Posts tagged internet
In early 2007, JonnyM, as he’s known online, was seriously injured when his car was struck head-on by a drunk driver. Left with severe back pain, he told me, he was prescribed “a massive amount of pain meds” and referred to a pain management specialist.
Despite having a valid prescription, he found pharmacists condescending and hesitant to give him the powerful painkillers he needed.
Once, a pharmacist refused to give him his medication when his usual prescription was signed by a different doctor in the same clinic.
“A lot of pharmacists would look down on me ‘cause I was young, and I was having to take all these pain medications,” said JonnyM, who’s now 27. “You get so many problems [filling prescriptions], it almost feels like you’re carrying around this weird medical scarlet letter.” Looking online for advice and support, he came across Opiophile, an online forum for users of opiates both legal and not.
“When I first joined, it kind of helped just to have an outlet to kind of talk to someone or just kind of express frustration,” said JonnyM, who like other forum members asked that he be identified only by his online handle.
“Even getting advice, [like] ‘I get this a lot, switch to a mom-and-pop pharmacy where you can get to know them better, and you won’t get as much of that kind of criticism.” About half of Opiophile’s members use drugs like Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin for pain relief, JonnyM estimated.
Many of them are looking for advice on talking to doctors and pharmacists, along with a sympathetic ear.
(In a World of Opiate Addicts, the Internet Plays Doctor and Therapist)

In early 2007, JonnyM, as he’s known online, was seriously injured when his car was struck head-on by a drunk driver. Left with severe back pain, he told me, he was prescribed “a massive amount of pain meds” and referred to a pain management specialist.

Despite having a valid prescription, he found pharmacists condescending and hesitant to give him the powerful painkillers he needed.

Once, a pharmacist refused to give him his medication when his usual prescription was signed by a different doctor in the same clinic.

“A lot of pharmacists would look down on me ‘cause I was young, and I was having to take all these pain medications,” said JonnyM, who’s now 27. “You get so many problems [filling prescriptions], it almost feels like you’re carrying around this weird medical scarlet letter.” Looking online for advice and support, he came across Opiophile, an online forum for users of opiates both legal and not.

“When I first joined, it kind of helped just to have an outlet to kind of talk to someone or just kind of express frustration,” said JonnyM, who like other forum members asked that he be identified only by his online handle.

“Even getting advice, [like] ‘I get this a lot, switch to a mom-and-pop pharmacy where you can get to know them better, and you won’t get as much of that kind of criticism.” About half of Opiophile’s members use drugs like Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin for pain relief, JonnyM estimated.

Many of them are looking for advice on talking to doctors and pharmacists, along with a sympathetic ear.

(In a World of Opiate Addicts, the Internet Plays Doctor and Therapist)

newsbeastlabs:


