Social Media

Social media network allow users to create, share and converse online at the click of a button. The focus of a social media network is a community (network) of people.

Social Network Applications

Social media sites are built on a social network application, which offer features such as user profiles and connections (friend/follow) with others.

Social networks are set up in a manner that focuses all about the people one is connected to. When you first sign in for example, you are presented with the current feed stream.

A Web feed or news feed (often just referred to as a feed) is a data format used for providing users with regularly updated content.

The feed displays all the latest activity/posts from the individuals in your network, as well as comments, likes and ratings on your on activity.

Like blogs, users can post a variety of content to their feed, depending on the limitations of the network. Often one can post text, links, images, and short videos.

A user profile page offers users a central location for all their own personal posts (feeds) and displays information about them and their connections.

Social networks are all about community conversation and the here and now. Posts are short and get to the point. The let your connections know what you are doing or provide  a snap shot of information.

Micro-blogging – the term micro-blogging refers to very short and precise blog type posts. Twitter has made micro-blogging popular by limiting posts to 140 characters.

Privacy Concerns

The whole concept of social media is to share your “status” with others. Give your connections a glimpse to who you are, what you are doing and what you are all about. The idea to generate a connection of like-minded people to work, play and share with.

Of course this very concept has brought up many privacy concerns. All social networks have some sort of privacy policy, which is a legal document that describes how your information, whether it be profile information, uploads or a status update, can and will be used.

When you post something online it basically becomes public to the whole world. On traditional websites, the content creator had the control to remove the information at any time. There is some similar control for deleting and editing blogs.

However, most social networks, limit this control. Once the publish button is sent, often times a post/update cannot be retracted.

Furthermore, the idea behind social media is to connect people, so many of these networks will use user information to help others find new connections. This is the basis for finding connections, but it could also allow for some individuals to be found by people they are trying to avoid.

When signing up for a social network it is important to be aware of what profile information, such as interests, activities, birthdays and so forth, can be viewed and publicly.

In most cases there are user settings that help individuals fine-tune how much profile information they are willing to display publicly and limitations to who can connect to their connection.

Why should I join a social media network

The primary reason to join a social media network is to communicate with others. They are a great way to meet new people, connect with old friends or converse with colleagues.

Social media is all about the here and now, and because of that it’s a great place to get instant feedback and make connections that can ultimately expand your professional opportunities.

Business can instantly advertise a new product or sale, employers can post job openings as they come available and designers can ask for feedback on their latest project. The instant response can sometimes be overwhelming but can also make for a very successful outcome.

10 Reasons to join a social media network

  1. Connect and Network
  2. Keep up with industry news
  3. Endless supply of resources
  4. Instant feedback
  5. Professional advice
  6. Virtual Office
  7. Relatively low cost
  8. Branding Tool
  9. Inspire others
  10. Competitive Advantage

Top Social Media Networks

  1. Facebook – Friends and family
  2. Linkedin – Professionals and colleagues
  3. Pinterst – Inspiration and ideas
  4. Twitter – News and Trends
  5. Instagram – Inspiration and ideas


A blog (web log) is a type of Web 2.0 web site that is made up of entries/articles referred to as posts, which are displayed in reverse chronological order.

The popularity of blogs rose in the late 1990’s with the web publishing tools that allowed the novice web user to create and publish web pages.

Blogs Today

Today blogs are maintained by a single or group of authors and built around a community of readers who share comments and grow the conversation of each post.

The impact of blogging has today become mainstream. Most blogs focus on a particular topic; such as cooking or web design. While other blogs are more personal journals, documenting daily life events.

As the popularity of blogs has grown marketers are using blogs to promote products and services through the personal opinions of blog writers. Studies have shown that blog posts that relate a story regarding a product or service is more effective than a traditional ad campaign.

Why Should I blog

In the early days of the web designers would create websites that advertised their skills and were essentially online portfolio/resume websites.

Though these sites were effect at time for promoting designers and getting their work seen, since then this method of online promotion has seemed to be come stagnant.

These portfolio/resume websites were infrequently updated and only provided a sample of skills sets of the designer, not reflect their personality and passion.

