Social Business

Social media is such a large market – it really is a business. However, businesses are having a difficult time learning to capitalize on it. Social media is free, a reason why so many people partake in it. I fear the coming era – when businesses learn to profit off of social media.

Currently, some businesses have found a way. For example, selling advertising space on social websites. Other companies use social media for their own purposes whether a marketing tool or customer support. Consumers can now visit blogs hosted by a company, such as Apple, and post questions, tips and hints in regards to products or services. Companies have gone as far as using social media for viral marketing, and making obscure videos or websites just for sheer exposure.

Connected

What’s next?

This wave of free love and hippie attitudes will not reign forever. Will they wait until we are so dependent on these social networks and services that we cannot live without them and apply monthly subscriptions? Maybe.

Nothing else in this “free world” is as accessible and technically free. Yes, we do pay an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to have the Internet available in our home, but we do not need to. We can access free Internet in schools and libraries. We are not paying per view. If we choose, we can easily have free access. Information and countless resources are at our fingertips.

Can we really afford to be as naïve as to believe this to be permanent?

A merger on our behalf.

A merger on our behalf.

Take television as an example. I remember when most people used radial antenna signals to view television programs. These were free. You only paid for the television, not the service. In came cable and satellite offering diverse programming catered to your own individual preferences. This convenient service was not free.

Is this where the Internet is heading? Where the future of social media lies?

Perhaps this is the future. Offering specific niche channels of networks and services catered to your own preferences. But isn’t that what Furling is?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know we’ll end up paying for it. 

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Net[not]working

Frustration.

That is what I feel when I think about technology. We are becoming too integrated with machines, and those machines are integrated with each other. To accomplish the simplest of tasks, you have to connect to a network or a machine of some type. 

My problem is that I’m beyond clueless when it comes to this. Networks are beyond my ability of comprehension. 

I am surrounded by networks, I even have one in my house. I have an issue with this dependency. If I want to do anything at work, I have to access the network. However, I use my own computer at work and it does not have network access. Mind you, I have the internet and can access my email via a web version. No big deal, you say? Well, the web version lacks the ability to support my address book. When working in a large organization, you cannot live without an address book. In communications we are constantly tracking people down to get information or quotes. Without an address book. you’re doomed.

Secondly, being sans network means I cannot access the common drive. Sure I could email everything, but what happens when I require a file and someone is not around to send it to me? This drives me nuts. All the information is stored within a couple shared files on a network that I cannot access. 

Frustration. That’s all there is.

Net(not)working

Net(not)working

At home, a similar problem exists.

As per a previous post, I have transfered all my information and files onto a wireless external drive. Sounds simple and convenient, but it is not. Many programs refuse to set up directories onto a hard drive outside of my internal one. I do not know why that is impossible. I know there is a way, but I am yet to figure it out. However, in the mean time, my computer has little on it. No photos, no music, no files. My iPhone was wiped out after the files were removed off of my computer. iTunes informed me it was because the library is now no longer the same one (I upgraded my computer with a new operating system, including iTunes). The iPhone can only be accessed via one library, and I had gotten rid of mine. I had to clean out my entire phone and start again. 

Networks… more like notworks. 

There are many benefits to using a network. Integration and ease of access are just two. However, if you cannot access a network, you’re not networking, you’re notworking.

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An Uncontrolled Environment

Social media is booming. Majority of the Canadian population can assess an online medium. The problem arises in regards to the rights allotted in the online world.

Recently, Facebook tried to write new rules in regards to privacy, giving it full rights to any information or materials posted using the client. In other words, if you were to post your comments or photos, Facebook would hold the rights to those items, not you. Not only that, but Facebook archives all information posted on the client. If you were to delete any of your posted materials, or even close your account, Facebook would still own an archived copy and could use it however, and whenever, they wanted. 

Facebook

The online community did show its strength. Almost instantaneously, backlash was felt by Facebook. Users quickly found out about the changes and revolted against them. Fortunately, Facebook did listen. They removed that stipulation and are now inviting users of the client to comment on what should happen in treatment of user privacy. 

