Listening to David Beers’ during lecture today was very insightful because he brought up points that I was I unaware of. I never knew that writers could be rewarded through a cycle of different moves like the example of the professor who offered to write for free but in return he was getting an audience, which was going to increase his likelihood of being invited to policy meetings and then a higher pay at his university. Just because you’re doing a job for free doesn’t mean that you’re not going to make money.
It was nice to hear that David helped one of his writers land a book deal too. He didn’t want any money from the deal and he helped quite a lot too. He pointed out that The Tyee is not meant to be a permanent job and that you always have to have a plan for the future. Makes me think about the job of a writer, can you ever stay at the same paper and with the same job? I don’t think so because in my opinion, you always want to explore new possibilities and you want to have more and more control as you progress through your career.
It’s weird to think how much the newspaper has evolved, especially in he past decade. New media is great because it’s interactive and for me, that’s one of the benefits of online newspapers. They’re filled with hyperlinks, videos and interactive graphics. For me, this is more intriguing than simply reading a newspaper and it also saves all those trees. I didn’t think that the newspaper would evolve into what it is today because technology is so innovative and interactive now.
Over the past decade, social media has taken over the communicational landscape as most users interact online to discuss their personal lives, upcoming events, and most importantly, the news. As a result of looking to social media for their daily news, users are subjected to both true and false accounts, which has recently become a problem because the websites have large audiences who are, in most instances, unaware of the validity of the content. Alexis Madrigal’s, “Google and Facebook Failed Us” (2017) highlights Google’s role in promoting false stories claiming the Las Vegas shooter who killed 59 people was a Democrat who despised Donald Trump, when the identity had not even been revealed yet. It was later confirmed by authorities that the shooter was Stephen Paddock, who had later been found dead in his hotel room (Ohlheiser, 2017). The story originated on 4chan, a popular source of racism, hoaxes, and misinformation. Nonetheless, Google played a major role spreading the false information, better known as ‘fake news.’
The term, ‘fake news’ refers to content that helps spread misleading, low-quality and false information (Hern, 2017). It is a major barrier to the dissemination of information online, considering the influence of social media on public opinion. As of 2017, two-thirds of U.S. adults look to social media for their news content. Considering how much the role of technology has increased and evolved over the past decade, this is not surprising (Shearer & Gottfried, 2017).
Google, which is one of the world’s largest tech companies, has a massive audience to whom they are subjecting to false information. Less educated and older Americans are increasingly using social media to follow the news (Shearer & Gottfried, 2017), which makes them more malleable because they may not know how to properly evaluate the validity of sources Therefore, the likelihood of fake news infecting the minds of readers is likely, especially with such a website as Google, which has a large audience.
Google’s role in spreading the fake news was a result of a change they made to their algorithm in late 2014, in which they chose to include non-journalistic sources in their “In the News” box instead of taking the sources straight from their news feed. This allowed for search results to include content from Reddit discussions, blog posts, videos, and more from non-news websites (Sullivan, 2014). It does not make sense for discussion posts to be included in their news feed when they provide no credibility as to whom the source is and their credentials. Most times, discussions include opinion and are of an anecdotal nature. Regardless of that, it cannot be guaranteed whether discussions have a factual basis or not and with Google’s fault algorithm, this misinformation can seep through the cracks and into the communication channel.
Being that social media takes place online, there is no need to wait for articles to print when they can be posted immediately. Whenever an event occurs, the content is immediately posted. The 4chan post that incorrectly identified the shooter came up in the search results because it was recent. Immediacy works for and against social media because on one hand, social media helps to inform the public of news events as they are occurring, but on the other, the possibility of misinformation is high because not enough time is given to provide evidence to back up points that are made.
