Monday, October 08, 2007

Facebook, MySpace, BeBo, etc., do you use them?

Recently, many folks have been asking me for my MySpace address


This has started to become more common than requests for my Web Site URL or email address. More often I hear of the buzz term “Web 2.0” as if the old world wide web, as we knew it, is on the way out.


Until now I have been happy to ride along with my web site and blog posts each time I have something to talk about, but recent events, activities and discoveries have made me think very seriously about these social sites.


I have to thank my daughter Ivy for encouraging me to this new outlet. I say “new” as its new to me. I know many of you reading this will have been signed up with Facebook, MySpace etc. for some time and are making good use of them.


For some time Ivy has loved posting photo snaps and notes on various sites around the web but I noticed she had become quite serious about her Facebook membership and page. A couple of times she sent me the “please join me at Facebook” messages so I responded and signed up, but I did not take this seriously at first. I had the impression that Facebook was merely a “party” kind of social site, an alternative to television, XBox and other kinds of digital fun entertainment.


Then I got a page listed number one on Google within 10 minutes!


About 3 weeks ago I was Googleing something and found what I was looking for. The biggest surprise was that the article I read had only been posted a few hours before. How on earth did they get a page on Google so fast?


This article was on a site called NowPublic, a lot less known than MySpace, Facebook etc., but I had to try it. Sure enough I posted a mirror of my blog post, that I just put up through Google’s Blogger, and placed it on NowPublic. Within 10 minutes my article was number one Google using the blog post tags as Google search keywords. Interestingly my Blogger version, on a Google network, took over 24 hours to appear and did not make top 5 for the same keywords. At the same time, my NowPublic article was now number 3, higher than my Google Blogger post on Google search. Amazing! I tried this again with a few more articles and achieved similar results.


I then met a writer who claimed that Facebook had made it easy to sell his self published book due to its many applications. At that time I was still trying to get the grasp of making YouTube videos. Then a couple of people from my distant past invited me to be “my friend” on Facebook, even though I had not posted anything of interest there. I was just a name on Facebook.  


So this past weekend I decided to join the “Web 2.0”  culture


What I learned and discovered surprised me, but here is my review.


MySpace


Still the most popular and, surprisingly, somehow even much bigger than Google with at least 5 times the page views of Google search. However, I am still not a big fan of MySpace. In fact its the social site I least like but will stick with it due to its incredible potential to reach people.


I gather MySpace started as a music promotion site, moved into films and videos and all kinds of fans networked around their “favs”. Suddenly its attracted high level business dealings and conferencing from all kinds of businesses as well as gathering folks together from all kinds of hobbies, interests and faiths.


I believe I signed up to MySpace about 2 or 3 years ago but quickly gave up as I found the navigation awkward. I make use of it now, but I have to travel to Carrick On Shannon to obtain broadband connection so I can work with MySpace. MySpace pages just do not seem to move at all when clicked in dial up connection areas. Even the broadband seems to need a speed of at least 2MB, so this alone causes me to be amazed at the popularity of MySpace considering access to it is quite limited to those with decent broadband connections. 


Facebook


Definitely my favourite, and I am sure it will be the number one social site soon. Very easy to set up and navigate. It most outstanding feature is its 100s of plug in applications that allow any user to build their own custom Facebook service and package that suits their needs.


So far I have found its direct hook up to Yahoo’s valuable “Upcoming” events calendar much easier than from other networks. This also works well in unison with some additional wonderful plug-in back office organizers and note takers. I am now trying out its YouTube skins service for presenting YouTube videos better than how clips are presented YouTube. There also a wonderful screen videoing and recording utility, great for archiving.


Of all of the “social sites” I believe Facebook must actually be the most social. I seems to be the only one designed with socializing in mind rather than focus on fan base gathering. On Facebook folks can get together on fun levels right through to very high level business networking.


While MySpace seems to me to be a “showcase” and “exhibition” site, Facebook is like the bar or cafe across the road.


My daughter Ivy likes Facebook’s photo album service, but I’ll probably set up a Flikr account for this as there is a application to plug in a neat connection to that too.


Best of all, Facebook and all of this plug in applications still works fast and smoothly on dial up connection speeds, one good reason why its popularity is bound to soar. I live outside a small village in between hills. No broadband here and dial up signal is weak, so this is important for me. I hope its potential exponential popularity will not slow it down, though.


