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Loose your focus, Loose your shirt??

Craigslist is an innovative and centralized network of online communities designed for help online users in a variety of ways. Craigslist gives users all over the world a  place to sell unwanted junk, find a roommate, post their job resume, search for singles, even sell their house. When does this variety become too vast? As business students, we’ve heard the “loose your focus, loose your shirt” strategy for years.

Ironically, Craigslist has chosen to focus on being general. With 10 billion pages viewed per month at 450 craigslist sites in all 50 states and over 50 countries, it is safe to say the site is extremely successful in spite of its seeming lack of focus and dull web design. This level of exposure is the key to Craigslist’s success.

My personal experience with Craigslist has been one of mixed feelings. I was faced with task of hiring and intern last summer, and my boss instructed me to post an ad on Craigslist. The site was very clear and simple to navigate. Within a week, I had about 20 responses. The problem was the applicants were terrible. While I think that Craigslist is a good place to post a resume, I am skeptical of the perceived level of quality taken on by job seekers. And, this perception can transfers to any of the offered services on Craigslist.

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Is Linked In all it's linked up to be?

Linked In has three times the number of registered users than any other professional networking site on the Internet. But do these numbers automatically mean that Linked In provides a better service than the next networking site? I have read several reviews on the value of the website. And surprisingly, its praises are not being sung throughout the web as I would have expected. The general consensus claims an invasion of privacy. Linked In works with Outlook to install various features to your system, including collecting contacts from your received mail, uploading your current contacts list. These are innovative and interesting features, however problems can arise when contacts are collected from junk mail or your contact lists would rather not be bothered. Simply put, Linked In attempts to extract as much information from you as they can. All the while proclaiming they are protecting your privacy. But the key data which drives the business is your connectivity to others. Even if you give them every ounce of information you have, how realistic is it that you will respond to a request from someone four degrees away?

Basically, if you are not desperately searching to find a new job, hire staff or consultants, or sell products to specific industries, Linked In is a waste of your time. And, how many people professionally network just for fun? That being said, the most successful businessmen are not going to be looking to hire from the site. They seek a level of quality that cannot be conveyed through a website. I don’t care how popular it is. There just doesn’t appear to be enough economic value in the relationships facilitated by the social networking websites.

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The changing face of Youtube

My initial perception of Youtube is not one notable and current political news. I see it as a glorified waste of time. However, I eagerly offer my free time to Youtube if it means a good laugh. Nonetheless, I fear the site does not have the reputation to broadcast serious and important events. Take, For example, the Republican and Democratic Debates for the upcoming presidential election. By posting the debates on Youtube, people are able to blog their opinions and even have access to video footage to make new videos. But, how many people abuse these advantages? Most people do not post efficient and respectable blogs and do not make appropriate videos.

While I do see the benefits of a cheap and convenient national broadcast, I think this method cheapens the credibility of the debates and almost makes a mockery of it. One writer criticized the youtube debates by describing them as, “almost like watching Jerry Springer.” I tooned in to view some of the debates, and I could never get a way from the fact that I was watching them on Youtube, the place where I’m subject to finger-bitting babies and kidney-stealing unicorns.

In conclusion, if Youtube wants to take a more focused news broadcasting path, they should open a new site with this goal in mind. One which targets more politically informed audiences with constructive criticism to offer.

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