If you are interested to learn more, or want to comment, visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67758697570. 

The issue of privacy on social media clients is one to cause concern. Once you post anything, it is not yours anymore. Anyone can access it and use it. Even if Facebook does change its privacy statements and gives the users full rights, you cannot control which friends download your posted photos, comments or any other materials. 

This topic is quite frightening. Even if you do not post anything, someone can do it on your behalf. For example, perhaps you went out with friends who took photos. You do not post any of the photos, but they do. Your image is now available to be used by anyone how chooses to do so. Especially if it is rather unpleasant or even incriminating. There is nothing that you can do. If you do persuade your friends to remove the photos, chances are they have already been seen, saved and even archived. 

My advice would be to become a hermit and stay away from any online or documented exchanges or events. The only way to ensure your own privacy is to be just that, very private. Realistically, this is next to impossible. So just be smart about what you do in public, and what you say. Yes, the internet is a public forum. Don’t kid yourself. Just because it says ‘Private Message,’  does not mean it is one. Someone will always be able to access it. Think first.

Privacy

Big Brother is watching you.

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A Wave of the Future

To maintain my geeky status, I have ventured once again down the technological path. This time, I decided to really give my Gosiabook a leverage in cutting edge performance. I have equipped my computer with the ever-impressive Adobe Creative Suite. Now my computer didn’t just get any type of treatment, oh no, my computer got the entire treatment. This is correct. I purchased and installed the entire Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection. Impressed? You should be.

Adobe Master Collection

Adobe Master Collection

I have been a fan of Adobe since around 2004 when I was first introduced to InDesign. I quickly taught myself to use the program and really enjoyed it. At the time I was enrolled at Niagara College in a Marketing program. We were to take Desktop Publishing courses. I was so happy when I found this out. I would get professional training on using the new Adobe software I so loved. To my dismay, Adobe was not the program of choice but then industry-leader-on-its-way-out Quark Xpress. The rival program was not what I had hoped for. However, I lived through the program.

Post-graduation of the Marketing program, I took on a position as a Marketing Coordinator. To my enduring glee, my main role was to fiddle on InDesign and Photoshop, both Adobe staples. I got the opportunity to create countless promotional materials via the programs, such as catalogues, posters and product information sheets. Boring to some, but excitement for a geek such as myself.

Since leaving that job, I had not had much opportunity to use the software and began to miss it horribly. I could not afford to purchase the suite, as it was well above my budget. Luck was on my side this year.

A professor during my post-graduate education let it be known that the suite could be purchased at an amazing rate by students. I jumped at this opportunity. I could geek it up as much as I wanted in the comforts of my own home. 

Now I can edit and create anything I choose. The suite also comes with Dreamweaver, a html coding program perfect for my newly triggered coding curiosity. 

At the same time, I’m a little overwhelmed. The suite offers so many programs, I’m at a loss of where I should go and what I should do. 

For those who are curious, the suite packages 17 programs in a small box. I can choose to use InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge and more. 

I would recommend that anyone going into a media or creative industry to at least pick up the staple InDesign and Photoshop. You will thank me later.

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htmlovin’

Being the geek that I am, I get excited learning new tricks and technological wonders. Having temporarily given up on my computer, I’m embarking on learning the wondrous world of html. Html, for those that may not know, is a computer code format which is written to create a website. The code defines what the page will look like and the content included on the page. 

Learning html is a little intimidating for me. I have learned the basics a few years ago when taking Marketing in College; however, it’s been a while and I remember very little. Html is like learning another language. It is another language, that of the online computer network. 

 

html basic code

html basic code

 

There is so much you can do if you understand html. Programs which assist you in making websites force you to work within their own set boundaries and rules. Knowing to code yourself erases many of those barriers. I do not want to be confined and told what I can and cannot do. Learning this technique will help me broaden my horizons, and my websites. 

