Session 7: How solutions happen

For this week, the link led me straight to reading about frighteningly ambitious start up ideas. After reading, I looked at the first question, which is “Who is Paul Graham?” His biography explained why he has so much to say, since Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor.  As an investor, Graham is one of the founders of Y Combinator that helps to fund startups, with past funding for familiar ones like Reddit, Weebly, and Posterous.

Paul definitely has some very ambitious ideas, some have been in the process of producing change (like Internet drama and how television shows can be viewed online as another option to cable television). One of the ideas I could expand on was his ideas to replace email. A way of bringing it back to its origins as a means of a to do list, I think email should have better filters or message managing. In sending the email, there should be more options to label what it is for. Sure we can do that ourselves and make folders for them, but I think the sender should play some part in message managing. Popular labels could be: To Do, FYI, Updates. People are really forgetful these days, including myself, and I do blame technology for increasing my multitasking skills but also increasing my short attention. Having these labels would help manage our email messages. To Do labels could also have the option of setting due dates and reminders for the task to be done. FYI labels would have the option of sending a delivered confirmation when the message is received (just like the old UH mail). Special updates could have the option of an expiration date, which is personally beneficial for me because I have many updates for special deals and tend to forget them or miss them. Reminders would help so much.

My frighteningly ambitious idea is to get rid of all printed paper materials, mostly in regards to printed material like newspapers, magazines, books, and paperwork.  Since most of these mentioned are created digitally and have digital viewing options, why not just get rid of the hardcopy material?

What problems would it solve?

Getting rid of hardcopy material would definitely save the amount of trees for other paper product we can’t really do without like paper towels and tissues. Recycling paper does help to keep some trees standing, but I know for a fact that some paper or printed material are unrecyclable or are not accepted everywhere. Cleaning out my papers and such a few years ago, I was sorting through them and looking to see what I can put in the Oahu community recycling bins. What I had so much of were magazines, but these are actually considered trash along with junk mail, which usually has the same glossy paper as magazines and some books. I read about other paper material that are not easily recycled or not accepted everywhere. The article advised to reduce shredded paper as it decreases the length of paper fiber that usually shortens more and more the paper is recycled. If we can get rid of printed materials, it would reduce the trouble of recycling.

What problems would it create?

The idea of eliminating printed materials would create a problem of accessibility. Though most of these materials are availability digitally through the Internet by electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, e-readers, and the like, these devices are not owned or available to everyone. There is money, convenience, or electronic literacy and maybe more reasons that would prevent everyone from hopping on this idea. The economy is still pretty bad and electronic devices are not cheap. Many are also still comfortable with printed material and it may be more convenient for their access than digital means. The younger generation is of course more comfortable or better with digital material compared to the older generation. The youth grew up with many advances in technology and can easily us them, the elders mostly have not and cannot. I myself do prefer printed material at times over digital, especially reading novels, because I like holding them and being able to turn the page…or smell the paper. You can’t get that same experience of reading with digital material, especially for really old books.

What will help make my idea happen with the SII?

Invisible pipes’ first blog to define the social information infrastructure provides examples that supported his interpretation of SII as “those technologies, programs, handheld devices, and most especially people that you interact…Without out each part, you wouldn’t have information, infrastructure, or a social aspect”. Now I do not have that much information about e-readers because I don’t own one, but I have done some research about Kindles and Nooks, also asking around. The one element e-readers lack (and correct me if I’m wrong) to bring it into the social information infrastructure is the social aspect. In the first blog, we were asked to share a valuable item we found on the web because of the action of other people. Invisible pipes found out about the Lifehacker website through a recommendation on Facebook. Through Lifehacker, he read an article that led him to making money with the Amazon Mechanical Turk system. Would it be great if e-readers  or reader apps had the social aspect that would allow users to connect, share, and recommend reading material?

The other topic that would also support my idea would be Session 3: Why are people on the web? To put it simply, “people use the Web to discover relevant information”. I know that when you buy items online, they usually recommend similar material. On Spotify, a music streaming service, you can connect with users on Facebook to share playlists and recommending music for others. I believe the sharing aspect of Spotify can be applied to e-readers and the like, because people are likely to try recommended items by people they know.

