Technology changed what it means to be together.
This week I was introduced to crowdsourcing and online social structures and I found it very interesting as it made me think about my own network. Being able to use online spaces gives us the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world and it affects the way we use the internet. But what is my network? What does it mean? Who is part of this network?
When I think about my personal network I can’t think of any online space I use only as an individual. In my opinion online spaces are made to interact and communicate with other people. As a result the online spaces where I’m most active in are facebook and Whatsapp. At the first place I thought I only use facebook to write to friends but when I think of it in more detail and be honest to myself it’s not about writing messages. It’s about follow others life. Seeing my friend’s pictures and reading their posts gives me the feeling of being a part of their life, although I know it’s a weird kind of “contact” to follow their facebook pages.
Furthermore I personally find inspiration and access to ideas by looking at other pages on facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. Isn’t it interesting that the initial idea of facebook was to be a platform for people to be able to stay in contact with friends?! But now Facebook is a network-world, where you can find information about almost everything: there are pages about companies, where you can even link the website to a page, there are pages about how to be creative, and there are pages about events, invitations, games and much more. On the whole you can say that it replaces other online spaces or you could say it includes most of them. For instance, it is no longer necessary to google a website, the only thing you have to do is to type it in facebook and you will find what you are looking for.
To apply this knowledge to the foundation we are working with, I am convinced that an updated and attractive facebook page will bring them more attention and publicity.
Coming back to my network I would like to add that I also use other online spaces to learn more about topics I’m interested in. For example, if I have a question about baking (because I’m really not good at that ;)) I just post my question on one of the numerous forums (e.g. http://www.bhg.com/advice/food/baking/) and I can be sure someone is answering within the next hour. And the good thing about it is, that not only one person is going to answer, but many. Furthermore in some online forums there is a possibility to vote for the best answer. In my opinion that is the intellectual power of a large group or, to say it with different words: croudsourcing.
I hold facebook and whatsapp in high regard to keep in contact with my friends. I use Youtube as an entertaining website and instagram to learn more about pictures and other creative people. My Tumblr page is a valuable space for me as I put in a lot of effort, ideas and thoughts. But the most valuable website to me is Wikipedia. It is not only valuable to me but also to other people and that’s what makes it special. I think the collective intelligence is one of the best ways of education. I personally find it very useful to look things up in the Internet to get an overview of opinions and knowledge.
On facebook I am a member of defined groups. Some of them are with my friends, some are with people I work with to share ideas or information about our work (e.g. our projectcommunity page). But I also joint networks without knowing all the people in this group just because we share a common interest, for example the “For sale in Den Haag” group on facebook. And this is an interesting point I found out about me, because I always thought that I would not interact on online spaces with people I don’t know outside the virtual world. But obviously I do! And I also interact in a wider network by using Youtube or Wikipedia.
Besides all these networks I am using, there is of cause my email account. To be honest, it is the most relaxing online space I’m using and I feel very comfortable with the way it works. Because the only reason I log in is to see whether I received an email or not. There are just two possibilities.
But when I log in my facebook account, there are messages, new pictures, news, events etc. It sometimes even feels like a duty to be online and always available. I myself sometimes like to switch of my phone and be aware of not being available. But today’s world depends on technology and online social structures. Using online spaces is the easiest, fastest and most common way to gather information.
One of the good things about being a digital native is, that most of the people in my generation learn very fast how new networks work and they feel comfortable with most of them. Well, these networks are designed to work easily and most of them work very similar.
My personal preferences are online networks that give information. Whether it’s about friends, news and general knowledge about baking…and of cause the online groups I am a part of are related to my interests. In my case these are groups about movies or photography, design and architecture. Most of my personal network consists of people I also know outside the virtual world, but when it comes to general questions and knowledge or short contacts, my network expands to a worldwide network.