Exploring Social Media / INF506

INF506 – Introduction thoughts

Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership

How do the concepts and findings in these sections of the OCLC report reflect your view of the socially networked world in 2013?  

Just as a baby makes leaps and bounds in its first years of life from a sleeping, pooping sack of potatoes to a walking, talking cognisant machine, so too does the internet every year. This is to say that this study is now obviously widely out of date for the modern social networking and social media world of 2013. I’m not saying that this study is now pointless to read – the opposite actually. It puts into perspective how fast the Web 2.0 social aspects have changed, and one can only imagine the changes to come in Web 3.0. Surely by reading this study it must be clear to teachers, information professionals, any citizen of the internet, that social sites must be embraced and encouraged if we are to remain relevant.

I can easily name one reason this study is out-dated in 2013 from its writing a mere 6 years ago in 2007. The invention of the smartphone. With the release of the iPhone in, whadaya-know-the-same-year-of-this-study 2007, came the access of social sites in our pockets 24-7, anywhere we went. Not only this, but apps came along with it making the use of social sites easier and simpler from our smartphones with easier connection and uploading features from our fingertips (mostly via the camera) to the world.

The study states that, in 2007, only 28% of internet users were active users of social sites (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007, p. 2-39). Purely at a guess, I would say this number would have tripled since. To find some more recent statistics, according to a poll taken in early 2012, 58% of people on the internet have used or have a profile on a social networking site (http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/), 56% of which are on Facebook. The statistics also say that the total percentage of 18-24 year olds who already use social media is at a whopping 98%! I won’t take these numbers as gospel, but I would say the trend is definitely there – social sites rule our lives now more than ever and will envelop anyone who dares to stand against the tide of social media.

I also believe that creation on the net is now much, much higher than the figures presented in the study (see p. 1-7 for stats). With easier video recording and uploading from our smartphones and tablets, video creation and fancy picture taking on social networking or social media sites would have to be at a much higher level than ever.

Who doesn’t want to see my dog catch a Frisbee mid air?!? I have to post this on Youtube!”

I just came back from Thailand, I have so much travel knowledge now, I going to start a travel blog!”

I successfully made a soufflé from scratch! I’ll take a picture of it with a fancy hue effect and post it on twitter for everyone to see how great a chef I am”.

It’s just so easy these days to be a creator on the net.

Website creation has also gotten much easier with the help of user-friendly creator and hosting sites such as Weebly and Wix. Blog creation has exploded with the help of sites such as blogger, wordpress, and edublogs. Online reading would surely have grown from the stats mentioned in the study (p. 1-19) with the introduction of tablets and e-readers, such as ibooks for ipads and iphones, nooks, and kindles. I even believe sites such as goodreads would be doing wonders for reading levels where users ‘brag’ about the latest bestseller they’re finished and comment dismissively or ravingly about it (while also sharing that review on facebook, too, of course).

It all comes down to that we want everyone to see what we’re doing in our lives these days, and, thanks to social media that might lead to new connections with people of similar interests, or it might make one’s own life seem a little better if we can brag about what we’re doing and hope to make someone else a little jealous. It’s brought the real world to the internet world, and whether we like it or not, we will find it increasingly hard to not use at least one social sites everyday from here on out.

What big contenders in the social site world have been created and exploded in popularity since this study came out?

  • **Twitter!
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • LiveJournal
  • Goodreads (added only because it’s my personal favourite)

just to name a few 🙂

Reference:

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC.  [ebook] Available http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf Read the ‘Introduction’ section, followed by ‘Our Digital Lives’ (Section 1) and ‘Our Social Spaces’ (Section 2).

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