How many times a day do you log onto Facebook just to see who may have updated their status or added some pictures of their most recent weekend outings?

What about Twitter: Do you find yourself tweeting/retweeting/even DMing your company, friends, celebrity obsessions multiple times throughout the day?

How about those friends you still keep in touch with from high school, do you remember what their voices actually sound like or are you more likely to converse via comments on a third-party’s Facebook status?

When you figure out where you’re heading for a night out with the girls/guys do you immediately log onto Foursquare so the world may also be informed?

What’s my point?

We’ve come to a stage where social media is such a part of out lives that it’s a borderline addiction.

According to a study reported by, college students are addicted”to social media and experience the same withdrawal symptoms as substance abuse addicts do when their “drug” of choice is taken away.

Social media is definitely a big part of my life, however I feel that my habit has not hindered my social, professional or academic life. Does this mean it’s not an addiction?

With social media we are provided the ability to connect with those we may not often see, those we may never meet, and have an active involvement in the world of web. I credit much of our frequent usage to how easily we can access sites via mobile devices.

So how can this be a problem?

In my opinion, it raises and issue like any addition when it cripples us from carrying out day-to-day routines, which is something that only the individual may be able to determine.

On a scale of 1 to 10 where do you rate your social media use? How much time do you spend using it each day?


In 2012 it’s safe to say that you can bet all your money on the candidate winning the Presidential election being the individual who as the greatest impact and leverage in social and digital media.

During the 2008 Election the Obama camp used social media to its advantage, thus resulting in a unprecendented online following. Check out the book Barack Obama’s Social Media Lessons for Business for more insight.

So what does the future hold? More Twitter followers and Facebook friends, fans? What we cannot predict is the exact platform that will provide candidates with the most leverage, but we do know that social media is not to be ignored.

The trend of younger voters researching candidate platforms and engaging in campaigns shows us that in order to connect to an entire segment of voters this  type of visibility is vital for candidates.

So what will change in the next couple of years?

Our social web experiences are becoming more and more personal. I predict that in the next election social media engagement will follow suit. Instead of simply creating visibility of platforms like Facebook, constituents will constantly be inundated with information about how to get involved at a local level and ads that are targets to race, gender, age, location, etc.

The questions is no longer limited to who we connect to, but how well they are connected.

The social web make-up has changed the way we communicate on a personal, professional level, and even now in combat. Web 2.0 allows the everyday person to become involved in the discussion of war from the comforts of their homes, align with military/terrorist regimes and even report happenings that are experienced first-hand.

It should come as no surprise. The social web that we embrace in so many aspects of our lives still has relevance even on the topic of wars. The ability to blog and develop sites to inform the public of your beliefs what we have come to think of as a right.

However, what happens when the ideas being spread are different from our own? What happens when they may possibly lead our community to danger?

The world is at our fingertips.

It’s important to consider that Internet provides us with the opportunity to broadcast any aspect of our life that we choose to share (and those we may not). Should this market place of ideas be stifled and censored when we perceive there to be a threat? Who should govern what can and cannot be said?

It comes as no surprise to me that the U.S. Army has use social media platforms as a means for recruiting younger soldiers. Why wouldn’t other forces do the same?

While the concept of terrorist propaganda spreading through the Internet just as quickly as any other on-line community is frightening, can we really be all that surprised?

Wikipedia brings a new life to the term citizen journalist. By crowdsourcing in order to receive the valuable combination of free-labor and wisdom, Wikipedia ends up with useful bits of information from you, me, and everybody in between.

Before this class, I had never considered the true value of Wikipedia, and how many of its interests are so closely monitored by an active community engaged in the topic, issue, or event.

How is this useful to us?

Well, Wikipedia allows for everyday users to provide insight into any topic of their choosing. The almost instantaneous Internet updates allow for entries such as breaking news stories to be tracked closely, sometimes with minute-to-minute updates.

Wikipedia in this way rivals breaking news stories delivered by professional journalists in print and broadcast news.

Wikipedia does have the speed. But does it have the accuracy?

In some ways Wikipedia allows for constant fact-checking. Users may log in minutes after an update only to find it has been revamped to another user’s liking, and to which and explanation will be provided for the change. This works especially well when news stories or unfolding and the facts are still blurred.

