Saturday, December 15, 2007

one last blog...

I have to say (and probably most of you feel the same way), that I am happy and sad at the same time about writing this final post for our class. Happy because classes are over, finals are over (at least for me), I am one semester away from graduating college, and I am back home in Puerto Rico where the weather is perfect. But I also feel sad because even though I did not contribute much to our class discussions, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of our classroom and how everyone was comfortable around each other. 

Even without books, taking notes, and constant lectures, I learned more in this class than what I have learned in many of my past classes. I was unaware of almost all the technologies and social networking sites that are available for us out there, it is an entire new world. 

I went back to read my past blog posts, and by now I have changed my mind on some of the things I have said. I always had a negative outlook on what these technologies can do for us as individuals, and in our future job opportunities. I now understand that they are created for a useful purpose and even though some people abuse of these technologies and do not use them for proper purposes, there are others (a vast majority) that do benefit from them. 

As my blog group might have noticed, writing is not one of the things that I consider myself to do well, but I tried to put my messages across. Unlike most of the class, I had to struggle every Sunday (yes, i waited until the last moment to write my posts) to write something coherent and engaging so that others would want to read and comment on them. 

I loved everything about this class; I think it was the only one that I have taken so far that I didn't mind waking up for. The only thing that I do regret is not pushing myself to share with all of you my opinions and thoughts about everything we covered in class. I did have things to say, but I found myself thinking things over and over in my head before actually saying something, and most of the time by that time the class had changed the subject. It was so easy for everyone else to express themselves and communicate their thoughts. I learned that I have to force myself to talk and people will respect my opinions. 

Thank you all for a great semester and good luck in whatever life may bring upon you. :) 

Sunday, December 2, 2007

lets get real...

After reading the Fatdoor Blog and, I couldn't help but ask myself, where are we going with all these innovations in technology?

Before starting this class I had little knowledge about the numerous opportunities that are available to us on the Internet. I really thought that I was technology-savvy, but was I wrong. Every week I read about a new way that social networking is used. I understand that it helps us find connections with others with whom we share similar characteristics; it helps build relationships; hold meetings, and find long lost friends. And, I know that throughout the course of the semester I have come out as a pessimist, almost all my blog posts have been skeptical and negative, and once again, using social networking to support social good seems a little unreal to me.

Even though these programs were created with a useful purpose, trying to unite people and communities, and finding ways for helping those in need, I find it hard to believe that they can be effective when we live in a world were almost everyone only cares about themselves and their own personal interests. Would you really help someone you have never met before? People are sometimes reluctant to help the ones they do know, why would they help a stranger move into their new apartment? And why share your common interests with people you don't even know? And, transferring money out of your bank account to help a homeless person? PLEASE!

I'm just not sure that just because people can now be aware of these applications and opportunities they will take action.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Four Stars for UGC

I find the internet to be a wonderful source for everything—I could not live without it. It facilitates our lives so much. You do not have to go anywhere because almost anything is a button away. One can go shopping without going to the mall, one can do research and read books without going to the library.

Also, the internet is a way for people to express themselves and generate valuable information. I, like the people in the article, believe that UGC is extremely helpful for companies and people in general. I find reviews, blogs, and Q & A walls to be very helpful for the people in general.

I like to shop online a lot, so I really like that many companies let people write their reviews. Because through the comments of people that have bought the item I get feedback from people like me and know the opinion of people outside the retailers about the item.. Granted, they are opinions and subjective responses. But the reviews are mostly, in my experience, about general expectations of a product that most people have and not about ‘oh like them or not’, which is more subjective. Most of the time the review tells you, for example, that the shoe is greener in person or that the dress runs small because the person usually is another size. Like the article says, having reviews minimizes returns, thus increasing profits. Because through reviews I know what to expect, be it a darker color or know to order it in a bigger size.

Another personal story that relates to UGC and blogs…When I was sick with mono I googled my symptoms—that I had an unbearable throat pain. And I found sites of people saying they had this same symptom and others responded what they may have according to past experiences. I know it is bad to look for medical advice from strangers—they most probably aren’t doctors—but I was not looking for a diagnosis. I was trying to look at things people did to lessen the pain. By reading the answers I realized that many people had had the same problem and I enjoyed reading their comments on how they had felt. Some wrote exactly how I was feeling---that I would rather die than keep having the pain and that no one else understood, but they did! So it gave me a sense that others knew how I was feeling so in a way this UGC gave me comfort.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

spreading information through social networks

For this week the discussion was about the effect of the internet on politics. One of the articles talked about how could Facebook change politics.

