Putman Analytical Report

Websites Used Feb 21-25, Mar 9 and 19
• VT Webmail
• Facebook
• Digg
• Collegehumor
• Netflix
• YouTube
• NBC
• Scholar
• WRKE.com
• iTunes
• Google
• StumbleUpon

Descriptions of Regular Site Use

VT Webmail- Used as my primary way to check email which I do several times daily. I will also use the email app on my iPod Touch, but all of that comes from the VT router.
Facebook- I also check this several times throughout the day. The majority of my use of this site is eaten up by reading my friends’ updates on the “news feed” feature. I only actually post comments and status updates three to four times a week despite the fact I check this site at least that many times every day. Also, whenever I get invited to events or asked to join groups/causes, I usually reply “maybe” or “no.”
Digg- Another one of my frequently visited sites. Digg is a news and information site in which the content is voted on by its users. I actually became a “digger” while completing my user diary. For some reason, despite using the site for a couple years, I had never become a full member. My use of the site hasn’t changed all that much since joining, but now I can digg and comment on the stories that I read.
CollegeHumor- This is a site that posts funny videos, pictures, and articles that usually have to do with college life. I started visiting this site when I came to Virginia Tech and I still check it two or three times a week.
Netflix- I started using Netflix last summer and I have to say that it has become my alternative to buying movies. For only thirteen dollars every month, I can rent as many movies as I can watch. Included with this is the ability to instantly stream and watch a multitude of movies and television shows which I do on a daily basis. Their huge selection of commercial free content coupled with the fact that I can stream the videos onto my TV through my Xbox has made Netflix a great alternative to regular cable.
YouTube- Just like everyone else, I use and view videos on YouTube pretty regularly. Many videos on Digg, as well as those recommended to me by friends, can be found on YouTube so it is just impossible to get away from.
NBC.com- I use this site many times when I am at work. They have an iPod friendly version of their site in which they post several episodes of shows. I am a huge fan of The Office so I love the fact that I can get my Michael Scott fix while sitting in the computer lab.
Scholar- This semester I have used Scholar more than the rest of my college career. Honestly, before this semester every single one of my classes has been on BlackBoard except one. I guess Scholar is supposed to be better than BlackBoard, but I really don’t see much of a difference between the two.
WRKE.com- This is the website of the radio station where a friend of mine hosts a show. The station is broadcasted from Roanoke College so it doesn’t reach Blacksburg; however, thanks to Web 2.0 technology, this website is able to stream the station live on the internet.
iTunes- I have an iPod, so I use iTunes—pretty simple. Recently I have started downloading podcasts more often than I did thanks to how boring my job is. I have been able to find some pretty entertaining comedy podcasts and I am starting to listen to them outside of my job.
Google- I think use of the internet dictates that you also use Google, I’m no different.
StumbleUpon- StumbleUpon is an add-on for Firefox which I use almost every day. When a person adds StumbleUpon, they are asked to complete a survey on topics that interest them. The topics range from news, religion, even sports. After completing the survey, a StumbleUpon button is added to the top of the web browser. Pressing this button will generate a random website that is supposed to be tailored to the user’s interests. I found out about this add-on a couple years ago and I use it practically everyday—it’s great. With just a click, I am brought to a new and interesting webpage that is suited to my personal tastes. StumbleUpon is what I use after visiting all my other usual sites to find new and exciting things online.

Analysis of My Internet Usage Diary

As I began keeping track of my use of Web 2.0 technologies on the internet, I began to see a usual pattern in my browsing. Almost every morning, in many cases right after I wake up, I turn on my computer and check my email and my Facebook account. I check my mail to see if there are any last minute announcements from my professors or fraternity, and I look to see if there are any pressing updates on Facebook. What is strange is that although Facebook emails you whenever someone adds you as a friend, someone comments on your wall, etc. I still log on and read everyone’s status updates. I honestly do not know why I do this. I disliked the “news feed” feature when they first added it, but now it has become a regular part of my day. While I do still find this feature a bit on the creepy side, for some reason I still use it. Why I need to know what my friends are doing every second of the day—I’ll never know.

I also noticed another pattern develop during the course of this assignment. I very rarely use the internet for more than just a handful of minutes at a time. I hit my usual sites, look at a few things, and then I log off and go on with my day. In fact, whenever I am online for an hour or more I usually get really bored. Even if I am looking at something completely new, the charm can wear off pretty quickly. I guess that although the internet can provide hours of entertainment, eventually I just want to go do something real and tangible. I start feeling a need to be around my friends, go outside, clean my apartment…something. I just believe that even though I can go anywhere and do anything online; participating in the real world is much more gratifying. Playing Call of Duty is fun, but sitting outside with my friends drinking cheap beer and watching the sunset just cannot be replaced. I guess this is why when the internet went out in my apartment it was missed, but life didn’t stop.

As far as my other frequently visited sites, I think I see one characteristic that ties many of them together. Most of what I view on the internet is usually comedy oriented. CollegeHumor is nothing but comedy, Digg always has hilarious pictures and videos posted, and I think the only reason I go to YouTube is to view the newest funny viral videos. Also, most of what comes through StumbleUpon is comedy based and I also love reading ridiculous news stories (I’ll include The Onion in this category). I’m not really sure why this is true, but the internet is a really funny place.

There was one other activity that I noticed I performed time and again while keeping track of my internet usage. That activity is using the internet to watch television shows and movies. I do this all the time. I view movies and TV on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and a half dozen other sites that stream a variety of media. I literally can watch any new show the very next day after it premiers—and I do. I can honestly say that I could easily make due without cable as long as I had the internet. Actually I would prefer it that way. Viewing shows online takes away the commercials and I no longer have to plan my life around making sure I am home when the show actually comes on. I even fall asleep every night watching The Simpsons on my computer. This is a feature of the web that I have noticed is becoming more main stream. Now, instead of these underground sites providing the content illegally, the networks are actually providing the episodes on their oen sites. I really hope that in the future more networks will embrace this idea of internet TV but I also hope that if they do the commercials don’t come along for the ride.

The internet has become a necessary part of my life, as I am sure it has for millions of other people. With the internet I can do just about anything with ease without ever leaving my seat. However, being without the web did not kill me. Sure, it was annoying driving out to the math emporium to do my homework but I made due. After keeping track of my use of the web, I realize that I really do not spend as much time online as I thought I did. Sure I probably clock in around four to six hours on my computer every day, but that is spread out in between classes, work, and my social life. I rarely spend more than thirty minutes online at a time and I guess that is a good thing. If I ever find that I am spending more time in front of a computer monitor than with friends or out in the sun, then that will be the time to do away with all this nonsense. The internet is a great place to visit; it’s hilarious, disgusting, informative, and completely anonymous—but it is a terrible place to live.

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