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Pew Internet Research recently published a study on the future of social networking.  The study was based on a survey of technology experts over how users of social-networking tools plan to use their favorite services 10 years from now. The Pew study indicates that Millennials are using social networking tools now and will likely continue to do so for the next 10 years,

According to the Pew study, 67 percent of respondents believe that those born in the 1980s and 1990s will be “ambient broadcasters” on social networks in 2020. They will continue to “disclose a great deal of personal information, in order to stay connected, and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities.” Only 29 percent of respondents said that by 2020, Generation Y will have “grown out” of social networks, finding other interests to entertain themselves.

Most of those surveyed noted that the disclosure of personal information online carries many social benefits as people open up to others in order to build friendships, form and find communities, seek help, and build their reputations. They said digital natives have already seen the benefits and will not reduce their use of these social tools over the next decade as they take on more responsibilities while growing older.

A key component in the value of social networks to Millennials is that they see a significant social benefit in being on sites like Facebook or Twitter. According to the surveyed technology experts, they view it as an avenue to help them “build friendships, form and find communities, seek help, and build their reputations.” Generation Y will continue to see those benefits through 2020.  However, there is more to it than relationships. Millennials are far more willing to offer up information than previous generations because “new social norms that reward disclosure are already in place among the young.” They will carry that with them into adulthood.

On the other hand, those who disagree with the important role social networks will play in the roles of Millennials say life will get in the way of social-networking activities. Dissenting experts contented that Generation Y “will not have as much time in the future to devote to popular activities such as frequently posting to the world at large on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook about the nitty-gritty of their lives.”

In either case, it will be interesting to see how Millennials respond to social networks as they grow older, as well as how Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will evolve.  I suppose time will tell.

The Pew Report is available online at:  http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Future-of-Millennials/Overview.aspx?r=1

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Snapping photos with a digital camera is easy. Sharing your pictures to colleagues, students, friends and family can also be fast and easy. Today’s photo sharing services make organizing, storing, and sharing digital photos convenient, easy, safe and most importantly-fun. There are many free online photo sharing sites that allow you to upload your photos to online albums and invite people to view them. Some of these photo sharing sites allow you to add notes and tags to each photo. In addition, they allow viewers to search your online albums and leave comments and notes on each photo as well. You can post your pictures for private view where only your private group can view the photos and offer feedback on your pictures. In addition, your photos can be geotagged, a process that links your photo with the geographical location of the source of the photo, permitting a visual, geographical study of a particular location or place.

If you are looking for a free online photo sharing site, you may want to consider one of the following sites:

These sites provide free accounts. They are great for teachers and students to post digital photos and use them in teaching and learning. Teachers and students can share their pictures of important school events, class activities, field trips, digital storytelling projects, displays, illustrations, and special occasions. However, using these free online photo sharing sites in education is not without concern. Caution should be used when searching specific topics and a discussion with students about what should take place when inappropriate imagery is located should be done prior to use. As always, the use of these photo sharing sites in the classroom should be closely monitored and balanced against the climate and culture of the school or school district.

If you have used these free photo sharing sites, you have an opportunity here to vote for your favorite site. So, which is the Best Photo Sharing Site?

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Yudu

Yudu Freedom is a new on-demand publishing service that lets you turn a PDF file into a live, Flash-based Web page within minutes. Like Scribd, Yudu Freedom allows you to publish documents in an interactive, page-turning digital format and host them online at no cost. It is fast and simple to use Yudu Freedom. You first upload your document in PDF format. After uploading your file, you will be sent an email with the link to your publication, along with a jpeg of the front cover and HTML code which will allow you to embed the publication on your Blog or website. Basically, Yudu Freedom service converts your PDF file into a Flash publication which is simple to upload to a website or blog, distribute via email or save to a digital storage device.

Yudu

You can use Yudu Freedom to create digital publications with up to 16 pages each at no cost. The files can be viewed a little faster than with Adobe’s Acrobat reader, and it runs entirely in Flash with neat page turning effect. The digital publications you create can contain images, audio, video and links back to your Web site. I think the service is great for teachers and students who want to create brochures, newsletter, instructional and learning guides, how-tos, ebooks, reports, manuals, photo books, CVs, portfolios and more. If you need to produce materials that go over the 16-page limit, you can step up to Yudu’s fee-based services, Yudu Pro and Yudu Express.

Like Scribd, Yudu Freedom has also a built in search tool, zoom tool, and a thumbnail viewer. The best part of the Yudu Freedom is that you don’t need to sign up to use the service. You can simply upload the files and leave your e-mail address and it will send you a link when it’s done processing. However, Yudu is lacking the support for other document formats and the capability to embed PDFs on third party sites. In comparison, Scribd supports many document formats (PDF, Postscript, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OpenOffice, Rich text, plain text, and other OpenDocument formats) and allow you to share it anywhere with its iPaper service.

On the Yudu Freedom Website, it states “We want your readers all over the world to enjoy this interactive, online reading experience. We’ll let you publish for free, forever, providing that you follow our 3 simple rules: 1) No adult content, 2) offensive material, and 3) No copyright abuse. We let you and fellow Freedom readers report abuse on each and every publication if they aren’t Freedom-friendly. If we agree, YUDU will take publications down without notice.” I think this is a great policy and it makes Yudu a better place for online document publishing for teachers and students.

With Yudu Freedom and Scribd, anyone can now make professional digital publications. Yudu Freedom’s document viewer is simple and fast. You can view my first test on Yudu Freedom in action simply click on the image below.

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 Shelfari

Shelfari is a book centered social network where members can catalog, tag, review, and discuss books. With Shelfari, you can create virtual bookshelves of books you have read, plan to read and currently own. Your bookshelf is literally a shelf that allows visitors to browse through your book collection. You can search for books by title, author, ISBN and subject, or import a text file from services like Delicious Library or LibraryThing. You can sign up for free and register an unlimited number of books.

Shelfari has a simple interface with some great features and the best of social networking, Also, Shelfari comes with a Shelfari widget with a sleek look and simple interface. The Shelfari widget works on most blogs and social networks, including Blogger, Typepad, Xanga, and Vox. I like Shelfari and think it is a great tool for teachers and librarians. They can use Shelfari to share books with their students and colleagues as well as post the new book collection in their library.

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Showbeyond is a multimedia slidecast creator, online publishing platform, and story sharing community. It lets you create, share, search for, and embed multimedia presentations. I think Showbeyond is quite easy to use and you can create a decent multimedia slideshow with Showbeyond. To create your multimedia slideshow, you first upload your images from your computer or via URL. Also, you can import a batch of images directly from Flickr or Picasa. You can rearrange your images in any way you like. Then, you can add text captions for each image, add background music, or even a narration. When you complete your multimedia slideshow, Showbeyond gives you several options for sharing your slideshow with your colleagues, students, or anyone. You can make it public or keep it private. Also, you can embed your slideshow on your blog or social networking sites. The community on ShowBeyond is much like what you’ll find on YouTube or Slideshare. Slideshows can be tagged, commented upon, added to your favorites, and shared with others.

Here is a sample of slideshow created on Showbeyond.

http://www.showbeyond.com/show/view?sid=1058ed347f67ca6ecfdac9d3f3838127

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