Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

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Social virtual reality – EA’s Sims saga comes to FB

In Games on August 28, 2011 by nickejones Tagged: ,

So you have probably read about the new game in town for Facebook. Yes its back, Sims. This EA franchise could tell a fortune of unlimited success. Personally, i’m not a Sim gamer (except its original form SimCity) but this beta version of the Sim is bound to be a hit.

Take virtual reality (VR) games, website, or apps for example. When most people think about VR examples, Second Life comes to mind. It is hugely popular in the online VR socially orchestrated gaming space. Second Life is where you create an avatar and interact with other avatars on the web – the perfect cure for those with split or multiple personalities.  Despite how popular these VR platforms can potential be, with the virtual currency and profile purchases marketed, it falls short because of it fails to appeal to the mass’s for reasons such as time, emotional affiliation, and users trust.

Where the Sims will succeed is in the ability to create avatars that truly represent a person, and consequently their Facebook profile. In doing so, not only does the vanity of individuals transform into a desire to enhanced their avatar (translating into dollars) but it would be quite easy t become emotionally attached as it is socially orchestrated events with your friends.

The implications are unclear. Probably an increase of bullying, sexual inclinations, acted out inhibitions and blocked friend accounts. Likely too is a truck load of money that EA will make from their in app purchases.

All in all, I love the idea. I hope that it is a hit but am scared of the repercussions. I don’t want VR avatar Jim to be visiting my partners Facebook Sim house whenever he feels like it.

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New media consumption – Part 4

In New Media on January 7, 2011 by nickejones Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Social networks, media, user profile, and user data are key elements of the social web in creating ties between objects and resources on the Internet. The challenges of providing relational content distribution to enhance media consumption are privacy and fragmentation. Privacy is major issue concerning sharing and tracking personal information for relational and contextual distribution of media. Fundamentally, users evaluate the risks and opportunity on social networks. Although, there are complex relations between opportunity and risk, online activities require critical judgment, trust, social values, and expectations all of which shape social networking privacy behavior (Livingstone, 2008, p.379). The risk of having personal information stored on the Internet verses the opportunity to have relational content distribution. The pressure for the latter option is the product of the information revolution, facilitated by the Internet. Currently, if content is pushed to a user that has a weak relation, it is considered spam, yet if content is pushed to the user that is highly relevant, this could constitute a breach of privacy. The full implications of profiling users and their activities have not yet been fully realised. Nevertheless, the public has little control over these activities that plague the online social networks.

 

More and more responsibility and onus on privacy is deflected to users. Although there is a tendency for users to be less concerned with privacy issues as relational media distribution has higher value than the perceived privacy risk. The volume of information requires more effective models of information retrieval. Successive and dictionary searchers are no longer effective methods of retrieval with the vast composition of media online. The adoption of the social web will support the distribution of niche, contextual information and media. Supporting this initiative presents unprecedented value to the consumer as it will enhance the attainment of “experience, attainment, and understanding” in the digital environment (Adams, 1997, pg.947). Ultimately, the social web leveraging personal information enables more proficient filtering, which is necessary for improved web services.

 

New media has a shorter lifecycle and rapid production. Accessibility to relevant content is high priority and will enhance a user’s experience.  Evens et al (2010) says media including digital television require new strategies that apply interactivity, and the long tail-based business model to tailor content specific to the user. The increased impact of niche content is consequently reducing the impact of blockbusters (mainstream) media. This is facilitated by the Internet and “by applying the long tail principle, the provision of digital niche content aims to suit all tastes, including minority interests” (p.1009).  Although there is more verity of media, the methods of distributing are still evolving. The recognition that tailed content across the long-tail can be facilitated by the social web has yet to be explored or applied entirely. A barrier to distributing media is the fragmentation of Internet resources. Media and data are fragmented over the web with very little unity in structure.  The massive migration of users to social networks leads people to believe that innovation in media distribution will come from these platforms. Utilizing the semantic web and metadata “descriptive” methodologies, will be the key to link personal profiles and network ties, facilitating the retrieval of relevant media.

