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Thoughts on Social Media back in 2003: My Friendster Experience

I had a case of nostalgia last night after watching Slumdog Millionaire, and I decided to revisit my original blog that I started in 2003. It is striking to read not only my rudimentary writing skills, but also my naive view of life and technology. Below was an interesting take on social media back in 2003.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Friendster: This is my topic of the day. I was invited to join this new concept by a friend of mine, hence the name friendster. At first I thought it was just some chat room similar to AOL instant messenger, so I really didn’t want to bother with it. However, with some idle time at work these days, I took the time and registered an account with this website. Instantly I was connected to my good friend and her friends. Wow, what a novel idea, a way to connect with friends and their friends. But during that same epiphany, I also realized this is kind of hoke, and that this application was just another concoction to display in a non-personal method, how cool and popular an individual can be? Is it really a public forum to show how many friends you have under your “friend’s box”? How superficial can this be? I will be the first to admit, that I was enamored and caught up with the idea of trying to claim as many friends. It almost sounds kind of surreal, as if your friends are possessions that belong in this so called “friend’s box”. I mean, this application really is not that new, we all have AOL and email accounts. Just email your friends if you want to talk to them, why use their “send a message” feature. Once again, I’ll be the first to admit that I was a victim of all this too. Does anyone really ask to hook them up with their friend’s friend using this application? That is what the real world is for, go out and meet up with your friends. Your friend will know if you are right for one of their other friends. You don’t need this hoke application to do that. Well, maybe I am just jealous because I only have 16 friends in my box, where some people have 50-500 friends. Maybe people are correct, they are cooler because they have more friends in their “friend’s box”. For me, it is not the number of friends, but rather the quality of that friendship.

But hey, I am just a critic, and probably will still check out the site once in awhile. Okay maybe a few times a week. One thing is for certain; I will view this site in a different light. I will no longer be caught up in this race of asking people to be my friend. If they are truly my friend, I certainly will not need friendster to tell me that.

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To Google or To Tweet?

April 22, 2011 Leave a comment

During technology professional development this week, I facilitated a session on how educators are using social media for professional growth and learning. I showed the group many of the valuable resources and media regularly shared such as Classroom 2.0, EduPLN, and Tom Barrett’s Interesting Ways Series (Thanks @davidwees for sharing). I also shared many articles and blog posts related to social media in education such as the following:

In my efforts to promote using social media tools such as Twitter, I often field thoughtful questions when approached with something new. Usually, the why questions? In this particular case, why would I use a medium such as Twitter when I can Google what I am looking for? It was a fair question that I had to pause to think about. My immediate answer was that Twitter provides a human two-way element to sharing information that Google cannot provide. And that Twitter allows you to connect with educators on a deeper level by exchanging thoughts and comments to grow as a professional. Naturally, I thought, why not demonstrate the power of Twitter and ask this question to my PLN. And just for kicks I Googled the same question I posed on Twitter and this is what I got back from Google.

Here are the responses from Twitter:

