How I’ve used web 2.0 tools this semester

I’ve been using many web 2.0 tools before this semester, but I’ve learned about a couple of new tools and new aspects of the tools I already use. Here are a few that stand out to me.

I joined Twitter a little more than two years ago however I didn’t use it often. I thought it was just there to update people on what you were doing or where you were. This semester I saw that it was more than that. It is a way to add another dimension to a conversation. Before I had a smartphone and all my tweets were texts to my phone it used to annoy me when the people I follow had conversations over twitter. I didn’t get why they didn’t just text each other. But now I find it really cool. Virtually anyone can join in on the conversation and for me that makes Twitter more fun.

I look up alot of things on Wikipedia. There was a time that anytime I had a question about something I’d Google it and read the Wikipedia article. That’s part of the reason why I know so much useless information, but it was a good way to get a brief overview about a word or topic to understand an article or book I was reading.
While I’ve used Wikipedia for years, I’ve never contributed an article till this semester. I wrote an article on Samantha Chapman. She’s a makeup artist that I watch on YouTube. The whole process was interesting. It showed me that almost anyone can contribute to Wikipedia but there are requirements and editors in place to make sure information is legit and useful.

I first got DropBox when my cousin told me about it this past summer. Every now and then we ask each other what apps and games we should get for our phones. However I didn’t really use DropBox till the semester started.
In my Computers and Writing (ENGL3372) class we use DropBox to turn in assignments, share articles, and edit each others’ papers. I think a few of my other classes would benefit from using DropBox the same way have in ENGL3372. Also since UT Arlington is promoting Going Paperless, DropBox would be another step forward in this.
I talked about DropBox in my Speech class for our Informative Speech assignment. It was cool to see that more than half of the class already use DropBox, but I was slightly disappointed that I wasn’t showing them something new. My professor in that class never heard about it so at least she was listening.
Aside from ENGL3372 I keep my class notes in DropBox. I used to email my notes to myself so I could read/study them on my phone whenever I’m waiting around somewhere. Now I don’t have to email them every time I update my notes. They automatically update when I save it to DropBox.

I loved the idea of this website when I first heard about it in class (ENGL3372). My bookmarks bar on my browser is pretty full and I didn’t want to add more bookmarks. I also share alot of links with my cousins so I thought we could use Delicious to share stuff. That didn’t happen. Then Delicious changed things up a bit and I didn’t really like it anymore. So I haven’t used it in a while.

Google+ and Facebook
Facebook was great for me two years ago when I was officer of an organization on campus. It was a good way to promote events, keep in contact with my fellow officers and group members, however since I’ve left that organization I’ve become less active on Facebook. Also with the interface changing so often and all the new features I often want to delete my Facebook account. I still haven’t, but I don’t update anymore. Every now and then my sister or friend will tag me in a picture or check me in at a hangout but that is pretty much it. We’ve also talked in class about privacy issues which makes me not like Facebook even more.
I like Google+ so far. It’s still pretty new and not everyone has made the Facebook to Google+ switch yet. I find that to be a good thing. Most of my “friends” on Facebook are people I don’t talk to anymore and would rather not be connected to anymore. The main thing I like about Google+ is the hangout feature. It’s pretty much video chatting. I don’t believe there is a limit to how many people are on at once. My cousins have big video chat sessions every now and then. We’re all really close and grew up living close to each other but over the years we’ve spread out so it’s a great way to keep in touch. On the hangout feature you can also watch YouTube video at the same time (a cool little detail).

We also recently figured out we can video chat on our phones with the Google+ app. Again I think there’s no limit to the number of people on at a time but there are a few drawbacks. If any of you have hungout on Google+ before you know that the main video changes to whoever is talking automatically. You can click on a specific person if you want him/her on the main screen, but by default the main video changes on it’s own. On the phone anyone not on the main screen shows up only as a picture. Another glitch was that some people caused a feedback sound. May have been because their internet connection wasn’t strong enough or something but we don’t know the real reason behind this yet. Aside from those problems it was really cool being able to video chat with multiple people on my phone.


Response to Johnson and Huberman’s Articles about Twitter

How twitter will change the way we live

In Johnson’s article, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live,” he describes how Twitter has become a new way for us to communicate.  One can update his status, discuss with a wider audience, and share a link leading others to an article, video, etc.  He further groups Twitter with many other products of “American innovation,” such as eBay, Wikipedia and Facebook, which have become “lifestyle-changing hit products.”  After reading this article and looking at how my friends and I use Twitter I can see how it has changed the way we live.

Twitter is viewed by many as a mini-blog limiting each post or “tweet” to 140 characters.  You can tweet from a computer, but in class we agreed that most of us just use our phones or mobile devices.  The mobility and limited characters give us more reason to post throughout the day or give status updates.  Getting updates in realtime seems to give us a closer insight into someone’s day rather than reading a diary-style blog where one recaps several events at the end of the day.

Twitter adds another dimension to how we communicate, or it has “added a second layer of discussion.”  Johnson gives an example of this from a conference he attended called Hacking Education.  There were a few at the conference discussing various issues face to face and they opened the conversation by using Twitter and the #hackedu hashtag.  By doing this they reached a wider audience and gave voice to many ideas that may not have been mentioned from the group of 40 present at the conference.  I personally don’t use Twitter to this capacity however this semester I will try to.

Social networks that matter:  Twitter under the microscope

Huberman’s article discusses how a person only interacts with a few of his/her “declared,” friends or followers.  Further with more interactions we find that these people will post more.  In my experience with Twitter I find this to be true.  I have lost personal contact with my “friends” so I don’t interact with them through Twitter or Facebook as much as I used to.  Even though I don’t keep in touch with these people they are still my “declared,” friends.  This goes with what Huberman’s notion that, “a small percentage of the contacts stored in the phone are frequently contacted by the user.”