So I’m guessing this isn’t a really new topic for most of you out there since these days almost everyone is mixed up in this moronic yet somehow satisfying thing called social networking. But surprisingly enough most people I’ve talked to either don’t know social networking by its name but uses it on a regular basis or hints at what social networking might be but doesn’t like the concept of it. So let’s dive right in and see what a a pile of shit can do for you and vice versa.
So what exactly is social networking? Well, starting with those of you that don’t know the name of it it’s basically every single website where you get to literally sift through shit, whether it’s people, articles, information or commonalities, to find things that are most relevant to you. It’s Tweeter, it’s Facebook, it’s Myspace, it’s Hi5, it’s Digg, it’s Youtube, it’s….well, you get the picture. So it’s basically dynamic content filled with personalized information. But why is it different from every other website that has frequently updated content? Well let’s delve deeper.
Now I really don’t know how much of an impact this would have on most people but you’ve all (or at least most of you) hear of the term “Web 2.0”. I’ve actually spent quite some time looking into this and I have to say that I’m really inclined to ask for my money back. I mean with a name containing “2.0” you’d think that they’ve actually re-released the net in a newer, better form, right? WRONG! What a rip off, right? So what is it then? Well as far as I understand it it’s actually a term coined by Darcy DiNucci and made famous by O’Reilley Media and it was an early speculation back in the day when JS and Flash were only used as presentation tools rather than content management. It sounds like a movie trailer actually. “In a world filled with static content, a few people dared to dream..”…aham. Sorry.
So back to the point. Believe it or not even as far back as a few years ago the internet was mostly static. Web pages were all tables, information rarely changed and let’s face it, it was boring. With Web 2.0 the internet changed. But how? Well it’s pretty simple really. It let people, like you, me and anyone else, add a touch of personal to a website. Basically Web 2.0 is what lets you add info to Wikipedia, add and comment Youtube videos and, why not, let’s me give you all this info on my blog. But we’ve gone far enough.
So now that we have a basic concept of what social networking is let’s focus a bit on what it can do for us. Now most people that have actually heard of social networking limit the concept to websites you join to find friends, family and co-workers but this is rarely the case. As most people have probably have already noticed, most websites like Facebook, Hi5 (but not Myspace…Myspace sucks balls and resembles the mentally retarded emo kiddies it houses) have already started selling, managing and implementing programs to their already growing network.
“So now really…what CAN a social network do for me?”
Well obviously the most basic answer would be discovering new things about your existing friends, their friends, what they do and finding out what their birthday is without having that awkward discussion when you forget. Also you can meet new people. Friends of your friends, find people interested in the same things as you, finding a date for valentines for those of you that need something like that. But social networking can do so much more that most of you probably miss. I bet 60% of you have no idea that Facebook takes up 2% of the global bandwidth. A glossary of world facts on the CIA website shows that in 2008 1.6 billion people are connected to the internet through computers, 4 billion people have mobile phones and let’s say that’s 2 billion overall connected to the internet. Now that would mean that there are 40 million (that’s 40.000.000) users on Facebook at any given time. So why all the hype? Well this is what 80% of all people that use the internet have no idea about. Facebook is one of the social networks involved in the universal social network project meaning that it’s built on the same framework as a bunch of other networks.
And this is where the fun part of Web 2.0 comes into play. I’ll walk you through how it works. For example I currently have a Facebook account but I need friends. So I link my Yahoo account to my Facebook account. Now, not only do I get my friends from Yahoo on my Facebook page but I also get updates on what I do on Facebook on Yahoo so it’s like having a co-worker in the office that acts as a medium between me and my boss. I do my spreadsheets with my co-worker, he takes it to the boss, the boss reviews what I’ve done and my co-worker gives me back the information. Now I have friends. So what do I do with my friends? Well, I bet everyone had videos on Youtube they’d like to share with friends. So I connect my Youtube account to my Facebook account. Now not only can I freely share all my videos with my friends on Facebook and Yahoo but I can also get recommendations on videos I should watch based on what my friends watch. So in just a couple of clicks I’ve managed to filter all the information on my webpages to find things that might interest me based on the people I share commonalities with. With a minimal effort I’ve managed to get 70% more relevant information on 2 different websites. I could do the same with websites like TV.com or gamespot.com or the entire CNET for that matter. So welcome to the digital age. We accept men, women, small children for every pedobear, stalkers of every age, gender or race and don’t forget to unsubscribe from Myspace cause nobody needs spam from bands and every friend suggestion ever made because of Tom.
Till the next time this is Uncle Medicated reminding you to brush your teeth after every meal.