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My perception of Social Networking


First of all, let's get the reason for not selecting the Mahara/LinkedIn assessment out of the way. I personally dislike social networking websites as a whole; I see it as a way for those too lazy to experience new things to communicate with each other. I am a personal fan of IRC (internet relay chat), an instant protocol designed to allow a group of people to chat simultaneously, instead of the alternative of posting a useless picture of yourself on Facebook and waiting an hour for someone to post some ridiculous comment. With saying that, via social networking one may acquire a positive presence on the blah blah blah. let's just begin.
Personal experiences
As you may have noticed via the introductory text above, my personal view on social media applications is quite poor; however my experiences are not negative. For the purposes of this text, lets stick to one social media application everyone knows; Facebook. Over the years I have personally made multiple Facebook accounts in the hopes of actually 'getting into it', yet, each and every time I just can't. The origins for creating these accounts was always the same; peer pressure. An apparent unwritten social rule of 2014 seemingly exists that states: "Thou shall only communicate through Facebook", which to someone who dislikes the idea, quite unfortunate. This has led me to have little to no communication with friends outside of school; which I have no issue with personally, however my peers dislike it. As for social mediums I enjoy and participate in often; only one exists, IRC (heck, I even run my own IRC server). Internet relay chat is an internet protocol designed in 1988 by a man known as Jarkko Oikarinen [1]. I could write thousands of words on this particular topic, however I am not going to; that might be another assessment one day.
How would one stay safe and secure online?
Keeping safe and secure is an important thing when accessing the internet; and will only grow in importance as we move on with our technological revolution.
With that being said, the steps required to keep ones information private and secure online could be etched into ones brain; most people still will not get the message. I feel that most people have the ideation that the biggest thing to keep safe and secure online is their passwords. Sure, keeping your password secure is important (keep it long, alphanumerical and not relating to personal names or dates), however other factors need to be considered and kept private online. One example of which is usually forgotten is that of your email address. A persons email address in 2014 is (hopefully) sacred, and should only be shared with those of whom you know and trust. Another key thing that should be protected is the access keys to ones bank accounts; especially considering the use of physical money is dropping, and the use of online banking is rising. A simple solution to keeping passwords and access keys etc secure is good anti-virus and spyware on ones computer; however, you must also be aware of phishing. Phishing is the act of creating false websites (for example a bank log in page) that are designed purely to record the numbers and passwords entered into an input field [2].
Promoting ones self online
Social media is an interesting new concept that is starting to be acknowledged by the professional community as a way to decipher the maturity of one and to help decide whether or not that person is worthy of being hired into a place of business. Almost everyone in today's society has a presence online (whether good or not) and that presence will one day either promote themselves as a valuable member of society; or demote them, which is likely to cause a negative ripple within their professional life. I myself have personally chosen to not participate in the anarchy of social media; I feel it (as previously stated) is the lazy mans way of getting noticed, I prefer to design my own ways of promotion; for example owning a domain with my name, a perfect place to, in the future hold my digital resume (which, in the future will be how resumes are distributed). With that being said promoting myself on a website such as Facebook would add additional promotional content, however I feel this to be unnecessary.
This, however is completely different for that of a business. Businesses in my point of view need a form of social media to keep in contact with their customers; their community, a way to promote deals and sales, and a way to pass critical information on. Personally, a business should own both a website and multiple social media accounts, just to be sure their user base is as large as it could be (for example, I wouldn't 'follow' 'Server Sellers Inc.' (made up business) on their Twitter account, I would however follow their website.
What is an 'RSS Feed'?
A portal for lazy people. RSS (rich Site Summary) feeds allow one to easily view recently published information from, for example a blog, or news website. These are presented in XML format and is parsed by an XML reader into human viewable content; perfect for lazy people, you don't even have to open your browser (assuming you have an RSS reader setup)! Boring yes, useful, well, kind of [3].
I've personally used RSS feeds before; specifically for a website i'm currently designing for a family friend (football club fan site; pulls an RSS feed from the clubs website), and personally, I find the idea to be over rated, what is wrong with just getting an email?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Relay_Chat
[2] http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS

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