Saturday, 7 June 2014

Social Networking Reblogged

Social Networking

Before we get into this article, here are some fun statistics for you

There are 63.3 Million people in the UK
There are 33 Million Facebook users in the UK
There are 30 Million Twitter users in the UK

There are 6.9 Billion people on Earth
There are 1.1 Billion Facebook users across the globe
There are 500 Million Twitter users across the globe

Facebook these days is the default for most people. Its questionable origins in 2004 have made creator Mark Zuckerburg one of the most influential people on the planet and the youngest billionaire ever.

Twitter is a celebratory favourite thanks to the likes of popular figures such as Barack Obama and Stephen Fry. Created by podcasting company Odeo in 2006, it quickly gained popularity due to its simple nature and accessibility.

Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected. Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services.
— Mark Zuckerberg in a letter ahead of Facebook's IPO filing / February 01, 2012

Zuckerberg’s vision of a more connected planet is certainly an intriguing proposition. We truly live in a fantastic time where we can communicate globally and instantly to close friends and if we so chose millions of people. Is it all relevant though?
In some ways yes, in others it is a fantastic waste of time and does it intrude on your privacy

Facebook recently has come under fire with regards to privacy issues and what is known as targeted advertising.
Targeted Advertising is nothing new. Your computer uses ‘cookies’ to collect data about your preferences and interests. Amazon is a great example of this. For example if you at one time searched for ‘Apple Ipad’ you will receive your usual search results. After this when you look at the amazon homepage again you will notice the page has altered and now shows offers related to the ipad and accessories you might like. That in a nutshell is how Targeted Advertising works.

With Facebook though it gets a little more complicated. You have the option to like brands and celebrity figures on Facebook. Doing this then allows these brands to promote offers and there product. For example if I liked TGI Fridays on Facebook then they can then promote special offers to me. This I think is fine as it’s a service I have agreed to.
Where Facebook comes in to what many consider a grey area is the form of targeted advertising based on your personal details. When you sign up to Facebook you fill in various details about yourself such as date of birth, relationship status, interests and so on. Facebook have the right to sell or share this information with various advertising agencies who then target you with adverts tailored to you. These come up in the right hand panel

1: I follow Coke Cola on facebook
2: Facebook pass my details onto an advertising agency
3: Advertising agency then promotes Red Bull on my news feed

This form of targeted advertising could be considered intrusive. But it is in the terms and agreements when you join Facebook and in fairness they do update you when there privacy policy changes. And you do have the option to limit what your profile says about you. Personally I don’t have a problem with targeted advertising. Facebook obviously costs a lot to run and maintain, not to mention how many people depend on it on a daily basis. The way I see it is thusly, you can have a free service that asks for a little bit of our information or you can have a subscription based service which you pay for. In terms of a business model the Targeted Advertising Angle is preferable to a chargeable service. So unless you want to start paying for Facebook, the targeted advertising is here to stay.

Twitter is a much simpler website. Not so much a social networking site but more of a micro-blog. I tweet a lot (fans can follow me on the link to the right or  Popular with numerous celebrities (including Justin Bieber sadly) Twitter has allowed many celebs there own voice against the media and amongst fans.

It can also be used inventively. Paul Smith became the world’s first ‘Twitchhiker’ (great book btw) and travelled from the UK to New Zealand via the US in an attempt to reach Campbell Island. He did this solely on peoples goodwill and generosity. Many businesses use Twitter in an effort to promote certain products and offers. Competitions are ripe on Twitter as well.

One of the appeals of Twitter is the simplicity of it. You have a 140 character blog, you can post photos, links, videos and retweet peoples tweets. Thats more or less it in a nutshell, no game requests or pokes. This appeals to a lot of people and a lot less personal information is given to Twitter.

So how does Twitter make money ?

It has a few options. The most common are Promoted Posts or Organisations. In this case a company such as Ford would pay Twitter in order to have a promoted page. When they launch a new car they can then pay for a promoted Tweet which will go out to numerous users.

So there we have both examples of the two most successful Social Networks of recent years.

Which is better I hear people ask on a regular basis. Well it depends on what you want from it. I personally find Facebook more social and Twitter more useful for news. To be honest if I were you I would sign up to both and see which you use more.

Though do be careful what you write online. There are many stories of people being fired for online comments and divulging company secrets.

So in short use common sense and think before you tweet

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