Social Networking

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Technology has become an integral part of life, especially in the last decade. Phrases such as “Google it” or “I am a Facebooker” have become a part of our daily lives. With the growth of the internet came about social media websites that have taken over the lives of not only teenagers but big co-operations as well. Social media has helped business expand in different ways be it customer service, new designs or recruiting potential job candidates. In other words, a world without technology is unimaginable for not only a teenager but also a big business.

Networking sites have become so popular that new ones are popping up on a daily basis. Facebook and Google+ have raised the standards of what a social networking site should be and how to promote interactions amongst its unique users. In the article “Facebook Exodus” by Virginia Heffernan, she talks about Facebook attracting close to 87.7 million unique users just in the United Sates! But what these users fail to realize is that the one’s presence on a social media website comes at the cost of one’s privacy. Social Networking sites are able to collect ample information about a person based on how much they share on their profile. In the same article the author mentions how her friend said she was “being stalked by Facebook.” Her comment on some other website about a movie she saw was being registered by Facebook and showed up on her profile soon after.  To combat the legal issues of the said “Stalker Mode” that Facebook operates under, they require that their users be a certain age, but there is no way to be absolutely certain that the information is valid. In an attempt to pacify the critics who worry about the lack of privacy, networking websites such as Facebook have taken necessary actions to expand and improve the privacy settings as stated in the article Who Cares About Facebook Privacy? Students Do by Marc Parry Overall, our data show that far from being nonchalant and unconcerned about privacy matters, the majority of young adult users of Facebook are engaged with managing their privacy settings on the site at least to some extent,” Personal information, regarding where the user is, who they are with or even the partner they’re dating – everything posted online is for the world to see and teenagers knowing this fact have taken necessary measures to protect their personal lives. In “Leaving Friendprints”: How Online Social Networks Are Redefining Privacy and Personal Security”, the article says that kids today are giving and sharing all sorts of information via social networking sites, but the impact of this friend print they are creating cannot by quantified today, and by the time we do come to realize, it might be too late.

ImagePhoto Credit to: http://www.sileo.com/facebook-privacy/

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Photo Credit to: http://www.hilaborlaw.com/category/social-media-and-social-networking

It’s not surprising that the world was taken up by the storm of social media. Once used for personal use, social media is the new way of life not only for individuals but for big companies and small businesses. In the article titled Social Networking Technology Boosts Job Recruiting by Frank Langfitt, we are able to understand how small establishments are using social media to their advantage. LinkedIn, one of the most popular social business networking sites, has helped many recruiters such as Maureen Crawford-Hentz, find potential job candidates for her company. “Social networking technology is absolutely the best thing to happen to recruiting — ever.” Gone is the era of finding flyers on the street or looking through classifieds in the newspaper and meticulously circling the jobs you want to apply when all you have to do now is go to this networking site, create an account, type in some key words and hopefully be contacted for a job.

Not only has social media become popular for job recruiting but has also become popular in promoting the product and learning more about the customer base. As stated in the article What’s Next? Your Future in Social Networking by Chuck Hamilton, companies have begun using social media to “connect with affinity groups”, a group of people who share common ideas and goals regarding a certain product. As Hamilton states, “Social Networks are emerging as key tools for business innovation.” Social media allows a company to have a direct relationship with its customers. Companies are switching to a new business trend, where they feel that interaction with the consumers, by making them a prosumer shows the company in better light. This way the companies are able to know the likes and dislikes regarding the product and are able to make the necessary changes to expand their business.

The tactics used by businesses have become so popular that even governments around the world have started to use it as a method to keep their practices smooth. As stated in the New York Time article In India, Using Facebook to Catch Scofflaw Drivers by Heather Timmons, we see the impact social media has had on various aspects of society. It is impossible to have eyes everywhere, but through the Facebook page created by the New Delhi Police, drivers are able to post pictures of lawless drivers who are then reprimanded for their shoddy driving and the danger they pose to the people on the roads. This not only helps the police but makes the people a part of keeping the roads safer and being a part of maintaining the law.

