My Digital Security Improvements

Digital security is not something that I thought about much until recently. After looking through the articles, I find that it is a much bigger issue than I ever thought before.

It took me seeing my friend’s social media accounts getting hacked to finally realize how unprotected we really are. Getting hacked can be very scary. One second everything is fine, and the next you feel like you’ve lost everything including your sense of security.

I hope I am not jinxing myself, but I personally have never gotten hacked, had anything happen to any of my bank accounts, or even gotten my phone stolen and used by someone else. I can only imagine how scared and helpless people must feel in situations like these. I have experienced people going through this all the time, especially at the bars. People start drinking and completely forget about their belongings and the value that their items hold. It is a scary position to put yourself in especially if you are not protecting yourself properly.

One article that stood out to me the most was discussing cell phone passwords. I felt quite a bit of shame when looking at the list of the most commonly used passwords because sure enough, mine was on the list. Granted, I know that it is definitely not the most secure password, but I chose it because of its easiness. I think that I take my phone and all of the information stored on it for granted. I have this mindset like it is fully protected and nothing bad will ever happen to it. The truth is though; I am very wrong. If anyone got ahold of my phone, they could try the top 10 most used passwords and get right in. This is something that has prompted me to make a change.

The first thing that needs to change is my lock screen password on my phone. It is way too easy and predictable in the event that it gets lost or stolen. I currently have an iPhone, so the options are limited to just a number code ranging from four to six digits. When I had an android phone, I was able to make my password as long as I wanted with digits, or I could choose a pattern and connect the dots. I miss having that option because there are so many different possibilities when choosing a pattern to draw and it also has no real correlation to personal aspects of your life the way a digit code might.

Changing my passwords more frequently is another adjustment that I need to make. I appreciate all of the useful tools presented in this week’s module. Having a place to securely store and manage all of my passwords is a real game changer and offers me the ability to change my passwords more frequently without the fear of forgetting them. I tend to use the same password for nearly everything that I log in to which, after doing some reading, is only setting me up for some bad outcomes.


Laws in Media: Privacy

In our lifetime, we have watched social media, in all forms, go from a casual pass time to essentially what our world revolves around. This means that there has to be rules, laws and regulations covering all aspects of media use.

The thing that interests me the most is our privacy or lack thereof on social media. Before this class, I have always been very open on social media and had not really payed attention to or even cared if what I was posting was private to the public. I always thought “well I’m not posting anything bad so it doesn’t really matter if people see it”. The truth is though, it does matter. Whether it is my family members, future employers, or even random strangers, anyone can see what I am posting about my life.

What surprised me the most is when we were prompted to Google ourselves. This led me to a whole host of photos of myself that I had completely forgotten about. Things that I posted in my teens years are not necessarily things that I want attached to my name for the rest of my life.

This is where privacy comes into play. Since searching for myself on Google, I have adjusted my social media settings to be more private. I previously cared more about the reach that I had to my audience so by keeping my accounts public, more people were able to find my page. I do not have much of a desire for that now as I get older and use my social media less frequently.

Overall, privacy is much more complex than just changing your settings on social media though. The thing that really intrigues me about privacy is the fact that the majority of us don’t even realize how little privacy we actually have. We are constantly being watched, monitored, and accounted for. Every search we make, every place that we go, and every post we put on the internet is out in the open whether our settings are changed or not.

This is something that I have recently becoming more aware of due to this course. Watching the Ted Talks that discuss this issue are what really opened my eyes. I had no idea that every place that I travel or connect Wi-Fi to is constantly being logged. I personally do not think this is a huge issue for me because like I said, I have no reason to worry about being tracked or looked into on the internet. At the end of the day though, it is an invasion of privacy.

With this new information that I have been accumulating, I have begun changing as much as I can to protect my privacy. Often times, apps will ask to use your current location which is fine in certain instances where it may be needed, but when I do allow it I make sure to choose the “only allow once” option. This prevents the app from using my location when I am not using the app.




My Wikipedia Experience

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Wikipedia is something that I have grown up with and been told that it is not the most reliable source of information out there.

