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Posts tagged ‘discovery’

An Introduction to OurPangea Part 1 of 4

Where The Industry Is Today

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This is the state of the current industry.
The Internet was created as a web of networks for sharing information and has since been a continually changing entity. Arguably the most impactful addition to the Internet has been social networking.

Social Networking has been constantly and rapidly evolving since its primitive beginnings as local forums and simple chat mechanisms like CompuServe.  The first ‘modern’ social network as we know it was Friendster in 2002.  That introduction paved the way for familiar names like MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, and of course, Facebook.  Facebook, as I’m sure you’re all aware of, is a frequent subject in the industry and has made multiple appearances on our blog as well simply because of its immense influence and dominance of social networking for the past decade.

Prior to social networks, the Internet was no doubt a place to share, but it was a disorganized and immature structure.  Social networks paved the way for a more useful web and continue to be among the biggest Internet-changers in existence.

Social Networking’s accomplishments include, in no particular order:

  • Improved online communication
  • Made the world a smaller place
  • Gave everyone the ability to be a creator
  • Changed the way businesses interact with consumers and vice versa
  • Became a key player in international political affairs and uprisings such as the Arab Spring
  • Humanized the Internet

That’s a pretty impressive resume and we haven’t even mentioned its crowning achievement, which to this day defines what social networks are capable of: connection.  This ability to connect has literally caused proven real-world social theories to crumble and given us a way to share our lives with our friends and family from anywhere in the world.

As the online environment has evolved, in the past couple years we have seen completely new networks come to life and demonstrate entirely new ways to use the Internet. Ways that our old, familiar, stand-by networks simply can’t offer.  Here’s what we’re seeing:

Users want more control of their content
If anything, the Pinterest model has shown that we like to be able to curate the content we display in a better way.

The Rise of Niche and Interest-based Networks
There is no longer one network that can do everything.  People have specific interests and smaller but purposeful niche networks are becoming commonplace to meet and engage with like-minded people online in a better way than bigger social networks offer.

Engagement is King
We value engagement over mass amounts of content, which is another reason curation sites like Pinterest have been such a stark contrast to the social networking we’ve been familiar with for so long.

The Desire to Discover
With the introduction of new tools to access information online like Big Data advocate Loku and semantic-based search Ark, people are realizing that there are other ways to find people, organize information, and use the Internet.

Overall, what these trends point towards is the desire for something more.  We are saying we want new ways to interact online and a better way to define our connections.

We see this as an opportunity to introduce something completely new, something that we, as Internet users, want.  Something that is built for discovery, discussion, and collaboration.  To address how we are connected and why that’s important to each of us.  An answer to the question “Once we’re connected, what’s next?”

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The Why In Community

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For the longest time community was all we had. It was vital to survival. Over time we forged civilizations to support us, but our community roots never left, they adapted. Today, in the fast paced modern world a sense of community is as important as ever. We seek it out in the area surrounding us and we seek it out online. When we seek community online and offline we gain a sense of belonging from what we find. If only the two were more closely intertwined. 

What if I could use the Internet to find the communities around me? What if the communities around me were also online?

I can use Google.com if I know exactly what I am looking for, and even then it won’t drum up communities as readily as I’d like.

I can use Facebook.com to get in contact with the people I already know.

I can use Meetup.com to find a few events in my area or any other event site for that matter.

But there is nothing I can use to discover the communities around me and actually participate and feel welcome in them. The Internet remains its own place. There are some forum communities on the Internet but I can’t easily use these to meet new people in my area. The ability to find local communities is missing on the web, and inversely, real life communities don’t use the web to bridge the period of time the people are away.

If we created a place on the web to replicate the communities you’re a part of we’ll create a place where other people can go to find you, and where you can go to find them. We need to do a better job of using the web to create and aid communities. We need OurPangea.

What is Proactive Networking?

There are two types of networks, reactive and proactive.  When we look at the field of social networking this becomes very important to understand. The difference is that of a ‘website serving you’ versus ‘you serving a website’.

The reactive network is built off the connections I have already made. It reacts to what I have already done. It helps me keep track of the relationships I have built, but it does not help me create new ones. It’s not built as a tool for me to wield , it’s built as a tool to record and observe.  I have to put all of my information in before their network starts to do any work for me. On Facebook I have to import all of my friends before I start to see any value from their product. It works for me, but only after I have done the work.

On my social network I have to import all of the people I have already met so the social network can start providing value. Before I put my relationships in there is no value offered; it’s a function of me and totally reliant on my cooperation. Once I put my relationships in I can start to mildly interact with them via photos, apps, and messaging.  Even then, the reactive social network is not really designed around the interaction. It’s designed to record what I do, but doesn’t really facilitate much action or exchange. It’s built to be a history, a timeline, not a living environment.

The bottom line is even though reactive networks work correctly according to their design, they are restrained by being reactive. There are other ways to build a network. And I think the correct way to build a network is by making it proactive, not reactive.

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Life is a two way street. So is a proactive network.

In a proactive network we would be able to explore new and old relationships. We wouldn’t have to import our personal lives, we would find it in the network. Your friend groups, communities, and curiosities will all be there for you to freely interact with. It’s like being given a box of Legos to build with; a reactive network being more like a solid statue, fixed into being and not manipulable. A proactive network is an environment you can interact with. It’s not a reactive network because it’s built for you to use, not to use you. It ‘s not reliant on you importing your life and doing all of the work, it’s about creating your life and exploring all the possibilities.

With my proactive network I would be able to reach out to people I have never met but are in pursuit of similar interests. I would be able to learn more about the cultures and people I discover. I would be able to break out of my shell and explore everything.

Proactive networks would allow me to define what online environment I interact with instead of having it algorithmically presented to me as the reactive network does. When I get to choose my environment I’ll be able to make new relationships instead of having only the existing ones I’ve submitted. A reactive system only has the relationships I already have, whereas a proactive network will offer me all possible relationships to choose from including the ones I have.

The proactive network is a living environment where all users coexist together. It’s a free environment to explore as I like. It’s a proactive network that encourages me to collaborate and exchange with everyone.

How to Get From Giving Back – The Importance of Collaboration and Community Involvement

circles overlap glob pangea communityWhen we work in groups, we sometimes find it to be a frustrating experience. You occasionally find yourself at odds with freeloaders or difficult personalities. However, most of the time we can benefit by finding the strengths and passions of each group member and allowing our fellow group-members to play to those strengths and passions. At their best, groups can be much more capable of solving complicated problems than any one individual and learning how to be an active participant in group activities is a skill that can benefit us for the rest of our lives.

This is particularly true in the realm of community service and involvement. Giving back through volunteering hours and willingly participating in community projects not only shines through on paper, it helps us grow as individuals and truly benefits our neighbors. When we find a community project that allows us to use our strengths for the benefit of others, we not only enjoy what we’re doing, we are proud of it.

There are limitless opportunities to give back to one’s community. You can work with and mentor children, you can clean up a park, you can help serve the homeless or build a house. Community involvement such as this can help us discover untapped talents and discover new skills. As group members we can pick up valuable lessons about managing people and maximizing efficiency that can be carried over into other areas of our lives.

Most importantly, giving back is a selfless act that pays great dividends to our neighbors and communities. I doubt if there will ever be a day when everyone sees and appreciates the value of volunteering, but that’s why it remains so important. The people who benefit most from community programs are frequently the ones who cannot do it on their own. When we volunteer we become managers, role models, guardian angels, teachers and, in some cases, heroes. Someday soon the world is going to wake up and realize that we can change the world and the process starts at home.

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