Blogging on the other hand, offers designers with fresh and current content for their sites. It also allows them to really highlight their personality and passion on topics in their field.

Today it is not a question of “Why should I blog”, for designers, employers expect for them to have one.

10 Reasons to have a blog

  1. Relatively low cost
  2. Branding Tool
  3. Fresh Content for the Web
  4. Learning Experience
  5. Share your unique voice
  6. Networking
  7. Demonstrates your knowledge
  8. Inspire others
  9. Competitive Advantage
  10. Give clients a way to connect

Following Other Blogs

Part of the effectiveness of blogging is being part of the community and conversation. With that said it is just as important for designers to follower other designers blogs, as it is to maintain their own blog.

The following is a list of some top web design blogs to follow:

Starting a Blog

A Content Management System (CMS) is web application that allows for easier content authoring and content delivery. Management and maintenance of an entire CMS website can be done from a central interface and with no little to no web technical skills required.

While CMS are used for developing a variety of websites, today many blogging applications are built on a CMS.

There are many different options for developing a blog. In 2013 The Next Web published an article on 15 of the best blogging and publishing platforms. The top three are discussed below.


WordPress is a CMS platform that comes in two forms, self-hosted and hosted.

A self-hosted package of WordPress CMS can be downloaded for free as an open source application from

Self-hosting basically means that one controls the server host, and requires purchasing a domain and hosting space.

While a self-hosted WordPress CMS allows for full control of the platform it may require advance developer skills in order to truly customize features. is a hosted packaged that users can easily sign-up for and have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. offers different package levels for their hosting services, from premiere business accounts to free single user accounts.

WordPress as a CMS is the platform for 19% of the websites on the World Wide Web, and 48% of the top blogs are also built on the WordPress platform.


Blogger is a free blogging platform from Google. Blogger like other online blogging networks allows users to quickly get started and start publishing online.

However, Blogger tends to be limited in their customization and style features. Google also seems to have lessen the support for Blogger updates.

Yet, anyone with a Google account can set up their Blogger account in a matter of minutes. With so many Google members it’s no wonder that Blogger is so popular.


Tumblr, which was only recently purchased by Yahoo!, is relatively a newcomer to the blogging platforms.

Tumblr tends to be popular with a younger 16-24 year old age group and those who are more active on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

The layout of Tumblr blogs can be customized by users, and tend to be more photographic in nature.

What is Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term that was coined by O’Relly media back in 2004. The term was meant to describe modern websites and the technologies that they use. These technologies allowed for websites moving beyond static pages and incorporating a variety of features such as virtual communities and user-generated content.

Web 2.0 Specifications

Currently there are no specifications for a Web 2.0 website. However, they are several features that help Web 2.0 websites differentiate themselves from earlier 1990 websites.

Websites that offer interactive application that promote user participation in way of contribution, organization and creation of content. It is also important to note that these technologies created using special platforms, where the end user need not be a master web developer in order to easily publish their content online.

W3C founder Tim Berners –Lee has been cited as describing the term Web 2.0 as “jargon”, because no one really knows what it is. Especially since his original vision for the web  was for it to be  open and free communication, anyways. The ability for the novice web user to instantly share and publish content online is one the driving factors to has lead Web 2.0 technologies to quickly become a pseudo standard in modern web design.

What is a Web 2.0 site?

When describing a Web 2.0 site it is important to note what exactly is a website to being with. If you recall from our previous lesson, a website is a group of related web pages, which all reside on the same web server.

Therefore any website (or page) that is online and offers a certain set of technologies fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella. The key thing to remember is that all of this Web 2.0 sites are still just websites at the core. .


Wikis are like online collaborative encyclopedias. Collaborative being the key word here. All users have the ability to revise and edit the articles within the wiki.


Blogs are essentially web logs that allow users to write articles (posts) on any given topic. A single author or a group of authors can maintain Blogs, while subscribers (readers) usually are given the ability to comment on a post. Comments contribute to the conversation and community aspect of a blog.

Web design students often comment saying they “want to make websites” not blogs. Keep in mind that a blog is still just a website that offers Web 2.0 features

Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, allow for users to create, share and converse online at a click of a button. They also allow for a community building aspect, by way of friending or following users.

