What Makes an Online Community?

July 18, 2017

We live in a generation where it seems as though someone’s worth is based on the number of likes his or her photo gets or the number of Facebook friends they have. It’s these numbers that make social media and other online platforms so popular because it relies on its users to keep it going. Without its users, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram would probably be extinct. Interactions and connections make social media “social.” With that being said, I believe what makes a virtual community is having a participatory culture where users are not just users, but also producers of content. Take for instance, Youtubers, they are more than users of the platform, they are content creators. If nobody made Youtube videos, there would be nothing to watch. Remember back in 2013 the 6-second video app, Vine became so popular? It seemed like it grew over night. The number of users just kept growing and growing. While the app was an original concept at the time, what really made it so successful was the content their users were creating for each other. In 2016, the app officially closed down because Vine couldn’t keep up with competitors such as Instagram, which led to their users moving over to Instagram. This shows just how powerful and valuable users are. Users have more power and influence than they think. In addition, we as people like to feel a sense of belonging, which is why I think online communities allow like-minded people to share their thoughts and ideas with each other. For instance blogs or forums cater to a specific/niche demographic, which means its users already share something in common, creating a sense of community.

Dot.com to Dot BOMB!

July 13, 2017

The RISE: dot.com boom/bubble
During 1997-2001, the Internet was booming. Businesses began to use the web as a tool to reach an even bigger audience. It was during this time period that many Internet start-up companies were started, such as Google and Amazon. The creation of the World Wide Web and the Mosaic Web browser were critical in the growth of the Internet. Investors were so excited about the online world, that they invested in any company ending in .com. This is how the dot com "bubble" came to be in the stock market. The stock market had peaked and then dropped by a significant percentage, which is what led to the bust.

The FALL: dot.com bomb/bust 
In 2000, when the stock market crashed, so did many online companies. Companies were reportedly losing millions of dollars a quarter. It's crazy how fast the Web went from being so valuable and profitable, to now being a failure, in terms of investors and start-up companies losing their money. To put into perspective just how devastating this was for Internet companies, during the Super Bowl in 2000, 17 web companies spent around $44 million for their ads to be featured in commercials. In the following year, only 3 web companies paid for ad commercials in the next Super Bowl. Companies such as Pets.com completely shut down. Approximately 48% of dot com companies survived the bust, such as Amazon, eBay, and Google, who are still dominating. It's mind-boggling and surreal that a majority of online companies went under. Even thought I was only 5 years old during all of this, I can't imagine what it must of been like for working adults.

External Source: http://time.com/3741681/2000-dotcom-stock-bust/

Startup.com Documentary

July 13, 2017

In class today we watched a documentary, "Startup.com" which follows two young men who set out to create an Internet start-up company. The two men are Kaleil and Tom, who have known each other since high school. The documentary follows the birth of their company, to the rise, and ultimately the fall of the company. Their idea was to create a website that would allow people to pay fees owed to the government, such as traffic tickets online, rather than having to pay in-person.  Kaleil and Tom said that they're not trying to replace the government, but they want to help facilitate government processes. The company was created in 1999 and was named govWorks.com. In the beginning, they only had 30 employees, but as the company continued to grow, so did the number of employees. Within a year, they now had roughly 200 employees. During the film, there's a point where it seems like Kaleil and Tom have reached success. The value of the company was around 50 million. Kaleil was featured on magazines, TV appearances, and even had the honor of meeting former President Bill Clinton. This was during the dot.com boom, which was when investors were investing lots of money into Internet start-ups. But what goes up, must come down. Towards the end of the film, we start to see the fall of their company, which was due to the dot.com bust. This period of time hurt a lot of websites because the Internet was running out of company. This caused govWorks.com to sell their company to First Data Corporation. In the end, Kaleil and Tom made no money from their short-lived company.

This documentary was so intriguing to watch. Every bit of it was interesting and kept me wanting to know what would happen next. Rarely do we get to see the full process of how entrepreneurs start their business and everything that goes on behind the scenes. I appreciated the transparency. We as watchers saw everything, the good, bad and the ugly side of business.

Two Things I Would NEVER Buy Online!

