even if the lake is freezing. I told him I would get a cool pic of him doing it and turned my camera to burst mode where I could capture all the motion at once. I used a YouTube tutorial to figure out how to combine them into one image and voila.

Overall, I would recommend the hike. However, I would suggest not doing it on a day/time when lots of people will be there. Sunset time would be the best time to get there for if you are wanting some cool photos.

I also just thought this picture was funny and epic at the same time.

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@jessefinkle

Do you take Debit?

Hey Richard, I haven’t met you in real life, I have never played video games with you, but I am about to give you my opinion on your website Insert Coins(s) to Continue….

Quick Introduction

The website is a blog about video game development. Obviously Richard is passionate about video games as he writes posts reflecting on games and their design. He is an aspiring game designer himself who is working on designing his very own game. I will show you a screenshot of what you see when you first land on the home page.

First Impressions

Initially when I landed on the site I was confused. The white, purple, and brown aesthetic didn’t exactly scream game design website, if it wasn’t for the large site title at the top of the screen I would think I made a typo in the web address. I did like in your title how you used the parenthesis’ around the ‘s’. It made me think video games and gave me nostalgia reflecting on arcade machines and dusty old arcades. Moving on, I wasn’t feeling the colour scheme. I think a different background image would help people connect quicker to the game design idea. Also the two search bars and the title being off centre should be fixed (just disable both search bars).

Design Decisions

In the post from Travis Gertz titled: “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse,” he says:

“Whether it’s a lack of our own critical thinking or external pressure clamping down, we shy away from carving our own path. Originality is risky. It’s difficult to quantify and defend. Why try something new when someone else has already tested it for us?”

Concerning the website, I feel like you have been playing it safe, colouring within the lines, and not challenging what is ‘supposed to’ be there. It seems like you haven’t customized much from how the theme comes stock. Elements in the sidebar such as archives or the search bar are not helpful and should be taken away. Replace them with something different or even more negative space. There is also a lack of engaging imagery on the home page, a really cool game related banner across or behind the site title could grab someones attention quicker and keep their eyes scrolling down. The sites usability is functional, which I like. The lack of annoying and unimportant bells and whistles is good, although you need to add a link to your game development category from the menu on the home page.

Victor Kaptelinin talks about how it is important to make sure concepts that you implement are relevant and useful. This speaks to some of the general concepts you have applied to your blog. For example, is designing your website like pages in a notebook a relevant concept when your subject is video game design? I think you could borrow from video games a bit more when thinking about elements like buttons or transitions between pages.

Overall

It seems like you put a lot of effort into your blog posts, the content and your writing style are great! I enjoy your style because it comes across as this cynical authenticity that I can connect with. It is obvious that you are passionate about design and video games. On the other hand, the overall design and aesthetic of the site doesn’t seem to reflect that. If you added some engaging and relevant imagery to the site, updated the colours, and added some cool video game inspired functionality your website would be so much more enticing. Great work, I understand that the site is continually under construction and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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@jessefinkle

Informed Imagination

When making decisions about images, copy, design, and production I have mostly been thinking about myself.

I don’t want that to sound selfish or conceited, but I am operating under the assumption that I know what I want and what I want caters to my target demographic. My target demographic is 20-30 year olds who enjoy visual art & photography and are engaged by behind the scenes stories. I believe that there is a large interest group from this that I am a part of and engage with on Instagram. I guess, I am designing for the target audience, but I am using myself as the ‘Persona’

Persona Definition
Personas describe your ideal customer. They help you make decisions about marketing and sales processes. These characters are called personas, and just like in plays and movies they need a full backstory so that you…can fully understand their goals, motivations, and problems.

