Posted by: crudbasher | September 21, 2009

Week 3 – Blog Posting #6 -Communities of Practice

As I watched the video on what a Social Network is, something in the back of my mind was bugging me.  I felt like I seen something like this before.  I have been a teacher and a computer programmer and a computer graphics person for my whole career.  I can see parallels in Social Networks in some of those fields and in my personal life.

As a teacher, I got my job because I knew someone at Full Sail.  As a matter of fact, every single job I got was because I knew someone there or someone recommended it to me.  Businesses have a problem in hiring people.  A resume only tells part of the story of what makes a good employee.  I have known many people who have been talented, but lack people skills or are annoying to work with.  If a business has to choose between two equally skilled prospects, they will choose the one who has the better references usually.

As a programmer, I have been doing a lot of work in the past two years with databases.  I thought database programming would be boring but it is actually interesting seeing what you can do with the data.  Finding associations in the database is called Data Mining.  Basically according to www.theearling.com “Data Mining tools predict future trends and behaviors, allowing businesses to make proactive, knowledge-driven decisions. (White, 2009)  I have noticed that the more data you add to the set, the more interesting connections can be made.  The more people you have in your Social Network, the more interesting opportunities pop up.

Another way Social Networks can be used is for dating.  Many people are uncomfortable with bars and typical social places.  Online dating provides a degree of comfort and also gives a person a large pool of prospective mates.  If you are looking for that one in a million person, then you need a pool of a million.

All this networking can have a down side however.  A project the government started in 2002 called Total Information Awareness was set up to find terrorists.  As
the Electronic Privacy Information Center website says the project “…would oversee vast databases of digital fingerprints and photographs, eye scans and personal information from millions of American citizens and lawful foreign visitors (epic.org, 2005)  The possibility for abuse is certainly obvious.  Last year during the presidential campaign the famous “Joe the Plumber” had his state records pulled by state employees and given to the media.  So Social Network have their down sides.  Like any technology we as a society will have to learn to live with the down sides too.

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