Social Service Websites I Support:

In class today we all shared different social service websites that we support and feel raise awareness or bring help to social problems that we support.  I spoke about Children’s Friend and Family Services located in Salem, Massachusetts.  Their current mission statement is, “To improve the lives of children and promote strong families by partnering with community organizations to provide services to strengthen individuals, families, and community life.”  I feel this is an extremely influential and beneficial cause for the New England area and they have had so many success stories from parent to parent counseling, mental health counseling, juvenile court services etc.  Another organization that I strongly support is Christopher’s Haven located in Boston, Massachusetts.  Their mission statement is, “to make a tangible difference in the day-to-day lives of children and the families who bring them to the MassGeneral Hospital for Children for cancer treatment by providing comfortable housing and a supportive community.”  This organization has changed the lives of so many families and made some of the most challenging situations much more comfortable in an extremely loving and supportive community.  Both organizations are very important to me and I think they could use everyone’s support.  Christopher’s Haven is now on facebook but neither website have a lot of media support, and could definitely use more to get their name started.  Look over the sites and let me know what you think, thanks!

http://www.childrensfriend.net/

http://www.christophershaven.org/

March 23, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?

Wikipedia has become the 17th most popular website on the internet and has basically replaced the need for an encyclopedia.  The article, “Know it All” in the New Yorker discusses how it is transforming the internet and the ability to retrieve information.  It goes on to discuss how Wikipedia has no physical limits like any Britannica type encyclopedia and that the possibilities are endless. “The how-to entries represent territory that the encyclopedia has not claimed since the eighteenth century” Wikipedia is able to address specific problems, recipes, and give information on almost any topic imaginable.  Wikipedia also acts a filter for google searches and sorts through necessary and unnecessary information, however it pays back by offering related sites to go to in order to find more information on the topic.  The creator of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, says that he is on a mission to “distribute a free encyclopedia to every single person on the planet in their own language,” and to an astonishing degree he is succeeding.  They also address the fact that sometimes Wikipedia may not be entirely accurate but it is basically as close as you will get, the media and and other encyclopedias are often wrong, but Wikipedia is an internet platform where information can be edited and sent out again instantaneously.  This was a very interesting article that I suggest everyone read!

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/07/31/060731fa_fact

March 22, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Quiz Camp Day 2: Solutions

For our second day of Quiz Camp we went over the possible solutions to our problem focused on the vast and increasing number of residential foreclosures in Winter Park.  Some of the solutions we came up with are as follows:

– decreasing interest rates

– mortgage companies should take more care in checking their clients background/credit history

– EDUCATE THE CONSUMER

Educational Loan Programs

* high school, college, courses offered by the bank

* GenEd requirement?

Design 99

*public art project

purchase homes for under $1,000

– HAMP

*Gov. Program

*Lower mortgage payments

*owners pay no more than 31% of their monthly income

WHAT WE (Rollins Students) CAN DO

create a charitable organization that purchases and refurbishes foreclosed homes

– fundraisers, posters, blogging

– raise awareness through the media – facebook, twitter, flickr

-we created a twitter account, please follow us! @4closurecliq

March 6, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Interesting Websites and Research Done on Residential Foreclosures

In addition I was able to find some interesting websites to show that the problem is extremely visible in our media today:

http://realestate.yahoo.com/search/Florida/Winter_Park/foreclosures

http://www.realestatechannel.com/us-markets/residential-real-estate-1/real-estate-news-and-realtytrac-2009-foreclosures-saccacio-and-florida-nevada-home-foreclosures-1940.php

http://patrick.net/housing/crash.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_estate_bubble

There are so many different websites describing the problems at hand, from families losing homes and jobs leading to foreclosure, and then crash of the real estate market as a whole.

There are also a number of websites that give you an idea, opinion or important concept to keep in mind with the current real estate market crisis as well as a forecast of what there is to come in the future.  However it is hard to really know how long it will take for the market to bounce back.

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/retirement-planning/article/real-estate-forecast-3-things-to-know-about-the-housing-market/315696/

http://www.housingpredictor.com/

http://www.realtor.org/research/reinsights/forecast

March 2, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Quiz Camp: Residential Foreclosures in Winter Park

Today in class we discussed the issue of the rising residential foreclosures in Winter Park, FL and tried to come up with reasons behind it, areas that need to be changed, and solutions for the futures.  Our group discussion today resulted in some very interesting discourse and some ideas that I had not thought of before, I felt it was very constructive.

