Intro to Networked Collaboration

Why Twitter?

Lots of people don’t ‘get’ Twitter when they first try it, but like any social network, it doesn’t work until you are following lots of people aligned with your interests, and people are following you. And because it’s such a simple idea/interface, I think it’s nuances and advantages might be elusive, but I can give you some pretty strong reasons for using Twitter and why it’s not ‘useless’:

1. Spidering and interconnectivity between platforms
One big reason is that when you ‘tweet’, it spiders out to many different platforms. Twitter also allows for interconnecting between platforms. You can connect your ‘tweets’ so that they show up on your Facebook status, as sms messages to and from mobile phones, and within instant messaging like Google chat.

So, for example, I can tweet from my mobile phone, and it instantly goes to all these things: my Facebook status, on the Twitter website, my buddies’ IM windows (Google chat or AIM, depending on how they’ve set it up), and for those who’ve set up to receive on their mobile, to my buddies’ mobiles. That’s one action (me tweeting from my mobile) that goes to 4 different platforms. Now that’s efficient!

When something like this makes my life simpler by taking one effort and multiplying its effects, that’s cool

and speaking of multiplying effects…

2. Google loves Twitter
Meaning that if you want to move up in the Google search ranks, Twitter or microblogging in general, is a great way to do that.

Let’s say that you’d like to drive traffic to your band’s site (or your company site or a project site, etc). Then what you’d want to do is optimize search engine results – to move your site up in Google rankings and to have lots of hits associated with that so that naturally moves people toward your site. That’s called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. (That’s my rough definition of SEO – anyone else is welcome to try to clarify that).

Google loves new information, so when it gets fresh info from blogs and microblogging sites like Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, and things like that, those show up high in the search rankings.

A couple of links on Twitter & SEO:
Twitter, SEO, and Online Marketing: You’re Missing the Point
Twittering for SEO

Are you trying to create more online presence for yourself, your band or your company? Then you need to be on it.

3. Breaking news
I now get most of my breaking news from Twitter. Because it’s so immediate and mobile, it’s an ideal platform for distributing breaking news. Check out Here’s how reporters use Twitter for an idea of how journalists and news services are using Twitter.

4. Mobility
Like I said before, I love that I can tweet from my mobile. I just send a msg to 40404 and it instantly updates several platforms. I can also receive my friends’ tweets by mobile (and you can specify which ones). There are also a host of different Twitter clients that make it super-easy to update on the go, like Twittelator for iPhone or TwitterBerry for Blackberry.

5. Easy!
The ‘tweets’ are limited to 140 characters at a time, so it’s easily do-able. It’s almost like writing a haiku – short poetry that’s search-friendly. :-)
I’m not the kind of person that keeps a blog on a regular basis, but even I can do 140 characters once a day!

So I do my one or two tweets a day, from my mobile, or from a Twitter client, or the web, or whatever, and it keeps my friends ‘in touch’ but it also provides visibility for whatever I tweet about.

Some links to consider:

Student ‘Twitters’ his way out of Egyptian jail — a student covering anti-government protests in Egypt got arrested and was able to send a one-word tweet that got him help getting out of jail

Business TV: Peter Shankman explains Twitter in a paragraph – short n sweet explanation from PR & social media guru Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter. Note: Peter built his Help a Reporter community, which connects reporters with news sources, strictly from using Facebook and Twitter. Within 3 months of starting, he had about 20,000 members and it continues to grow exponentially.

Clive Thompson covers the idea of “ambient awareness” really well in his NY Times article Brave New World of Digital Intimacy

The question isn’t “Why use Twitter?” but rather, “How can I leverage Twitter to work for me?”