Within hours of the 4chan post having been shown on Google, it was algorithmically replaced by results that were more relevant to the story. Google acknowledged their mistake in allowing for content in the “In the News” feed to be, in part, derived from the newness of the content (Sullivan, 2014). Google was very irresponsible for allowing such content to surface on their website, knowing that it was not confirmed by authorities and that it came straight from 4chan. They are one of the most powerful information gatekeepers in the world, however, they fail to take accountability for the role they play in damaging the quality of information that they present to the public. They have continually been accused of allowing the spread of propaganda and the promotion of fake news and low-quality content on their websites in order to reach larger audiences (Levin, 2017). Rather than take ownership and accountability for their actions, Google’s response was to blame it on their algorithm and promise that the appropriate moves were being made to ensure that the incident would not occur again. They not only displayed fake news regarding the Las Vegas shooting without flagging 4chan as a questionable source, they also increased the visibility of the inaccurate posts through curated pages (Chaykowski, 2017).
Through social media, people are helping to inform the people in their social networks of news stories. But they are also able free to express their opinions and insight in these forums, regardless of their expertise or education on the topic. This is a much larger scale of communication than the traditional word of mouth (Napoli, p. 755). One of the major issues with getting news from social media is that the users are not always looking at the most credible or trustworthy websites because of their lack of knowledge regarding source filtering and moderation. Consequently, these individuals arrive at websites that are of low-quality, reporting stories without any factual basis or witness testimony.
The Need for Moderation
It is surprising that 4chan was never blocked or blacklisted as an unreliable source by Google, considering their history and user base. Google has to understand that their algorithm lacks the ability to tell right from wrong and that at this point in time, human moderation is the only solution. Their past problems regarding the spread of fake news can no longer be shrugged off, their algorithms have showed that they are incapable of dealing with breaking news events and thus, it is in their best interest to implement humans into their decision-making process.
Social media does not compare to journalism nor does it try to. But for websites like Google to group news with social media is unjust and irresponsible. Journalists take their time to construct the stories have the proper education and knowledge that is required to do so. They know how to develop and present a story from getting witness accounts to providing essential data to supplement their points.
Google was responsible for displaying false reports on the tragedy in Las Vegas, underlying their failure to manage information properly. Social media is great for interacting with friends and providing opinions on stories and events, but it should stay at just that. Websites like Reddit, Facebook, and 4chan have no place in the realm of news dissemination because of the lack of control and moderation they have over the content posted.
After acknowledging their involvement in spreading fake news, Google announced that they were going to try moderating the circulation of fake news by allowing users to report misleading content to improve the algorithmic results (Hern, 2017). They also said that they would refine their search engine to provide more trustworthy pages and less low-quality content in response to the spread of fake news. Google continues to rely heavily on algorithms to provide news to their readers, but with the growing amount of digital news, it would be in their best interest to implement human moderators into the filtering and dissemination of the news content.
Chaykowski, K. (2017, October 2). Facebook And Google Still Have A ‘Fake News’ Problem, Las Vegas Shooting Reveals. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2017/10/02/facebook-and-google-still-have-a-fake-news-problem-las-vegas-shooting-reveals/#eed157d7138f
Hern, A. (2017, April 25). Google acts against fake news on search engine. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/25/google-launches-major-offensive-against-fake-news
Levin, S. (2017, October 2). Facebook and Google promote politicized fake news about Las Vegas shooter. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/02/las-vegas-shooting-facebook-google-fake-news-shooter
Madrigal, A. C. (2017, October 2). Google and Facebook Failed Us. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/10/google-and-facebook-have-failed-us/541794/
Ohlheiser, A. (2017, October 2). How far-right trolls named the wrong man as the Las Vegas shooter. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/10/02/how-far-right-trolls-named-the-wrong-man-as-the-las-vegas-shooter/?utm_term=.98ce6181bc5f
Shearer, E., & Gottfried, J. (2017, September 5). News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2017. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/pi_17-08-23_socialmediaupdate_0-02/
Sullivan, D. (2014, October 6). Google’s “In the News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites. Search Engine Land. Retrieved from https://searchengineland.com/googles-news-listings-beyond-traditional-205213
Thank you to Debbie for writing a very helpful and clear review of my website so far, I will definitely take all of her points into consideration. To make my process post easy to follow along with Dickwitz’s peer review, I have made my headings the same as hers. This way, each response that I have can be automatically traced to her suggestions, recommendations, and overall critique.
