Social Network

What is the use of Twitter? What to do with Twitter?

I am a Facebook user for years, but I can’t figure out what I can do with Twitter. What is the use of Twitter? This is probably the question most frequently asked by our cyber-readers.
The two social networks, Twitter and Facebook, gain popularity almost at the same time, but apart this, they don’t have much in common, even the user “type” who uses them has different abilities and behaviors.
Facebook is a simple tool very intuitive that provides a space where the user can openly share his thoughts, post images, make remarks, a sort of personal diary based especially on the bond between people, on the personal network of friendships and relatives.
The Facebook user can daily organise his own space sharing his own “post-thoughts” often enriched with images, commenting the posts of his friends, playing, creating albums with photos of his holiday and so on…
Twitter is a social tool as simple as Facebook, characterized by great potentialities, but whose principles (rules) of use are not immediately deducible. First of all the space to share the “tweet-thoughts” is not unlimited; the user has 140 characters to express a concept, a rather significant limit, especially for the “type” user Facebook, used to think (and post) limitless.
What shall we propose in 140 characters??? Short comments, value judgments, aphorisms, but above all, suggestions and references to other contents present online.
A tweet example?
“I have found this fantastic BLOG that reports the latest of internet #internet #sociology
This tweet is of 113 characters (there are 27 left!!) and contains a suggestion, two hashtags or rather words that mark it (tag it) and the link to be selected for reading the mentioned blog.
Therefore on Twitter we can insert “simple sentences” direct and immediate or “suggestions” to look into somewhere else, but we cannot tell anything we rather underline, “we launch“, we provide a further reading, points to be consider or discussed.
Other important rules to keep in mind on Twitter:

  • Every tweet must be meaningful, it can’t be written a text of 1.400 characters in ten tweets one after another because it doesn’t make sense; nobody will read in sequence your tweets.
  • Avoid the Q&A, if you want to answer to a tweet use the function “reply“.
  • If you want to quote a certain user in the tweet, you can write his name adding the character ‘@ ‘ before it. The user will receive a notification and maybe he will participate in the debate. You may quote our @Mondo2puntozero only to practice your twitter use.
  • If you have just read a tweet that you like and you want to share it, you can do it through the action called “retweet“. The retweet brings the original source without modifying it in any way.
  • Twitter is a tremendously fast tool and only the most reactive and trendy users keep up with it.

What are the strong points of this “synthetic” social network? The first one is exactly the hashtag, if a tweet is tagged, through one or more words preceded by the character “#”, your message will be aggregated with all the other tweets that have the same tag and it will be read by all the users who are interested in that precise topic (suggested by that tag). Our example tweet will be proposed together with all the tweets that contain the term #sociology along with all the tweets that contain the term #internet. The users who look for inspiration in the sociological or technological area may track it down with a simple search.
The aggregative power of a hashtag is very strong; for example I can write a comment with the tag #xf8 and right away get aggregate with all the tweets devoted to the TV Show XFactor , the eighth edition. Some of the radio transmissions and TV programs have found in this tool a “bridge” toward internet, every user has a say and the best tweets are made public during the transmission or, if they are lucky, in some of the TV programs they appear at the bottom of the video screen.
Then, of course, overturning the principle, I can look for the hashtags present online and read the most recent “tweet-thoughts” of other users, browse dynamic lists, always updated by suggestions on the matter; for instance regarding my favorite musical band (let’s say #queen) or my favorite football team or the current final (for instance #JuveLazio see the following image), or the gossip scandal of the moment, or the political reform under discussion in parliament and so on…
Twitter provides also a funny service, a sort of Hit of the most used tags of the last period, always up-to-date and available also per places, allowing us to participate in the most trendy, popular or “of the moment” debates. The service is visible on our twitter space, on the box “trends” as well as callable online as TwitterTrends (here also in mobile version).
Twitter allows us therefore to follow the latest trends, dynamically aggregated through the hashtags. Each of us can follow, on twitter, debates on topics of interest or just debates on trendy terms.

