Hide yo info- Diaspora

Who knew that there was an alternative to Facebook? The site that more than a billion people use has an alternative. This Facebook poser is called Diaspora. It is a site where the user controls everything. Diaspora is a very private site.

The hype built up until it was finally released on September 15, 2010. During this time, Facebook was in a decline because they were making extreme changes to the privacy settings. The creators of Diaspora thought this would be great timing to come out with the new site.

Facebook has a lot of pros. It makes life easier by having a lot of features. You can keep in touch with people easier, share your adventures through your photos, chat with one another, and lets your friends know what places you have been to.

On the other hand, Facebook has a lot of cons. There is very little exclusivity. People’s information is too much out in the open. If you are friends with me, you can see my gender, birthday, school, religion, email address, photos, family members, relationship status, where I interned, and where I am currently (Barcelona). That means that all 1,481 of my friends can see all of this information. Realistically, I am not close with all of these 1,481 people. 250 are probably people that I see on a regular basis, 100 people are my actual friends, 500 people I have met at most once in my life, and the rest are people that I have no idea who they are.

That means that 631 of my friends I don’t know. These 631 people have access to all of my personal information. Who knows who these people are? They could be terrorists, harassers, or pedophiles for all I know. This scares me. I really should go through and de-friend these 631 randoms. Who has time to do that?

My friend had a very scary thing happen to her via Facebook. She had a bunch of bathing suit pictures as her defaults. This man friended her. He is from New York (where she is from), went to a great college, and had a bunch of mutual friends. She thought, why not accept his friend request? A few days after the acceptance was confirmed, he started Facebook chatting her. At first, she was excited. A good-looking guy just a few years older than her is talking to her! They started talking about life. They spoke about who she was friends with, what college she attends, how many siblings she has etc. Eventually, the time came where he asked to meet up. She was a little nervous, but was also very happy. He offered a coffee shop as a meeting place. She was okay with it. He then backed out. He said he was prior plans. She thought it was a little strange, but just took a raincheck. He did that several times. At this point, he knew everything about her. She opened up to him as she would to any guy that she was interested in. It got to the point where she thought it was a little creepy that he kept backing out. She stopped talking to him as much. He then asked if he could come to her apartment at college and stay with her. She said no, but if he was in the area they could meet for lunch. The moral of the story is that she found out that he is a serial killer. He looks up girl’s information, and makes fake Facebooks based on the girl’s information. He has 7 different Facebooks for 7 different girls that he is talking to. He was talking to one of her friends, and she thought that was weird? Shortly after, they were on to him. The police got involved and he was caught.

Diaspora was a smart move. No one wants to be harassed by men that they don’t know. No one wants all of their information out in the open for anyone to see. People shouldn’t accept friend requests from strangers. Diaspora never blew up but it was a smart idea at the time.


How Regular Citizens Produce Journalism

Citizen journalism plays one of the most important roles in huge events that happen in history. Citizen journalism captured WWI, WWII, The Civil War, 9/11, Sully landing the plane on the Hudson. Citizens play an active roll in collecting, reporting, and analyzing information. They inform the public about what has happened. Without citizen journalists, the public would have little information or pictures about current events.

Living in this new technological era, citizen journalists play an even bigger role than before. When Sully landed on the Hudson, a man was gazing off into the Hudson and saw all the passengers standing on the wings of the plane. He snapped a picture with his blackberry and tweeted it. He then sold it to The New York Times. It is now the picture that everyone sees when learning or reading about this event.

The name citizen journalism is exactly what it is. It is when citizens use tools and knowledge to produce journalism. Citizen journalism is produced by the public (the citizens). Citizens push journalism forward. It shapes the way we consume our news.

The difference between citizen journalism and observation is the use of technology. Of course, citizens back in the day were documenting events and sharing them with the public. Technology allows average people take their own photos, record their own videos, and tell a story through blogs and tweets. This also speeds up the process of how soon the public finds out information. Citizen journalism can happen faster than news organizations can gather up the information to share with the public via television or newspaper.

Some of the major citizen journalism events include September 11th, Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, London Tube bombings in 2005, Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the Mumbai attacks in 2008, and the Hudson River plane crash in 2009.

The theory on citizen journalism started with a freelance journalist named Mark Glaser who writes about new media issues. ”

“The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others,” Glaser said.

Without citizen journalism, the way we would get our news would be a lot different. We wouldn’t be as informed as quickly. Also, our news wouldn’t be as    creditable.

MADD-Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Digital storytelling allows people to share aspects of their life story through a short film. Digital storytelling are on average eight minutes and are often presented in a compelling and emotionally engaging format. 

