Final Thoughts on Living and Working On The Web

When I first started using the internet back when I was a mere 10 year old I wouldn’t have thought ten years later my internet activity would be directly responsible in me getting a university degree. UOSM2033 has been more than just another module to pass and it has given me a different perspective on what it means to be an internet citizen and how your internet activity can relate to how you are off the internet.

Balance

When I was thinking about what was in common in most of the things I’ve learnt from this module is the importance of balance. Relaying information through blog posts and comments, it is key to be concise and not to repeat the same points through out. In the earlier parts of this module I have found myself to sound like a broken record in more than a few occasions.

It is also important to maintain balance in how much personality I put in my work. I have to make sure not to sound like a textbook but at the same time don’t get carried away with subjective and biased rants.

I also learnt that it is necessary to see where people are coming from when they have made an opinion contradictory to mine. It is okay to be passionate about a cause or an opinion but at the same time being on the other side of the coin can go a long way in bettering oneself.

On the same note being passionate can stop you from simply being realistic. If a problem persists to exist for a long time, sometimes the most obvious solutions are just not that simple.

Leaving A Trace

The module has also taught me that  the world wide web is almost another realm and not just an extension of where we put information. As much as I have shied myself away from blogging I have decided to make more use of my instagram account by logging my journey in the sport of powerlifting. It has surprisingly stirred up a lot of discussion between my followers who are also into the sport. I have aspirations to start up a blog based on powerlifting (in conjunction with my dream to open a gym) but I will have to actually be credibly good at the sport first.

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Topic 5: Reflection.

This week’s topic has been one of the most eye opening ones so far as it has given some people an opportunity to share what they are passionate about. This week I chose to talk about gaming and how essentially making a game free is beneficial for the majority in most cases.

It was interesting to have been able to involve a bit of Psychology in this week’s discussion within my post and the discussions I’ve had with my colleagues in the comments. A lot of people (including myself) tend to lose grasp on how big some business companies are (especially gaming). The business models they implement are meant to work in their favour one way or another. In the case of Free-to-Play, games like League of Legends (LoL) make full use of “Psychological loop-holes” – Jess and I talked a little bit about competitiveness and how it gives people drive to spend.

Calum and I also had a lengthy discussion about the differences between the two models (Free-to-Play and Pay-to-Play) and analysed how each have worked well within different segments of the gaming industry. Some games will only work with certain business models … apart from the ones released by established gaming companies. Some of them have really just made themselves dominant in the industry that they can do whatever they want.

The responses to my comments I made on both Andy’s and Freya’s blog posts ties well with what I can conclude in this week’s topic. Producers, gaming companies and journal article authors alike, have the right to be selfish and shouldn’t receive criticism when decisions are made to benefit them financially. However, as consumers, we have the power to influence their decisions by being in the middle of the supply and demand chain.

Supply and Demand by thecitizen-dv.

References:

Supply and Demand by thecitizen-dv

My comment on Andy’s blog

My comment on Freya’s blog

Calum and I discuss about F2P

Jess and I talk a little bit about Psychology and consumers

Free-To-Play-To-Win

This week’s topic focuses around the perks and costs having your content made available for free online. I will be primarily using online gaming as an example by shedding light on the concept of Free-to-Play.

Free-to-Play (F2P) is a relatively new model adopted by the gaming industry where basically gamers are allowed to play the game without having to pay. How do the game creators make money? Through purchasable in-game perks. You may have seen this concept in Facebook games where you can buy in-game currencies such as coins. Traditionally games have been Pay-to-Play, which how most games are still nowadays such as console games XBOX, PS4 and Wii. However recently F2P games have dominated the gaming industry through games such as League of Legends and DOTA 2.

The Good:

High Exposure

The fact that you have nothing to lose but time spent by giving a free game a try gives F2P games the edge. The model creates an exponential chain of people giving the game a try which lets other people know about it. To put it simply:

People try the game -> they let other people know about it -> more people try the game -> even more people will know about it.

Higher Potential Revenue

This straw poll created by a curious League of Legends player asked other players how much they’ve spent on the game (RP is the in-game currency used in League of Legends).

How is this business model so successful? The video below gives some insight into this matter:

Less Likely To Be Pirated

Who would want to get a pirated version of a free game?

The Bad:

Pay To Win

F2P games that involve buyable in-game perks that give gamers significant advantages over other gamers can potentially ruin the experience. This issue is similar to a lot of major sports in the world today where the team that has the most money will eventually be more successful. However, gaming companies have recently recognised this issue and are beginning to rectify it.

Arguably Unethical

There will always be a small minority of people who would fall into the trap of not knowing when to stop spending money on anything period. Gamers are not an exception and as F2P allows gamers to ‘spend as much as they want’, it can easily turn out to be ‘spend as much as they have‘.