I think there are two things that you must do before making a quick-snap judgment about it being useless, so that you can make it work for you and see some advantages:

1. Find people to follow that are in your industry and scope of interests

Whatever you’re into, be it journalism or music or marketing or international development, etc…find the people on Twitter that are involved in and talk about those issues.
For example, if you’re into journalism, check out How journalists can master Twitter .
Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and do a search on your topic of interest and see who’s talking about what and add them accordingly. For example, are you into international development? Try typing in “international development” and see what results you get. Try another one – you’ll be surprised at the amount of intellectual discussion that goes on via tweeting.

2. Listen and give feedback

Part of building community is also being community. If you want to tweet announcements about your band/company/project/etc, that’s fine, but if your tweets are ‘one-way’ and you only tweet to tell people about upcoming gigs, you’re really not having a conversation. People can usually smell marketing a mile away. Just be real. Tweet in the moment. Give feedback and reply when you feel moved to. It’s about building relationships. This is not just about Twitter, but about social media in general. If you want to have online presence, and you want people to talk about your project/idea/company/etc, then you have to be a good listener too.

Ok, so my challenge to you all is to find Twitterers that are involved in things that align with your interests. Share who you find with everyone in class by posting those Twitterers to our Twitter roll page. This will be part of next week’s assignment.

Happy tweeting!

October 16, 2008 Posted by | tools and methodologies | , , , | 6 Comments

My wiki experience…

I made significant edits to an entry on Gujarati cuisine because it was lacking a lot of information.  Gujarati cuisine refers to Gujarat which is one of the states of India.  I love all types of Indian food, and Gujarati food is probably significantly different from what you get at most Indian restaurants.  I wanted to add to this entry because this is part of my heritage even though I was born and raised in New Jersey.  I definitely will be going back to the entry to add even more information as I have time.  I am sure that there plenty of people out there that will correct my article and definitely will be able to add to it further.  There are so many varieties of foods that I did not get to cover even from this fairly small state in India because each region within the state has a slightly different style and specialty.  I am interested to see how the original author responds.  I think it feels good to have contributed to the “public domain” and I am relieved that this is a collaborative process because I definitely do not know everything about the topic.

I struggled a little bit to find references for my information, because much of it I considered as common knowledge.  I definitely would not be breaking the “no new research” rule of wikipedia, but it will be interesting to see what happens to the article.  Nothing has changed so far, but I will continue to keep an eye on it.  I hope my mom will be proud.  Haha.

October 13, 2008 Posted by | collaboration, tools and methodologies | , | 1 Comment

Squeezing People Into One Box

I really enjoyed the Jenkins reading this week, particularly everything under the heading “The Black Box Fallacy.” What I loved so much about it was the emphasis on differentiating between “delivery technologies” and actual media. I think far too often there’s a tendency to conflate the media technology with the medium and as a result bastardize McLuhan’s claim that the medium is the message, thus turning the technology into the message.

People get excited about podcasts as this revolutionary new medium when in fact they’re just a new delivery system for the spoken word. Whether we hear that spoken word around a campfire, through a phonograph, a transistor radio, or via a digital file we’ve downloaded and put on our iPods for later listening, it’s a human’s voice we’re listening to. One could argue convincingly that these permutations each drastically alter the communication happening but I don’t believe that to be absolutely true. The fact that, for example, radio is definitely not the all powerful medium it once was doesn’t diminish the fact that it still plays an important role in our culture. I always fall back on NPR when I want to hear news without the advertising-driven agenda for sensational news. Add the fact that when some kind of catastrophic, apocalyptic event hits, radios may in fact be the last line of human communication. I really love this quote to that point on page 14: “A medium’s content may shift, its audience may change, and its social status may rise or fall, but once a medium establishes itself as satisfying some core human demand, it continues to function with the larger system of communication options.”

