Ten years ago I remember being thrilled as I bought my first PC and logged onto the net. As it was back then I discovered the big world of social networking and meeting people online. Still based in Zimbabwe at the time, I was amazed at the ability and doors that the whole web opened to me. I was suddenly talking to people in the UK, US and even further afield. Who remembers faceparty? That was my very first internet profile, and I was caught up in this whole new world of creating an online presence and meeting new and very interesting people. I even had my very own Mailcity email address. The next big discovery was MSN Messenger and the fact that I could talk in real time to someone sat on the other side of the planet.
Since that time, the world of technology and computing have moved in leaps and bounds, and very often I have been left behind, choosing to stick with tried and tested methods, not realising that the world was running away from me as it developed. And so recently I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the whole world of online reality. I have taken a lot of time and effort to ensure that my current status in terms of technology has entered into the 21st century and in a lot of ways the effort has been well worth it. I don’t always understand fully the technology that I am using, but the net has become a powerful tool in learning, and if you’re willing to apply yourself and take time to find exactly what your looking for there is an awful lot of use in creating and maintaining an online presence for yourself.
From MSN Live, to Skype, to webcaming, to Twitter, Digg It, Stumble On It, WordPress, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, My Yahoo, My MSN, everyone wants their pound of flesh as you take time to give out your personal details and create this indentity for yourself. Social Media is an addictive draw that captivates you and draws you in. You want to talk to people and tell everyone Hello World… This is me, take notice and be my friend. I am amazed at the way in which the internet has captivated people’s lives, and transformed work, jobs, the way we buy, sell, market and do business. 88% of the World Businesses have an online presence. 44% of Internet users will carry out almost every transaction in their day to day lives online. 21% of businesses give you a discount if you hold your account online as opposed to the traditional account options.
We are at an advantage in that we are linked to broadband access. We live in a first world country linked to first world technology that means we have a level of comfort in the knowledge that we get 98% reliability of service. We go wild if we are more than 12 hours without our trusty internet link. Our phones, PDA’s, laptops can all link to our online world as we travel, walk, talk, explore this world of ours. The powerful media applications on our phones mean that we carry a portable studio in our pocket every time we leave home. We are able to film, photograph, upload, blog and comment about anything and everything on the move. We store huge amounts of data on devices that if lost create levels of panic, horror and stress levels that were unthinkable 10 years ago. In some ways I miss the simplicity of life in Africa where your telephone was at home, and if you were out, you were out. But I have to be honest in saying that I am a creature of comfort, and my creature comforts have become a way of life for me. The ease of being able to make a call from anywhere to anyone provided you have their number stored and signal strength makes our lifestyles seem so much easier. And I spend inordinate amounts of time trawling the net for interesting blogs and content. My satnav is now a godsend, and that tatty old map book a thing of the past. (Although I still manage to get lost now and then) and when I do manage to leave my phone at home, its like life has come to a stand still.
There is a concern to having so much detail about our lifestyle in the public domain. GPS means you can be tracked down to a couple of metres and details of your movements stored for months on end. We are all well aware of the risks involved with hacking and protecting our bank details. Identity fraud is always a worry at the back of your mind. But on the flip side of the coin without taking the risks, you are limited as to the opportunities out there that are available to those willing to take the risk and market themselves. I think it is important to use a level headed approach and be sensible about the rewards potentially at your finger tips weighed up against the practical knowledge that certain levels of information are more than enough to get people interested in wanting to speak to you.
And so I bumble along learning daily about this whole wide world of Social Media and what it means to be involved. There are a lot of people that I should thank for taking the time to show me and guide me as I fumble around and get to grips with the ins and outs of the whole game. Alasdair Munn has been a great help in understanding the world of Social Media and he has a great blog that examines the world of Social Media and the impacts that it has on business and daily life. Follow the link and have a read. Its fascinating stuff. Sharon Gwati has also taken time to talk to me about the world of net travel and getting to grips with the world of internet marketing. And of course I have to mention my good friend Ashley who has always taken the time to work with me in understanding the net and working to present some of the most amazing internet sites. So I am armed and prepared for this world of social media and online presence and I enjoy each and every challenge I face in bringing myself up to speed for the 22nd century. Watch this space world. 🙂