Our last Wednesday Workshop focused, in part, on ways to get readers more involved in our stories. When news of last week’s awful shooting reached us, we wanted to open up discussion on the role of guns in America. On our Tumblr we asked readers how the shooting should be covered and many requested we steer clear of the politics and instead opt for a genuine discussion on gun control.
Gun control is a complicated issue in this country and nuanced issues can be at odds with the tools of data visualization. That is to say, data visualization and data reporting are often marked by being extremely comprehensive and boiling that comprehensiveness into one easily understandable image, graph, or layout. Doing anything comprehensive on an issue as complex as guns in our society, on deadline no less, would be tricky, and we’re not ones to put data out there that’s misleading or inconclusive.
But the other tool of digital journalism is being able to present a great deal of information in one place, which does work for a nuanced subject. We wanted to engage our readers to tell the story of guns in America in a way that showed the issue’s complexity. We posed the question as “Why do you own a gun?” or “Why don’t you own a gun?” On our site we, we set up two forms that let readers easily complete the sentence “I own a gun because…” or “I don’t own a gun because…” and displayed their responses for readers to sift through.
It’s like the digital equivalent of Man on the Street reporting, where you go and ask people on the street their opinions on an issue in the news and write up their quotes in an article. Let’s call this a Man on the Internet story, or to be gender neutral, Person on the Internet (Internet Vox Pop maybe? I’m open to suggestions).
We published the article Monday evening and less than 24 hours later we have over 900 responses — over 500 from gun owners and over 400 from non-gun owners. We have some thoughts on how the two sides explain their position but, for now, we’ll let you read through and absorb it on your own.
We’re collecting and categorizing the responses, so look for that article on the Beast later in the week.
Under the hood
We used a customized Google Form to handle the response collections. This is a nice tutorial on how to embed Google Forms into your site with custom styles and functionality. 
We’ve used custom Google Forms before, on our other shooting project actually, for a newsapp that lets readers put in their address and it finds news accounts of multiple-victim shootings near them. A Google Form then asks what they remember about the incident and collects their responses in a spreadsheet. We published some of the most moving responses that I think is worth a read.
For this project, though, I was running into trouble putting in two custom forms on one page. Since I only had a day to build this, I ended up sequestering the two forms to separate HTMl pages and iframe-ing them into my main page. This was nice because it ensured the two forms didn’t interfere with each other and since the pages were all on the same domain, I didn’t have any cross-origin issues and didn’t loose any functionaity — when you submit one form, that action bubbles up to it the parent frame and grays out the other form.
I originally wanted to do something more animated similar to this seminal piece of crowdsourced dataviz from 2008. I like how its animation gives the project energy but it comes at the cost of not being able to scroll through the responses on your own. After some thinking, I couldn’t figure out a way to have both a sit-back-and-let-the-responses-flow experience and a I-want-to-dive-into-these-responses-and-scroll-through-them-all experience. The latter is obviously the more useful for the reader, so I went with that. The election interactive is also a bit different from this since most of the emotions on each line are of the same category, so it’s not really hiding anything by not letting you scroll. For our project, each response brings its own nuance to the debate so you don’t want to hide any of them. If you have any thoughts on how to improve the presentation, I’m at @mhkeller.
Brian had the great idea that we let this conversation be medium agnostic. So in the story dek we let people know they can continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #IOwnAGunBecause or #IDontOwnAGunBecause. I built some hooks into our Underscore.js templates that let us add selected tweets to our spreadsheet and display them with a Twitter icon and a link to the original tweet. That way we could pull in interesting responses from elsewhere and flag them as such. You can look at the formatHelpers object in app.js to see how it checks for content in the Twitter column and adds the image and link if it finds something.
As I’ve written, I’m a big fan of Miso’s Dataset.js, and that’s what we’re using here to pull the responses in from our Google Form Spreadsheet. Contrary to my previous post, this app does work off of a live Google Doc. I know, blasphemous. For a few workflow reasons we weren’t able to have a script download our spreadsheets and put them on a server like we did for HavingTroubleVoting.com where we had both rate-limiting and privacy issues.
That being said, we have been very closely monitoring the app to make sure it doesn’t get rate-limited and it’s been fine so far. I have a few lines commented out in the code that point to where we’d put a local CSV of the responses, so if the app went down, it would be back up in a minute or so. We also made sure not to ask for any identifying information so we had no privacy concerns. Now that we have close to a thousand responses, though, we might switch to local files so that the page loads faster. If we could have set it up to download automatically, however, that would have been our first choice.
One thing I added yesterday evening after we started getting a lot of comments was a way to filter by state. A lot of content can be overwhelming, so the more options you can give readers to drill down to a subset that might be more relevant to them, the more manageable the experience is and hopefully more engaging and memorable.
-michael keller


This is a deep look at how we made this interactive poll about gun control, which was based in part on your replies on this post.

newsbeastlabs:

Our last Wednesday Workshop focused, in part, on ways to get readers more involved in our stories. When news of last week’s awful shooting reached us, we wanted to open up discussion on the role of guns in America. On our Tumblr we asked readers how the shooting should be covered and many requested we steer clear of the politics and instead opt for a genuine discussion on gun control.