When Jenkins discusses the various boxes that live in his living room as an example of why this one box to rule them all idea is a farce I can’t help but identify. My setup is relatively streamlined at the moment with four boxes (AV receiver, DVD player, Xbox 360, and Tivo Satellite Receiver). However I think about adding a Mac Mini there or perhaps an Apple TV (I know, you’re thinking I’m indulging in typical male tech fantasizing but I swear I’m approaching a point). The reason I’m thinking about throwing one of those two last devices I mentioned into the mix is because lately my DVD player is collecting dust. I’ve got three unwatched Netflix DVDs that I’ve had for more than a month. The reason for this is web video. However, watching a movie on my laptop or at my desk is a less than ideal option. If I hooked up a computer of some sort to my television then that problem is solved. So you see, it’s not that I’ve stopped enjoying films. But the way that I consume films has changed. As a matter of fact, I could probably eschew all those devices but the computer and maybe the AV receiver and I’d be fine. However, as Jenkins mentions, my “situated context” determines the optimal way to consume media.

In my mind, convergence is less about stuffing all the capabilities of various devices into one omnipotent device than it is about seeing new ways that the media transmitted by those devices can relate to and interact with one another. To briefly touch on Hopkins and tie his article to Jenkins, if people and human interaction are the medium, Facebook and Twitter are simply different delivery systems for that medium. They will never replace face-to-face contact but they can alter (by enhancing and/or diminishing) that contact.

September 20, 2008 Posted by | convergence, culture, tools and methodologies | 4 Comments

Weeks 1-2 comments

First, thanks for emailing your processes. I am thoroughly confused and overwhelmed by all this technology.  I’m 31 years old and feeling very “old fashioned” when confronted by all of these sites.  I must say however that setting up my delicious account has been very helpful in identifying and organizing these sites.  I have been traveling the last 2 weeks and am a bit delinquent in my postings so here’s everything so far… (at least I think it’s everything!)

 

Discussion Topics from week 1:

  • Referring to the Jenkins quote, “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture”…   If convergence occurs in the brain of a consumer and through his/her social interaction, then I think he means that YouTube allows consumers to post their own content (amateur or professional) and seek out the content of others. You can also comment and read others comments on the content. So not only does it allow you to access the information you chose it allows you to interact with other regarding that particular content.
  •  My understanding of “Participatory Culture”  as referenced in the Jenkins reading is simply a shift  from what he called “passive …spectatorship” to a more involved and interactive society where we don’t just sit and wait for our media to be delivered to us, but we seek it out if different ways through different vehicles.
  • I personally am very new to the world of social networks.  Last year I created a LinkedIn account.  I created this account to keep in touch with and build a network of professional colleagues. I put in the most basic information possible and have only updated it once to change my job title.  Same for Facebook. I created a Facebook account for work and entered very little personal information.  Call me a control freak but I’m not comfortable putting all my info out there.  I would also consider the online chat function within Gmail social networking as I use it to keep in occasional contact with former co-workers that I rarely speak to.
  • These technologies and websites (texting, YouTube, MySpace) have certainly influenced the way we interact. I know that when I first head of MySpace I felt like I was “too old” for it.  It was something the “kids” were doing and I wasn’t interested in joining. Now I have profiles on 2 networking sites. I have realized that I am slow to adopt these new technologies and while I am not very willing to disclose my own information I recently have begun to view friends’ profiles in facebook to see what they’re up to since we don’t speak often. And that makes it ok not to speak to each other for extended periods of time and just “keep tabs” on one another with a networking site. I feel like this could be removing us from connecting with each other on a personal intimate level and allowing us to superficially connect with more people in a larger virtual area as geography really is no longer relevant.  Or maybe it’s allowing us to remain connected or to re-connect to someone we might otherwise lose touch with.  I guess you can view it from either perspective.
  • Another thought regarding the generation of users growing up with this constant connectivity.  Professionally, I am seeing the entry level workforce of recent college graduates who only reach decision by consensus whether it’s with friends or parents these young professionals have to get multiple opinions on almost every decision before they can make a move.  Not sure what this means but I’m finding it an interesting side effect of networked life.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | culture, social networking, tools and methodologies | 3 Comments

Week 1 Assignment!!

Q. What are some of the social networks you use and why do you use them?

Yeah so I’ve never used the wordpress type of blogging before but it somewhat like LiveJournal.

