Intro to Networked Collaboration

First Week Assignment

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

“How have technologies like sms/text messaging, youtube, and myspace changed the way that we interact?”

The social networking age has dropped on me like a pile of bricks recently; within the last two years I am sms-ing at breakneck speed, facebooking everyday, a myspace page i never look at, you-tubing more than watching TV and the ever-present, nerve-wrecking expectation that I should already be blogging about my band, or have an itunes page, or at least a video on you-tube nags at my conscience constantly. You see I’m trying to lead a band of 20-somethings, who already know about most of this but aren’t willing to do the PR, and at 35 I’m still kinda impressed with the notion of a cell phone. It is overwhelming and intimidating to me, yet the possibilities of marketing to so many without the need for money or connections is exhilerating. I am intrigued.

I am also living in Norway and have needed to stay in touch with family and friends in the US while having to create a social network here in Trondheim quickly and efficiently. I couldn’t have accomplished these tasks with speed and efficiency if I had moved in 2000 (at least I couldn’t), yet today I have been able to use e-mail chatting and Skype to speak with family across an ocean without any delays or cost. And I have been able to meet and stay in touch with over 80 people in Trondheim, Norway by utilizing Facebook.  It is exciting to be living in what Henry Jenkin’s describes as a “Renaissance culture”. And I think our interactions with each other and expectations of one another have been radically transformed by our recent ability to inform one another about every aspect of our lives in real-time.

“I have developed these concepts of media and cultural convergence to describe the present moment as a kind of Renaissance culture, one being transformed — for both better and worse — as the social, cultural, political, and legal institutions respond to the destabilization created by media change” (Jenkins, Henry. “Media Convergence.”)

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September 6, 2008 - Posted by | social networking | , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. I use Facebook all day everyday. Its very addictive and I’m always checking out new applications and watching the way brands are adapting to it.

    I was on Myspace before but didn’t like it so much as back then there were no restrictions about who got to see my page.

    Comment by ayvak | September 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Well I love the Internet and technology. I use AIM, Facebook, not into the Myspace anymore. Myspace just had to many hackers, and it was too flashy.

    I recently got my self a Second Life and that is interesting. Still trying to figure out the kinks to it. I was at one point on friendster(I don’t know if anyone remembers/knows of it) and Livejournal.

    I got a Myspace to that is why I stopped using friendster and I got tired of keeping up with a Livejournal.

    Comment by itsstephanie | September 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. hclong: It sounds like you are the perfect example of someone that has been able to use these new social networks to your maximum benefit to make connections in Norway quickly as well as stay in touch with family and friends in the U.S. Do you use find yourself using skype, sms, chat, facebook with different sets of friends, or do you use a little of everything with everyone you know?

    I can relate to your self-imposed pressure to blog or promote your band in some way. Even though I do not have a band, I feel some pressure to more effectively use the different social networks and technology that are available to market myself in some way.

    Comment by unoq | September 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. I’ve tried out a lot of different social networks but usually they don’t have staying power. These are the ones I still use regularly and why:

    – Facebook.com: I use Facebook every day in a compulsive manner, constantly checking up on my friends via the news feed and their status updates. People poked fun at online social networks early on but I can honestly say that Facebook, unlike MySpace or Friendster, has become the node through which I manage my social life online. That’s not nearly as ridiculous as it sounds.

    – Twitter.com: Twitter also appeared to be a big waste of time initially. This was mostly because there were only two of my friends on it. Now, however, a lot of my friends are on it and all day long my phone is buzzing with SMS messages (along with the Twitterific desktop app on my Mac) with snippets of info from people I know and some I don’t know. I follow my friends on Twitter because I like hearing about the minutiae of their days or whatever’s on their minds. I follow people I don’t personally know too but they’re all people (or brands, political campaigns, etc.) that I am interested in and curious about. When I try to explain Twitter to people who aren’t on it I tell them it’s like Facebook status updates and nothing more. A better explanation is this: I blog significantly less because I’ll post my ideas to Twitter because it’s quick and easy and the brevity necessary makes things interesting. That’s not really something I wished for but it happened nonetheless.