I could easily take courses on the subject, but I love teaching myself. There is no better way to learn than to learn by doing and making mistakes. I have taught myself how to create desktop publishing projects via the Adobe suite. Taking on html should not prove to be a huge problem. 

A problem does exist. I am horribly strapped for time. My life revolves around school, homework, two jobs, a son and a very wonderful boyfriend. Oh, I also have friends that should see me at least once every six months. My life is a very strategic and carefully balanced work of art. Yes, art (don’t sneer). 

I don’t know what it is about technology and being geeky, but I quite enjoy it. I’m really excited to embark on this new path built on html tags. There’s just something about the fluid, organized, yet highly creative aspect that I find very tantalizing. 

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Twitter, Twitter.. Let Me Count the Ways.

..or perhaps not. As promised, I have been actively participating in the Twitter phenomenon. You can even follow my “tweets” just on the right sidebar over yonder.

As previously indicated, I do not see the attraction to this social networking medium. I even added an application onto my iPhone allowing me to update my “tweets” whenever the mood or opportunity strikes me. Sadly, the phenomenon has not found a place in my eager heart. Quite the opposite. Prior to trying out the medium, I thought highly of the application, as it seemed to gather a lot of attention from media and bloggers. Now, my view has totally changed.

I even met with a senior Director of Communications for a large and successful business here in the Niagara Region. The topic of social networking came up, and he mentioned Twitter. I jumped at the chance to get his opinion. I was quite dismayed to hear he held the same opinion as I have recently acquired. He, not unlike myself (best double negative, ever), did not understand the attraction to the application.

We both agreed that the seduction of voyeurism is what drives other social networks, such as Facebook. We enjoy quietly spying on one another, or “creeping” as is popularly called in the world of Facebook. Via Twitter, the voyeurism is not as seductive. You can only “creep” what people are doing, and what they choose to publish themselves.

On Facebook, that option is there, but you can also “creep” photos, many not posted by that individual, but someone else. You can also “creep” the comments left on their “wall” or profile page, and you can go as far as “creeping” their friends to know what that person is doing that they are not documenting themselves. In other words, voyeurism is bordering the line of stalking on Facebook, something we seem to not get enough of. 

Twitter is missing that tentalizing aspect. We are very curious beings, but also skeptics. We need more than one source. We know that you will not publish embarrassing things.. but your friends will.

I reiterate once again, Facebook is far better than Twitter.. for now. I will keep up with Twitter and continue to document the uninteresting phenomenon. As I recall, when I first started Facebook-ing a couple of years ago, I didn’t understand the fascination.. then I acquired over 300 friends and my innate desire to be a voyeur was fed. 

Twitter, please tell me your secret. Show me what you are made of.

On a sidenote, I thought this video was interesting. It highlights the fun of Facebook. Enjoy.

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Woe is Technology.

The tenuous attempt to update my Macbook, aka Gosiabook, continues. As promised, I set up my Time Capsule, which is a wireless hard drive/internet router combination. Everything was going great, until I realized that the Time Capsule can only be accessed through Time Machine, an application available on the new Leopard OS. A glitch. I had not updated my operating system. The purpose of the Time Capsule was to backup my Gosiabook before I upgraded. The plan was not going the way I wanted. 

I chose the next best thing. A six-hour process tediously backing up my Macbook.. manually. Oh the wonders of technology. 

I began by trying to burn everything onto DVDs. That didn’t last long. The process would have taken almost 13 hours. I was not willing to devote that much time. In the end, I settled on a combination of another laptop and an 8 GB USB stick. Once again, oh the wonders of technology.

After that wonderful process, I was beyond exasperated. I stayed up until 6 a.m. upgrading my operating system to Leopard. After that, I set up the Time Capsule to work with my computer and backup my data. I have done nothing else. I don’t believe this to be my forte. Next time, I’m definitely going to pay a professional. 

Next on the list. Making iPhoto and iTunes access files from the Time Capsule without storing anything on my internal Macbook hard drive. I’m afraid. I hope you are as well.

Apple Time Capsule

Apple Time Capsule

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