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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Social Media and Politics


Malaysia had its 13th General Election (GE13) on 5th May 2013 and saw the country once again ruled by the Barisan Nasional, extended its 56-year rule for another 5 years with majority of 133 seats in the 222-members parliament. On the following day, Malaysians were actively on Facebook, tweeter and blogs commenting and criticizing the results from the GE13. Many shared their happiness and some were angry due to their parties lost in the election. Nearing the GE13, we saw various unsavory cyber election campaigns among the parties involved for the GE13.
The quick development of social media have impacted on how it can influence the society is part of the advancement of information and communication technologies. Also, the quick development of mobile technology has impacted on the creation and use of social media. A modern, well-equipped smartphone is sufficient enough to become a packet-sized mega studio.
With the power of social media and mobile technologies, it has changed the way people communicate. Engaging with social media is a communal activity, therefore its best that everyone who use it understand that influencing social media is much more diverse and difficult task than working with traditional media. The following points out the key changes that social media produced adapted from the study of “Social Media – The New Power of Political Influence” by SuomenToivo Think Tank (2011):
  1. The anonymity of its agents, which means the use of nicknames or aliases when writing and commenting in social media. Although this enable the “anonymous” to comment on delicate issues which may avoid them from held responsible and can lead to “flame wars”. However, to make message stand out is to use the writer’s real name (for example, in the “Letters to the Editor” in newspapers), since the author wants to be identified as owning that comment. Those who communicate need to be able to appear with their own names.
  2. Social media provide the richness and diversity of information to its users. Which they are no longer dependent on a single source for their news and other data any more, but can choose to use several different media side by side. The media is then used to modify and rearrange contents gathered from other media as remediation. Also connected to this changed information environment is the fact that it is not possible to participate in every conversation. 
  3. There are no isolation places or hiding holes. Lives of society’s most influential figures have become a public space. Many of their private and public conversation was taken out and used in media on the Internet.
  4. Speed is the demand for the information to be ready for use. The speed can caused to reports that might not be true or inaccurate without any confirmation. Users become “over-connected” and cannot process new information adequately due to haste.
  5. The lack of hierarchy in social media caused multitude of roles and assumptions of relationships among each other. A good example is the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which have no main editor, but an army of tens of thousands of writers, inspectors, and editors. Complaints could not be made if there are inaccuracies found at Wikipedia.
  6.  Social media able to combine different kinds of recorded information in very flexible ways which are combine all than just text, pictures, audio, video and animation. Anyone now can easily create and edit impressive presentations with affordable software and the use of video cameras, sounds recorders, laptops and other mobile devices.
  7. Realization of traditional methods of regulations is becoming more difficult than ever. A government can attempt to restrict the content of social media, but traditional censorship cannot keep up with ever-changing web pages. China and Saudi Arabia, for example, tightly control their citizen’s use of the Internet and social media. On the other hand, it is technically difficult to interfere in even in the most radical web-distributed propaganda.


The top 10 social-media stories that shaped 2012
Social media have been used by people who wanted to organized protests and to mobilize their responsible agents. However, this is just like organizing a party. Social Media is much powerful than that, it can be greatly exploited to establish communication networks and move towards their objectives.

The idea of “global village” now can be materialized with today’s social media which was put forward by communication Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, and suggested that by twenty-first century will be a “flat world”. Due to the speed of optic cable which can transfer information in an instance, have marked the modern revolution and almost removed the limitations of time and space.

The advancement of information and communication technologies has influence society with using the social media. The power of social media to affect society is based on exclusively on its social aspects, which means the interaction and participation. Studies on different citizen habits showed that vetoing decisions are not based on one-step communication. However, two-step communication will consolidate or weaken the voter’s opinions where the ideas or conversations of opinion leaders, colleagues, friends and acquaintances can be consolidated.
Open communications have always been blocked or hindered by many governments; however social media has uplifted this restrictive practice. A good example is in the 2011’s Egyptian Revolution, where hundreds of people in Tahrir Square in Cairo continuously sent information and updates as text, pictures and videos all over the world through the Internet.  

Social media has leveled the traditional socioeconomic barriers to gain the spotlight. Now anybody can become “somebody” on social media. Politicians and activists can leverage the potential of social media. The Internet, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have re-constituted how relationships were built especially among the young people and how communication is produced, mediated and received. Text messaging, Facebook , Twitter and YouTube and the Internet have given rise to the political energy that five a new relationship between the new media technologies, politics, and public life. Activities of civil society groups such as mobs, movements and civil society organizations can be influence through these digital technologies.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