Session 6: Grand Challenges

Focusing on local grand challenges for Hawaii, I would want to work more with CityCampHNL.  Last semester, I had the opportunity to collaborate and contribute in promoting them via press release, media alerts, and posts and engagement through social media for their unconference in December at UH. CityCampHNL is mainly about the alliance between government and citizens to find ways to use technology to shape the future of Honolulu. The meeting broke out into sessions with main topics of concern and then regrouping in the end for bigger discussion. On their website, CityCampHNL created a forum to choose the top topics based on accrued votes. In January, there was also a Hackathon contest to create useful applications for Hawaii based on the topics discussed back in December. Though action manifested through the creation of applications, big questions and concerns for CityCampHNL were met and solved but there is still much to be done and more problems to deal with in creating better communication and sharing open data in Hawaii. The efforts of CityCampHNL have really only begun.

Three main stakeholders in this grand challenge would be the following 

1)    citizens and journalists – people who have specific needs or concerns and voice them out to higher authority

2)    local government officials, municipal employees – people who hear the concerns and needs of the citizens

3)    Programmers/designers – people who know how to create the technology or applications to meet the needs of the citizens

(Ok, those are not just three but I think I have grouped them appropriately)

Distractions

1)    Citizens and journalists: there may be other concerns that take away their focus on innovative technology. There are other issues in Hawaii like homelessness, education, housing, food and agriculture, etc that need attention.

2)      Local government officials, municipal employees – similar to distractions for citizens and journalists. These topics are more like competing concerns than distractions.

3)      Programmers/designers – their talents are needed in almost every field of study, thus, it is a matter of getting their attention to help and have the passion or time

How to overcome these distractions

Each group of stakeholders need to consider the advantages of collaborating together to solve problems that don’t need to be problems. Other concerns that are distracting the stakeholders from giving their attention to CityCampHNL could think of ideas that solve those issues through the use of the unconference about innovative technology.

Looking at the idea forum, the top ideas are

–          Expanding online services: buying bus passes online, applying and paying for permits online, or registering  — saves people the time of going to the office in person, when there isn’t much available time to do so

–           A mobile bus app: making routes and wait times readily available – I heard there were a couple of apps already out, and this one in particular I found being shared on my Twitter feed: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dabus-the-oahu-bus-app/id503701268?mt=8

–          Passing an ordinance to provide data through API: the one who proposed this idea pointed out that it would be useless to come up with so many great ideas if we don’t have access to the data needed to make these applications work. Therefore, the data must be made available first before anything can happen.

Looking at the amount of votes for the top ideas makes them just as important pieces information as those found on Facebook with the same amount of “likes”.  It’s that kind of community-like support that will push these ideas out there and set them apart from others.

Google adwords

Keywords and phrases:

–          Foreign films hawaii

  • Global searches:  –
  • Local searches:  –

–          Special screenings

  • Global searches: 390
  • Local searches: 390

–          Local films hawaii

  • Global searches: –
  • Local searches: –

Three most frequently searched:

–          Foreign films

  • Global searches: 201,000
  • Local searches: 201,000

–          Local films

  • Global searches: 12,100
  • Local searches: 12, 100

–          Special screening

  • Global searches: 4,400
  • Local searches: 4,400

With Google already using your location to make searches more relevant, I can see how Google suggested similar keywords without the word “hawaii” included.  It also suggested “suggested screening” without an “s”, which means that people would probably search for a specific or one type of screening rather than several.

Session 5: Collaboration and coordination

We are at that point in this class where we have formed our GOMC teams and are making campaigns for our organizations. Most of the teams I have worked with in the past have involved real time, face-to-face, collaboration. I have also been in clubs where our schedules were so conflicting we held late night meetings on Yahoo messenger (who uses that anymore?). For sharing small pieces of information, e-mails and texting worked best, but I believe a group would always try to find the time for a in-person meeting for everyone to come together.

