Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Everything is connected

We are none of us alone; Even as we exhale, it is inhaled by others; The light that shines upon me, shines upon my neighbor as well; In this way, everything is connected to everything else; In this way, I am connected to my friend even as I am connected to my enemy; In this way, there is no difference between me and my friend; In this way, there is no difference between me and my enemy; We are none of us alone.

These lines are from my new favorite TV show, "Life", about a wrongly imprisoned cop who got his job back and now does police detective work with Zen. In this age of hyper-connectivity, with all the social networking sites and tools around, indeed now we are none of us alone.

Social networking is the new global consumer phenomenon. According to a Nielsen report, two-thirds of the world’s Internet population visit a social network or blogging site and the sector now accounts for almost 10% of all internet time. Social network and blogsites has overtaken personal email to become the world’s fourth most popular online sector after search, portals and PC software applications.

Facebook has become the dominant player in social networking sites. The phenomenal increase in the amount of time people are spending on these sites is changing the way people spend their time online and affects how people behave, share and interact within their normal daily lives. According to the same Nielsen report time spent on social network and blogging sites grew at over 3x the rate of overall Internet growth. In terms of audience numbers the greatest growth for Facebook, for instance, has come from people aged 35-49 years of age. My school mates and I belong to that demographics. It is not surprising that after more than 35 years we meet again online.

Among Filipinos, Friendster got an early foothold in the market. But its ornate design appeals more to the younger set. Some say it is 'jologs' and Facebook is the 'sosyal' version. I do have accounts in almost all the various platforms because I invariably accept all account invitations sent my way, but I actively maintain only my FB account.

I joined Facebook to keep in touch with fellows I met in a conference and to meet new ones that share the same passion for RSS for banks' online communications and other web applications. It is pure serendipity that I got in touch with elementary school classmates as well. With Internet search and social networking sites, I managed to track down several more classmates and friends and relatives. I hope that soon everyone will be connected with everyone, again.

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