As a group we used Stuart Hall’s communication model as a starting point to look deeper into our research problem, this involved bringing the issue into visibility and allowing many-to-many communication about the issue occur.  Our first day of work was focused mainly on mapping out the general problem.  We came up with: The number of foreclosures in Winter Park, leaving families homeless, disrupts families schools neighborhoods and communities, ruins personal credit and prevents people from buying houses in the future, the real estate market crashes and the prices of houses decrease.

Our second issue involved the stakeholders in the problem.  We felt it was difficult to determine who was the good guy and who was the bad guy in this scenario because it can be seen from multiple perspectives.  However, those involved include: the state, real estate market agents, local businesses, home owners, families, the government, law enforcement etc.  Our third issue covered the structural issues involved which we felt included the need for mortgage policy to be changed to a stricter process on what you need to take out a loan, and to discover why and where foreclosures are happening.

The next topic was about dominant ideology in our problem which I found very interesting.  There is an American Dream ideal where American’s aspire to live a greater life than their parents did or that they may necessarily be able to afford.  In general it is a good outlook to strive to the best of your ability but it is also very important to be conscious of your decisions.  Mortgage companies also got very caught up in making money and were so quick to give out loans and mortgages to people without enough questioning or information.  We live in a very consumer driven society based on credit cards where people are capable of spending money they don’t have with this false sense of security that it will all work out.  There is also an extreme misconception of what it means to own a house, many people don’t own their houses for 20 years, it is important not to forget that until you pay off your mortgage your house belongs to the bank.

We next discussed the underlying assumptions surrounding foreclosures in Winter Park.  From a distance Winter Park comes off as a very ritzy and wealthy area however there are parts of it where this is far from true.  Mortgage companies may have also put too much trust in their clients and assumed they would keep their jobs and have no issue paying off their loans.  Beyond that bankruptcy brings up a number of issues and may prevent the person from bringing back up their credit score which could prevent them from owning or renting a home again.  There is also an assumption that these people or families will find somewhere else to live, but who is to say that they have another place to go or even a car that can get them there?

After doing some research we found that the issue of residential foreclosures is definitely visible.  There are foreclosure signs on houses, there are websites that show houses for sale after foreclosures, and there are even maps of the area that show where houses have gone for foreclosure.  We also see on the news stories about the rise in foreclosures and the issue of homelessness increasing.  However there is also an invisible side to it, it is sometimes hard to know if someone is having credit issues or trouble paying for their house.  It can be easy to mask your financial status and how much you may have actually paid for your house.

In conclusion our group was definitely able to identify the key problems surrounding residential foreclosures in Winter Park and on Thursday we will have hopefully come up with a number of ideas and solutions to help eliminate the problem of foreclosures in our city.

March 2, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

flickr

I am still getting used to the flickr site and working my way around it.  I feel like the site is very simple and easy to use, and has no excess frills.  However, I do not love the idea of posting personal pictures to strangers on the internet it makes me concerned for safety reasons or just general privacy.  I think the site is a good idea to post pictures of interesting places you’ve been or pictures of social society or issues that need to be addressed.  I also think it’s very interesting that the site has been used for major news stations to receive breaking news pictures that people post from camera phones at the scene of events.  I am interested to see if my opinion of Flickr changes seeing that I am now an avid Twitter user, however I think that I normally enjoy social networks where I can connect with friends of mine, rather than all of cyber space.

February 26, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Twitter Demo Day

Today in class we shared our twitter accounts and were asked to connect them to our wordpress blogs.  I have said in past posts that I think that any information you post on the internet you should be comfortable sharing with anyone because it is so easily accessible.  I felt like quite the hypocrite today when we were asked to make our twitter accounts public in order for our classmates to access them from our blogs.  I chose to create a second twitter account for the class relating solely to media however I was still very happy to accept classmates to my social twitter.  While I wouldn’t be that concerned if my account was public there is sort of a sense of security in having that privacy setting where you have to approve people to follow you on twitter or look at your facebook profile.  The global media and internet seems so huge and daunting and it is stressful to think that anyone anywhere is able to see what I am doing or thinking from my twitter updates so I figure I will use as many privacy settings available even though in reality if someone wanted to it would not be difficult to gain access to these sites.  I was very amused by this today, but either way I have a link to my social twitter as well as my class twitter on my blog and everyone is welcome to follow me and it will be interesting to see the biggest differences I find between my two twitter accounts.  Have a nice day!

