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Is it Worth Investing Leisure Time into Facebook and Instagram?

What is Social Media?

Social Media is defined as a two-way communication channel over virtual communities and networks. The term social media is a broad term, ranging from online bookmarks to photo and video sharing. Any interaction between two parties (acknowledging a post or commenting on an article) is considered an interacting with social media. Two of the world’s largest social media websites are Facebook and Instagram. Both of these websites have millions of users that access their websites daily.

Legal Issues

Within the past two years, Facebook and Instagram have gone through some financial and legal issues. For instance, when Facebook had taken over Instagram, Facebook had promised them $300 million in cash and $700 million in Facebook stocks. After the deal was made, Facebook decided to go public, and stocks began to drop drastically, causing Instagram to lose almost $300 million worth of shares that Facebook gave to them. Although this matter does not affect the customer directly, it shows the financial instability between Facebook and Instagram within the past year. From an investor’s standpoint, they become uncertain whether or not it is worth funding the business. Especially when Facebook became a public trading company, it relies on other companies to invest into the business to further expand the company.

Instagram and its Photo Rights

In December 2012, Instagram declared to sell users photography without payment or notification. This had sparked a public outcry. The policy would take effect January 16, 2013, and Instagram would have the rights to use any photos that were posted on its site. Within a month, they lost half of its daily active users in a month. Decreasing drastically from 16.3 million to about 7.6 million, the users strongly expressed their opinions about the new change in policy. Using Instragram as an example for one of the largest social media websites in the world, they tried to implement new policies that will better the entire community. Although their policies try to better the company, it is difficult to please everybody. Especially when it doesn’t benefit the users, there will always be a huge uproar in those changes. Posted below is a podcast that discusses the changes on Instagram.

Facebook Terms of Service

With Facebook being such a popular site, it tried to verify all of its users for security purposes and to ensure that every Facebook account matched its respective owner. Due to updated terms of service and privacy policy, this security policy was put into effect. When a user logged into his or her account, they were prompted by a message asking for a government-issued photo ID that met certain criteria. After providing the required information, not all IDs were accepted, leading to more follow-up emails asking to provide more documentation such as their birth certificates. With new terms of service being added, this directly affects users, as not everyone will be satisfied with these new terms. In my opinion, I see Facebook as a media outlet to learn what my friends are doing. With the government-issued ID in effect, I would rather quit Facebook than upload personal information on the internet. I assume like many others, they would not want to give out personal information due to privacy issues.

Conclusion

Facebook and Instagram are two of the most used social media sites in the world. Although I enjoy using these websites, I don’t find them necessities to learn about what my friends are doing. With that being said, I have no problem deactivating my Facebook and Instagram accounts if needed. With these large websites going through changes in the past year, I’m less inclined to post constantly knowing that the terms of service and policies are constantly changing. Growing up with Facebook could almost be considered a norm, because a majority of students have Facebook or Instagram accounts. It has become another method of socializing with people. With technology constantly changing, it isn’t a big deal to switch to another social media website where students can post their opinions and ideas without our information being monitored.

Are North America’s Piracy Laws Necessary or R-R-Ridiculous in Today’s Society?

What is Piracy?

Piracy is defined as the deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale. It can be divided into four categories: music, counterfeits, bootleg and internet piracy. All four types of piracy produce or distribute products such as music and movies without the permission of the rights owner.

Piracy in North America

I think that piracy laws that are governed in North America are considerably outdated. Since our society is growing up with constant changing technology, our laws and regulations have not kept up with our technological surroundings. Living in the 21st century with 20th century laws make it difficult for some companies that rely on file sharing to do business. File-sharing has become a huge factor in today’s technology. It enables peer-to-peer networking, being able to transfer files from one person to another. The general public saw this as an innovative idea, while certain industries such as the music industry were not satisfied with this because it heavily cut into their revenues.

SOPA and PIPA

Linked below is a video describing SOPA and PIPA.

Megaupload is one of the Internet’s largest file-sharing sites that was shut down by US officials because of violating piracy laws. They had cost copyright holders more than $500m in lost revenue due to complains about pirated material.  With the new anti-piracy bill being introduced (Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act) around the same time Megaupload was charged, it would eliminate pirating and file sharing other peoples content. This had caused a huge uproar in North America.

The purposes of these bills were to prevent illegal downloading and pirating of media company material. An industry study indicated that 17.5% of all bandwidth in the US is taken up by illegal downloads. That being said, the language of the bills constituting piracy was too broad. They  would make it illegal to stream unauthorized content. For example, Justin Bieber’s reputation started on YouTube performing music belonging to other singers.

SOPA and PIPA Protests

Large websites such as Wikipedia, Google and Reddit protested against these two bills. These involved communities caused “blackouts” by changing their page layouts, or redirecting their links to a protesting SOPA link. These blackouts were created to increase the awareness of internet users and the grand changes that would take place if SOPA and PIPA were passed. A list of participating companies can be found here. The opposition from these web-based communities showed Congress how many people were against the bill. Eventually, the bill was dropped.