Photo &Video Sharing

Sharing of digital files is another popular element of Web 2.0 site. Flickr, Instagram, Viemo and YouTube are just a few of photo/video sharing sites. These websites allow uses to upload their photos and videos to share with others around the world, as well as get feedback on the content.

File Sharing

Online storage sites like Dropbox or Google Drive offer online (cloud) file storage for their users. They also have a Web 2.0 aspect which allow for users to share their files with others.

Sites like GitHub offer a similar file storing feature, however they are designed primarily for developers. Not only can you upload your files, and share with others, others in the community can revise and update the files. All revisions and updates are recorded and archived. This type of ability makes it the perfect environment for developers to work in teams online.

Web Mail

Even web based mail applications like Gmail can be considered a Web 2.0 website, since they allow users to once again create, share and publish (mail) content.

The fastest growing web 2.0 technologies are blogs and social media.

How the Web Works

When individual users get on the Internet they are actually connecting to the World Wide Web (WWW or web), sometime used synonymously with Internet, the web is a system of interlinked documents located on the part of the Internet that is available to the public.


The Internet consists of the entire global network of computers. This network is made works on theclient/server model. Client/Server can describe a relationship between two computer programs. The clientcomputer requests some type of service (such as a file or database access) from the server. The servercomputer fulfills the request and transmits the results to the client over a network.

Peer-to-peer-network is a type of decentralized network where each computer on the network (peers) acts both as a client and server.

When a client computer makes a request to the server, the requested files are copied from the server to the client, this is known as downloading. The process of the page appearing in the web browser is called loading.s

Data on a network travels through what is called communication circuits. The amount of data that can be transmitted at any one time through a communication circuit is called bandwidth. Bandwidth is measured inbits.

Bits and Bytes – Computers are based on a Binary is a numbering system, consisting of two unique numbers 0 and 1. A bit is a single binary digit. A byte is made up of 8 bits.

In order to connect to any type of network a computer must have a network interface card (NIC) or network card. A cable is then run from the NIC to the server or another client computer.

In a large network a special device is used to connect the computers on the network.
There are several different types of devices used to complete this task each one has special capabilities.

  • Hubs allow for multiple computers to talk to each other all at the same time.
  • Switches are like traffic lights allowing one computer to talk another, one at a time.
  •  Routers are like switches, but also direct the data allowing for Internet connections.

There are different types of networks:

  • Local Area Network (LAN)
  • Wide Area Network (WAN)

Furthermore there are different types of network connections:

  • Cable connection
  • Wireless connection

Connecting to the Internet

In order to connect to the Internet one must first obtain an Internet service provider (ISP), who allows for access to the  network access points (NAPs) to the Internet.

In order for a computer to transmit data over a telephone or cable line, a device known as a modem is required. The modem allows for a connection to your ISP.

Go Wireless! In order to access the Internet wirelessly, a WLAN (wireless LAN) card is required and can be used in place of a NIC card. Note that a WLAN card requires that the computer accessing the network be within the range of a wireless access point.

Once connect to the Internet one can access the World Wide Web or web. The web is the part of the Internetthat is available to the public and is made up of a network of connected computers called web severs.

The web is made up of hypertext documents. Hypertext refers to text displayed on an electronic device with a reference (hyperlink) to another document that can be instantly accessed. The concept of linked hypertext is the defining foundation for the web and was conceived by Tim Berners-Lee at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

In 1989, Berners-Lee would make available on the Internet, the code for a hypertext server program. This program would later be installed on web (hypertext) servers and used to store files in hypertext markup language (HTML).

Since that time HTML has become the standard language for developing hypertext documents or web pages. A website is a group of related web pages, which all reside on the same web server. The homepage is the first page that displays when visiting a specific website.

In order to access information on a web server, Berners-Lee developed the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) a set of rules for exchanging files such as text, graphics/images, sound, video and other media via the web.

When a client computer sends a request it must identify a resource on the Internet or uniform resource identifier (URI) The URI is made up of two distinct parts the universal resource name (URN) and theuniversal resource locator (URL). Think of it like this, the URI is specific persons information in a contact book, the URN is the person’s name while the URL is the person’s address.

