Posted tagged ‘culture’

Blogs vs. social networking

June 24, 2009

I read a post recently (and can’t find it now) asserting that blogs are basically outmoded by social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.  It’s true that many bloggers are completely narcissistic.  Some blogs are informative but wordy or devoid of any healthy grammar practices.  I love Twitter for its prevention of wordiness.  Still, I disagree with the conclusion that social networking has replaced the blog.  Here’s why.

1) Blogs are relatively easy.  Once you get your social network set up, you have a great way to communicate with those in your network.  But you have to build the network.  I’d like to think I’m reasonably popular, but over about 2 years on Facebook, I’ve connected with about 365 people through my profile and a handful more through my musician page.  We’ve had a lot more hits than that on the blog in a single day.

2) Blogs can be used as information repositories to avoid cluttering up people’s news feed with note posts.  Just post the link and a 140-character summary, thank you.

3) People don’t become less narcissistic when they join Facebook.  In fact, the opposite may be true.  I saw a tweet yesterday saying “if I see your avatar more than 15 times in my timeline, I’m blocking you.”  And you know that friend who constantly talks about their Twilight fixation, or their bad relationships, or how they hate their job (which, by the way, is not a good thing to put up on either blogs or SN, because you DO like your job more than you like unemployment).

4) The blog network is wider than my social network.  Through tag clouds and friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend surfing, you can travel through all 6 degrees of separation in a few hours.  I appreciate this wealth of information, even if I have to weed through some useless blogs too.  With Facebook, for instance, you have privacy concerns and friend requests, and “I really want to know more about my VP, but I REALLY don’t want her to see my St. Paddy’s Day photos” concerns.  This leads us to the last, and perhaps most vivid, point.

5) Separation of roles.  This is probably the biggest one, and it’s the reason this blog exists.  I don’t really have anything on my Facebook profile to hide.  In fact, my St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to date have been very mild (think listening to The Chieftans orcorned-beef-and-cabbage eating corned beef and cabbage).  but the point is, I don’t want some people having unlimited access to my personal information (ahem, Bozeman).

The fact is, people separate roles in their life.  I avoid talking to my officemate about my marriage, but I don’t discuss network security with childhood friends who simply don’t care.  This blog gives me the chance to write about relevant technical and/or techno-cultural topics without posting it and tagging all my friends.  Likewise, Facebook gives me the chance to post friends-only photos of my vacation without having who-knows-who looking at my family.

Separation of roles is vital in a technologically driven world, and blogs are a way to accomplish that.  Facebook, Twitter, and my music blog give me a way to express another side of myself – a side that (in American culture) must be at least partially veiled from the work side.

Final point – this doesn’t mean blogging is better than social networking.  Just that SN hasn’t replaced blogging.  For those who are pouring their heart out about their recent relationship disaster, maybe it has.  But not for those with something that strangers might actually want to hear.



In today’s news… Wireless on the rise

October 15, 2008

Glenn Lurie, the executive who led AT&T Inc‘s negotiations with Apple Inc for its exclusive U.S. iPhone deal, will now work on introducing wireless links in devices other than mobile phones.

AT&T, the biggest U.S. mobile service, said Lurie would head a new organization in the company to help promote the inclusion of cellular links in everything from computers and digital cameras to car-navigation and entertainment systems.

The initiative follows moves earlier this year by No. 2 U.S. mobile service Verizon Wireless … to allow any third-party device to work on its network.

– quoted from

Is this a surprise?  Not really, but I’m definitely interested to see where it leads.  Reliable, widely available wireless communication truly is one of the greatest advances of recent years.  At the same time, the privacy concerns surrounding cellular service are considerable, and the more devices go cellular, the bigger of a problem these concerns pose.  But I really do think wireless (RF and others in addition to cell) is going to be a huge part of our future.

Help me win this scholarship!!!

August 11, 2008

OK, I haven’t written in a while – I’ve been very busy.   One of the things I have been busy with is this video.  Watch and rate on YouTube.  The more views and ratings I get, the better my score.  The better my score, the more chance I have of winning.

A bit of opinion from an online student/IT pro

April 15, 2008

The BCC Center for Teaching and Learning posted this today, and being an online student as well as an IT professional, I had to check it out.  It’s a presentation regarding the use of technology in learning.  I was especially interested in the graph re: the change in technology ownership by students from 2005 to 2007.  I have ideas about this, and I thought that the comment section wasn’t the place to share them.  So here goes.

Technology-augmented learning comes down to this – college doesn’t force me to learn.  I want to learn.  And I do it because I want to (or even because I need to), not because I have to.  “Needing to” and “having to” aren’t the same thing.

Technology (for me) is a comfortable and reliable way to access a vast body of information.  But skimmers will skim, loafers will loaf, and learners will learn.  And educators will continue to consider the best ways to give information to learners.  A podcast of your class lecture doesn’t mean much if you skipped the last six classes.  In the same way, you can’t depend on your instructor to include all the pertinent information in a powerpoint for you.  That’s not education.

Hats off to a great presentation.  I like the way it presents a balance between the current technology explosion and the need to ensure quality learning under the newer mode of information exchange.

Just as a note, if you are a self-motivated learner but can’t attend traditional school (for me, it’s because I live in a small town, but it could be for any reason), check out Western Governors University.  They rely much on the student to work on their courses and allow the student to use their creativity in learning enough to make the grade.  Like any school, loafers and skimmers can get through, but I like the way WGU does it.  It’s more like real life (i.e. you have a goal to meet, here’s a few resources to get you started on the way to meeting it.).

Bluetooth helps bilateral amputee to walk again

January 26, 2008

This is amazing.