It seemed fitting that when I went on Twitter this morning I noticed that it had been updated to a new version. The new version is noticeably different, seeing as the Twitter feed is now on the right hand side, and all other information, including follower requests, and trends are listed on the left hand side. In addition, the area to post a tweet is also on the left hand side, whereas before it was located on top of the twitter feed. Additionally, when I updated my Twitter for iPhone app a few days ago, I noticed that the interface of the app had noticeably changed as well. The symbols/buttons are the same for both applications so they have very similar representations. I also think it gives the site a much more clean and digital-type look.
Moreover, it’s interesting to think about how Twitter will continue to change in the future. I can’t even imagine what Twitter will look like in years from now, and what kinds of features have been added. I think about how Facebook has evolved and changed drastically over the years and I really think the possibilities are endless for social networking sites.
And I have to admit, I never thought I would jump on the Twitter bandwagon, but I’m really happy that this project forced me to do so. I couldn’t imagine my life without Twitter, seeing as it has become the main way that I access information on a day-to-day basis. I also have found that I like Twitter much more than Facebook and have replaced my preference of Facebook with Twitter. While don’t tweet every day or even very often, I check my Twitter feed multiple times throughout the day and reply to any @ mentions that I get from my friends. I have obtained 53 followers and am currently following 98 accounts. So slowly but surely I am constructing my networked invidualism and online identity, which will only continue to expand in the future.
When I searched Twitter on wikipedia, I found that the Twitter is extensively covered on the site. Wikipedia currently contains pages such as: Twitter, Twitter subpoena, Twittering Machine, Twitterific, Twitter usage, Twitter Joke Trial, Twitterfall, Twitter Power, Twitter Markup Language, and Twitter for iPhone. After searching through several of the pages, I wasn’t sure what or where to add. Additionally, the main Twitter wikipedia page is locked, so I was unable to add information to that page. I decided to make my contribution to the page dedicated to Social Networking Service.
After reading the first paragraph on the page, previous contributors discussed the concept of online communities and how social networking services are actually more individual-centered. I felt it was important to bring up Wellman’s concept of “networked invidualism,” since it broadly applies to all types of social networking services, especially Twitter. I even added a citation that links to Wellman’s wikipedia page where it talks about “networked individualism” and similar concepts.
Here’s what I added to the page:
A social network service better represents networked individualism. Networked individualism refers to the idea that loose egocentric social networks are based around the individual and the individual’s identity and works to connect friend circles together . Social networking sites allow individual users to share ideas, activities, events, photos and interests within their individual networks.
And here’s what the Social Networking Service page looks like now:
Following the guidelines of this assignment, I tracked every single computerized thing that I used today…and I wasn’t very surprised by my findings. I spent a majority of my entire day using my computer and iPhone. On my computer, I used the internet various time: for social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, using Google to do research for a class assignment, booking a flight, using my personal and school email, as well as Learn@UW. I also used my computer for Skype, taking notes in Word, and using powerpoint. I used my phone plenty throughout the day as well to text, check my email, make phone calls, and take photos using Instagram. I also have an iHome that I use for a clock in my bedroom, so I used that this morning and I will use it right before I go to sleep. Finally (but I’m not entirely positive this counts), I used the credit card machine at the check out at the grocery store, which is electronically hooked up to their check out system and sends the information to and from. Regardless, the main computerized things I used today were ironically all accessed through Apple products.
I recently found out about a specialized Twitter app called UberSocial. Up until now I have just been using Twitter on my computer and through the regular iPhone app (I’m not as “Twitter dependent” as most people are), so I was intrigued to see what this app was all about. I looked to their website to find out more information, in which I found out that the app works not only on iPhones, but also on Blackberrys and Androids. The website claims that UberMedia (the maker of UberSocial and another specialty app called Echofon) “makes it easier for users to find, follow and communicate with others on Twitter and other social media platforms.” I went ahead and downloaded UberSocial. I had to authorize the app to access my account, and informed me this application can: read tweets from your timeline, see who you follow and follow new people, update your profile, post tweets for you, and access your direct messages; which is similar to how the regular Twitter app functions. However, this app allows you to customize it by choosing a color scheme that you like, which differs from the default theme of the regular Twitter app.
UberSocial was also a bit more pervasive than the regular app. After I chose a color scheme, a message came up telling me to follow UberSocial on Twitter and to provide an email address so that they can send information about service issues and product updates. Since I don’t really care to know all this information, I decided not to follow UberSocial. Once I declined, another message came up asking to follow UberSocial just for news and updates, which I declined again. I personally found it annoying and didn’t like how the app itself had a social/interactive function on Twitter because I simply wanted to use it as a service.