Thus, just as people have addresses to locate their homes, each web server on the Internet is given their ownInternet Protocol (IP) address. An IP address is made up of a set of four groups of numbers called octets.

Since it is difficult to remember large groups of numbers the Domain Name System (DNS) was established and Associates text-based domain names with numeric IP address assigned to a device.

top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last part of a domain name. A TLD refers to the top-level in the DNS hierarchy and identifies the website through association. The ICANN directs the designated organizations in the management of each separate TLD registry. Common TLD’s include:

  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .gov
  • .edu
  • .us (or other country code)

Therefore in order to access the Internet one must know the URL of the web page or site you are trying to access. The URL consists of the specific protocols for communication transfer, the name of the web server the data is located on, and the domain name or IP Address. One example is , HTTP is the protocol, www is the web server and getcreativetoday.comis the domain name.

Web Browsers

Web pages are documents written in HTML. HTML is made elements (tags) and attributes that define how and what content a web page displays. In order to display this content a special software called a web browseris required. A web browser translates HTML coding to display in a meaningful manner, with text, graphics,hyperlinks and more.

The Internet

We use it everyday to connect to friends and family, pay bills, submit assignments, watch movies, and look up the whether or just goof off. I’m speaking of course about the Internet. So, much of our daily lives takes place on the Internet it is sometimes difficult to imagine a time without it, but have you ever wondered what exactly is the Internet and when did it get started?

In simple terms the Internet is an interconnected network of computers on a global scale, which facilitate the sharing or exchange of information among its’ users.

Invention of the Internet

Although many of us could date the inception of the Internet back to the 1990’s its’ begging’s date back much further. No one group or person developed the Internet, but instead there were many organizations that help develop the methods and technologies that help lead way to the Internet we know and use today.

The foundations of the Internet began in the late 1950’s.  At the time computers only worked by batch processing, this meant that the computer could only work on one task at a time. That task had to be programmed on to punch cards. Then the system operator would take a “batch” of the programmed cards and feed them into the computer. The computer would run each task in order as they were fed in completing one at a time.

At this time in computer history, in order to store a lot of information, computers were huge and had to be stored in cooled rooms. Thus, programmers had to work remotely sending their work to the system operators to input into the computer; the indirectness of this method, lead to a lot of manual labor and bugs in the program.

In 1957, programmers had enough; a remote connection to the computer was installed, allowing direct access. Since multiple programmers now had access to the computer the concept of time-sharing was established, meaning that multiple users would share the processing power of the computer.

During the same time the United States developed the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) in order to assure Americas lead in technology. People, only transferred information at the time.

What is Data – Data are distinct pieces of information formatted in special ways. A computer program is a collection of instructions for manipulating data. The term data is most often used to describe binary information. Binary is a numbering system, which computers are based on, and consist of two unique numbers 0 and 1.

Thus DARPA’s first priority was to establish a large-scale network of computers to execrate the transfer of information and to avoid the duplication of already existing research. This scientific network would be known as ARPANET.

At the same time three other networks were being developed

  • RAND – a military network by the RAND Corporation in the US.
  • NPL – a commercial network by the National Physical Laboratory in England
  • CYCLADES – a scientific network by the Institut de Recherche d’Informatique et d’Automatique in France.

These networks along with the ARPANET would build the foundation for what would be come the Internet.

ARPANET began in 1969 connecting four computers, one at the University of California in Los Angeles, SRI International, The University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Utah.

In order for computers to talk to each other on a network they need to follow the same set of communication rules in order to move files between computers, these rules are known as transfer protocols. The first set of protocols established was the Network Control Protocol (NCP).  Soon, the NCP was replaced by theTransmission Control Protocol (TCP). The main feature of the TCP was the verification of information from one computer to the other, verifying where it was coming from and that it was received by the correct system. The TCP also included the rules to join and end connections on the network.

In order to send a lot of information at one time through a network, information had to be broken into smallerdata packets (small chunks of information) allowing them to move through the connection faster. The data packets would then be recompiled on the receiving computer. This method of sending data on a network is called packet switching. The NPL in England, used packet switching to the fullest since being a commercial network it had a higher rate of network traffic than the other networks.

