Web 2.0 in various parts of my life

Web 2.0 tools such as forums and online work spaces tend to be a very useful resource to me. These days, I think nothing of hitting up forums for anything I’m interested in locally, such as for conventions and events. Whilst in my University assignments, my first thought insofar as group work is concerned is to create a new Google group for collaboration purposes.

Internet Forums are an interesting thing. If I had to describe them in my own words, they work a bit like youtube’s commenting feature works, except that initially you’re presented with a page of “Threads” to choose from. Once you click on a “thread”, you are presented with an opening post, which generally denotes the topic, and you’re free to reply to discussion contained in following posts.

The most use I get from them is from either organising my own public video gaming events, or in collaboration with others. I find this effective because my target market with gaming events are generally (in my experience) those who would find out about these events through the internet. They’re also an effective means of creating discussion spaces that are visible to everyone, and can be referred back to as well. It comes back to the idea that older forms of communication create closed channels that are visible to only a select group of people.

Ever since the beginning of Uni, I’ve tried all kinds of Web 2.0 tools to collaborate with team members. I’ve tried wikis, and google documents before, but I’ve found that Google Groups have worked best for me. Google groups is a service that provides a workspace for you and invited contributors (though they may also be made public) to start discussions, create pages and upload files for sharing. In a sense they work like Wikis, but the integration of email services which email users of updates in discussions and of new discussions has made it invaluable. Chris in this blog post notes on the usefulness of google groups in a business situation, one of the biggest advantages being that it is a free solution to file sharing that is hosted in the cloud.

Discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world!

That’s the slogan of the popular Social, Web 2.0 service ‘Twitter’ that you hear about all over the news and that people talk about all the time. However admittedly I’ve never seen a need to really try it out or want to try it out. Micro-blogging, isn’t that what facebook is for?

Nonetheless, my Enterprise 2.0 unit at university seems to encourage the investigation of Web 2.0 tools and services I’ve not tried before, so off I went. www.twitter.com went into the address bar and before I knew it I was registering an account and verifying my email address. The set up process seemed very welcoming, giving me a range of topics and categories to start adding twitter accounts for me to follow. Clicking on Australia gave me Kevin Rudd’s twitter account, so I followed that, whilst ‘technology’ gave me Bill Gates, so I followed his too.

The next step saw Twitter analyse my gmail account for twitter account holders I’ve got in my contacts, giving me a list of people I’ve emailed who’s twitter accounts I could add. I chose to add the twitter account of a website I follow daily called ‘SixPrizes’.

The last step let me search for any person or organisation I could think of. I searched for ‘Nintendo’ and added Nintendo America’s account.

Clicking done took me to a page where I could ‘tweet’ a message for followers to see, and also see the tweets from the people and groups I’d chosen to begin following. Kevin Rudd just got out of hospital and a bunch of WiiWare games have been added to Nintendo’s online distribution service for the Wii.

All that was left was to use the service as it is intended – that is to ‘tweet’ a message for all of my potential future followers to see:

“Launching into the world of twitter for the good of my Bachelor of IT degree!”

I think the thing I like about Twitter is that it’s a lot like Facebook in that you’re kept up to date with people’s thoughts and feelings and messages, but that’s it. It’s not cluttered up by applications, social games, photos. It’s quite literally a concise mini-blog.

As long as I was on a roll with Web 2.0 services that I’ve never used in any great capacity, I thought I’d try subscribing to an RSS feed. Being a Firefox user, I thought the first thing I’d try is adding a widget of some description just for this purpose and I found one such add-on called ‘RSS Ticker’ that (description) which I picked mostly since it had a high rating.

Once installed it asked me to subscribe to a news feed concerning web trends, so I clicked ‘ok’ and along the bottom of my firefox browser window came a scrolling bar of various news story blogs. I hovered over the bar, causing it to stop scrolling and clicked a link to a blog containing a blog post about a number of recent DVD releases.

After seeing this tool in action for just a minute, I can already envision myself adding a number of RSS feeds to it. By going into the tool configuration, it gave me the option to add more, so I added the RSS feed for www.smashboards.com and behold, the auto-scroll bar updated with links to new threads on that forum.

I think this goes to show that experimenting will go a long way. In Uni group work and my social life and even in enhancing my web browsing experience!


Okay so my initial insight into blogging

Being that I’m big on video games (when I have the time), I find that I’m not un-used to putting my thoughts and feelings out there on the internet for more than just my facebook friends – that is – I’m used to posting on public forums where you register an account, and post on topics (threads) made by others(or made yourself).

Through my most frequently visited forum (Because I’m a global moderator there), I’ve also experimented with blogging for a while too, some of it is context specific to the what the forum is about (meaning many people wouldn’t understand some of it), some of it is more general.

As to the question of how blogging can be useful to me, I believe it can be useful just like any other social media platform can be. A blog to me, is a web space that you can populate with whatever you want the world to read.

It may be about yourself, and it may not be for any real purpose but to put your thoughts and feelings into words. It may be crafted and maintained with an intent to sell yourself to the world, and as such, potential partners and employees, but regardless of whether that is a contributing factor, whatever you decide to publish to the internet becomes a demonstration of who you are, your thoughts, feelings, opinions and abilities in terms of what you write about yourself doing and what people can infer from your writing ability.

To give an example of this, I searched through Sacha Chua’s blog and found an interesting blog post about an interview she gave answers to for a course on ‘Social Media Education’.

Her writing in this post shows not only her educated insight into issues regarding Enterprise and Web 2.0, but also demonstrating that she is also somewhat of an authority – seeing as inspiration for the post in the first place stemmed from being interviewed about the topic.

In the very same blog post she explains how she spreads awareness and builds a community around herself. Put simply, she doesn’t put too much emphasis on her personal brand, but rather, she lets what she does form the brand itself by writing insightfully in her own blog posts and in comments on others.

The important aspect, ‘findability’ stems from the same train of thinking, where it’s not about actively engineering oneself as being findable through specifically crafted tags, but rather, by being somebody who is worth finding and following in the first place.

RockTheJob’s youtube channel has some interesting viewing as well, giving tips on building your web presence, this video in particular I found particularly worth watching informed viewers about the best way to get targetted organisations or businesses to notice you, or at least get people to notice your cause – all through Web 2.0 mediums.

Enterprise 2.0 is clearly an important evolution in the way we conduct business activities and processes as well. A simple google search of ‘Enterprise 2.0 Blogging Tips’ rewarded me with a blog post with tips on increasing the rate of adoption of these platforms, located on a blog dedicated to tips on Enterprise 2.0 in general. Whilst another website I found contained a Blog Post regarding Boston’s Enterprise 2.0 Conference, with a number of interesting points about the subject highlighted throughout and picked out by the blogger.

Evidently establishing a web presence and taking advantage of digital work spaces is important in today’s age of computers. I myself have already experienced to some degree the effect it can have on both myself and other people, giving me pathways towards and helping me network with people such as the administrators of ‘www.lansmash.com’, a team that I’m now a member of, as well as helping run events at the Brisbane based ‘manabar’, and all of which in much the same way as Sacha has done before me – simply by being an active participant in those relevant online communities through which I am noticed and followed.