Be Careful What You Click (or you just might get it)

28 Sep

The dangers of clicking before thinking have reached a whole new level during the recent years. Before, we needed to be careful with what we were clicking because:

  1. We could be led to a site we didn’t want to view like a porn site. Or,
  2. Viruses could enter our computers’ systems which would eventually make the whole system crash.

But now, due to the use and popularity of social networking sites (SNS) we need to think before we click because we could be leaking personal information about ourselves to total strangers.

I will use Facebook-related matters as my example.

The “liking” phenomenon

There was a period in Facebook where fanpages suddenly got popular. People kept clicking the “like” option when they saw a fanpage name that they agreed too. Some examples are: 5 minutes of sleep really DOES matter, Drunkenness reveals what soberness conceals, Guys who still open doors for girls and many more! There were also legitimate fanpages of products and institutions such as Krispe Kreme, McDonalds, Sanuk Philippines and many more.

It was pretty tempting I tell ‘ya. I confess that I did get into the liking mania which is why I have 635 likes in Facebook.

I have to admit though, I should’ve thought about what I “liked” more carefully. Why? After “liking” all those fanpages, all that I saw in my feed was tons of nonsensical content that were totally unrelated to the fanpages that were posting them. What’s worse, at times I would get tagged in vulgar or disgusting pictures which of course became visible in my Facebook wall.

Application after application

There was also a time when the use of applications were at a peak. Suddenly everyone was using applications that predicted their future using Tarot cards or applications that gave quotes for the day or even applications that told you who your secret admirer was. There were many pretty interesting ones, like quizzes that would tell you what your personality type is or what your birthday month says about you.

Do not copy me. Now I have to remove these 100+ apps one by one. Think before you click!

And of course, I also got into the spirit of that, and tried many apps. But, there was a catch. Many applications, especially the more recent ones, request permission to access your whole account such as pictures, videos, status updates, etc. I’m sure many of us are guilty of just clicking “yes” because we’re excited about the results, but we should be more wary of giving permission to access our accounts.

Different organizations are using what they pull from our accounts for their market research. But, do we really want strangers to have access to our photo albums, videos, notes, and the like? I personally don’t.

Manage and think

It has been established that we should think before we click on anything on the internet. But, more that we should inform ourselves about privacy settings and how to manage the applications (if any) on the different social networking sites that we use.

In Facebook, applications can be managed by simply going to the application settings under the account tab in your page. From there you can manage which applications you really want to allow access to your information. All it takes is time and patience, especially if you’ve gone through a clicking-frenzy stage (like me).

Hashtags 101

25 Sep

In a previous post about Twitter, I mentioned about hashtags. Surprisingly, many of the people I know who use twitter still don’t know about hashtags. That’s why I decided to make a post about it.

What are hashtags?

Hashtags are the words or acronyms with the # symbol in front of them. Twitter support defines this as tags similar to web tags. It adds tweets to categories and makes it easier for people to look for tweets of similar categories. The name hashtags comes from the use of the hash or pound symbol in the start of the tags.

Community creation

More than categorizing tweets, hashtags were developed as a means to create groupings or communities in Twitter without having to change the basic service or system. The hashtags feature is not an official feature that Twitter offers, but due to its popularity, hashtags appear on Twitter search.

Using hashtags

When you use hashtags, and you have a public account, any individual who searches for a certain hashtag may see your tweet. In essence, any word with a # symbol in front of it becomes a hashtag, but there are commonly used hashtags that you may wish to use.

You may want to check out Hashtags.org for popular hashtag activities.

Some advice on etiquette

Since hastags are relatively new, there are no formal rules on its use or etiquette surrounding it.

A good rule of thumb to follow though would be to actually focus on the content of your tweet rather than the tags you can add to it. As with anything, too much is bad, and overuse of tags may cause irritation for others.

SNS = SHOPPING Networking Sites

25 Sep

It was during the peak of Multiply.com when different online shops kept popping out here and there. Business-minded students/undergraduates, those who wanted a sideline, or individuals who wanted to jumpstart their business all flocked to Multiply. Many of them have established their business in that site, and still use it to this very day.

And, when Facebook became popular, we saw how the online reselling trend followed.

Free, Fast, Easy

Free, fast and easy – these are the main reasons why online resellers choose to use Social Networking sites like Facebook to house their online stores.

There’s already a community of people, and all you have to do is add contacts. You may post pictures of your products in the photos part of your account. And, interested buyers may choose to send you a private message or leave comments in your gallery. You may also wish to put guidelines about how to order, where you accept meet-ups, shipping details, etc. in your notes page.

Doubtful clients can also see if you’ve already had successful transactions. This will show them that you are a legitimate reseller, and not just one of those con-artists.

