Social Networking

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Social networking service is a platform aiding in building relations among people who share interests, activities or connections. They can help bring together employees and employers, college alumni, artists, business entities, etc. Services such as Facebook, though started as a medium for helping college students connect, evolved in a marketing medium used by most companies, b2b and b2c alike. Twitter, another example of a social network that took off once businesses figured out they can reach the masses in 140 characters or less. These are just two examples of networking sites that saw a surge in membership and usage once businesses started using them to reach the consumers. 

These technologies are not only helping people stay connected to one another but to the world, getting latest news, product information, connect to people seeking help or offering advice. They change the way we interact in our private lives and in the community or work, If it is a friend’s birthday, a reminder pops up on your smartphone from Facebook, if you are looking for a job, you head out to monster.com or look on LinkedIn to expand your professional network, if you want to surprise your significant other with a vacation, you head out to your preferred network and ask your friends for recommendations or read reviews on a travel site (probably linked to from Facebook).

On the other hand these technologies can be used in ways that violate the privacy of the users or as means of law enforcement as the article In India, Using Facebook to Catch Scofflaw Drivers by Heather Timmons. As the article mentions, the use of the Delhi PD Facebook page has a Orwellian feeling to it, neighbor watching and reporting on neighbor.

All the user information is being stored and used by the network for money making activities-advertising, data mining, etc- and we, as users must agree that our information is no longer ours when we post it on line. Accounts, even inactive or closed ones are still stored on servers and used which leads to the creation of huge databases with information on all of us. This is Big Data, and it is at the reach of Big Brother. Corporations and governments alike use all this information to control our behavior, not in a direct way but through advertising and incentives. It is not too fat fetched to think that one day you may get a traffic ticket in the mail as a result of your Facebook post that reads: I drove 90 mph to get home before the storm hit. It is an admitting of guilt but it is not in a court of law so would that ticket be valid? Would the law change to allow for such a ticket to be issued?  Facebook Exodus by Virginia Heffernan talks about the exodus of people leaving Facebook citing privacy concerns, or fears of stalkers, changes in behavior (one user became too nosy), Maybe a scenario like the ticket one may induce people to leave social media or maybe the use of it would be so ubiquitous that leaving would be nearly impossible. 

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Blog vs. Wiki

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Compare and contrast blogs and wikis

Blogs and Wikis are two different tools in the tool bag of today’s web user. They can both be used to share information and express opinion but the way the information is posted and the person/s posting it are different.

For a blog, timeline is more important as it is a sort of online journal whereas for a wiki timeline is not as important since users continuously update the entry as more information becomes available. Blogs are generally owned by one person who posts periodically and the posts are his or her own creation.On the article Wal-Mart Tastemakers Write Unfiltered Blog by M. Barbaro  we can see examples of personal opinions on the bloggers’ own blogs, some posting their religious affiliations, some talking about their favorite authors and some about their cat. These are personal pages with unfiltered content written by a single person, whereas in a wiki, there is not one single person who can claim responsibility for the entire contents as many collaborating members add their pieces to the collective and edit other peoples’ entries. Take for example the emergency room doctor who published all ten plates of the Rorschach test on a Wikipedia article about the test causing uproar among the psychologists who feel that publishing those images jeopardizes one of the oldest psychological assessment tests.(A Rorschach Cheat Sheet on Wikipedia by N. Cohen). The action of publishing the test was attributed to the ER doctor but not the entirety.

Information on blogs is unidirectional, from the creator of the blog to the audience who comments on the blog whereas the wiki is unidirectional from the multiple collaborators to the article being worked on.

Comment on the importance of convergence in today’s networked world.

With the prevalence of digital technology nowadays, it is becoming obvious that all media is slowly converging toward a common form. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT’s Media Lab once presented a model of convergence showing publishing, broadcasting and computing industries as three separate rings that come closer and closer together until they almost overlap. Convergence means that all media will become digital, and the analog to digital transition will transform media production and distribution blurring forever the boundaries between media types. This convergence can be viewed as Convergence 1.0 but now we have Convergence 2.0 which is Service + Social + Physical. It integrates Services such as GPS with Social aspects like Facebook, LinkedIn and Phisical  world elements  (location, time, calendar) in a never before seen manner to provide a whole new way of interacting not only with each other but with the digital content in Convergence 1.0.  (Dubberly, Hugh, Convergence 2.0=Service+Social+Phisical, Interactions Magazine, July 1, 2011).

How can blogs be used for collaboration?

First, blogs help you share what you are doing with the world. Also, one can ask their audience for responses by adding their point of view.

Another way is for the founder of the blog to invite a few collaborators or co-bloggers to contribute to the blog. This typically works on blogs that focus on a single subject such as politics, tech, economy.  This type of blog has the advantage that, for the readers it will be updated more regularly and for the bloggers it will reduce the pressure of maintaining and updating it.

Can you think of a new use for a wiki that has not been done yet?

Maybe collaborating on a online novel, where participants can continue where the previous one left off.

Is it really spying if all the information is readily available

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My research paper will focus on the availability of personal information online and whether or not gathering and analyzing it can be thought of as intrusion/spying. In light of the latest leaks showing security agencies gathering and analyzing information from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc, information that is for the most part public, do we have a claim of invasion of privacy when the intelligence community is using the data?images

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