Friday, April 25, 2008

What does your underwear have in common with your internet?

THIS JUST IN: Things change!

Now, I haven't researched this theory thoroughly, but I am prepared to stand by it. Over time, everything changes. Four years ago I was entering college for the first time, now I am less than two weeks away from leaving the educational system forever. People change, relationships change, the colors of leaves change, underwear changes (so we hope), yes the point is things change, and so will the internet.

Picture: my own

Although I may be considered part of the internet generation, it wasn't all that long ago that I too was living without the internet. I remember when there was Dial Up and when AOL told me "You've Got Mail" everyday, and you would have to wait to hear that for ten solid minutes while the internet connected. Ah yes those were the days. So much about the internet has changed since then, even things as simple as how quickly we can access it.

There are changes to the internet that I could never foresee back when AIM was the only way to chat with friends. And I am fairly certain, that there are still changes coming that I cannot predict now. I'm sure social networks and user generated content will become as ubiquitous as air (as mentioned in my last post), I'm sure we will be connected to the internet everywhere we go, and I'm sure there are many other changes yet to come.

All this evolution seems to happen naturally though, the internet responds to the changing needs of the consumers, and though it may seem like a shock at the time, eventually all the changes sort of just lump together seamlessly until we don't even notice it anymore. Just like someday soon the fact that I will no longer be a "student" will somehow be normal too.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I can't breathe without my social network

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So what's next? Did we really expect that this was the end all, be all of social networks? Every new technology continues to evolve to the point where we look back at our brick like cell phones of the early 90's and think, "i wouldn't be caught dead carrying that now." The same holds true for social networks, someday we are going to look back and laugh at it's primitive nature back in the good old days of 2008.

According to this article, Charlene Li believes that social networks will become as ubiquitous as air. Li writes that there will be four components to the social network development: 1) Universal Identities, 2) A single social graph, 3) Social context for activities, and 4) Social influence defining marketing value.

So instead of having profiles all over the web (on our flickr accounts and on our facebook accounts and everywhere in between) we will have one identity that we can manage from one place. Instead of incomplete social networks, our friends and acquaintances will be tracked and added to our network. And so forth with the technological advances.

I think it's true that it's only a matter of time and technology before social networks become just another part of the internet that we hardly think twice about, like googling. We can no longer sit back and pretend that social networks are just the toys of the global youth, social networks will soon be the means to and/or the control of our every connection.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mobilizing the world

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Across the world, mobile phones are much more than a way for Mom and Dad to check in. In India for example, mobile phones are helping to improve their socio-economic situation.

This article
in IndiaPRWire, is written about the benefits that mobile phones can bring to rural areas in India. The article argues that mobile phones have the ability to connect Indian citizens in ways that can vastly improve everything from transportation to financing to education.

Mobile phones give people the opportunity to connect to other people and " bridge the growing economic and social digital divide between rural and urban areas," according to the article. If people from different areas can contact each other they can improve their efficiency and productivity. Mobile phones offer people the tool to change their economy.

In the same way, the internet can have this effect on various places throughout the world. Like mobile phones, the internet can connect people and help to increase productivity. Of course, neither the internet or mobile phones are perfect, nor are they the solution, but they are certainly a worthy means to that solution.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Path to Social Change

In today's world the internet has become a much needed tool for social change. The internet can be used as a way to connect people, organizations, and countries. The internet can help to bring resources to those in need. The internet isn't the solution though, it is the means to a solution.

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This report from the Social Science Research Council points out four main uses for the internet within civil societies. These being collaboration, publication, observation, and mobilization (you know...all the ations). However, not all organizations are using the internet to their benefit in this way, especially because of some issues like inequity, lack of trust, and difficulties with sustainability.

It is important that organizations learn how to use the internet though as a tool for achieving their goals. If organizations are able to collaborate in an open forum and engage in mutual exchanges, there would be a lot to gain. This may sound a bit like a hippie revolution, but really it's more of a virtual hippie movement... peace, love, and universal internet- here we come!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Resume of the Future

The internet, and all of the content about us on there, is quickly becoming the resume of the future, whether or not you want it to be.

I read this blog about how the blog is the new resume. The author writes that a blog represents you, and more and more employers are logging on to the internet to find out more information about you. He writes that a blog can sway a person's opinion of you and that while the information doesn't need to portray you as perfect, it should be honest.

However, I am weary about settling for just honest when it comes to our new online resume, whether it is a personal blog or our myspace page or what have it. People who check you out online aren't going to sit there and analyze what pictures or posts mean, they are going to make a snap judgment most likely. Therefore, I believe it is professionally dangerous to display yourself as anything less than the exact image you want employers to see.

The point is that everything you put out on the internet could be potentially used as an addition to the resume you send HR. This is not all bad, you can use your blog to demonstrate your excellent writing skills and witty nature (like I do here), or you can use your linkedin page to show your additional talents and experience that didn't quite make the one page resume cut.

If you happen to be one of those blog-challenged types, here's a how to guide from youtube. Resumes of the future... here we come!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Hoi Polloi vs. The Professional

Can a group of undefined, untrained people together equal the skill of one trained professional? This is one of the important questions we must ask when newspapers begin considering "crowdsourcing" their information.

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According to this article on, Gannett (publisher of 90 US newspapers) will implement crowdsourcing as part of an overall restructuring of their newspapers by May. Crowdsourcing depends on the general population to gather information instead of a trained professional. The method is said to cut costs and to create more invested readers.

While I think that newspapers need to do some restructuring in order to keep up with the changing industry... changing of course to be more online-friendly... I am not convinced that crowdsourcing can be a consistent or trustworthy method of news gathering.

Since the general public is not trained to perform this task, they may not know how to and they may not always be truthful. In some situations, it may be useful to have the public help research a story, but crowdsourcing loses value when it becomes a permanent method for all news stories. Newspapers will need to spend a significant amount of time checking facts and confirming details. This seems redundant when they have trained reporters who can do this the first time around.

I am pro user-generated content, but in a forum designed for such content, like this blog for instance. Newspapers and reporters, on the other hand, are designed to deliver the truth and that's exactly how it should stay... on paper or online.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who is in your crew?

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A good crew is as essential to a business as it is to a casino heist. The success of your project depends on the people you have on it. And of course as the saying goes, you're only as strong as your weakest member.

According to this blog at Mind of a Hustler, every good crew must have a few essential players: The Leader, The Brain, The Anchor, and The Soldier (and any other necessary freelancers you must pick up along the way). In my crew, I am obviously the leader, the brains, and the pretty one ... oops that wasn't an option.

So what exactly defines these crew members? Well the leader comes up with the whole idea and picks the other people. The brains is all about the strategy and details. The anchor is the one questioning the dubious nature of the plan and preparing for problems, and the soldier is the person behind the action and physical execution. Freelancers would make up for special tasks that you may need, like a code breaker.

What is great about the internet is that now you can access the best crews possible across the world virtually. You can use social networks like Linkedin to find people with the skills and experience you want on your crew. And hey, if they are all the way around the globe... you can always meet in Secondlife! Thanks to the internet, establishing a good crew has never been easier.