Ever since I was introduced to Klout I've been attempting to increase my online influence-slash-'reach'. After all, one can't become a new media student without engaging with the Internet and all its thingamajiggies (yes, that is a technical term).
The thingamajiggy that almost everyone seems to be a part of is social networking. There's Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now even Google+. There are also a vast range of other networking sites which I could name, but I have lectures to go to and a life to live.
However, my perpetual noobiness rears its head whenever I have to engage with all these sites. So many buttons, so many links, so many things to share. And there always seems to be some new feature introduced. Three weeks in China rendered me useless with Facebook chat and LinkedIn's new sharing features upon my return.
I've decided to share a noob's view on these sites. Their pro's, their cons, and all that other jazz.
In all honesty, I've kind of always hated Twitter. I only joined as a requirement of one of my journ courses. My main qualm was "Do I really care enough about what other people have to say to join a site dedicated to just that?".
To me, it was an entire site dedicated to what Facebook status updates could do. However, like seen in most romantic comedies, my utter disdain has turned into mild affection.
The nice thing about Twitter is that you can follow news updates, and if your care about that sort of thing, celebrity profiles. Also, if someone wants to follow you, you don't have to follow them. Facebook lacks that where if someone adds you and you accept, you see each other's updates (you have to put in the effort of blocking their updates otherwise). And people write some pretty mundane things (myself included). Unlike FB statuses, you can retweet and adds hashtags. When a topic is trending, you can also see everyone's tweets on that topic (not only your friends').
While Twitter is still somewhat limited, it's a great tool for those who don't want to be flooded with ads, apps, videos and pics. While it only does one thing, it does it pretty well.
I remember the days where people would respond 'Face-what?' and where Facebook friends were real-life friends too. However much has changed and Face-what has since become the so-called "juggernaut" of social networking.
Facebook definitely allows you to do the most things out of the social networks. So for people who like to share video, pics and links, this is a great platform. It also allows you to leave posts on your friends' walls, giving it a more personal and interactive feel. You can schedule events, join groups and also chat with friends.
On the down side Facebook is like a dodgy stranger down a dark alley in a foreign country - you're cautious because, chances are, they're going to try sell you. In Facebook's case, it's selling your information. Ever notice how those ads seem directly related to you? It seems every other week there's a new group warning people to change their privacy settings. We often don't realize how much we're sharing.
Also, every other day you see updates from a 'friend' (i.e. an application which has hacked their profile) telling to follow some link. This link will be like a promiscuous university student - full of viruses. Nowadays, if I get sent a link I have to do a 'security check' to see if it's really my friend.
So while Facebook is great for connecting and sharing in a variety of ways, this comes with all the dodginess of any global corporation.
Facebook also has a way of annoying at least half of its users when it updates something. Of course, like drug addicts, the users come back for more. I've been rather ambivalent to all their updates, until the new FB chat. I had to get a plugin/code/really-cool-thingamajig to change the old one back.
However, while I may complain about Facebook, I'm still currently logged in in another window - and I'm about to post this link on it. I love it and hate it a little - it's my best frenemy.
I like LinkedIn. There, I said it. My only complaint is that I wish more people had it.
Facebook has been used to fire people, however LinkedIn does the opposite - you use it to get hired.
It recently updated to become more Facebook-y (that's now an adjective). But it retains its professional look. Facebook initially seemed like this (minus the 'Poke' interaction), however got more and more appealing to teenagers and young adults.
LinkedIn is useful to any people in the working world. It lists job vacancies, suggests 'connections' and has news and interesting links on the home page. It also acts as an online CV.
I like it. I just do. I'm going to go stare at my profile and day dream about job opportunities right now...
Back. Now it's onto my last and the newest social networking site:
Facebook should be scared. Facebook says it isn't. MySpace was also once secure in its online dominance.
However Google+ has a long way to go until it can truly compete with Facebook. Some have viewed this as a direct attack on Facebook's social networking dominance. Google+ denies this.
I don't know who is right. All I know is that when I type Zuckerberg in text boxes using Google Chrome, it lists it as a spelling error. Alternative spellings include: Cocksucker, Cerberus and Knickerbocker.
Google+ has several good points. It includes 'Circles', which have different levels of 'sharing'. This is useful when you don't want your boss to see your update about hating your job, but you want your Friend Circle to know exactly what a Zuckerberg you think your boss is.
It also allows you to edit your updates. No more embarrassing appearances on Lamebook (a real site) for ambiguous typos because you were too lazy to delete and retype your update.
Google+ pages also aren't so cluttered with ads and apps and all those things you really wish weren't there.
However, I do feel a bit violated realizing how much Google now knows about me. With a Gmail account, Google+ account and Android phone, Google may know more about me than most of the people I talk to on a daily basis. I must say it makes me rather nervous...
Otherwise, I'm looking forward to seeing how Google+ expands and develops.
So there you go - a noob's view on social networking. What's your favourite social network? Have I missed out one? Or do you not agree with my assessments?
Looking forward to your comments.
Tata for now.