Top Five: Social Networking Pet Peeves

When utilised properly, social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be incredible networking tools. However, lately I so often find myself typing out status updates or tweets then deleting them because I begin to think “who actually cares about this?”

When I was at university, I was constantly using Facebook and Twitter to plan my social life but as I grow older, I find myself using social networking sites for personal reasons less frequently. Even more so, if I want to communicate with my friends I find myself doing it privately through direct messages.

In the past, I’m sure I did many of these things that I see as an annoyance when I log onto my social networking sites – something I cringe thinking about now – but here are my top five social networking pet peeves:

1. The ‘I’m desperately attention seeking but don’t want to talk about it’ status updater

The sole purpose of social networking websites is to be able to actually socialise online, so when people update their statuses with depressing ambiguous statements, usually relationship based, they should expect sympathy, right? I’m sure you can imagine the kind of scenario:

“Can’t believe I fell for it again!”

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t want to talk about it”

I always find myself screaming at the computer screen “If you don’t want to talk about it, why are you putting it on your Facebook page”

2. The Constant Updater

I have a few regular offenders of this one, especially on Facebook, where I’ll log on and will have to scroll down a few times until I get to a post by a new person. One day, I decided to count the amount of statuses one of my Facebook friends had updated in one day, it was 10. Most of them were complaining (see above) and very few generated discussion.

My initial thought was “surely if you’re going to update your status that often, you would go on Twitter” but I think that also goes against the essence of Twitter, but then I find it so much easier to press the ‘unfollow’ button than the ‘unfriend’ one.

Then there’s the tweeters who like to spam celebrities. As long as you avoid following people with band names/members/albums in their @ name, you should be safe.

3. The ‘I think I’m famous’ updater

Yes, I’ve probably only seen this one once, but I think it’s the most shocking. When did we become a part of a culture where we feel so self-entitled we think everybody cares about our relationship? Most people dread the moment at the end of the relationship where their status changes on Facebook from “In a relationship” to “Single” but others apparently embrace the moment.

Once, I genuinely saw someone make a full blown statement on their status update that would probably be a step too far for a Hollywood couple divorcing after thirty years of marriage. I remember the phrase “we amicably split and no third parties were involved” being used. Is it really necessary? Does anyone other than your closest friends and family need to know the reasons for the split, or lack there of?

4. The ‘non-consistent’ updater

I get so annoyed when people just update with what they think is most socially accepted online, especially when their opinions are inconsistent on different networking platforms. It often comes along with drastic weather, such as snow, so I’m bracing myself for these updates this weekend.

Along with snow, comes the two types of status updater – the lover and the mocker. Whilst some embrace the weather, taking photos of their surroundings, the others mock these people with updates including:

“Wow, don’t even need to look out the window, everyone is taking photos of snow”

“Never knew what snow was until I saw pictures of it on Facebook”

The thing that got me the last time it snowed though, was someone who I followed on Twitter and was friends with on Facebook was clearly just following the crowd. He was posting photos onto Twitter all day, yet mocking people who did the same thing on Facebook?

5. The ‘I should have paid more attention in English’ updater

Users of social networking sites take note:

  • A Sentence Shouldn’t Look Like This – the first letter of each word does not need to be capitalised in the body of text.
  • ‘Your’ and ‘You’re’ mean different things, so do ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’.
  • ALL CAPS SENTENCES ARE PRETTY HARD TO READ AND MAKE IT SEEM LIKE YOU ARE REALLY ANGRY!
  • Text speak is ridiculous, write in full sentences.

As I’ve said, I’m sure I’ve done some of these in the past, but I think there are some things mentioned here just aren’t what social networking was made for. What grinds your gears when you log onto these social networking websites? Feel free to comment below.

Follow me on twitter – @rachelmacgregor

Website Comparison – BBC News and Sky News

The websites for BBC News and Sky News are both aimed at the market sector ABC1 and are likely to be the first port of call for any informative news by people aged 14 and above. The BBC News website is currently the most popular news website in the UK, recording around 14million unique users each week. It is funded primarily through the television license. Whilst Sky News does not quite reach the same amount of hits a week, it is still a very popular source of information. This comparative analysis was one of my university assignments and has been edited for this website.