How would SOPA and PIPA Have Affected My Life?

As a university student, file-sharing saves me hundreds of dollars in music and movies.  Being on a tight budget, I am making use of the free resources available to me. If Congress passed both SOPA and PIPA, I would stop spending money on music and movies, because they would not fit in my budget. With all of our tuition fees and living expenses, students such as myself rely on cheap entertainment, in this cause music and movies. If these files began to cost money when downloading them, we will just find other ways to entertain ourselves.

Growing up in a technology enhancing society, it is considered a norm to file share and use unauthorized content for amateur-made videos. The convenience of downloading and viewing files from our computers and cell phones would result in almost every individual being considered a felon.  As our society continues to grow, our laws must adapt to these newer technologies that enter our lives.

Does E-Sports Have the Potential to Become As Popular As Real Sports?

Electronic Sports (E-Sports) is also known as competitive gaming. Games are classified into different three main genres, Real Time Strategy, First Person Shooters and Massively Multiplayer Online. These games are played either on a PC or console. Competitive gaming has been around for the past two decades, but has become more of a sport within the past few years.

Gaming in the Past

E-Sports developed in the Eastern and Western part of the world, separated by region and culture. In the early 1900’s, Korea had a massive growth in internet, giving them other forms of multiplayer entertainment such as Starcraft. This Real Time Strategy game proved to be a source of entertainment for both players and viewers in the game’s early stages. The game eventually expanded into a sport where teams were formed to compete against one another. This is currently one of Korea’s main sources of entertainment, with a couple of television channels committed solely to Starcraft.

This video was posted in 2006, when playing a game was hardly considered a job. The video takes places in Korea; two of the strongest players fighting against each other in a game of Starcraft. At the start of the video, you can see the sea of fans who pay to watch these two gamers play. At 3:21, the Korean commentators and fans start to cheer violently for one of the gamers (Boxer), who is executing a very risky tactic.

American and European gaming revolved around First Person Shooters and capture the flag gameplay. Although their matches were broadcasted over the internet rather than television, their gaming leagues were modeled after major professional sports leagues, offering offline tournaments across the different regions. Many of these online athletes did not earn income from playing at a high level, but rather playing for their strong passion and commitment towards the game.

Tournaments and Leagues

When a professional online gamer joins a team, the player gets paid a salary exactly like a professional athlete. Most players put their academic studies on hold while pursuing an interest that they strongly believe in. They train on a daily basis to compete in upcoming matches and tournaments. In North America, there are several tournaments that are hosted year round by Major League Gaming. As well, there are a number of gaming events that are held at these MLGs, such as Starcraft II, League of Legends and Call of Duty for being the most popular games. At these events, players compete against each other, meet their fans and to represent their team. These events are sponsored by computer and energy drink companies such as Razor, Asus, Red Bull and Monster. The prize pool is dependent on the number of sponsors. Popular games tend to have a larger prize pool.

League matches are played either online or at a local setting. Players from each team face off against each other. The team that has won more games will become the victor of the match. Similar to real sports, both teams meet at an agreed area. E-sport matches have the option to be played in the comfort of their own homes if it is allowed.

Technology in Today’s Society

With the advance in today’s technology, new video games being released are expected to have high expectations. While trying to create a unique concept, the game must keep up with other competing video games. Old games are also being updated and look for ways to keep current players involved with their features. As the gaming industry is evolving over time, real sports have become somewhat stagnant, as it is a lot harder for these sports to make adjustments to their rules and the strategies used within the game.

As the world starts to become a global community, players are able to compete against each other from different parts of the world! The ability to compete with foreign players is an experience that should never be forgotten. Without the expenses of traveling, you could be learning different tactics and skills from players from China!

Why E-Sports Can Surpass Real Sports

Competitive gaming has been around for two decades, driven by the passion of the players. Although it is not as popular as the NFL or NBA, e-sports is becoming a wide-spread industry. With the younger generation relying more on technology than we do, they have a higher chance to spark an interest in video gaming.

As a spectator of e-sports myself, I’ve spent countless hours gaming since I was young. Having a background in both competitive sports and e-sports, I’ve always debated which activity felt the most rewarding. Sports have developed my reflexes and level of physical activity, while E-Sports grants more opportunity in developing your decision-making, theory-crafting and intellectual skills. Both activities stimulate different of your body, but I have found that competitive gaming is more rewarding; due to the fact there is a higher skill ceiling than real sports. In the E-Sports industry, there is more of a variety of games to choose, each with different objectives and controls. The feeling of learning and becoming skilled at a game invigorates and inspires you to test your abilities against other players from the comfort of your own house.

I believe that the E-Sports industry is still in its infant stages, and has erupted significantly in the past few years. Within the next few years, it wouldn’t be a surprise if e-sports began expanding into the television market.