But, what about when are the facts are already “out”? And the community now governs what information is relevant to the topic discussion? In this way, Wikipedia may serve to stifle public discussion.

At either end, what is true about Wikipedia is that unlike traditional news outlets it allows its audience to actively join the ranks of reporter and editor in dispersing information— that is, once being accepted into the community surrounding an entry.

As the universe of social web rapidly spins into other facets of everyday life we can’t help but ask, should we be governing the social web? The First Amendment grants us the freedom of speech, press, religious, petition, and assembly. The Bill of Rights provides us with an outline of what is owed tous simply for being a breathing human being.

A Bill of Rights for the social web may be considered an unnecessary by those who believe that self disclosure on the internet is at the hands of the individual. We do govern what photos we upload to Facebook, our blogging, and even what searches we plug into Google. However, we can not even begin to manage what personal information is being made available on the web. Now, I will backtrack and say that oftentimes our careless self-disclosure may make it easy for websites like to formulate information we contribute.

Still, who’s watching the web?

Since we do not yet have a social web Bill of Rights nor are we able to control what other people’s actions, there are a couple guidelines we may consider for safer and more drama-free Internet usage.

I believe in many ways, information that we provide is fair game to be used as public information. If you don’t want it out there, don’t put it out there. Situations become sticky when a brand, company, or outside image is affected.

Who do you contact when somebody is impersonating you on Facebook or writing information that is not true about out you? How much should college/job recruiters really dig into the web to find out about our personal lives?

The web changing so quickly that by the time a check and balance is established, there may be a means for getting around it and breaching individual rights.

Do we give our rights away simply by accessing the web?

When’s the last time you Googled yourself? If you haven’t lately you may be surprised what you find. What were the last few searched you types into Google?

Do you think your footsteps aren’t being tracked throughout the Internet? Google’s dominance over our web-experience often goes without notice. We don’t think about how with every search with provide more and more information about our interests, habits, and routines.

Just watch this 2010 Superbowl ad to see how often we use Google as a tool for everyday life.

I use Google multiple throughout the day whether on my laptop or Blackberry to find out about anything from movie show times and restaurant locations, to company information. The information I plug-in definitely provides insight into my interests, age, gender, race, and even location at times.

Pretty scary stuff? Maybe.

From a professional standpoint the database of intentions leads to an invaluable wealth of knowledge, providing footsteps that lead to personalize marketing ads for web-browsers. Still, how much information does Google have able us? And what are they using it for?

Google provides some of the most cutting-edge technology advancements, but as an Internet user it is important to remember that no Google search or activity is insignificant. Whether we like it or not.

Is Google out to get us? I doubt it. Whoever still believes that what they do on the Internet in the privacy of their home is kept between them and there, um, computer is sadly mistaken. Google makes Internet searching increasing user-friendly, and there seems to be a tool for every kind of user. Still the relationship is mutually beneficial. We plug-in the information, and with it Google generates better searches and means for serving the Internet using population.

What some may view have invasive is also what have grown to expect of Google. Would the powerhouse be as powerful without the aggregate data is holds?

The concept of gaming remained foreign to me until our class discussion. I never could understand how ex-boyfriends past could spend five hours (plus) glued to a futon and tv screen playing with this virtual action heros. It has always seemed like the less imaginative G.I. Joe.

After exploring games like Second Life, and even realizing that Facebook’s annoying Farmville and Blackberry’s addictive BrickBreaker are consider games, I was forced to admit, “Hello, my name is Shivonne and I am a gamer.”

Not a five-hour-addict gamer, but more like a I’m-waiting-in-the-metro-and-forgot-my-novel gamer. BrickBreaker, KaGlom, you name it. Guilty as charged.

What I did learn about out classroom glance into gaming is that these well developed communities amount to so much more than I’d previously imagined. There are opportunities to make money from gaming. Also you can create an entirely new identity.

What’s most important to take away from the world of gaming is that the ability to connect has allowed for entire social communities to be fabricated from the happenings in a virtual world. Not only are we connecting out actual selves on-line (or the self we want to display), but we can fill the role of virtual characters and connect with individuals worldwide.

Gaming taps into the idea that the virtual world is worth connecting.