In a nut shell, I encourage the group to become bloggers, to comment on blogs and news articles, and to still write letters to newspapers and magazines. I also warned users of being idiots on the internet via twitter, Facebook, etc.... Once upon a time there was anonymity on the web, those days are gone. If you would not do something in person do not do it on the web.
After the discussion panel this morning, I realized I had not touched on the organizing powers of the internet. Although, I as a MoveOn.org RC have not been able to get people mobilized via the internet as of yet, I still have hope. I have hope because of what happened in Philadelphia, PA in 1997. Prior to Twitter and Facebook a million women came together using email and AOL. I have hope because using twitter and FB a corrupt regime in Egypt was toppled after over 40 years of oppression with requiring full military might. The people at this morning's forum were energetic and desiring ways to be the change in America and in Mississippi. Because of the wealth of knowledge that was in the room with me this morning, I maintain hope that a viable progressive agenda will make become the norm in America. These people are ready to bypass the old MSM to share their knowledge using new means of reaching the population.
America will give up the regressive policies that have held us stagnate for so long. We have not moved since the 1950's. The tech boom of the 1980's was great but did not push us ahead of Israel, India, Japan, Korea, or China. It is time that we give up the football game of politics and come together for real and sustainable change in our country. We can start the change using social media.
Below are the notes I had prepared for this morning discussion of social media. I hope that you will think of what action you need to take to make a positive change in the world.
My Notes:(You now know how my mind works)
My thoughts in regards to the forum on the 11th of June are as follows:
Sharing the panel with another blogger will allow me to remember things I have forgotten.
Although I studied programming at DeVry Institute of Technology, I have spent most of my career in computer networking. In computer networking the objective is to get various electronic devices to communicate using a common means. Today, I spend my time working to get various humans to communicate using various tools of technology.
What are tool of technology used to communicate:
Paper and pencil
The internet was around long before personal computers. In those days it was mainly a system used by the government and various tech labs for intercommunications.
(History of the Internet – ARPnet)
Rise of social media (AOL to foursquare)
Mobile access to social media
(you have what apps?)
Rural users of social media (speed, bandwidth, huges net, dialup. etc)
Must be taken into account when placing content on your blogs
How social media is changing world and politcis
Disaster relief response
Communicating with the White House
Touch on cloud computing
blogs - a short history
In the early days of the Internet, each new page was a cause for celebration. The early pioneers watched in excitement as the network grew, and they wanted to keep people informed about this growth. In 1992, Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee created the first What’s New page; later, another pioneer, Marc Andreesen, put up a similar page. Each had hotlinks to the new pages springing up on the Net.
As the Internet grew and the World Wide Web came about, other programmers created hand-coded pages with their recommendations for surfing the Net – they “filtered” the Net. Justin Hall started his filter log in 1994. In 1998, Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog.”
Soon, says weblogger and author Rebecca Blood, these “link-driven sites” were very popular, and webloggers became a community. Each weblog included a list of similar filter sites.
In 1999, websites Blogger and Pitas began to offer a simpler way to create a weblog. These hosted services allowed any person to easily sign up, create a blog, and write numerous postings. All without having to know HTML.
Since then, millions of weblogs have been created. The term is now pronounced web-log or we-blog, or shorted to blog. And these blogs evolved into personal diaries or journals. Many journal-blogs still do include a list of other similar sites. This is a called a blogroll.
Other blog software programs and services include LiveJournal, Movable Type, TypePad, TextPattern, Radio Userland and pMachine. Some of these programs are simple to use while others are more complicated to install. These programs include many powerful publishing tools, and are often called content management systems. The systems allow any individual to be a publisher on a global scale. This new type of publishing is called microcontent, thin media or nanopublishing.
blogs - anatomy
Blogs share a common format. This uniformity facilitates usability by allowing readers to quickly skim a blog for interesting information. “The weblog format provides a framework for our universal blog experiences, enabling social interactions we associate with blogging,” writes Blogger co-founder Meg Hourihan.
The features of a blog include:
• Date header: The date the post is written. Posts are generally presented in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
• Title: Each post is given a title. This is a pithy phrase, a pun, or even a series of symbols.
• Time stamp and/or permalink: The time the post is uploaded to the blog. The time stamp often is a link to a permanent page just for this post. This allows other bloggers to link to a post.
• Post: A word, sentence, paragraph or essay, with links and names and current news. Key words and names are often highlighted in boldface, which makes the post 'scannable' (the usability gurus at Useit.com tell us that online readers don't read - they scan a page).
• Author nickname: The name or nickname of the person who wrote the post. For blogs written by one person, the author is often left off (because the author identification can be found in an About page). For collaborative blogs, the author helps to differentiate contributors. The nickname can also be a link to a page of all the author’s posts.
