Sunday, May 09, 2010

Information Avalanche - extensive "connectivity" to blame?

Social Networking platforms - Facebook, MySpace, Ning... just to name a few more commonly known ones. Indeed, there are many more... so what are they exactly?

Accordingly to Wikipedia...
A social network service focuses on building and reflecting of
social networks or social relations among people, e.g., who share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services. Most social network services are web based and provide means for users to interact over the internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. Although online community services are sometimes considered as a social network service in a broader sense, social network service usually means an individual-centered service whereas online community services are group-centered. Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests within their individual networks.
Source: (retrieved, 2010, May 9)

Indeed, any network, if we were to loosely define, would be a social network... if it allows people to keep in touch and know what's happening within the community (easily).

So, other platforms like microblogging (e.g. Twitter & Plurk) create its own social network, though it doesn't come with a comprehensive suite of features or capabilites. However, it has its unique purpose. Of course, others that are less 'interactive' also started joining in the game!

"Connectivity" is the big word, and also assumed a 'must-have' feature in majority of the platform - be it a simple or comprehensive platform. It is THE way to go - To get connected and to get information channelled from one platform to another so that one could cover as big an audience size as possible. It's this outreach capability that allows information to be swiftly disseminated.

Well, the varoius social networking platforms have made "life" easy for the user - to connect in just a couple of clicks. So, good or bad? When to tap on such feature, when not to? There are pros and cons...

Indeed, I experimented several platforms and 'tested' out the connectivitiy, to experience what and how it is like...

What are the platforms that I tested to link together:

  • Facebook
  • Blogger
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • Plurk
Let's examine the 'inter-relationship' amongst these platforms:

  • Blog and Facebook - I could broadcast my blog posts via the Facebook account so that the post reaches not just those visit (or follow) my blog, but also reaches people who are within my network in facebook. For example, recently, I put up a post About "Lesson Study" in my learning journey blog, because my facebook account was set up such it would draw updates from that blog, a comment was posted in my facebook page, and the blog post mirrored in the Notes section.
  • This is helpful especially when we want to keep a space for specific purpose (e.g. to collect and organise our thoughts according to some specific themes). The whole collection in the blog could kept its characteristics (i.e. to remain clean and intact) while giving the content a wider audience.
  • Indeed, if the purpose of the post is to gather feedback or inputs from others, it would have opened up additional channels for inputs. On the other hand, it also means one has to visit the 2 different sites to gather, and respond to queries should that arises.

as a comment in Facebook

under "My Notes"

  • Facebook and Youtube - This is another way to announce to the whole world of any video production. While we could invite others to subscribe to the Youtube Channels for updates, it's a less seamless way of sharing such resources. Hence, riding on Youtube's capability of linking and posting clips in Facebook, it announces (automatically) to a wider audience of new productions. Here's an example when the video clip on the annual track and field was posted in Facebook. Viewers could just watch the clip without having to leave Facebook at all!

  • Twitter and Facebook - In facebook, we could install the Twitter application which allows us to tweet witin facebook, with its post 'put up' in the 'external' Twitter Page, as well as a 'comment' within Facebook. It sounds ridiculous as of... Why don't post directly in Facebook?
  • On the other hand, Facebook is able to capture the tweets posted in Twitter and 'retweet' them as comments within Facebook. Hence, giving the message a wider audience. However, this is only useful in situations when we have 2 groups of audiences who belong to similar category (e.g. students) and we would liek the same message to reach out to them.
  • One clear advantage of this 'linking up' is when one needs to gather feedback or information from the audience - now the net is casted to a wider area.

Here's an example of the tweet being 'retweeted' in facebook and message was received from the 'friends' in Facebook.

  • Plurk and "Twitter and Facebook" - The same analysis for Twitter and Facebook applies to the Plurk and Facebook. Well, loosely speaking, Plurk is Twitter's equivalent. Short message platform that permits updates in multiple platforms. In other words, what's updated in Plurk could be re-posted in Twitter, similarly for Facebook.
  • However, for any follow-up discussion within the Plurk dialogue box will not be re-posted.

For example, the following (initial) post was updated in the Facebook and Twitter pages. However, any follow-up discussions were confined within the dialogue box.

When to link and when not to link?

To link - it's obvious when one wants to disseminate information in the quickest possible way. For instance, if I've linked Plurk with Twitter, and Twitter in Facebook, then a single post in Plurk would 'spreadsheet' the news to Twitter and Facebook! Of course, there's something I did not mentioned earlier, which is, within Blog, I could also embed the "update box" for Plurk and Twitter (just like what I did in this blog, bottom right); so it's a one to many function.

On the other hand, because of this multi-links, we are unlikely to preserve the unique nature of the platform, have it exclusive for selected kind of content/ context. Sometimes, certain platforms are used to serve a specific purpose - because of this 'multiple dissemination', it would lost its 'identity', to some extent, its 'privacy'.

One example is... I was quite used to use the 2 platforms quite freely - Twitter and Facebook - for communication/ interaction with friends - at a more private manner. Now, because of the occasion use of Facebook for lesson discussion, it becomes less appropriate for me to express my reactions and thoughts... and even so, I have to use clean and appropriate words - which often requires me to think through more in depth how to express it in a graceful manner. One could say, because of the convenient links, my privacy is compromised, to some extent.

Well, after the experimentation, I've now delinked the platforms. Let's see if they would 'return' to serve their 'initial' purpose...

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