Nowadays, it can become even more difficult to make real time meetings. In fact, for some companies, it is normal to collaborate virtually due to the condition of their work environment and where the employees are located. The past readings and blogs brought up a few concepts that could be helpful to creating a successful virtual team. Two concepts that I found interesting were: cloud computing and social search.

Cloud computing or using cloud in the modern social infrastructure is one of the best applications invented. For virtual teams, sharing data is made easier through cloud storage. At one of my first internships, we had to work with files that were shared among several people to input and acquire data in the office. That is where I first discovered the beauty of Google docs and Dropbox. Google docs is accessible to anyone you give access to with a Gmail account. Then, there’s Dropbox that uses cloud storage. It’s free to sign up for 2GB of storage space, and I barely use it up with documents I save for school. For more space, you’d have to pay of course. You can download the application to your computer or several computers, even mobile devices. Drop in photos, documents, and videos, and anyone with access to that Dropbox also have access to all the files. This application could help more than emailing files to team members and renaming files then resending for the updated versions.

Social search is another helpful concept. Some social searches were being conducted at my team meeting when we were trying to find more information on AdWords and how to create campaigns, finding the right keywords to use, and finding out what exactly are negative keywords. We more or less followed the social model.

 

Three realistic ways to develop trust:

1)      Clearly define roles: giving each member in the group an equally contributing role to the team campaign. This way, jobs are not overlapping and each person knows exactly what he or she is doing.

2)      Discuss and clarify team goals: team members must all be on the same page and know where we all are as a whole at key points in time working towards the goal(s). This way, no one is left behind or is too ahead of anyone else in the group.

3)      Follow through: with any job, we are given tasks. Depending whether we follow through with those tasks determine whether we’ll be given more tasks to do, bigger tasks to accomplish, or whether future tasks will be passed on to someone else who can do them. Team work requires the members to be dependable. If someone can’t follow through with a task, how can that person be trusted to help the group succeed?

Fried and Wujec talks

Both Fried and Wujec made great points about productivity and working in teams. I laughed watching these videos because I could relate to what was being said. Taking an applicable idea from Fried, I do feel that having a few hours of uninterrupted time is a beautiful thing. For my GOMC group, I believe that we don’t need to be with each other a lot in order to get tasks done. I am totally fine with working separate and communicating information in our own times through email and such. However, I do value in-person meeting just to clarify on some things in real time and make sure we are all on the same page. From Wujec’s talk, I believe in prototyping or creating trial runs before actually pulling through with the final execution. You can’t expect to be right the first time, and if you are, you can always try other ways and may find those future tries to be even more successful. I can also comment a couple things that are a little unrealistic in their talks. For Fried, he said that social media isn’t that distracting to work, but he may be surprised at how easy social media makes it to be distracted…and just be social! Some people don’t have self-control sometimes to buckle down and do work, finding any excuse to not do it (me including). For Wujec, prototyping is good, however, some people just don’t have the time to do that. Sometimes you just have to dive straight into a task and give it all you got in a short amount of time. Kindergarteners have more time to prototype and make mistakes. They’re young and there are no real consequences for them taking more time.

Working in a few offices or having several working spaces, I find much of what Fried said about interruptions to be true or applicable to me. I have seen people at work, and have been one of those people, in their groove of accomplishing a task, until someone or a few people come with questions or requests. I have felt the pain of having to start over with a task because there was no time to place markers of where to pick up where it was left off. I have also been distracted in other ways at home or at the library with friends. At home, my parents seem to interrupt me at the worse times to do a task or there is just constant noise (aunties talking and laughing or my father doing construction outside my window) that hinders my productivity. Or at the library, with friends, I feel the need to interact with them and be social rather than do the homework in front of me (I’m so glad most of my friends have graduated hah). Long hours of no interruption is definitely needed for productivity, which I can only really get when I’m alone somewhere or with my headphones in my ears blocking out the sounds of the world with music.

