Sunday, March 2, 2008

Are we Smarter than a 5th Grader? Who has the better MySpace Page you or them?

In December 2007, if you would have asked me what is a Social Network, I would have said that it was a person who belonged to a group such as toastmasters, a fraternity/sorority, or college clubs. Boy was I wrong!!!! After taking a class in social networking at American University, my eyes were open to a whole new world and I mean a new world. A social network services according to wikipedia is the use of software to build online social networks or communities to allow groups with similar interest the opportunity to share ideas or experiences. There are sites such as MySpace and Facebook that use to be used for friends to communicate with one another. There are other sites such as LinkedIn which is utilized more for networking with friends, dating, or even HR reps to build a network for job opportunities. Blogging is another popular tool used in social networking. Listed below is a stat of page hits for popular social network services.

As time passed, social networks continued to grow and also evolved to more sophisticated environments, so did these social networks user base change. No longer were the sites just used for friend to friend collaboration but they began evolving into tools to be used for marketing and educational purposes. 3-D environments such as Second Life, which allows users to create avatars to represent their personalities. The avatar character allows them to interact with other avatars in either socializing, dating, shopping, and everyday living. This allows people to live in two different worlds one the real world where the user may not do a lot of social interaction and the second life where their alter egos come out and they feel as though they can be themselves. This picture speaks to what social networking websites are being used for currently:

As social networks continue to grow in popularity especially for our current and next generation of the worlds workforce, there is a need to educate our non social network users. These users tend to be our upper level management, our older generation and people like me who dont use computers much other than at work. How do we educate these people? Classes are a perfect way to educate our behind the times users. If we dont take time to learn these new technologies how will we be able to relate to the next generation such as our children or our junior staff. I did a google search on social networking classes and the first listing I found was for a class at American University (ITEC333), Social Networking & Business taught by Professor Melander. This class introduces you to social networks and also shows how social networks are playing a big role in how businesses do work currently and in the near future. This class needs to be taught at all colleges especially in the business schools since this technology is being adopted by companies in a growing rate. Harvard has taken this technology to an another level by having classes inside second life. I think teaching people about this technology is great and needs to be looked at by more schools. There are a couple of questions that I have. How far will social networks evolve? Will virtual worlds over take day to day human contact? Are we really falling into the matrix?

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Videos From YouTube:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nice to meet you. Do you have a card or an Avatar?

Do you remember the days of running into people that you know and you exchange business cards that looked like the one on the right? Here you found the basic information company name, position, telephone numbers, company website, and business address. Most of the time you would place those business cards in your wallet or purse and you might reach out and contact the person but most likely not. Since social networks such as LinkedIn, MySpace, and other social networks the content on business cards began changing. Here we have a business card which captures the owners blog site. These cards now make it easy to either join that persons
network or to just be able to see what the person actually does outside of work. How many times have you received a persons business card and the card has a title that made you wonder what in the world do they do? Most of the time when you ask them about it the job title does not reflect what that person really does. Also, what about the person that is between jobs and cannot give you a business card because they are looking for a job and you might know some possible contacts that they could use to help them find opportunities. That is why it is ideal to add your social networking information on the business card because you could then link that person with the right person to help them to possibly find a job opportunity.

Now that virtual worlds have been created and people have Avatars', the business card makers had a new market that had not been explored. People can now have business cards made that has their avatar character on it. One site, allows you to develop cards that are more for fun that allow you to have others to meet you in another world such as Second Life. Whats next passing out business cards in the virtual world?

As the world embraces technology more and more, it is seeming as though people are spending more and more of their lives within the virtual world. Its seem as though that business cards will fade out like the rotary telephone, we will just be able to enter in peoples linkedIn Ids' or Second life handles into each others cell phones. Do you think we can survive without Technology? How many people do you know that dont have either a cell phone or computer?

Make sure you know how to trade business cards, if you dont know here is a tutorial:

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My next life will be my best life. Welcome to a second life!

Have you ever been at a party and observed an outwardly unattractive guy approaching an outwardly very attractive women and the woman saying to the guy to "Get a Life"? Guess what, he went out and got a life a second life. This rejection has not only happened to men, it has happened to women also. A woman that looks like this in the real world can transform themselves to look like Veronique Lalonde shown in the animated photo.

My initial thought of the concept of Second Life was that it was a 3D eHarmony, where people would go to meet other single people of like interests. As I read more about second life I learned that it is so much more than just an online social/dating network of todays real world social rejects. Second Life is a virtual world where ideas are exchanged and technologies are created.

