Google Launches Google+, a Facebook Look-alike.


Yesterday, while tweeting my heart away as I normally do in the mornings, I came across an interesting link referring to a new social networking service from the search-engine giant; Google called Google+.

Google+ is the search giant’s all-in attempt to add a social layer onto their other products, and the engineers in charge describe it as an extension to what Google’s already doing in the social scene. They are emphasizing on privacy in differentiating the new social service from the rest of other networks.

We all know, Google have tried several times to come up with services/innovations that could over-take the leading social networking site; Facebook but haven’t succeeded in any of their attempts. Remember Google Wave? What about Orkut, or Google Buzz? What happened to all of them?

An interesting point raised in the New York Times by Claire C. Miller draws my attention to the fact that, the new service “happens to look very much like Facebook,” but it works differently. The guiding principle behind Google+ is the notion that users want to share different kinds of things with different groups of people.

A feature in Google+ called “Circles” allows users to put group their friends and share to the groups. Other unique features include “Hangouts,” a group video chat feature; “Sparks,” an automated feed of videos and articles custom-tailored for the user; “Huddle,” a text message-powered group chat; and “Instant Upload,” an automatic photo uploader for mobile phones.

But Google+ may already be too late. In May, 180 million people visited Google sites, including YouTube, compared with 157.2 million on Facebook, according to comScore. But Facebook users looked at 103 billion pages and spent an average of 375 minutes on the site, while Google users viewed 46.3 billion pages and spent 231 minutes.

Google+ users will start by selecting people they know from their Gmail contacts (and from other services, once Google strikes deals with them). They can drag and drop friends’ names into different groups, or circles, and give the circles titles, like “Accra Peeps”, “Taadi Folks” or “Honey Suckle Peeps.” Then they can share with these groups or with all of their friends.

Unlike on Facebook, people do not have to agree to be friends with one another. They can receive someone’s updates without sharing their own.

So now the question arises, Will It Be Able To Take On Facebook? Will It Prove To be A Facebook Killer?

Analysts say that Facebook users are unlikely to duplicate their network of friends on Google+ and post to both sites, but that they could use them for different types of communication. Google+ could also attract Facebook holdouts that have been uncomfortable sharing too publicly.

So will Google+ do to Facebook what Facebook did to MySpace? Does this new service from Google look more attractive than Facebook? Are you willing to abandon Facebook for Google+?

You can try your hands on the Interactive Demo here.

 

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How Many Ghanaians Are On Facebook?


A heated argument ensured between my very good friend;MudalawGH yesterday on the number of Ghanaians on the Social Media site; Facebook. I quoted about 500,000 and he disputed the fact that, it’s not possible.

Research:

In trying to feed my inquiring minds; I chanced upon CheckFacebook.com which provided the needed data for this post.  CheckFacebook.com is not affiliated with Facebook in anyway. It’s a platform that is able track data reported from Facebook’s advertising tool to help marketers and researchers understand how Facebook is spreading across the globe.

Number of Ghanaians on Facebook

According to the platform; approximately 700,000 subscribers from Ghana have sign-up on Facebook been total users till date. Out of this number; 470, 560 are Males and this represents 68.3% and 218,480 been Females which represents 31.7%.  The photos below should give you a clear idea of the data been compared.

 

Percentage of Ghanaian Males/Females on Facebook

When the above data is broken down; those between the ages of 18 – 24yrs dominate the social networking site making up 44.9% followed by 25- 34yrs olds who are at 32.0%. More info below:

 

Age Range of Ghanaians on Facebook

Do you know that; currently there are about 1.733 billion internet users in the world? When Facebook gets half of that then their user base would balloon to 850 million. Amazingly there are still some countries that have some other social networking sites dominating.

The diagram below distinguishes between the percentage of Online Population of both Ghana and Nigeria. Nigeria with a total population of about 2,102,120 active subscribers on Facebook have 21.02% of Online population at all times whiles Ghana with a total of about 700,000 active subscribers have 79.14%.

 

Online Population Between Ghana & Nigeria

According to InternetWorldStats; Ghana’s internet penetration is at 5.3% with 1,297,000 internet users as of June, 2010. This is a big improvement of last year’s stats of 4.2% with 997,000 of internet users as of June/2009.

