Week 3: Blogs and RSS Feeds

The New Facebook Timeline

While I think that this whole Open Graph thing that Facebook has introduced with their Timeline is interesting, and I agree with Beth Kanter’s blog that it has potential to increase peer-to-peer sharing, I also think that it has potential to be very damaging to the public sphere. I worry that with so much monitoring of people’s activities on the web, the information that we are exposed to will be limited by our own likes and dislikes. I imagine that with Open Graph, the information people wish to share will show up on other’s news feeds or something. I am wondering what information will “make the cut” to show up on someone’s news feed. For example, I heard that during presidential elections in the United States, Facebook was monitoring users political interests and selecting what information would appear in news feeds based on this information. If you were a supporter of the Democrats (made clear by “liking” a page or writing on someone’s wall about it), all of your Facebook friends who were Republican supporters and performed a similar activity (“liking” the Republican page or posting about their support of the party) would not appear in users news feeds. Facebook and social media sites look at this as catering to user’s interests or making information that they may be looking for more readily available. It cannot be ignored, however, that if all of our interests appear in the forefront of searches or our social media sites, we are less likely to stumble upon information that we wouldn’t seek out ourselves. We are losing one of the most wonderful aspects of the internet: the ability to share, learn, and benefit from an abundance content, not just our own specified interests. I worry that organizations may be overrestimating the amount of information that will be shared through Open Graph. If one user donates to organizations and another user listens to music, I wonder if the person’s activity with the organization will appear at the forefront of the music listener’s Facebook page, or if it will be something that doesn’t make the cut because it is not in this person’s interests.

Blogs and Organizations

I have always felt a little bit uncomfortable with blogs for the exact reason that the nonprofitorgs blog names: I would have no idea what to blog about. That is on a personal level, though. My life is not very exciting. For organizationis, however, I am definitely beginning to see the appeal. The blog post “10 Blog Content Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations” is really useful; it really breaks down all of the ways that an organization can use a blog. My favorite use is to allow guest bloggers to share expertise and experience. I think that this makes the blog a lot more exciting and can act as a call to action as well.

RSS Feeds

Prof. Neal’s explanation on what RSS feeds are, how to add one to your blog, and how to subscribe to RSS feeds were very clear! I had no trouble setting an RSS feed up on my blog and I am slowly but surely getting more comfortable subscribing to others. I am actually very happy that this was introduced. For the first week of class I was trying to keep track of my classmates blogs. I was unsure of the angle that my blog post of the week should take so I wanted to see what other people had written. My one issue was that I had to actively seek out each individual blog, not knowing who had completed their post of the week. Now that I have Google Reader, I can subscribe to my classmates blogs and I will have all of the information I want on one page. I am also excited about this because I would forget that the lesson for the week could be posted at any time on Wednesday. Now that I have Google Reader and a subscription to MIT3852, I just need to check Google Reader. I am wondering if I can somehow set up an e-mail notification for when there is a new blog post for MIT3852. I will be exploring this later tonight and will update you on what I find next week.

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Week 2: Web 2.0

When reading Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On, this sentence stood out to me.

“Chief among our insights was that “the network as platform” means far more than just offering old applications via the network (“software as a service”); it means building applications that literally get better the more people use them, harnessing network effects not only to acquire users, but also to learn from them and build on their contributions” (O’Reilly and Battelle).

I think that through this Web 2.0 network as platform idea, the content on the internet is much better for everyone. Rather than companies placing information on the internet in a Web 1.0 fashion (which reminds me of the hyperdermic needle model), users receive, critique, contribute, and reflect on content. In return, other users benefit and those placing the information on the web benefit.

I find that allowing others to have input ensures that many perspectives on a topic are being given. When reading online newspaper articles, I find it very beneficial to read the comments that other readers post about the article. I am able to reflect on the subject in the article but also I am given various perspectives on the issue at hand, exposing me to ideas that I otherwise may not have even considered.

On the other hand, I think that companies can benefit a great deal from this two-way form of communication. In Lesson 2, Prof. Neal raises the issue of companies and social media and what happens if a company receives negative feedback and comments from their customers. As much as no company wants negative ideas to be circulated (especially on the web, where information flows freely and fast!), they benefit a great deal from this. The Web 2.0 allows companies to respond promptly to complaints and also gives them insight into what their consumers/customers/clients are looking for. I think that having information about the public and receivng feedback from them so easily can help companies with their business success and also helps customers receive the service that they are looking for.

The Web 2.0 helps the public to be viewed as active and with agency rather than passive receivers of information, something that is increasingly important in such a media dominated world.

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Week 1

My name is Andrea Nameth. I am a third year Honours MIT student. I have a part-time job at the Richard Ivey School of Business where I monitor the recent activities of Ivey alumni and successful business people around the globe. In this position, I have read many biographies on successful business people, including managers of social media departments in various organizations and CEOs of social media companies. I find it fascinating how this form of communication has become so prominent and important in the business world. I am hoping to use my MIT degree to get into this combined area of business and media. I signed up for this course based on its title alone – Social Media and Organizations. While I have experience using social media for more personal forms of communication, I wanted to get experience using it in a professional manner and learn more about its strategic uses. This course is very relevant to today’s society and will give me the practical and hands-on experience with social media that I have been looking for.

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