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><  here is my markup lab. On it you will find some quality pictures from my vacation.

Here it is. Enjoy.

In chapters four through six of his book, Dan Gillmore discusses how the media shift from a broadcasting hierarchy to an open discussion has affected different segments of society. Chapter four discusses the “newsmakers,” including corporate interests who at first tried to quiet the consumer voice only to have such attempts backfire. But as understanding of this new medium developed, Gillmore illustrates how savvy private interests were able to work with the voice by engaging in honest dialog and developing positive customer relations. He discusses how open blogging and quality RSS feeds can bolster a company’s image. And further, Gillmore gives solid advice to future Public Relations personnel on how to use this technology in a way that gains the attention and trust of the public.

In chapter five we are told how television and soft money used to rule politics, and how that ended at the turn of the century. Political groups used the internet to find their base. It also gave voice to many who would not otherwise be heard. San Jose State alumni Joe Trippi showed the world of politics that online campaigning could prove to be quite lucrative to a campaign. In this Gillmore made a sharp and accurate prediction that, “Net-savvy campaigning will be the rule by 2008.” How right he was!

The world of journalism itself is the subject of chapter six. Journalists themselves may have mixed reactions about the world of blogging. Reliable, professional bloggers have proven quite useful as a source of news and politics. But large media outlets are generally not thrilled about a new world where everybody is a reporter, as it eats into their bottom line. Still Gillmore believes we will always have a need for professional journalism; in depth investigative reporting.

Media is more than the power to inform; it is the power to influence. In the early days of our nation’s press, media barons would abuse their power to serve personal interest. But thanks to muckraking journalism, voices of truth and descent rose up. Even still, only the newspapers and journalists had the power to be heard. If the common man had something to say, his options were limited.

As media evolved, this still did not change. From newspapers to radio to television, media outlets were still owned by the few and the privileged, and we the people went largely unheard. Yet the world was changing in ways that nobody could predict; technology and the internet provided a new level of interconnectivity, with a limitless ability for distribution. Blogs, cell phone cameras, SMS, RSS feeds; the tools were falling into place. But overall public awareness was still low. Dan Gilmore, author of We the Media, contends that the media blitz and interest surrounding the events of 9-11 was the catalyst that propelled web based media into the forefront of our consciousnesses.

It’s not all good news. When everybody has a voice, those with ulterior motives can make themselves heard. Corporations can play the wolf in sheeps clothing. And so much energy is devoted to celebrity. Still, power has indeed shifted. Anyone with access to the internet and something to say can be heard, and if the message is powerful enough, it can easily be spread to thousands or even millions. While there is still a place for the big networks and big media, there is a new player now; we the people.

Whew! Here it is, my satirical newsletter.

When Ryan Sholin came to visit our class, I did not know what to expect. Was he going to tell us about web publication? Was he going to tell us about carreer opportunities? Well, he did spend some time talking about these things, but Ryan spent most of his time showing us what he felt were the most hip and vital websites of right now.

I’ve known about RSS feeds for years, but after being introduced to Google Reader and some good sources of information, I set up my page in minutes and have since found myself spending hours on sifting through countless news stories, picking out ones I find interesting, and becoming informed. In the past week, this has become a welcome part of my daily routine.

Another key site Ryan showed us was Twitter, something that could possibly be described as a cross between a blog and instant messaging. Ryan clearly illustrated how this popular tool could be used to not only get informed, but actually get personally connected with those in the news industry. As much time as I have spent on RSS feeds, I have yet to set up a Twitter account, though I’m sure its just a matter of time.

Much has already been made of Barack Obama’s internet presense. With a high tech website offering user accounts with private messaging, personal blogging, sub groups and friends lists, they are fostering a digital community around their support base. Clearly his team is the state of the art in public relations, and that may be making all the difference in his campaign.

But much of the internet publicity is not Obama’s doing. He claimed no responsability for the internet advertisment slaming Hilary Clinton in a parody of 1984. He was also not repsonsable for Will.I.Am’s Yes We Can video which has drawn so much attention this past week. The beauty of the internet is that it gives everyone a voice. And, when their message is strong enough, the links are echoed through blogs and emails, reaching a potentially massive audience.

And the effects have been powerful. Obama has been breaking records for campaign contributions, pulling in a startling $32 million dollars in January. And while its unknown how much of this can be attributed to Obama’s online presense, the internet has still played a huge role in this, with 88% of the $32 million coming from online donations.

In an effort to become more intercultural, I recently spent a month overseas. I spent a majority of this time in Saigon, Vietnam. One of the biggest points of culture shock was the traffic; the constant honking of horns, the lawlessness, and all those motorbikes! My cousin joked with me that crossing the street there is a lot like playing frogger with your life. How right he was. The only way to get across a busy street is to walk into a stream of traffic and expect people to swerve out of the way.A Street in Saigon

Actually being on a motorbike is no safer; taxis and cars will push their way through crowds of bikes. Making a left turn means driving into oncoming traffic. And people are constantly running red lights. The thought of riding one of these bikes is enough to terrify most foreigners, but to me it looked like too much fun. Never being the objective observer, I rented a bike and rode one in Sai Gon for 20 days without incident.

Here are the two golden rules about riding a motorbike in Saigon. First, there is strenght in numbers; pushing your way infront of a taxi is very dangerous, but if eight other people are doing it, its reasonable to assume the taxi will stop. Second, no harm no foul. Drive the wrong way down a one way street. Cut people off. Speed and run red lights. Nobody will mind, as long as nobody gets hurt. But my best advice to you is to stay off the streets of Saigon.