Google Search of “BBC”

Searchability
When conducting a Google Search of “BBC”, a link to the BBC News site was the third suggested result, with other elements of the BBC Website the first two links. Similarly, when searching “Sky”, Sky News is the second search result, after the television site for the company. However, when simply searching “news” on Google, ‘BBC News’ and ‘Sky News’ are the first and second search results. Although, it is fair to say that a website’s popularity is not dependent on SEO.

Layout and Design
‘BBC News’ and ‘Sky News’ look professional and include a search bar at the top of the homepage for easily recovered content. Both websites favour the “three panel layout” proposed by Jeffrey Veen (2001). With only three general regions on the page, there is increased usability as the different regions are distinguishable; optimising the content on the page. This minimalistic and understandable design could be a reason for these websites success as it allows the website to maximise its full potential and purpose.

Navigation

BBC News Online on 16 December 2010

The navigation of the websites remain sophisticated due to the design. The BBC News website in particular makes great use of interactivity. Hyperlinks are underlined if the cursor hovers over them and the hyperlinks refer to other articles and websites where available. The navigation on the Sky News website doesn’t look quite as sophisticated as that of BBC News; however, this may be due to the emphasis on multimedia. On Sky News the hyperlinks change colour when hovering with a cursor. In addition, Sky News has a feature that links to a person’s “profile”. If you click on the hyperlink of public figure featured on the site, an archive of articles, news reports, feature articles and galleries by Sky reporters are available.

Content/User Generated Content
Both websites feature similar categories of news posts. They are divided under the headings of UK and world news, however, BBC News further divides posts into the constituent countries whereas Sky News places more emphasis on showbiz articles. In terms of user generated content (UGC), Sky News appears to feature more interaction with users of the site. Comments can be posted on every article and readers can suggest articles of interest. On the homepage, there are also links to categories labelled “Your Videos” and “Your Photos” in which readers can upload photos that relate to articles featured on the site. In contrast, BBC News does not have a commenting feature on most articles. Quite interestingly, much of the UGC on BBC News is through use of social media.

“[Social media] is about how we can use all technologies effectively to reach out and connect with other humans” (Safko, 2010, p.3)

The BBC have a twitter site, (@BBC_HaveYourSay) in which tweets and emails are transferred onto the BBC News site’s articles, this feature can be found from BBC News website, although interestingly, they do not feature their own twitter feed on their homepage, something which is heavily used by Sky News. Additionally, Sky News features other twitter feeds on the homepage that are relevant to the news of that day.

Sky News Homepage on 16 December 2010

Multimedia
There is great emphasis on images and video on both websites.  On each article, there tends to be at least one image which corresponds to the story in question. If users of Sky register, they get the option to “watch Sky News live”, with live streaming from their television station. Sky News also emphasises use of audio. There is a “Sky News Extra” feature in which visitors can listen to live streaming of Sky news. BBC News has a similar function which links to the “iplayer” radio section of the BBC website. Both websites have easy access links to download podcasts and a search bar is available if a particular podcast is desired. Sky News also features the new popular “Audioboo” podcasts.

Social Networking
Social networking is commonly used alongside web journalism in order to generate traffic to websites. Both BBC News and Sky News have a “sharing posts” feature enabled in which  all articles are available to be linked to social networking sites such as ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ and articles can be suggested to those with similar interests. Furthermore, within the Sky News website, any registered user can start their own blog and create their own profile of writing online, networking with others who have the same interests. This also shares the sense of citizen journalism, although untrained contributors will not appear on the homepage, their profiles can be found through searches.

Conclusion
It is clear that both websites are extremely successful due to their up to date content and use of social media networking. Arguably, BBC News could use a similar commenting feature as seen on the Sky News website as, after a simple registration process, users can comment on any feature they want. But as the BBC News website is reputable for content anyway, it may not be seen as necessary to those running the site. With regards to the Sky News website, I think that it perhaps places a little too much emphasis on multimedia, as the amount of images and videos can be slightly overbearing and can divert attention away from the content of articles; however the multimedia used is always of a high quality. Although, overall it is clear that both websites meet their purposes and are successful in their own right.