July 11, 2017

There is no doubt that eCommerce (cough cough, Amazon) has changed the way we now shop. Literally anything you could ever want can be found on the Internet. The benefit to this is that you can find what you're looking for and have it delivered to your house without having to leave your house and drive to a store. Now the downside to online shopping is that you can't physically touch or see what the product looks like until it arrives at your door (thank goodness for return policies!). An item online may look completely different in person. With that said, I personally do enjoy shopping online. It has become one of the main ways I shop because of the convenience and I'm able to find more unique and specific items online than in-store.

But there are two things that I don't think I could ever justify buying online: cars and groceries. Call me old school, but when it comes to cars, I believe in trying before buying. In other words I need to see the car in person, test drive it, and assess if it is a good fit for me or not. Sure, online you can completely customize your car to whatever color you like, but what if when it arrives to you, you hate the color, or hate the way it feels driving, and so on. These are things that could be avoided if you were to go look at a car in-person rather than online. I feel like with items that are bigger purchases (ex: car, house, electronics), see it person before dropping all that cash on something. As for ordering groceries online, I will NEVER do it! For one, it's probably more expensive buying groceries online than it is to go to a store. Also when it comes to produce, how can you assure everything will come fresh? I'm the type of person who chooses food based on the expiration date; I always looks for the date that is furthest away. An online grocery store service most likely won't think to do that. Not only that, but online groceries means you'd have to wait a day for two for delivery, whereas in-person, you'd have your groceries right away. Those are my thoughts on what I would feel uncomfortable buying online.

Guest Speaker: Erik Hanberg

July 10, 2017

Todays class was a bit special because we had a guest speaker, Erik Hanberg, stop by. He shared with our class how he became his own boss, and talked about a few websites/companies he helped create. He admitted that although none of the companies completely failed, some were more successful than others, such as Side x Side, which is a marketing and design company started by him and his wife. Hanberg is also an author of several books and is also a commissioner on the Metro Parks Board of Tacoma. I appreciated his openness in sharing his experiences and his honesty because he didn't try to sugarcoat the process of becoming an entrepreneur, he gave us the reality of becoming your own boss. The biggest takeaway for me was that you have to be willing to put yourself out there and take a risk. Even if you face losses, you must stay motivated and continue to push forward. I've always said that I want to one day be my own boss, but I was afraid of failure. I realize now that failure is apart of the process, but what matters most is how fast you get back up and try again. As a senior, I'm still not quite sure what career path I'll take, but I hope that whatever I end up doing, that I will love what I do and become successful overtime. Hanberg's talk to the class was very insightful because we got firsthand knowledge and advice from someone who has done it before.

Defining Disintermediation and Singularity

July 09, 2017

What is Disintermediation?
According to Ruoshan Tao’s article, “The new middlemen: the eCommerce model,” he defines disintermediation as “the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain.” In other words, it means cutting out the middleman. Tao explains how the supply chain is changing and evolving due to the rise of ecommerce. He argues that while wholesalers remain a significant player in the supply chain, “In order to survive, they must provide a tangible value adding function that’s clear to their customers.” He goes on to say that getting rid of middlemen roles has created the rise of new intermediaries, using examples such as Amazon and eBay. Trust and convenience are the two main reasons why B2C firms are selling through hosted platforms. Good return policies and online reviews allow consumers to feel confident and safe by buying from reputable sites such as Amazon.

What is Singularity?
Singularity is the theory that one day artificial intelligence will surpass all human intelligence, and therefore change human civilization as we know it. In the article, “The Internet of Things and the Race to Singularity” written by Daniel Newman, he explains how singularity is beginning to happen right before our very eyes. The idea of technology taking over human intelligence sounds like science fiction, but technology is becoming more and more knowledgeable and in some cases knows us better than we know ourselves. Apps can track our sleep cycle, heart health, food intake, and so fourth. To show just how fast technology is advancing in intelligence, Newman briefly talks about a company that is planning to create a 3D digital alter ego that allows people to communicate to loved ones after death. How crazy is that? Singularity has an affect on all of us, even if we’re using technology a lot or a little, because we’re leaving our digital fingerprint behind.

