Collins Analytical Report

Data from my User Diary

During the week of February 7-13, 2010, I spent an average of approximately 52 minutes a day using Web 2.0 technologies. The actual tally of minutes spent per day using Web 2.0 during the week ranged from a low of 29 (on Saturday, February 13) to a high of 105 (on Monday, February 8).

Web 2.0 Sites visited during the week of February 7-13, and minutes spent at each

  • Facebook, 162 minutes
  • OfficeTally.com, 42 minutes
  • YoungHouseLove.com, 27 minutes
  • YouTube, 29 minutes
  • PerezHilton.com, 25 minutes
  • wikipedia.org, 2 minutes
  • Managing Knowledge wiki, 35 minutes

Descriptions of Usage

Facebook: Facebooking for me is a mindless activity. I regularly log on without thinking about it, skim my home page/newsfeed, and check my own profile and the profiles of maybe 2 other people. Then I log off. I don’t comment on statuses, write on walls, or even update my own status very often.

OfficeTally.com: I read OfficeTally often because it is a fan site for NBC’s show The Office. The Office is my favorite show, and I like to keep up with the spoilers page as well as the comments board for each episode after it airs. In the two years or so that I have been regularly visiting OfficeTally, I would estimate that I have actually contributed content less than 10 times.

YouTube: I use YouTube when I want to search for a song I heard on the radio and liked, when I get sent there through links from my boyfriend, or when I’m interested in researching a topic that lends itself easily to video presentation.

YoungHouseLove.com: YoungHouseLove is the home improvement blog of a young married couple in Richmond. Since completing my User Diary, it has become a site that I visit far more frequently. The couple posts two blog entries per day, and I read it religiously.

PerezHilton.com: I read PerezHilton because I love his holier-than-thou mindset and his snarky comments about the plight of celebrities. Half of his posts are about people I’ve never even heard of, but I always like to see what he has to say about the latest celebrity mishaps.

wikipedia.org: Instead of a Google search bar, I have mine permanently set on wikipedia. I wikipedia everything; from lists of tv episodes in a series, to names of people or places I’ve never heard of. I rely on wikipedia as a source of reliable knowledge more often than I probably should.

Managing Knowledge wiki: I spent a substantial amount of time on the class wiki the week of my User Diary because I was thinking about writing Essay 1. I spent a chunk of that time reading the essays written last semester, as well as answering a question for the group presentation during the week that followed. Normally I only access the class wiki when assignments are due. (I rely simply on the class site for information such as the syllabus.)

Data not documented in my User Diary
Some information that I think is of note that I did not include in my User Diary because I don’t consider it to be Web 2.0 usage is the frequency of my use of Google, wunderground.com, VT Webmail, and my personal email account. Google is my home page, which shows how often I rely on the search engine. I check the weather through wunderground probably about 50 times a day, often simply leaving the page open in a tab so that it will constantly refresh with the current weather conditions. I access my VT Webmail account approximately 15 times per day, usually any time I am using the internet without a task presently at hand. I access my personal email account approximately once a day, if that.

My Analysis of Web 2.0

I was actually surprised at the end of the week I spent documenting my Web 2.0 usage by just how little (in terms of time spent as well as diversity of sites visited) there seemed to be. Through documenting my Web 2.0 usage, it became readily apparent that my web browsing follows a cyclical pattern. Nearly every time that I sit down at my computer, the general pattern of my usage goes something like: VT Webmail —> Facebook —> Wunderground.com —> personal email account —> wherever else my present interests lead. But for the most part, I would say that my web usage consists of frequent (if short) visits to the same several sites over and over. Because most of the sites that I visit in these cyclical patterns are not what I would classify as Web 2.0, they did not appear in my user diary, but they often follow after a visit to Facebook. Facebooking for me is usually a mindless activity, and my somewhat mindless ingrained ‘loop’ of web surfing will typically follow after.

After recording my Web 2.0 usage for a week, and after reflecting upon this record compared to what I think my usage to be, I would classify myself as a Web 2.0 lurker without question. I do think that this pattern has changed over time. When I was first introduced to the internet—in the days of AOL—I spent hours a day online chatting with my friends, writing in my personal LiveJournal and reading those of my friends, and even venturing into chat rooms that my parents probably would have outlawed if they had known what was going on. Now, however, I rarely venture onto AOL Instant Messenger and I have disabled my Facebook chat. I don’t often update my Facebook profile, because I don’t want people to be able to feel ‘up to date’ on the happenings of my life if they aren’t getting this knowledge from me firsthand. I would say that over the years, my internet usage and internet presence has gone from tell-all to reclusive, but I’m not sure that I can pinpoint what has created this change.

I believe that the knowledge and information that can be gained from digital media is just as accurate as the information gained from more traditional sources. Obviously, each online source is going to be skewed toward a particular viewpoint just as it would be in a traditional source, but I think that with the web, there is far more leeway in publishing opinion versus fact. Because of this, you must consider your feelings about everything you read on the internet before accepting it blindly as truth. However, I think that the internet is a priceless source of information on any and all topics imaginable. If you don’t like the way that information is presented on one site, you can find another that explains the same content in a fashion that works better for you.

I would classify my use of Web 2.0 technologies as ‘personal or general knowledge-seeking’ activities, rather than ‘academic knowledge-seeking’ activities. Generally, the things that I turn to the internet to learn about are things that I wouldn’t consider scholarly, but are rather practical bits of knowledge that I apply more to my ever-growing set of ‘life skills’ than to my ‘college learning.’

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