Online Journalism: Fall 2010


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Readings + Reactions for 9-24-10

College’s attempt to block Facebook, Twitter, IMs fails
study shows texting the preferred communication medium of college students

A great overview of paper prototyping
Some good tips for prototyping
Why low-fi prototyping kicks ass
A shorthand for designing UI flows


Filed under: Readings + Reactions

5 Responses

  1. College Communication
    The article about Harrisburg University blocking social networking sites was interesting in the fact that they thought it was even possible. I understand that they wanted to show how many students use it and how different it would make a school day without it, but it just seems so backward to even attempt such a thing. This is what people do today, they use Facebook and Twitter and the internet in every way possible and to me it just seems silly to block it on campus for a week. Students can still access these sites on their mobile devices and at home, so what’s the point? I’ve read other articles where people try to live 30 days without the internet or without Facebook etc. and those pieces make me feel the same way: why? Sure it’s cool for Morgan Spurlock to spend 30 days doing whatever, but to see how life is like now a days without the internet is just stupid. This is how the world functions and I would personally feel embarrassed if I worked at Harrisburg because, not only did the experiment fail, it in no way embraces the future of the internet. Colleges should be spending their time utilizes these tools and advancing them, not blocking them for some quirky experiment.

    Paper Prototyping
    This concept seems to be the opposite of what I mentioned above about utilizing the internet and forward thinking, but I really think it’s a great way, as Medero says, for those of us who aren’t totally comfortable creating technical prototypes to express our ideas. The informality of it makes it seem much more welcoming, and even though the whole world is connected through the internet, not everyone knows how to use it to create a platform for an idea. And these people who don’t know how to do these things have great ideas about them anyway. So the whole idea of paper prototyping allows people like me with ideas and no way to execute them show them to people with the ability to create them.

  2. Laura Nalin says:

    I thought the article was interesting about the school trying to shut it down, but what I thought was even more interesting is the fact that I could relate to those students and then it kind of bothered me that we live in this kind of world more than anything. I go on it on my phone all the time when I’m bored, same with Twitter, and it’s always strange when I can’t. I have had friends make passwords for me and sworn them to secrecy not to tell me and vice versa during crucial times of me not needing to waste hours on the site, but I also think it’s funny the school even thought it was possible. I kind of liked the fact that they even attempted, because these sites have deterred many students from doing anything substantial with their time, myself included. It’s not like they blocked the use of the Internet as a whole, just the sites which I thought was a noble attempt.

    I thought the second article was interesting. I do text, but I am kind of old school in the communication world and I still like a good ‘ol phone conversations. I get irritated when I have to wait for a response and then type it out, or at worst, run out of space and send another. It annoys me but I definitely agree that it is the most common among my peers.


    I liked these articles. I think the best way to get a point across for people who have ideas to people that can make those ideas come together is paper prototyping because it can be altered and explained in a way that isn’t concrete. Interesting articles.

  3. Susanne says:

    College Communication
    The USA Today article about the college facebook ban was really interesting to me – I’ve actually tried this ban myself with similar results. During my first semester of junior year, I deactivated my facebook account during finals week so that I could focus more on studying and less on what my friends were doing online. This ban worked about as well as the ban at Harrisburg College – it ended in about four or five days. Now that students (as well as the general public) have been exposed to social networking tools like Facebook, there is no way to avoid it. Face facts: this is the new way of socializing, and if you miss out on it, you are, in effect, missing out on social interaction with your peers.
    The same goes for text messaging – this is the new mode of “chat.” When you’re sitting in class and the teacher says something that makes you giggle, or you’re sitting on the bus next to someone smelly, you want to share this with someone else so you don’t feel socially isolated. The easiest and most discrete way to do that? Send a text.
    We want to be socially connected at all times. People want to feel a connection to other people. This is nothing new. The medium in which this connection happens, however, has drastically changed into the form of Facebook and text messaging.

    Paper Prototyping
    This in depth look at prototyping was very insightful – the first article by Shawn Medero was very easy to agree with. While designing my paper prototypes (to be honest, something I dreaded as I have no artistic ability), I discovered to my delight that it was actually fun! It didn’t need to be a hundred percent accurate. As long as I could communicate my point and demonstrate the different functions, I was in the clear. I did end up using post-it notes, which made it more colorful and fun. Any mistakes I made were easy enough corrected just by throwing away recycling the paper mistakes. Like the rest of these articles demonstrate, paper or low-fi prototyping gives easier room for corrections and also helps spring new ideas. It’s easier to look at something in front of you and physically scratch out or draw in ideas that pop in your head, rather than sitting at a computer and trying to figure out all the code work for modifying a design.

  4. College Communication

    I think it was a great idea that went sour. The fact that students couldnt go 24 hours without social media is kind of mind blowing. Hackers found their way around the block and connected to their accounts. It would be nice to see accurate statistics on the time and percent of school students spend on their social accounts. Texting has become the #1 way of communication now. I feel that students and young adults have lost the way to speak and because of this they lack personal skills that are very important in the real world.

    Paper Prototyping

    It is a cheap and easy way to test your ideas. Instead of making time consuming costly changes that might not work you can test on paper your changes and it is very effective. It might look a little unprofessional but I think it is a great tool to have when your creating change. It gives the peopel and customers to get a look at it before they take off with the idea.

  5. Nick Myers says:

    It must be because I’m older (30) and do not have a Facebook page that I don’t find myself having a digital desire to scope some social media every 15 minutes like the one student interviewed in the article about Harrisburg Univ. However, I can understand why many students were having trouble not adhering to the block-out or walking by foot long distances to log-in somewhere off campus. The school’s goal was to bring attention to the impact social media has, and I believe they did it judging by the response the national media gave the experiment. One should not undervalue or belittle the importance Facebook has in many folks’ lives- especially if it’s a tool one has been using since adolescence or younger as many “school age” college students have.

    The texting article is certainly relevant, but something I would say I already know. I held out on getting a cell phone until all my friends but one had one (maybe 7 or 8 years ago). I remember when I first saw people madly texting, and I thought it was some bizarre 1984 Orwellian vibe- people slavishly connected to these electronic devices, slowly unlearning how to communicate with each other in real life and ultimately losing the ability for human compassion (a little off-the-cuff, one thing leads to another worst case lowest common denominator paranoia). I now text as much -and sometimes more- than I actually call, but I find calling can be more effective when you’re trying to hash out some details or catch up with someone. It is also interesting that this article mentions texting as the number one form of communication while the Facebook block-out article states that Facebook messaging among students is preferred over texting. I understand how this is possible with smartphones (since they get the internet), but if I was to try this with my bottom-of-the-barrel cell, it would be a no-go.

    As far as paper prototypes, I agree with the article that the lo-fi types “kick ass.” I found in my testing that the students to whom I showed the prototypes understood what I was trying to get across even if I was using crude pencil drawings and photo copies (viva Kinkos!). If you can convey the message, the median should not matter. Of course I understand having a more formalized digital prototype to model. If one worked in a business environment where it would seem bad form to whip out some drawings at a meeting, then take the extra time with a digital model. But if more folks read this article or took to thought that a lo-fi prototype can still convey the ideas, then I would imagine a lot of time could be saved.

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