Question: As use of the social media grows among young people in America, do these young folks also become more passionate about the need for the First Amendment?
(You remember: the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees that the nation will have a free press system. The media can pretty much report what it wants without fear of prior restraint.)
Answer: a study released Sept. 16 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation concludes that the use of the social media is a pretty good thing for that First Amendment.
“Students using their multimedia devices to text, blog, tweet, or post on Facebook are simultaneously finding out more about the world – and freedom of expression,” writes Kaila Ward, editor-in-chief of The Clause, the student newspaper of California’s Azusa Pacific University.
The Knight study discovered that 9 out of 10 students who use the social media to obtain news and information on a daily basis express strong support for guarantees of the news media in general. They think folks should be allowed to express unpopular opinions, along with the popular ones.
On the other hand …
In contrast, only 77 percent of students who don’t use the social media express agreement with the idea of allowing unpopular opinions to be aired or posted.
As the study’s researcher Ken Dautrich puts it: “There is a clear, positive relationship between student usage of social media to get news and information and greater support for free expression rights.”
Chalk up another plus of the not-so-new new media.
One college sophomore put his feelings this way: “I think people are slowly beginning to realize the power (of social media). And because we’re so addicted to it, its absence is making people wake up and realize it’s quite a tool to be able to express ourselves and have an audience of that magnitude.”
The Knight study was unveiled to the public in conjunction with Constitution Day, on Sept. 17. The day commemorates the founding and signing of the Constitution of the United States on Sept. 17, 1787.
Another finding of the study: The percentage of students who think the First Amendment gives too much of a blank check to free speech has dropped from 45 percent in 2006, to 24 percent in 2011.
Media use up
Additionally, the study shows that students’ use of digital media for news and information is up the upswing. In fact, that usage has doubled over the past five years. Today, 75 percent of all students get their news from the social media several times a week.
Ward notes, “Many organizations have increasingly utilized social media as a way to gain popularity. Geenration Opportunity, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, used the hype of Constitution day to present its latest effort, “The Constitution,” on Facebook.”
The organization’s web site built a platform for users to debate contemporary issues or offer their own expertise. The site has already surpassed half a million active users, according to a press release by Generation Opportunity.
Light from a new source
It may seem ironic, but it has taken a media platform that is less than a decade old to convince 20-somethings that a document more than 200 years old still needs protecting.
“… it’s cloud illusions I recall; I really don’t know clouds at all.”
The great Joni Mitchell wrote these lyrics for “Both Sides Now” decades ago, and they are truer now than then. Especially when you apply them to computers, which didn’t even exist when Joni put pen to paper.
Perhaps she had a premonition?
I’ve mentioned cloud computing before in this blog, but let’s go over it’s definition again for those of you not under 25 or members of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Cloud computing allows users to access their local server resources using a computer, netbook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device anywhere, anytime. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The information is stored online instead of on a device. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or or by a private organization or company.
A familiar face
Enter (who else?) that ubiquitous company known by its signature fruit: Apple.
In case you haven’t heard this ancient news — announced last week — Apple unveiled its iCloud service which will offer remote, wireless updates of music, photos, apps, and other data for iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and computers, The company refers to this as “PC-free.”
USA Today writer Jefferson Graham noted recently that companies like Google and Amazon have been working on the “cloud” always-on computer application that nests on internet servers. But Apple has taken this a step freer, offering the same service for wireless-device users anywhere.
Leader of the pack
“The iCloud service, which will launch in the fall replaces Apple’s failed $99 yearly MobileMe service, which is no longer accepting customers,” Graham wrote. “Reaction was swift: Apple’s move and its soon-to-open $500 million new data center in North Carolina, puts it in a leadership position, analysts say.”
The service was demonstrated recently at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, that mega-event for digital mavens held annually in San Francisco. It’s the favorite venue for unveiling of new Apple products and services. In the demo, Apple VP Eddy Cue shot a photo on an iPhone. He next opened an iPad and the iPhoto software on a MacBook (convenient these are all Apple products, no?) and the photograph popped up on the screen in a few seconds.
Back it up
If that isn’t enough, Apple also notes that iCloud can be used as a back-up device for all your data.
“If you get a new iPhone, just type in your Apple iD and password, and everything will be downloaded to the new phone,” explained Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Apple’s website simply notes,”iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. And because it seamlessly integrates with your apps. everything happens automatically.”
Launching in fall
The iCloud service, which comes as part of the iOS 5 mobile operating system from Apple, is due to launch in the fall and will contain 5G of storage space. Apple says it has added over 200 new features to the updated system.
Tech writer Phil Goldenstein has probed the impact that iCloud will have on 3G networks, wondering if it will crush them. His answer: probably not.
“According to CCS Insight analyst John Jackson, Apple must have concluded that users of their products have access to Wi-Fi networks with sufficient regularity that the service will be broadly accessible,” Goldenstein writes. “But what happens if a user doesn’t have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot? Will traffic get routed over the cellular network? Or will the cloud upload just be put on hold until users get in range of a Wi-Fi access point? Apple isn’t saying.”
I think I just saw my cell phone bill increase. What else is new?