social networking

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We’re always saying that technology is changing everything…and it is. We’re connecting with new people everyday through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so many more internet media services. Everything that we could bring online, we have; stores, banks, books, maps, mail, even schools, all have a strong presence online. Dating has shifted online as well.

Online dating is one of the more controversial internet services. I have no personal stance on internet dating, as many people have great success with it, but it just isn’t for some.  My interest in online dating is in the social implications - aren’t online dating websites social media platforms?

Online dating websites, such as, bring people together based on a limited amount of information, which is self-disclosed. They allow users to reach out to other people they do not know, and try to connect with them.

So far, aside from the agenda of the users, online dating sites aren’t any different from other popular social media platforms, such as Facebook.  Dating sites have the potential to affect our behavior and life experiences.

Online dating has turned an often awkward process into a streamlined progression similar to online shopping…but shopping for people. An algorithm brings you matches based on your interests, and it takes into consideration much more quantitative data indicating compatibility than a friend who was setting you up with her second cousin might.

The appeal of online dating is that you will be matched with someone who has similar values, interests, and goals. Ok, it’s really more than interests and goals. specifically asks about your astrological sign, body type, whether you’re a “meat and potatoes” or “keep it healthy” kind of person, and on and on - even whether you might want kids in the future.

With all that personal data, you should meet someone compatible! For many users, the best benefit is bypassing all those bad dates and bad break-ups, as many relationships end because one person doesn’t want kids, and the other does, and it took them 15 months of dating to realize it. Great, cut to the chase! With online dating, it’s all out on the table. If you know you want kids, and you come across a match that doesn’t, toss ‘em. You just saved three years of your life…Right?

On the other side of the coin, something to consider is the actual effectiveness of a data-based match. There may be a match for several explicit goals or ideals, but is it enough to make for compatibility? Two women can be very different in their personality, but both want to have kids.

Also, the issue of self-disclosure not only affects online dating, but most internet social media platforms. Profiles are designed with attraction in mind, and like Facebook profiles, they are can often be an embellishment of the person it really represents. Does he really like long walks on the beach, or is that what he thinks a potential connection wants to hear? Is she really a “fit build”, as self-reported?

So my question is this: is the efficiency of social media, including online dating, better than the wasted dates, or even wasted years of an ultimately unsuccessful relationship? Or, if we leave our fate in the hands of technology, will we miss out on those learning experiences because with compatibility matches, it’s more likely that the first one could be the right one? Is it even that the first one IS the right one?

If we are using technology to better other daily aspects of our lives and make them more efficient, should we apply it to dating, which is arguably the most time consuming, costly, and draining component of our lives?

What do you think about online dating in terms of social media?

Image via CrunchBase

The Twitter tool kit of the business world only holds so much relevance in the higher ed space.  But there are some tools that would really add to the efficacy of using Twitter for educators who may have different needs.

We’ve listed several great ones below to start off:

Tweetdeck: A desktop application that let’s you organize who you’re following, save and display searches and organize your Twitter account to accommodate issues such as distinguishing student Tweets from colleague Tweets.

Tweet Later: With this tool you can schedule Tweets in advance, so they get posted when you want them to….like during a classroom lecture.

Twits Like Me: This allows you to find other Twitter users who are talking about the things you like to talk about, so you can follow more people who offer you value.

Tweetworks:  Move classroom discussion online into threaded groups that can be responded to from most Twitter applications, with each discussion having its own url.

Seesmic: The new version of this desktop app is great for educators and those in higher ed. It’s Tweetdeck plus maintenance of multiple accounts at the same time.

Twitilator: This is an iPhone app that has a lot of great options for Twittering from your phone.  Twitterberry has gotten some kudos for the blackberry.

TweetGrid: You can break this real-time search browser into several searches that update in real time, not only perfect for general monitoring, but a great visual addition to a class lecture.

Hashtags: Combining this service with something like TweetGrid or Tweetdeck, you can assign a specific hashtag to your lecture for students to Twitter live comments or questions, and project them onto a screen, or pick out the juicy ones for post-lecture content.

Tweetscan: By getting a notification everytime your custom search terms are mentioned on Twitter, you’re able to keep up-to-date on pertinent items coming out in the Twitosphere.

Breaking Tweets: By compiling the latest world news and Twitter feedback on that news, you can know not only what’s going on, but what people are saying about it in the Twitosphere.

TwitTrans: Have your Tweets translated into any language!

Twitscoop: This tool allows you to track trends in what’s being talked about online.  Know what’s going on in your discipline as soon as it comes out, or add some last minute content to the classroom setting.

postica: Have a note you want to get out to your students or your department?  Put it on a post-it on Twitter.

twtpoll: Conduct your own poll, including students, colleagues, etc.

Below is the slideshow to a little talk Anya and I did on Tuesday.

The description for the talk is:

Have you ever wondered how you might be able to use Facebook to increase awareness levels of your company, product or service? Kate Brodock and Anya Woods of Other Side will lead a discussion on the ins and outs of the tool, examples of how other individuals and companies have used the tool for business purposes, and suggest ways you can get yourself started.

Facebook for Business

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: social networking)

Please let us know if you have any suggestions (as we’ll be giving the talk again) or would like to learn more.

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