I've been curious about this for awhile.
My girlfriend is about five years younger than I am, not a lot, but enough to make a small difference in what we grew up knowing and doing.
Her sister is a further six years younger, so more than a decade between myself and her.
And me, being the web-designer that I am, couldn't help but notice a huge difference in the way I kill time on the Internet, and the way they do.
At the risk of this sounding like a "Back in my day..." statement, back in my day, we didn't have Facebook or Twitter. We had Google and Yahoo! and lots and lots of freetime.
And what did that lead to?
That ever popular activity we used to call "web surfing".
A little like "channel surfing" on your TV, it was just picking some random word to type into a web search and seeing where the Internet took you. I remember spending hours looking up pictures of dragons or who knows what else (there was a fair share of boobs in those searches too, I admit).
And comparing that to how I observed my girlfriend, her younger sister and their friends (all around the same age) kill time online. They are exclusively on Facebook.
So here's my question, how popular is "web surfing" these days? Is it giving way to something like "social media surfing" ?
My secondary question is, are social media websites more popular among girls than boys, and might that instead account for the difference I observed between my own and their Internet habits?
OR, am I just completely wrong, and it's more related to individual taste, and they all happen to have a similar taste (being friends and all)?
Curious about your opinions.
Yeah, thought you did, that's why I mentioned their approximated ages
I have only once slapped one in fun, saying "My GOD woman, what HAVE you DONE?!"
I have seen students slapping one another though, especially colleague teachers. "Slap! You stupid man? You did that wrong again."
For sure I go for social media surf.
I do notice a difference between the female and male students, yes. The females (students are twenties and up, concentrating around the 30's and 40's) are more often 'embarrassed' when I notice they left their cells on. The guys will simply use it and not worry about if it's appropriate or not. I even remember one student whose phone rang. He had started his own company and was still in training with me. And one of his clients or clients to be called. He said "Oh yeah, hi..." and started chatting away. And finally said he could not talk too much because he was in a meeting. A meeting? He was still learning all the stuff he was trying to sell :lol:
The 'girls' will be embarrassed if they missed something. The guys usually don't even mention it and then fall on their face because they don't bother asking and then miss important information.
Passing around messages, hm. It's different. It's also to do with others outside class. It's not about contact between students, it's about contact with friends outside class. Twitter, Facebook, the works. All Extremely Important of course and Very Urgent.
I thought you were dealing with teenagers!
I was wondering why you didn't just tap 'em upside the head to pay attention in class.
This is a really great thread and an interesting topic. I've had a similar chat to this with my brother and sister not so long ago!
I do believe that web-surfing is down to individual preference but timing/trends also dictates what that preference will be. I do agree with you that "web-surfing" has evolved and incorporated a social media element to it which you can see quite evidently when you do happen to surf the web.
From my own experiences, I don't believe that social media websites are exclusively more popular with girls than guys. I know a lot of guys that are FB/Tweeting divas! Again, I think this comes down to a personal preference, I personally cannot stand FB, I'm not really sure why I dislike it so much yet I can tolerate Twitter - it's strange but perhaps that's down to "when" I joined the world wide web and what my online communication preferences are.
I think it's interesting when friends do have the same surfing habits - especially when it's linked with social media - I don't think you're wrong at all but I do believe that the reason they have the same tastes are attributed to this "social networking" trend/movement - the need to communicate with friends across all the popular social media websites. It's the same trend as a few years ago; instant messaging programs - we all had to have msn or yahoo messenger or Google talk etc to keep in touch with friends - times have just changed and those that are joining the web nowadays will inevitably pick up what's hot now such as FB, Twitter, Skype etc
I don't "Facebook-surf" at all. I did for a couple of days when I was at uni and pretty much everyone was joining it and seeing what all the fuss was about, but I tired of it rapidly.
I do know that a large proportion of my students (teenagers) spend a lot of time on Facebook at home... instead of going round each others' houses and actually talking to each other. The sad thing is most of them live within walking distance of each other.