My biggest fear…

Not having much face-to-face interaction with my group and our schedules being crazy busy during the week, I fear that our campaigns may fall through. It goes with that saying, “out of sight, out of mind” which would explain some of my delay with some assignments for this class. There are just other assignments right there in front of me, on paper, or announced by the teacher and classmates in person that sometimes makes it easy to forget these online assignments. If it weren’t for email feeds to my phone and subscription post notifications, I would be totally behind in this class. Some steps I can take is to be sure to plan accordingly, making time each week to stay on top of things and communicate with my team. Reminders from the instructor would also be nice, and also to tie in lessons back to the GOMC so we don’t forget it with other weekly assignments.

Session 4: Social information seeking

Social searches are pretty common in my job as a marketing intern. Recently, I was asked by my supervisor to search where to recycle computers.

1. What kind of information were you searching for?

I was looking for information about where to recycle computers on the island.

2. Did you talk with anyone before you searched?

I read the list of tasks my supervisor had for me that morning. She was working on something herself, so I just went ahead and searched. I already knew one place that accepted electronics: Best Buy.

3. What steps did you take to find this information?

I opened up Firefox and typed out “bestbuy.com”. On the homepage, I looked over the tabs to see where I would find information about recycling. Mousing my cursor over the tab “services” I looked at the drop list and found “recycling”. I clicked that link and was directed to their recycling information page. Looking down the list of items they accepted, I saw “computers”. Then, at the bottom of the page they have a section called “state restrictions”. I selected “Hawaii” from the list to view details of the local program for recycling electronics. It confirmed that they do take in computers locally. Perfect!

4. What did you do just after you searched?

After I searched, I also looked up “Oahu recycling electronics” on Google search and found information about the six locations on the island for recycling. Not every location accepted the same items, so one would have to call to confirm which was the closest location that accepts computers. There was also http://www.opala.org that listed free drop off locations (Best Buy included) and drop off events.

 5. If other people were nearby, were you interacting with them or were they influencing your search process?

My supervisor was there, but she was busy. I didn’t really ask her much about it. I just followed from her task list.

6. After you found the information, did you share it with anyone?If yes, how did you share it?

I just gave my supervisor the location of the nearest Best Buy and a link to Opala with more options for drop offs.

 

Based on my social search experience, I did break the “canonical social model” by skipping most of the information exchange parts. Information exchange was a little unnecessary for my search because I already had an idea of where to recycle computers and it wasn’t a difficult task to do on my own for the most part. I was given an idea to look into and reported back to my supervisor with details. Knowing to start at Best Buy’s website made this more of a transactional search, going through the website links and options to confirm recycling information.

 

The central technical challenge of Aardvark is to select the right user to answer questions from another user. In order to find the right one with the answers, Aardvark must learn about each users, the topics these people are known for and each person’s connections.

Pros

1)     Faster results for answers.

2)     Answers come from actual people.

Cons

1)     Not everyone uses those social channels. Perhaps more accurate answers could come from someone not included.

2)     Information could be shared that wasn’t intentional for the public.

 

Where art thou, Aardvark?

Aardvark evaluated through an experiment with Google, measuring how long it took for each search to find answers and rating the answers. Despite the results, the experiment only tested random Aardvark queries instead of more general questions that Google would more likely be able to answer.  According to Tech Crunch, best source I could find about Aardvark, it was bought by Google in February 2010 and the search was shutdown later in September 2011. However, Google used the Aardvark team to work on Google +. With the knowledge they have about social search and sharing information online, it makes sense how Google would utilize them.

Session 3: Why are people on the web?

The non-profit organization I would like to work with for the Google Online Marketing Challenge is the Hawaii International Film Festival (www.hiff.org). HIFF was established in 1981 initially as a project of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It has grown to be a premiere event that also established smaller festivals in a few other Hawaiian islands. The festival has a focus on discovering new and unique films about Asia and the Pacific, including films made right here in Hawaii by local filmmakers. HIFF also hold workshops and panels on films, music and other innovative entertainment.

HIFF’s core audience is composed of anyone interested in films, music, art, and culture, which is almost everyone and anyone. Being non-profit, the festival is funded through local sponsors and donations. Therefore, part of their audience also includes the people in the sponsors’ organization and their clients or customers.