References:

Straw Poll: How much League of Legends players spend on the game

Riot Games’ League of Legends Becomes Most Played PC Game In The World

Why Spend Money on a Free Game? – GameSpot

World Of Tanks Pay-to-Win

Topic 4: Reflection.

If humans were mindless robots the world would be thriving and efficient in every manner. Advancement in science would take huge leaps without the need of deliberating on what is morally right or wrong and what is best for the individual.

After reading the differing opinions presented by my colleagues on their blogs, I can say that there is one thing that I found in common which was there is no easy answer to a lot of the issues faced by social media use. The focus I took on the topic this week was aimed towards Youtube channels that either falsely give information or selling information that is already free.

The main issue with these scammers are the fact that they are gaining the trust of their consumers based on the fact that people aren’t robots – humans are known to be lazy and naive at some point in their lives (a point I made in a comment reply to Lucy on my blog).

Another issue with a lot of mistrust on social media is the inability for the average consumer to do anything about it. Lucy and Sophie added their view on this in a response to my comments on their blog (Lucy’s and Sophie’s). Consumers who are sceptical are only left to do just that. At the end of the day, everyone has a list of have tos, must dos and should haves. But as non robots, we are always in it for ourselves.

Wall-E – a robot that is more human than most humans.

References:

Wall-E photo from hero.wikia.com

My blog post on topic 4 

My comment on Lucy’s blog

My comment on Sophie’s blog

How YOU can get scammed and GET SIX PACKS at the same time!

The tools that humans possess require an amount of responsibility to protect oneself and others involved from being harmed in any manner possible. The internet and social media in particular are no exception and there are many reasons why one should act responsibly. This has been addressed in blog posts from previous topics such as preventing yourself from being in your future employer’s “‘reject’ pile” (Andy Sugden, 2014).

A blog post by Dr. Jim Barry addresses the ethical issues faced in today’s social media marketing. One of the issues Dr. Barry mentions is Invasion of Privacy. This issue is synonymous with being anonymous on the internet which I highlighted in my previous blog post. Before the introduction of AdBlock, surfing the web was honestly a pain. Here’s what I see on Facebook now with AdBlock paused:

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Adverts on Facebook

I had quit playing video games over the summer and I have not bought my own box of cigarettes in almost a year (was a pack a week smoker, now barely one in a month). These advertisements were tailored to match my previous addictions and without AdBlock I would’ve gone back to my old habits. Despite the annoyance, one issue that significantly troubles me the most personally are scams.

Mike Chang’s Six Pack Shortcut is one of the most popular fitness channels on youtube but it is one of the most controversial as well. His methods have been labelled as being dishonest and misleading by the use of click-bait headlines and exaggerated health facts. What a lot of people are not happy about is the fact that he is selling information that is already free. Other popular youtube fitness channels have called out on Mike Chang’s business as a scam. Some have done so professionally while others … not so much.

Omar Isuf (deleted video)
Omar Isuf (video deleted from his channel)
Jonnie Candito with an in-depth explanation
Jonnie Candito with an in-depth explanation

Having been studying Psychology for the past half decade the harm marketing scams can do are extremely underestimated. Disappointment leads to a drop in general well-being such as self-esteem and over all happiness (in extreme cases depression) and even more so for people who already are low in self-esteem (e.g. 16 year old underweight me).

References:

An Authentic, Professional Online Profile – Andy Sugden

7 Ethical Dilemmas Faced in Social Media Marketing – Dr. Jim Barry

Anonymity: one of the most powerful inventions – Din Jaya

My Transformation & How YOU Can Get Abs – Mike Chang

Why Mike Chang of Sixpackshortcuts SUCKS – Omar Isuf

The Home Workout Scam – Jonnie Candito

Expectation, Disappointment and Sadness – Mary C. Lamia

Topic 3: Reflection.

This topic was a bit of a challenge for me as I have never personally been inclined into making my self internet known. Using MaTTcom as an example made me appreciate people who put effort into their online profile even more. After reading other people’s blogs I soon realise how naive I was into thinking that the popularity is a lot, if not totally, luck based. The topic also allowed me to appreciate authenticity in general and how hard people work to be authentic in an already diverse online culture.

My comment on Andy’s blog approached the topic in a different manner. I initially had an impression that the process of making yourself presentable online essentially removes a lot of freedom that the internet was made for. Andy made a good point in his reply that the process does restrict freedom in a way but it also works to our advantage.

My second comment was on Pippa’s blog on how she identified not being ambiguous as important in developing an authentic profile. My questioned stemmed from the many internet celebrities that get critically analysed from time to time from just not making themselves clear enough. This video is a recent example that I have encountered where hip hop star Kanye West gets into a verbal altercation with host Sway in a radio talk show. The comments from the video from youtube and other websites caught my attention more than the argument itself. People even went as far as diagnosing West as having Psychological issues. Be concise people.

References:

My comment on Andy’s blog

Andy’s reply to my comment 

My comment on Pippa’s blog

Kanye West’s argument with Sway