• Category: Individual postings are often labeled as part of a category.
• Comments: A software feature that allows readers to leave their own comments and reactions to the author’s post.
• TrackBack: A way for one blog post to link to the post of another blog. In other words, one blogger can write about the content of another person's weblog, and the two posts are linked in a web. See the Beginner's Guide to TrackBack
blogs - why read, why write
why read a blog
The first weblogs pointed visitors to new web pages, and later blogs filtered the ever-expanding World Wide Web. This filtering is still one wonderful reason to read blogs today - you can discover exciting new websites and happen upon sites with hundreds of fascinating archived posts.
Many weblogs are specialized newsletters. These can help you in your research, and will give you important news and obscure pieces of information that can round out any research paper. One UNC blogger shared photos from WWII, and his scholarship is an excellent example of how blogs can provide unique information.
Another important reason to read weblogs is the state of the media today – corporate behemoths own the major outlets of our news and opinion and entertainment. The nanopublishing revolution of weblogging allows individuals an inexpensive and simple way to reach millions of readers. Some are even using weblogs to keep the established media honest, in a trend called 'watchblogs.'
But be careful when reading blogs. You must evaluate the credibility of a blog just as you’d evaluate any other website. Many blogs include an About page. This can be useful in learning about the blog author. But even this can be forged. In 2000, Kaycee’s Weblog, a poignant blog about a young woman dying of cancer, became very popular. But it turned out to be a hoax.
Some companies and marketing firms are beginning to use blogs for commercial efforts, including Dr. Pepper's new milk product on RagingCow.com. "It's only a matter of time until some large part of the weblog realm is suffused with messages that are sponsored by commercial interests," writes Anil Dash.
why write a blog
Write a blog to express yourself. Write to tell stories. Write to share links and pictures and recipes and prayers and travel tips and love poems.
Write well. “There are, in fact, rules – even online.” Dennis Mahoney writes in this essay to use precise grammar, good spelling and punctuation, clear structure and syntax. “Clarity is key.”
There’s a debate in the blogosphere about whether blogging can be journalism. Dale Keiger’s post about some of his odd experiences interviewing subjects for his reporting is a perfect use of blogging for journalism. The journalism students at University of Southern California write for OnlineJournalism.org, a good source for journalism and the Internet. CyberJournalist.net is another good source of information about weblogs and journalism.
Other authors use their blogs for creative writing. Others for political writing. Others for technical writing.
Teachers and educators use blogs in their courses and classrooms.
You can create and write a blog for any reason you want.
blogs - create one
It’s easy to create and maintain a weblog. Use one of these free services: Blogger.com, Rediff.com, Pitas.com, Xanga.com or LiveJournal.com.
Each of these services allows you to create a blog on its servers. Follow the instructions at Tar Heel Bloggers to create a blog on your UNC Onyen server space – when you do this, your blog’s address will be www.unc.edu/~youronyen/blog.html.
You can also create a blog with a unique address. First, buy a domain name for about $15/year at dotEarth.com or dotster.com. Then, follow the instructions on Blogger.com to set up your weblog.
Subscription blog services such as TypePad offer more publishing tools and page design options. Server-side weblog software such as MovableType and TextPattern - which you install onto your webspace - is more powerful yet, but such programs require HTML savvy and other programming knowledge. See Blogroots for a comprehensive list of weblog tools and programs.
A Timeline of the History of Blogging -- New York Magazine
Swarthmore student Justin Hall creates first blog ever, Links.net.
Online diarist Jorn Barger coins the term “Weblog” for “logging the Web.”
Programmer Peter Merholz shortens “Weblog” to “blog.”
Blogger rolls out the first popular, free blog-creation service.
Boing Boing is born.
Heather Armstrong is fired for discussing her job on her blog, Dooce. “Dooced” becomes a verb: “Fired for blogging.”
Nick Denton launches Gizmodo, the first in what will become a blog empire. Blogads launches, the first broker of blog advertising.
Talking Points Memo highlights Trent Lott’s racially charged comments; thirteen days later, Lott resigns from his post as Senate majority leader.
Gawker launches, igniting the gossip-blog boom.
“Salam Pax,” an anonymous Iraqi blogger, gains worldwide audience during the Iraq war.
Google launches AdSense, matching ads to blog content.
The first avalanche of ads on political blogs.
Jason Calacanis founds Weblogs, Inc., which eventually grows into a portfolio of 85 blogs.
Denton launches Wonkette.
Calacanis poaches Gizmodo writer Peter Rojas from Denton. Denton proclaims himself “royally shafted” on his personal blog.
Merriam-Webster declares “blog” the “Word of the Year.”
Study finds that 32 million Americans read blogs.
The Huffington Post launches.