Once I was all logged in, my Twitter feed immediately came up. While it has similar features as the regular Twitter app, there are a few differences. First, it shows account names, @ mentions, links, and hashtags in a different color than the main text of the Tweet, which I actually really like. Also, instead of the toolbar of options on the bottom, access to everything is located on the top of the screen. It also features advertisments on the bottom, which is a little annoying but tolerable. The biggest difference between the regular app and UberSocial is that it has a whole hidden toolbar of options. I clicked through most of the buttons and found that UberSocial is definitely more advanced than the original app. There are a ton of different types of settings that you can choose, including account settings, tweet settings and performance settings. It seems to give the user a lot of control over how they want the app to run and certain information or actions. While I can definitely see why many Twitter users would want to use UberSocial, it is just a little too intense for my liking. Everything that I would want to do on Twitter can be done with the regular app, so I’m not sure if I will continue to use this or not.
For this assignment, I first watched a YouTube clip called “SNL Kim Kardashian Fairtytale Wedding Divorce Parody in HD.” I knew I wanted to watch this clip so I searched for it, and there were several results. The first one I clicked on said that “this video contains content from NBC Universal, who has blocked it on copyright grounds,” which is extremely prevalent to what we’ve been discussing because it is a clear example of copyright violation. The next clip I tried was too blurry for me to watch, so I finally came across this one. It was obvious that all of the clips with this type of content were videotaped from people’s TVs and then posted to YouTube, without copyright consent. The particular clip I watched had 13,433 hits, but the other similar clips had thousands or tens of thousands hits as well, which shows that these pirated clips still make their way to many, many people.
I then went to watch a clip on Hulu. I was going to watch the same clip that I watched on YouTube, but I like how Hulu has a much more sleek and simple set-up that displays a few ‘Recent Episodes’ and ‘Popular Clips.’ So I clicked on ‘Popular Clips’ and decided to watch the “SNL: Jason Segel and Muppets Monologue.” A 30 second advertisment for the Value City pre-Thanksgiving sale immediately started playing, which was annoying, but it’s better than a 3 minute commercial on live TV. After it was over, the crystal clear monologue clip started and you could tell that it wasn’t pirated from TV. The NBC logo was featured next to the title and info of the clip, so it was apparent that Hulu has copyrighted content from NBC.
I definitely liked watching the clip from the original source on Hulu much better than a pirated clip on YouTube. I also feel like YouTube is much more cluttered than Hulu. Hulu nicely organizes its content and even has tabs so that you can choose to read comments/reviews of the clip only if you want to. Also, I know that when YouTube has copyright consent on it’s videos (i.e. certain music videos), it also shows a 30 second advertisment; but since most of the content on YouTube gets posted without copyright consent, the viewer is able to avoid the ads which is obviously appealing. Overall, I think that YouTube is convenient for looking at quick and funny clips and/or music, but Hulu is better for clips from TV shows (not to mention you can watch entire episodes).
When I view content online I honestly don’t pay much attention to copyright laws or other regulations. I simply don’t make a conscious effort to always adhere to copyrights, especially since there seems to be so many ways around them. I occasionally watch TV shows and movies online, but I usually watch them on Netflix or their respective cable network sites, which have the proper copyright over that content. My friends have showed me several websites where I can illegally download full seasons or episodes of virtually any TV show or movies, but I just don’t feel compelled to do so. Which is in part because I don’t trust weird third party websites and all the pop-ups that come with them. However, I do sometimes download music illegally through certain sites because, let’s face it, free music is more appealing. In terms of other content online, I never realized that every time we use something–whether opening a link or clicking something–it makes a copy. I also never think about the copyright of images/pictures that I use from Google and other websites.
The activity element is accessible through the tab at the top of the Twitter timeline, and it is also featured on the right-hand side listed under trends and who to follow. This new activity facet allows you to see the favorites, follows, retweets and more by the people you’re following. Now that the activity tab contains all this real-time active information, Twitter has changed and condensed your ability to view your own tweets that were retweeted and @ mentions into one tab under your account name (before, there were two separate tabs for retweets and @ mentions). While I don’t mind the structure changing to condense all the things that are pertinent to your account into one place, I really can’t stand their new activity aspect. I think it coincides with the desire of SNS, like Facebook, to be more public and pervasive. Recently, Facebook has added a real-time activity feed onto the side of its main page, showcasing every comment, “like,” tagged photo, post, recent friends etc. that your friends make while you are accessing the site. While Twitter already has a real-time Twitter feed, it has never included any additional information of those you are following except for their tweets. More importantly, every move you now make (i.e. what posts you favorite, who you choose to follow, what you retweet, etc.) is showcased to the people who follow your account.
This definitely represents the more public shift that social networking sites are moving towards. The current settings that SNS are implementing make already publicly available information/activity into being even more public without the consent of its users. This basically demonstrates the concept of data mining, which is the tracking of online activities. The things you now do based on the structure of SNS sites like Facebook and Twitter are tracked and presented to others on those sites. This also brings in the concept of reputation management, which entails that we can actively manage what we do online, because Twitter has moved toward a direction where our control of online privacy seems to be dissipating. I personally find seeing everyone’s activity annoying, and I similarly don’t want my activity to be showcased to my followers. It’s disappointing because I’ve liked how Twitter never publicly included activity information like Facebook does, but now it seems to slowly be moving down that path.