Posts Tagged ‘technology; Internet’

Social Networking

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Ed Bennett runs a website to track how hospitals in the United States use social media. He and his team have identified 3,952 social networking sites coordinated by 1,188 hospitals. The breakdown is revealing:

Media

While I had expected a large presence on Facebook and Twitter, the prominence of Foursquare surprised me. This service allows users with mobile devices to “check in” at a particular location.

The analysis of social networking can go even deeper. While Bennett calculates the presence of a Facebook page, for instance, UbiCare explores how much the target audience engages with the site. To achieve a high engagement score, a hospital typically adds over 7 posts a week.

While hospitals tend to target their communications at an external audience, faculty developers can learn from their techniques to reach internal stakeholders.

Wayback Web

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

As part of my role in supporting faculty, I’ve been thinking about new ways to leverage online technology to build connectivity. To better envision the future, I started to wonder what the past web looked like. Knowing how we’ve changed over time will help clarify trends in Internet use. So, I turned to the Wayback Machine.

This archive takes snapshots of websites over several points in time. When I pointed the search to the Department of Medicine’s home page, it turned up several iterations. I’ve gathered two of them here. They are from 2001 and 2005:

Med00 Med05

One trend I noticed is the increased attention to readability. Both are still text heavy, but the later page adds more white space and bullets. The next step will be to add images. Ultimately, the future will hold more interactivity. Rather than a passive page of information, websites will engage and link the viewer with other users.

Who’s Watching Google?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

It’s become part of our browsers, our research habits, and our vocabulary. Most academics would agree that Google has made their lives easier. It provides us not just with searches but also scholarly articles, e-mail, shared documents, directions, and airline information.

A new book from Siva Vaidhyanathan warns that we should not uncritically welcome “Googlization.” Although signs of malfeasance are not apparent yet, Vaidhyanathan worries that Google’s goals do not align neatly with scholars’ goals. Google is publicly traded and accountable to shareholders. The company collects our personal information to put to its own, profit-making ends.

In an interview, the author lists other concerns. Google’s ease makes students less rigorous in their research. Its algorithms favor popularity, not accuracy. Of course, there’s the loss of productive time given over to watching YouTube videos. Despite the critique, the book concedes there is a lot to admire in Google. Let’s just be wary of any monopoly.