I am also trying to create an authentic experience on this blog. Authenticity is something that I struggle believing in. Sometimes I don’t think it exists and sometimes I catch a glimpse of it (or at least think I do). When writing editorial, this is forefront in my mind because I want to come across as authentic as possible. I don’t want to seem over edited, too polished, or fake because I want people to connect. When someone lifts the veil, you lose the magic. What I mean by this is sometimes the connection comes from the mystery of not knowing. For example, when you are a kid there are so many great mysteries in the world. You connect with them so much because they seem like magic. When you get older, you figure it out and slowly realize that everything isn’t as it seems.

What I am trying to get at is my decisions on this website stem from self motivation. I am not operating under the motivation that I will be famous or anything. I am trying to write for myself, not trying to fool anyone, and hopefully that comes through in the stories and design and people can connect.

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@jessefinkle

 

Picnic at Chilliwack Lake

There was only a few more weeks of summer left. Shoot.

Leeza and I were realizing that the our opportunities for summer adventures were coming to an end. I was going to school in the fall and she was going to be starting a new job opportunity. We had to act fast. We both love getting out and adventuring so we decided on Saturday that we would drive out to Chilliwack Lake and take the canoe.

It was decided that I would get the canoe ready and Leeza would pack up our lunch (she is the picky eater so it only makes sense). We met up and took to the road. Unfortunately I didn’t capture any moments until we were out on the water because my camera was zipped up in our waterproof backpack, but we enjoyed a nice paddle along the lake and stopped halfway across the lake on a nice rock.

I saw some pictures recently that were framing their subjects in an interesting way, so I tried it out and I really liked it. Using the trees branches and foliage as a blurry foreground added some cool moody depth to the photo. And don’t worry, Leeza was just cold so she was wearing my plaid, she had shorts on weirdo.

I was trying out some different angles when Leeza noticed something. I actually captured the moment by accident (the picture on the right above). There was a huge pile of white bird feathers just behind where we were sitting and eating where a bird either was killed or got into a scuffle. Don’t worry I won’t show you the picture, but there wasn’t anything gross about it (there was no blood or anything) it was just weird.

After we ate and chilled out a bit, we decided to head back on to the lake and paddle across it so we could check out the other side of the lake.

I really wanted this picture of her wearing the life jacket because I thought it would be funny. You always see the canoe shots of a girl on a lake and she is NEVER wearing a life jacket.

Of course I told her to take the life jacket off too 😉

After snapping a couple more cool pics of us paddling, we started paddling across the lake. This was a big mistake….

There are some hefty afternoon winds on the lake and we got caught up in them. To make a long and stressful story short; what took us 30 min to get to where we were took us an hour and a half to paddle back. It was stressful and it definitely tested our strength physically and mentally. There were times when I was quite scared but I couldn’t let Leeza know, she was scared enough. I had to keep fighting and I don’t think I stopped paddling for an hour straight.

Eventually, we made it back to shore, packed up, loaded the boat, and headed back home. It was an adventurous day for sure and good story to tell.

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@jessefinkle

Wiring my Website

A website that I really admire because of its design along with the content that fills it is wired.com.

What I really like about wired is it’s minimalist design. For the most part it is easy on the color and intuitive to navigate. If there is something that immediately turns me off of a website when I hit it is when I am bombarded with a million menus and links to click. I need things to be organized and easy to navigate in seconds. Wired does a great job of sizing their logo so that it stands out, but does not take over the page. The menu is right there below it and I can quickly find the topic or category that interests me. When you scroll down further, you can see the posts separated and spaced evenly. It all works really well together.

There are a couple things about the website that I personally would change however. I think that the top bar with the logo and the menu is a little on the thin side. Adding some negative space above it all or between the logo and the categories would give some more breathing room to lighten things up. Although I love the way that the content is layout out on the home page, I think that it could be spaced out a bit more to allow for some better readability.

Pictured below is what I have been talking about….

This week I made some small tweaks to my website. I changed the banner image on the home/about page of my website. I was always meaning to change it because I was using the stock image, but I just hadn’t found the right one yet. When Gillian did her peer review of my site and mentioned that the image was misleading, I decided to search harder for an image that worked. Looking through my own archives, I couldn’t find a photo that I have taken that represented what I wanted it to. So I took to thinkstock and found an image that I really think represents the visual art and story theme that I am going for. This image will work for now and maybe in the future I will take a photo I think encapsulates what I want this website to be about.