I found the training modules to be very insightful and provided me with the details behind this amazing website. Wikipedia is more than just a place for people to post whatever they want without fact checking anything. It has extensive rules and regulations to help prevent people from posting wrong or inaccurate information on the site.

After spending a lot of time looking through Wikipedia for articles that needed some extra information, I decided to work on the entry for my high school. Montoursville Area High School was in the process of renovations while I was attending there and (of course) was not finished until after I had graduated in 2017. The page contains a wide variety of information about the school including statistics on academics, sports, and other various clubs. The information about the renovation was very short and looked like it had not been updated since before the renovation was completed. I saw this as an opportunity to do some of my own research to add some beneficial information to this section.

After finding the information that I needed, I followed the instructions and went to the “talk” section. I actually did not hear anything back for this, possibly because it is not a popular page, thus does not concern the editors like something more controversial would. When I did not hear anything back, I decided to go ahead and make my edits.

This is a screenshot of what was there initially.

The section that I decided to edit, which is the last paragraph in the screenshot, had a slight typo to begin with. This was just a minor double space in between two words so I fixed that error as well as the sentence “The project is expected to be completed in 2017”. I updated it to say “The project has since been completed in 2017”. I also added some new information (last sentence) pertaining to the new classrooms that were added to the school. I found this to be very important information regarding the renovation so I was shocked to find that there was no mention of it in the article.

Since the information that I found was in pdf format found on the website, I was a little bit concerned when it came to making the citation for the facts that I found. Wikipedia made it fairly easy for me to just fill in the blanks as best as I could to automatically generate the citation for me. I found this to be very helpful and took some of the stress away before making my final touches.

Here is a screenshot of the updated version that I made edits to.

I am shocked that I have not heard a single word from Wikipedia regarding my edits. I have been checking the page frequently to see if there have been any changes to what I posted and there has been nothing. Based on the training modules and readings from the course, I expected my edits to be taken down immediately. I am glad they have not and I hope that means that I did everything correctly (or maybe I did everything wrong I’m not quite sure). None the less, they are still up and available to the public!

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience that I had with this assignment. I have always wondered exactly how to make edits on Wikipedia. I now know so much more than just how to make edits. I have learned about the background of Wikipedia, how it runs, and the great lengths it goes to in order to provide the most accurate information possible.

I won’t lie, I was quite intimidated at first. I was not sure how I was going to be able to find an article that 1, I knew a lot about and 2, was lacking some information that I could provide to it. Kristy’s blog post gave me a lot of inspiration for my topic of choice. Coming from a very small town, I knew that my high school couldn’t have that much information or edits made to it and I was correct! I am grateful that I was able to find something to add beneficial information too and not just some meaningless edits.

I can now say that I have learned something new and potentially beneficial for my life. I find that I get bored in some courses by just doing the same type of quizzes and homework assignments week after week, but this offered me a real challenge and a way to implement the learning material in a more hands on way. I plan to be more active on this site now that I have the knowledge to be successful with it.




The Grandmother Problem

Constant access to the media has been around for quite some time now which has led to the sharing of misinformation across all media platforms. The two platforms that I see this most frequently happening on are Twitter and Facebook. These are both places where people share or post their own thoughts that, most of the time, elicit a response. This leads to back and forth comments that can get pretty unfriendly if someone is not sharing accurate information. Most of the time, people are unaware that they are sharing or posting something that is not true, so it is important to inform people on how to properly post on social media.

I have encountered the sharing of misinformation first hand from some of my family members and it makes me wonder where they are finding this information in the first place. My mom seems to believe that everything she sees on Facebook is 100% true and accurate. I have tried telling her to be more cautious and do some more of her own research before jumping to conclusions about what she sees in the media, but she does not seem to think that it is necessary.

In order to help people with this, I tell them to clean up her social media a bit. By this, I mean unfollowing people that have little to no credibility. Yes, there is fake news everywhere, but it is much more beneficial to fill your feed with pages like The Washington Post or The New York Times that provide only the most accurate information. Although it is great to follow credible pages, I find that a lot of where people are finding misinformation is from their own friends.