twitter_trendsAs a matter of fact, Facebook provides the possibility to insert hashtags into the text as well as to find them, but the application by users is until now very limited, also because the Facebook user likes above all to tell about himself and share everything with his friends, there is often a bond between the “posts”, while the aggregation for tag is extremely casual and extemporaneous, often functional with the current fashion.
What about our friends? With Twitter the plot of friendships is less determining comparing to Facebook, maybe for the characteristics listed before or rather for the shortness of the exchanged messages as well as the possibility that these ones may end up aggregated on many lists on the bases of the tags presence.
You can choose online the users who write the best tweets, similar to your interests, obviously your friends too, and follow them through the action called “following“. In this way on the central part of your space twitter, after the insertion of the password, you can read the tweets regarding the topics or persons you intend to follow. The list of the tweets sent by those who interest you is always updated.

lista_FOLLOWINGVice versa for those who consider your Twitter interesting; they may follow you becoming your followers.
Unlike Facebook, the absence of bonds and the failed popularity is not a big limit; I may not have friends (followers) and I may not want to follow anyone (followings), but I sure may quote online other users or through ‘@’ debate with them, or reply or retweet or comment on “trendy” arguments.
You don’t need virtual friends to use Twitter!! The important thing is to be, to browse attentively the other twitters and, of course, follow @Mondo2puntozero.
In essence, the element that characterizes the great Twitter users is the agility, the ability to read and move among topics.
Today the popularity starts with a tweet: politicians, men and women in the performing arts, journalists, sportspeople, eminent scientists, … everyone run after the “right” hashtag with the aim of reaching higher popularity.
So what are you waiting for? Create your Twitter user, insert your first tweet suggesting a site you like then try to follow the current trends and, above all, our @Mondo2puntozero.


Facebook a social tool for older people?

smart_changesLet us imagine for a moment that we are in one of our cities and equipped with a questionnaire we begin asking the name of a social network or better which one is the most used social network online? With all the probabilities we’ll get a plebiscite for Facebook. Facebook is the social network par excellence, through this tool was found the first global social web composed by hundreds of millions of knots, real or virtual it really does not matter. Because of Facebook many of us have started to use internet practically daily, interacting, expressing our feelings in front of the computer, having a cyber chat. Yet, according to the statistics, Facebook seems to go through a downturn, the following diagram (from global web index source) underlines the increasing indifference toward Facebook, no more a daily tool! The number of the daily active users has gone down during the last couple of years from over 80% to just over 50% of the members, a significant change for an important part of the users. . facebook_active_usersObviously these data must be carefully carried out and cross-checked with other indicators. However it is undeniable that in the 2013-2014 period, therefore in a rather large period of time for a social tool, for a good part of its members a change has happened in the day-to-day use of Facebook. Hundreds of millions of users, especially the youngest ones, are moving toward tools denominated “instant messenger”, fast , intuitive and low cost tools, available on smartphones, first of all Apple’s iMessage, Skype, QQ and, most of all, WhatsApp. This first social migration, a virtual diaspora, has its origins in various and concomitant factors, among these we quote:

  • The accessibility of these services on smartphone, always in our pocket.
  • A simple interface with an uncomplicated guideline, easily intuitive.
  • (Often) The absence of publicity
  • The possibility to easily send messages toward a group, to channel interests and contents toward a specific bunch of people.
  • The possibility to represent / personalise some aspects, (configurations which differ from an App to another), such as: soundproofing some communications, persons or groups, changing the background, etc…
  • The use of real friendship circles, based on phone numbers, tangible contacts and the consequent risk reduction to interact with “fake profiles”.