DARPA’s research was taking place during the height of the cold war, thus one its main priorities was to ensure to transfer of information in the event of an atomic attack. At the time information was sent by radio waves, which render useless in such an attack, thus a distributive network had to be established.

The French network, CYCLADES had a smaller budget than all other networks, therefore its primary focus was on the connection to other networks. To increase efficiency on their limited network, CYCLADES developed a protocol instructing computers on the network were not to intervene with the data being sent and only to work as a transfer node until the data reached the destination computer. These protocols were built onto the computer’s hardware allow for a more direct connection.

Due to the incompatibilities of other networks the CYCLADES protocols quickly inspired a new way of connecting. With the advances in network communication the phone companies offered their services by developing their own X.25 protocol, which allowed for communication access through their service for a monthly fee.

With so many networks establishing connections around the world, it wasn’t long before the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) felt the need to establish some standard methods of communication. They began by developing the Open System Interconnection (OSI), which allowed for communication to be standardized from its end. This eliminated the need for computer to access a connection through gateways, as established by DARPA’s TCP.

Who is ISO? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was established in 1947 with delegates from 25 countries. The organization’s goal was to develop international coordination and unification of industrial standards. Today there are 163 countries apart of the ISO. For more information see

Using the OSI model, the TCP gave way to the TCP/IP protocol. The Internet Protocol (IP) is the rules for directing individual data packets. In combination the TCP/IP set of protocols includes a tool to simplify file transfer and to access computers that are not on the users primary network over, what we consider, the Internet. The TCP/IP would be the standard ensuring compatibility between networks.

In the 1980’s ARAPANET had more than 200 networks, with so much traffic and users, the network was divided into two. The Military Network (MILNET) would continue to be a secure network only for military research. While the Computer Science Network (CSNET) would be used by educational and research institutions. The CSNET would later merge with the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) to form one network that could care more traffic than had been previously. By the late 1980’s many TCP/IP networks had merged together creating the global network we think of today as the Internet.

Getting on the Internet

The 1980’s gave birth of the personal computer; thanks to advances in technology computers were now smaller, more powerful and affordable. Large companies and organizations would invest in computers and construct intranets. An intranet is a network of computers on a restricted network. This meant for example, company A had a network of computers that could only talk to computers at company A. While company B had computers who could talk to computers at company B. At this time there was no way for company A and company B computers to talk to each other.

Ray Tomlinson a researcher at ARPANET, in 1972 developed a program that could send and receive messages over a network, laying the foundation for email (electronic mail). At the time mailing listsnewsgroups(posting areas), and bulletin boards became a common method of sending information between users.

The Internet at the time was reserved for education and research. The NSF, who was overseeing the development Internet at the time, prohibited commercial use of the Internet. However, growing demand for better communication between commercial organizations, the NSF, in 1989, permitted two commercial email services allowing for limited Internet access. Finally company A could talk to company B via the Internet (an outside network).

In 1991, the NSF would finally lift the commercial ban on the Internet. To connect to the Internet the NSF developed network access points (NAPs), which would be operated by for four telecommunication companies, who sell access to large organizations called Internet service provides (ISP). Furthermore the ISP would provide access to business and individuals.

World Wide Web

The Internet consists of the entire global network of computers. When individual users get on the Internet they are actually connecting to the World Wide Web (WWW or web), sometime used synonymously with Internet, the web is a system of interlinked documents located on the part of the Internet that is available to the public.

Who runs the Internet

Since it’s conception in the late 1950’s many organizations played a part in the development of the Internet. Still today there is no central governing organization that oversees the Internet.

Instead there are several entities that work together to establish standards for the Internet. These organizations include:

  • Internet Architecture Board (IAB)
  • Internet Corporation for Assigned Number and Names (ICANN)
  • Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
  • Internet Society (ISOC)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The most recognizable of these organizations I the W3C, which develops recommendations (standards and guidelines) and prototype technologies related to the web. The four major areas which the W3C focus on include:

  • Web Architecture
  • User Interface
  • Technology and Society
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Web Accessibility

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, requires that government agencies must give individuals with disabilities access to information technology that is comparable to the access available to others. The WAI, work towards creating best practices and techniques for ensuring the accessibility of content on the web.

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