Finding Sanity in the Madness

Exploring Social Media

Athlinks January 26, 2011

Filed under: Sports — karch10k @ 9:28 pm
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When I was working on the list of social media websites, one of the ones that I stumbledupon (haha, social media pun) was Athlinks. Being an athlete, or at least a former high school and collegiate athlete, I was very intrigued. There have been many websites throughout my running career that offer a community with forums, maybe a training log, or some other sort of comparative aspect to other athletes (best times, training, etc). Athlinks is different however, and despite there being a little bit more to desire, I found this social media to be very unique and very interesting.

Upon creating my account, the site had me “Claim” myself. When I entered my name, a list of people with my name that had race results appeared.  Most of them were MY results, so it made this process easier. I simply clicked a check box next to the races I was in, and it automatically associated those races with my profile. I thought this function was VERY cool.

One aspect we talked about with social media is their ability or sometimes necessity to be user driven. This social media follows this ideology very well. Over the years, I have been in MANY races all over the country. It simply isn’t possible for a single web site or social media to have access to every road race, high school track meet, or collegiate cross country race across the United States. To solve this, Athlinks allows users to submit their own race results. The process was quite simple. I punched in an exact date of the results (which I had already looked up online) and I was able to select a variety of races listed on that date. Since my race did not show up on their list, I would request to add the race by supplying the name, date, result page URL, etc.  This is definitely a very cool way to build the site with information as you have over 100,000 users all putting in races, submitting information, and building the resources.

In the short amount of time I was on the site, I very much enjoyed some of the features. The only think missing was a training log. I think to have a social media revolving around endurance athletes, the site should also provide a space for training logs. The training log is a very important aspect to any endurance athlete. One thing that my teammates and I loved sharing were old logs of workouts we had done in the past.

Athlinks is definitely a place I would recommend some of my friends visit. Being user driven for information and race results, it would be very interesting to see this become the new go-to place for race results. The last one shut down (trackshark.com) sometime I think in 2009 and we have been a bit lost without their up to date results and news.

If you are an endurance athlete and looking for a place to connect with other athletes with similar interests, I would recommend a look at Athlinks!

 

Jumping in… January 18, 2011

Filed under: Social Media — karch10k @ 7:44 pm
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I would like to address some feelings I had regarding the readings we discussed this week. A question was posed about how we as a class felt about the differences in how Web 2.0 was defined between three different articles:

What is Web 2.0

http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html

Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration

http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/files/saleable-pdfs/47306.pdf

Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship

http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

Between these two articles, there are some similarities, as well as some subtle differences.  Ultimately I feel that the terms used are arbitrary, and just another way to define the same thing. Let me elaborate…

All of the articles touch on many of the same core concepts of Web 2.0. To rely solely on one alone I think is limiting. Each article seems to have simply a further breakdown of these core concepts which I feel are, but not limited to:

  • Connectivity
  • Sharing
  • Communication
  • User Generated Content
  • User Driven

If you consider the McAfee (2009) handout we got as defining Web 2.0 as ESSPs, or emergent social software platforms, you can see many similarities. The terms used here are social software, platforms, emergent, and freeform. If you take the definitions (I will just use the keywords) and compare them to the categories I have just listed, you get a very close comparison.

Connectivity = social software

Sharing and communication = platforms

User generated content and user driven = emergent and freeform

Take the same comparative concept to the Enterprise 2.0 article. There are 6 “slates” which McAfee (2006) describes as the 6 components of Enterprise 2.0 technologies. Search, links, authoring, tags, extensions, and signals. You can group these all into the same categories I listed above.

Connectivity = Search

Sharing = Links, tags

Communication = Signals

User generated content and user driven = Authoring, extensions

You could argue that extensions is a little harder to place, but in order for services like Stumbleupon to operate, they need user input. With more users, you have a larger audience, and better “stumbles”.

Overall, I really liked all three articles. For personal preference, I especially enjoyed the first one, What is Web 2.0. It seemed almost a checklist of things that make social media successful, or how to be successful in using social media. I also enjoyed the reference to Intel Inside, and at first I didn’t understand. Once we discussed it a lot more, the light bulb definitely came on and I thought back to that section and had one of those “It all makes sense now!” sort of reactions.

All of the various examples of how social media came to be, and how some companies fell short of a quality service was very educating. Great first set of articles!