    – Delicious.com: In my mind, the purpose for Delicious is twofold: 1) I can keep track of all the sites/stuff on the web I’m into from any computer, and 2) I use it, lately, to populate my blog with content when I’m too lazy/busy to write a real entry. Every day I have my blog software/service, Typepad, grab all the links I’ve added that day as an entry. So now people who read my blog are still getting a piece of my mind despite the face that I’m not really posting all that much. Nowadays I use the notes function in Delicious to give my commentary on the linked material. This way it’s not just me posting links with no thoughts on them.

    – Flickr.com: I love photography and I’m a bit of a camera nut so Flickr lets me play around with that. I learn a ton just from looking at the photostreams of all my contacts.

    – Last.fm: I use this site to keep track of all my music listening habits. When I listen to songs on my iPod or in iTunes, Last.fm analyzes all the tracks I play and based upon those makes recommendations of stuff I may like and points me toward other people with similar taste.

    – Ffffound.com: I guess I’d call my self a pretty visually oriented person, so when a former coworker showed me Ffffound I was instantly hooked. It’s been in private beta for almost a year it seems, which is unfortunate because it’s a great inspirational tool. You can bookmark any images you find on the web to your Ffffound account and it keeps track of them archived for you and then makes recommendations for images you may be into. What I love the most is that it’s this really bizarre crossroads where highbrow art and design meet really lowbrow stuff like LOLCatz and pictures of women in various states of undress. The internet is a strange place indeed.

    The ways in which these new social technologies are numerous and I’m probably not fully aware of the extent to which I’ve been altered by them. However, I can say speak to one interesting consequence of all of this. People used to (and still do) like to say that technology is just putting up walls around us and making us all a little less human. I understand the sentiment but definitely disagree. These technologies have to potential to broaden and deepen our face-to-face relationships. We spend more and more of our waking hours in front of a screen. Rather than let that separate us, we’re finding ways to use this to solidify communities, like in the reading examples of Japanese youth. I know from my own experience that the web has allowed me to connect with people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and to take those relationships off the screen and into the realm of flesh and blood.

    Comment by justincharles | September 8, 2008 | Reply

  5. The changes communication technology have made on our physical spaces is unquestionable. Physical environment and virtual activity are now merging and will continue to do so in our immediate future. The fact that Swedish gamers are now challenging each-other on the internet depending on where they are in physical space is a great example. Also, as Rheingold spells out on the topic of telecommunications “The mobile phone creates its own user-culture which in turn produces new urban culture,” and I feel examples of this can be seen in countless circumstance, despite the first text message being sent only 16 years ago.

    Once incredibly threatened and outraged at technology’s hold on developing society, I am now excited at the opportunities arising, which will especially aid activists and artists to come together and share creative inspiration and information. However, aside from providing tools for specialized groups, we will see how technology will continue to remodel our daily interactions in shopping, transportation, human interaction, and entertainment (to name a few).

    It is already possible to order a pizza from one’s seat at the computer (not to break the stream of kills and gathering of virtual status among online peers when hungry) and although I consider this an outlandish ability, it goes as one more example business makers are devising ways to contact their end-users and generate profit and specialization.

    I myself spend a lot of time on the web for research and media-related arts. Due to the project I manage, I do a great deal of my work, especially in networking, planning, and exchanging information online. As for the web, I’ve been successful in my professional endeavors because I could manage the projects from anywhere in the world. I recruited filmmakers from California sitting in Switzerland, and planned the itinerary with travel agents in Africa sitting in Arizona. I use skype for interviews, business meetings, and planning. I used matador travel to build a profile for the project to network with volunteers and seek-out similar organizations. Also, in researching film equipment I used platform’s such as DVXuser to get feedback and exchange information with other filmmakers on what to purchase. For packaging of the film’s I go through sites that allow me to place custom orders and discuss the layout through online customer service. For printing books I use Blurb, which is a free bookmaking software program that enables users to design their own books and upload the outlines to the internet, then Blurb puts them into print and promotes/sells them on the site. Not to mention I am continually devising ways of implementing multi-platform programs in the humanitarian world, such as streaming live video of classroom’s where benefactors donate funds to support the school. This is something I’ve recently grown an interest for and plan to pursue.