 

So some of the social networks that I use/used are:

LiveJournal, Facebook, Myspace, text/SMS, Friendster, & AIM/Skype/Adium.

For the ones I use:

Facebook – I like facebook because I can be able to connect with students and meet people that go to the same school that I do. It also prevents people from viewing your profile without being your friend. 

Myspace – I don’t use this one so much but I have some friends on this that don’t use facebook. I sign on so that I can be connected to them too. 

AIM/Skype/Adium – I love to use AIM/Skype/Adium as a chatting tool so that I can instantly chat with friends so I don’t have to deal with long distance fees. The best part all of them offer the ability to video chat so that its like talking to the person face to face.   

Oh and if you count SMS/Text Messagesing and emailing via phone as a social networking tool then I do a lot of that too. Its the quickest and easiest ways for me to be able to contact my friends and family on the other coast. :)

The ones I don’t use:

LiveJournal – Like any other kind of blog I once used this. I met some interesting people on it and people who had many interest as I do. Although I had the ability who was allowed to see my post I felt so forced to update it every second of my life. I also lost interest in blogging.   

Friendster - Like Myspace it is a social networking website. Before Myspace was born or introduced to me I was on this. When I found out of myspace and I soon learned that a lot of my friends were on myspace and so I joined. 

I think that the Internet is addicting as it is, and to have another social network, blog, or addicting website to add to my list of places to visit is not on my list of things to do. In other words I don’t need more distractions though out my day before I do my homework.

September 14, 2008 Posted by | social networking, tools and methodologies | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arielle- Assignment #1

I didn’t realize that I posted this in my weblog instead of the weblog for our class.. so lets try this again..

* In the Henry Jenkins reading, he is quoted as saying “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture.” What is meant by that?

Today technology is ever-changing and we can see that in media convergence. It gives us the opportunity to use technology in more ways than one. Some examples are internet blogs, texting, myspace, facebook, and youtube. When Henry Jenkins states that “YouTube is the fullest embodiment of convergence culture” I believe all he is saying is that it’s the primary example of how convergence culture has been changing. Youtube is becoming increasingly popular these days and the videos are being seen worldwide. With the click of a button you can watch just about any video you can think of. What is unique about youtube is that the videos are created by everyone and anyone. It is made by the people and for the people.
It has a lot to do with convergence culture because our society has been changing by the creation of these new websites. We interact through these pages in a way that has never been done before. The more we use them, the more popular they become. This is changing the way we interact as we know it.
The most recent example I can think of from my life is when I looked up a Jewish A Capella group that I auditioned for. I knew absolutely NOTHING about this group besides that they sing Jewish music. It took me about 5 minutes to find videos of their group on youtube and watch them. I found this really helpful for me because it gave me more of an idea of what to expect. It also helped me decide if it was something I really wanted to get into. Youtube makes these types of discoveries so easy. It makes me wonder how we did things before these sites were created. I can compare this example to the example Jenkins gave about the videos of American sign language. I actually used those videos myself to learn some sign language for a show that I’m doing. I am a deaf person in one of the scenes and my director wanted my sign language to be authentic. This is another perfect example of how easy it is to get information from these online videos.

* What is “participatory culture”?

Participatory culture basically refers to how we are not only the viewers and consumers, but we are also the creators. All of these new websites are perfect examples of a participatory culture. In the online journals, we read the entries of others and also create our own. It is as if we have our own web page. Myspace and facebooks are also great examples. Whenever someone asks me if I have my own site, I give them my facebook information. I became fascinated in making web pages when these technologies arose. Most people are loving the fact that they have their own web site that people can visit. I believe that it makes one feel more important.
Youtube makes movie-making a lot easier than it once was. It also gives you publicity because anyone can view it. I’ve seen many original movies on youtube and many people have become famous from this website. It used to be that people did not know how to publicize their own videos and now, it’s not a problem. Everyone knows about “Kelly likes shoes.” It’s an original video that became increasingly popular to watch. After some time, the creator made more of his own videos and is now a famous celebrity.