Another thing that I was thinking about changing was the ‘Hello Peeps’ tagline that is the first thing you read when you go on my site. To be honest, I put it there as a joke when I was building the site to fill space and I never changed it. After leaving it for a while I just thought it was funny and have decided that it fits the vibe I am going for while displaying my personality a little bit. This is kind of a non-update, but I thought it was still worth reflecting on.

One thing that consistently bugs me is that I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make the about me section on my homepage narrower. On mobile and narrow web browsers it looks good, but when the website spans the entirety of my 13″ screen the readability sucks. I will continue to try and figure out how to put a maximum on how wide it gets, but for now I will suck it up.

Another thing that Gillian mentioned in her peer review of my site was that she didn’t want to click right through to my instagram via the green button without knowing what she would be getting into. I added a page to my site that is a preview of what my Instagram feed would look like, hopefully this is clear and people can check that out if they want a sense of what is on my feed.

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@jessefinkle

What am I Lying About Gillian?

Hey Gillian, I have never met you in real life and I haven’t messaged you online, but I am about to tell you what I think of your website…

First impressions

I am also a big fan of minimalism, especially when it comes to design. When I click on to a website and I am greeted with a animated banner, flashy colours, and so many clickable options my first instinct is to leave. That is where I really appreciate your layout and design. The black and white treatment is nice and I think the typeface that you have chosen goes well with the aesthetic you’re going for. Everything seems to be easy to find and I do not want to leave yet!

Getting deeper

Looking at your about page, it gives me good context as to why you chose to create a blog about lying. Your story is interesting and as a reader it makes me want to read on to hear your experiences and tips. However, you do not mention what your last name is exactly, this might be on purpose, but it would help me connect your blog title better if I actually knew what your last name was. Also, I know that you said you didn’t think images went well with your site, but I think some kind of visual representation of yourself could help your audience see you. Even if it weren’t a standard profile picture, some kind of image to give visual representation would go a long way I think. I also love that you linked a blog post right at the bottom of your bio, this is smart. It gives the reader a direct link to start hearing what you have to say.

Clicking through and reading your blog posts, I like how you are creating straightforward and simple posts to teach people. You aren’t writing essays about the subject, you are more introducing it, giving an example, and summarizing. This is short and sweet and something I think people would enjoy reading. This formula is executed perfectly in your post Learn to Lie #1: Start Small.

In Matthew Stadler’s keynote address, he talks about creating a readership that cares and how to go from publishing to publication. Publication is something real such as meeting in public spaces. I think that the concept you have created here could create a community that transcends the online space. You could host meet-ups where people practice the skills you are teaching. I believe that because we do all lie, and learning to lie unfortunately is important in our society.

Your online self

Narrowing in on your online self, I believe you have created a unique character. When I read your posts I almost can picture you signing off xoxo gossip girl. I get that sense because you express your story and opinions, but do so in an anonymous manner. In John Suler’s article he talks about how there is dissociative anonymity and that gives you power. I think your online self and the persona you are creating as the author of this website relies on that fact. Not that it is a crutch, but as someone who wants to learn how to lie, learning it from someone who is being transparent with their methods while hiding who they really are is powerful. At this point in time, you don’t have any links to personal social media sites, you don’t have any pictures of yourself, and you don’t even say your real last name (a point I brought up earlier, but I may change my mind about now). I believe that all these factors combine to empower you with a dissociative anonymity that gives you more authority when teaching lying to strangers.

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@jessefinkle

Process Post #2

Clean. Simple. No Confusion. These ideas guide how my site is laid out. As you can see with the diagram below, the layout to my site is simple.