Calacanis sells his blogs to AOL for $25 million.
An estimated $100 million worth of blog ads are sold this year.
Time leases Andrew Sullivan’s blog, adding it to its Website.
The Huffington Post surges to become fourth most-linked-to blog.
Digital Trends » The History of Social Networking
Long before it became the commercialized mass information and entertainment juggernaut it is today, long before it was accessible to the general public, and certainly many years before Al Gore claimed he "took the initiative in creating" it, the Internet – and its predecessors – were a focal point for social interactivity. Granted, computer networking was initially envisioned in the heyday of The Beatles as a military-centric command and control scheme. But as it expanded beyond just a privileged few hubs and nodes, so too did the idea that connected computers might also make a great forum for discussing mutual topics of interest, and perhaps even meeting or renewing acquaintances with other humans. In the 1970s, that process began in earnest.
Mullets may have reigned supreme in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, but – as many will surely recall – computers were a far rarer commodity. The machines’ language was bewildering, and their potential seemingly limited. What’s more, this whole sitting-in-front-of-a-keyboard thing was so… isolationistic. Put all this together and you have a medium where only the most ardent enthusiasts and techno-babbling hobbyists dared tread. It was, in effect, a breeding ground for pocket-protector-wearing societal rejects, or nerds. And boring, reclusive nerds at that. Yet it also was during this time, and with a parade of purportedly antisocial geeks at the helm, that the very gregarious notion of social networking would take its first steps towards becoming the omnipresent cultural phenomenon we know and love in 2009.
BBS, AOL and CompuServe: The Infant Years
It started with the BBS. Short for Bulletin Board System, these online meeting places were effectively independently-produced hunks of code that allowed users to communicate with a central system where they could download files or games (many times including pirated software) and post messages to other users. Accessed over telephone lines via a modem, BBSes were often run by hobbyists who carefully nurtured the social aspects and interest-specific nature of their projects – which, more often than not in those early days of computers, was technology-related. Moreover, long distance calling rates usually applied for out-of-towners, so many Bulletin Boards were locals-only affairs that in turn spurred local in-person gatherings. And voila, just like that, suddenly the antisocial had become social.
The BBS was no joke. Though the technology of the time restricted the flexibility of these systems, and the end-user’s experience, to text-only exchanges of data that crawled along at glacial speed, BBSes continued to gain popularity throughout the ‘80s and well into the ‘90s, when the Internet truly kicked into gear. Indeed, some services – such as Tom Jennings’ FidoNet – linked numerous BBSes together into worldwide computer networks that managed to survive the Internet revolution.
But there were also other avenues for social interaction long before the Internet exploded onto the mainstream consciousness. One such option was CompuServe, a service that began life in the 1970s as a business-oriented mainframe computer communication solution, but expanded into the public domain in the late 1980s.
CompuServe allowed members to share files and access news and events. But it also offered something few had ever experienced – true interaction. Not only could you send a message to your friend via a newfangled technology dubbed "e-mail" (granted, the concept of e-mail wasn’t exactly newfangled at the time, though widespread public access to it was). You could also join any of CompuServe’s thousands of discussion forums to yap with thousands of other members on virtually any important subject of the day. Those forums proved tremendously popular and paved the way for the modern iterations we know today.
But if there is a true precursor to today’s social networking sites, it was likely spawned under the AOL (America Online) umbrella. In many ways, and for many people, AOL was the Internet before the Internet, and its member-created communities (complete with searchable "Member Profiles," in which users would list pertinent details about themselves), were arguably the service’s most fascinating, forward-thinking feature.
Yet there was no stopping the real Internet, and by the mid-1990s it was moving full bore. Yahoo had just set up shop, Amazon had just begun selling books, and the race to get a PC in every household was on. And, by 1995, the site that may have been the first to fulfill the modern definition of social networking was born.
The Internet Boom: Social Networking’s Adolescence
Though differing from many current social networking sites in that it asks not "Who can I connect with?" but rather, "Who can I connect with that was once a schoolmate of mine?" Classmates.com proved almost immediately that the idea of a virtual reunion was a good one. Early users could not create profiles, but they could locate long-lost grade school chums, menacing school bullies and maybe even that prom date they just couldn’t forget. It was a hit almost immediately, and even today the service boasts some 40 million registered accounts.
That same level of success can’t be said for SixDegrees.com. Sporting a name based on the theory somehow associated with actor Kevin Bacon that no person is separated by more than six degrees from another, the site sprung up in 1997 and was one of the very first to allow its users to create profiles, invite friends, organize groups, and surf other user profiles. Its founders worked the six degrees angle hard by encouraging members to bring more people into the fold. Unfortunately, this "encouragement" ultimately became a bit too pushy for many, and the site slowly de-evolved into a loose association of computer users and numerous complaints of spam-filled membership drives. SixDegrees.com folded completely just after the turn of the millennium.