My high school psychology teacher created a film to promote mothers against drunk driving (MADD). She interviewed mothers that have been affected by a drunk driving accident, used hypertexts and computer narrative games to get the message across.  

Interviewing mothers was the most effective (in my opinion). Some mothers cried while speaking. Most told their stories about what had happened to their loved one. They all basically had the same kind of story. Their son or daughter died in a drunk driving car accident. Some of them were the drivers, others were the passengers. A lot of the children were 16. It seemed to happen to the new drivers the most. They are new and haven’t had practice driving yet. The most common ages were 16 and 17. This is when teens get into drinking first. They can’t handle their liquor and they are not smart enough to think about the effects that it could have on their lives before getting into the car. 

She showed images of children with blood poring out of their heads and the totaled cars. The music in the background was Coldplay and other sad songs to give the montage the right ambiance.

Watching it really made me not want to ever drink and drive, let alone drink in general. I helped promote sober driving in high school. I was in an organization called S.H.O.C.K (Students Helping Others Choose Knowledgeably). We would go talk to groups of teens, put up banners around our high school and town, and would speak on our radio program. When students saw our involvement, they realized how big of an effect drunk driving could have on their lives. After this, students kept coming up to me saying how I changed their minds and they will never drink and drive again.

Digital storytelling is a very effective way to get the point across. After watching the short film, students made smarter decisions. My teacher  had hoped that this digital story would have this impact on the community. If ever the opportunity were to arise, I would tell a story through digital storytelling.

How much is too much? Has social media gotten in the way of leading private lives and preventing us from getting the opportunities that we deserve?

What is the purpose of Facebook? Not that I am against Facebook because I live for that site. I just don’t understand the concept of it. So people post pictures to show everyone else how much fun they are missing out on? I am not judging. I do it too! Ever since I got to Barcelona I have been Ms. capture every moment. I post 90% of them to Facebook. Are you wondering what I do with the other 10%? Well, it is of the sights that I don’t think people are interested in seeing. Well, if Facebook was for me then it wouldn’t matter what other people thought right? I make people stand in front of buildings just so people will be more interested in looking at my pictures. Who are these people I am referring to? I don’t know! Random people casually stalking my Facebook, my friends, my family, the boy I am currently crushing on I guess. Everyone who looks at my Facebook knows exactly what I am doing at all times of the day. Between my statuses, pictures and comments on people’s walls, every single one of my friends knows my whereabouts 24/7. In fact, I just made a status about my trip to Amsterdam tomorrow. If my friends (and not my real friends, my Facebook friends) wanted to go to my apartment and steal something, they totally could. I will be away for the weekend and I am announcing it to the world. Who are all of my 1,457 friends and why do they need to know that I am going to Amsterdam tomorrow? I love Facebook because it is a capsule of our lives. I can go back to a conversation with my friend from 5 years ago and it will still be there. I have had 5 different phones since then so it’s not like I can go back on my phone and check what Alex’s life was like then. I can see old pictures, conversations, statuses, videos, and you have the opportunity to get wished a happy birthday by 1,457 different people.

I don’t understand the concept of office of admissions and potential employers stalking your Facebook and having that determine if you get into college or get the job or not. Like if I am holding a red cup in a picture am I really not going to get a job out of college. Everyone knows teens drink. I am 20 and I will be 21 by the time I am applying for jobs. For those of you that are unaware, 21 is legal. Therefore, I am allowed to be drinking in pictures and it should have no affect on the decision to hire me or not. My boss this summer at ELLE always spoke to me about partying and what club I went to the night before. It is a normal activity when you are young and trying to get wifed up and find a nice gentleman or just to be social and meet friends!

Now onto other social media devices. Linkedin lets everyone in the professional network let you know what you have done with your life up until now. When you think of it this way, it sounds creepy. It is actually the way that I got the internship I interviewed for today. Yes, I wouldn’t mind my future potential employer to find me and want to hire me on the spot, but I also don’t like how my information is out there for the world of Googlers to see.

Twitter is the creepiest. I am a newbee to the Twitter game and by newbee I mean that I jumped on that bandwagon in October. That is about 2 years after the rest of American was tweeting away. What is a tweet and how does one know what to tweet about? My friends and fellow tweeters tweet about what they are doing right now, and then 5 minutes later they tweet about how they spent their last 5 minutes. Do I care? No. Do I read it? Yes. I am also guilty of this activity. One second I’ll tweet BARCELONA BOUND! The next tweet would look something like this: LANDED IN BARCE FINALLY! Like A. all my followers are aware that I am about to venture off to Barcelona, do they really need to know what exact second I landed? I don’t think that they cared when they found out that I am going to Barcelona exactly what second I was going to land. B. If a serial killer was on the loose in Barcelona and happened to be my Facebook friend because when I first got a Facebook I accepted anyone who threw a friend request my way, they could come hunt me down and kill me. AKA I am not the brightest when it comes to letting everyone know what I am doing with my life.

