With so much internet activity in the last two years, it is easy to fall behind on new trends with regards to social networking and new online exchanges.
I remember going through some of the hype when I was at school when hotmail started to gain popularity. It wasn’t long before instant messaging – icq, msn, yahoo chat rooms – started taking up all the free time of highschool students, not to mention mobile phones and text messaging.
I was in the loop from the beginning but somewhere along the tack I fell out of the loop and now as an adult I have to discover the new fads on my own.
I think that the emergence of facebook has been a real turning point in the way we create meaningful networks on the internet. Myspace also created a lot of hype at its beginning but I think it was viewed as too informal to be used seriously by the older population. It wasn’t long ago also, when youtube came on the scene and you could easily spend a good 2 hours viewing average quality and weird footage from fellow internet users around the world.
When I first heard of facebook I thought it would be a one year hype over what I thought was a gossip machine that looked like an open version of an email interface. After analysing facebook again recently, I realise how well they have integrated all the successful tools of modern internet communication.
To me, facebook to some extent is more or less a mixture of:
- Hotmail – an email client
- Google talk – an embedded instant messaging client
- Flickr – an online photo gallery
- Twitter – similar to the extent of the status updates (micro-blogging)
- Blogger – layout is similar to a blog, and all accounts are uniform
- Youtube – you can upload and view videos without having to visit youtube anymore
So once you have facebook and realise that you have more online friends than numbers on your mobile phone, what else might you need to enhance your internet experience?
The nice and easy thing about facebook is that it gives people with limited technical knowledge the chance to maintain the closest thing to a personal blog or website without asking them to download anything or even learn much. The technical requirements for usage is for most people, just a step away from being a capable email user.
Having said all that, I don’t have a facebook, twitter, myspace or flickr account. I will resist the temptation for now however, I am curious to see which application will last the longest.
What really gave this new communication medium credibility was the use of such services for the US Presidential election campaign. Everyday, candidates would upload a new video to their youtube channel or change the headlines of their blogs. It made the business community view these teenage fads with more interest than before.
While I don’t have the need to spend an extra hour a day learning about the lives of my acquaintances, I am content with having some space on the internet to share thoughts without feeling too deprived of my privacy. I like the fact that I can decide whether or not to notify my real-life people network of my site or not. I am not bombarded with information of friends that might not be interesting to me.
I also feel a sense of achievement in creating a blog. I have chosen the url, I have set it all up, I can customise it the way I like and in the future I can scrap it all and start again. It’s not too hard to get into blogging, but it does feel better when you have set up a site and customised your blog rather than just open an account with a free service.
Note to self: If I write more often then my articles could be shorter and easier to digest. Thanks for reading, those who managed.