To sum up, a new generation of smart tools, quicker and lighter, more exclusive, are progressively replacing the traditional social tools, in vogue for almost one decade. It is interesting to observe how this evolution, still in its early stage, is accepted more by the youngest, great smartphones’ users, willing to welcome without hesitations new tools, experiencing new contexts. Probably in the next couple of years the “over 45” will be more involved in this “migration” towards instant messages. It is also important to underline how the “present” social tools have determined this acceleration toward the IMs. In fact, tools like Facebook have extended our net of friends and they have emotionally exposed us. Now the instant messengers allow us to timely address our messages, not to everybody but to a precise group of people, rationalise our emotional choices and speed up our communications. Furthermore, when it comes to novelty, all of us, especially the youngest ones, want to try it! The following diagram, source “Statista“, highlights the increasing global trend of WhatsApp. whatsapp_trendIn reply to all this, Facebook, the social network’s colossus, took immediately some countermeasures, one of this being the creation of a new IM tool denominated “Facebook messenger” which has kept loyal a significant part of users. Another one is the purchase of WhatsApp for 19 (or 22?) billion dollars and last but not least the activation of techniques of participation (email marketing) based on the constant emails to its members. Practically the stepmother, tired to hear from the magic mirror that Snow White is more beautiful than she is, has decided to have a facelift and a liposuction and then, simply to bribe Snow White (perhaps with the purpose of locking her in the castle? Who knows…) From the strategic point of view these are excellent moves, before being eroded (perhaps devoured?) by an expanding phenomenon, the result of the social acceleration online, Facebook provides an “instant” version to all of its users and at the same time, due to its well-known availability of money, incorporates the most emerging part of the IM phenomenon in order to keep under control its spreading as well as the large audience involved. Our relational universe is evolving very fast! We use faster and faster tools, interactive and instant. We are more and more addicted to social tools in order to communicate with our friends and relatives. Facebook has changed the web and our habits. It permitted us to build our first emotional-relational network, it has made it global, but now the web proceeds towards a direction even more instant. The change is so sudden, dazzling and unpredictable, that even Facebook launches on the market a “smart” and “instant” version of itself, increasing as well its promotional commitment to its members and, at the same time, managing the one that was, till few months ago, its main rival.

One last consideration regarding the privacy: with the diffusion of the IM on our smart phones what will happen with our comments, our photos and our contacts? Let us say, at best, it will be an “overexposure“… Only one decade has passed and we are only at the beginning of World 2.0, who knows what needs to happen?


 In thanking the “Global Web Index” and “Statista” for the contents examined in detail published online, we remind you that WorldTwoDotZero is only a game, a web walk to take together, it doesn’t have any commercial purpose.

From Moreno’s Sociometry to Social Network Analysis: Let’s analyse ourselves!