Basically, hide your info or else you may not get hired, not get into college…. or die. Is it worth it just because you want the world to see how you spent your Saturday night? You decide!

Interlacken, Switzerland

My first trip out of Barcelona was to interlocken, Switzerland.

We flew into Geneva and then a bus from our program took us to the hostel. It was a 2 and a half hour bus ride. It wasn’t too bad. The hostel is pretty nice for a hostel. The bathrooms aren’t gross and the beds are clean. It is called Balmers. I am in a 10 person room with all of my friends. My roommates in Barcelona and Amanda’s Barcelona roommates. We all set our alarms for 7:45 to sign up for activities and to get the day going. We ate breakfast. It was free at the hostel. It was pretty good.  I went canyon jumping during the day and night sledding that night. I went skiing the next day.

We stayed at a hostel called balmers. It was gross and reminded me of camp but such a great experience. And a lot of people we knew were staying there also. I LOVE Switzerland. It is beautiful. The mountains are incredible. Canyon jumping was amazing. We drove all the way up the Swiss alps and then hiked the rest until we got to a ledge. There were 8 of us and everyone was crying and freaking out. I was surprisingly very chill about the whole thing. I loved every minute of it. It was the most exhilarating thing of my entire life. You are attached to a bungie cord and then you jump off a cliff and there is a 15-20 seconds drop where you just free fall. After that you swing back and forth for a minute or two. That part was so cool. You are just swinging in between 2 huge mountains. One of the mountains was the Igor which is famous for its breathtaking look and for the north side. The north side is called The North Face (like the clothing company). That was very cool. When I got home from canyon jumping we walked around Interlocken for a while. One of the tour guides from our program took us around. He showed us the nicest hotel in Switzerland and a bunch of different landmarks. One of them being the Metropole Hotel. When you go to the top it has a breathtaking view. I took lots of pictures. I kind of drifted and lost my friends and the tour guide. I looked around and no one was there anymore. I was busy talking to the waiters who were really interested in Obama. They wanted to know about the capitols of every state etc. It was really interesting. It was so scary. I had no idea where I was or what to do. I found my way back to the hostel and found Hannah Aaronson thank god. My friends were freaking out and I didn’t bring my phone. They walked around forever to try and find me and never did. I finally found them when I was with Hannah. It was scary but ended up being fine.

Friday night we went night sledding down the Swiss alps. It was scary. It was dark and if you drifted over to the side too much you could tumble down the mountain. It was so fun though. It took us 45 minutes to get down. It was such a great experience but very scary. After that the tour guides took us to cheese fondue. It was Swiss cheese. It was realllllly good.

Saturday morning I woke up early and took ski lessons with Jill and Molly. I was actually pretty good. Our instructor was not very patient with us. She thought we were too old to not know how to ski. Kids here start skiing when they come out of the womb. She was from New Zealand and spending her summer here being a ski instructor. We got good enough to go on one of the bigger mountains at the end. I was exhausted. It was a very eventful weekend and I am so happy I got to do everything that I did. It was such an experience.

I got my Poppy a black Swiss army knife and all of my family swiss chocolate. I hope they all like it!

The flight to and from Switzerland was amazing. We got free sandwiches, chocolate, and unlimited bottles of wine. They treated us amazing. American flights suck. They are so cheap and barely give you a cup of water. I stocked up on the chocolates.

SpanAir went bankrupt while we were in Switzerland so Sloan and Erika’s flights were obviously cancelled. They had to pay for all new flights. Trish booked her flight to go home a month from the day we were actually going. Their apartment had their issues but we all got back to Barcelona in one piece!

The Best Is Yet To Come- Beginning of Barcelona

Okay so I got here Wednesday January, 11th. The flight was rough because obviously I didn’t sleep and everyone else did. For those of you readers that are unaware, I have some sleeping issues. When we got to Barcelona, Jill and I had to wait a couple hours for Susie and Ilana to get there. When they got here we were picked up and driven to our apt. Sightseeing on the way was amazing. The buildings here are actually beautiful. We live in the gothic area and so it’s old Barcelona. When we got to the apartment I was overwhelmed by how beautiful it was!! The only scary thing is it’s down an alleyway. I thought it would be scary at night but it wasn’t when Jill and I got home at 5:00 am last night (but really this morning).