Online shopping on SNS: a yes or no?

Personally, I’m not against online shopping. I even have several online store contacts, and enjoy “online window shopping” when I’m bored. I think it’s good that people are using different means to make their business successful.

Not everyone is happy about this phenomenon though. Some are irritated because store contacts keep tagging you in pictures of products, or sometimes the store contacts spam your feed, and you miss the posts of your friends or crushes. This can be solved pretty easily though. Facebook allows you to hide posts of contacts you don’t want to see. So if you like a certain shop’s products, you can just go to that shops page when you want, but you don’t have to see that shop’s post in your feed.

I think that Facebook is still relatively young. What happened with Multiply was that they chose to adopt the shopping phenomenon into their system, and so they created a shopping community in their scheme. I’m curious as to what Facebook plans to do about the online reselling accounts that seem to be multiplying as the days pass. Maybe a new e-bay can be created out of all that’s happening. Definitely though, we will see more and more uses for these social networking sites.

8 Reasons Why I Like Twitter

25 Sep

It was only fairly recently that I decided to create a Twitter account. Before, I really didn’t feel the need to get into the whole Twitter craze. I didn’t understand how something so simple could be so addicting for many people.

It took a several classes in our Communications and Trends classes, a couple of testimonials from close friends, and some communication blogs to convince me to at least give Twitter a shot. And, here I am! Not a total addict, mind you. But, I do get the strict need to tweet every now and then.

One of my friends asked me why I was so gung-ho about Twitter. I couldn’t answer him coherently, so I decided to list down my reasons for liking Twitter in the hopes that he’ll give it a shot too.

1: Simplistic

I find it to be one if not the most simple SNS out there. The appearance of your profile is easy to tweak. It’s just 140 characters every time. You can choose to follow whoever you wish with just the click of a button. And when fed up with someone, you can also “unfollow” someone that easily. You can post links to vids, pics and articles without unnecessary graphics or add-ons.

2. It is public yet private at the same time.

Since Twitter is microblogging at it’s best, you post things that you want people to know about yourself. It’s public in that sense. But unlike other Social Networking or Microblogging sites, in Twitter it’s more private due to the fact that you can choose to protect your tweets, and you can have control over who can follow you.

In addition, I personally feel that when I post things in Twitter, I’m better heard than in Facebook. This was actually the main reason why I decided to create a Twitter account. In Twitter I feel free to express myself whether I’m feeling emo, happy, sad, angry or what.

3. Fast

Comments, replies and retweets are fast. You immediately see in your page if someone has replied to a post. It’s also that easy to retweet something that you think is great or something that your contacts should know. You may also send messages to celebrities, and see for yourself if they respond.

4. I’m more updated with the news.

Honestly speaking, I am a bit apathetic when it comes to current events. I don’t read the newspaper or watch the news that often. But with Twitter, I can choose to follow News Organizations like Inquirer, GMA-News and even CNN. With their tweets I get to know the latest news in the Philippines as well as in other parts of the world. And, if I’m curious enough, I can read the whole articles by simply clicking on the links provided in the tweets.

More than current events, I can also be updated with news about my favorite TV shows/series. Most series have their own Twitter where they post new season announcements, special events, and sometimes even sneak peeks of upcoming episodes.

5. The 140 characters limit.

The 140 characters limit makes me think more. It might sound weird but I find that the character limit trains me to say what I want to say in a concise yet profound way. I often tell my friends that it feels like I’m producing a copy for an ad when I post in Twitter.

6. Trends

Twitter allows you to use hashtags. Hashtags are those things that you see with the # sign before them. These tags allow people to track tweets about different topics on twitter. When a certain hashtag is being used a lot, and at regular times, it becomes a trend. You may choose to participate by posting tweets related to the trends, and see what others have to say.

My favorite trend is the #sentisabado trend. It’s a Filipino trend that other countries have begun following. Sentisabado happens every Saturday, and there is usually a theme in what to feel sentimental about. The theme can be childhood treats or fiesta foods or first love.


7. Quotable quotes from interesting people.

There are so many interesting people to follow on Twitter. You can choose to follow quirky or eccentric local stars, or even comedy cartoon characters like Homer Simpson. I like Twitter because you get to see other peoples’ opinions about anything and everything. It’s more fun when you can relate to a statement. You find “quotable quotes” which you can choose to retweet, or use in your other SNS or even statements that you want to make your new life motto or mantra for the week.

8. Therapeutic

Whatever emotion I’m feeling, I can let it out on Twitter. When the feeling is negative, it’s great to share that to other people. When the emotion is negative such as stress or sadness or anger, I feel that Twitter gives me that feeling of Catharsis or purging. Plus, my friends sometimes make me feel better on Twitter which cheers me up.