Facebook has the third largest population in the world. The platform provides a standardised experience (network connections, and data structures) that will enhance the delivery of content, based on complex contextual reasoning using individual’s personal information and data. The 2010 partnership of Bing and Facebook could be revolutionary to the social web ideology, by reorganizing the distribution and consequently the consumption of new media.  Other social networks such as Linkedin can mirror this activity in the future to provide media that is more specific to their platform genre. For business professionals, leveraging their personal Linkedin profile to retrieve contextual industry and business media has profound value. Nevertheless, the professional networks continually scrutinize the privacy of sensitive information as these issues potentially have serious adverse financial and social impacts.

 

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New Media Talk, Part 2 – Social Consumption

In New Media on November 25, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It is clear that the online social networks have a profound influence on the social and information retrieval activities. Content distributed on social network platforms is a unique model that challenges mainstream and traditional networks of communication.  Computer-mediated-communication (CMC) creates new methods of connectivity between individuals and groups. These networks have varied range between users, are centrally focused on individuals, and assign implicit online community roles. The social network facilitates the flow of information through direct and indirect ties and as a result defines how people acquire resources and information (Garton, 1997).  CMC plays a central role as an inter-mediator of information. Contemporary social networking platforms have rapidly grown because of their ability to effectively link individuals and groups of networks with one another –i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube. The efficiency of CMC enables users to be connected to a number of different networks defined by different relationships and different communication medium. These relationships or ties, identify new networks, thus CMC creates networks that aggregate shared resources and information (Craven & Wellman, 1973, p.g59). The increase of acquired users on social networking platforms fabricates more networks and groups of networks that therefore have increasingly prominent impacts on the acquisition of information and media content.

The ability to produce and reproduce content is also a factor that dramatically alters perceptions of new media. The format, the audience, and the volume through CMC channels are redefining media’s intention and application. The vast amount of content online is pressuring the efficiency of media distribution channels, substantiated by user expectations for the web to affiliate content with context. Social networks play a significant role in facilitating context. They do this by evaluating ties between people, groups, and pages. Social networks are described as entities in a network called ‘nodes’ and the connection between them called ‘ties’, representing a matrices that allows filtering content specific to an individual (Downes, 2005, p.416).  Haythornthwaite (2001) argues that there is a tendency for social networks to enhance the distribution of media but stronger ties within these networks remains centred on pre-existing local networks or affiliations; niche networks are often weaker ties in the network.  Conversely, Downes (2005) presents the studies of “six-degrees” network measurement (Milgram, 1967) revealing that there are only six steps in a network between every person in the United States (p.417). More so then ever, this network phenomenon is accurate but also applicable on a global scale using CMC networks ties which are both easy to create and effectively measurable.  Although this conclusion is justified, the effects of the “long tail”– many small elements of information that make up an equal or larger proportion of the Internet –require networks and ties to define relationships to niche content specific to the user. The accuracy of distributing niche content to specific individuals is highly valued during information retrieval process because of the volume of content that is available. Nevertheless, this retrieval process requires complex relational ties that leverage social network data.

Strong ties are of great relevance to social networks and the distribution of media on social networking platforms. Marsden and Campbell (1984) distinguish the combination of factors that distinguish ties in a network: frequency of contact, duration of association, intimacy of the tie, provision of reciprocal services, and kinship (p484).  Currently, this measurement of ties attempts to link the “social web” with content. Google, the biggest search engine on the web, bases its model on content-centric consumption. The shortfall of this model is that it neglects to meet the complex information retrieval process necessary to retrieve content in the long tail of the web. The social web on the other hand, adds user’s personal information as a variable in the search. The social web has supporters includes Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Facebook. Their partnership in October 2010 will enable Bing searchers to leverage Facebook profile ties to influence content retrieval; known as the user-centric model of content consumption (Oreskovic, 2010).

