Posted by: Andrea | November 12, 2008

I’m on the NYtimes.com…kinda

So for my first foray into the world of digitized thought, I decided to comment on the Economix blog maintained by the NY Times online.   Another commenter even agreed with me.  Success!

I’m curious to see whether the significance of user interaction on the web page really is a two-way street.  We can all agree that the integration of a commenting feature on mass online media (from newsweek.com to youtube.com) has great benefits in terms of getting people fired up about the issue and invested in the piece.  But do authors really take their readers comments seriously?   Some would argue that because it’s so easy to write a “letter to the editor” nowadays through online commenting, the inherent value has been diluted.

In the Barack Obama transition website, www.change.gov , user commenting on the blog is not permitted.

In the NYTimes website, just about every article has a comment feature.  You can even search by author comments, or vote on recommending comments just like in digg.

CBC news actually features a number of user comments in the lower right of the webpage.

This new media class has me up at all hours of the night.   Today, we had the overnight editor for the NYTimes Hamilton Boardman speak to us.   Naturally, I’m completely enraptured by the idea of digitizing the news and I spend a good three hours trying to figure out why andreawong.com is some online computer retail store, what’s up with this whole search engine optimization concept (basically methods of driving traffic to your site in search engines), and whether economics really is just a fad buzzword that’ll eventually die out when the global economy finishes with its bust cycle and goes back into boom mode.

Posted by: Andrea | November 6, 2008

in case you were wondering…

…what went down for all the other election results on November 4, 2008, read on.  Oh yah, you forgot there were a whole list of other names to vote for….while everyone’s focusing on the President (who won in a landslide), I continued my foray into American politics to try and find out what happened in Congress and the Senate.  The best source of online information found so far?  Good ‘ol New York Times. I wanted to know this because everything I’ve been taught about American politics at grad school so far echoes the overall message of checks and balances.   The President can’t get anything done without the support of the House and the Senate, or so I’m told.  And, since this isn’t a Parliamentary system where towing the party line is paramount, I was curious to see just how much of a landslide the Obama victory represents.   Looks like it’s a pretty big one.  So, here it is:

  • House of Representatives:  58.4% democratic majority
  • Senate: 57% democratic majority
  • Presidential: 67.6% Obama win
Posted by: Andrea | November 5, 2008

the funniest and saddest pics of the day

Posted by: Andrea | November 4, 2008

politics geek, meet tech geek.

Thanks to coveritlive.comThe Morningside Post has assembled a team of international graduate students (and a number of faculty, as well) in the public affairs to comment on the election results as they are revealed. Check it out here.

Posted by: Andrea | October 30, 2008

discovering adobe photoshop

I’ve been playing around with different media tools, including adobe photoshop.  Top two favourite functions: the magic wand and the bandaid.  Who wouldn’t love something named that?

Posted by: Andrea | October 30, 2008

blog bog

My computer reads 2:08am and I still can’t go to sleep.   It’s a good thing that these bouts of insomnia i’ve been facing in the past 8 weeks have been mightily advantageous for the study habits.  I’ve been up all night trying to re-tag all my posts from 2003-present day now that I’ve learned the power of tagging.   The addictive drug that is blogging (combined with my perfectionist antigent that just can’t sleep until it’s all done) has been coursing through my veins, thanks to this new media class I’m taking at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University – the Wired World.   After having meandered through my professor’s social networking bookmarks, I stumbled upon (ha,) this great article on the top female bloggers in the world.  I hadn’t even thought about the gender gap, or any demographic gap in this new breed of online journalism, but it makes a little sense given the predisposition for techies and journalists to stick to their old-boys-club roots.   To be honest, I haven’t yet tested out whether there really is a glass ceiling for females and minorities in this brave new online world.   I wonder whether there are any “top male blogger” lists out there.  Doubtful.  But reading into the profiles and backgrounds on some of these she-bloggers has made me appreciate the legitimacy of this new industry even more.

Posted by: Andrea | October 29, 2008

wassup…you voting?

