Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Broadband Challenge

Internet, what would I do without you?

I have been given a challenge. A challenge that most Generation Xers would not be able to complete: use the Internet for everything. My parents are technologically challenged. The Internet confuses them and the only piece of new technology they have is a cellphone.

For me, it's the opposite. Technology is my life. There isn't a day when I'm not watching my favorite movies or TV shows online. Even talking to people is a hassle without Internet. I use it for everything. Socializing, communicating, researching, entertainment. Internet makes everything accessible to me instantly. I don't have to wait for a letter or go take the bus to the library to do simple research. I have everything I need at my fingertips. And the best thing about it is that it's free! I don't need to pay for cable, gas, postage, or software.

The only downside to watching TV shows online is the advertising. Usually, people rely on the Internet to get away from the 3 minute advertising intermissions when watching a TV show. But at least when you're watching the show on an actual television you can channel surf. On the Internet, you have to watch it. But the most annoying thing is pop-up advertising. It is so obnoxious. Multiple advertising windows open up and make noise right when you're about to watch your show. So you have to pause it, find that window, and close it every time.

The advertising associated with listening to music wasn't as intrusive. It didn't make the experience any less enjoyable.

Although the challenge was to do everything online, I have cheated and used my cellphone for talking and texting when my computer wasn't available. But hey, if I had internet on my phone, I probably would be using that for all of my on-the-go internet needs.

The only thing that was very difficult for me was to use online programs that were the equivalent to my Adobe design programs on my computer. I felt really uneasy about it. I prefer to have my programs available to me and me only. I would not replace my applications with online ones it that situation. If for some reason the internet doesn't allow me to use these free online programs when I really need it I'm in big trouble.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Actress in a Leading Role: Who Will it Be?

The Oscars. The annual awards ceremony for the most prestigious and influential actors of the year. I normally don't give a hoot on trying to figure out who is going to win the Oscar in each category. I like the surprise. But this time I actually got to experience doing an Oscar investigation on Twitter.

Out of all of the award categories, I decided to specifically look into who will win the Best Leading Actress. And the nominees are:

  • Annette Bening—"The Kids Are All Right"
  • Nicole Kidman—"Rabbit Hole"
  • Jennifer Lawrence—"Winter's Bone"
  • Natalie Portman—"Black Swan"
  • Michelle Williams—"Blue Valentine"
On Twitter, I did searches for each nominee using keywords like their name, "oscars", and "win". After looking at the activity on each actress I have come to an overall prediction. Natalie Portman will win the Oscar. How do I know this? Let me run through what I found when I searched these actresses on Twitter.

When I entered Annette Bening into the search bar I found 2 tweets that said she should win an Oscar, 1 tweet said that she won't, and the rest spoke of how Bening was going to vote for herself to win the Oscar. There doesn't seem to be much of a positive buzz on this actress so I figured that she isn't a favorite to win.

Nicole Kidman's search was a little more positive. There were more tweets congratulating her performance in "Rabbit Hole" and more people hoped to see her win the Oscar. However, there were more tweets on what she was going to wear rather than if people thought she was going to win. I think that she is one of the favorites to win, but as I continued with my results, I don't think she will.

The few tweets on Jennifer Lawrence spoke of how good "Winter's Bone" was and how well Jennifer Lawrence played her part. A couple of people were happy that she was nominated because they liked her performance and actually wanted to see her win the Oscar. However, the other tweets that popped up were quotes on how Jennifer Bening didn't expect to win. And personally, I don't expect her to win either. There was a very low number of tweets that were about her winning. This makes me think that people are focusing their votes on someone else even though she may have done a good job.

Michelle Williams does not have a chance to win the Oscar. Why? Because there was only 1 result saying that she should win and the other one said that her co-star Ryan Gossling out-shined her. So, she is the nominee that I am going to have to rule out of the winning circle.

And finally, we have my prediction and my favorite to win: Natalie Portman. It is extremely obvious that Natalie Portman is the fan favorite. When I searched "Natalie Portman win" almost every tweet said that her performance was immaculate and brilliant. There weren't any negative comments whatsoever. The general consensus was that she should win the Oscar and I agree.

Not only has Natalie Portman been in the acting game longer than some of her co-nominees, but her general spirit and kind personality makes people swoon over her.

I never thought that using a social media could really give so many clues as to who will get the majority of the votes. It's awesome to be able to have this available to me just in case I'm curious and want to know ahead of time. But in the future, I prefer to have my favorite and leave the reveal until the big night. It's more fun that way!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Social Media

I am an avid shopper. It's a problem that I have. So, for this week's blog I decided to follow my favorite clothing retailer on Facebook and Twitter: American Eagle Outfitters. I have shopped at this retailer for many years. I have even been sucked into their loyalty program. So, it only seemed right to follow something I surround myself with every Saturday afternoon.

When I clicked the "Like" and "Follow" buttons, my news feed instantly changed. I got updates on when new collections were coming out, what days I can get double AE Rewards Points, what sales are going on and when, what online deals you can get, and even printable coupons that are exclusive to Facebook and Twitter followers.

I already knew that American Eagle gives incentives for people buying merchandise from their store, but I never knew that you could get online coupons just by liking them. This made me appreciate the company even more and maybe even make me feel less guilty for spending money on them. To me it makes American Eagle seem thankful for our business but they twist it to make it an advantage by getting people to buy more. It's genius!

I love American Eagle. I always have. But thanks to their loyalty programs, I can now enjoy AE merchandise at a significant discount. Awesome.