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

Blogging

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

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 WordPress.org.

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.

WordPress.com is a hosted packaged that users can easily sign-up for and have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. WordPress.com 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

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

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

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

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.