Unfollowing friends that are not credible can be a little bit more difficult than unfollowing news outlets that are not credible. To get around this obstacle, it is very important to simply fact check these people. If you read something from a friend that you find interesting enough to share, a simple Google search can point you to the whole story. Not only is this a good way to learn more about the topic, it’s also a good way to make sure that you are not posting any false information.


Top 5 Celebrity News Sources

When looking at celebrities in the media, there are a lot of sources that do not provide the most accurate information. Often times, these unreliable sources will give out wrong information just to make the story a little juicier. It is getting harder and harder to find genuinely reliable sources in terms of celebrity news, but there are definitely some still out there. With that being said, I will give my top five media outlets that offer the most accurate and reliable stories for celebrities.


People fills its articles with quotes directly from people who know the whole story which provides the readers with very accurate articles. This is not a celebrity gossip outlet; it is real news with reliable stories explaining what happened.

A recent article titled “Former Love Island Host Caroline Flack Found Dead at 40” gives information of her death based off of her family’s own statements. They also provide more insight as to what her life was like before her death including different allegations and scandals related to her job. All information provided is linked to other sources to confirm what is being said.


Twitter is a great outlet to find news about celebrities because it is coming directly from them. A lot of celebrities like to post updates that give the real story and not just what everyone is assuming to be true from the news outlets.

A prime example of this is from Jordyn Woods. There was a huge scandal that she was involved last year so she took to Twitter to post her side of the story.

Instagram is another social media outlet that is a great place to get information directly from the celebrities themselves. Like Twitter, Instagram provides news that is not dramatized because it is given from the only people who know the whole story.

Selena Gomez previously took a break from social media and gave her followers an in-depth post as to why she was doing this. Most of the time when celebrities do this, they do not inform anyone of it (because they shouldn’t have to), but this leads to celebrity gossip sources making articles making assumptions as to why they did. Her post let people know that “negative comments can hurt anybody’s feelings” and that she just needed some time away from it all.


US Weekly is a great place for all things celebrity related whether the stories are big or small. They offer daily articles with quotes directly from the people involved to provide credibility.

A recent article titled “Jamie Lynn Spears’ Daughter Maddie Hospitalized Following an Incident at Recess” gives the story on what happened to her daughter and adds post’s from Jamie’s Instagram about the incident.


The New York Times is a great news outlet overall for any news that you may be looking for. Their articles on celebrities have some of the most accurate information by adding links and direct quotes for proof of authenticity.

They recently posted another article that I found on Caroline Flack and they did a great job at providing links to everything being said as well as direct quotes to back it up.


My social media use has been decreasing recently. I am currently in two classes that deal with nearly this same material, so other than doing assignments that require the use of media, I do not get on a lot. This is mostly due to my busy school and work schedule. Since being in these classes, I find myself clearing out some of the old pages I had been following. I am filling my feeds with more educational information and news outlets so that I do not feel as guilty about getting on social media. I used to feel very unfulfilled after getting off of social media because I wasn’t looking at anything beneficial to me.






America’s Got Talent Controversy

The famous television show, America’s Got Talent, has been under the microscope recently for supposedly being a toxic work environment. These claims were reported by one of the hosts from the show, Gabrielle Union. Gabrielle was reportedly fired after speaking up about what she believes in; racial equality and woman’s rights.

Being someone who watches the show, it was clear to me that Gabrielle had very strong opinions on the contestants and seemed to be particularly keen to the more ethnic contestants. I find nothing wrong in what she was trying to do for the show and that was to shed more light on some of the contestants that may have been overlooked if she had not been a judge. I am not saying that this show is racist in any way, but she was able to connect more with certain contestants than other judges on the show could.

An article posted by The Washington Post goes into more detail about what really happened behind the scenes of this incident. This article was done by Elahe Izadi and the title of it is “Gabrielle Union’s firing from ‘America’s Got Talent’ draws celebrity condemnation and an investigation”.

