An Ex-Teen Reconsiders The Privacy Status Option

I’ve personally noticed in the past week that kids have more options these days for social networking, and every once in a while it gets scary. I know that this isn’t entirely new, but through a few personal experiences, it’s been drawn to my attention in more prominent manner as of late. My little brother is a pro at taking pictures of himself using his camera phone, and a few other pre-teens I know have taken to online dating. Dating?

Now, when I was a teenager, social networking made up a good portion of my time, especially as it had begun to really pick up steam just as I was getting ready to trek off to college. Back then we didn’t really have private profile status options, or niche networks to choose what type of information went where. And as a teenager, I was fully aware that “putting myself out there” was somewhat risky business, but I still wasn’t fully cognizant of what all that meant.

When it came down to it, I was probably sharing more information than I needed to. Teens are far more aware these days, but parents still have a growing concern over the amount of information that their kids are placing on the web, even if it’s in the for of an image, and not always a direct phrase or set of data that would be immediately recognized as personally identifiable data.

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So are me and my friends just getting older and wiser, and have kids these days learned from our mistakes? Then again, it could just be the “phase” excuse, where teens do things that the rest of us don’t understand, and we call it a phase, hoping they’ll grow out of it. Just like we used to shop at Spencers and PacSun, we would now rather head over to Macy’s and Brooks Brothers. But will things like additional status options for social networks solve the problem?

There are a few additional issues to look at as well, one of which is the fact that giving teens the options doesn’t mean they’ll take them. In response to such attitudes, which could lead to a bit of “mommy and daddy know best” reactions, there has been a good amount of regulation in conjunction with th social networking providers themselves to protect the youngsters.

How far will that go, especially as social networking now extends across devices, in multiple manifestations, such as mobile hand-helds and video games? While I regret to see such a strong push for increased regulation (like permission slips), I am interested to see how the powers that be will further respond to the rapid ways in which social networking options make their way into every corner of our lives.

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Twitter Economy: The Coral Reef of Social Networking

I’ve been watching Twitter for quite some time now (haven’t we all?) and it’s become one of those movements that has a lot of potential, so we’re stuck waiting and watching, to see in which direction it will go. While most websites layer in new features on a rather consistent basis, Twitter hasn’t needed to do so, thanks to its API and a lot of addicted developers. The economy of Twitter has long been building up steam, and I have been waiting and watching to see how others will take advantage of it. With some of the recent applications that have launched, I’ve had a renewed opportunity to explore the Twitter economy, and thought I’d take a look back over the past year.

What initially sparked my interest was the way in which the Daily Woot began using Twitter to announce their regular specials on random items. It seemed like the perfect fit, and I imagined other businesses would find similar ways in which to integrate announcements to large sets of people for a direct economic gain.

That didn’t seem to gain traction on a larger scale, and applications that let you post images, tinyurls, and jargon translated into pirate talk began to emerge at lightening speed. None of them really took you outside of the central Twitter experience, but most seemed to work perfectly from third-party apps, such as Outlook or AIM. Very valuable for one’s own closed Twitter network, but with the growing number of social media sites that have integrated Twitter or Twitter-esqe concepts, as well as the growing number of sites that seek to aggregate and extract Twitter data for statistical or search purposes.

So in looking at popular parasitic networks that support a great deal of third-party services, there’s the obvious culprit in MySpace, and more recently Facebook. These both have avenues for allowing other services to leverage their user bases and draw them away from these respective social networks, if only for a short while. What I have yet to see is a comprehensive way in which the content coming from users has been leveraged for substantial purposes outside of the direct Twitter networks.

Perhaps I’m thinking about things in the wrong way–maybe Twitter doesn’t need to layer in more features (even in the face of multimedia competitors like Pownce and Tumblr), and even larger blogging platforms like WordPress, which has just released Prologue), and perhaps the best use of Twitter is its basic formation of streaming updates from a slew of people that can access its portal through various means (hence, the Twitter economy).

twitio-logo-spaced.pngThis coral reef of social networking doesn’t need to change, and the flurry of activity going on around it will enable Twitter to remain the same for some time to come. So what are the next steps for the Twitter economy? Should Twitter reach critical mass, there’s even more ways in which Twitter’s metadata can be used, more so than the applications we’re seeing now. For example, twit.io has started down this track with a classifieds-type system. What happens next is that twit.io and others like twemes manage to make Twitter hyperlocalized, allowing users to take Twitter content outside of the realm of an immediate network to gain from this massive cross-section of shared knowledge.