~~

All in all, Twitter is great! I think I’d be tweeting for a long time.

So Stumble if you’re bored.

24 Sep

The term to “stumble” or “stumbling” is not anymore limited to the act of tripping and almost falling. It is now an online jargon, a term which describes the act of jumping from one randomly generated site to another based on topic preferences that you have pre-selected.

The term stumbling comes from the name of a discovery engine named StumbleUpon. The application is free to download. You just have to register at their site. No payments needed, just your e-mail to verify that you are an existing person. You can choose to stumble via the website but I find that downloading the application toolbar is a whole lot better.

The application toolbar allows you to stumble through sites with just a click of a button. It also gives you easy access to your favorites, and even gives you the option to share it in your social networking sites.

How it works

Log in to your StumbleUpon account. In there you can choose which topics interest you. There’s a wide variety of categories and topics to choose from such as Arts/History, Commerce, Computers, Health, Hobbies, Media, Food/Cooking, Humor, Internet, Puzzles, Beer, Cats, and many more I tell you. Just tick on the box that corresponds to your topics of interest and then save your preferences.

And then when you finally decide to stumble, the discovery engine will take you to sites related to your preferences. You can keep on stumbling and stumbling until you find sites that interest you. Plus, depending on your mood, you can change your interests any time you wish.

You can choose topics that interest you, and manage your preferences.

I personally like to cook and do crafts and such, so when I stumble I usually end up in craft forums, tutorial pages or in food blogs. It was thanks to stumble that I found a new hobby — reading through food blogs!

The fun of it

What makes this so great is that it feels like the internet universe is so big yet small at the same time. You realize that there’s so much in the web that you haven’t explored yet. Through stumbling I’ve seen travel blogs of people from different backgrounds and cultures. I’ve seen photo diaries of people with different perspectives in life. I’ve seen the “humor” of other countries, like what’s funny to them and what’s not. And, thanks to discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, we have the means to reaching the before “unreachable” parts of the internet universe. It’s an eye opener, really. It makes you appreciate the many different points of views out there, and makes you rethink about your own.

Another great thing about this is the aspect of SHARING. When you rate sites that you enjoyed, you’re increasing the probability of that site to be known by other people. And, if you “like” a site that hasn’t been bookmarked before, that can be your contribution to StumbleUpon and to the other users. It’s also a way to get local sites or local blogs to get known by other people from different parts of the world. People can visit your favorites and find them there.

Other users can visit your page on StumbleUpon and view your favorites.

People who like your bookmarks may choose to follow you, and you can also choose to follow people with interesting favorites.

~~

So you see friends, boring doesn’t have to be unproductive. In fact, surfing doesn’t have to be boring at all! With discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, you can hop from different sites all catered to your interests. You can learn something new with just a click of a button.

There are also other discovery engines, but I like the simplicity of StumbleUpon’s system as well as the interface of the site and toolbar. Other discovery engines you may want to try are SpinSnap, Yoono and Fichey. Note though that the other discovery engines have different interfaces, and work differently compared to StumbleUpon.

Why I Hated This Blogging Requirement (Part2)

23 Sep

My take on blogging now? I guess I’ve realized that I don’t really hate it. It just hasn’t been a good start for me. And, a big part of that is my fault. I expected some things about blogging and when those expectations weren’t met, I got discouraged. I got intimidated, and I wrote for the wrong reasons.

And so after all those realizations, I’ve come up with my own Blogging Commandments. These are statements that serve as my reminders on why I write and how I want to blog.

#1: I WILL BLOG FOR MYSELF FIRST BEFORE OTHERS

Although most of the blogging tips online stress on the importance of writing articles that will interest netizens, I think that writing for myself first before others will work better for me. I can be myself, and continue to adjust to writing online. When I’m comfortable with the whole blogging thing, by that time I can adjust my writing to attract more traffic to my blog.

#2: INTERESTS BEFORE TRENDS

It’s good to be updated with trends and everything, but blogging about trends just because you observe that they’re the kind of posts people respond to isn’t a good approach for me. I want to blog about things that are of true interest to me, and not just because they’re the “in” thing to blog about. Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t hate trends, I just don’t enjoy it when people blog about things just because they know it’ll get responses (and you know there are people like this).

#3: TO LEARN INSTEAD OF BEING INTIMIDATED

Finding a good blog or reading an excellent post need not be intimidating. It just calls for a change in perspective. If you think a blog/blogger intimidates you then just look at it as a learning experience. Learn from that blogger’s style, and see what makes his/her blog good. Maybe you can even ask for advice or tips.

