Sunday, September 13, 2009

My life is an open facebook!

A couple of days ago I was having this conversation with an aunt of mine about creating a family tree. She knew that I was interested in it as I've already started making one. She wanted to bring in her side of the family into the tree and was asking me to contact her niece who is also interested in genealogy.
Aunt: I'll give my niece's number to you and you can talk to her about how to go for it

Me: You can give me her email id and I'll invite her to the tree I've created on Geni. Then she can connect with us and also start building the branches

Aunt: Oh so she can see your tree?

Me: Yes. Geni is a social networking site where you will have your relatives as your "friends" who got added while creating your family tree. Its like facebook with a family tree.

Aunt: Whats Facebook exactly? I've heard of it though...

Me: Facebook is a place where you keep in touch with your friends by exchanging messages, pictures, videos etc

Aunt: Like email?

Me: No not like email

Aunt: But then whats the difference? I do keep in touch with my friends by email by exchanging message, pictures and videos
This was an interesting question. Whats the different between Email and Facebook. I was sure that by just giving out some features of Facebook wont help in this case as she will also find some equivalent stuff she can do with email. I had to actually explain the basic funda of sharing and sending.

send vs share

Me: Its like telephone vs radio or may be video chat vs reality television

Aunt: I still didnt get it

Me: Will explain. There are lot of things happening in your life. And you would want your friends to know about them. You send letters or email to your friends about these happenings. Sending emails/letters to each and every one is of course emotionally satisfying but has become non feasible in our busy lives. We hardly get time to do the regular chores. So we started sending out emails only when something very important happened, which meant that our friends missed out on the trivial happenings in our life. This phenomenon is called the "send" model. You send emails, letters, or you make phone calls or did video chat to tell your friends whats happening.

Aunt: Ok so how does the other one work?

Me: Thats the "share" model. Say one day you got pissed off by your friend's complaints that you are no longer calling or emailing her and decided to install a camera in your living room and share the video feed to your friend. ie you share or live broadcast things happening in your life and let your friends watch it on a continuous basis. Facebook is an online tool using which you share things happening in your life at one place and allow your friends to come there and look at them. Be it messages, videos, pictures, your birthdays whatever you think your friends must know. Now its your friends' turn to look at them. Your friends can also do the same and you can look at their stuff too. This way everyone is up to date about each other. You don't send anything to anyone but just share them at a common place and let others follow you to look at them.

Aunt: Interesting

Me: This is not something which can only be used to keep in touch with your friends. This funda is also used for collaborative work. Like in your office instead of sending out files which you have created to each and every one for whatever reason, you keep it at a common repository and allow interested people to access it. Like this you can avoid the odd hour calls from your boss asking for that file which you worked on two months ago!!!

Aunt: I understood. So you are saying in Geni.com you can not only create family trees but also allow the people on the tree to share their lives so that others can look at them and be up to date.

Me: Exactly.

Cool. Now I have one more question to ask when I take interviews, other than my standard question "Difference between Yahoo mail and Gmail"
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