Being a past intern doing outreach for HIFF, I have learned a lot more about their target audience. Aside from the arts, the films chosen for the festival have broader themes ranging from martial arts, sustainability, and even politics. It is my job to help reach out to local organizations who would be interested in watching these films. In the 2011 festival, I researched more about several sustainability organizations and forums to contact for the Green Screen films, which deal with the environment, going green, and about Hawaii’s unique plants and farming. Many of these organizations have little to no knowledge about the festival. Despite having a high attendance, there are still many who could be a part of the event.

Other than typing out the name of the organization into a search engine, the desired audience can find this organization through the possible combination of these five query words: 1) “film festival” 2) “Hawaii films” 3) “Pacific films” 4) “Asian films” 5) “student films”.  Assuming for a person to find HIFF, the search would mostly be about films and not other side programs or seminars that are offered.

Through evaluation of HIFF’s website, here are non-textual dimensions of relevance the desired audience would value:

1) Accessibility: The desired audience would want the most information to be available to them with a click of a button on the home page. The main menu bar is located at the top and bottom of the webpage, which is available on all other subpages.

2) Usability: The website is very user friendly. All information is sorted by category in the main menu bar at the top of the page and is accessible through every subpage in the website.

3) Validity: Information about the festival and their events should be up-to-date and correct on the website. During the festival, under the menu tab: “Films & Events”, there usually is a “Program Updates” section for any information about changes—cancels or additions—they make to the program. Some information and updates are also in the blogs and new releases.

4) Security: When filling out information for submitting films, purchasing tickets or membership, people are ensured that their personal information is as safe as it would be at any other website they input personal data.

5) Variety: There is a variety of media that provide information about the festival. The main page shows that HIFF has a blog with posts by several directors and writers. On the right, HIFF links you to all their social media and photos. New releases are made available under “Press” in the main menu about almost all events and programs in the festival. Also, under the same tab is a sub section that compiles articles about HIFF.

Suggestion for website:

HIFF has a great website, but there is always room for improvement. In order to increase traffic on their website with a wider variety in their audience is to include a page(s) identifying film sections and sub-themes of the festival. The sections may vary a little every year, but most of them remain the same. Examples of film sections are:

  • Art + Design: art, architectural design films
  • Film For Thought: films that evoke discussion
  • ACM Night: premiere of short films by students of the Academy of Creative Media at the University of Hawaii Manoa

Having a page dedicated to listing the categories and themes of the festival with brief descriptions of each would help the organization’s website to be found more through web searches. More information being shared on their website increases the chances for keyword matching with search query words.

Session 2: How ideas emerge and flow

Innovation is the main topic of the three readings for this week, with each focusing on different aspects of the concept. Wejnert’s Integrating Models of Diffusion of Innovations details the framework of how innovations are distributed and adopted. In great detail, Wejnert talks about the three components involved: the innovation, the innovator, and the environmental context. Each component contains certain characteristics that are also discussed. (To be honest, I was ambitious to take on the reading but had to refer to the Wikipedia link after a while; it was a good guide to keep me on track.) Taking small notes here and there for the other readings, I came to realize the connection for the three readings. Agre’s talk about leadership and professions deals with the people who create innovations and decide how they will be distributed. He says that “In a world without change or innovation, professions would not be so necessary.” Since change is always happening, professions are needed in various fields to help us make the world go round. Then, Hong talks about the how innovation itself is created and tailored to the needs of people, referring back to the Roger’s theory mentioned in the Wiki article and referenced by Wejnert. He answers a question about functionality and design of an innovation, both of which mostly go hand in hand. “At its core, interaction design is about understanding at a deep and visceral level the needs, desires, values, and processes of people, and then applying those insights in the creation of technology,” says Hong.  What he discusses is the key to making innovations that are adoptable.

