Friday, 25 March 2011

A world invaded by social networks

Social networks have grown from an occasional and an alternative way of communication to a actual social phenomenon around the world. Having been Facebook the first and mostly the unique social network during the beginning (it was created in 2006 by Mark Zuckerberg, a 23 university student in Harvard) now has to compete with others such as Twitter and Tuenti, created later but with an overwhelming success.

Twitter was created five years ago, as a microblogging website where you could published entries with your comments, called tweets and follow people whose tweets you find interesting. This platform has gained popularity because it's been used by famous people, and almost the majority of them have an account, from politicians as the President of the United States, Barack Obama to actors and singers like Lady Gaga, who was the most followed in 2010. Last year there were about 25 billion of sent tweets, what gives us an idea of the magnitude of this site.

Facebook and Tuenti are more similar, in the fact that both of them have the same structure, giving the chance to a real time communication, through the "online chat" and where you can share photos with your contacts, leave comments and messages and also create events. The major impediment of Tuenti is that it is only used in Spain, whereas Facebook is worldwide provided, so it is impossible to compare them with the same conditions, however, it's true that in this country the number of users of these social networks are very similar, (what worries Facebook) but with differences within each country ( for example in Cataluña most of the teenagers used Facebook) There's no better way of showing the growth of these social sites that giving some numbers. Talking about Facebook, in only one year, he have 350 million more users than the previous year, having in 2010 the amazing number of 600 million of people, but the Spanish social network goes in the same direction, if he have 5,1 million people using its servicies, in 2010 he had more than 6 million. The power of these tools are incalculables.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A "Ley Sinde" in th UK?

It seems like the United Kingdom is following our steps and now wants to end piracy on the network through a mecanisim similiar to the "Ley Sinde", with the difference that the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) want to close down the web pages directly without the resolution of a judge, neither a committee.

This mesure would mean that with the simple agreement between the broadband providers and the representatives of the music and film industries, the web pages that have copyrighted content could be obliged to stop sharing their content.

Though it is only a proposal, it is inevitable to compare it with our "Ley Sinde". For them who don't know, it intends to pursue all the web pages that allow direct viewing or downloading content like music, films or series without the permission of their rights owners. After months of debates and conflicts among the major political parties, although at first the bill was rejected in Congress, after the joint support of PSOE, PP and CIU, it was definetely approved last 15th of February.

The netizens, the most affected ones, have demonstrated to express their rejection to this approval and so did the affected websites, which before the final decision, in December, some of most important, such as and closed down their sites during 12 hours against the law, showing a message saying that if the law was carried out that site will disappear, and encouraging people fighting for their freedom of speech.

The first direct consequence of the "Ley Sinde" has been the rejection of Álex de la Iglesia, the director of the Spanish Film Academy for two years, for not agree with the principles in which the law is based. In his speech on this year "Goya Awards" he remarked the importance of the public, without whom the movies wouldn't exist, and talked about the role played by the Internet in the society " the Internet is not he future, it is the present" http://http//

I'm sure there will be some other consequences, we only have to wait. Let's see what happens in the UK.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Internet consequences

Access to web pages seems natural and nothing extraordinary, a day a day tool that we use in order to search for information, to communicate or simply for entertainment, however this is not a reality for a high percentage of the global population, currently there are millions of people without Internet access because of their limited resources or because of the restrictions imposed by the governments of their countries.

On the one hand this Digital Divide leads to an enormous gap between devoloped and non-developed countries, which enlarges the differences between them and makes more difficult the progress of backward societies and the freedom of expression.

The power of the Internet has reached unsuspected limits getting even whole countries to mobilize, to fight for their rights against the totalitarian regimes that opress their lives. We find a great example of the power that Internet has in humanity in the recent riots that took place in Morocco, there citizens held demonstrations to overthrow Mubarak. The curious thing about this issue is that these marchs were organised through social networks, such as, Facebook and Twitter being these the tools used to call the revolutionary upheavals. The government´s reaction was inmediate cutting off access to these pages in an attepmt to curb uprisings, preventing the restof the world from knowing for sure what was really happening, contributing to the Digital Divide .

Lastly, on the other hand , given the evident existent difficulties that some countries have with Internet access it is also true that in the last decades this divide is narrowing as a consequence of globalisation. Nowadays we live in a connected society with the need to be connected, now time and space have another perspective.