Online Scavenger Hunt

July 05, 2017

Last thursday, we as a class did an online scavenger hunt where we had to find specific things on our checklist. This included us having to find the URLs and screenshots to prove we found what we were instructed to look for. Did I mention this was a timed scavenger hunt? The pressure was on! I partnered with my sister, Sinead and our method was to divide and conquer. Since we were on a time crunch, we created a Google Doc so that we could add in our parts live without waiting for each other to finish. I thought this assignment would be a piece of cake because how hard is finding urls. But I was wrong, because our professor was asking for VERY specific things like a full on itinerary for a family of six traveling to Disney in Hawaii. When our time was up, me and Sinead were able to find urls to most of the checklist, but there were a few that we missed. This assignment made me realize two things: 1.) Most of what we do on the Internet is through Google. Without Google as a resource, I would not have any idea how to get started with this scavenger hunt. We expect Google to have the answers to what we're looking for. 2.) Since the Internet is loaded with so much information (maybe too much of it), it can be harder to sift through everything in order to find what you're looking for. Overall, I thought this assignment was fun and interactive!

Making My First HTML Page

June 28, 2017

When I first found out that we had to make an HTML page for homework, I just about panicked because the coding looks so confusing and complex. I've created a few blogs in the past through Blogger and WordPress, and although I didn't have to learn HTML, I knew about it but felt too intimidated to tweak or mess with anything. It's quite amazing to me that a program as simple as Notepad or TextEdit can create a website. I think this exercise has made me appreciate people who create advanced websites from scratch because it takes knowledge, precision, and a lot of time. Although my HTML coding is very basic, I'm still impressed that I was able to actually create a responsive HTML page because prior it seemed like rocket science. I guess it just goes to show that if you're willing to learn something new, you can achieve things beyond your imagination. Most of my HTML codes are all working, except my background color code. As you can see in the image above of my coding, I used <body style="background-color:pink"> to make my background pink instead of white, but it didn't work. I'm wondering what I did wrong? Other than that, I was able to make my heading text move across the screen, which to be honest is annoying, but I wanted to see if using <marquee> would actually work. Also I was able to add a image of my dogs, which at first gave me trouble because I just pasted the URL from my Facebook. But I then realized I had to import the photo into PhotoBucket in order to get the HTML url code. Overall this was a cool learning experience and it definitely makes me want to learn more about HTML, and hopefully in the future I can advance my skills.

The Similarities and Differences Between Snail Mail and E-mail

June 20, 2017


Snail Mail (traditional mail):
  • Does not require internet access
  • Cost money 
  • Limited to one recipient per letter 
  • Takes time for the recipient to receive mail (up to a week)
  • The mail is tangible - you can send packages, not just letters
  • Requires Internet access
  • The cost is FREE! 
  • You can send the same email to multiple people at a time
  • Is fast - virtually no wait time
  • Limited to just text; not tangible items

  • Susceptible to receiving junk mail
  • Need an address (email address or shipping address)
  • Requires a mailbox
  • Goes through sorting systems 

First Post: What I Plan to Take Away From This Class

June 19, 2017

My hope for this class is to gain greater knowledge and appreciation for the technologies we have the privilege of using today. It wasn’t that long ago that we were watching movies on a VCR, listening to music on cassettes and CDs, texting using a flip phone, getting directions from a paper map, and this list could go on and on. Today, in 2017, virtually all of those things listed previously are a thing of the past, all thanks to the advancements in technology and the online world. Platforms such as YouTube and Netflix have significantly changed the way we watch TV and movies. The same can be said for music – rather than buying physical albums, most music is streamed and downloaded using iTunes and Spotify. When I’m driving, I always use my GPS app, Waze, even when I know where I’m going because it gives traffic updates and alerts in real-time. My dad always teases and tells me what would I do if I got my driver’s license during his day, when GPS was nonexistent. To be honest, I don’t know what I would do without GPS apps because I rely on it so heavily. I believe that’s true for technology as a whole, we as consumers have become so reliant and dependent on it. As great as technology is, I think it’s important to start from the basics by familiarizing ourselves with the history of how technology has evolved into what it is today, which I hope we will be able to discuss in class. I’m really looking forward to this class because I know these skills and lessons will carry on with us into our future endeavors/career fields.

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