Archive for October, 2010

Modeling Reality with Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are a great way to experiment with life. One way is purely recreational such as the virtual world by MTV called VLES. The main goals of VLES is economical to compete with social networking sites such as myspace or facebook and to advertise real businesses in the city. Of course the website itself would get hits and thus the virtual world would be used for an economical gain. VLES is a great way to interact with users without having the negativity of the real world such as foul odor or criminal activity. Moving away from social means, virtual worlds can be used for business opportunities as well. Saving on travel time is easier with ICE or integrated collaboration environment. Work can be done with people across the globe without having to meet in one place. The virtual worlds are great way to have a relaxing time as well as work.

The pros of virtual worlds is the amount saved on traveling to a place and the cost. Virtualization is also a great way for people to interact with others without being insecure about appearance. Virtual worlds are a great way to experiment with real life. For instance one may study how users of virtual worlds would organize the furniture in a home thus paving the way for architecture. Designing buildings become easier when you have seen how people will interact with the rough design. Editing architecture in a virtual world is much convenient than having to do it in real life. Work becomes more progressive. According to IBM’s chief technology officer Parmar “the environment was so engaging, a lot more ideas came through,” referring to a virtual workplace consisting of auditoriums, pods, and other environments.

Cons of virtual worlds ties up in technology. Many tech savvy people would find it hard to get used to virtual worlds. Having to set up the virtual environment system can also be costly. However the dangers with using online based programs is with the people on the other side. Unlike face to face world the virtual one is run with avatars without you knowing who really is controlling the person. It could be a predator luring you in to trust him as you share your unprotected work or it can be one that is trying to steal your identity. The addictiveness of virtual worlds may also destroy a person’s social side. Communicating through avatars is unlike conversing face to face and that can make or break a person’s people’s skills whether they are enhanced by virtual practices or differentiated by the mediums.

Foster creativity is a big plus from virtual worlds. Whether it would be the designs of a virtual environment or other user generated content there’s nothing greater than having it started from a virtual world. ICE increases interactions and thus creates a bigger progress such as those of the IBM’s technology meeting. With the virtual world trial and error process is easier to undertake then in real life therefore collaborating on new ideas and objects will increase.

Of course virtual worlds will continue to develop and participation will increase. The environments will get more populated and servers will be able to support them. One popular virtual world that I have seen develop is called PlayStation@Home which is featured on a popular gaming console, playstation 3. From being a beta that only featured about a couple of environments, the users have doubled in a year. The popularity of virtual worlds is increasing and spreading into the business world. Soon enough a busy week for an entrepreneur will be more tangled with managing virtualization with his workers. Thus not only will virtual worlds be a great marketing tool but will also maximize utility for a company.

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Twitter: Discussion

Twitter is a unique experience about social networking on a website. The concept reminds me of posting on websites such as facebook or youtube. Twitter differs in way such as a post can be seen by all your followers. That means if you are replying or retweeting someone else it will be shown on the user’s homepage. It is good that you are able to see tweets that only concern you such as the replies to your posts but following too many people will leave the homepage cluttered in random tweets. Another thing that concerned on classmates’ minds is the character limitation. Social networkers aren’t used to being confined to only 140 characters thus sharing ideas are limited. I can see the reason behind the post limitation which would be involve users to post more frequently. As it is not a blog where people post periodically such as weekly, tweeters may post hourly to keep their followers up to date.

Twitter discussions feel more direct as you can see exactly who is replying to who. On a blackboard it is a topic and others post their responses in a detailed manner. Twitter allows only a short response so there isn’t a lot that a person can elaborate on. With twitter being more popular than a blackboard it is more convenient as it is easily accessible on portable devices such as phones. Also the feel of a BB discussion board isn’t as instant as a twitter due to the fact that it doesn’t automatically refresh.  Unlike limited space, an in-class discussion is limited to time. Being in a usual hour and 15 minute classroom leaves you with just that time to discuss ideas, but twitter is on 24/7. Not to mention amount of participation on twitter is far greater than participation in a classroom.