Gun control is a complicated issue in this country and nuanced issues can be at odds with the tools of data visualization. That is to say, data visualization and data reporting are often marked by being extremely comprehensive and boiling that comprehensiveness into one easily understandable image, graph, or layout. Doing anything comprehensive on an issue as complex as guns in our society, on deadline no less, would be tricky, and we’re not ones to put data out there that’s misleading or inconclusive.

But the other tool of digital journalism is being able to present a great deal of information in one place, which does work for a nuanced subject. We wanted to engage our readers to tell the story of guns in America in a way that showed the issue’s complexity. We posed the question as “Why do you own a gun?” or “Why don’t you own a gun?” On our site we, we set up two forms that let readers easily complete the sentence “I own a gun because…” or “I don’t own a gun because…” and displayed their responses for readers to sift through.

It’s like the digital equivalent of Man on the Street reporting, where you go and ask people on the street their opinions on an issue in the news and write up their quotes in an article. Let’s call this a Man on the Internet story, or to be gender neutral, Person on the Internet (Internet Vox Pop maybe? I’m open to suggestions).

We published the article Monday evening and less than 24 hours later we have over 900 responses — over 500 from gun owners and over 400 from non-gun owners. We have some thoughts on how the two sides explain their position but, for now, we’ll let you read through and absorb it on your own.

We’re collecting and categorizing the responses, so look for that article on the Beast later in the week.

Under the hood

We used a customized Google Form to handle the response collections. This is a nice tutorial on how to embed Google Forms into your site with custom styles and functionality. 

We’ve used custom Google Forms before, on our other shooting project actually, for a newsapp that lets readers put in their address and it finds news accounts of multiple-victim shootings near them. A Google Form then asks what they remember about the incident and collects their responses in a spreadsheet. We published some of the most moving responses that I think is worth a read.

For this project, though, I was running into trouble putting in two custom forms on one page. Since I only had a day to build this, I ended up sequestering the two forms to separate HTMl pages and iframe-ing them into my main page. This was nice because it ensured the two forms didn’t interfere with each other and since the pages were all on the same domain, I didn’t have any cross-origin issues and didn’t loose any functionaity — when you submit one form, that action bubbles up to it the parent frame and grays out the other form.

I originally wanted to do something more animated similar to this seminal piece of crowdsourced dataviz from 2008. I like how its animation gives the project energy but it comes at the cost of not being able to scroll through the responses on your own. After some thinking, I couldn’t figure out a way to have both a sit-back-and-let-the-responses-flow experience and a I-want-to-dive-into-these-responses-and-scroll-through-them-all experience. The latter is obviously the more useful for the reader, so I went with that. The election interactive is also a bit different from this since most of the emotions on each line are of the same category, so it’s not really hiding anything by not letting you scroll. For our project, each response brings its own nuance to the debate so you don’t want to hide any of them. If you have any thoughts on how to improve the presentation, I’m at @mhkeller.

Brian had the great idea that we let this conversation be medium agnostic. So in the story dek we let people know they can continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #IOwnAGunBecause or #IDontOwnAGunBecause. I built some hooks into our Underscore.js templates that let us add selected tweets to our spreadsheet and display them with a Twitter icon and a link to the original tweet. That way we could pull in interesting responses from elsewhere and flag them as such. You can look at the formatHelpers object in app.js to see how it checks for content in the Twitter column and adds the image and link if it finds something.

As I’ve written, I’m a big fan of Miso’s Dataset.js, and that’s what we’re using here to pull the responses in from our Google Form Spreadsheet. Contrary to my previous post, this app does work off of a live Google Doc. I know, blasphemous. For a few workflow reasons we weren’t able to have a script download our spreadsheets and put them on a server like we did for HavingTroubleVoting.com where we had both rate-limiting and privacy issues.

That being said, we have been very closely monitoring the app to make sure it doesn’t get rate-limited and it’s been fine so far. I have a few lines commented out in the code that point to where we’d put a local CSV of the responses, so if the app went down, it would be back up in a minute or so. We also made sure not to ask for any identifying information so we had no privacy concerns. Now that we have close to a thousand responses, though, we might switch to local files so that the page loads faster. If we could have set it up to download automatically, however, that would have been our first choice.