What is accounting for this high margin in Online population between Ghana and Nigeria?

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Worldwide Top 30 for Internet Penetration Rate in 2010

Will You Ever Quit Facebook?


I stumbled upon this website: http://QuitFaceBookDay.com when I arrived at work this morning. Strucked by its catchy phrase, I decided to read more into what they are actually preaching. According the site;

Facebook Trashed

Facebook is engaging, enjoyable and quite frankly, addictive. Quitting something like Facebook is like quitting smoking.

They’ve actually marked May 31, 2010 as the deadline for those interested to quitting/deleting their accounts from Facebook permanently. As I’m typing at this very moment; about 16129 people have committed to joining this cause/campaign.

Would you join this campaign? Are you likely to quit Facebook soon? What would push you into doing that? Is it because of the privacy issues or other pressing ones?

In recent times, there’s been a lot of talk about Facebook and their privacy issues; as well as their perceived attempts to “take over the web” through their “like” buttons and other integrations with their platform. As a matter of fact, I’m not saying the privacy and other stuffs aren’t important – trust me, it is. In my opinion, the Facebook privacy settings are a usability nightmare, but I do encourage everyone to take a look at theirs and lock them down however tightly you want.

Even though I have been contemplating on the issue of completely deleting my account on Facebook; I have come to realized that, I have nothing to lose if I maintain my account rather than delete it. As a matter of fact, Facebook has been a platform of socializing, re-connecting with old friends, sharing my blog-posts & updating my numerous friends all over the world; from Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, UK, Canada, USA, Kenya and Uganda through to Nigeria about happenings in Ghana and around me…

How do I keep in touch with all this numerous friends/mates and business contacts when MTN’s data services are becoming very expensive by the hour?

Currently, a Google search on my name is definitely going to reveal lot of information [mainly via my blogs] about myself than a couple of years ago. I always dread to think about what info of me is already online even taking Facebook out of the equation. If I decide to leave Facebook entirely for that reason; then surely I would then logically, have to track down all other information that are in other places. I simply cannot summon up the energy to do this… Before I think of starting, I’m already exhausted.

A few years ago, when I finally came to accept the fact that I was addicted to the internet; I made up my mind to use the web into building a career and living my life. I can’t now complain that people I don’t know can find stuff about me. It’s all in the spirit of technology and evolution. I support Digital Activism & Social Media Evolution to the core.

Now to the Sad case: I’m not happy right now because I’m fallen a victim of privacy-abuse on Facebook. There’s this group on Facebook “Chill Out Ghana” by one Kwabena Poku. Even though I’m not a member of this group; I keep receiving spamming messages from this person and his group every time there’s going to be an event in Ghana. Messages range from Silverbird Movies-to-be-shown, Facebook Waakye Party and just this recent one, Vodafone 020 Concert… I have cross-checked to be sure; I’m not his friend and neither part of the group but I keep get spammed… Why???

A week before the Vodafone 020 Concert in Accra, I received about 3 to 5 messages from Chill Out Ghana in a day. All this messages were sent by Kwabena Poku. What kind of nonsense is this? Is it by force to be informed about an event? I just hate cheap advertisement..!

As much as I’m so much into social media right now, I’m not going to make that act of cheap-advertisement stop me from doing what I do best. I will continue to embrace social networking and learn new ways of improving upon blogging and citizen journalism…

I plan to stay on top of Facebook’s ever-changing privacy settings and I’m going to be very cautious about what I post, knowing that any online information easily could be shared beyond friends.

Dear reader; do you plan quitting Facebook for good? What are some of the mishaps you’ve encountered since you signed on Facebook? Will Facebook respond to this and come up with a better and secured Privacy Policy? Are you quitting Facebook or sticking with it? I would be interested in hearing other people’s views!

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My Talk @ TEDxYouthInspire


Growing up in a small trading-town of Keta in the Volta Region, my grand-mother; Madam Doris Degadjor-Deha; a Cereal/Grains  Seller in the Keta Market paid so much attention to Education as the only key to eradicating poverty in our family.

Mac-Jordan @ #TEDxYI

Back in the day, she always makes me write letters to my father by normal dictation of whatever she wants to say and I also try as much as possible to express them on the foolscap sheet from my notebooks…! This was the only mean of communicating between my father and Uncles who were in Accra.

