Flock is a social networking browser. That means that users of Flock can easily access their Flickr, del.icio.us, blog, and newsfeed accounts from the browser drop-down menus and toolbars. Users don’t have to go to each website, login, navigate to (or through) their account, etc. Instead, with a very quick Flock setup process social networking sites are easily viewed and accessed with only one click in the browser window. For example, once the login for a Flickr account is added to the Flock browser, photos in that account are available at the top of the browser window. The user can upload new photos with the click of one button and can manage the photos that already exist within the account.
Think about the teen who keeps a blog and is surfing the web and her RSS feeds for fun or information. While surfing, the teen finds some great content that she would like to blog about. No need for her to open a new tab or window, go to her blog URL, login, and start typing. She can simply click on the blog link in Flock and open the new blog post window. When she’s done she publishes. It’s a much more seamless approach to writing about web content than most people use.
How is this a positive use of social networking? Well, it takes many of the tools YALSA bloggers have been talking about for the past 30 days and makes them easily accessible in one interface. Teens can setup their Flock browser to directly provide access to the social networking tools they use the most. They will save time when they use the tools and they will be much more organized users of the tools.
In a DOPA world, a browser like Flock would not be available in school and public libraries. That would mean that teens wouldn’t have the opportunity to easily manage their social networking lives. Even in real-life, people want to find opportunitites to manage their social lives effectively. The same is true in online life. Flock is definitely a way to do that.