* What are some of the social networks you use and why do you use them?

I use many of the social networks provided for us today. I first had a xanga which was only for writing online journal entries. I thought of it as my online diary. I knew it wasn’t the best idea to display intimate thoughts of mine online. However, it became so popular that I didn’t care anymore and I found myself reading other xangas as well. It was like a game to me. At the same time I began using myspace which was about 4 years ago because a friend of mine got me started. I had no idea what it was in the beginning, but when I made my own account and started to add friends to my list, it became addictive. Slowly more and more people created their own myspace account and it seemed like a great way to keep in touch with people. Little did I know at the time that facebook was catching up to myspace. At first, facebook was only for college students. This is why I didn’t get it right away. However, I immediately created an account when I started college. Facebook never used to be my preferred choice between the two. However, it is now more popular than myspace in my opinion and more user friendly.
Although I still have my myspace and now have a music myspace as well to promote my singing, I use facebook more than any other social network these days. The main reasons why I use it is because I have kept in touch with a great amount of people through facebook, I have a place to post my pictures, and it entertains me whenever I am bored. I do find it a little “stalker-ish” because of the new “facebook feeds.” These can give you every little detail about what a friend is up to. I was shocked when this first came out. But, the privacy options are really helpful when it comes to that. I can show whoever I want as much or as little as I want.

* How have technologies like sms/text messaging, youtube, and myspace changed the way that we interact? (i.e., as mentioned in the Rheingold reading – the role of “Generation Txt” in the revolt against President Estrada of the Philippines, etc.) Reference either of the readings and/or draw from your own experiences.

There are so many new ways that we communicate these days. When I meet someone new I make sure to add them on facebook. Whereas only a few years ago no one had these technological luxuries. Like in the Rheingold reading, I feel that texting has reached one of its highest points. I was baffled when he quoted Tammy Reyes saying that she feels unloved when she doesn’t get a certain amount of texts. I text a lot personally, however, I hate when people text me just because they want to say “Hi” or “What’s up.” If you are going to text me, do it for a reason! Although I think her way of thinking about it is a little extreme, I can still relate to her because I communicate with people through these new technologies quite often in a day. I agree that it can make someone feel like they are more loved when a lot of people are talking to them. But what happened to those days when we didn’t have them? What happened to the days when I had to make a phone call to hang out with someone? What happened to the days when I didn’t know all the details about someone’s life? People have changed because getting in touch with someone is as easy as clicking a button. This changes the way one would interact with someone face to face. We get so used to sitting behind the computer that we don’t remember how to make a simple phone call. I know people who will seem outgoing when Iming them on AIM and then they seem like a completely different person when talking to them face to face.
Even though I believe that a lot of good is coming out of these technologies, it is dangerous and we have to be careful with how far we go with it. Either way it is something that continues to grow in our society and the way I see it, it will continue growing because we have entered a new generation of texts and web pages.

Hope that worked!

~REL~

September 9, 2008 Posted by | convergence, social networking, tools and methodologies | , , , | 3 Comments

Ambient Awareness


Illustration by Peter Cho

There’s an article in the Times Sunday Magazine by Clive Thompson titled “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close To You.” This idea of “ambient awareness,” this constant stream of information we receive via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook very relevant to what we just read so I thought I’d share it with you guys. I honestly haven’t gotten to read more than half of it yet because I’m but what I did get to read on the train this morning, particularly about Facebook and Twitter, was pretty interesting. All this minutiae we get via the Facebook news feed or Twitter updates have a cumulative effect of a new, specific type of awareness of one’s fellows. Anyway, I’d be interested to hear what people think about it.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | social networking, tools and methodologies | , , , | 3 Comments

SMS/ 3G/ Nokia

I was amazed to read about the way Japan has taken Cell phone usage to another level. Not so much with the texting but with the gaming communities built around it. Was a little confused with 3G technology. I’ve heard this word being used quite a bit with regards to the future of mobile technology but does anyone know exactly what it means?

