In Chapter 3 Taylor brings up the term “Bored at Work Network” which to me defines certain times in one’s work schedule where there me a lag or, as stated in the book, “our diminishing attention spans” get the best of us. I have caught myself working on something diligently only to be distracted by a news alert on my phone or an email that may have come in on my personal account. For me I believe its the immediacy of wanting to know information as fast as possible and, in most cases, before anyone else.
It’s very interesting how Taylor mentions that the content that digital media is providing allows for “stolen moments on the job.” I know that this holds true for me. I usually don’t want to read “serious topics” that are “too weighty” as Taylor wrote because at times being at work is stressful enough and sometimes you’d like to see something positive or re-energizing that may make your day a little less stressful. Sometimes you want to just see the story of a dog that was a rescue and abused that transformed with the help of volunteers.
The “Bored at Work Network” to me always existed. Before there was digital media people would stand around a water cooler and talk about what was going in their lives, the world, etc. Maybe now, people are less inclined to do that and just stick with the digital media on their phone or computer. The social angle of the “Bored at Work Network” may have changed do to technology but this network has been around for a long time.
The online content farms are just a reiteration of what we discussed in class the other day. The idea that we can search for something like “how to bake a pumpkin pie” and their position is to somehow determine how to get the most money for this information. It is mainly a reliance on the interest of consumers. Our dependence on search engines such as Google are ultimately where these sites and media companies acquire their data. Depending on how many people inquire about how to make these pumpkin pies will give companies the idea of how much to charge big name companies like Target and Walmart for advertising to make sure that those items necessary are seen by those who show interest. This is what produces the eerie advertisement on you Facebook feed about butter and baking pans because you searched for it.
This explains why the other day, while in incognito mode on Google Chrome, I saw items that could be associated with items I ordered from Walmart show up in my advertisements. Despite me trying to hide my content and using another email address to place my order, I failed to realize that my Gmail account had been signed into on another tab. So because of this, regardless of my obviously failed attempt at secrecy, the information was made available to companies, including those I ordered from to promote and advertise products that may benefit me based on my recent purchases. It all makes sense, albeit creepy.
The “Bored at Work Network” is described as a group of digital media users, particularly those who are bored in offices or other jobs, that are able to access and use digital media such as news and entertainment on devices such as computers/laptops, tablets or smart phones. Jonah Peretti, the cofounder of the Huffington Post and founder of Buzzfeed describes the contents that members of the “Bored at Work Network” access as “easy to understand, easy to share, and includes a social imperative” (p. 99). In addition, priority is placed on how popular and how fast an idea can be shared and spread over its quality.
These days, when some users get bored, it is very easy to just take out smart phones or tablets to surf the Web, watch movies or video clips, listen to music, read news or e-books, or play games. The “Bored at Work Network” types of contents are mostly what users with limited time (such as stolen moments at work as mentioned by Taylor on p. 99) engage themselves in since these contents are usually the popular ones and do not take up much of the users’ time to understand them. Because we know that these contents are always with us on our devices, we are very likely to get distracted wherever we are, even when we are in school or at work. Some users who get bored at work deal with the boredom by checking social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They share news and videos that not only interest them but also those they think that are easy to share and those that they want to go viral.
Digital Dimes, is referred to the replacement of print advertising into online advertising. That is to say that when the Internet entered the market “ content started circulating freely online, print sales began to decline”(Taylor, Loc 1216). Digital advertising came as a replacement from regular advertisement; for example, craigslist serves the audience as a free website to publish, sell, and advertise, whatever is desired by an individuals means. One could easily find or post for free at speed of a few clicks. Meanwhile, printed advertisement is considered as the “analog dollar” it cost more, it requires investment and planning before going out to the public.
Thus, for an online advertisement to be profitable there must be at least thirty clicks to be equal to an online subscriber. The consequences of online blooming will continue to encounter new ways of turning the analog dollar into digital dime, which later on will evolve to pennies “trading analogue dollars for digital dimes for mobile pennies”.
Online Content farms are websites that traffic in appropriated content from other sources. This content is selected and prioritized according to the rank in search indices so that there is built in demand for it before it is even assembled. They consist of both reposts from other sites and quickly written articles by a horde of freelancers on subjects that can be algorithmically determined to have a high advertising value based on their popularity either in common search engines such as Google or Bing or on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Providers such as Demand Media and Buzzfeed are perhaps the most well known for this method of presenting news and information, though little of it can be truly deemed either newsworthy or informative.
