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ICQWhat was the first platform you used for instant messaging? Mine was ICQ. I started using it back in grade nine – over 10 years ago. When I think of ICQ I remember the distinctive “Uh-oh!” it’d play when someone sent an IM.

Some of my friends were using it a while before me; I was a little late on the Internet bandwagon. You see, I didn’t get my own PC until the summer of ’98, but I digress. Just as I was getting used to ICQ, a new IM client started to emerge. It began with one friend here and there, and then everyone had it. MSN Messenger, with its fancy avatars and easy access to e-mail, was a big departure from bland ICQ where the only outlet for creativity was our user names (which in some cases may have had every character on on the computer).

Windows Live MessengerFor the past nine years or so I’ve been a regular user of Windows Live Messenger, as it has come to be named (though everyone still says MSN), to talk to friends. However, in that time – and especially recently – there have been many additions to the ways I can IM with them. Just to name a few, we have: MSN, ICQ, Facebook Chat, Myspace IM, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo! Messenger, Skype, Google Talk (Gtalk), and even twitter can be thrown into the mix.

I’m wondering, with the supposed popularity of IM’ing, are there too many options out there? Are all these added services killing this once often used, conversation tool of mine?

I’m a big fan of keeping in contact with friends, and a lot of it is done through IM’ing, simply because it’s convenient. Now that Facebook has its own IM option, (note: it requires you to log in) it’s possible to connect with friends while checking your wall. Gmail has Google Talk,  which is similar to MSN. Users can access the IM client through their e-mail or they can download it.

Windows Live messenger still reigns supreme

Google TalkAccording to a 2006 (if you can find a more recent one let me know!) report by comScore Networks, a digital measurement company, Windows’ Messenger is used by 61 per cent of the world’s IM’ing population. Regardless of Messenger’s IM supremacy, I’m finding with all these ways to connect online, I’m less likely to start a conversation, opting instead to (for the most part) only chat with people who contact me first.

As some of my readers know, I’m a big fan of social media sites and pretty much anything online. However, I miss the days of connecting with friends by striking up a conversation on ICQ and then MSN, when there fewer options. Now, no matter what site I go it seems, there’s an option to IM with people, which makes it less appealing and more of a chore I want to avoid.

podcamp-toronto-2009-header

If you’re interested in new media like podcasting, blogging, tweeting, or pretty much anything ending in ‘2.0’ then you probably know about the popular (and free!) PodCamp Toronto, at the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University on February 21 and 22.

For those who aren’t familiar with the event, it’s an ‘unconference.’ For those who aren’t familiar with what at an unconference is, I’ll try my best to explain. From my experience at Talk is Cheap 2.0, held at Centennial College in the fall, it’s a group of short seminars, each discussing aspects of the unconference’s topic; in this case, new media. People from the community come together to discuss various issues and trends in the field, and meet with new connections or reconnect with old colleagues.

I’ve been looking forward to PodCamp Toronto for quite some time now. Recently the schedule for the weekend was released and I’ve made my tentative choices for what seminars I want to visit.

Which seminars will you be visiting and why? Maybe I’ll change my mind with a little persuasion.

DAY ONE

Building Relationships with Word of Mouth and PR Practitioners While Maintaining Credibility with Your Audience

Presented by Anita Clarke, David Jones, Eden Spodek and Matthew Stradiotto, moderated by Keith McArthur.

Live from PodCamp…it’s Inside PR

Hosted by Terry Fallis, David Jones and Martin Waxman

Creating a collaborative work environment

Hosted by Chrissy Chrzan & Russ Morgan of Espresso

Social Media for Nonprofits: challenges, opportunities and successes

Hosted by Elena Yunusov and Jane Zhang of TechSoup Canada

Government 2.0. A discussion on the expanding role of social media and government/citizen interaction, right here in Canada.

Facilitated by Mike Kujawski

Podcasting in foreign lands

Hosted by Michelle Sullivan

This Week in Geek LIVE!

Hosted by Steve “Snowball” Saylor, Mike “The Birdman” Dodd and David “Double D” Denis from This Week in Geek.

I Got the Job because of Social Media
DAY TWO

Social Media and Higher Ed

Hosted by Wayne MacPhail and Frances Willick

Jedi mind tricks & you – Overcoming fear, mistrust & resistance to implementing social media.
Hosted by Mark Farmer
If you haven’t already, remember to visit the site and register!

Do you get your online news from blogs? Do you find the info you want in the post itself or in the links to “credible” news sources?

When I’m scouring the web for news, and I find something interesting on a blog, I tend to click on the hyperlinks leading me to more information. The link the news came from originally is where I go to find the facts. I see blogs as a piece of the social media puzzle where individuals can freely post their opinions on any subject they want (kind of like I’m doing right now!). From there, readers can comment and the discussion can grow.

ethics-real-fork-in-road_02Recently in my Online PR class we discussed the issue of blogging ethics and the fact that bloggers aren’t held to the same standard of ethics as journalists.

We were shown a YouTube posting of Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds of the Future who says, “many people now do journalism on blogs. Some of it is very educational and important stories have been broken.”

Gardner goes on to mention a study he conducted on Matt Drudge. He found out from Drudge that only 50-70 per cent of what he reports on, are facts. Gardner says a newspaper like The New York Times would aim to report with 100 per cent accuracy. Admittedly this is not something one can live up to. When the Times makes a mistake, they correct it, he says.

Journalists are held to a code of ethics

Having gone to journalism school, It’s been drilled into my head to be as accurate about facts as possible, and don’t editorialize. I know papers have their own slant on issues, but for the most part, each side of the argument gets a chance to speak and the facts are just that — facts! The journalist is also held to a code of ethics. They’re specialists after all, having gone to school for it.

Bloggers need to let their readers know from the outset that the content is their opinion, or the content is backed by facts (although without any kind of journalistic training, the question of credibility still comes up). With the world of journalism quickly moving online, it’s important for readers to know their stories are coming from credible sources, and not from “Joe the Blogger” claiming to have an unbiased approach.

Do you take a blogger’s word even if they have links supporting their post? Or do you probe to find out more? And can the same be said for journalists (just to be fair and unbiased)?


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I now blog at inseansopinion.com full time. Please visit me there for movie and book reviews as well as any other commentary that comes to mind.

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