February 16, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

“How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live”

In the article, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” by Steve Johnson in Time Magazine I learned about the many global effects that twitter has had on the business, social, celebrity, and networking world.  It was a very interesting article that began by introducing how twitter works and how such a simple idea has gotten so much attention in the global media.  It then discussed the idea of “ambient awareness” and how you are able to get a very close look into to everyday lives and routines of the people you follow on twitter, it gives you the information without you having to ask.  It also discussed how Twitter has not sold out to any major corporations even though sites like facebook have offered about $500 million.

The really great part about twitter is that it is expanding exponentially and improving through users, not through those on the twitter payroll.  Many of the features and core applications have been developed by innovative and interested users.  The conclusion to this article was especially interesting:

“This is what I ultimately find most inspiring about the Twitter phenomenon. We are living through the worst economic crisis in generations, with apocalyptic headlines threatening the end of capitalism as we know it, and yet in the middle of this chaos, the engineers at Twitter headquarters are scrambling to keep the servers up, application developers are releasing their latest builds, and ordinary users are figuring out all the ingenious ways to put these tools to use. There’s a kind of resilience here that is worth savoring. The weather reports keep announcing that the sky is falling, but here we are — millions of us — sitting around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another.”

We are currently in a very tough economy and it is so interesting and exciting to see that the social networking is only growing that much more powerful.

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1902604,00.html

February 11, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Flickr

Before this class I had never heard of the site “Flickr” and when it came up in the reading for this week I was very intrigued.  The website is a very simple idea, “people take pictures, people share pictures, you see pictures” (Harley 33) but the site has had extraordinary results.  When you first go to the site it looks very user friendly, the options are to “share & stay in touch”, “upload & organize”, “make stuff”, and “explore”.  You don’t even need an account if you want to explore and you can look through interesting photos, sets, groups etc. the possibilities are endless.  And on the sites home page it shows you a continuous number of uploads that have occurred in the last minute and currently that number is 5,488 photos!  This site has so many users it’s unbelievable.

The most interesting information about Flickr is how helpful and reliable the site has been with breaking news and the general public interest.  The London Transport bombings, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and the Military Coup in Thailand are just a few examples of incidents that Flickr has received the fastest pictures and information from these scenes.  People who were bystanders to these incidents were able to take pictures on their camera phone and email the pictures to the site.  Giving the most immediate and honest responses to these events.

Flickr has been so successful because it is not a company employing these photographers, it is simply a platform for users to photograph and post whatever they please.  “Loosely coordinated groups can now achieve things that were previously out of reach for any other organizational structure… Social tools provide a third alternative: action by loosely structured groups, operating without managerial direction and outside the profit motive” (Harley 47).  Flickr is one of the many social platforms that is gaining popularity and power in our society and may at some point take over the major forms of constructed media.

February 3, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

memorable quotes from facebook articles:

-Interview with Mark Zuckerburg- discussing the future of facebook by Justin smith

Real identity really helps people communicate a lot and is really powerful.

I really think that we’re better equipped to handle these things than almost any other company.

I think it’s almost a given that people will be sharing more and more information, but there’s this question of what the world will look like when we get there

-When mom or dad asks to be your facebook friend from the Washington post by lori aratani

Students say a little fiddling with the privacy controls, and those pictures from Saturday night? Never existed.

-facebooks new privacy changes: the good, the bad, and the ugly by Kevin bankston

The new changes are intended to simplify Facebook’s notoriously complex privacy settings and, in the words of today’s privacy announcement to all Facebook users, “give you more control of your information.” But do all of the changes really give Facebook users more control over their information? EFF took a close look at the changes to figure out which ones are for the better — and which ones are for the worse.

January 28, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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