Social Networks vs Communities.

Living in the year 2013, I assume we all know what social media is. Even if we do not have a precise definition of it, we know it has to do with communicating with various people in various region online.

social-network

Most of the time, we group our social media sites into many specific classifications. From social networking sites, micro-blogging, bookmarking sites, social news, media sharing, blog comments/forums and so on. Nonetheless, in this blog post I will be broadening those classifications and dividing our social media into two main categories (courtesy of Brian Solis’ Conversation prism) :

1. Social Networks: Our social network includes our friends, families and people we are acquainted with. The primary factor of a social networking site lies on interpersonal relationships between individuals. People sign up to these type of sites to maintain old relationships and build new ones. It includes sites like Facebook, My Space, Path, Linkedin and so on.

2. Online communities: Communities are groups of people that come together through common interests. There may be interpersonal relationship between the members, but that is not essential. One person may be a part of many communities, it depends on what his/her interests are. Our online communities includes Instagram, Soundcloud, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube and so on.

Knowing these two categories we should realise that both has been invented way before Social Media begins, am I right?

Social Networks has always been there. It’s the people that surrounds us, that we know and share our lives with, each person has a different social network to the other. Communities, on the other hand, comes at a wider range. Some of us might be religious and go to churches and temples, while others simply do not. We might be joining a cooking class or a photography community, it is basically related to our interests.

So what makes the Social Network and Communities provided by our social media different than it was millennia ago?

Here are some personal key points:

1. It is Faster,Wider and Easier:

This is an obvious one. With digital technology and Internet, social media allows us to be able to reach a large number of people at a split second.

2. Our solitary walks will never be solitary:

This I realised one day when I was having one of my morning jog. I do this often, and I like doing it alone, though when I think of it I was NEVER really alone. Despite having to being my house key, I always bring my phone along with me. Yes, I can’t jog without music, but I can’t seem to NOT check my social media profiles when resting from my jog. Even if I am not with anyone physically, I read my news feed on Facebook, my friends’ tweets and latest Instagram photos. Social media is just so omnipresent, that we can access it anywhere, anytime. 

3. Fakes:

One of my classmates ( Lillian, if you are reading this 😉 ) recommended me to watch an MTV series called “CATFISH”, because I’ve heard about it before, I was not skeptical at all and quickly jump straight to watching it.

The show is about how people met through online profiles and ended up knowing that one of them ( or sometimes both ) is not the same person he/she is online.

This is my third and final point. Social media platform is quite unique in a point where it allows people to create a whole new persona far from who they are in real life. Sometimes they get caught, but other times, they can hide their true identities behind their computer screen.

To an extent, some are still harmless, it could even help us develop better selves. But on other times, some people got so carried away to a point where they do horrible things (cases like cyberbullies, online psychopaths and so on).

Social-Media-Icons

I really think that social media is a new way of socialising for us. Even if sometimes we refer it as a “virtual reality”, something that is not real, it actually affect our lives, big time.

So, what do you guys think about that? Do you find social media changing your lives? Could you think of any other differences of social media to other mediums that we use in our social lives?

Comment down below!

Cheers,

Val.

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#Hashtags

Hashtag

Looks familiar? Yeap, I think so.

We all have encountered this. Maybe you’ve seen your friends, some random person on your social media, or yourself doing it. Conscious or unconsciously, we have now become victims of the #.

Though, what does it do, really?

Hashtags were used way before social media. It was actually invented for IRC networks to label groups and topics. Made popular by Twitter these days, Hashtags are being used in almost every type of social media. They are primarily use to promote specific interest or topic, that if made popular enough could create a larger discussion or generate more people to visit and take interest on it.

On Twitter for example, when a hashtag becomes very popular, it will appear as a “Trending Topic”, whereas on Instagram, by using certain popular hashtag(s), you may generate more like and more followers on your page.

When used properly, hashtags can be really useful. It could simplify both your personal and professional life.

Personal:

1.   Finding and/ creating communities with same interests

2.   Getting news or whatever is trending in just a click away

Professional:

1.   Promoting businesses and organizations’ products, services and events

2.   A branding tool for businesses and organizations

However, since the hashtags have been very popular, its use has also been abused.

These are a few types of hashtag abuse:

1.   The Over Hashtagger : people who uses too many hashtags on a post

hashtagger-665x275

2.   The HashtagStringer : people who #hashtaglikethis

cropped-the-hashtagger

(I would say I have been guilty of doing this before :/ but after doing some research on hashtags, I would definitely rethink before doing this!)

And apparently..

3. The Verbal Hashtagger : people who actually says the word “hashtag” in real verbal conversation.

I get that people have the need to be seen and heard, and that is what social media really got started from, but some terms are hashtagged for a certain reason, and so not all words are supposed to be hashtagged.

Hashtags are also meant to be simple, so joining all words together with no capitals whatsoever will confuse readers.

And although hashtagging has now become a trend, it does not necessarily mean that we have to add it into our verbal conversation. I mean, we don’t use “LOL” or “BRB” when we verbally talk to someone, do we?

So tell me what your experiences are with the famous hashtag. Were they good, bad or neither? Have you ever created a hashtag of your own, and if so, what is it for and how did it turn up?

Please do tell me on the comment box down below.

Cheers,

Val.