A statement from NBC was included in this article and states that they take matters like this very seriously and work very closely with those involved in the matter in order to get the situation resolved. This article also incorporated stories from other news sources like Variety to add credibility. Although this adds different perspectives to the article, it also states that the source of the information was anonymous. This makes it difficult to know for sure if what is being said is accurate.

The incorporation of tweets from people affected by this situation add great insight as to how big of an issue this is. People are standing up for Gabrielle for not letting anything stop her from standing up for what she believes in. Many were upset with the fact that she was getting fired for something that should not be punishable.

After reading thoroughly through this article, I find it to be fairly credible. The Washington Post is overall a very credible source, but this article in particular included some sources that were questionable to me. They did not seem to provide much information or details about what specifically happened, but more so on the reactions of those involved.

To help verify some of the information provided, the article contained several hyperlinks. One hyperlink provided leads to an article from Deadline which goes into more detail about the statement given by NBC. This is beneficial for the readers so that we are getting the whole story and not just from the eyes of Gabrielle.

I tried to find one of the first articles reported on this topic to see where it all started, but it does lack very crucial information that more recent articles provide. An article from Fox News published yesterday offers more input from the other judges on the show. It seems as though no one else felt the same way as Gabrielle did. Heidi Klum, a previous judge, said “to me, everyone treats you with utmost respect”. Terry Cruz even said that it was one of the best experiences he has ever had in his life.

Based on information from other sources, I find that the initial article from The Washington Post did not provide much information at all and was more of a reaction to the claims that were reported. Since the article title had “investigation” in it, I was anticipating more of the whole story. With that being said, I would give this article a C letter grade.


Celebrity Death in the Media

With everything that happened this past weekend, I think it is the perfect time to discuss how the media has the ability to help and also hurt people in the media, especially celebrities. On Sunday, January 26th, we lost one of the most influential athletes of all time, Kobe Bryant. Whether you were a sports fan or not, the coming of this news was something that shook the world. This accident was so unexpected and extremely tragic and the media seemed to make the pain of it all even worse.

The news outlet, well, more like celebrity gossip outlet, TMZ, is currently under harsh scrutiny for being the first outlet to release the news of Kobe’s death before his family even knew what happened. Unfortunately, they have since deleted the article so I am unable to link it, but there are now petitions to call for the cancellation of TMZ completely after what they had done. This news article came out saying that only three people had died in the helicopter which is not only wrong, but very disrespectful to the families of the other six people who were on board.

An analysis piece was done by CNN discussing the wrong doing of TMZ and went into greater detail as to why this act was beyond uncalled for. This article provided actual quotes from those who were affected by this news leak and also quotes from the founder of TMZ which made it very credible.

One quote that stood out to me from the founder is “It’s so funny to me that people ask that question… We’re a news operation. I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do as a news operation is chase down stories. And it always kind of amuses me when people ask that question. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? I mean, that is the job.” To me, this is a prime example of how heartless celebrity news outlets really are. They just want to be the first to get the story out and do not think about the implications of it.

Another analysis piece done by The Hill went into great detail about why TMZ was so wrong for doing this to the families affected. For credibility, a quote was provided from the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva. Villanueva was very saddened when he heard that TMZ released the news while he was still trying to collect all of the evidence and prepare for how he was going to tell the families.

Most other news outlets, like the New York Times, waited until they had all of the details before writing the article about his death. This in itself makes it reliable and credible. It was a very well written article and gave credit to the other families that were affected by this tragic accident. In the media, it is easy for them to only focus on the Bryant family because of their popularity, but I thought that going into detail about the others who were on board was very kind and respectful. It is what Kobe would have wanted.

Overall, this whole week has been very eye opening in terms of how celebrity news is treated in the media. I almost could not believe my eyes at the stories that we coming out every hour after Kobe’s passing. Each one was being updated as new information was coming out and no one really knew what the truth was until the next day. In times of tragedy like this, I think that celebrity news outlets need to take the backseat and let the outlets who know the hard facts provide the news to everyone. This whole situation was very heartbreaking and just proves how many issues there really are in the media.