The innovation I have chosen is none other than Google +.  It isn’t that popular…yet, but neither was Facebook in its early stages. I came across this video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC_M6PzXS9g) that helped me realize that Google + will eventually catch on. In the video, the speaker gets fed up with social networks and decides he doesn’t need any of it, most especially Google +. He then meets a social network guru who gives him more perspective about how he already uses various Google features: email, search engine, RSS feed. According to the guru, he and everyone else will eventually use it. I have had many friends who were against MySpace and Facebook and they eventually joined the bandwagon.  I recall talking to a Marketing professional about social networks a few months ago with my club. He was pleased that we prefer Facebook over Google +, because (and he is right) “everyone” is still on there. I say “everyone” not to include everyone I know, or who the professional and I both know, just everyone we know that utilize the social network. Learning more about Google + is important to me because I study about communication through public relations and multimedia. In the PR industry, or almost any kind of business, there is a growing focus on how to use social media to maintain a relationship between the organization and its public. I don’t want a career in working for Google + (maybe? someday perhaps) but I want be adaptable and be ready to possibly use it when I eventually work with an organization who needs someone to handle their social media.

Google + actually has some great features. I don’t have one, but I’ll tell you what I found about it. Here is a good article about the highlights: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-google-plus-2011-6 and more info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B.

  • For organizing friends, Google + allows sorting people into circles that helps for selective sharing.
  • There’s a feature called “Sparks” that works like Google reader and organizes the info feed according to topics.
  • Hangouts let you group video chat with people in your circles.
  • Messenger for group chats
  • Instant mobile photo uploads
  • Data liberation is a feature that allows the extracting of data out of Google in general. I learned more about it here: http://dataliberation.blogspot.com/2011/06/data-liberation-front-delivers-google.html

Some of these features do seem familiar from what I have seen on Facebook after the big changes last…fall, I believe. My friends with Google + have said that Facebook modeled the new changes after theirs, which is good to keep people from converting but it also made the site more cluttered. For organizations, I see the potential of Google + to be valuable, using all the features I have described to reach out to the public. Hangouts and Messenger are seem more appropriate to use among people in the organization who are not able to collaborate in person–those overseas or wherever.

Agre’s suggested approach focuses on leading a diffusion of innovations under one profession, while Wejnert talks about how adoption could occur when the criteria of characteristics are met perhaps despite the focus of profession. A person’s profession does not restrict the type of innovation to be embraced, though it does play a big role in the process. Each approach can help bring attention to Google + and probably have been already doing so. Wejnert’s approach provides a framework for the social network site to determine its potential adopters. Agre’s approach takes Google + into the hands of certain individuals to research, create and facilitate the outreach. Three other ways not mentioned to draw attention: 1) seminars at schools 2) setting up events via Google + for the users and doing massive promotion 3) internal organizational meetings using the site’s Messenger or Hangout. And Hong’s approach can bring focus not just on the user friendliness of Google + that everyone sees but deep in the fundamental framework beneath all that that makes it all work.

Session 1, Week 1: The Social Information Infrastructure

The Social Information Infrastructure: If an infrastructure alone consists of equipment necessary for human activity, then the social information infrastructure would contain all the necessary services and systems for long term sharing of information among human beings. Taking the social factor, among others, into consideration for the information infrastructure, Bowker et al says that:

“this vision requires adopting a long term rather than immediate timeframe and thinking about infrastructure not only in terms of human versus technological components but in terms of a set of interrelated social, organizational, and technical components or systems (whether the data will be shared, systems interoperable, standards proprietary, or maintenance and redesign factored in).” (Bowker et al, page 99)

Information is being shared daily, and with the infrastructure, it is able to be created and maintained effectively over a long period of time. For a definition, reports have focused more on the cyberinfrastructure that holds digital resources for easy use among the scientific domains.

In Erickson’s chapter, he touches more on this cyberinfrastructure, online side of social services, for sharing information in the main topic of “social computing”. Everything we do online supports the infrastructure by:

“providing communication mechanisms through which we can interact by talking and sharing information with one another, and by capturing, processing and displaying traces of our online actions and interactions that then serve as grist for further interaction.” (Erickson, chapter 4.1)

 

Erickson and Social Computing: Erickson’s chapter on “Social Computing” was easier to read and comprehend compared to the reading by Bowker et al due to the pictures and relatable content. For the most part, especially for understanding concepts, I am a visual learner. Pairing a picture to an idea helps me to understand and recall the idea better. Erickson uses Amazon to explain the social computing mechanism with screenshots of the website, which is relatable to me because I am familiar with the online service. I had thought the videos were going to enhance my learning, but they were a little bland and not stimulating. Referring more to the text, I found it easier to read because it was more concise than the reading by Bowker et al, however, not as in depth.

