Spotify was launched in October 2008 in Sweden and has over 20 million active users today. It is a music streaming program available on all forms of devices. It uses a similar layout to iTunes however the music is streamed directly from the internet instead of purchasing the content. Therefore all the music is available instantaneously for free to all users but the music is only available to those with an internet connection. The program is initially free with a free 30 day trial period with an option to purchase the program for approximately €10 per month. Spotify is only available to users with a Facebook account and allows users to share the music they are listening to over Facebook.
The concept has proved successful seeing as over 20 million people have used the free trial and 5 million people are paying for the service. However, I must admit I will not be subscribing to the service after my free trial expires for several reasons.
1. I have briefly looked at using Spotify in the past as it was recommended to me by several of my friends. I was confused by the program at first glance and did not understand exactly how it worked or how I was supposed to use it. I therefore left it for another day. Recently I sat down and had a good look at this music streaming ‘phenomenon’. I registered for my free trial and was asked to share every song I listened to on Facebook. I denied this application. I seemed to be then locked out of using many of the features and was unable to remedy this. I was left with preset playlists that vaguely represented my music interests.
2. The interface is almost identical to iTunes for which I am a regular user and therefore thought I could navigate my way around the program. I was wrong. I had to resort to a Youtube guide to help my understand the complicated system. This only slightly helped. I am still left with radio channels that play a lot of music that I do not enjoy.
3. After being constantly badgered to purchase the premium package before I had even used my free trial I found out that, even though the premium package is expensive, I am limited to the amount of music I can listen to per month. So, from my point of view, I can pay Spotify to provide me with a limited amount of music of get unlimited music for free elsewhere online, like Youtube. Thanks but no thanks Spotify.
4. Ads. After every 5 songs or so we are forced to listen to a painstakingly long ad about how great Spotify is and how, if we give them more money we can have more music and no limits.
To be honest I don’t understand the hype surrounding Spotify and will definitely not be paying at the end of my free trial. I think I’ll just turn on the radio and listen to ads for free thanks.
LinkedIn is a social networking website catering for the professional and business side social networking, in other words it is professional networking. It was launched in May 2003 and today has over 200 million users in over 200 countries.
I was initially skeptical of LinkedIn. I believed the networking site to be an spin off social networking site that attempted to achieve success on the coat tails of other popular networking sites. I didn’t believe using a glorified online resume design program would be a productive method of finding a job or employees. I thought the personal approach was and always would be the only method. However, I am relatively new to the job seeking community as I am still at college. I have applied and secured jobs in the past for part time work but I have only a small amount of experience in looking for full time career based employment and therefore do not fully understand how difficult the process can be.
I have recently created a profile with LinkedIn and again found that the initiation process was simple and comprehensive. I was asked to create and log of my current and previous education and employment, the skills I have acquired and the people I know and work(ed) with. The profile that was created for me was a professional documentation of my history and abilities. This is achievable through many avenues on the internet however it is the social networking element that has impressed me most. I was automatically recommended to link in with several of my friends and colleagues with the option of linking in with their friends and colleagues. When I looked for people that were not recommended to me I found a linking system where the website uses my connections and attempts to create a line of people who could possibly connect us.
This is the element of LinkedIn that I believe has attracted over 200 million users. I have heard over the years that everyone in the world in connected through 5 degrees of separation. In other words, I have a link to anyone in the world through only 5 people. I don’t know how true this statement is but using other social networking sites I am amazed at how many people know each other through only 1 or 2 connecting people. This is an amazing fact that LinkedIn have capitalized on. Through the website we can connect to absolute strangers using the people we know to achieve and secure employment and competent employees.
LinkedIn has definitely proved to me that it is not riding on the coat tails of other websites just to make a profit. It is a genius system that has proved itself in connecting people all over the world for a professional purpose. It could potentially be an integral part of job seeking and a huge money maker for the developers. I’m glad I have linked in before they possibly start charging us for the service.
SlideShare is a service that lets users upload PowerPoint or Open Office presentation files and share them online through a You Tube-like interface.
Power Point documents (or any office documents) stored on the web. The presentation can easily be shared with individual users or businesses and corporations. The idea behind SlideShare is to share an individuals research with others for the purpose of education, lectures, sales pitches and conference presentations. Again it is a cloud computing method that helps people avoid carrying hard copy presentations. It allows interaction with other websites like Youtube, Google and other SlideShare presentations.
This SlideShare page that highlights the winners of its recent World’s Best Presentation Contest.
I recently used SlideShare for a college project and found it reasonably simple to use. I made a presentation on Mircosoft PowerPoint and Uploaded to the site. From there I could find presentations on similar topics and view the work of my classmates.
It is a good idea that has been well executed. I believe there is a niche market for SlideShare however my interaction with it was simply exploratory. I have not used it since that project and did not find a use for it an any other stage in my academic career.
