An Online Life?

Coming under the realisation that everything from watching TV to keeping a note what book I am reading is done online, I am trying to think if I am spending too much time online.  I guess the realisation was part of watching this video on youtube.

It is from 2009, so the issue with over saturation may be worse. In fact, the people who I know, who now use sites like Facebook, have increased since 2009.  OK, a lot of people don’t seem to use these websites that much, and use them as another way to contact friends and relatives. And there is nothing wrong with that. The services that are used, tend to be free, and are so much more appealing than paying a phone call or meeting up, where you need to buy food, coffee, etc. But the issue is, which is what is covered on many avenues both online and off it, that we get so much more information from people that we may not be of particular interest anymore.

It makes it harder to decipher what is important, so that we should care about it, and what should we be ignoring. Everything from estranged school friend’s photos from a night out and alerts about browser games to heart felt messages from a friend in need. They are all posted with the same level of importance. And with the high volume of information, would a person look into their Facebook timeline enough to get the information to help their friend?

Probably not. We just blend all the nonsense into one thing, and if it isn’t at the top of the page, we just don’t see things. So, there is truth in what the video above states about our attention span. But the one thing I do disagree with, is the dislike of reading which is lengthier than the average status update. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with the internet, through using forums and blogging sites. And that is still what I do. *shrugs* So I guess, I am part of the exception.

I use social networking A LOT. Seriously, think I am kidding, follow me on twitter. I like the fact that I have different things on different sites. A lot of things get shared on Facebook. But that is easy, because Facebook is very good at linking together with other sites, such as YouTube, GetGlue and well, WordPress. So it adds more personality, in that it shows my blog posts and what videos I like, but it is, ironically, less personal. I don’t have to access Facebook to post things, and a lot of the time, I don’t go near the place.

But then you have Smartphones, with access to all the social networks.  It makes it even easier to tweet what is on your head, and use FourSquare to show where you are. It sounds strange to most people, but to some it is great to meet people. Why? When in Blackpool over the summer, I went into a bar and checked in using FourSquare. FourSquare posted through Twitter, that I was at such and such pub. And the next thing I knew, Tanny, a girl who saw my tweet, came and introduced herself, and said that she, like me, was alone in this pub as her friends were passed out at her hotel. We had a drink, went for food. I made a friend.

Yes social networking gets bad press, but used well it can bring people together. It goes beyond function, and becomes magical. My relationship with the internet, is as well rooted as my relationship with music, which is the love of my life.

VYou: An introduction

Do you ever stumble upon a new website, and you just end up spending all your time on it?

*puts hand up*

I have. I have came across VYou this week, and I have been playing around on the site all week. The concept of the site, is that it’s a little like FormSpring, where you answer questions that other people ask you. The difference is that on VYou, the answers you give are short videos. It is a new site, and from what I understand it is still in Beta format, so there are still improvements to go. It is one thing to bare in mind when you use any new sites, go in there with the knowlege that there may still be some niggles around.

But to be honest, after playing around on the site solidly for the last few days, I can say that it seems pretty flawless for me.  But saying that I have only answered a few questions, myself. It seems a lot of people have been introduced to the site by watching various Youtubers, I for instance, heard of it mentioned by Alex Day (Nerimon) and then saw other people who I follow on YouTube (Hank and John Green & Wheezy Waiter) so I watched a few of their responses, and decided to start my own account.

The ideas is that people ask a question in the comment box below the video, and if the user has already recorded the answer, you get played that video. If there isn’t an answer, the question gets sent to the user, so they can film a response.

Its pretty simple, and should stop the same answers coming up again and again (something formspring doesn’t have). When you start watching other peoples replies and start filming your own, it is easy to start using the site a lot. There is no nastiness, and it seems to be bring about the community feeling that has been lacking in a lot of social networking sites recently.

So check it out, you don’t even need to have an account to view answers or start asking questions, but it’s a lot more fun when you do sign up. Head over to VYou now, and check it out.