 

Valuable Item—Infographics:  There are many ways to generate a feed of information that we want to read about these days. We have subscriptions to blogs, email newsletters, magazines, etc. For me, always being on the go and never having much time to sit and read, I use Twitter to follow information I am interested in reading quickly and easily. Near the end of 2011, I found that there were many tweets involving “infographics”.

Infographics visually present information and data about different topics. One of the first ones I saw was retweeted (a post shared from another source on Twitter) by Online PR Media about Facebook effects on student grades: http://ansonalex.com/infographics/facebooks-effect-on-student-grades-new-study-infographic/.  I found this interesting because I too would probably count as an avid user of Facebook, and I wanted to see if there was an actual correlation to my performance in school. This led me to other Infographics about QR codes, Linked In, or even explaining the movie concept of Inception. Infographics are good ways of presenting facts and statistics about a topic in an engaging and stimulating way. In order for me to have found the Facebook Infographic, several social, technical and possibly some cultural practices had to have happen first.

Socially, information is being shared over the cyberinfrastructure instantly and quickly. You can see it happen in the social media on the Facebook and Twitter feeds—something is posted and is pushed down the feed within time as everyone else is posting information as well. These items are usually short and quick pieces of information, with a link to another blog or site, to process by others. A long post about a topic can be easily ignored for a short and easy to read post. First practice occurs when the trend of short and quick posts are recognized by those who want their information to be seen as well. The way information is being put out must change, to be shortened and eye-catching.

Second practice has to be technically change the way information is presented. For as long as I have been using Microsoft Office Word and Excel, I have been learning how to make Charts and using SmartArt to visually convey research and experiments at school. Variations of both Charts and SmartArt are being used now in Infographics, which are basically pictures matched to the information of the topic to create an engaging read. The tools for these Infographics have been around for years, and we’re now using them more through social media. When discussing the contemporary infrastructure, Bowker et al mention how information is “increasingly held in electronic form, and this is fast becoming the norm rather than the exception” (104). The form of Infographics definitely provides for easy distribution throughout the web.

Culturally, we are currently in the social media age that adds on a system/service to the way we communicate and exchange information. The third practice is figuring out how to adapt and dispense out information easily through Infographics in the media, which will broaden the outreach in the culture of social media. Part of the social media outreach is each person’s option to share the information—by clicking “Share” on Facebook, “Retweet” on Twitter, or even “Reblog” on WordPress. Without that option to share, I might not have seen that Facebook Infographic, its blog of other Infographics, or a few others shared on my Twitter feed. Since information on these feeds can be easily lost, the fourth practice that comes in to play is posting these Inforgraphics to the blogs. Having a blogs sets a place of storage for future reference, and takes the audience away from the feeds. And last, the final practice is allowing comments on the blogs. This practice goes along with Erickson’s section about Wikipedia with identity and communication (4.5). The community is able to participate with a username and provide feedback for the information being shared, but unlike Wikipedia, no one but the creator is allowed to change information presented in an Infographic.

 

Bacon Cat: Finding that post about the Facebook Infographic was not a Bacon Cat occurrence. It was reposted by a few others but it probably was not as popular as random items like bacon cat among other Internet memes. Bacon cat is something I would find on websites like StumbleUpon or Tumblr, where I find a funny or well known meme that everyone loves and shares out of pure entertainment. For bacon cat to be popular, all it takes is just one person to post it and another to find it interesting enough to repost. Each person in their social network sites share information with people in their separate but somewhat interweaving community of friends. Bacon cat’s popularity is dependent on the individuals in the community and the time period for it to be found. Simply posting and reposting is only one part of the actions I have discussed about Infographics. However, though these actions are simple and not so much premeditated, that is how easy bacon cat achieves popularity. Depending on the social network site, I think I could find more useful items on Twitter compared to other sites like StumbleUpon and Tumblr through the actions of others.