At First look
I am happy that she liked the front page of the blog, although I think she may have been done some of the review while I was in the editing process throughout the week. In case you did not know, I will fill you in. Over the past week, I have been trying to elevate the look and feel of my website so I tested out new themes to see if any were better fitted to my blog. Short answer: no. I went through several (at least 3) different themes, customized them, and came to the conclusion that TwentySeventeen, although the default theme, best represents The Life of Pip. I say this because it has the video header, it has room on the side for my custom widgets, it has room for my featured images, and it works best with the typography. I also realized while going through the themes that I am only able to download the free ones because I do not have pro and I don’t even know if I would pay for it. I did still end up changing my blog, even though I reverted back to my original theme. I made sure that the background was of dog art, while the video is still the first element of the website that shows up.
I can understand what Debbie is saying about the typography not meshing well with the article content, so I may end up changing the font from Life Savers to Raleway. I liked the font because it was fun to read, but from her point of view, I can understand that maybe fun isn’t always the number one priority. I am thankful for her insight because although I have been sending my blog to my friends and family, they have not said anything about the font. Keep in mind that they could possibly be ignoring the messages.
Coding is probably my biggest issue so I have to figure out a way to, like she said, move the images to the left of the article to tidy up space. I am happy however, that Debbie liked my featured images because I worked really hard to make those.
I decided to start editing each featured image on Photoshop to add consistency to my content. What I am now doing is adding the desired image to a 1200×800 pixel .PSD file I have saved which I use as a template. It has the frame and bottom left paw print on it and all I do is add the image, resize it, and change the frame color. In doing so, I like that I have more consistency and flow amongst my content and that there’s some hint of outside color that I don’t usually use. It was hard when I first started using it because this was when I was acting very bipolar with the theme customizations and I had changed the canvas size of the .PSD file, which resulted in me having to reshape the frame and the paw print. I had to do this at least 3 times, which took at least an hour in total. I finally came back to my original theme and stuck to the 1200×800 pixel canvas size, which works really well for the theme.
I absolutely get what Debbie was saying about the Posts or Categories title coming up at the top of the pages, I am heavily annoyed by this. I have to figure out how to remove these because they’re annoying to me.
I liked her point about capitalizing PIP in the titles because she said it wasn’t so clear, and coming from someone in the class, if she is unclear, imagine the audience outside of the class. I am going to try to fix the galleries on my blog because at the moment, I am confused as to whether I want a gallery for the PIPtures or just posts in which I add media. But I do like her suggestion about the 6×6 gallery instead of the 4×3 because of how much space it would take up, leaving little empty.
My Experience So Far
For me, the hardest part I am having with this whole course is the design of the blog because I find myself doubting everything I do each class. Its very hard having to edit the design and then suddenly hate it and revert back, I also hate that I’m somewhat limited in what I can do because I am not a pro user (Thanks WordPress). Content comes easier to me because I can easily express my feeling through words. If I ever have a thought, I quickly type it into my notes app on my phone or computer, which I am currently typing this post into at the moment.
Thanks to Debbie, I have a better insight of what my blog looks like to the audience. I really appreciate her feedback because much of it was news to me and she made it really clear what I could gain from making those changes. And thanks for those funny moments in the review when you talk about the adorableness of my dog, DITTO DEBBIE DICKWITZ.
Pippen’s late-night walks have been going great. Me and my cousins have been going everyday for the most part, which is great because anytime I see Pippen not doing anything, I feel terrible because if I was in his position, I would not want to be left to do nothing.
He deserves to interact with his surroundings, I should not be a barrier to him, I should be his biggest supporter and tallest platform. My brothers haven’t been walking Pippen since the beginning of fall, due to school and work. I find their reasons to be the highest level of BS because I myself am in the same predicament. I would rather not fight with them, but my issue is that they are not putting in as much work or even any work for that matter. I just want them to put the work in, to take Pippen out to the backyard or to just engage with him in general on an hourly basis like myself.