I’ve been always fascinated by Sociometry’s charm, a way of sociological survey invented by Jacob Raise Moreno, especially of its most static form, which allows, through the editing of (apparently) simple questionnaires, to realize/carry out the sociograms, in other words, diagrams that expound functional or emotional relationships between people.
The sociogram has represented for me, as computer technician with sociological vocation, the first true point of contact between my professional process, or rather the graph theory, studied by me and applied on software programming, and the social study of group behavior and the relationships created between people.
The pshycodramatic analysis of social roles through the use of graphs and matrixes put me, perhaps for the first time in my brief career of sociology’ student , under conditions of advantage compared with my erudite colleagues, my precedents studies of computer science and statistic converged in evident way toward Moreno’s theory of roles.
Let’s give an example! With a simple questionnaire each dependent of the office must indicate in order of priority, three colleagues with which he interacts more in the emotional field, operative one, and last but not least the relational one, in order to get interesting matrixes or diagrams that expound functional and emotional stories.
The sociogram clearly reveals who is the emotional leader, or the isolated individual, and who are the “functional” reference points, the subgroups
A few pieces of information given by a simple questionnaire allow us to analyse, evaluate and consider the group altogether as well as the presence of emotional or functional subgroups, the role, the tendencies, the lacks in terms of communication, relationship, sensitiveness…
Today, twenty years after my onset of awareness, I see Sociometry as a “starting point” of a much more complex process, insofar the net provides us a nearly unlimited amount of information to analyse from the social point of view and a number equally unlimited of “virtual groups“.
Web, with its portals, blogs, chats and, above all, social networks, went well beyond the friendly net, giving us, at present time, the possibility of analysing tendencies, tastes, opinions, researches, purchases, etc…
Colossuses as Google and Facebook have at their disposal an immense amount of information, they can monitor our personal behaviors, take notes of our affairs, analyse how individuals (and groups) communicate to each other, what they post, and furthermore they interlock these information with age, origin, geolocalization…
The relational story , i.e. the number of relationships between people, has increased disproportionately thanks to this inherent facility of new communication tools. Today, for an internet user, it is extremely easy to join a group and share the same interests.
It is often said that web is participatory and collaborative/cooperative, I would also add that due to its autopoetical system based on a technological infrastructure characterized by strict borders and rules, it is possible to trace behaviors, relationships, emotions and memorize all of them on database.
Data, many data, a great deal of data to elaborate and convert into statistics, matrixes, diagrams, sociograms. Such a huge amount of data to determine the creation of a real useful term in order to define these universes of information: “Big Data“.
In fact, it is evident how the analysis of behaviors and group tendencies can reveal us indications considerably different from the individual behavior’s analysis, the massive analysis of “social” actions carried out on a “global level” on net, can determine a remarkable and unpredictable informativecapital gain.
The presence of this information on monumental databases is sustained by computer procedures more and more structured, comparative, complex, versatile, many-sided, intelligent, fast.
Today, the social network analysis, seen as the analysis of behaviors and social networks, can be applied/attached to the informative heritage, to the “Big Data”, available thanks to internet and other sciences contribution, such as statistics and, of course, computer science.
I recommend you to view this video that, with simple but also original terms, explains what the Social network analysis is.
My task in the matter is to resolve the semantic misunderstanding of the name’s origin, the social network analysis was created well before the “social network”, with the anthropological purpose ofsettling/sorting out, methodologically,the relational stories presented in the real life.
It is also true that SNA is not in antithesis with social networks or web itself, in the future, it is even possible to find its true consecration on “social” databases, the informative base capable of giving a real conclusive extra value.
The presence on internet of portals and social thematic networks, can represent a further stimulus, allowing us to analyse behaviors and contents not only in absolute terms, but also in specific terms, thematic, of group.
The analysis, based on a large number of contents and social behaviors developed online, can really bring to light new and imperceptible tendencies, an useful surplus not only in commercial terms and consumption’s compulsory behavior, but also with the purpose of determining new social, cultural and anthropological group dynamics.
I recommend you to read this article where Adam Rifkin underlines how the information coming from tumbIr, tool partly social network and partly blog, currently used by audience “of niche”, I dare say in a moderately expansion, are more reliable than those coming from the “generalists” of social network: “That, in to nutshell, is the difference between to social graph and an interest graph.”
Quality or quantity? Let’s not put limits to our analysis. Now, the main thing is to admit the relevant potentiality that these unlimited databases present.
Web is not only an enormous group of people who communicate, it is also a way to fix, analyse and add this flow of information, passions, tendencies. Stored behaviors and, therefore, analysable from different points of view as well as endless virtual psicodramas from which we can learn a lot and maybe even anticipate the times. We hope that analysts, sociologists, statistic social experts and computer technicians, succeed in capitalizing this wealth in order to create together sensitive tools able to perceive, in advance if possible, and not only for commercial purposes, our real priorities, our necessities, new tendencies and inclinations.
In conclusion, i can only hope in the greatest of paradoxes, that social networks, being created as playful tools with mainly commercial purpose, can become themselves, through their immense databases where our actions are memorized, tools able to show “from below” consumptions, fashions, social, political and economic tendencies.
Someone is watching us recording our behaviors, but to be optimistic, maybe it is not so bad after all.