Bebo


It is said that when the business moguls and “old farts” became the majority population on MySpace the “youngsters” moved to Bebo. However, it looks like quite a mature site to me, especially with a very important service for book authors, publishers and their readers.


Radio djs seem to like Bebo best for maintaining interactive fun with their listeners during their broadcasts. I am sure this is due to its incredible easy and fast navigation that djs will find easy to work with while multitasking with their broadcast. Great for online live djs, for sure. I wonder if Bebo will recognize this potential and will somehow develop applications that network closer with live online broadcasting streams?


I was surprised to find that I signed up for Bebo almost 3 years ago yet it runs like a newish site. Bebo is, perhaps, the easiest to set up but seems to have minimal features. Despite being minimal it navigates very easily and all seems to work extremely well. Interfaces are very neat, and I like its many “skin” choices to give your Bebo site “mood”. This is perhaps a lesson on keeping it simple to look and work its best.


Not so dial up connection friendly as Facebook, but still quite usable with my awkward online connection.


Yahoo 360


Is it me, or does everything that Yahoo creates seems to out of date? Users of “Flikr” and “Upcoming” will probably disagree, but were not these services bought by Yahoo?


I was amazed that I have had a Yahoo network page since 1999 and never bothered to gather “friends”. I think this was upgraded to Yahoo 360 a year or so ago. Like everything Yahoo I find the navigation clumsy and confusing, but somehow over this weekend it has been the most responsive for me.


Dial Up connection use, for me, is somewhere between Bebo and Facebook so this is quite usable for most online people, if you can work out how to use it. Skin options less than Bebo, but there are very nice ones.


NowPublic


For people into live news, gossip, reviews and always fresh journalism this is the site! I can see its popularity within the blog market going the same direction as Google did for search. NowPublic is much easier to set up and use than any blogger service or program but there are very important differences.


NowPublic does not currently plug in to web sites like blogs pages can be configured to do. Also, Now Public is also best used for hard facts news so it needs a different language to what most people write into blogs. This is the place to publish “cut to the chase” hard fact news and press releases that provide live “easy to assimilate” facts and to link people to your web site for more information.


As I mentioned earlier. The best use of NowPublic is to publish statements in Press Release style language that announces new features on your activities and you web site. You will usually have your NowPublic messages listed and linked on Google within minutes of publishing!  Besides being interesting and a valuable personal resource for information, NowPublic is also a wonderful backdoor route for getting your web site changes linked to Google search quickly.


YouTube


It is so true when we speak of how a picture can tell a thousand words. Maybe a video clip can say a lot more. I am thrilled that I have learned how to upload video clips onto YouTube and then embed and integrate these into other online pages and applications. There are perhaps easier ways to create and upload YouTube video clips than I use but you may find my blog on this helpful.


As well as being a site to host and share videos without charge there are social and networking utilities that I still have to explore.  Of course, as this service is about posting, reviewing and distributing video clips a good broadband connection is essential for using YouTube.


Now To Network


Now that I have explored and set up my place in the new Web 2.0 world, maybe a couple of years after several readers here, I now need to set aside some time to “make friends” take part in network and build networks.


I have heard and read negative comments about this concept of making “instant friends”, but I can only see a lot of value in meeting and exchanging with people within these networks. This is a wonderful way to reach out and connect with folks of similar and compatible interests, passions and intents, leading to friendships, sharing, exchange, trade and even treaties.  To me this seems like an online version of what Tara Hill in Ireland became and what we are now pleading to preserve.


I also read of many wonderful physical social events where these online folks meet and get together. The best part is that you do not turn up at these events with the discomfort of feeling like a lost stranger and then fumble around trying to find people you can talk to or have fun with. Though you may be meeting these folks for the first time, your online exchanges have already “cut the ice”.


So I would like to close this personal review by inviting you readers to become “friends” of myself and the Celtic Ways “mission” (which sounds like an awful cult word sometimes, but I cannot think of another word, at present).  


Here are my links,
please feel free to network with us through any of these: …


MySpace


Facebook


Bebo


Yahoo 360


Now Public


YouTube 


 

No comments:

Post a Comment