#4: IMPROVEMENT IS DOABLE

Things like the blog’s theme, appearance, features can all be improved. There’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself in making the perfect blog theme or title just when you’re starting out. Just go with the best you’ve got. You can still improve on it. Writing style and blog topics and gimmicks can also be improved on.

#5: HARD WORK PRECEDES SUCCESS

No one starts out great. All the great bloggers started out as newbies too. But they worked hard, they posted regularly and consistently created quality posts, gained fans and followers, and became what they are today. We shouldn’t be discouraged if we don’t get the response that we expect or want with each post that we create. We can’t please everyone, and for the people that we can please, that won’t happen right away. We need to make an effort if we want to make our blogs good.

~~

These five things are what I’ve decided to guide me as a blogger, my Blogging Commandments. If by any chance I think of something new that I can add to these, then I’ll be sure to post it.

Believe it or not, I am getting the hang of blogging. It just takes a little more work than usual but the feeling after you’ve posted something is great. I have to admit though that a Communication blog is not really my thing. Sure, I like communication and I recognize how new social media affects me and my future as an Orcom practitioner, but it’s not something that I can blog about regularly.

After this requirement I plan to keep this blog, and update it from time to time. But my major plan is to make a new blog, something that interests me. I’m actually preparing for it already. I’ve bought a small notebook and such so that in case I get any ideas for my blog while I’m out, I can just jot things down on that notebook. So watch out for that.

Why I Hate(d) This Blogging Requirement (Part1)

10 Sep

I was honestly excited about this whole project when it was discussed in class. I thought “Hey, here’s my chance to finally appreciate this blogging thing.” But, things didn’t exactly go as planned.

In the first place, I’m not the person who’ll spend hours in front of the computer perfecting an article about my thoughts on a certain topic. I am quite opinionated about certain issues but for some reason my thoughts seem better in my head than on paper (or in a blog post for this matter). Next, I’m not the super techie type. Yes, I know about new technologies, a little bit about hardware and softwares but I don’t voluntarily look for news about those things.

More than my lack of writing skills and interest in the required issues, what I dislike most about blogging is that it’s so easy to get lost in its universe. And by getting lost, I don’t mean the good kind. By getting lost I mean that it’s so easy to lose confidence in your work when you see so many other good ones out there. I actually thought of a term for what I’m feeling: an Online Identity Crisis.

So what is this Online Identity Crisis that I’m going on about?

Let me clear up first that this Online Identity Crisis (OIC) that I’m facing is regarding blogging, and not the I’ll-make-up-a-new-identity-online kind.

So, why do I say that I’m experiencing an Online Identity Crisis

#1: THEME-WHAT-THEME?

It’s so hard to think of a theme for a blog. First, your theme must, in a way reflect what you’re going to put in your blog. Second, it has to be something creative or witty. If it’s too boring then people would have the impression that your blog is too random or too plain, and they’d just move on to the next blog. If that isn’t difficult enough, your theme must somehow show your “unique” personality.

I ended up with my blog name because all of my other ideas were too lame. It’s not difficult to be witty, but then being witty while showing your personality AND relating that to what your blog is actually about is a whole other story.

#2: HOW “UNIQUE” IS MY PERSONALITY?

How “unique” must my personality be? I’m proud that I’m not the typical kikay, goody-goody, innocent type kinda girl. I do believe that my opinions and perspectives are not that of a typical person, but as different as I may be, given a serious topic my opinions will not differ greatly from that of my friends or classmates.

Given this requirement to create posts that will talk about news about new social media and how it affects me, and the OrCom practice, I don’t know what more I can say that my classmates haven’t already said.

#3: HOW EXACTLY DO I LET MY PERSONALITY “SHOW” IN MY BLOG

If you search for tips in making blogs online, you’d always see something like “let your personality show in your blog.” Oh please. Statements like that are easier said than done. Sure you can show your interests with the kind of articles that you write, but when given a set of topics to write about, you would feel that it somehow limits your “personality-showing-space.”

And about what I said earlier about getting lost, it’s so easy to be intimidated by the other blogs out there. Since this blog was required in a certain subject, practically the whole batch has a blog. And based on my experience, my blog seemed like crap compared to that of my batchmates, especially since many of them are really good writers. It was so easy to be discouraged, that’s why after just a couple of weeks, I didn’t feel like updating my blog anymore.

So what do I do??? The fact still remains that this is a requirement equivalent to 20% of my grade in a major subject. It took me months of blog-soul-searching, tons of articles on the web with tips for people who’re new to blogs, a JMA Marketing Seminar on Business Management through Contemporary Marketing and a blogging workshop before I could be fully decided on what to do.

Wait for my next post regarding my realizations and plans regarding this issue. Feel free to comment for the mean time.