Pippen’s turning 4! I’m excited but scared at the same time. I don’t want him to get old. I find myself thinking about the future and what it holds for Pippen. I have to stop thinking about Pippen growing old and dog age in general because it gets really depressing. I know you’re supposed to live in the moment but my plans and goals for the future involve and require that he is there. I love my dog, I will forever be indebted to my parents, not because of the gifts they bought me growing up but because they brought Pippen into my life. Animals as a whole are beautiful creatures and we should be doing our best to make sure that we’re all accounted for on earth. I saw a Jane Goodall interview on Jimmy Fallon and they were speaking about a moment in one of her National Geographic documentaries when an ape that Goodall had saved was being released back into the wild. Just before the ape left, they tightly hugged Goodall, showing their love and appreciation for what she did. I have attached the following video below.
I emailed BarkBox and asked them if they would be able to deliver the October package a bit early because the packages usually tend to come in the last week of the month and because Pippen and my brother’s joint birthday party will be any time from the 20th to the 22nd (my mother is undecided), it would be more meaningful for them to arrive early. I even offered to pay more if they could add a birthday gift. To my surprise, I got a response from them last week saying that they would be delighted to send him a FREE gift. The key word there is FREE. I’m excited for his birthday because I saw the treat/dog cake that they’re sending over and it’s gonna be great seeing his expression.
For more information on BarkBox, visit their website: www.barkbox.com
In today’s lecture, we spoke about the pros of inputting ads into our blogs. I feel like at this point, this blog does not have enough of an audience yet. Although I am able to post content on a weekly basis, my main issue is the layout and design of my blog. I don’t think that it has enough intrigue to draw the audience in. Once the design and layout of the blog is better, I could see myself working harder to reach a larger audience.
I think that The Life of Pip could definitely be a blog with ads because as a dog lover myself, I value the opinions of other dog lovers. Of course I don’t just take the opinions of people on the Internet but there are instances where I will be curious about ingredients, foods, or products that I can use on Pippen. I would never advertise anything that Pippen does not use himself and one that is not approved by his veterinarian because I myself am simply a dog lover, I do not have the educational background to evaluate what is safe and what is not.
Currently, I have inserted an html box with a BarkBox referral code. This is the closest I have gotten so far, in terms of reaching my audience and their wallet. But with BarkBox, I am not necessarily making any money because if someone joins the program, we both get one month for free, I make no money whatsoever. However, I do save money.
When I first opened your website, I noticed that your description under your title said “Indigenous perspective…” and I IMMEDIATELY knew who you were from the speed dating challenge during second week of classes. I think that the topic of your blog is so fresh and different from other students, so you already have an edge. I do think that at the moment, you do not have a lot of visuals besides the one picture that is attached to the “Heart of a Wanderlust” post. It is not the picture itself that puts me off, it’s the black font on white background, with contrasting typefaces for the menu, the blog titles, and the author. I would consider adding pictures to all or most of your posts because your blog is so unique and you are essentially exploring your social environment so it would be nice to have some form of visual to go along with each.
Theme and Customizations
I don’t think it’s your theme that is off-putting, I feel like its the customizations that have made it a little awkward and not as eye-catching as it deserves. You have such amazing content that should be read because you’re speaking about the harsh realities of indigenous people like in your recent post, “Heart of a Wanderlust” where you speak about the pain that your parents suffered as children going through the residential schools and the good life you had as a child. If I was you, I would consider customizing the theme differently or changing the entire theme in general because I don’t feel like I as the audience am getting much from your website design. I like how you have a clear visual equilibrium in which your content is symmetrically aligned, like we discussed in the Mauve Page guest speaker lecture. There is a lot of white space, which I would absolutely recommend coming up with a solution for. Don’t fret too much because this is a major issue for many people in the class and in some cases, like my own, coding is the only solution. Either try to add a bold background to amplify your text or add more pictures to your blog posts. I would also like to add that with your theme or customization, the picture attached to “Heart of a Wanderlust” looks like it is the site wide main background picture when it isn’t. I would consider having a design process set in mind. Try to map out how you want your blog posts to appear because right now, it seems a little unorganized.
