Online Journalism

Spring 2009 Northeastern University

Next blog assignment February 6, 2009

Filed under: assignments — ematson @ 1:04 pm
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So by next week, I want you to write a post on your blog that will be off-topic for your regular blog posts. I want you to comment on the recent Michael Phelps incident where someone snapped a pic of him at a party smoking pot from a bong and then loaded it up online. Today the USA Swimming suspended him for three months and one of his major sponsors, Kellogg, has dropped him. I’m not interested in your view on smoking pot and whether or not it’s a big deal, he’s being fairly/unfairly treated. What I want you to write about is living a life in a world where we are surrounded by technology that can record our every moment – whether voluntary or involuntary. Do you sometimes worry about finding pics/video/comments about yourself online that might offend/embarrass/horrify you. Do you pay attention to your surroundings during social outings to who is taking pics, etc. Do you worry about who you can trust? Do you find you have to untag photos in Facebook, etc.  Do you just live your life or do you sometimes censor it because of what may be online the next day? Are you comfortable or uncomfortable having your life documented online? Do you ever hear from parents in good or bad ways about what they see?

Here’s my recent story. I took my much younger sister to lunch the other day for her birthday. She first met me at a salon where I was having my hair done, then we went to lunch and then shopping. She was texting when I was at the salon, but otherwise I wasn’t really paying attention. The next day, I called my Mom and said we had a good time and my Mom was like “It looked like you had a great time. I saw the pics of your salon, the margaritas, your sister’s clothing purchases, etc.) I had no idea she was taking all these photos during the day – it was no big deal, but it was so funny to realize I was so clueless that she was updating Twitter, loading up photos of our outing, basically documenting our day as we went along, etc.

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