In the Beginning…

Welcome to my very first post in my very first blog!

When I was growing up computers were only used by large organisations and were really big expensive machines. However my Dad was a programmer and taught me some basic programming at home on a small computer that he built himself. I suppose this sparked my interest in all things technology related.

We had one of the first personal computers when they became affordable and small enough to become popular. It plugged into a television and didn’t store anything permanently – to play a game you had to load it from a cassette tape onto the computer every time. You could however save your progress back onto the cassette to play next time!

There was rapid progress in the technologies from 1980 onward and with the introduction of the internet and the World Wide Web in the early 1990’s changes came very fast. Initially company websites contained only static content and were for information only. The introduction of dynamic content as well as personal computers and then mobile devices, opened up the World Wide Web to individuals.

The beginning of social media is attributed to a site called SixDegrees.com that was created in 1997. Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that every person on Earth is only 6 steps or less away from each other in a chain of ‘friends of friends’.

250px-Six_degrees_of_separation.svg
Six degrees of separation (Wikipedia)

Social media can be defined as electronic tools that enable individuals and organisations to connect, communicate and collaborate (Jue, Marr, & Kassotakis, 2010).

There are three main categories of social media:

  • Blog – this is a type of journal that can be written by individuals or organisations and made public. They can be a diary of events, for example a travel blog, or a collection of information about a topic. Comments are invited on the entries.
  • Wiki – this is a website created for collaboration with easy adding or editing of comment. The most well-known of these is Wikipedia but there are many wikis where information is brought together by people with similar interests, for example, wikis with tips for online gamers.
  • Social Networking Site – this is a website where people can share information about themselves, search for other people to get information or form relationships.

Various instant messaging services were launched in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger and Skype.

Between 2002 and 2006 most of the popular social networking sites were launched, including Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace, FaceBook, Flickr, Bebo, YouTube and  Twitter. Other sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+ followed later.

Today more than one billion people use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram as a primary means to connect with friends, relatives and businesses.

social-media-word-cloud-26616462
Source: Dreamstime.com

My primary means of communicating with family are Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Skype. We have family groups so that everyone is updated at one time and there are no expensive phone calls . With family living in U.K., Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia this saves a lot of money!

Reference

Jue, A. L., Marr, J. A., & Kassotakis, M. E. (2010). Social media at work : how networking tools propel organizational performance: San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, 2010

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