I would suggest deciding two or three fonts that are related to one another or mesh well and stick with them for the remainder of your website because from what I see right now, each element of your blog has a differing typeface. You have a different typeface for the title, the menu, the blog titles, and the blog authors. If you were able to minimize the amount of typefaces you use, I think that your blog would be so effective and more cohesive as a whole. There isn’t really a typeface that I think is better than the other, I think they’re all great, it just comes down to picking the ones that you like best. Having too many can be confusing and definitely sticks out, I was able to see the difference almost immediately. Also, I would change the way that your website description, “Indigenous perspective of media and social encounters” appears on the page because at the moment, it is very awkward. Dickwitz Does Canada looks fine but when the description comes underneath it, it just does not look polished for some reason. I would either center it or make it so that the title and description appear on one line each because I feel like if you made the description appear on one full line while the title DDC appears on three, it would not make as much sense.
I think that inserting the “read more” break into your text definitely minimized the amount of reading and space that the blogs take up on the front page. However, I would recommend inserting them at better places throughout the posts because at the moment, the text breaks off mid-sentence and it doesn’t quite make sense. I think that doing that once or twice is okay because it adds a sense of mystery but doing it more can be a bit overwhelming and confusing at times. I will give you credit for having your titular picture be aligned properly to your blog post, this goes back to your symmetrical layout according to the visual equilibrium.
The spacing between each blog post is a little awkward, which makes it hard to understand where one post ends, there is too much space in between the date of the post and the content of the post.
Social Media Integration
At the moment, I don’t see any social media being integrated into your website. If you don’t know how to add them, head over to plugins and install one. I would recommend Instagram if you were looking to emphasize the visual aspect of your blog but since all I see is mainly text, I think maybe Twitter might be a good choice. You have a great way of writing, as I saw with your “Heart of Wanderlust” post and I think that if you can be concise with your words, you should aim for a Twitter plugin.
I noticed that under each blog post title, it says your name which I don’t think is necessary considering the entire blog and content is being written by you. It’s repetitive and makes me, the audience, think that you’re not responsible for every post on the blog. Below the author name, it has the date and number of comments on top of the actual blog content, which I think is also unnecessary, although if you choose to keep this, I would put it under the content so it blends better together. I feel like when it is over top of the content of the post, it takes away from it.
In regard to your menu, I think that it might be a little minimal at this point in time. I would consider adding one or two more categories to give your readers a feel of the content because right now, you have your About, Home (which does not necessarily constitute a page), and #POSIEL which is the course posts. You should have a place for your blog posts that are separate from the course content so that readers can navigate quick and easy to the stuff they want to read about. I don’t know if you are aware that when you hover over #POSIEL, the Process Blog title heads too far right and gets into the picture which is a tad off-putting. I would figure out a way to reel it in more because there definitely is space for it.
I think that maybe the About page should be at the top of bottom, but I would suggest not putting it in the middle because its different from your content as it introduces you to the author. It should be very easy to spot for the reader when they are accessing your blog. Also, I do not know whether Ariel spoke to your tutorial about adding a picture to the About page to make it more relatable but Suzanne definitely spoke to us about that. I would recommend adding one to your page so that you can add a face to the beautiful writing.
For the most part, your website is very accessible and similar across all platforms. Once again, I think that you should consider adjusting how your posts pop up because the date and author are taking up too much space and then there is also the problem of too much space between the post title and the content. I think the white background with black text and different typeface doesn’t work well when considering the mobility of the website because it just doesn’t separate the titles from the content that well. It’s the font sizes that save the audience from knowing what is what. I would suggest continually looking at mobile viewing websites like Screenlfly (www.quirktools.com/screenfly/) so that you are up to date with how your website is appearing across different platforms.
I have nothing bad to say about the content, it’s absolutely amazing and different from anything I have read so far. I think the only problems with your blog are related to design. By fine-tuning the design issues, I think that you can get a much bigger audience because at the moment, your blog looks very unfinished. I think that this has somewhat to do with the black text on the white background, it comes off too plain.