I wonder how different it really is - hanging out in facebook, or hanging out on a forum or blog.
Been using the internet for a long time, and at any point in time I usually had one web forum where i tended to hang out. Many years ago it was LucasForums, more recently it's been GOG, and there have been many in between.
While I joined each forum for a reason - a current interest, or needing an answer to a question - if i got involved in the community and recognised the members then i'd tend to check the forum when i went online, and check for new posts, follow any links that looked interesting, etc... whatever the purpose of the forum, there tends to be a General Discussion forum, and that tends to be people talking about movies, music, games, recent news, and posting random weird web links.
Is it much different to check into Facebook and talk about movies, tv, recent news and random web links with contacts there? I'm not sure it is. The main difference would be that the people there are real life acquaintances, whereas i've never met anyone off any of those forums. There are pros and cons to both.
Personally, I rarely surf totally randomly - i'm usually searching for something or checking regular sites. I do get distracted a lot though.
I don't get much value out of facebook, as i suspect it depends totally on your friends. My best friends don't use it, so most of the updates i get on it are from distant acquaintances about topics that i'm not hugely interested in. I imagine that if i had a big group of close friends who used it daily then it might be a gateway to more interesting things.
Twitter - it's getting close to replacing RSS readers for me. Not because it's more efficient, but just because it's something new that does the same thing.
(sorry for the epic post!)
hmm... Looking at the poll results, I'm thinking the Sitepoint community might be the wrong people to ask this kind of question.
Hi, Caline. Welcome to Sitepoint.
So from what you've seen then as a school teacher, the kiddies are really embracing this social networking thing, eh? Is it just a high-tech way of passing a little note arond the classroom like we used to do?
Do you notice a difference between the popularity of it among the boys vs. the girls?
I would say "surf", actually. It's a lot of photo album browsing, not as much commenting, etc. as you might expect.
Especially after some party or school function, they seem to huddle around, one of 'em flips through the albums, and they gossip about everyone who was there. (I'm exaggerating)
hmm... I suppose that is still socialising in its own right (they're socialising with each other as one of 'em browses Facebook). I suppose the question would be if they'd sit around and do that if no-one else is around to gossip to.
Then there's also the links and videos that friends post. I'd consider that to be "surfing" too, no?
First: hi! I am new to this forum and shall properly introduce myself somewhere (I have to see where first).
And then: I like to start my day with coffee while reading 'what's up' from 'friends' on FB and going to my favorite news site. I enjoy sharing artwork and get responses on FB but I don't think that's considered 'surfing', right? I am not trying to find people, usually.
Twitter is not my thing since I think it's too work consuming to keep up with and utterly boring since most messages are 'I am now in the supermarket', 'I am now out of the supermarket', 'I am now doing the laundry' or purely commercial stuff. So FB is better for me. I think I prefer 'real people' (if you can even consider FB 'real') over text balloons that are broadcasted to 'all'. I prefer friends to be truly interested.
Later, as I work, I hardly ever have 'time off' but when I do I like to explore websites containing work related topics. Boring :lol:
While I am teaching some (under 30) students have one finger on their cells to text friends and tweet and one hand on the mouse. The result is that I have to repeat things if they are bold enough to ask. Most will just look a little embarrassed when they notice they missed something I love it when from the corner of my eye, I can see their eyes shoot to left and right to neighbouring screens, and finally hear "Erm..."
man, that prohosting brings back memory... been many years since i seen them now. I had a free account with them in the 90's ,before php came along and i left them in hmm.. i think it was 01 maybe 02, as they only had 1 or two servers with support for php at the time... i had a nice site there, with a forum running ultimate bullentinboard, written in Perl... aahh... those good 'ol days
As a proud member of 0 social networking sites...
He he - back in the day web surfing was fun, because nearly every site had a links page which could contain all sorts of weird, wonderful and interesting sites. All that has mostly gone now because people have got far too serious with "monetisation" and corporate drivel.