We have our own elevator that goes right to our apt.- Gossip Girl style. Jill and I are sharing a room. Ilana and Sarah and Susie got her own room because Shana didn’t end up coming. I love all of my roommates! After we got settled into our apartment we were taken on a tour of our neighborhood by Kristina. She is kind of our landlord but we call her our house-mom. She showed us all the farmacia’s, grocery stores, restaurants, banks etc. in our area. We are really close to the main street called Las Ramblas. It is an amazing street with so much life. It has a gazillion restaurants, marketplaces, stores, street performers, etc. We went to this restaurant with tapas. Tapas are the main dish here and what we ate was kind of gross. It was bread with a bunch of fish on top. Kind of made me nauseous. After that we got drawers to unpack our clothing into and extra keys made.

Waking up for orientation after my first night out was a struggle but we went and we really didn’t need to. We shall see. I slept when I got home from orientation. I don’t want to be hungover everyday because I want to see Barcelona and experience it. I want to take in all the sights. I had an excuse though, I am still pretty jetlagged and anytime I can sleep I should take full advantage.

A few of the things I have noticed since I got here are that everyone rides around on mopeds and motorcycles, the people are super friends and the majority of the people speak at least a little english.

The second day of our trip, Jill and I wanted to meet Hannah Aaronson for lunch. She recommended this restaurant called Bo De B which is supposed to be amazing. We looked up the address and hoped in a cab. It ended up being a 30 second walk away from our apartment. Very embarrassing!! It was a little hole in the wall but it was really great. After that we went to Parc Guell. It was actually an amazing sight to see. It was built by Antoni Gaudi who was a famous architect in Barcelona. He built a lot of the gorgeous buildings here. It looks similar to Disney World. You walk to the top and see a beautiful view of Barcelona.

The day after we walked around to try and get the hang of the city. We went to Cathedral de Barcelona which is a beautiful church. It is really close to our apartment! It is where the Archbishop of Barcelona sits. It is crazy how old these buildings are. The ceiling inside the church is amazingly beautiful.

We got really lucky with the location of our apartment. It is a 5 minute walk from the beach and is also a 20 minute walk from school (CEA). Our area is really cool. We live in Barrio Gotico which is the old city. It has a lot of cute boutiques, restaurants and bars. It is a maize though. It is very easy to get lost in it.

I am taking Fashion: A Mirror of Our Times, Journalism 2.0, Global Competence, and  Photojournalism. I love all my classes. I couldn’t have asked for a better schedule or better classes.

Next Post: Interlocken, Switzerland!

Watching TV isn´t the same without Megaupload


The last time I watched a television show at its normal airtime on the TV screen was probably during my Barney days. Being a college student, I do not have time to watch my favorite television shows during their regular airtime. I like to watch the shows when I have free time and only on my computer. I’m convinced that Sidereel.com was invented for the average busy college student. It is basically my best friend at school. I come home from a long day of class and working at the library only to be greeted by my computer screen and my favorite television shows. My usual routine is to bring my dinner into my room, open my laptop, and sign onto my free Sidereel account. From there, a world of possibilities is at my doorstep. The best part about this world is that there are no commercials. For an impatient person like myself, this was quite possibly the best invention.

 The most popular link on Sidereel.com is Megaupload. On Thursday January, 19th the world’s largest file-sharing site was shut down due to the violation of piracy laws. An indictment accused Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated 0films and other content.

As I lay down in my bed excited to watch the new episode of Shameless on January 19th I am surprised to find that Megaupload has been shut down.

I felt betrayed. The one activity that makes me excited to come home after a stressful day is gone. How can they just do that to me? I felt like a little girl who just got her blankey taken away from her.

Megaupload needs to warn its users before pulling a stunt like that. I have not found an equivalent to Megaupload yet. As all of you can tell, I am extremely disappointed.

Here are some websites to use instead of Megaupload:

Here are some websites to use instead of Megaupload:

  1. Watch-freeseries.eu
  2. Tehcake.com
  3. Watchseriesonline-tv.com
  4. Vidxden.com
  5. Delishows.com
  6. Movies4u.eu

Hello from Barcelona

Hi guys! This is my first post to my Barcelona blog. I will blogging about my time here abroad as well as the other exciting cities that I will be visiting. I will talk about the sights that I see, the food I eat, the people I meet and the experiences that I come across. This will keep my family, friends, and whoever else up-to-date on what am I doing this semester in Europe. I will also be blogging about the information that I am learning in my Journalism 2.0 class. I hope you enjoy my blog!!