Author Archives: Betty Hancock

Comment on The polarizing act of social media by Betty Hancock

I think it’s important that you pointed out the danger in being able to filter our newsfeeds and Twitter feeds to hide comments that oppose our views. I think this feature is really dangerous for people with unethical belief systems, and I think the ability to only look at news we agree with has the potential to really divide and dumb down our nation.

Field Trip

I particularly enjoyed our class trip for the final session. I was fascinated by the work that they’re doing to research the future of politics and health. I had no idea that office even existed or that being a futurist was even a thing, so it was a great way to expose me to something new. I would love to keep in touch and hear about their future public events. It sounds like a great opportunity for continued education, and I love keeping tabs on what’s going on in the world.

Thank you everyone for a lovely quarter! It was a pleasure getting to know each of you, and I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors at Stanford and beyond!

Comment on the cathartic public sphere by Betty Hancock

I’m a little surprised to hear you say that you think a lot of the content online is driven by corporate interest. On Reddit, everything is upvoted and downvoted by individual users, not corporations, right? And on Facebook and Twitter, most content is shared or re-tweeted by individuals, no? Sure there are ads and top news stories that are driven by corporate interests, but I’m not sure I understand your point about corporations and the online public sphere.

Comment on Thoughts 3/6 by Betty Hancock

I thought you might be interested to hear Yik Yak’s mission statement: “To create communities which allow anyone to connect and share information without having to know them. Post your jokes, thoughts, observations, questions, etc; just make sure that you’re posting is quality content.”

I don’t think their goal was to be a quality source of news or political action, I think they were more geared towards quality entertainment and community engagement.

Social Media and Protesting

Respond to this quote from last week’s reading: “It seems most likely that the virtual public sphere brought about by [computer–mediated communication] will serve a cathartic role, allowing the public to feel involved rather than to advance actual participation.”

I was interested last week to hear Professor Rheingold’s comments about The Smart Mob and the overall sentiment from the class that social media has created better opportunities for collective action and political protesting.

In the same week, my COMM 1A class was discussing political protesting, and Professor Iyengar gave a lecture about social media and protests, and he seemed to think that the jury was still out on whether or not social media really made protesting any easier/better.

The Civil Rights movement took place before the Internet and social media, yet Americans used protesting and riots very effectively to rally support for their cause. I wonder how the Civil Rights movement would have looked differently if they’d had social media to rally support for their cause.

I think the Internet and the online public sphere definitely makes it easy for information to spread, but I think it might make it harder for information to stand out. One has to gain a huge following in order to draw major attention to a cause on the Internet, and even if a particular cause gets a lot of attention online, the online news cycle moves so quickly that it’s hard for one event/cause to stay in the spotlight for long.

Comment on collective action on reddit by Betty Hancock

I was surprised to hear you say that on pages with about 14,000 users you feel like your thoughts are heard and you see the same names pop up over and over again in the comments. That seems like an awfully large community to me! Is that 14,000 active users all posting comments, or 14,000 readers some of which who comment and participate?

Comment on Why so judgy? by Betty Hancock

It’s interesting to me that you find that the number of likes and comments drives your attention to more popular posts. I love looking at my Instagram news feed but I hardly ever like posts or pay attention to the number of likes/comments.

Comment on Thoughts 2/25 by Betty Hancock

I thought that it was interesting that you brought up individual artistic exploration and earning money via Instagram in the same post. Do you think that it compromises their artistic integrity when people receive money to post photos wearing certain brands of clothing or showcasing certain products?

Personal Digital Networks

In your most active personal digital network, why would you say you choose to contribute? Do you think of users differently based on the amount of their activity? How do you think this varies across different social media platforms?

Of all my digital networks, I’m probably the most consistently active on Facebook, although I go through periods of inactivity. However, I’ve been a member of Facebook longer than any other social media site, and I have the most data on my Facebook profile compared to other social media profiles.

My motivations for contributing differ by the type of contribution. Most of the time, when I’m posting a status update or sharing a link, it’s because I’m trying to draw attention to a particular cause or event. Most of the time when I post photos, it’s because I realize that I haven’t posted any photos for months and my profile makes it look like I don’t have  a life. That or I don’t like my most recent tagged photos, so I don’t want them to be the first pictures people see when viewing my profile. Shallow, but true.

I ABSOLUTELY judge people based on the amount of activity on their Facebook. I’m really put off when I see that people are being overly active on Facebook. If people post daily status updates, leave comments everywhere, and seem to see every single post in their news feed, it makes me wonder why they have so much spare time to spend on Facebook. I often wonder why they don’t have anything better to do with their time. Harsh, but true.

This definitely varies across different platforms though. When I have friends that go on Snapchat 20 times a day, it doesn’t bother me as much. It’s a lot easier to send one quick snap than it is to post one whole status.