I’m a huge fan of Nokia. I currently own an iPhone after decades of using Nokia and the truth is I actually prefer Nokia. The iPhone has great apps but the phone itself is bulky, texting is not as easy, and its very delicate. With my Nokia, I could text with my eyes shut and no matter what I did to my phone it would still work just fine.

 

:)

September 7, 2008 Posted by | tools and methodologies | , | 2 Comments

New social networks born in Helsinki and Tokyo…

Since Hclong‘s First Week Assignment post talked about some of the practical conveniences and benefits of the many modern social networks that exist today, I will focus on the new types of communication that these social networks have enabled.

I found the way that Rheingold traced the development of modern social networks to Japan (i-mode) and Finland (“tekstata” or SMS) very enlightening in “Shibuya Epiphany”.  It makes sense that early adoption of the new technologies occurred in young adults as they were trying to define their own identities outside of their families.  Rheingold quotes Finnish researchers: “Text messaging is a way to share relationships”.  It seems that it was-and arguably still is-less about content with certain types of social networks and certain demographis and more about the act of communicating (sending messages like “whatchya doing”, “i’m bored”).  It allowed, and still allows, teenagers (and even children) the ability to develop individual identities by expressing themselves, and, as equally important, attaching themselves to a social group through this unmonitored, 24/7-accessible “private” social network outside the direct family group.

I believe this has really affected the way we communicate.  Usage of SMS in the U.S. has certainly caught on since then across many demographics, not only for teenagers.  I think that this has also led to or influenced the evolution of communication… leading to the eventual creation of “Status Updates” in Facebook and “twittering”.  Although these features still are preferred by the younger demographic, I certainly think that many adults see the benefit of communicating using these newer methods that have enriched their lives and in some way have allowed for ‘closer’ relationships with some of their friends.  For full disclosure, I am 31 and have only recently started using facebook.  I can’t say for sure that it has dramatically changed my friendships, but I do think it has added something new to a few of my friendships already.  I will have to see what happens over time.  A NYT Magazine article that will be in tomorrow’s paper reflects on digital intimacy and talks about the introduction of the now two-year old “News Feed” feature on facebook.  It touches on many of the topics that we are discussing this week.

One of the other effects of prevalent mobile communication (SMS/Blackberry/iPhone, etc.) is that some individuals can be looser with time.  I read this example really in one of the readings or NYT article that holds true for me and my friends specifically, while you are getting ready to go to a party or on your way, you may be texting with other friends that are also on their way or already there, so there is this feeling of being together even though you are not in the same place.  Don’t know if this is a good thing if it encourages people to always be late though.  Haha.

Another issue that these readings made me think about is the idea of us interacting with others in our physical environment, and also in a “converstation” with someone else via facebook updates, email, or SMS at the same time.  Now, no one likes the loud cell phone talker on a bus or in another public space, so I think that typing is a dramatic improvement.  You cannot necessarily communicate at the exact same time with someone face-to-face and someone farther away, but are we more distracted because we are worried about texting someone?  I don’t think that this will have an effect on the level of intimacy in face-to-face communication.  What do you think?

I would also be interested in any thoughts regarding the usage of features such as “status updates” and “news feed” in facebook as well as the usage of twitter in the larger population.  What do you think is the greatest benefit or unintended side product of using these tools?

September 6, 2008 Posted by | social networking, tools and methodologies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogging on Wikipedia

It seems my new wikipedia post didn’t work out very well.  I was trying to get an overall outcome before I posted.  My wikipedia entry was new and had to do with a friends band who has a large following and is signed to a label, but wikipedia is somewhat strict on band entries due to their inconsistent nature.  I may appeal again and try later, and I’ll post then if it works out.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | tools and methodologies | | Leave a comment

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