Revisiting DiRtDirectory: JotForm

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For students and academics conducting research, acquiring a library of digital research tools is essential. The DiRt Directory (https://dirtdirectory.org/) offers a free web based collection of digital research tools intended to support the collection and analysation of scholarly material. The directory offers a wide variety of tool categories, ranging from interpreting and publishing data to transcribing digital media.

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Having previously explored the DiRt Directory, I chose to review CiteULike ( http://www.citeulike.org/), a free web based service for managing and discovering scholarly references.

jotform-logo-white-400x200

Bearing in mind that this year we will be actively conducting research, a tool which appeared appealing was JotForm (https://www.jotform.com/about/). This digital tool allows the user to efficiently build web forms, for surveys, e-commerce sites or for any other research or business need. JotForm uses a web based platform and offers the user a free or paid version. The site uses an extremely user friendly drag and drop interface, which adds to the efficiency and simplicity of this tool. This tool appeared under the data collection category on the DiRt Directory.

Conducting surveys is inevitably a huge aspect of conducting any form of research either at an undergraduate or post graduate level. JotForm offers over nine thousand templates to their users, many of these being survey orientated. The process of building a survey using a given template was unsurprisingly efficient, quick and user orientated. There is an also an option to create a form (or survey in this case) from scratch. However, I found the templates to be a useful guideline for those only beginning to construct surveys.

For those building a form on the site, there are also themes to accompany the templates available, which makes customisation of the user’s work to be extremely easy.

Strictly for experimental purposes, I chose the topic of student’s social network usage in order to construct a short survey. The purpose of this survey is to exclusively exhibit how user friendly JotForm is and how simple it is to complete a simple form to collect data for research purposes.

Student’s Social Network Usage Survey:  https://form.jotformeu.com/62742817885368

The other functions JotForm has to offer should not be disregarded, they currently have nine million users and offer eighteen languages, adding to the sustainability and prosperity of the site.  They also have integrations with other web services such as PayPal, Google Drive, Drop Box, alongside many other services which can be added on to forms created for e-commerce sites or small businesses. JotForm’s accessibility and user interface makes it  very appealing for those looking to conduct research using online surveys or if one were to build an e-commerce presence, they offer options for payment forms as well as booking forms. JotForm’s usability appears to be endless whether it be for academic, business or casual use.

 

 

 

Media in the digital age

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Media has always been one of the most powerful ways to influence the masses. Even with regard to Hitler’s days, his use of media to consolidate his power was very effective. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get away from the media, whether it be radio, newspaper, television, social networks or advertisements on bus stops. Media combined with the digital age is somewhat of a phenomenon, there has never been a time when media could be shared at such unprecedented levels. As of 2013 there was 757 million daily users on Facebook (Protalinski,2014). Media is one of the main means of mass communication, social outlets like Twitter and Facebook allow for this mass communication to flourish in the digital age.

I think one of the best ways to look at media and how it has developed in the digital age is to take a look at its past. Take Stalin in the 1930’s, he developed a cult of personality through the use of mass media, to consolidate his power. His propaganda regimes were initiated through the use of mass media (Borade,2014). Similarly, Hitler used a great deal of mass media to gain support for his Nazi Party and to infiltrate German society, brainwashing the masses, through radio and loud speakers. He even appointed a propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who was in charge of radio, theatre, cinema, anything that influenced the masses, and ultimately secured the continuity of the Nazi Party. In some ways the use of media in those totalitarian states can be linked with media today in the digital world.

We are constantly “consumers”, even without knowing it. We are being virtually followed on our phones and laptops, to find out our interests, what we look up, what we buy, what companies we’re liking or retweeting. Advertisements and “deals of the week” are thrown at us everywhere we go. We are constantly being updated on the latest political scandal, celebrity pregnancies, stock exchanges, what the government want us to know. What ‘gives’ us cancer?, what ‘doesn’t give’ us cancer?, what to eat , what not to eat, “you should avoid carbs, not sugar, actually we change our mind, no sugar”. It’s okay though, because we will listen to them, we tend to trust the media, and it has never been easier for the media to influence the masses in the digital age.

If you take boybands as an example, in recent years the power of digital media has enabled Boybands like One Direction to have such a broad fan base so early on in their career. Having done no promotions in places like Japan, the power of social media enabled them to perform to thousands of Japanese fans on their first visit in 2013(they played to 120,000 this year in Japan).They have played to thousands in Indonesia and Dubai, places the Beatles did not even play. Since The Beatles were most prominent in the sixties, they did not have the power of digital media that these newer bands have. Media is no longer confined to radio and newspapers –the combination of the digital age and media is revolutionary in itself, the power it has over public opinion and society is growing rapidly.

Since the digital world has developed into a ubiquitous source of news and information, the question arises of the long term viability of printed newspaper. Will more traditional forms of media still remain reputable in the near future? Or will digital media continue to grow and influence the masses?

 

Bibliography

-Borade, G. (2014), Stalinism and the Use of Propaganda by Joseph Stalin, url : http://www.buzzle.com/articles/stalinism-the-use-of-propaganda-by-joseph-stalin.html Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Marshall, J. (2015), Digital Media Consumption Is Booming as Investment Floods In, url : http://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2015/08/19/digital-media-consumption-is-booming-as-investment-floods-in/ Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Protalinski, E. (2014), Facebook passes 1.23 billion monthly active users, 945 million mobile users, and 757 million daily users, url : http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/ Accessed on the 29th of October 2015

-Picture -http://www.stephenpokorski.com/digital-marketing-and-digital-marketing-jobs-in-2015/ Accessed on the 29th of October 2015