I saw those habits as a means of bridging the communication-gap between myself, my dad, Uncles and my grandmother. Those days of letter writing have really helped in shaping my writing skills till date. I owe my grandmother every bit of my success story. She’s the reason why I’m on this podium sharing my life experiences with you all.

In secondary school; Keta Secondary School. I was a member of the Writer’s & Debaters Club in my first and I later on  became the Editor-In-Chief of the School’s Magazine [The Dzolalian] which was released in time for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

To some extent, I do believe it’s hard to know sometimes how our life has changed until we stop for a moment and look at how different it is from 10 or even 5 years ago.

In recent year’s social media, likely more than anything else has significantly impacted most of my daily lives. The very first thing I look out for when I open my eyes each morning is my Nokia E71 Mobile Phone…! With this tool, I’m able to communicate, know of the latest trending topics/news and update my followers/friends about happenings around me.

Positive Effects of Social Media

Envisioning the global conversation that has developed over the past few years because of tools like Hi5, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter might have been unimaginable for most people at the beginning of this decade. But social media communication tools have profoundly changed my life and how I interact with other people in the world.

Below are the various ways Social Media has revolutionized MY LIFE.

1. Citizen Journalism / Blogging

My friends on social media are increasingly becoming my trusted sources of information, even more than search engines. My Nigerian blogger friend now resident in Ghana, Oluniyi David Ajao recently commented,

“More people are finding my blog from Twitter and Facebook referrals than via Google.com.”

Interestingly, this should tell you how deep people are going with Social Media these days. News (news) is more social than ever.  By getting our news from social media, we know who is recommending and can easily communicate with that person about it.

2. NETWORKING / MEET-UPS

Recently, staying up-to-date with family and friends has been very easy with the coming in of Social Media tools. From writing letters which were either sent by post or hand delivered to today’s modern way of email/SMS has really proven that, Social Media has more positive effects than the negative.

The organizing crew and members of Barcamp-Ghana, Ghana Blogging Group, Maker Faire Africa, Accra Twestival and TEDxYouthInspire all came about as a result of networking via social media tools. By constant staying in touch with each other and working on projects, we know who is available to support any event/project that will be happening and who can play “X-Y-Z” role.

Of course, there isn’t only so much communication that can happen through a social network, but via Tweet-ups and other in-person events, people are expanding these online interactions to face-to-face meetings just like I met RodneyQuarcoo for the very first time even though we’ve been communicating for quite sometimes now.By the way, Rodney Quarcoo was the official photographer at the #TEDxYouthInspire event.

The introductions are initially made through social networks, and then people develop the relationship using phone calls and in-person meetings. In other words, social media is increasingly being used to find and maintain both old and potentially new friendships. There’s been so many instances where friends from Secondary School or University who’ve not been in touch after graduating get to reconnect again via Facebook or Twitter.

3. START-UPS / ENTREPRENEURSHIP

It is easier than ever to start and launch a business today, in great part thanks to social media. We can’t only locate potential collaborators and employees through interest-focused Google Groups, Facebook groups, Twitter searches, and other social networks, but perhaps more importantly, social media gives people who have time, but little money for advertising, the chance to engage with others and promote their business.

While business in the past was generally conducted with those in one’s immediate environment, social media tools, including everything from blogging-tweeting-posting videos on YouTube, has opened new possibilities for both customers and clients. Who we do business with and how we promote that business has moved increasingly online, and for small business especially, social media has proved valuable.

Start-ups using Social Media for advertisement in Ghana.

Start-ups like Meltwater Group, Internet Research, Twists & Locs, DreamOval, Suuch Solutions and some Ghanaian Musicians are a few that are really using Social Media to sell their products and name. A Google search on any of these businesses/Groups/Persons would definitely reveal more information about them today than a couple of years back.

4. SOCIAL ACTIVISM

The practice of using digital technology /social media tools for entertainment, reporting, education, travel and social change is how I define my zeal for activism. Last year, I was part of a few selected bloggers from Africa that participated in the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before my departure, I really experienced the positive side of Social Media from Visa acquisition, accommodation and air-fare package.

