Stephanski Analytical Report

Web 2.0 and other Internet Usage

Sites Used - Friday, February 5 through Friday, February 12

Facebook
Yahoo!
Yahoo! Shine
Issues in Professional and Public Discourse site
Skype
NYTimes.com
Google Docs
Scholar
Blackboard
Terribly Write

Detailed Usage:

Facebook is by far the site I visit most. Even after reading my Web diary, it’s difficult to say just how much time per day I spend on the site. Unlike some users who may stay on the site for an hour or more at a time, my use is more sporadic and brief; I tend to click on my bookmark to the site without even realizing it, then quickly navigate to where I should be going online. Most of my activity includes checking for notifications, scrolling down the Newsfeed, and commenting on statuses.

Yahoo! is my homepage and the portal to much of the navigation I do on the Internet. I access my e-mail account, weather, horoscope, and headline news from my homepage. I also have a widget on my Yahoo! page that links me to The New York Times site. Yet, I vary rarely use the Yahoo! search bar. Any searching I do occurs through my Google search field located in the corner of my browser window.

Yahoo! Shine is a collaborative blog-type website that features posts from various people including the Shine staff members, representatives from other publications, and ordinary site users. Anyone can read, post, and comment. I visit this site every day and read the latest posts and perhaps comment on a few I find interesting.

The Issues in Professional and Public Discourse Site has become part of my daily routine, as I check upcoming due dates and transfer them to my iCalendar. For major assignments, I’ll read what other students have done to get a better idea of the direction I should go in for an assignment. Other than updating my To-Do list, though, not much interaction is done on the site.

I started using Skype recently to stay in touch with an out-of-town friend, so I use it quite frequently. During this week period, I was on Skype almost every night chatting with my friend. Even though I have a buddy list of other friends and family members who use Skype, I only use it to chat with this one friend.

The New York Times website is my go-to source for news. I tend to focus on more national and international news, so I rely on a large network such as the New York Times Company for these purposes. I regularly check the major headlines and read stories that interest me in art and culture.

I use Google Docs for work purposes only. While at the office for my internship, I collaborate with my supervisors on various written projects that we edit through Google Docs. It’s effective for our purposes, and we’re able to post comments on each other’s work.

Scholar is something I use daily, but not for school. I use it for my internship with ePortfolios, so I’m constantly updating the site and collaborating with other administrators. It’s mostly site maintenance and development, so not much real interaction goes on here.

Blackboard is something I interact with for school, as two of my courses use it for all assignment purposes. Much more interaction goes on here; both courses utilize the Discussion Board frequently and assignments are submitted and evaluated electronically. I can ask my professors and fellow classmates questions via Blackboard as well.

Terribly Write is a site that I visit just for fun. I only visit it a few times a week, and my participation is mainly one-sided: viewing others’ posts. It’s a witty site about grammar errors made in the professional web-publishing world, and it’s a good resource for correct grammar usage.

Conclusions:

When I think about my Web 2.0 and Internet usage, I think of mainly one thing: information gathering. While I do interact with Facebook in commenting and posting things to the site, my main activity includes perusing the site and “stalking,” as most would say. The idea of “engagement” mentioned in Googled on page 146 describes my online activity quite well. There are only a few certain sites that I truly engage in, and much of the rest of the time is spent viewing.

I must say that I did surprise myself in the process of meticulously keeping watch over my online habits. I knew I spent a lot of time on Facebook, but I never realized how much of an unconscious act it is sometimes. Many days I found myself suddenly clicking on my “Facebook” bookmark without even realizing it, in an attempt to go to a site that I was supposed to be visiting (most likely for a school assignment). We are creatures of habit, after all. I found my Internet use to be fairly sporadic overall though, and this reminds me of the multitasking described on page 145 of Googled. As the man watches his 17-year-old son engaged in several forms of media at once, he can’t seem to wrap his mind around this seemingly manic activity. Yet, I think about how my mother reacts the same way toward me as I text while watching a movie with her or surf Facebook on my laptop while we have a conversation. I truly am able to do more than one thing at once, despite her doubts. Perhaps it’s the nature of our technologically-charged generation.

Recording my Internet usage really did open my eyes to my absolute dependency on various media. How, exactly, would I get through my day without these clickable sources of knowledge and information? I’m not sure. There is, however, something to be said about the knowledge gained from traditional sources such as books. Other than writing papers (I am desperately dependent on Internet sources), I still prefer handwritten notes and paper flash cards from terms in a textbook. The Internet, then, serves more recreational purposes for me than scholarly.

I suppose there is a freedom on the Internet that can’t be found in real life. As we sit in classrooms all day and are dictated to (most of the time) by professors, I think it’s nice to be able to enter an open forum online where there really is no hierarchy. Collaboration is more evident online; we work together and combine ideas, sometimes even anonymously. I think that’s one major reason for our heavy Internet use, and my generation seems to grasp these ideas more willingly. My mother always asks me, “Why would you want to be on Facebook, giving out all your information and having people know what you’re doing every day?” I never have a solid answer for her, but Facebook is a form of social engagement that doesn’t exist outside of cyberspace. Escapism? Maybe so. But it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

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