Browsing the web is not longer passive, user have participative roles on a websites; “individuals are now more apt to have their behaviours, likes, and dislikes automatically integrated in proprietarily databases” (Elmer, 2002, p.86).  The exploitation of this user data will significantly influence content that is distributed to the user and although the relational model is only in its early stages of implementation, the shear volume of activity that is recorded by social networking sites, generate opportunities to customise searchable content and media. The current social networking platforms are maturing rapidly as user acquisition is very high. Nevertheless, methods of transferring content are still primal as they are submissive in the online environment. Presently, social networks only marginally influence content distribution – i.e. Friend-of-a-Friend (FoaF), advertising, and recommendations.

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Who and What; Enterprise2.0 tools

In Enterprise2.0 on August 5, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: , , , , ,

Looking into the future, web technologies and social networking usage will be significantly integrated into work life. This prediction is based on business and social trends, and emerging patterns. There are tools available to enhance communications, marketing, PR, productivity and collaboration, which have increasing popularity in the workspace, some of which I will examine in greater detail.

Firstly, it is important to note that resistance to web technologies and social networking within an organisation is rapidly disintegrating. Although there is a lag for some, organisations have been accepting the effectiveness of enterprise2 tools. Some tools such as blogging, micro-blogging, social networking, Email, outsourcing, storage, and documenting have shown their worthiness in the corporate setting. Issues in information ownership, security, and reliability are still present but with many variations of enterprise2 solutions, so it isn’t a question of why, it is what and when.

Jive is a great enterprise software vendor that incorporates the best techniques of web tools into reliable, culture sensitive, productive software.  Jive like many others have been extremely popular for business but as a vendor of enterprise tools, how do they different themselves? Well one of the ways is by profiling employees much in the same way that Facebook allows you to profile yourself.  This is demonstrated in their software release, Jive SBS 4.5. This is scalable software with excellent usability, which includes integrated blogs and wikis. But what makes is great, is its customisation and an extension beyond organisation firewalls and offers SharePoint integration, for those stubborn Microsoft lovers.

Software vendors are emerging to take on tasks associated with enterprise social networking tools. But some open sources methods are emerging. The disadvantage of this is the associated risk involved. SAP and Novell had heavy investments in Google Wave. Today Google Wave was canned and developers are diverted to other project.  SAP is a leading international software development company that has introduced a number of web tools to enhance their business operations.  Uniquely they have developed an add-on for businesses within Google Wave. Google, when developing the Wave platform encouraged this but due to Google’s perpetual beta strategy, businesses have been reluctant to integrate, and see it as risky (for good reason). Nonetheless, this type of platform has much potential. Besides having add-on’s developed for specific business purposes, the platform was a robust email client. This is used by SAP and the outcome is a hybrid platform to collaboration; mashing email, instant messaging, and social networking into the one platform.

What can be very useful to enterprises is collaboration.  In a large corporation, sharing resources and solving complex problems is a significant issue. Another tool seeking to solve this is micro-blogging. A popular vendor of micro- blogging tools is Yammer. Yammer can be used to discuss and present difficult problems and solutions within the company.  Sharing knowledge and encouraging employees to engage in the organisations can transfer a company social capital and create a competitive advantage.  Utilising productivity tools like yammer has seen success in companies.  Primarily, this is a push strategy of information, but is very effective in reducing the communication barriers within the hierarchy, fostering openness and transparency.

Many emerging tools can deliver greater value to an enterprise. Some are still in beta stages, some have already integrated into thousands of businesses from, SME’s, to Enterprises, to government. Many more tools are available, similarly promoting collaboration, productivity, and social networking.  The difficultly for business to choose what is suitable for their culture, organisational structure and tools that meet their expected outcomes. Open source, hybrid, individual services tools, add-ons, plug-ins are widely available, but suitability is very much dependant on business operations. Nevertheless, there are ways for all business to improve operations through enterprise tools. And the right tools will ensure successful outcomes.