Now here are a golden oldie that I managed to turn up - http://www.furnitureporn.com/ (don't worry it's clean!)
...and I even made this site a looong time ago to join in the fun - http://lightning.prohosting.com/~twopent/
people are focusing too much on these social networking things, and should be surfing more.
I finally got into FB two months ago, and i have to say: there was nothing new and interesting - unless i find it interesting to know when some "friends" eat, drinks, take a bath or go to the toilet... i seen it before in other shapes, so there was nothing new and exciting about it... but, there is of course one advantage...
Excellent discussion post, Shaun! You've noticed a real shift in the industry, which bodes well for your business. And it raises the question: In five years, how will everything be entirely revolutionized and reinvented again?
Yes, you can surf Facebook and even Twitter, if it's the content you're interested in. Sometimes I surf them just as I would any site. I can browse pictures on Facebook just like I would on Flickr or Google Images. I can watch videos I find on Facebook, on Youtube or on Google. I skim through my Twitter feed everyday and often find some interesting links to articles or videos in there.
But do I prefer any type of site? No. I end up where ever I end up by looking for content, which is of too wide a scope to be found on one particular site.
I'm much less interested in socializing, so you're not gonna see me messaging back and forth in one place. Unless someone contacts me via IM, which doesn't happen often.
If I was only interested in what my friends had to say or show, then I would of course only surf those sites that have my friends on them. That's the big difference, I think. And the difference from the past is that you now have those sites, as opposed to a few personal sites that very few knew how to create before. "When I was young" very few people had a computer at all.
As a young person who might or might not have many interests, you're interested in your friends first, so you're gonna prefer those sites where you can find them.
Kill time!? Who wants to kill time? Outrageous.
Here's a question, do they surf or socialize? Are they even interested in surfing? When you surf you have a purpose, be it google, wikipedia, some random site, facebook, or even twitter. You have an intention to find something interesting to read or watch, or even play with, you're looking for information. But when you just want to read your messages or send new, post something on someone's wall or comment on something, etc., it's not really surfing - it's socializing.
My idea of this phenomenon is that ever since computers and the Internet became cool, a lot of young people have started using them just to communicate between each other, replacing the real life interaction, nothing more. They don't necessarily have any interest in computers or the Internet, or in surfing for that matter.
Everyone uses a computer nowadays, like everyone uses a phone (more or less anyway), but there still are computer geeks and normal people. You can't just make that distinction by the mere fact that someone uses a computer anymore.
So I would say you're a computer geek, and your girlfriend and her friends are not, and that has nothing to do with age. Most SPF members are geeks and you can tell that from the poll.
When I play on facebook, I just felt ashamed and uneasy to waste my time. But I found it is rather easy to kill time by web-surfing. For example, I'd like to browse some news before I start to work everyday. That would take half an hour or more unknowingly.
I'm trying to use social media (facebook to keep in touch with friends that live abroad or that I don't see that much, twitter for "business" such as promoting the forumcast and the like, or linkedIn for business purposes) but can't get the hang of it. So I remember to visit those sites like once in a month or so
I guess I web surf because I like to search for good information which is something that social media doesn't give... you can get an interesting link from a tweet or two but most of it is garbage (why in the world does anyone think that I'm interested if they go to the grocery store?)
I surf utube a tiny bit every now and then. Mostly web surfing when I surf.
I admit, social networking is completely beyond me. It feels vaguely like trying to make the art of relationships into some science like thing.
"Helping the world forget what the word friend really means". It's easier to say that I'm just a curmudgeon; something like those crazy naysayers who rail against change though. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I have about 20 sites I visit regularly, another handful I visit sporadically, and the rest I stumble upon from being linked to on social news sites, blogs, or the occasional facebook status.
Then of course, there's googling when researching a problem, or hitting up various forums when I hit a wall after that.
I've seen that browsing youtube is a good time waster with the younger folks, but I can't say I've really gotten hooked on it myself.
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