How to craft your Internet

If you spend more than an hour online everyday, it’s your Internet! You are an active Internet user!! And, that is a very powerful tool!!!

As it is said- “With great power comes great responsibility!” it’s also your responsibility to ‘maintain’ it.  🙂

More than anything, it’s easier than you would think!

I see Internet usage broadly in two ways:

  • Give
  • Take

While most of the Internet users just ‘take’, it’s only fair enough we ‘give’ once in a while.

Consumption:

This is what most of us do everyday; ‘take’ content from the Internet.

  • We login to Gmail, process a few email and sign out.
  • We open a news website and read a few articles.
  • We open YouTube and watch a video or two.
  • We open Facebook and scroll through the feed for an hour.
  • We open Flickr or Picasa and check out a few pictures in an album.
  • We search in Google when we are looking for something and skim through the sites for information.

All these are the ‘consumption’ activities. Users that do just this can also be called as passive users of the Internet (leech might be inappropriate, heh?).

It’s as good as watching a regular TV.

To keep the Internet active, fresh and lively, it’s important we contribute as well. Make it interactive!

Contribution:

It’s possible we contribute at the same time we consume the content from the biggest ever pool of information.

  • Upload pictures of an event/ travel/ pets/ occasions etc., to Photo sharing sites or personal galleries.
  • Upload videos to  YouTube or any other online location and share.
  • Add comments to pictures and videos we watch.
  • Participate in discussions where possible.
  • Interact.
  • Add comments to facebook updates, pictures, videos.
  • Share articles, pictures, videos etc., on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Write blogs, add comments, or share the ones of value.

Unless we add more content and just keep consuming the existing one, the Internet experience eventually becomes stale; a long way to go but still possible.

Craft:

Along side consuming and contributing to the biggest library ever, we can even ‘fine tune’ the Internet to serve better on what you want/ feel/ need/ like/ prefer etc. Most websites/ tools that we use today use intelligent algorithms. So, our feedback is actually put to use and the content is refined.

I personally think networks like Facebook are a huge hit and addiction because they allow us to consume, contribute and fine tune- all at the same time!

  • When you receive a spam email, mark it as spam instead of just deleting it and moving on. Spam filters learn by your action and do a better job in the future.
  • When you see content on the web that you like, “Like” it if there is an option.
  • When you think some content might be useful to somebody else, do not hesitate to “share” it.
  • Sharing content can be through email, or social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Find a balance between creating original content and sharing. When we share too much stuff that is useful to nobody (like a picture with just quotes “Hit Like if you think love is beautiful” or “Hit Like if you think cats are cute”) will make Internet think we are all idiots.
  • We are not idiots; tell Internet that!
  • Share personal experiences, reviews, preferences; as you benefit from other’s content, let others find some content to weigh their options.

Like everything else, there’s a line between doing it and over-doing it. So, of course know how much is too much and consider your privacy preferences before you post your bank statement or bad appraisal letter snapshot on facebook. 😛

If you already ‘contribute’ enough- adda boy! You and I are making Internet a good place! 🙂

If you don’t, and want to, you can start by expressing your thoughts on this very post and/ or by sharing this post with others! 😛

Is the facebook festival over for you?

When did you get on facebook? How much time do you spend every day updating your status or reading others’? I bumped into questions like this when reading an article about the recent social networking analysis. It is said that though very slow as of now, the decline curve has started; and one of the primary reason is big giants getting in for business, but it does not end there.

For me, it’s been about a year since a buddy introduced me to facebook. I entered to check out few pictures and the journey began.

Facebook apparently has more than 250 million active users now. Unlike other social networking sites, facebook is said not to boast their numbers with inactive/ dead accounts. All these members login at least once every month. Though the percentage of new users in the Americas has slowed down, with introduction of natural languages, it looks like the growth from rest of the world is tremendous. And, when compared to these numbers, quitters are very less, but experts say the trend has started. It’s not unheard that there are many users dumping Flickr and Picasa too for sharing pictures on facebook. This could mean, like many other social networking sites, facebook could be history too. However, what is concerning is the reasons these quitters do so.

While many say that it is eating up a lot of their time, there are others who have much worse effects. They feel they are losing touch with their real friends; updates and status messages are followed and it is felt that they are very close together, while it has been more than six months they either met or said hello over the phone. It gets worse- a common problem has been identified where facebook users felt they are stalking their own friends! You browse their profiles and skim through the wall without even posting a comment or having any interaction. For specific stories read through the Facebook Exodus and The Facebook backslash. Yeah, Bill Gates quit facebook too, but for totally different reason.

For those who try to convince that facebook has a different purpose like expanding their network of friends by meeting new ones online, or discovering long lost old friends, quitters are vexed up to buy this. They say that everyone has been found through some site or the other and that they are losing the existing ones in real life, considering they are available at a click on facebook when needed. Help to quit facebook is available too! Check this and this.

There are a number of social networking sites (MySpace, LiveJournal, Classmates etc.) that ruled the Internet during the recent past and are now history. I’ve been a part of the few and frankly, didn’t even hear about many. Among the ones that I am active right now, facebook and twitter are the ones worth mentioning, and based on the activity I can’t dare to mention LinkedIn among the above. The complete Social Me is available on the top right hand bar on this blog, check out! Am wondering if this could be a fad like Orkut, for which the festival was over about a year ago for me. I just login to reply if anyone scraps and get out of there within couple of minutes.

But there is something else. Facebook has come into the limelight as the profiles are checked out by many prospective employers and government agencies and God knows who all. It is considered to have understood a slice of life by reading through the activity for a few weeks. Some users are getting uncomfortable with the intrusion, leaving facebook. But there is advise on how to make this work for you and not against too!

Keeping aside the analysis and the current trend, how are you affected by facebook, or any other social networking site right now?

  • How much time do you spend every week [on facebook]?
  • Are you happy or having ‘fun’?
  • Would you save some time for something else or be better off with this face?
  • Do you have any strong reasons to hold on to, or quit facebook?

You can share your thoughts in the comments. For myself, I spend less than 15 minutes on facebook, on those  days I login. I am making sure not to miss out on the major fun part, but making sure that the festival is not over too. Is the facebook festival over for you?

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