In the end, social networking sites are both a boon and bane to society. While they have a number of advantages from raising awareness about social issues to sparking a revolution, they also have drawback in terms of protecting one’s privacy. The debate of whether social media will function the same way in the future is just beginning since the real impact can only be seen in the time to come.

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Blog Vs. Wiki

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With changing technologies, the means of sharing data has evolved dramatically in the last decade. The data that once used to be sent via letters was then sent by email and now is a large ever changing database called a wiki, which can be accessed by any person, at anytime, anywhere. This concept of the rapid change in the use of Web 2.0 tools can be seen in the article in The New York Times, “An Internal Wiki That’s Not Classified” by Naom Cohen, where he talks about how the Diplopedia, the State Department’s wiki on the different world leaders which has helped the government enter more efficient and new phase where they have a greater and clearer access to information on the go. So one must wonder why the State Department not use a blog instead.

Wiki’s and blogs are both Web 2.0 tools are similar but have inherently different uses. Wikipedia defines a wiki to be a “Website that allows people to add, modify, or delete the content via web browser.” It is a collaborative tool that generally serves as a means of knowledge management. It can be found both on the World Wide Web or can be used within the intranet of a company. When we think of wikis we usually think of something like Wikipedia, which is an online encyclopedia that has information of various things, which have been contributed by users all around the world. It is constantly changing and evolving, as different people contribute information on various things. This is what makes wikis an excellent tool for collaboration. On the other hand, we have blogs or web logs. Wikipedia defines blogs to be “a discussion or informational site published on the world wide web, consisting of posts that appear in reverse chronological order.”

The primary difference between the wiki and the blog is the content. Wikis are generally a database or an information source, whereas when one is looking for opinions or DIY’s they generally head to a blog. Another difference would be the number of authors, since the wiki is a collaborative tool, there are multiple authors and the number of authors usually grows with each edit. A blog however, generally has a single author, who pens down their thoughts about a topic, and does not edit their posts after it is published. Blogs are places where people are free to express their opinion. People don’t express their opinions on a wiki, it is more fact based.

With Web 2.0 tools like wikis and blogs it is becoming easier to meet the goal of convergence. Convergence is important for any company or group as it improves group cohesion. It is a way to network with other people and cuts down barriers and distances. Blogging and wikis allow for convergence to happen because they allow a person to broadcast their thoughts and opinions. These thoughts are then commented upon to improve its quality and allow a means for collaboration among the authors. In the article “Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on making most of the company wikis” we see that businesses are using wikis to “aggregate the knowledge of their far-flung employees, creating a place for them to electronically converge and collaborate on everything from planning meetings and documenting best practices to brainstorming about new products and processes.” They are using the tool to really create the best database their company can have in order to ensure maximum productivity. Blogging is also used as a great means for convergence. In the article “How can we measure the influence of the blogosphere?” by Katy E. Gill, we see that blogs are used by journalists as a means of recording their common lives, the day to day happenings around the globe. It serves as a means to not only provide information, but also as a life incident that is used to jog someone’s memory or a testament that something did happen.

Companies I feel should exploit their internal wikis more to create standard work instructions for each job. This would allow for less time being spent on knowledge transfer and more on productivity. Governments should also look into building wikis for its community to ensure that its residents know exactly what to do in the case of a catastrophic event to lessen the panic and restore order quickly.

In conclusion, both blogs and wikis are excellent tools of collaboration and expansion of information that is ever growing. In a world where information in limitless, these are excellent tools which allow us to catalogue all that is to be known and explore the unknown. 

The Impact of Virtual Worlds on Reality

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Virtual Reality games are on the up and up. People choose to model themselves or live an alternate persona while they play these games. It is fanciful for anyone to explore the streets of Paris or ride their motorcycle across the stretch of the Great Wall of China while they relax in the comforts of home, it is simply they avatars which explore these areas within the Virtual World.

Through this topic I aim to look deeper at the impact that Virtual Worlds have on reality. I will explore the Virtual Worlds through an educational perspective, sociological perspective, economic perspective and technological perspective.

I would appreciate any suggesting or comments to help me better the paper in any way.

Ramyaa Ravichandra

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