The power of icons and symbols

Sometimes to describe innovation needs to take some back steps in order to analyse consolidated habits, to assert the importance of our instincts, to set the correct attention toward our past.
So a premise is needed; a premise whose double misfortune is to be born in a blog, and therefore to be extremely synthetic and to have the undersigned as author.
For thousands of years, man was exposed to the elements, dangers, all sorts of traps and enemies of any kind, including himself, but he always managed to get off. This has been possible thanks to a mixture of intelligence, common sense and attention toward everything that surrounds us . He tried all along, and often succeeded in taking advantage from events, in transforming the environment and the resources at his disposal on his purposes, albeit not always praiseworthy.
The use of senses, the animal perception of danger applied to the ability to find new solutions, has opened us uncountable ways, it allowed us to reach the level of life we live today.
The progressive increase of social complexity has only partially calmed our instincts, our need to attentively observe all that surrounds us, to seize the signs, to perceive new stimulus, to shape our present and future. Such abilities made us first shamans then popes, physicians, explorers, scientists. Such abilities taught us how to dress, in other words changed us.
We became conscious of us as Homo Sapiens with a history behind, our own history, rich of totem, of altars, of fashions, of new geometries, of imposing architectures, of innovative status, but also of symbols and icons.
Progress has never obstructed the value of symbols, whose significance went hand in hand with culture, democracy, innovation although sometimes anachronistically and even dramatically.
Web we are living today, the new virtual dimension, follows this indelible trace placing icons and symbols on a par, at least on a par with services and contents.
The simplest way to recognize an expert internet user is to verify his knowledge and skills in using symbols. The expert internet user knows that “that” symbol implies “that” service.
The icon, the symbol correlated to the service becomes the service itself, whose success passes also for the liking process, the fondness and the empathy that internet audience succeed in showing towards what it believes to represent its own image.
The first example is that of feed RSS, the subscription service, practically always free where news and contents on line come to be available directly on your own browser (or on a feed reader). The orange icon, symbol of the feed rss service, draws immediately my attention, it pushes me to click, to select the feed, to evaluate my true interest for that type of information.
Another example of a widely diffused symbol on web is the “I like“, true social brand, synonymous of “easy”, “immediate”, “sharable”, “attractive”, an outright global-popular phenomenon. It is not a coincidence if one of the most web popular symbols evokes a symbol and an ancient use, that of the gladiatorial judgment in the ancient Rome, this testifies how the use of icons and symbols is strongly deep-rooted in our history.
A small note taken from Wikipedia: the upward thumb (or horizontal), suggested the gladiator’s death and not his survival, over time we transformed an extremely negative symbol in a positive one, so symbols evolve and adapt themselves to the times.
Crossing a forest of symbols in which the birdie of Twitter chippers, we find useful the arrows that allow us to continue (our navigation), a lens that allows us to search better, an “X”  to get away from there, an envelope to write to a friend, a small printer to get an useless copy on paper, a gear to refine our research, a Shopping cart to buy what we like and so on….
Allow me to set two other important examples: the Apps, applications for mobile smartphone and tablet, are symbols themselves, you can use them by selecting the frame with their symbol; the application of a social contribution toward the network of friends or colleagues takes place by selecting the symbol corresponding to social network, a true global logo. In all these cases, it is a matter of symbols turned to be habitual for the internet user, easy to select, fast to use, coherent in behaviors, often similar to other symbols or real objects used in the past.
There is nothing new to be learned, just keep counting on our senses, our sensibility and intelligence so as to recognize and use the new services. Once more we find ourselves into the jungle, into a virtual one, and all we have to do is consign ourselves to our observation capacity to come out at our best.
I conclude this brief article with two suggestions. The first one is for users: let yourselves capture by symbols, colors, images and forms, just click and experience. The second one is for the web designers: do not underestimate the power and primordial charm of symbols. I have personally managed portals where the substitution of textual contents with symbols has determined unthinkable increases in terms of access and use of services.  I also invite you to not underestimate the application of simple solutions, do not hesitate to use colors on your blog or site or portal, leave the right space to images, do not use only the description, furthermore if it is a large one, this cannot be enough for a new web.
In the “virtual world”, the icon represents the most efficient way of a service presentation, the great web audience doesn’t see or expect something else.
A good content and a good service, must be sustained by a symbol, a clear connotative expression of the service itself.
Collaborate and participate, but do not forget to do it using icons and symbols.