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Social Networking

Social networking is a great way to market companies. Facebook is useful for its enormous traffic and it is a great way for companies to advertise. Twitter “is an extension of customer service.” Many other networking sites are used for personal reasons to connect to people but the technology that is implemented can be used in various economic ways. Without social networking companies would have to use the mediums of newspapers or televisions to communicate their message, whether it would be a recall of a product or a merge. Now websites such as twitter can deliver instant messages to consumers on company’s 411. Even president Obama used social networking to convey his message.* The society benefits from the network by having readily available information at their fingertips. Internet also eliminates majority of mass media and brings the information straight from the source.

As to a great power there is a negative side. Social networking sites such as Facebook collect personal information and with third party applications that information is outsourced. Of course this is all legal due to the users agreement. Privacy becomes exposed and all of your personal information is on the world wide web. Websites such as Spokeo.com has the address, approximate  household residents as well as the income which invades privacy. Escaping internet is difficult as everything is archived. Employers also use social networking in their hiring process. Having a strong resume can always be harmed by the pictures you upload online. Employers rethink about who they hire if they see photos of partying or any inappropriate behavior.

Social networking is always evolving from hand-held devices to your television, soon to incorporate the finance world. There already is a marketplace on social networking sites but investment can be taken to another level. Stocks, real-estate, and mortgages can be implemented into social activities online. The purpose would be for a faster way to grow your money and to promote your assets. Just think about if Facebook buys out e-trade, it would be a social networking stock trade (SNST).

*Tweeting your way to a job

*How Obama tapped into Social Networks’ Powers

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Check Out Social Networking Sites

FaceBook – #1 social networking site due to the fact that most people I know use it. Facebook has so numerous amounts of interactions ranging from brands to media. It is a place to advertise and promote new ideas. Facebook came about as a site for college students while branching to younger generation as well. With many different apps interactivity became a big hit by showing others your interests. The most popular feature that facebook implemented is news feed. News feed is a way for people to see others socializing. From posting on someone’s “wall” to uploading a photo, friends can see the activity on the homepage. The site comes packed with information on a person such as relationship status, work/education, residence, photos of you uploaded by others, and anything on that person’s mind; of course they are all authorized by facebook users. Tagging someone in a photo has become successful from facebook. By hovering your mouse over a picture of group of people you can obtain access to their names or even their facebook page.

MySpace – Myspace was one of the biggest social networking sites of its time… that is until facebook fully developed. Myspace implemented a feature that allowed you to list your top friends (not that you had a choice) which may have caused some uneasiness between people. The site is simple with limited third party features. One thing that myspace has over facebook is the ability to design your homepage. The themes have become one way to some type of advertisement your page. You can also set up a song to play on your page and add videos as well. Myspaced also created a feature where people may tag others in their photos. Unlike facebook, myspace doesn’t have the feel of excitement. Over the years it has developed some social aspects such as sharing what is on your mind but it doesn’t come down to your friends’ network on your homepage. Also the friend activity on myspace is different. Users would typically add people that are complete strangers to you while facebook is a little more private. Sure every user of a social networking site has his/her right to choose friends, where on myspace it is acceptable to have strangers on your friends list while facebook has a more mature approach of adding people that at least you remotely know.

Friendster – While I had limited experience with this website, it offers the same features as any ordinary social networking site with extra interactivity. The flash based games are offered on the site have an advantage over facebook and myspace. Also the classifieds are similar to craigslist where they also link to their website. Forums and blogs is another feature that isn’t offered on fb or ms. Apps make it similar to facebook and the posting as on myspace, friendster shares both aspects of the two previous social sites. While this site may not be as popular with my peers it contains features to differentiate itself on the world wide web.

Odnoklassniki – I bet most of my readers will not be familiar with this social networking site. This site is used by my parents and their peers which is the Russian community. The site’s name translates into English as “classmates” and it is a site that stands on its own. No backgrounds, no apps, no music, it is a simple site where you friend you classmates and rate their photos. That’s right rating their photos is  a big thing on the site where ratings range from 1 – 5 and now 5+. The reason for creating 5+ is due to large numbers of “5” ratings. As most people want to be nice and give best possible grades on their friend’s pictures 5 was given 99% of the time on my parents photos. Apart from photo ratings commenting on people’s walls was minor on the site as people value their privacy. The way users communicate most of the time is by sending private messages. In fact the site values its privacy so much that you can see the person that visited your site, something that myspace and facebook is far from doing. Odnoklassniki also features a group of “friend’s of friends” where you can encounter more people that you might know.

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