Managing Director of GlobalVoicesOnline, Georgia Popplewell visited Ghana sometimes in October 2009 for the African Media Leadership Conference. I happened to take her for a guided tour around some parts of Accra and Cape Coast. She actually convinced me into writing for #GVO from Ghana which I accepted without any comment after hearing of the benefits/opportunities that come with GVO. In my preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen; I was approved of a stipend

Chip-In Campaign by Georgia Popplewell

which will help me in my participation in the conference and my successful return to my home-country, Ghana. When the stipend was successfully approved, Georgia played a very important role by starting a “CHIP-IN campaign” on twitter which saw people from different parts of the world contributing.

The following 45 Activists supported my going to Copenhagen to report on Climate Change issues been discussed for Global Voices Online & Ghana Blogging Group; and also add my voice to the climate petition been demanded from world leaders. I want to use the medium to say a big “THANK YOU” to all 45 social media activists who saw the importance of my going to Copenhagen and contributed.

Whiles in Copenhagen, I didn’t only focus on reporting and blogging but rather, I took the opportunity to meet other people, exchange contacts and more… I met dignitaries, Heads of States and celebrities from all over the world. Amongst them are; (Please click on the links for the photos)

The Mayor of British Columbia, VancouverGregor Robertson

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town – The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu.

Pro-Photographer – Kris Krug and the Fresh Air Center Crew.

Daryl Hannah – Movie Star from the movies; “Kill Bill 1 & 2” and “Splash”.

Kumi Naidoo – CEO of Greenpeace International

Currently, I voluntarily reports on the activity of the Ghanaian blogosphere; summarizing on the concerns of bloggers in Ghana. I’m also a key member of Ghana Blogging Group and Future Challenges by the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany.

5. Conclusion

Before I conclude, the print and electronic media somehow have made a huge impact in positively affecting the lives of people for sometimes now. It is not really a big deal but to some extent it is; because most people read news items and follows stories from MyJoyonline, Peacefmonline, GhanaWeb and other media outlets but with the coming of social media tools; power is increasingly more widespread. So-called mainstream media is no longer always the driving influencer of public opinion.

Bill Gates signed up on Twitter recently and you would be amazed at the number of followers he received within an hour.  About 100.000 people started following including myself. On Twitter, some individuals now have a million or more followers, Facebook Pages of Movies Stars, Musicians and key influential people also have hundreds of thousands of fans, and YouTube videos get millions of views when they go viral. Most of this content is coming from regular people, rather than big, corporate-owned media organizations.

For example, people like Esi Cleland, Ato-Ulzen Appiah, William Kamkwamba, Ameyaw Debrah and few others  who have over 1000 friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter, have used social media to increase their influence beyond what was possible for “regular people” in the past couple of years…

At this juncture, I know some of you sited here won’t agree with me but in every era;

“cultures go through numerous changes, and in recent years ours has been more impacted than anything else by social media.”

Large media houses in Ghana are not likely to go away overnight, nor will the need to communicate by phone or meet people in person, but social media is providing yet one more means of engaging with people on this vast planet of ours, and if used effectively can give all of us greater choice in how we live and what happens in our world.

I’m experiencing the positive effects of social media since I signed up a couple of years ago. I’m calling on all you sited here this evening to take a bold step and make it point to transform people’s lives with social media.

Thank you….! 🙂

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Making The Most of Twitter


Twitter

Image by respres via Flickr

On July 23, 2009; I did a blog-post [My Love for Facebook Is Decreasing; I’m Twit-ter-ing NOW] on my new found social media platform; Twitter and how it’s positively influencing my social life. Just this morning, I caught a post on my tweet radar on; “Making the most of Twitter”.

Back to page #1. What is Twitter?

Laura-Jane Rich a freelance TV presenter with many hours of live experience, specialising in technology & music describes Twitter as; “a micro-blog, or a mini online diary, where you can type the answer to “What Are You Doing?” in 140 characters or less as frequently as you like.

It is now proving more than the passing fad some thought it to be when it started in 2006.  Part of the reason it has become so popular is that people tweet from the web, mobile, or by SMS.

Nowadays there are two main ways people use it – either posting or “tweeting” yourself – or just following the tweets other people write. This is similar to writing a status update on Facebook so you can see what others are up to, or talking about, and vice versa.