While one could argue that not everyone is obsessed with social networking sites or have the time to spend in them looking through messages, I do think it is a good way for politicians to target the younger generations for whom the internet is an indispensable part of life. Not only do many use it to pass on information through quick clicks of icons that forward to emails or short messages from these social sites, but active and passionate people get their messages through to these people and if these messages are interesting enough those who read it will pass it along to their friends and so on.

Thus, while I don't think politicians should depend on Facebook, Bebo, or any other social networking sites to spread their campaign goals and ideals I do think it is a way to appeal to a good crowd as long as the message is interesting and attention grabbing enough so that many read it and feel the urge to pass it along.

These sites should then be considered a good asset to have, yet probably not an indispensable one since it is not actually appealing to the whole population.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Many friends do not mean valuable connections

Sites like Jobster and Monster can be really good and effective for recruiters and also for people looking for different job opportunities. In these sites, you can upload your resume and put yourself out there for employers to seek you out and find out what you are about. I find these sites to be very good, especially for us seniors who are one semester away from graduating from college and need to be considering places to work at. They are a great option for recruiters to seek out future employees. It is another outlet for finding employees and a way for them to bypass expensive recruiting companies.

On the other hand, I do not like the part of the sites like LinkedIn that create networks and profiles. I agree with the idea of these sites being useful for job searching, but not for networking. I believe that this site, like myspace and Facebook, was creating for a useful purpose. But in the end they become overused and lose their appeal and credibility. In one of the articles the same idea was stated: “Just as we are now seeing a consumer backlash on MySpace--people have too many ‘friends’--we may see a similar reaction with the networking sites, and their value will decline." As you invite more and more people into your network and you have more connections, the less valuable and strong those connections become.

Monday, October 29, 2007

it's who you know...

Even though it is frustrating to think that your knowledge is not as important and valuable as knowing the right people and having the connections to move ahead, it is the crude reality. From personal experience, this has been true during the last couple of years of my life. I cannot say that this is true everywhere, but it is definitely how it works back home in Puerto Rico. The internships and job opportunities that I’ve had in the past have been given to me because of my family connections. I have been fortunate in the sense that I have a family with huge networks that have been able to find opportunities for me, but at the same time it is sad to think that I have not needed to develop my own skills for networking and for job hunting. My educational background has not been a determining factor when employers have decided to give or deny me a job. As I said previously in our class, I have been taking social networking for granted until I came to college because I was born into a network and did not think it was essential for me to build one on my own.

Now that I am a semester away from graduating from college I have been looking for what to do once I am out of school. Who I know has been more important that what I have learned in these last three years. I have been offered a job in San Diego, Houston, and Puerto Rico. I have the chance to choose from three different positions that where given to me because of my father. If it weren’t for him I would probably not have been considered for these job. It is so much easier to find a job by being referred by someone you know. But, where do we draw the line? Why do we spend so many years of our lives studying and struggling to get good grades when at the end it is probably limited by the people we know? It is just not fair to get a job because your father knows somebody over a person that may have the same qualities but lacks the connections.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I believe that the internet has facilitated our lives. I can see how these virtual teams are advantageous to companies, employees, the environment, etc. But I can also see the disadvantages it has. So I will play devil’s advocate and argue against using the Internet for substituting meetings and teamwork.

First, there is no such thing as the real thing. Nothing can compare to having a meeting in person. Having a virtual meeting instead of an in-person meeting is like writing an email instead of a letter. Sure both probably get the same message out there, the email may be easier. But it is much less personal and transmits a much more distant message. One can never make a true connection with someone who you can only see through a computer screen or even worse, can just hear. Without the face-to-face connection people can lose the ability to develop good chemistry and create a sense of familiarity with others. There is nothing like a hand-written letter and meeting a person in the flesh.

Plus, what is so bad about traveling? Meeting other people? Seeing other cultures in person? Getting away from the office for a few days?

It is so much harder to communicate through a computer, without being able to point out to things and fully explain things.

People get distracted by virtual meetings. Not that one doesn’t get distracted on real meetings! But on virtual meetings people could just easily get up and leave because others can’t see what they are doing, or they make faces about the subject.

Lastly, the internet may be great. But connections are not great in all places at all times, resolutions is not always great. I have many problems webcaming with my family, imagine if I had an important meeting and the webcam program didn’t want to start!