I am sure it is used regularly within certain businesses and industries. I am glad to be aware and experienced with the service but I don’t see myself using it too often unless it is required in a future job.
YouTube is a video website, created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in February 2005. The concept of the website is that anyone can register with Youtube and upload an unlimited amount of videos and any unregistered user can watch the videos free of charge. The videos are adobe flash videos that use HTML5. Most of the content is footage from the public however many comanies like BBC, CBS, Vevo and Hulu upload content also. It is essentially a video based blogging site for short original and educational material.
In November 2007 Youtube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion and is now one of the most accessed websites in the world.
I have been using Youtube on an almost daily basis for the past several years and have had a registered account for almost three years. An account gives you access to videos intended for a mature audience provided you state that you are 18 years old or older and agree to the terms and conditions of the site.
Having an account allows you to create a ‘channel’ which consists of a collection of you own uploaded videos and a collection of content favored by the user. Users can then subscribe to other channels and be updated with their new content as soon as it is uploaded. My account is used purely for music and holds a collection of all of my favorite songs online. It is essentially a cloud collection only available through an internet connection.
As I said I am a regular user of Youtube and therefore my personal collection of hard copies of music has ceased to exist. There is no need for me to buy music or download it as most of it is available for free on the site. This is a great benefit to me however, Youtube is a major factor that is effecting the music industry. Sales of CD’d and records have dropped significantly in recent years because any music that is not brand new is available to the whole world for free.
Besides music, I have also used the site for educational videos. Many of my college presentyations have been aided by a Youtube clip to help explain information visually. The site is an invaluable tool for all forms of education and entertainment and shows no sign of slowing down in the future.
Pinterest is a pinboard style photo sharing website founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp.. It is similar to Instagram in sense that it is primarily a photo based site with options to like, comment on, and share the images over different social media platforms. Pinterest differs from Instagram by grouping the pictures into themes in which people follow rather than individuals.
I found that when setting up an account I was made follow 5 interests that are already established and left me little freedom to find my own interests. The end result is a collection of photographs relating to the interests we choose. The quality of imagery on the site is high standard however they are just images with little proximity to ourselves. It produces interesting images but nothing more. It seems like we are google imaging several things at once.
I am not convinced that Pinterest is a competitor with other social media sites and I’m surprised it has such a large following. A small bit of research into the site has shown me that there are guides to show people how to use the service well.
This shows a poor interface and navigation methods and I think it is safe to say I will not be a regular user of Pinterest in the future. There are many more site that are more interesting and easier to navigate.
Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Facebook, Twitter and Tubblr.
The service was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October 2010 and has over 100,000 registered users.
I think this is my favorite new media site as photographs would be my biggest interest when browsing the likes of Facebook. Instagram is a forum for people who are more specific about their photos and edit and alter them one at a time to produce a new piece of work. It is a platform where people add a small amount of interesting photos rather than albums of standard images.
I love how simple the software is to use and how easy it is to view my friends photos and my own. I can see myself taking a lot more photos and spending a lot more time on my smartphone editing pictures for my friends to see and comment on.
I see Instagram as a strong competitor to Facebook in terms of time people spend on social media. It is a more creative platform for people with a sense of exclusivity as the software is only available for smartphones.
The only negative I can see so far is the limited amount of altering and editing available. There does not seem to be space to import my own digital filters, add text or merge/crop images. This may be intentional to produce an Instargram identity to people photos and encourage my users to join. But so far I am content with the software and look forward to using it much more.
Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey. It is a social networking and micro blogging site with over 500 million registered users and over 340 million tweets sent on a daily basis.
I have been a member of the twitter community for almost a year now. I am definitely not the most active member as I have logged on about 10 times in that year.
I follow mostly musicians and bands and a few friends and family members. A celebrity or two as well just to see what the hype is all about. To be honest, after returning to twitter for this assignment I have to say I still don’t see the big attraction. I know perfectly well how to use twitter and how to navigate my way around the site but I just find the ratio of effort to reward is not worth it. The layout of the site is fine but there is a lot of deciphering of coded names and locations.
#thatcherisdead….Really Cher died? Wait….Oh…Thatcher.
I like the theory of little bites of information at a time in the form of 140 character tweets however I get the same type of information to digest from Facebook.
The ‘discover’ tab is useful for finding trending information but I don’t see myself accessing twitter every time I want to hear some news. I get my news from the old fashioned radio and television as well as Facebook and other sites such as http://www.broadsheet.ie
I do understand why it is a global phenomenon. It is a brilliant marketing tool that is invaluable to many businesses especially those in the arts industry.
GroSocial.com have nicely described the pro’s and con’s of twitter:
I will not be returning to twitter in my spare time but I’m sure I will be visiting it a some stage regarding work or research. Ill keep my account active just in case but overall…..2/5