That was certainly a difficult speech, likely one of the most difficult ones, as the audience was quite Internet-savvy — they’ve been attending and/or organizing activities in the telecentre for years — and, on the other hand, not eager to listen to reality-distant theories.
Thus, I came in with the sole idea of reassuring and bringing some confidence to people that are increasingly using the Internet while still fighting against their — most of the times well founded — reluctances. In this train of though, my points were:
- The Internet is not a geek thing;
- being online will not disconnect you from other people but, on the contrary, will extend your social network;
- there is not an Internet or a social networking site, but plenty of them, depending on how you use and combine the zillion useful applications that are out there for you to benefit from them.
I made up an “Aunt Marjorie” and explained how she spends a simple day: wakes up and reads the papers, goes to the bank, to the doctor’s, etc. Most examples are framed in Spanish, but can easily be extrapolated to many other contexts.
- Multiple and plural sources of information;
- e-commerce and e-banking;
- and e-health;
- online communities of interest;
- specialized or vertical social networking sites;
- when online extends to offline, and the online extension of traditional communites;
- e-participation, e-democracy;
- multipurpose, horizontal, leisure or personal social networking sites.
- Information overload;
- echo chambers;
- new media literacies;
- phishing, pharming and other similar types of cybercrime;
- new information literacies;
I want to very sincerely thank Elvira Mora and Fadwa El Harrak for their kind invitation and confidence :)
For a very good summary in Catalan: Peña defensa les possibilitats d’internet i adverteix dels seus riscos.
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2010) “Social networking sites: a window to the community” In ICTlogy,
#80, May 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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