Intro to Networked Collaboration

Twitter

I know this goes back…but I did not really expirement with Twitter much…but it just hit me…it reminds me of Facebook’s “what are you doing?”

The end.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

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

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

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

   

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