Other sites of the era opted solely for niche, demographic-driven markets. One was AsianAvenue.com, founded in 1997. A product of Community Connect Inc., which itself was founded just one year prior in the New York apartment of former investment banker and future Community Connect CEO Ben Sun, AsianAvenue.com was followed in 1999 by BlackPlanet.com, and in 2000 by the Hispanic-oriented MiGente.com. All three have survived to this very day, with BlackPlanet.com in particular enjoying tremendous success throughout its run. Indeed, according to current parent company Radio One, which acquired Community Connect and its sites in April of 2008, BlackPlanet.com presently attracts in excess of three million unique visitors every month.
Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook: The Biz Grows Up
In 2002, social networking hit really its stride with the launch of Friendster. Friendster used a degree of separation concept similar to that of the now-defunct SixDegrees.com, refined it into a routine dubbed the "Circle of Friends" (wherein the pathways connecting two people are displayed), and promoted the idea that a rich online community can exist only between people who truly have common bonds. And it ensured there were plenty of ways to discover those bonds.
An interface that shared many of the same traits one would find at an online dating site certainly didn’t seem to hurt. (CEO Jonathan Abrams actually refers to his creation as a dating site that isn’t about dating.) And, just a year after its launch, Friendster boasted more than three million registered users and a ton of investment interest. Though the service has since seen more than its fair share of technical difficulties, questionable management decisions, and a resulting drop in its North American fortunes, it remains a force in Asia and, curiously, a near-necessity in the Philippines.
Introduced just a year later in 2003, LinkedIn took a decidedly more serious, sober approach to the social networking phenomenon. Rather than being a mere playground for former classmates, teenagers, and cyberspace Don Juans, LinkedIn was, and still is, a networking resource for businesspeople who want to connect with other professionals. In fact, LinkedIn contacts are referred to as "connections." Today, LinkedIn boasts more than 30 million members.
More than tripling that number, according to recent estimates, is MySpace, also launched in 2003. Though it no longer resides upon the social networking throne in many English-speaking countries – that honor now belongs to Facebook in places like Canada and the UK – MySpace remains the perennial favorite in the USA. It does so by tempting the key young adult demographic with music, music videos, and a funky, feature-filled environment. It looked and felt hipper than major competitor Friendster right from the start, and it conducted a campaign of sorts in the early days to show alienated Friendster users just what they were missing.
It is, however, the ubiquitous Facebook that now leads the global social networking pack. Founded, like many social networking sites, by university students who initially peddled their product to other university students, Facebook launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only exercise and remained a campus-oriented site for two full years before finally opening to the general public in 2006. Yet even by that time, Facebook was seriously big business, with tens of millions of dollars already invested, and Silicon Valley bigwigs such as billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel firmly behind it.
The secret of Facebook’s success (it now currently boasts in excess of 150 million users) is a subject of some debate. Some point to its ease of use, others to its multitude of easily-accessed features, and still others to a far simpler factor – its memorable, descriptive name. A highly targeted advertising model certainly hasn’t hurt, nor did financial injections, such as the $60 million from noted Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing in 2007. Regardless, there’s agreement on one thing – Facebook promotes both honesty and openness. It seems people really enjoy being themselves, and throwing that openness out there for all to see.
The Future of Social Networks
But what of the future of social networking? Is it a temporary phenomenon that will crumble under the test of time, or is the concept rife with unlimited potential? The answer likely stands somewhere in-between. The economic downturn certainly won’t help any new sites get off the ground, and eventually some of us may get a bit jaded about the whole thing. Are we really networking in a social sense, or are we just hiding behind our keyboards and building lists of virtual friends rather than getting out there in the real world?
Look at Twitter. Essentially a micro-blogging "What are you doing at the moment?" site where users keep contacts informed of everyday events through bite-size morsels they post from their computer or handheld device, the service got off to a very good start when launched in 2006. Its continued popularity notwithstanding, Twitter has nevertheless come under some criticism for taking the "staying in touch" thing too far. Do we really need to know when someone we’ve never even met chooses Burger King over McDonald’s or decides he’s going to read a newspaper? Are we really that interested in the excruciating minutiae of everyone’s day?
Twitter semi-clone Jaiku, despite a promising debut in 2006 and a Google buyout the following year, has already U-turned in the wrong direction with the January 2009 announcement that Google is cutting support for the service. Is the end of Jaiku far behind? Will others follow suit? How heavily will the current economic crisis and the decreasing ad revenue it generates negatively impact social networking goliaths such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn? Only time will tell. Still, one thing’s for certain – for the present at least, going forward, we’ll all be certain to read about the field’s continuing development one status update at a time.