#Addicted to Twitter

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With over 500million users and thousands of tweets every second of every day it would be unfair to say that twitter is a new kid on the block in the social networking world. However the phenomenon has only really caught on in Ireland in the last year. You now see people inserting the ‘hashtag’ symbol into every aspect of everyday life. In my opinion the reason for twitter becoming so popular so fast amongst my generation of friends is related in a huge way to its social networking counterpart facebook.  For some reason which is neigh on impossible to explain, over the last number of years there has become a huge stigma attached to updating your status on facebook. People who update their status on a regular basis often have to endure the wrath of keyboard warriors who complain about the point being made with such creative adjectives as ‘boring’ or ‘stupid’. Twitter is a happy medium where people can express their thoughts with no stigma whatsoever. All they must do is to conform with keeping their thoughts below 140 characters. Any naysayers can then be told to click the unfollow button if they attempt to reinforce their reputation as commander of the keyboard warrior army!

The negative connotations associated with the word ‘addicted’ make me hesitate to admit it, however it is hard to escape the fact that I am extremely fond of the social media platform. An average day consists of 4 to 5 tweets, most of which are nonsense that were typed out on the spurr of the moment at different intervals throughout the day. The freedom to announce your feelings online with no stigma attached is the real attraction to Twitter, coupled with the fact that it is so easy to see the feelings of 500million others including countless fading celebrities attempting to cause controversy in a last ditch attempt to boost their waning careers.

  These statistics may broaden your mind a bit more in terms of twitter addiction…

Surfing The Web in a Filter Bubble

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The concept of the filter bubble is one which my not so technologically gifted mind is struggling to get around. Basically, the only way I can make sense of it in my own head is just by personifying online search engines such as Bing, Google and Yahoo as an attentive friend who listens to what you have to say without contributing massively to the conversation. This ‘friend’ knows your interests simply by how much you talk about them, they could tell you what sports you like, what social networks you use, what college you go to and what music tickles your fancy. Likewise these search engines can calculate how much you browse each site and how many times a day, week or month that you visit each of these sites. In doing this they know your interests, which allows them to make assumptions about what you are likely to find interesting in the wide range of topics available online. This system that is run by the aforementioned search engines does benefit us and I can confirm that for me personally it improves the quality of my time spent online. There is less time wasting searching through endless reams of results in search of websites that are of interest to you.

To be fair given that nowadays we have the pleasure of having access to every piece of knowledge known to man at the press of a button, I know that I for one do not use it to its full potential. Is that the fault of my particular filter bubble? The pride of place given to facebook, twitter and Sky Sports News in my filter bubble means that the plight of swordfish trawlers in Fiji does not get the attention that i’m sure it deserves!

Overall I have mixed opinions on filter bubbles and whether they are helpful or hurtful to my overall internet use. In my opinion they are without a doubt a positive for people who use the internet for leisure but people who like to use the internet as an educational tool must become frustrated with them. Lets be honest who doesn’t need a friend that listens to your every command without demanding that you do the same!! 

In my research I found this link very interesting.

Is Facebook taking over our lives?

 

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 I’m not going to lie, I did snigger a little when I saw the title of this blog. I immediately thought to myself, ‘for once i’m going to have an excuse for my procrastination while doing an assignment!’ I think the fact that that was my first thought justifies the question being asked, and also provides you with an indication of what my answer is going to be. In one word I have to say…yes!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             If the statistics are to be believed the average Irish facebook user appears online under seven hours a month. In my case, and in the case of every one of my acquaintances the reality is that we are online considerably more. Unfortunately I am not blessed with the monetary funds or the desire to become part of the smartphone generation, but many of my friends are…how do i know this? Because they tell me, over and over and over again. The ultimate chat starter among  my not so conversationally blessed mates is to refer to ‘the new photo yer wan has up’ or some other useless snippet of information that they have soaked in from the constant grazing of their facebook newsfeed, or as some like to call it, stalking. They are online almost 24hours a day and when they are not online they have a setting  on their gadget to alert them to anything they may have missed, just for fear they would be stuck for something to converse about! One statistic says that 57% of Irish Facebook users talk to more people online than in real life, couple that with the fact that Ireland has well over 2million users shows that it is not a problem that can be stopped. It is a widespread epidemic that will not be cured easily.                                                                                                                       If I could refer you, my faithful follower, to my last blog which discussed the ridiculous suggestion that the mobile App was dead and gone. I lambasted that theory with 392 heartfelt words. Today however I am going to mourn the death of one of Irelands more important characteristics, that is the Art of Conversation.  No longer is my generation able to string together conversation without constantly referring to facebook, this has caused me to support the motion that facebook IS in fact taking over our lives.

The App Is Dead, Long Live Mobile Marketing.

Before answering the above question I found myself searching through all those useless snippets of information that I have picked up over the years to find a definition for the word ‘app’ that wouldn’t have to be read using a dictionary as a crutch. What I found was, quite simply, a programme on a smartphone that allows the user a direct contact to a certain website, where they can use the same website only it is faster and more smartphone user friendly.

When I thought about this definition, the answer to the statement that renders themobile application as ‘dead’ was clear to me. The app is not heading for the graveyard or anything like it, the app is alive and kicking and ready to aid smartphone users in online browsing for many moons to come.

In fact the thought of apps being rendered useless seems to get more ridiculous with every second that I ponder it.  I personally dont see any negatives….

For the consumer, there is an immediate contact with their chosen outlet for example, clothes. One can build up a rapport with a certain brand and its personalised app by looking through it daily, quickly and easily, without having to go into a web browser where there is a high chance of their search results becoming diluted with fake or false goods.

On the other hand there is the positives for the firm. They do not become lost in the endless reams of results that search engines such as Bing and Google produce for every web user. Instead they are a constant on the religiously viewed screens of their clients smartphone.  Even if the smartphone user is not a constant visitor to the app, the little icon on the screen serves as a brand reminder and if nothing else, familiarises the user with the brand name so if they do see it elsewhere they will feel as if they have a link with the brand.

Over 840m smartphones are expected to be shipped in the year 2013 and sales should grow to more than 40billion dollars. In my opinion this should mean that the mobile application market should be reaching these heights hand in hand with the smartphone market and not waiting at deaths door like the title of this passage suggests!

 

Blogging Begins

My first blog, a bit of a daunting task if I may say so myself, over the next couple of months hopefully it will become a lot less intimidating. I hope to update this blog quite regularly, it will be centred mainly around social networking and especially my views and opinions on marketing which has, over the last number of years become an integral part of social networks such as facebook and twitter. As a marketing student in Cork Institute of Technology I would like to think I have developed a good knowledge of traditional Marketing methods over the last 3 years and this blog can serve as a diary of my thoughts as i begin to learn about the relatively new marketing medium. 

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To be honest my thoughts and opinions on blogs were fairly limited until the last month or so. Sure, I had heard the term mentioned by family or friends who are unfortunately alot more technologically gifted than I am, but if i’m being honest my contribution to these conversations was always nil. This lack of knowledge would probably have been the largest source of my suspicions beforehand, but as I sit infront of my computer monitor now I begin to understand how this can become an obsession. Blogging allows each and every individual on earth to share ideas, photos even videos with anyone who has enough interest to press that essential member in modern day life, the ‘search’ button.

My fears about this new way of expressing my thoughts are diminishing as I write, positivity about the future is already taking hold. Onwards and Upwards from here I suppose!