In the same way I wonder if Facebook status updates will ever become archived and searchable, I wonder how the Twitter economy will evolve as more rich applications integrate its service, and other applications build out the utility potential of the very concept of Twitter.

Kristen Nicole’s New Media Resolutions for 2008

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I know it’s cliche to blog about your own new year’s resolutions, on your own website, but I’m learning to embrace the world of cliches in an effort to breed more cynicism. So here goes.

Kristen Nicole’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2008:

Blog on my own website. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but this is my first entry on my website. Could anything be more cliche fitting than to resolve to keep my website updated? I think not. And that’s why this tops my resolutions for the year.

Hire a college student to organize my the images saved on my hardrives. Yes, that’s hardrives in the plural sense of the word, and I use the word in this manner because I utilize multiple computers for work on any given day. This indicates that this lucky college student may earn some extra cash by first centralizing and cross-populating the images I have saved across all these computers. From there, the images need to be organized.

If you read Mashable, you’ll notice that we use a good amount of images, which typically consist of company logos and screen shots. The screen shots aren’t so important for saving later on, but the logos are. One of the secrets to my speedy blogging success has been a deep pool of ready-made logos for use on Mashable posts, having already been formatted to Pete’s specifications. When you begin using images within the body of the text, there are other formatting requirements that need to be accounted for as well. So when it comes to posting a blog entry with logos and images, better organization will make me more efficient overall.

Use social networking to my advantage. I write about social networking for a living, and rarely get to use it for what it’s worth–a communication tool amongst friends. I’m like that hair dresser that has a bad hair do because she’s so busy doing everyone else’s hair. As with my own website, updates just aren’t frequent enough, and with the constant new experiences and life journeys that we have, I’m anxious to capture it all using online social networks.

cbs-daytime.pngCreate a custom RSS Feed for my favorite soap operas on CBS. First, let me tell you the problem with classic soap operas on CBS. They don’t have an RSS feed for their daily updates. I don’t have time to watch soap operas on TV, and they’re far more engaging when you can just read an entire week at once, instead of being dragged along on an episodic basis. And while CBS finally began offering online video replays a couple of months ago, there’s still no easy way for me to get the content from the daily updates without going to the site, and experiencing some very poor organization and navigation.From Strata to Dapper, there are a ton of options out there to help bridge the gap between old and new media, and I’ll be using one of these tools to just go ahead and make my own new media version of an old media service. It’s bad enough CBS hasn’t been as active as NBC, ABC, FOX and Viacom for its online efforts, so my particular resolution is merely a microcosm of all the things that are wrong with old media on the web.

Keep a tab open at all times for my Google calendar. I’m an external person, and by that I mean that I’ll pay attention to things that are right in front of my face. This goes for just about everything, from gadgets to food. Put a mobile phone in front of me and I’ll download Zuma, play for an hour and beat your high score. Put food in front of my face, and I’ll start snacking. Why not apply this to my daily work life? Now I’ll see that time block I “penciled” in for updating all my own stuff. Can you electronically pencil things into a web-based calendar tool?

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Support the striking writers’ plans for Internet distribution…from afar. This is mostly for selfish reasons–I really miss good shows like Heroes. And I’m tired of the writers’ strike. A few writers have taken measures to put more control into their hands by carving out their own niche in the online world. That’s all fine and dandy, but I know from personal experience what hard work it is. I also see, on a very daily basis, the struggles, toils and woes of content creators trying to get attention on the web. Not just the regular Joes out there, but even the content creators with connections, like Will Ferrell.

And while I know I won’t get any Hero-sized hits on the web right away, I do think the furthered exploration of Internet distribution is a necessary direction growth for the spurred integration of traditional media concepts into the web, as well as the resolution of all this writers’ strike crap. It’s a short-term fix that will lead to better television content by the end of the year, along with better use of alternative channels for content delivery.

Short-term because the writers hoping for online success are dealing with an entirely new structure than what traditional media has always offered. That’s typically a good thing for the type of content you’ll get online (less regulated), but this all eventually “rights itself” and we’ll end up with more regulations for olnine content in the end (booo). At any rate, my one piece of advice for writers heading online: provide text updates of your content via RSS feeds, even if you’re not making a soap opera.

Return to this blog post in exactly 1 year and get a cheap update post out of it. The good thing about doing these “milestone” articles is that you’ve got a shoe-in for follow-up posts a year later. You get to laugh at yourself for saying all those stupid things last year, and everyone else gets to laugh at you too. When you think about it, this really is the best model for a recycling economy when it comes to blogging content. 😉