Tag Archives: Social network service

Embracing Change

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THE world is changing pretty fast – exponentially in many cases, particularly in the technology and online industries. It’s natural for anyone, regardless of age or creed, to feel overwhelmed by the library­ of choice. Laptops, iPads, notebooks, Kindles, iPhones, netbooks, iPods and gaming consoles are all on offer under different brands and with varying specifications. This is failing to mention the infinite range of smartphones.

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MeetYourFriends: Anti-social networking

MEETYOURFRIENDS: The real deal or complete scam?

IT can be forcefully argued that Facebook has set the benchmark for new and emerging social networking sites. In fact, morsels of the Facebook phenomenon can be seen in several non- social networking websites too – usually ones that allow users to provide status updates, add ‘friends’, comment willy-nilly and “like” certain things by giving them a digital thumbs up.

It almost seems that the online giant that Facebook has become could never be rivaled or surpassed by any other social networking site – no matter how enticing they appear; but there are still some that try.

MeetYourFriends dot com is one of the latest social networking websites to reach our screens and feels confident that it will “bury their rivals within days.” With a healthy initial investment and the aim of tapping into an apparent emerging market of 30 and 40-somethings, time will only tell if MeetYourFriends will succeed or fail.

MeetYourFriends

"MeetYourFriends.com is a back-to-basics social network that brings together new friends from across the globe. With simple sign-up and fast search, the website offers instant friendship using Direct Messages and Live Chat. Based on secure and powerful web technology, the social community brings the world to your front door for chat, fun, and friendship" - http://www.meetyourfriends.com

For those who wish to raise virtual cattle and throw sheep at their peers, MeetYourFriends will not satisfy. According to a popular MeetYourFriends press release published on Techcrunch, the site is a back-to-basics social networking site that will appeal to fans of The Beatles and sliced bread.

MeetYourFriends developer, Neil Bryant, explains that the service aims to target users who simply want to engage in casual chat. “We wanted to bring some fresh new ideas into the social networking sphere, and with a unique combination of email and live chat we think we may have just achieved that,” says Neil.

There have already been over a hundred comments from Internet users regarding MeetYourFriends – most of which were not favourable of the endeavour. There is a general feeling of “do we really need yet another social networking website that does the same things as Facebook?” as well as shared feelings that the entire venture is a scam.

One intrigued commenter tested the waters by signing up on MeetYourFriends only to find that he had to pay in order to chat to existing, high-profiled users. It was discovered that the ‘social networking’ service had a dating component to it whereby users had to pay if they wished to converse with the more exotic-looking users already on MeetYourFriends. He also found that many of the “models” on MeetYourFriends were Ukrainian and that he was unable to unsubscribe from the service.

A word of warning

Firstly, anything new in the social networking world needs to be different; different and easy to use. If legit, MeetYourFriends may win favour on the simplicity front, but I do not imagine it will become anything to write home or Facebook about.

It is also always important to consider the motives behind new social networking websites – especially ones that have invested so much into their creation. According the aforementioned press release, MeetYourFriends will not change its privacy policy or allow advertising once it’s settled on its laurels.

“We think Facebook is nervous, adds Neil. Global domination awaits.” Most will find that very hard to believe. As always, be cautious when handing over any personal information online; and if you dare enter, beware of being spammed by adware and spyware and the occasional Thai bride.

Some social networking humour: I leave you with the advert for Friend Face from that timeless episode of The IT crowd:

Related: The Future of Social Networking

The future of social networking

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AUGMENTED REALITY: Evolving into a highly transparent society

EARLIER this year I discussed the developments of SixthSense technology, which, in a nutshell, is the idea of wearing a gestural interface that augments the physical world with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.

In other words, having a mirror, pocket projector, camera and a cellphone connected to web on your person, would allow the world around us to become like a computer displaying certain information and performing particular tasks on request. Making a viewing box using your fingers and thumbs, for example, would take a photograph in a SixthSense world.

Such developments have been in progress since the beginning of this year. However, these have also been met with serious debates over people’s personal privacy and raised more than a few concerns.

It’s difficult to say if and how (or perhaps more importantly, when) such technology will enter society and become a part of our daily lives (at least for the digital elite with large bank balances). Nevertheless, several concept ideas are emerging to give us an idea of what living with such technology may be like.

The following is a concept investigation courtesy of online media expert Matthew Buckland (www.matthewbuckland.com):

A concept investigation
Below are some concept designs that Matthew Buckland and ace designer Philip Langley put their heads together to create. It’s an investigation into how social networking may work in the future, focusing on mobile and augmented reality.

“Our investigations were inspired in particular by some brilliant (AR) concept drawings, which I often use in presentations I give,” said Buckland on his blog.

“After some brainstorming and quite a few mockups, we came up with the below. Admittedly, augmented reality (AR) is the new hype, but you can see how valuable (and scary) this could be when applied to a social networking paradigm. It assumes amazing resolutions, facial and object recognition, and more accurate GPS — none of these far off.” — Matthew Buckland.

Face recognition
Futuros Man
Imagine holding up your phone or other digital device against a person you’ve just met or passed by. You’d instantly have information returned about that person within seconds, gleaned from an automa­tic web, public profile and social network search.

You’d discover common friends, talking points — and then have the ability to add him or her to your network. Using a semantic scan, you’d discover negative or positive comments on Google or elsewhere relating to this individual. It would be instant insight into the guy or girl standing right in front of you.

Databases and directories

Futuros Street

Discover who lives where and how you are connected; then phone them, e-mail them, add them to your network right then and there. Get other news about the suburb and other socio-economic information. If they’re part of your network, what are they saying about their suburb or the best pizza joint in the area?

You’d be able to hold up your phone in a crowded room and work out who is connected to whom. You could instantly gauge your primary and secondary networks and instantly work out who you should chat to, what the conversation points are, and perhaps who you should avoid.

Where are the cliques? Who’s an outsider in the crowd? What’s the buzz? We’ll never forget a person’s name again, suggests Buckland.

Goodbye to privacy?
Futuros Crowd
“Privacy is already an issue of concern, now and for our digital future, says Buckland. We’re still working out the ethical and moral framework around this. We may even see a backlash from society angry at this intrusion. It may, however, end up being okay because you will (mostly) be in control — you could refuse access to SNs, don’t tweet, assume personas etc.”

“But there will be information about you that you won’t be able to control too. There’ll be inevitable abuse and misuse of the information, which [will hopefully] be manageable.”

“However, more importantly — from a privacy perspective — almost everyone will be in the same boat more or less. We may evolve into a society that’s highly transparent and accountable. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry …”

IMAGES: Matthew Buckland and Philip Langley
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