One thing I added yesterday evening after we started getting a lot of comments was a way to filter by state. A lot of content can be overwhelming, so the more options you can give readers to drill down to a subset that might be more relevant to them, the more manageable the experience is and hopefully more engaging and memorable.

-michael keller

This is a deep look at how we made this interactive poll about gun control, which was based in part on your replies on this post.

usakeh:

newsweek:

ADDICTED TO INTERNETS, Y’ALL! 

(But srsly, think this whole thing is making us a little nuts? That’s our cover this week: How “connection addiction” is rewiring our brains.)

An excerpt:

Questions about the Internet’s deleterious effects on the mind are at least as old as hyperlinks. But even among Web skeptics, the idea that a new technology might influence how we think and feel—let alone contribute to a great American crack-up—was considered silly and naive, like waving a cane at electric light or blaming the television for kids these days. Instead, the Internet was seen as just another medium, a delivery system, not a diabolical machine. It made people happier and more productive. And where was the proof otherwise?

Now, however, the proof is starting to pile up. The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.

Read more.

I don’t know how I feel about this. As a person who has been diagnosed by several psychiatrists as manic depressive (or bipolar, whatever), and has been hospitalized for it more times than I can count, I don’t know if we should compare the effects of going online to actual mental illnesses. Admittedly, I haven’t read the article in full yet — and I’m not sure that I will based on the excerpt, frankly — so I could be misjudging it.

The thing is, not only does this sort of comparison trivialize the pain experienced by people who are actually mentally ill, but it also invites people to self-diagnose and incites panic. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read things, even in the New York Times, that claim that such and such a food or medication causes cancer or dementia. Then nothing comes of it; the study was probably just faulty, you know?

Unless done with extreme rigor, see, I just don’t buy into this sort of shit. And it’s really difficult to do studies on things like the effects of internet usage sufficiently scientifically. I have a degree in mathematics, and I’m the daughter of a research scientist; consequently, I tend to be very skeptical and, unless I can see the methodology and actual, you know, statistics in an actual scientific journal, I don’t trust this sort of new development.

Totally feel ya. But for real, give it a read. Those two excerpted paragraphs don’t do the piece justice. Our reporter put a lot of time into reviewing the findings from more than a dozen countries and says the answers are all pointing in a similar direction. We’re not trying to claim the sky is falling or anything here, but the science seems to be suggesting more than just a “OH LOOK TREND.” 

(via usakeh-deactivated20130416)

ADDICTED TO INTERNETS, Y’ALL! 
(But srsly, think this whole thing is making us a little nutso? That’s our cover this week: How ‘connection addiction’ is re-wiring our brains.)
An excerpt:

Questions about the Internet’s deleterious effects on the mind are at least as old as hyperlinks. But even among Web skeptics, the idea that a new technology might influence how we think and feel—let alone contribute to a great American crack-up—was considered silly and naive, like waving a cane at electric light or blaming the television for kids these days. Instead, the Internet was seen as just another medium, a delivery system, not a diabolical machine. It made people happier and more productive. And where was the proof otherwise?
Now, however, the proof is starting to pile up. The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.

Want more? Read: Is the Web Driving Us Mad?

ADDICTED TO INTERNETS, Y’ALL! 

(But srsly, think this whole thing is making us a little nutso? That’s our cover this week: How ‘connection addiction’ is re-wiring our brains.)

An excerpt:

Questions about the Internet’s deleterious effects on the mind are at least as old as hyperlinks. But even among Web skeptics, the idea that a new technology might influence how we think and feel—let alone contribute to a great American crack-up—was considered silly and naive, like waving a cane at electric light or blaming the television for kids these days. Instead, the Internet was seen as just another medium, a delivery system, not a diabolical machine. It made people happier and more productive. And where was the proof otherwise?

Now, however, the proof is starting to pile up. The first good, peer-reviewed research is emerging, and the picture is much gloomier than the trumpet blasts of Web utopians have allowed. The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.

Want more? Read: Is the Web Driving Us Mad?