Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Oh My!

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In Living in the Information Age, Frances Cairncross predicted a new communications trend called communities of practice. He stated, “Common interests, experiences, and pursuits rather than proximity will bind these communities together” and mentioned that the horizontal bonds among people speaking the same language or doing the same tasks in different areas of the world will strengthen. Cairncross predicted 30 new communications and this one is very accurate. These communities of practice seamlessly correspond with the Media Now authors, Straubhaar, LaRose and Davenport, Internet genres especially social media.

Social media is the most popular online genre and is synonymous with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google +, LinkedIn and many more. This blog (yet another social media tool) will explore a few of these interactive websites pertaining to communities of practice.

Facebook is the mother of all social media with 1.06 billion users, 618 million daily active members, and 50 million Facebook pages[1].  Almost everyone I know and intermingle with has an active Facebook account and belongs to at least a few of these 50 million pages. Facebook, particularly its pages, provides users with the ability to bind communities or groups of individuals together regardless of location. I belong to six pages- two of which are local clothing boutiques, one fitness friend who promotes healthy eating and exercising, my little brothers hobby page, and two miscellaneous pages. By simply “liking” these pages, I belong to these groups and am constantly updated with store deals and helpful, healthy snacks. One of the miscellaneous pages I belong to is a Venezuelan patriotic site for my home country where members post relevant news, entertainment and even advertisements. It is a unique page where all Venezuelans, regardless of ones physical location, can join together and discuss political debates and even organize successful rallies not only in Venezuela but also in New Orleans and Miami.

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has taken off these past few years and reached 500 million users. A couple Twitter fun facts: at least 170 billion tweets sent, 400 million tweets sent per day and Justin Bieber is the most followed celebrity with 36.4 million followers[2].  Through the actions of tweets, retweets, follows and #trends, Twitter strengthens the horizontal bonds that bring people together. Millions of people can follow their favorite celebrities, companies or inspirations and have the unique opportunity to possibly communicate with them (or at least attempt to). Discussions are created about trending topics and people from all corners of the world can tune in, input what they like or just idly follow along.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 200 million users. Although I am relatively new to this site, I am fascinated by its cleanness and practicability. Simply put, LinkedIn makes sense and allows for one to create and continue building on ones professional identity. There are 1.5 million groups, an average time of 17 minutes monthly per user and a geographical reach of 200 countries and territories[3]. The ability to follow people and companies, update your skills and resume, be endorsed for skills and match up with similar individuals based on your career interests embodies Cairncorss’s trend that “common interests, experiences and pursuits rather than proximity will bind these communities together”.

Which social media or communities of practice do you most participate in? Word Count: 556 [1] http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-17-amazing-facebook-stats/ [2] http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/march-2013-by-the-numbers-a-few-amazing-twitter-stats/    [3] http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats/

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