From post to pingbacks, how to communicate via network


In 1989 I was a young computer programmer and the only way to keep myself updated with latest technology news was to buy electronics and computer magazines. Therefore, each time I found an interesting article I photocopied it and took it to my friends and colleagues.
The information had a very slow spread process, very few of my colleagues would had the opportunity to deepen the topics covered in those articles or to discuss them with their computer technicians colleagues.
I would also like to underline the enormous waste of paper that took place in the past.
In fact, the innovation in those years was, both in terms of hardware and software, high-growth, even if the computer technicians didn’t have enough tools to follow and share the technological evolution.
Computer technology ran at 100 kilometers per hour, but the information ”stumbled” a lot, incapable of  moving at the same speed of innovation.
Everything has changed today, in no time everyone can spread an article on line, not only technicians and experts, but anyone can send it toward collaborators, friends, industry experts. It doesn’t matter if the item is with fee or a free-of-charge one.
The action of spreading  we are talking about is called “post”, it is the publication of a comment and one or more hypertext links that catapults the reader / friend / colleague directly on information. The information can be sent in a few moments and in a targeted manner to hundreds or thousands of people, these people can easily access to what is reported and even comment on it, or “post” it to other people.
The “post” is free, immediate, but above all is an “active alarm,” or rather, it reaches the targeted audience as fast as a ringing of a telephone. The “post” is the great grandson of the citation, bibliographic tool, with the big difference that, by posting, the information is immediately available with a simple click. But the “post” is also the natural heir of the “pub’s chat”, its simplicity allows you to quickly and easily bring in any kind of comment.
There is another technical term that can explain how the flow of communication is much more complex today than in the past, and that is “referer”. This term indicates the source address of the post sent.
On web it’s popular indicating as “referer” the site or the person who performs the role of amplifier, therefore of a “family agent”.
In summary, the information circulates now in a much faster and far-reaching way as before, and it can also be covered retroactively.
BLOG writers know very well the term “PingBack“, this is a kind of notice citation. When one of my articles is quoted, it gets “posted” on the network from another website and I receive an immediate notification related to the page that has decided to quote me.
The act of online contents diffusion can be carried out completely automatically and free-of-charge. The activation of a service RSS feed allows interested users to receive on their browser or on feed aggregator all the latest news: a feed for each new article in a blog or in an online newspaper, for each new recipe published on their favorite site, for each type of announcement published on net, and so on. Particularly interesting is the role of the icon that represents the feed service, easily recognizable it allows user to perceive immediately the possibility to subscribe updates from  Website / Portal / Blog he is reading. The RSS feed is also an example of how the standard rules application, coherently organized from the informatics point of view (XML), has facilitated the service spread.
Do not forget about Twitter, the best social network. Twitter is a combination of speed, practicality, diffusion. With Twitter you can implement both “post” actions manual and automatic. When this article will be published, a tweet will be automatically sent to my followers’ mobile smart phone, tablet or personal computer.
In the last ten years, even less, the spread of information has outpaced the time and space constraints, no more copies hand-delivered to a few friends. New patterns have emerged, simpler, automatic, faster and immediate.
The author can monitor the use of his information on network, he can counter the quote received, he even may respond to comments and requests. The user can spread what he wants, to anyone he wants, enriching it with quotes and personal suggestions.
All these changes and the passage of time, faded away the memory of me who once made photocopies.