Sunday, January 9, 2011

New (to me) Media Sunday • 9/365 •

Sometimes I play games for work. Really, for work! New technology, new trends, news and events – are all twists and turns along the professional and personal roads we navigate. I can't be an expert in everything, but It is my job to be aware. 

Beginning today and henceforth, on Sundays, I'll share a new (at least to me) thing or two that I'm dipping my toes into. I would love your feedback if you're using these. How are they affecting you, how do you see them affecting the world?

Social media has brought us all together. Facebook is King right now, and as I mentioned in "Nostalgia at the speed of technology," we are becoming less expressive because of how close together we are. It's kind of like the population in general – once upon a time we lived far apart in farms or houses or shacks. We would visit our neighbors and we knew all about them. Then as population exploded and we moved into apartment buildings, sharing the same walls, we stopped even speaking to our neighbors much less getting to know them. 

That kind of separation is against our nature, though. We are social creatures. So the next logical step after the great migration to Facebook is segmentation. We'll see more and more subcultures crop up again, where people feel safe to express themselves in a certain way. 

This Sunday's two medias are a product of that segmentation. 

Path is an iPhone app. It's a social network that runs only on pictures. You are only allowed 50 friends, so they will most likely actually be your friends, and you are only allowed to post pictures, so they will see what you're up to. You tell your story with pictures. Fun! Drawback is your friends all have to have iPhones, too. Because of that, I haven't used it enough to judge it well. 

Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.
It's a wiki for q+a. Where it gets segmented is that you "follow" questions and categorize them and each question can become a story. You'll see questions ranging from, "What are the best running snowshoes?" and "Do the majority of founders of tech start-ups come from wealthy families?" to "If I'm not happy with life, should I commit suicide?" 

Quora makes it easy for you to follow your friends from other places, so right away you're in a group that you recognize. Jury is still out for me as to how useful it is, or whether it's just a very interesting way to spend time.

Are you using either of these? If so, what are your thoughts?

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