Cloud computing is the use of hardware and software resources which deliver services over a network.  It is “scalable and elastic” Internet-based services delivered to multiple external customers. Now, data and applications are no longer available only on desktop. IT entrusts services remotely with users’ data, software and computation. Cloud computing providers offer services in term of infrastructure and platforms that allow access to application software and databases to its users.
The cloud computing for the past years has become a way for the businesses to improve their processes effectively and ultimately the outcomes of their efforts. Many organizations opt for cloud computing as an alternative for their business activities and functions such as marketing, customers service and sales, human resource and finance. These activities can embrace the practice of renting access to the applications and technology that they need, when they need them.
Among the key advantages of how cloud computing can benefit any businesses are cost, utilization of resources and business agility.
COST: Business can escape for expensive upfront costs of purchasing and installing software application and hardware software. Small businesses with tight budget can truly benefit on these simply by renting software applications and storage space as what only required.
UTILIZATION OF RESOURCES: Cloud computing enables any businesses to reduce issues and defects on operations issues. With the use of the services can result of more time spending on what really matter in increasing business continuity. This also allow employees to spend time more on useful activities that offer greater value to business.
BUSINESS AGILITY: Cloud computing allow easier group collaboration. Business operations are more flexible and they can focus more on design and development by outsource routine IT operation such as data storage and backup. Some processes can be shortened significantly due to sharing resources and able to deliver result faster, cheaper and with more quality can give a business a competitive edge.

Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) - What you should know

Thanks to the advance of the digital technology, database become an integral part of life today’s world where it has become very easy to collect, edit, share or transfer of data among other people. Due to this, little we know what that our personal data such as identity and numbers, address or even bank accounts details has become the most danger weapons. Irresponsible parties can easily exploit the most valuable commodities for their personal gain unethically.
In Malaysia, it has been like an acceptable practice where we leave or cards, or personal information at registration counters or at any public eveners without concerns on what the organizers would do with this information in hand. Mostly what happen is that people would then start to receive numerous unknown phone calls or text messages offering different services and products.
Under the enforced Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) people now are more covered and have more control over their personal data. However, it depends on how well they understand their rights and its limitations.
Among the basic rights that one should know are the data subjects (consumers) are the “real owner” of their own personal data. They have the right to:
·         Access personal data
·         Collect personal data
·         Prevent damage or distress
·         Withdraw from processing data
·         Prevent from direct marketing
When any of these rights are violated, data subjects can lodge complaints on data abuse to PDP Commissioners.
The right to access personal data is to allow data subject to check and verify the accuracy of their information. If deem inaccurate, it can be corrected or struck off the record. To exercise the right, data subjects need to make request to data users which they need to comply within 21 days.
Another important rights is to withdraw consent of data even when being processed. When consent is withdraw, data user need to stop processing the personal data. Failure to do so can be fine up to RM100,000 or 1 year in jail, or both.
On the other hand, this act protects data subjects from the telemarketers to stop their unsolicited telemarketing messages which can cause distress to the public. Failure to comply to do so by telemarketers can caused then RM200,000 of fine or jail term of 2 years, or both.
For future, data subjects able to ask the data users to not use their personal data for future profiling, screening, or any data mining activities.
However, the Act has some limitations. Before data subjects can lodge their complaints to the authority, they need to determine whether the act is applicable to their case. The PDPA is not applicable in processes of personal data by the government and its agencies (government-link companies may not be included); “non-commercial” transactions; for credit reporting business; data processes outside the country; and data collected solely for personal purposes. The Act does not applied to 2 of the biggest depositories of personal data for Malaysians which are:
1.       The National Registration Department (Government Agencies)
2.       Facebook (data not process in Malaysia)
With most businesses moving on with social media network, most information of consumers obtained and processed through transaction online. This might provide loophole for schemers and scammers. Therefore, we are as the owners for our own personal data should be extra careful on what kind of information we shared online or offline.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Means to communicate through Smartphones

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have found the profound need of communication through various means. It started with sign languages, followed with drawings on the cave walls, intuitive means of using signals such as smokes, making sounds and codes.

Over the years, mankind have develop languages that allowed them to communicate and express ideas freely. Incidentally, the existence of various cultures and multi-ethnicity allows mankind to learn different languages and culture of different civilization. In 19th century, the industrial evolution had increased the need for natural resources and to spur the development of civilization particularly dominated by the Europeans. Thereon, the race to become leaders of their respective empire has resulted in a great boom of research and development in technology.

Alexander Graham Bell, the father of modern telephone has pioneered modern telecommunication across continents. Subsequently, research in this field and encouraged by the demand for speedy  communication has resulted in the growth of modern telecommunication.

It all started from just a telegraph to transmit information across distance. With the involvement of government and entrepreneur, telecommunication has fast become a necessity rather than luxury. Incentive to further enhance telecommunication industry has attracted the involvement of big corporations, including fortune 500 companies. Apple, Nokia, Samsung and Blackberry are some of big companies who introduced smartphones.

Today, smartphones are considered a must have for everyone especially among the younger generations. By the end of 2013, 1.4 billion smartphones will be in use: 798 million of them will run Android, 294 million will run Apple’s iOS, and 45 million will run Windows Phone, according to a new study by ABI Research. (click ). 

The study above clearly indicates that there is an enormous demand for smartphones worldwide. Why has this happened?
According to "Seven Shades of Mobile" study, conducted by InsightsNow, shows how people really use their smartphones. There were seven primary motivations of consumers use smartphones which can broken as per the figure below:

Does this relate to your motivations to use your smartphones?