Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Virtual World

When i first used Email in 1997 i was amazed by how fast it was , less than a decade after that i was looking out for something different to it, something that would make me feel more connected than the feeling of talking or writing to a machine. In 2007 i joined Facebook and found out the new meaning of writing on a "wall". the interactivity and the fact that one had to do nothing extra to reach to all friends was amazing. I started reconnecting with friends from high school, colleagues from my first job or the new friends in my life, but this was restricted to the people i know and people who know me.
Although i joined Twitter few years ago i did not realise its value (hence little or no activity before yesterday) until i joined this course on Government2.0 at SU. Twitter makes it possible for me to follow anyone whose views i want to know about , it may be the prime minister or president of a country , a movie star, a well known expert without the need or the compulsion for them to know me. Also Twitter is more than just a communication channel it is also a medium to gather information on things that are happening and are talked about around the world, something known as "Trending". "hashtags" are very important to keep track of things that are trending . it is quite common to have more than one hashtag in tweets to make sure that a wider but relevant audience is reached . Traditional media now follows the twitter trend to break new stories as well as put across opinions of wide number of people around the world. The term "citizen journalism" has found a new meaning and a higher dependence by the real world media. More often it is these tweets from the ground that are the only source of information that too in real time.
So much for the media and media watchers , what role is the government playing in this virtual information game. Governments in western countries are using social media to not only decimate information but also to gather information. Governments of the developing countries like Nepal have no idea what Twitter is and are infact look at it as a medium that takes away their traditional control over information . I hope i can learn more on social media and web2.0 to be able to convince the government of my country to look at it in a positive light and use it for the betterment of the governance system as well as connect with the vast majority of youth who are increasingly getting disillusioned with the government.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The world is flat

Having studied Geography actively and passively for about 15 years, I obviously subscribed to the long-held notion that the world is not a flat space; that the world is spherical. Of course, Christopher Columbus' expeditions and discoveries still hold true, but recent advancements have led me to rethink the idea of the world being a flat space. Having been immersed head-first into the world of social media, I have come to the conclusion that the world is flat.

Seven years on YouTube, five years on Blogger, five years on Facebook, three years on Wordpress, three years on LinkedIn, two years on Twitter and five months on Google+ have convinced me that there is nothing too difficult to do; no one too high to chat with and nowhere to far to visit. My network grows by the minute and I'm constantly interacting with friends and business associates from across the world. Within 24 hours I typically check in with my parents in the Caribbean, my work buddies in Nigeria, a prospective employer in South Africa, old pals in Ghana, good friends in India and Uzbekistan and classmates in Syracuse, NY. Of course, I chat regularly with a significant other in Columbia, SC and engage in several other random discussions with friends and strangers around the world.

The more I learn about the intricacies of social media, the more naked I feel, yet the more excited I get. I'm enthralled by the versatility of the internet and the possibilities for breaking new grounds and attaining new heights. At this stage, I'm not necessarily freaked about every social media application (for instance, I'm just not a fan of Flickr - maybe because I'm not so much into photography), but I'm obviously dipping my feet into professional applications that enhance my social image. Isn't that why we're all online so much? Am I the only one who googles myself? Of course not! That's what you plan to do after reading this.

Whether you're as excited as I am about the amazing possibilities of new social media applications, or you're one of the slow adopters, the undeniable truth is that social media has aggregated so much of our individual lives on one flat surface and no one is as far away as they used to be.

"Don't miss your chance to Hangout with the President"

This evening, President Obama is going to be discussing this year's State of the Union address on Google+ Hangout. Hundreds of thousands have contributed so far to determining the content of this virtual interview, with selected citizens who will participate live this evening.

 There have been significantly varied responses to last week's State of the Union; will this follow-up interview significantly shape the perception of his agenda?