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February 16, 2011

Are social networks a step back in time?

Kairouan café

The past week has been Social Media Week, an event hosted in nine cities around the world – from London to Sao Paulo, San Francisco to Hong Kong.

Social Media Week brings hundreds of thousands of people together around the world to discuss and understand social media’s role in society. And it’s led us at the Nseries Blog to look at how we use social media and whether social networks are anything new?

It’s good to share

If we think about how we interact with one another, updating our Twitter feeds, changing our status on Facebook, posting the photos from last night’s great party – we’re actually confirming our position as part of a community.

Despite living in a modern world and using modern tools, we are living more like our grandparents and generations gone by. These people lived in societies where it wasn’t uncommon for your neighbour to know your business or for people to tell stories about what they had been up to or experienced.

And it’s essentially what we do now. Social networking isn’t a modern trend. We’ve always connected with each other, telling the stories of our day, or our experiences, our travels…

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

Cheers was a great programme wasn’t it? A bar where you could hang out with your friends and be around familiar faces. Social media is giving us the same experience today, making us ‘regulars’ at our favourite hang-outs.

Applications like Gowalla, Facebook Places, Groupon are rewarding us for our patronage in ways reminiscent of the days when you could put something on a tab, or get the best seats in the house for visiting regularly. Today, liking a store on Facebook makes us part of a community, privy to deals and offers that mirror the preferential treatment that used to be part of daily business. Discount in return for your loyal custom.

It’s a small world

Perhaps the most common example of social networking across the generations is the stories and photographs we share when we travel. Some of us have probably been treated to a classic family photo slideshow at some point in our lives. And we’re doing the same now, just through blogs or Facebook and Flickr.

The great thing about smartphones is that they allow us to record all of this content and share it on the move. We no longer have to go away for weeks or months and wait to tell people when we get home. They can participate in our journey as we experience it. A great example of this was the Route Number 8 blog last summer, where two designers recorded their journey through Europe on their N8. Worth a read if you have time.

But what apps would you need if you wanted to connect and share when you’re travelling? Below are our top tips.

Snaptu is a fast and stylish all-in-one app that brings your key social networks together and gives you access to the latest news. With Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and feeds from the Guardian, you’ll be able to catch up and share wherever you are.

WordPress App
If you’re a keen blogger or interested in setting one up to keep people updated when you’re away, then the WordPress App is the one for you. You can produce new posts and pages, edit existing content on your blog, manage comments and check stats all from your phone.

Pixelpipe Share Online
Pixelpipe allows you to upload photos, videos and audio files to over 75 social web services. They’re all here – Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo… If you don’t like using words, telling your story through pictures is easy with Pixelpipe.
If you’re looking for inspiration for places to go when you’re travelling then is a must-have. It’s a great way to connect with other people and experience the world based on the word of your fellow travellers.

And, if you’re missing home and just want to get in touch with friends and loved ones then you can’t go wrong with Skype. Make free Skype to Skype calls, and save money on international calls and SMS.

There are so many ways to stay in touch nowadays. So many ways to connect and share. Social networking might not be anything new, but technology has definitely made it more easier.

You just have to choose how you want to use it.