As the American presidential election day nears,  I’m finding it difficult to put my thumb on the prevailing mood of the country.  The only definitive observation I have is that everyone is worried.   Worried about inflows (jobs) and outflows (cost of living) and the rising of one without the other, the general consensus is that the nation is that frog that just realized it’s stuck inside a pot of boiling water.

Next Tuesday, about 231 million people will finally get the chance to weigh in on the issues.  Exercising the right to vote is about having the privilege to take part in the earliest form of collective action: government.  But something bothers me.  We’ve been discussing in our Wired World class about whether the proliferation of the media leads to a more well-rounded individual consumer or a more polarized one.  I’d surmise that for those individuals already on the wings of the political spectrum, they are pushed even further to the ends because they’re able to filter through and pre-set information to be fed to them that is targeted directly to their palettes.   However, for the median voter who is also undecidedly left or right, that’s where you provide them with the tools to become fully informed on all the issues.  Caveating that with being boundedly rational of course, and knowing that people just don’t have time to sit around and reading newspaper articles from the left and the right and the unknown, weigh their options through their intellectually robust minds and belief structures, then make a decision, we know that this is really where things matter.  The now very loud right and left can squawk as much as they want, but who really decides the fate of the nation is that swing vote.  This is not a new idea.

What is a new idea for me, however, is the observation that in the United States, the median voter is actually in the minority.  There are not many people here, from what I can tell, who are undecided.  And that’s what is scary.  Because even if there are 11 people in a population – and 5 people vote yes, 5 people vote no, then you really have one person who makes the decision.  (Of course, there aren’t 11 people in the USA, but humour me with this simplification to illustrate a point.)  The fundamental question is whether that one person is actually going to be informed and make the truly well-rounded decision, or if that one person is a disenfranchised citizen who is overwhelmed by all the squawking from the left and right that they just toss a coin.  And that’s it: the fate of the united states of america is decided by a coin toss.

So, median minority voter (who might very well be Joe plumber), if you’re reading this then I urge you to give a read through the Obama economic rescue plan and then compare it to the McCain economic issues platform.  Make an informed decision as best you can, and then relish the significance that democracy affords you.   No pressure.

—-

As an aside, remember those bud light commercials a while back?  Check this out – brilliant, absolutely brilliant.  If you’re wondering where I got this from, check out this great website called Shifting the Debate that graphs all the political videos floating around cyberspace based on where they stand in the political spectrum of things.  More than pretty colours, it’s a fantastic depiction for the breadth of internet media coverage.

Posted by: Andrea | October 21, 2008

the blog rolls on…

You might’ve noticed a few changes to this blog.  First, I imported a new header photo.  I figured that if I was going to make a full commitment to this new url, then I’d might as well make it as original as possible.  I put a photo of my fridge in Toronto, as a symbol of how my mind is – a clutter of memories, emotions, and ideas.  And that’s what you’ll get with this blog.  A great mess of everything.  I hope to continue with this project of photographing different people’s fridges…because i think it’s a great indicator of who they are, and tells a lot of stories just with that one snapshot.  Love it.

I’ve also spent the past two hours importing (and renaming) all the blog posts from my previous previous blog on blogspot.  There will be about a two year gap from when I was on squarespace, but unfortunately since squarespace shut down my account (they’ve started charging their bloggers) there doesn’t seem to be an easy way for me to important my blog posts from that era.   Going through my blogs from 2003 was like a stroll down memory lane.  I can see the progression of my maturity…from having “OMIGOODNESS” sprawled across the front line, to the depths of despair and loneliness, to intellectual musings.

Another thought hit me tonight as I was importing my posts: did you notice how there’s no software for people to just journal?  Not publish their thoughts on a blog, but just journal and keep it on their hard drive?  I wonder why that is…why there’s a need to make your thoughts public.  As I peruse through the other blogs of my peers (in the Wired World class) I’ve noticed that the majority of their posts are topical in nature.  That is, they’re actually saying something that’s outside of themselves.  I wonder whether the prioritization on introspection is a quirk that I need to shake in myself.

Anyways, enough procrastination from me tonight.  It’s 12:40am and I really should crack open those econ notes for my midterm on Monday.

Posted by: Andrea | October 21, 2008

Really cool advocacy vid from OSI

Don’t you love the map thingy?

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