Saturday, October 15, 2016

Changes in social media happen to cultivate the mind and improve the world

It is a challenge to create unique content online. There are so many things that we can write about - from easy, interesting subjects to more complex issues about society and nation. Everyday is a learning process. We treat each subject differently as our understanding of things widens. As content creators, we need to make some serious efforts to offer something for our audience especially those that rely on us. We need to establish a reliable audience who can truly trust us and make us feel important and relevant. Research and resourcefulness and careful planning are needed to create interesting content. It is not easy though, but the rewards can be fruitful in the long run. 

Though not everyone has long attention span, it is still important that we try our best to have our readers engaged - by clicking, liking, sharing and commenting our posts. We cannot please everybody. But at least, we try and we give them the best that we could offer.

Blogging has obviously changed the writing landscape. Nobody censors our work but ourselves. Still, writing comes with full responsibility. Blogging doesn't give us the license to say anything we want, to slander or destroy someone. As the saying goes for social media - "Think before you click." Same is true for blogging - think before you write. After writing, think again before you publish.

There is always a new development, new creation, new improvement on how things run on the internet. We can embrace these changes or reject them. In May 2016, Instagram changed its logo from the colorful popcult image to simpler purple-pink-orange design. Instagramers did not like the new look. Almost everyone on the planet freaked out. When I actually first saw it, I thought something happened so bad with my mobile phone and applications, until I saw my friends posting their feedback on Facebook. 

Facebook would change its interface (both for its FB personal account and FB Pages) and develop new features and rules from time to time. From the time Facebook started in February 2004, for the record, it had undergone major design iterations more than ten times already. Facebook doesn't even announce that there would be an upcoming change in its design and features. It will just happen. I even witnessed those changes right before my eyes after refreshing the page in seconds! People who get used to using Facebook would not like the changes because that would mean adjusting again to its new layout.

I was a Friendster and Myspace addict in 2004-06. Although, when you think about it, Friendster (a portmanteau of "friend" and "napster") had quite a boring platform because there's not much to do than just to "connect" with friends (with a surprising limit of 500 contacts only), upload photos and sending personal messages. The best part only, I must say, about Friendster is its "Testimonial" feature. That word becomes a common everyday byword - at least for those who were hooked to Friendster. To ask for a testimonial from someone is like asking for a recommendation letter, where people can write mostly good things about you, and to vouch for your character, to prove how nice and dependable you are as a friend.

I was a bit excited when Friendster rebranded with a new hippie logo, new interface and new color (from dark gray to green & white). It saddened me when it was announced that Friendster was closing down in a few months notice. Too bad, I wasn't able to screenshot all my precious testimonials. 

Myspace was the first social networking site to have a blog feature where you can write your thoughts freely, and everyone else followed suit. It was also unique for Myspace to have music album feature where you can upload your own music and arrange them in folders. It was a hit in the US primarily because independent music artists have found a venue to showcase their music for the world to hear, and some Filipino music artists have done the same.

In 2007, I was encouraged by my student to try Multiply. Since then I got so attached to it that I wanted to be immersed in Multiply everyday even though we didn't have a fast-speed internet. It was during those times that I would still purchase prepaid Bonanza internet cards that were used for dial-up access (with free internet from 12:01 midnight to 6:00 am) giving me endless headaches because of its 30-60 kbps speed capacity. How's that?! The only productive work I could accomplish then was email (including Yahoo groups). These days, we use Facebook groups.

I really liked Multiply because of its various features - photo album, blogging, short notes (like post-it notes), videos, link listing, etc. It was my first platform for blogging. When Multiply decided to change its format - as an online market place - it was not easy to accept its sad fate. I found myself in a limbo -- thinking about the time and efforts I have invested in creating my content on my Multiply account. Again, I had to adjust to this change by moving on to find a new place for my life in the cyberworld.

LinkedIn, being the social networking platform for the professionals, has adopted the various features of all the major social media platforms. Despite its interface complexity, there is so much to do on LinkedIn. You can Like, Comment, and Share posts (statements/views/opinions, photos, article links). You can create your full job & education profile here that serve as your online resume. Human Resources Department of companies, recruiters and anyone turn to LinkedIn to look for possible candidates for a job opportunity or projects. Others believe that job hunting websites are not the "in" thing now, but LinkedIn. Some projects and possible opportunities I get came from this platform.

Here, you can create a summary of yourself, like what you've been doing, what jobs you are interested in doing, what motivates you in life etc. You can also enumerate the things you can do under "Skills & Endorsements" and people who believe in you on these capacities will click each item and their profile photo appears in those lines. Frequency is then revealed by how many people have clicked your skills and your Top 10 Skills are shown.

On LinkedIn, you can also list down the organizations you are/were involved in, the advocacies you want to support, and the honors and awards you have received. You can connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. And the list is definitely endless! was bought by Yahoo and became Google created Google+ (Google Plus). Gmail was created to compete with Yahoomail/Ymail. "Yahoo! Meme" was lauched online in August 2009, inspired by Tumblr (but it didn't last long for its lack of users). The very ambitious but amazing Google Wave existed only for 20 months, died in April 2012. Twitter invented #Hashtags (the word with a pound sign, which was then adapted by Facebook, Google+, Instagram, etc.) -- or at least it was Twitter that first used and implemented the #hashtags in the social media sphere. Youtube and Instagram were bought by Google. Vice Ganda was the first Twitter user in the Philippines to hit a mark of 1-million followers. All of these changes and innovations will continue to happen, to exist and to thrive because new ideas keep on developing that will help cultivate the human mind and improve the world.

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