My site is organized into three distinct pages. Firstly, there is my about page which also operates as my homepage. The idea is that if someone links to my site that the first thing they see is a welcome message and then my bio which tells them what this site can offer them. Secondly, I have my blog split up into two streams, the first is the picture and story series blog posts. These posts will have a mix of visual art and the stories behind that art. It could be the story behind multiple photos, one photo, some kind of mix like that. The second stream is the PUB 101 content, this side of the blog is for documenting my process, submitting assignments, and completing any other tasks to do with the course content.

-Topic Transition-

Getting my attention back?

After reading Craig Mod’s article about his time spent offline, I feel jealous of his experience. I have a few times a year that I pretty much disconnect for a weekend or a week, but mostly I am always connected. My phone is never more than 2 feet away from me in my hand, in my pocked, or on a surface within reaching distance. It can feel like a ball and chain, it is a weight that can hold you back. I read this line somewhere recently that joked about how you can’t push people in pools anymore because everyone has $1000 dollar machines in their pockets. It doesn’t speak to the connectedness of our devices, but it does speak to how they hold us back (probably in more important ways than pushing people in pools).

Anyway, I would love to be able to give up my phone or internet connection for any extended period of time. But in reality I can’t. My job, my school, my volunteering, my girlfriend ALL require me to be on call. If I don’t reply to that email, text, or phone call within a couple minutes or hours there is a price to pay. Craig obviously benefited from his time disconnected and having experienced disconnection for extended periods in my life I can vouch for its healing powers.

Craigs rules:

The internet goes off before bed.

The internet doesn’t return until after lunch.

That’s it. Reasonable rules. I’m too weak to handle the unreasonable.

These rules sound awesome. But unfortunately they are not realistic for me to abide by on a daily basis. I respect you Craig, and one day maybe I can live a life with that freedom from my phone.

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@jessefinkle

Crescent Beach Date Photoshoot

We are so lucky to live where we do. I know it’s cliche and annoying, but it is so true.

Recently, I was asked if I could create a small collection of photos featuring a pair of yoga pants. I won’t name the company because after the shoot there were complications with timelines and such which caused the partnership to end. However, I still got to dabble in the world of photography even if only for a minute. Plus, it was a good excuse to take my girlfriend to the beach and double it as a date.

It was a busy Friday night at Crescent Beach which is located just outside of White Rock. We like to go to Crescent over White Rock because it is less touristy and has free parking (who doesn’t hate paying for parking). We pulled into the parking lot just as the sun was setting and about to put on a beautiful display for us. I don’t know much about shooting great photos but if I know one thing it’s that sunset is the best time to shoot.

We quickly got to work and by work I mean me taking photos of Leeza as I raced against the sun disappearing behind the horizon. There were actually a few other people taking portraits that night and they sort of looked like they knew what they were doing. Lucky for me, this wasn’t Leeza’s first shoot. She walked around the rocks, along the sand, and I gave some ideas as well of what I thought would look cool.

There is this thing that I learned from a friend one time where you can take your phone screen and place it in front of your camera lens laying flat. While you adjust where the reflection hits your lens you can create this really interesting effect that mirrors part of the image. I’ll show you an example below.

You can see on the left is where I used the phone screen mirror trick. You would never get that clear of a reflection from the gentle crashing waves like on the right. It is one of those simple tricks that anyone can do (unless your phone screen is cracked) and adds a cool effect without having to edit it in post.

As the sun was saying its final goodbyes across the horizon I snapped this last pic and got that really cool sun flare coming through. It was late summer at this point so sunset came and went so fast. I was surprised at how little time I had. When you are taking photos and need the sunset it isn’t this nice little activity to enjoy with your arm around someone, it is a frantic activity that really tests your skill because you are racing the sun.

After we finished up, we took in the ocean air, walked out to the pier, and just spent some time taking in the beauty of the ocean. Overall, it was a fun night and one that I hope only builds me up as a photographer and continues to grow my skills.

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@jessefinkle