Celebrities in the Media

Celebrities in the media have always been under a microscope and quite frankly, I think it is a huge violation of privacy. Whether it is good news or bad news, celebrities are always having their every move watched, judged and scrutinized.

I personally have never been one to believe much of what I read about celebrity news because who actually knows what is going on in their life besides them? We can get a glimpse into their lives through social media and what they choose to share, but let’s be honest, we are only seeing the surface level. We don’t know anything about their personal lives and what they go through on a daily basis.

I find that a lot of people are almost obsessed with celebrity news due to its juiciness. There is always some crazy drama, new relationship, arrest, etc. It is very easy for news sources to focus on celebrities simply because of the attention that it gets. It is like reality TV for us, but with real people’s lives instead. E News is a huge source for all of the celebrity news that goes on daily. I find this source to be very unreliable because of how many updated articles come out after the initial one is posted. It’s almost like they just rush to get a story out and when more facts come out, they keep making new posts about it.

As interesting as celebrity news may be to us, I think that we make it very difficult for them to live “normal” lives. Sure, they are not living like the average person is, but that does not mean that they aren’t human just like the rest of us. They still have feelings and emotions so is it really our right to be in their business 24/7?

A big problem that the media causes for celebrities is substance abuse and emotional disorders. A lot of people are born with a higher risk of developing these problems already, but when we put this pressure on them to always be perfect, it can send them into a spiral. Take Demi Lovato for example. She has been struggling her whole life with different health concerns including depression and eating disorders. I can only imagine how difficult this was for her to overcome on top of being constantly followed by the paparazzi.

The news media as a whole needs to take a step back (in my opinion) when lives are clearly in danger. Will it be a good story? Absolutely. At the end of the day though, it is their story to tell if and when they are ready for it. We do not need to make life hard and feel impossible for them just for our own pleasure.


24 hours of social media

For me, social media has become a huge part of my life over the years as I imagine it has for most people. I wake up in the morning and check Twitter first for any new news that is happening around the world. I actually don’t follow many news pages on social media because the people that I follow are always very quick to re-tweet any big information that I may need to know about. I then move on to Instagram to check on how everyone else’s lives are going or at least how they want me to think it is going. After all of that is out of the way, I start my day by putting on some music to get me energized for what lies ahead.

I began my day by going to the gym. This is one place I would think I wouldn’t be on social media, but I always find myself mindlessly scrolling my feed in between sets. Usually my social media consist of the same old thing every day, but in recent weeks there has been a flood of posts about the fires that are consuming Australia. Almost every major news page is posting about these devastating fires and often provide links to donate and help out in any way that we can. One that I see being re-tweeted a lot is from ABC news. I find it amazing that all different countries are coming together on this matter and even sending over volunteers to help, but the biggest focus is on the animals.

After the gym, I came home and got ready for school. I often don’t have much time to be on my phone during this time, but after getting to class I found myself checking social media one last time before the class started. Fast forward to getting home from class and this is where the most time was spent on my phone.  Should I be getting ahead on homework and stop procrastinating? Yes. For the sake of this assignment though, I let myself have a little bit more time on my phone.

Until having to log everything I was reading and looking at, I didn’t realize how much information I was taking in daily. I mostly follow pages that bring positivity to my day and choose not to follow a lot of news pages because if I’m being honest, they’re quite sad most of the time. With that being said, I know that if a story is big enough, I will definitely be hearing about it.

One person that I do follow is Donald Trump and let me tell you, that is an adventure. I will not get into any political talks, but I will say that I am glad that I follow him. Although he might put too much on social media, I think it is great that he is very open about what is going on and keeps us (kind of) in the loop. He is the only “credible” media source that I currently follow.

Overall, I found this assignment to be very enlightening and judging by my screen time of 6 hours per day, I think I may need to cut back a bit. Our world today seems to revolve around social media and immediate gratification. Unfortunately, I see it changing who we are as people and as a society. Social media is amazing in it’s own way, but I think it is all about finding the balance between it and the real world.