Question No #2. How Do I get started?

You have to sign up [register] first for the service and get started by simply typing the answer to “What’s happening?“, “What’s you doing?What’s new with you?” or “any interesting news/data worth sharing and reading…

After logging in, find and follow others by clicking on their @name or by

@MacJordaN profile with Followers & Tweets Updates

searching for them with their email address or real names. Once you hit “follow“, their updates (or tweets) will show up on your homepage in chronological order, along with the other people you follow.

People who subscribe to your updates are called “Followers“. See how many I have underneath my profile picture.

You can continue reading more here Making the most of Twitter and other social media posts here; Accra Conscious Forever Blog…!

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Facebook Bra Color Updates. Was it for Breast Cancer Awareness…?


Got home very, very late last night after staying back at work, re-designing a colleague’s blog but I was able to be up at my usual alarm time of 0600GMT. First thing that came to mind was, what actually brought about the issues of color as Facebook Status updates about two weeks ago. Hear my take on this…!

For those of you still left in the dark about this – about two weeks ago, my Facebook feed was quickly taken over with updates including only a “color” status updates. On twitter, most of my male friends were wondering “what is going on with these colors as status updates? (48 percent of the people I follow on twitter are males, who were not part of this stealth campaign).”

Blue Bra as Status Update on Facebook

Immediately, I decided to find out from one of my reliable sources of Social Media info about the root of this stealth campaign. Look what I found on Mashable: Sharing Your Bra Color Is the New 25 Things on Facebook. Somebody somewhere started a movement to get women to change their status to the color of their bras. I’m assuming, this is the message that most women received.

Just write the color of your brassiere in your status. Just the color and nothing else. And send this on to ONLY girls/ladies… NO MEN… It will be great to see if this will spread the wings of cancer awareness. It will be fun to see how long it takes before the guys/men will wonder why all the girls have a color in their status… Hahahaha

After my theoretical analysis, I realized this message had nothing to do with the Breast Cancer Awareness. I like the way it did kick-off one of the smartest online and social media campaigns to do with public health. If I’m not exaggerating, about 70% of women on Facebook changed their status updates during this period.

Whoever is behind this is a genius: She/he asked something simple (post a color). There were no entry barriers (every girl has a color to pick). It raises curiosity (men have no idea why suddenly women are changing their statuses to colors). It’s slightly controversial (because people will eventually wonder if there is a point and then debate the point).

So here’s my take on if there’s a point or not- there is. Many of those conversations will in turn lead to a discussion about breast cancer. By debating this seemingly trivial act, most people will bring up the fact that it is related to breast cancer but Breast Cancer Awareness month is way up in October. Why should this drive be at this time? What benefits did they derive from this campaign?

My question is; when are we MEN also going for such a campaign/drive? What cause would it be for? Share your views and thoughts here.

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How is a Relationship “Complicated” on Facebook…!!!


I love Facebook and admit I spend a lot of time on there.  It’s a personal space for me to talk with my friends and family. I’ve been noticing a lot of people have the “It’s Complicated” Facebook dating status.  It got me thinking; why does a relationship have to be complicated? Better yet, why in the world do you want to be in a relationship that is complicated?

When I see/hear it’s complicated I immediately think that individual is in some BS type of situation they clearly don’t need to be in or it wouldn’t be complicated. What kind of BS situation am I referring to? Well, let’s see. I’m thinking of one of the following:

Facebook-It's Complicated Status

  1. Someone is involved with an individual that is married. [Sugar-daddy, Sugar-mommy relationships]
  2. You’re dating someone who isn’t quite ready for a commitment, but you are and you’re your hanging on hoping they’ll change their mind.
  3. You got cheated on (or you did the cheating) and now your relationship is on shaky grounds.

Why do they hang on to these complicated relationships? Are they waiting for a love fairy to come down and magically un-complicate the situation for them?

We are in the New Year [2010], I propose to all those with these “It’s Complicated” Facebook dating status’; take a real hard look into what’s making their situation complicated and determine if this is a situation that is truly good for them and if it’s not; have enough balls to end it and move on.

I don’t know about you, but it’s my goal to live a life that is as uncomplicated as possible.

Who needs the added drama? I certainly don’t.

Do you?