  • @techforschools Twitter is where I discover what I don’t know. Google is where I search for answers to an known problem. #edtech
  • @mpondu Twitter information & searches are vetted by trusted communities, which can be refined to common interests.
  • @george_haines Information is a small piece. Cultivating relationships for collabs, connections is a huge value. #edchat
  • @thedippyhippy Because Google will not provide you with the accompanying advice and professional experience that a twitter PLN offers. #edchat
  • @matt_arguello Google searches everything. If you have a good PLN, getting info is much faster and relevant. More personal too.
  • @jcorippo Twitter answers back in conversation and discussion in a way a search cannot… #edchat #edtech
  • @dmchugh675 you usual get a better quality of reply from your PLN. Specific links, advice, things to avoid etc. #edchat #edtech
  • @kelalford Because Twitter is like having 100 people search Google for you and test our the site before they recommend it with ideas
  • @ugaodawg Real conversations with real people.
  • @franze98 pln can be a more trustworthy, up-to-date, real life situations source. #edtech #eduit
  • @carptracy Twitter is the ultimate edtech filter. All the best resources in one, easily accessible place.
  • @seanjcl Googling info works well when you know what you want. Twitter can provide you value you didn’t know you wanted.
  • @mrblakelylhs because your #PLN on #Twitter does the work. #Google search means you have to sort through the millions of sites out there.
  • @inquirebook With Google, you find what you look for. With Twitter as a PLN, you find what you didn’t even know to look for. #edchat #edtech
  • @samgliksman Often the most valuable information isn’t what you knew you wanted…the value of Twitter is in the knowledge you “stumble upon”
  • @teacha Twitter provides you with food for thought to develop a ? or ?s to discuss and ponder some more.… (cont) http://deck.ly/~NfrTK
  • @megormi Your tweeple are a passion focused PLN ready 2 help
  • @becky_ellis_ twitter = curated search by an expert in yr field, whereas google ans. must conform to algorithmic formula not always recent
  • @lcarroll94 when you google you get everyone’s answers… twitter customizes your PLN with ppl YOU select and trust. #edtech #edchat
  • @jasonschmidt123 Twitter helps me find stuff I didn’t know I was looking for!
  • @shighley can get info from people I know/trust vs. paid and popular placements on Google.
  • @magistram I rely more on personal opinions/experience than on Google’s measure of importance. #edchat
  • @heidisiwak Google or Tweet? Tweet. Google is too inefficient and only shows what it thinks I want to see.
  • @millerg6 I’m new to Twitter. It is offering a real time, rich two way conversation that Google simply can’t offer.

The Augmented “Social Media” Reality

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

When I saw Pranav Mistry describe his Sixth Sense Technology on TED back in 2009, Facebook was the clear winner in the social media space. Today, Facebook is nearing the 700 million user mark. In the TED video, Mistry described the potential of his technology by showing the social media implications. The Sixth Sense Technology was used to project Facebook type messages onto the live person’s shirt. It was definitely a ground breaking concept that I didn’t spend too much time thinking about until now.

Recently, I came across a new augmented reality company called Viewdle, which uses facial recognition software to automatically tag people for photos and videos on your mobile camera device. While the concept is not new, the reality has sunk in that an evolving form of social media is upon us. One that can quite possibly merge online social media with live social interactions. Viewdle is one in many new augmented reality software that will enhance the mobile experience and change the social media game. Could you imagine walking up to a friend and using your mobile device to display all their social media messages seconds before giving him/her a hug?

Just to play this out, I wanted to describe a positive and negative scenario using this new augmented “social media” reality. I decided to avoid the bar scenario…

Scenario 1: Imagine being at a conference and you wanted to connect with other participants. Since most people nowadays backchannel at conferences, you could use this new augmented “social media” software to recognize people through your phone and see their live tweets. Connections could surely be simpler, as you would quickly know what people are thinking [tweeting] as you walk the halls.

Scenario 2: Imagine being at school and all of sudden being surrounded by peers pointing their mobile device in your direction. You are wondering why everyone is laughing and pointing their phone at you. You check your Facebook home feed to find people tagging you with “photoshopped” pictures with inappropriate content. The cyber bullying implications can be amplified with this type of augmented reality.

There will be without a doubt one for sure outcome in this new form of augmented reality, social media will be magnified to the nth degree. There will be those who embrace it with fervor and find beneficial value in enhancing human relationships. And there will be those who despise it as a gross violation of privacy. Whether you agree or disagree with it, augmented “social media” reality has arrived.

As @mrdatahs pointed out on a response to my Viewdle tweet, “If privacy wasn’t dead before…welcome to 2011.”

Last week, I wrote a post called The Digital Footprint Eraser, and this new augmented reality only confirms that another industry will emerge as well: The Social Media Eraser. One of these companies called SocioClean, claims to be able to clean your Facebook, Myspace, and other social media from inappropriate content.

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