Last week I wrote about how the rise of mobile apps is changing the way we access the Internet. But what about how we create content for it? That too is changing, and to demonstrate how, this entire post comes from the WordPress app on my iPhone.
A variety of apps exist for creating web content via mobile platforms. Mobile technology allows us to shoot photos and have them online in seconds. And as I mentioned in my last post, content on the Twittersphere is increasingly being generated from tablets and smartphones.
WordPress has an app. Tumblr has an app. Smartphones have the ability to record video and post directly to YouTube. A number of generic blogging apps are also available which talk to the various platforms.
There are limitations however. The app I’m typing this on doesn’t have a function to add links. The picture I uploaded can only appear at the bottom of the post. I can still however add tags.
Due to the limitations discussed, an interface such as this one won’t become my sole tool for writing to WordPress. But it is very useful if I’m out and about and an idea comes to me which I need to get into words while it’s still fresh. I can always log in via the web later to beautify and add links.
For journalists the ability to get content up instantaneously cannot be underestimated. Media outlets vying to be the first with an exclusive now work in a new wireless battleground. Reporters will need to adapt accordingly.
And if there’s one thing that’s beyond doubt, it’s that with the speed of technological advancement, methods of creating content like this will definitely improve and limitations will be swept away.
Celebrities use it. Politicians use it. Sportspeople use it. Organisations use it. And most important of all, everyday people like you and me use it.
In an Australian first, a “Twitter debate” was held prior to the by-election for the state seat of Penrith. And now with a federal election imminent, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has finally risen above the laggards and joined the microblogging service herself.
This will be the first Australian election where social media will be such an important key battleground. It has simply become too big a forum to ignore.
But you probably know all of this already. You know how big Twitter is and chances are if you’re interested in this blog post then you’re into it.
But do you remember what life was like before there was Twitter?
I remember life before mobile phones. We made do, but all of us thought at some point or another how useful it would be to have a phone we could take with us. There was a need there.
But Twitter was not invented to fill an obvious void. For something that we’ve come to rely on with such vigour, it’s not something that any of us, once upon a time, would have thought we needed.
I joined Twitter in January 2009. At the time I did so because I thought it might be interesting to explore how I could leverage it in my then-career as a Marketing Manager.
My first experiences were how unnatural using Twitter was. As it had not been something I’d needed I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I recall one time sitting at my computer for twenty minutes, staring at the screen, wondering what the hell I should type.
In those early days my tweets were few and far between. It simply wasn’t something that slotted into my day-to-day life. It never occurred to me to just let go and update random thoughts, start conversations with strangers or tweet my views on a particular issue. So apart from the occasional spruik for my sports blog, my Twitter account remained largely unloved.
Even at the start of this year as I jumped onto the next big thing, Foursquare, I still wasn’t tweeting very much. I remember selecting the option to feed my Foursquare to my Twitter account just so my followers wouldn’t think I’d died.
I can’t say when it happened. But the other day I looked at my day’s tweets and was struck by how many I’d sent. I just hadn’t realised, that during the normal course of my day I’d had so many things to share. The luxury of having a smartphone had allowed me to casually tweet as things occurred to me, and I’d barely noticed I was doing it.
Something I hadn’t needed was now entrenched into my life.
When did you first realise Twitter was entrenched in your day-to-day life? Please comment.
Social media giant Facebook has done a mammoth job in infiltrating many aspects of our lives. Like anything there are some people who love it and some who hate it. However, a recent example has shown that for individuals wanting their voice heard by government, Facebook is a very useful tool indeed.
Prior to Web 2.0 and Facebook most people let governments know their approval or disapproval at the ballot box. There have always been those who are more active in their communities in regard to speaking out about issues that concern them. However these people faced a far harder task in getting others on board, be it trying to get people along to protests or getting signatures on a petition.
Enter Facebook. The viral power of social media has now changed the way communities talk to government.
The example: Recently Waverley Municipal Council has proposed the construction of a depot on the site of Hugh Bamford Reserve in North Bondi. The project would involve the temporary excavation of much of the park to allow for the depot to be built. Once operational the site would be a hub for trucks, leading to noise and traffic congestion.
The community in North Bondi and its surrounds don’t want the depot and they’ve voted with their keyboards. This group has been created on Facebook specifically to protest against Council’s proposal:
In a short time the group has gained over 2,000 members. They are actively debating the issue and making their thoughts on the project known. Waverley Mayor Sally Betts clearly understands the impact this Facebook group is having. She has joined it herself and posts regularly in its forums to update people on the council’s position. Through the group, residents are replying to her posts and the conversation continues still.
What this all means is that Facebook has moved on from being merely a tool for friends to socialise online. It is now a genuine forum for political debate, and a very effective tool for communities to come together quickly, engage and speak about issues that affect them.
In days gone by the media was necessary to inform the people of what the government was doing, so that democracy could function. Now social media has entered the mix – to inform governments about what the citizens think – so that democracy can function even more effectively.
This is, indeed, a brave new world.