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.

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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

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2.   The HashtagStringer : people who #hashtaglikethis

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(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.

Personal and Professional “Stalkers”

Okay, let’s just be honest and say that most of us here has ever been a “stalker” at some point of our lives.  I don’t mean the type of stalkers that follows someone home or constantly calling a person who clearly does not want our attention, but someone who finds information of another person through online sources, and especially through social media.

Have you ever met someone who you’re really interested in, but have no idea what kind of person he/she is or what his/her interests are?

Sure you could ask mutual friends about him or get to know him slowly, but wouldn’t it just take a bit of a time for you to discover him/her?

Well, here is where social media comes in. After meeting that particular someone, you could go home and go online. You could browse his name, look through his Facebook account and find some part of his life from his pictures, interests and other personal information. You could go and look for his tweets and find out whether he follows celebrities or politicians. Whether he tweets about intellectual stuff or just about his personal life. Whether he takes his tweets seriously or he is a bit of a comedian.

Through social media, you could find out a whole lot about a person without even knowing the person in real life. You could even judge them, whether to like them or not, just by seeing what they post and what they don’t.

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However, stalking people online does not stop on a personal basis, it could even be utilised to a professional level.

I met a friend earlier this week who has gotten a job at a large corporation in Indonesia. He told me that his boss asked him to come along to a meeting a few weeks ago with one of the biggest potential investors of the company.

With him being quite new to the company, he told me that he still has so much to learn about the company itself, and when his boss asked him to come to meet the investor he has no idea about, he got a little bit freaked out.

Fortunately, Social Media was there to help. Once his boss told him about the meeting, he went home and did his homework. He did a background check on the investor. Yes, he got some major information from the investor’s Wikipedia page and some other online news, but he found his gold on the investor’s Twitter page.

Right through the investor’s twitter account, my friend found out about the investor’s love for Japanese dining, which leads him suggesting his boss to book the best Japanese dining in town.

The meeting went really well, with the investor fully satisfied with the food and presentation and my friend’s boss was impressed with my friend. And of course, they closed the night with a deal.

My personal opinion would say that social media could be really useful when it comes to one’s personal and professional life. Knowing about someone beforehand could be advantageous in order to know what to expect and what not when meeting them face to face. It is also a quick and easy way for us to be able to know someone without having to spend a lot of time or money. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes away the mystery and total experience of getting to know an individual and letting us jump into conclusion(s) that might not be necessarily true.

Also, stalking through social media has become somewhat normal. Many people are doing it, and are even admitting that they do stalk others on social media. I think the reason behind this is that there is a distance between the stalker and the person being stalked. The computer/phone screen becomes the barrier between the two subjects. Unlike stalking someone in real life, social media has given us “virtual” stalking. It has given the stalker freedom to stalk, but at the same time has given the stalked a sense of security, that the stalker is no where near him/her physically.

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So, what’s your take on this subject? Do you “stalk” someone before deciding to go on a date with him/her? Get a bit of a background check on your clients and potential clients to make your job easier? Or do you like it better for nature to take its course?

If you do consider yourself to be one of the online “stalkers”, to what extend do you think is normal online “stalking”? What would be appropriate and what would be not?

Share your thoughts down below ! 🙂

Cheers,

Val.

Here are some fun articles about online “stalking” :

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/10/top-3-signs-you-are-an-online-stalker/

http://arbiteronline.com/2013/09/16/cyber-stalking-much/

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/10/top-3-signs-you-are-an-online-stalker/

Introduction: Social Media IS our society.

We are all born with certain traits and attributes, but what made us what we are today are also contributed by factors of nurture. It could be from our parents, teachers, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, friends and acquaintances, in other words; our society.

There are different ways in which we interact with these people, from the most basic face to face interaction to SMS and telephone calls. But as we enter the generation of Web 2.0, our world is introduced to a whole new dimension of society, a virtual society which we know as Social Media.

In my own personal understanding, in the simplest form, social media is online interaction between people. However, the interaction itself is immeasurable.

Here’s another definition of social media I found on the net (best I’ve seen so far) :

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Social Media could be use in various ways. There are varieties of topics that could be brought up in social media. In fact, it is limitless. Someone might talk about news and war in Syria, and others might just post a “selfie” or talk about their experience on a particular or even a mundane day. Some people uses social media to promote their businesses and/or reputations, some use it simply to communicate with their friends and acquaintances, others use it simply because everyone else is using it.

Similar to its uses, the effect of social media is pretty complex. It could either be positive, negative or even neutral. There are cases how social media contribute success to a person’s life (take the Biebs for example), sadly, there are also cases on how social media destroys one’s life (teenage suicide due to cyber-bullies).

With all being said, Social Media and The Self is going to be a platform where we (You and I) will talk through on how social media is not a mere representation of ourselves but it is a society that our society builds, builds our society, and ourselves. Also, we will be touching on discussions on the good and the bad of social media in shaping us to what we have become today.

Well, that’s it for now. Please do comment and give your take on this topic.

Cheers,

Val.