Caught in the Interweb

I, Sue Buckle, am an internet addict.
I can admit it. *It was hard*

Honestly though, people seem to be demonising the internet. Blaming it for the failings of their parenting, ‘OMG, that perve took our little girl away’. First of all, people need to understand, the internet is no more dangerous than being outside, if you take away the stale air.

Teach your kids to be vigilant where ever they go. Don’t blame the internet when you allow your child to have a computer in their room, and let them use something you know nothing about. As a parent, you need to teach kids, don’t think its funny to start up a facebook page for 7 year old Sarah, and complain when she is talking to perves.
Kids think everyone is out to be their friend, just like a puppy, and the only way you can get it to behave is to train it well.

If you were a parent, you would check what friends your kid made online, just like you would do if they were playing outside. If you don’t check up, you lose your right to complain.

The thing I don’t understand, is that there are plenty of safe social networking sites aimed at kids (like Club Penguin), where every message sent and all users have their activity through the site checked. Because to be honest, Facebook was not made for school kids, its for the over 25 market. Which are still the people who spend most time on the website.

And the worst thing is, the panic button installed on Facebook. Do you really think that kids aren’t going to abuse that. I mean we are talking about the chance to get someone you don’t like banned off a site. To a kid, that may seem funny, like a good windup. And to be honest, these perves, aren’t thought to be a threat. I mean if a guy says he’s 12, why should other 12 years fear him and press the panic button. Usually the kids aren’t aware of the issue, untill they attempt to meet up with the individual in real life. No buttons in the world is going to stop a teenager contacting someone the want to.

So the focus should not be on the website, which is nothing but a platform for meeting new people, it should be the parents who are willing to push the blame to someone else. Education is a powerful tool, use it.

I was told to never talk or accept anything of strangers, and that translated to the internet. Its what you tell your kids, if you tell your kid not to bother you, and to piss off, they will look for attention off anyone.

I don’t think the internet is this evil monster. I think that if you don’t disengage your brain, the internet is fun, and over the many years as a user, it has done so much. It has been somewhere for me to vent, to find new friends, to contact people I love and to share my art. And with my reccent 2 day absence from the internet, I had comments of people worried about me and things which (for once in my life) made me feel part of something.

And is that a bad thing?

The Internet: Social Networking

Social networking is undoutably big business on the internet. I mean, as of March 2010, there is over 400 million active Facebook accounts. Facebook is used as a free tool to contact friends and family, as are other social networking sites, such as Myspace, Twitter and Bebo.

Myspace, was the first to be used to promote services, mostly music artists. Where they could set up a free account and stream music to visitors to their site. This was music getting back to its routes, where you would pass cassettes of your favourite music on to your friends. And Myspace quickly became the best way to stay in contact with favourite bands as well, with being able to add bands such as My Chemical Romance and The Editors as friends. This improved contact with bands, made people become more involved in music.

And this concept has spread to other sites, and to other types of promotion. For instance, fast food outlet, McDonalds’ Facebook page as over 2,000,000 fans. This means that the groups can send offers to the people who like their business, and to the people who are their customer base. This reaches people, who may not read daily newspapers or don’t watch a lot of tv. And the best part is, it is free. Doesn’t cost McDonald’s a penny.

Then Twitter, which is now being actively used in offices, where people can send each other short messages to discuss information. It means that rather than having long distance calls, which can cost a fortune, they can ‘tweet’ each other, and it costs nothing. Twitter is widely used to promote businesses or offers, where again, if someone follows you, you can send them out new updates or offers. Which again, closes the gap between customer and business. And the more involved the customer feels with the company, the more likely it is, that they will use them for work purposes.

And yet, when doing online advertising, too many companies still overlook the power of social networking. Some think it is just for teenagers, some think it is a fad. But fad or not, free advertising is free advertising, and businesses should learn to uses this new media.

If you run a business and considering social networking to advertise, think of this: More people under the age of 25 use the internet and social networking sites, than they use any other type of media, including TV.

Crazy that isn’t it. If that is the case, how benifical is it to still spend so much money, advertising on TV and in newspapers?