The Battle for Online Supremacy: The Social Networking Website

– History of MySpace and Facebook

– Their battle for popularity and Facebook’s triumph

– Before MySpace: where did social networking sites begin?

– What was the major differences between Facebook and Myspace that resulted in Facebook’s ultimate win for social networking dominance?

– Will the next social networking site be? Will it be enough to overthrow Facebook?

– China’s ever-growing alternative to Facebook is fast approaching number of users

– Will there ever be a social networking site that is the be-all-and-end-all to social networking sites? Or will they continuously morph and change to compete with the ever-growing demand from online users?


The art of the Meme

The mass audience migration from print media to online media has resulted in a multifaceted shift in the way we communicate. One major form of communication between the younger demographic of internet users is the ‘meme’. A meme is a still image with text applied to it, holding some particular meaning to represent our daily lives, pet hates, or to stereotype particular people. There are more and more memes being made every day, but there are specific go-to images that the internet population has responded to, and circulate on a viral level.


The more popular memes have come into popularity through some other form of internet-based posts – usually a YouTube video or blog post made by the subject. Memes can now be created by any internet user to simply express a particular feeling, or make a comment about a part of pop-culture, society, or any other worldly issue. Websites like Meme Generator give people the ability to very quickly create their own memes and circulate them through Facebook, Instagram, or blog posting.



The ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’ meme was one of the earliest memes to go viral, and is still used today to poke fun at girls who allegedly stalk their boyfriends. Laina Morris is the face behind the meme, and she made her internet fame through a mock video of Justin Bieber’s song ‘Boyfriend’.


 As of September 2014 her internet channel has 1,181,000 subscribers and her video has over 126,600,000 views. Since the video went viral internet users have taken a screen shot of her face and created her as the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.


“The day after I posted it, it hit a million views”, she said in an interview. “Justin Bieber’s manager sent a tweet out with a link to the video.” The meme created from the viral video has put Laina Morris on the world stage, all from a video made with a cheap webcam.

The Negative Effects

Laina Morris now makes enough money from YouTube advertisements to quit her job and live off that income alone. So what has the meme culture brought to other internet sensations? Blake Boston is the face behind the popular meme ‘Scumbag Steve’, which is widespread on the internet and used to make comments about people that internet users believe to be ‘scumbags’. Blake Boston also came into his meme fame through a YouTube video he and his friends created called Scumbag Steve. An internet user took the video and created a meme with a screenshot, and Scumbag Steve came to life.


Since the image of Blake went viral on the internet he has become the face of the quintessential scumbag, and is labelled that way. On many occasions Blake has spoken out against the misrepresentations of his personality, saying that he is a father, and that he is working hard to give her a good life.

“This harassment shit, it’s kind of fucked up. At the end of the day it feeds my fuel to my fire,” he said in a home interview.

Where are they now?

It seems that whether their rise to internet fame had positive or negative effects, the starts of internet memes are on the world stage whether they’d like to be or not. Memes are so widespread and connected to our culture now that it seems impossible to reverse what has been created. Laina Morris dedicates her time to making her followers aware of worthy charitable causes while still creating funny videos on the side, and Blake Boston is an aspiring hip hop artist living with his mother. There are hundreds of individuals who have made their way to internet fame whilst attempting to lead their normal lives in quiet. Social media has paved the way for internet fame and viral online content. Do you think that internet celebrities like Laina and Blake are deserving of the hype? Or are they just lucky that they struck the right chord with the online community?



Broadcast Journalism with the Smart Phone 5 ways journalists can use smartphones for reporting

  • Record and file audio clips
  • Shooting videos when action strikes
  • Capture photos discretely
  • Live remote reporting
  • Filing copy on deadline

Treatment of Journalists in Ferguson:

Wesley Lowery Tweets in Ferguson:

The Jerusalem Post: @ThisIsGaza Twitter account

Peter Stefanovic Twitter and Instagram accounts in Gaza

Public Comments and the Online Audience

Last week we spoke about the rise of social media and its subsequent triumph over print media. True to the ever-changing nature of online social media, sub-cultures of online media audiences appear or disappear depending on what is trending online. There are three types of audiences: a writer’s audience, a broadcast audience, and a networked audience. Let’s break them down.

A writer’s audience – this audience is a fictionalized audience, or an audience that is invoked by the writer. The audience forms around the work, and the work caters towards a particular demographic on purpose.

A broadcast audience – this is an audience which can also be referred to as an ‘interpretive community’. The members of this audience are comprised from a fandom following, and can also be a participatory culture.

A networked audience – these are real and potential viewers. These viewers can connect to each other in a network. Platforms like Twitter allow a networked audience to directly contact a public figure and have their questions answered directly from the source.

As per the above video, it’s pretty evident that the internet is a free-for-all commenting playground, and as most people who read YouTube comments will know, it’s generally where faith in humanity goes to die. That might seem a little exaggerative, however if you’ve ever seen comments like this
youtube comment

you’ll know that that’s far from the worst thing you can read on YouTube. It seems hard to believe that there are actually rules and regulations surrounding how internet users should conduct themselves when commenting on public forums, but for the purposes highlighting how far from ideal the internet is, here is an ‘idea model’ of social interaction online:

  • All participants have an opportunity to speak
  • All participants are obliged to carefully consider what they hear
  • All participants speak plainly, and ask for clarification when they need it
  • All participants maintain respect for other participants

The main formats for inviting user participation are through polls, message boards, ‘have your say’ sections, Q&A’s, blogs, etc. Q&A’s are a great way for public figures and celebrities to hear from their fans and followers, although if you follow Robin Thicke on Twitter you’ll know that this form of communication can go very, very wrong.



Key concerns for editors who run online audience participatory platforms are based around maintaining their brand, legal concerns like defamation, and the desire to ‘own’ content and stories. Unfortunately for some, derogatory or ‘hate speech’ style comments become the property of the brand upon being posted to the site, and editors have to work quickly to monitor what is posted.

While a networking audience can be criticized for all its negative effects, it does have a profoundly positive effect when used to create awareness for charity. Something trending in online social media right now is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, where anyone from celebrities to friends are donating to the ALS foundation, dumping a bucket of ice-water on their head, and nominating their friends or other celebrities to do the same. Since these viral and entertaining videos took off, the ALS foundation has received over $70.2 million.


So what do you think? When popular sites open comments to the public are the effects ultimately detrimental, or do the positives of campaigns like the ALS ice-bucket challenge outweigh the negatives?