Then again, as ever, there is a place for populist journalism and in the case of determining how popular content might be, it would seem there’s nothing more democratic than an algorithm. Much of what these sites provide is either already packaged elsewhere or based on whatever limited information may be available about a new or trending product, service or experience. In the case of Buzzfeed, the product is mostly the proclivities of people themselves as endless quizzes create an immersive experience that keeps the clicks coming on a site, pumping more revenue into their coffers. When search engine optimizers tweak content, they are basically trying to insert the words Google prioritizes as many times as is reasonable. While this practice is most associated with blogs and content farms, it is actually a part of the way almost any modern website is designed. Gaming social networks and search engines comes at a much lower cost than traditional advertising, but it relies of an initial devaluation of the meaning of content and a willingness to invest more time in data mining than content production.
Taylor Definitions Chapter3
The “Bored at Work Network” is a term created by Jonah Peretti, the CEO of BuzzFeed, and a co-founder of The Huffington Post. He defines this as information in a very simple way. He believes that the gained information should be “easy to understand, easy to share, and includes a social imperative”. In other words, it should be the type of content anyone can access and should not have trouble understanding the material. It also states the maker should be ready to sacrifice quality for popularity. This statement means that in order to gain major popularity, quantity wins over quality. Taylor also includes that the best ideas don’t always win as well as quality is not a growth strategy. If the readers are able to understand the material without having to overthink or over analyze the text, Peretti believes that it will benefit both the reader and the company.
Digital Churnalism, as described by Nick Davies (Chap 3, 88-89), is the use of non-original material (usually directly taken from PR generated press releases or wire copy). This material that is cobbled together from this marketing material, contains little to no actual news (as traditionally defined) or new information (based on defined journalistic practices). At the most, a website may add a paragraph to the pre-formed message or attach a link to the story & publish it to attrack new & more clicks to increase traffic & meet the quota set by main websites based on web-based traffic. Things like independent, in depth research, fact-checking, sources, citation, etc – are not being performed on the 88% of all articles we see online. This kind of shallow, speed based story generation does little to nothing to support traditional journalistic values, journalistic integrity or monitoring government/big business, or inform the public.
Milkman’s want/should conflict:
School Professor Katherine Milkman defines the want/should conflict as an act that is driven by impulse and quickly made by what we think we want, rather being guided by the things that are “deeply-rooted desires” and should want instead. She believes that although many people know what is better for them, they opt for a much faster option. The “should” options are often seen as duty and the “want” as pleasure. Milkman believes it is this very notion that occurs when taking in knowledge and information online. The things that motivate people to look up specific topics, or books, movies, are actually being deciphered based on data taken by previous searches. This allows for the same items to be viewed and increases the number of “want” versus “should” desires.
2.0 people, the new digital age generation. We are the people who have grown up with the understanding of new technology and how to use it most effectively. 2.0 people are different from those that came before them. This generation prefers having everything immediately at their fingertips.
They take in and process information differently. I like to think that most of this generation is well informed with the news but not by how a person would normally get it. For example, I get the most important news from being on social media. All the horrible events that took place in the last year or so, and the events that are still happening today, I find out about them through all of my social media platforms. I don’t have a news app nor do I watch the news. Surprisingly, the news found on there is very detailed and informative and more accurate than anything that is televised.
2.0 people are always connected to the Internet. If the elderly are having troubles with any technology, it is probably the 2.0 people they call to help them. When researching, 2.0 people are able to find what they need within minutes. The problem however might be finding the correct and accurate source. 2.0 people tend to like having things quickly, which can be a fault of the generation. The question of quality vs. quantity comes into play. Is it about how many different sources you can find or how much information can you find in one source?
This “digital native” generation is able to create whatever they please on all platforms and share their content immediately with one click of a button. There are no limits to what the 2.0 people can do with the Internet.
The term “churnalism” was first coined in 2008 by BBC journalist Waseem Zakir. It refers to the trend in journalism where reporters cobble together stories from wire copy and press releases rather than doing the actual investigation, research and fact checking. They may add a few quotes or comments and then “churn” it out to their readers.
While not limited to digital media sites, Taylor explains that because of the urgency and speed of the Internet, more journalists resort to these shortcuts online than in traditional print media. Taylor interviewed Nick Davies, a journalist who has been outspoken about “churnalism,” who said that a study in Britain found that only 12% of material found in the British press contained original reporting (Taylor, 89). A report was done in Baltimore in 2011 found similar results. Most new information came from traditional print media – very little from online media.
The main cause is the pressure on digital reporters to produce stories at a faster and faster rate while spending less money. The dangers are many in that the more often a story is reposted the easier it is for facts to be distorted. There is a huge margin of error in this type of reporting. And when a person is linked from one story to another, quite often the linked article is not current, causing the reader to be misinformed, even if it was correct at the time it was first posted.
The Huffington Post boasts of publishing over twelve hundred items per day (95) and in order to do that they demand their writers spend very little time on each story. And because page views determine advertising revenue, editors are pursuing subjects that they feel will get the most page views. They study what is trending and then writers pull together whatever sources they can and then churn out an abbreviated article. The Huffington Post is a perfect example of “churnalism”.