To become a member of this online community you must first build a profile, which is called an Avatar. As users join the community they navigate throughout the game and begin collaborating and interacting with others in the game. You can use this virtual world to test out lines that you did not have the guts to try in the real world or you can learn about new technology releases. The game is setup to emulate the real world by allowing you to do everyday things such as shopping, learning, and party. There are other aspects of the game such as combat sections which resembles more of a video game feel than a social networking experience. Second life tries to keep its users up to date with what is going on currently in the world. By doing this I wonder will users start spending more of their real lives time in Second Life. Are the users in the Second Life invisible in the real world? How far will second life go to pull its users away from the real world? Here is a quick introduction of what you will find in Second Life:

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The people have spoken!!!! Is anyone listening though?

How many people do you know pay attention to everyday social issues? If this is what the media is covering, is this what the public wants to see? Outside of what is going on with the economy, crime, and immigration, the media does not cover much of what is wrong with our nation. Now a days the news tends to cover everything except what is going on in our communities, we can hear mostly about Britney Spears troubles, the war in Iraq, the writers strike, and etc. When we do cover our communities its usually in a negative light such as crime. There are some serious issues that we tend to over look. After visiting the site, I read about a podcast that was going to be shown on Current TV a network hosted on Comcast cable channel 107. This network is backed by Al Gore and its content consists of podcasts of videos that address different topics that are submitted by the community. This was like watching ADD tv. I was seeing podcast about Amy Winehouse, the political debates, to anti-devices. Since the content was placed by the community you was able to see topics that others thought was important to them and wanted to share.

The podcast that caught my attention was the video about Harrison Arkansas. The videos title was No Blacks Allowed? , which was posted in recognition of Black History month. This video talks about the history of Harrison, which was voted in 2007, one of the top one hundred places to live in but it is still to this day a majority white community. The documentary talks about how the last African American to live in the city was in 1914. After watching this video I began to wonder how many other places in the nation are like Harrison? I understand that racism still exist but in a time when there government continues to say that everyone is created equally but we still allow for organized racism. HOW true is this statement? Are we all equal? Why arent we addressing these issues in the national media?

Here is one of CNNs' breaking stories:

Are we living in a nation of sensationalism? Would like to hear your thoughts on this?

Image of Britney spears taken from:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Travel Abroad

I am looking to travel abroad to South Africa for 6 weeks in the SIS program this May. Would anyone recommend places to visit or even things that I may want to take on my trip.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

VERIZON LOVES their customers NOT!!!! Maybe their money ;)

Have you ever been on the phone with a Customer Service Rep for so long and you are still not getting your issue taken care of and you lose your temper and begin speaking out of character due to frustration? This is how I felt the other day on the phone with Verizon DSL Customer Service February 1, 2008.

My mother has had Verizon DSL for over a year and a half and all of a sudden on January 15, 2008 her service all of a sudden stopped working. She initially called Verizon and they basically told her that there was something that she did wrong that caused the service to no longer work properly. After the second time speaking with the Verizon CS, I told my mom that I would come by and check to see what the issue was with her service. I went through all of the steps that the installation cd which was provided by Verizon to basically figure out that the issue was the modem. So I called the customer service number on January 20 to talk to someone about the issue with the DSL service. After going through all of the automated operators I was finally patched to an operator that stated that the issue ticket that my mother had opened had been closed because they thought that her service was running. When I stated that the service was not up they proceeded to walk me through all of the steps that the CD took me through previously. I played along and after 1 hour still no service. I told the CS rep that I think it is the modem. Their response it could not be the modem maybe it was something that your mom downloaded. So next I was asked to disconnect the computer from the modem to run a line test to the modem that failed as well. The CS rep then finally comes up with the bright idea that they will send someone out to the house and check the service in the house the next day between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm and someone had to be there or they would not even try and fix the problem. After my mom waited all day for someone to show up the Technician called at 6:30 pm and said that the outside line was working and that they was not coming out to the house. Of course the service was still not working. My mother did tell me until a week later. The next time I called I was a little irritated so I think I may have said some things that I cannot post in this blog but they ended up sending my mother another modem so we will start this entire process over again once the modem comes in.

I decided to try and look on Verizons' website to see if they had any blogs pertaining to their DSL issues and ask I scrolled through their blogs they all were more like marketing ploys about new releases or stating how great their service is. After reading "The Corporate Weblog Manifesto" located in Naked Conversations, I was able to see what Verizons purpose for blogging was and that was to market their products. In the book Naked Conversations a true corporate blog site will post good and bad things about their products. Does Verizon really care about their customers? I did a little more searching on the internet to see if there were any other complaints about the DSL issue and found a site that had some feedback on how to deal with the DSL issues. There is a posting in the DSL issues from a Verizon employee that says when you speak with an operator you should immediately escalate your call to their manager you have a better chance of your issues being resolved. I am not a big fan of Comcast Cable but I dont have the issues that my mom has had with Verizon. WHY are the customers always getting the short end of the stick? How can we level out the playing ground without having the march on Congress steps? Listen and tell me what you think can be done to make this process better for the customer.

Comic from:
Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble/Shel Israel
YouTube Video from: