Celebrating Social Media Day

Today is social media day and 500 cities around the world are celebrating it. I have just checked the list and saw that Brasilia the city I live in is one of them. It is for sure a day to celebrate because it has to do with the development of tools that allowed users to move from passive consumers to producers of web content. As a language teacher and a citizen, I am happy to see the possibilities it creates for my classes when my students and I have moved beyond using the web to do treasure hunts. Now we can create our own treasures and share them with the world. The media becoming social is a bit like the fall of the Bastille of official, filtered, censored web. Before blogs, you tube, social networking, and so many other possibilities of publishing content, one could only have his or her voice heard online if he or she possessed very advanced computer skills. The so called social web has democratized the cyberspace allowing anyone to share their ideas in any way they choose with the advantage of getting feedback. Social media transformed the one way approach to publishing into a multi party conversation. The reasons why we should celebrate social media are many. I myself just wish some more people join us, social media fans, to make the cyber and the real world a better place.

To tweet or not to tweet

Twitter has recently reached widespread fame and usage. It seems that everyone is twittering now. When I listen to the news on my car radio on my commute to work I hear the news anchor announcing the station’s twitter url. Some banks advertise their twitter accounts as way of getting feedback from their clients. In class, I have observed that most of my students are connected to twitter. However, at the same time I see how people use twitter and I kind of understand why some object joining it and dismiss it as a useless tool, or just passing fad that will go away. They might be right, but while the hype lasts, some of us can get the best it has to offer: its capabilities for sharing, getting news, and keep connected to your friends and updated on your interests.

Twitter is for me like my daily news. The difference is that I get the news every time I turn my computer on. Besides that, I also get updates while I am working on it. Some people claim it is overwhelming and distracting, but so is everything in life. We are always filtering information whenever we read newspapers or magazines, surf TV,  radio channels or the web. Twitter is just the same. Besides being a source of daily/breaking news, it is also a way of sharing things I find on the web with the people that follow me. In this sense, it is a sharing button: a good way of spreading news other than sending an e-mail with a link to your friend without the need of a reply. Moreover, it is also a way of being ubiquitous (if this is possible) due to its integration features. Even in cyberspace, we cannot be everywhere, but twitter allows us to be in many places. I myself have connected my account to my posterous blog (which is connected to my blogger blog, tumblr, wordpress, and friendly feed), to simplybox and diigo (which allows people connected to my twitter see the things I bookmark), to facebook, and other services that I cannot recall right now or may feel a bit lazy to list them all (or might not want to make it boring for my readers). I see the later features as a good way to establish a reasonable online presence. To sum it up, in my opinion, twitter can be a great tool if it is used wisely.

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The toys I play with

I have just got my computer back from the repair shop. I have had this one for almost two years now and I still intend to keep it for some time. It amazing how paranoid computer technicians seem to be. The repair guy reconfigured my computer and blocked almost everything. So, while I was trying to get around all the barriers I now had, I kept thinking about how web 2.0 fanatics enjoy being around computers experimenting with tools. I had a great pleasure in reinstalling my firefox browser and all the add ons I use. My nephew, who is very smart when it comes to computers, always asks me why I have so much stuff on my toolbar. I really love quoting, twittering, bookmarking, and so on. So, I spent a big part of this evening trying to get all my add ons to work. Some of my colleagues get really upset when things do not work they way they wish with their computers, I do too, but I end up enjoying all the hassle that comes along with it. I guess computers are my toys and i really love playing with them. I think once we grow up we have to find new toys. Some people enjoy fishing, others enjoy watching soccer on TV or live. I love working with computers and sharing my discoveries.

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