Category Archives: Google+

[REPORT] Social Media as a Tool for Inclusion
Date Created: November 6, 2012  Date Modified: November 19, 2012

I was quite interested in this report by the Canadian Human Resources and Skills Development Canada; Social Media as a Tool for Inclusion. I have looked into some of the issues around special-needs users of the internet, and have dealt with web accessibility in the front lines, but what piked my interest in this report was that it covered two demographics often overlooked–Indigenous and the homeless.

The objectives of the study were to determine the extent, nature and benefits of social media use by five vulnerable populations – Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, the homeless and seniors – and by the institutions that serve them, and to explore the extent to which such media help to overcome social isolation and barriers to inclusion

The homeless are often an invisible demographic, and in a traditional web1.0 paradigm the notion of sitting down to a desktop computer to surf the internet is not seen as in the capacity for the homeless, however the more the net has moved onto devices the more uptake and more visible this demographic will be. The digital divide persists, but the advances of technology are making it easier for users with limited means to be able to access the digital realm.

…given the dire daily challenges of the homeless and those that serve them. It is surprising that no pertinent Canadian academic studies on this topic were unearthed, online or otherwise, during the course of this research. Nevertheless, anecdotal reporting indicates that the internet and social media are extensively used by the homeless, especially those under 30, and this finding resonates with those of several U.S. studies on the topic

Having dealt with homelessness first hand, I knew from my own experiences what benefits I gained from the use of social media–in fact the catalyst for me to create a Facebook account back in 2007 was part of a need to reconnect with those who I had lost contact with during my diaspora.Having dealt with homelessness first hand, I knew from my own experiences what benefits I gained from the use of social media–in fact the catalyst for me to create a Facebook account back in 2007 was part of a need to reconnect with those who I had lost contact with during my diaspora.

The number one issue for homeless people is loneliness; many have left behind them a trail of lost or damaged relationships. Facebook is seen to help the homeless regain contact with family members and actually help them rebuild relationships. A youth worker writes: “I frequently use Facebook as a means of staying in touch with youth who are homeless. They are often without a regular phone or address, but will find a way to update their Facebook status. This way I can continue to support them wherever they are at.”

UPDATE: If you are homeless in Western Australia, the Department of Housing have a homeless assistance hotline you can call: 1800 065 892 for help and assistance.

[REPORT] Digital Freedoms in International Law
Date Created: October 29, 2012  Date Modified: October 29, 2012

Released Monday from Global Network Initiative, is the following report Digital Freedoms in International Law, which addresses many of the issues relating to protecting human rights on-line. It looks into state driven censorship in oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and it also highlights the lack of accountability corporations have in the digital eco-system when it comes to human rights violations:

…there are special problems in applying law generally, and human rights law in particular, to the new global, digital environment. Laws are still mainly drawn up for an environment with clearly defined territorial jurisdictions. And much of the control over the Internet rests in the hands of private companies, whereas traditional human rights law almost entirely focused on states. This raises problems of both “prescriptive” and “enforcement” jurisdiction, and of “privatised” (or semi-­-privatised) law enforcement, without adequate remedies.
Page 14

Also mentioned is the corporate sectors willingness to comply with take down requests, and that they have a moral obligation not to facilitate such:

companies should think in advance of possible risks arising from undue state demands made upon them, and they should take measures – including technical measures – to try and make it possible for them to deny or at least minimise their cooperation. They must afterwards help the victims of their enforced cooperation with such allegedly undue and illegal state actions, to alleviate the harm done as much as possible.
Page 23

I would however suggest that it is the corporate interests manipulating the states; tho this might be me speaking from a political, rather than a legal perspective.

Google+ User Stats
Date Created: September 22, 2011  Date Modified: September 26, 2011

So Google+ is now officially open for trade, but have people been signing up? I know only a few from my old FB friends list have made the migration, but what about the rest of the world?. Well acording to Googles Paul Allen:

On September 9, our model showed 28.7 million users
This morning, our model shows 37.8 million users, with most of the growth coming in the last 2 days
By adding a fudge factor (see below) to account for private user profiles and for non-Roman surnames (both of which are totally overlooked by our surname counting model), my current estimate is 43.4 million users

Paul Allen

This may be the fastest growing Social Network, however in comparison to usage of other google products; say the Android platform with its userbase of 160 million users, does it really justify the Developer time? Or is it just about pulling all the google pruducts under the same umbrella?

One think is unquestionable tho, the crew over at Facebook are scared–do they have anything to worry about?

FBgone
Date Created: September 14, 2011  Date Modified: May 6, 2012

after all the love, hate, drama and chaos facebook brought to my life I decided that the social network was nolonger for me. Im still on linkedin, and google+, but facebook is nolonger active..

However I did decide to create a page on Facebook for myself, so if people search for me they can still find me (and Like me)–they just cant Friend me.

UPDATE: I received many calls from friends re: deleting my Facebook of the “why did you defriend me” type, if you’re considering ditching facebook–let your friends know in advance or it might cause some unwanted confusion.