    I also use the Internet quite often in my free time. I get my news from the web, so I’m usually on daily. I use networks such as facebook and myspace when making appointments or plans with friends, or call them on skype instead of a cell phone. Also, if I have maintenance issues with something, need a recipe, directions to a location, or instructions I use tools such as mapquest, googleearth, I follow specialized blog’s, or view an online tutorial on “How To” or “Lydia,” for example. I use stumble, youtube, and Only2Clicks, but am aware of further tools such as Flickr, Digg, Live Journal, and others. I’ve used online travel guides, planned travel online, made sales, do my banking, found apartments, jobs, restaurants, bought tickets, do my taxes, and keep up-to-date on the latest gadgets and technology in sustainability using an assortment of multi-platform software programs.

    I am highly fascinated with the readings so far in Smart Mobs, as I have grown a self-started interest in how to generate wealth (financial and educational) using advantages brought to us by the internet. I found it especially interesting when Reingold brought to our attention Docomo’s reason in launching mobile internet as they did; providing incentives for the third-party developers to be responsibly in building solid sites, which in-turn allows the cell-users to investigate on their own the applications they want to use in finding directions, restaurants, and other mobile tools. This alleviates the cost for the entrepreneurs and allows the cell-user freedom of selection. Not to mention it provides business for the third-party and motivates them to cater specifically to the cell-user in delivering a functional, aesthetic online pocket-service. Due to the bandwidth now in mobile internet, I can’t wait to see and devise for myself new tools to hit the market born from the demand of the end-user.

    over and out!
    kelley

    Comment by kelboa | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  6. It’s great to read about the different ways we’re using the internet. Especially how justincharles uses it for social purposes compared to kelley who’s mostly commercial. Both adoptions are equally valid and that’s what’s exciting about current technologies and the new ones that are continually being developed. The user takes what’s best for his needs. If an implementation is too difficult you can look around and find something easier to use, maybe without all the bells and whistles but it serves your purposes. I’ve done tech support at the university where I’m employed and one of the things I tell people who become frustrated with technology is, you don’t have to try to do everything with your device or computer. Just find what you need and squeeze the juice out of it until you’re comfortable with it. Then as you become more at ease with the technology, try something a little more complicated. The goal is to work through the initial intimidation. And find help from someone who won’t make you feel stupid. The advantage of network collaboration tools is that it provides a way for people to become more techie without their realizing it. After a while of Facebooking or IM’ing or sending pics or video over the cellphone, it becomes second nature. People want to have fun using devices and that is the challenge for developers, to make the ‘net easy to use and cheap to use.

    Comment by nancyajones | September 11, 2008 | Reply

  7. I mostly use the social networks for keeping in touch with people rather than networking. Although I find that they are also a great way to network. This is why I have a music myspace. It’s really amazing how I can show it to anyone if they ask.

    Even though I use facebook for social reasons, I also have used it to advertise like I would on craigslist. I found people to sublet my apartment on facebook and I sold my necklace on facebook as well. I definitely like how facebook has all of these options. Craigslist is definitely another good site to go to to sell, buy, find jobs, etc. I got some furniture for my apartment through criagslist!

    But getting back to facebook…
    Planning events is now a simple task and I love making my own groups. I just recently made a group for people who want to go on a free trip to Israel. I need to recruit 10 people and facebook will help me.

    I just hate the new layout as many others do. However, I thought about the reason why we all are against it and it’s simple. We aren’t used to it!

    Comment by isrellyrel | September 12, 2008 | Reply


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