Pros and Cons of Cheap Web Hosting

n today’s world, if you have a business, or sometimes even a career in certain industries, it is imperative to have a presence on the Internet. This great demand by large numbers of people to own a bit of online space, which is accessible 24/7 on the Internet, without the huge costs involved, is what has spawned the advent of web hosting companies.

If you go back to 1991, when the Internet had started becoming user-friendly, with the World Wide Web being established along with web hosting as well as webpages being viewable, it used to be thought that only rich people could afford using these services, since they were mostly used by large business entities and a few people who could afford spending a lot of money for these services.

However, things began changing pretty fast. That is because the Internet, along with the World Wide Web, began evolving and growing at a phenomenal rate. Which, in turn, came about because this was the only means through which people could instantaneously connect to the world. This was what gave the impetus for the hosting of free instant messaging services, email services, as well as websites of companies to be used for business purposes.

With each day, the experts in this field, along with common users, explored its possibilities and went about making things less complex. Hence, right from the management of databases to server space, the World Wide Web has been evolving continuously. With the potential growing each day, more and more companies offering web services began sprouting. This, in turn, gave rise to competition, with each company vying to offer not only the best of services, but also at the cheapest of rates―giving rise to cheap web hosting services. Given below are some of the pros and cons of these services.

Pros

These days, you can get web hosting services which cost less than $5 a month. Although you could be limited somewhat in what you will be able to do, and the kind of services you can expect, in general, the services you are provided are good.
The amount of disk space these affordable companies provide is in the range of 5-75 GB, which is usually more than enough for most people.
Plus, the bandwidth per month provided could be up to 100-600 GB, which is quite good, considering the price.
Also, most of these cheap services are usually offered on UNIX or Windows servers, which is quite adequate for most requirements.
One of the best advantages of cheap web hosting is that new companies and ordinary people can have a website without having to make a large investment. This is one of the main reasons the Internet has become the means through which people connect to do business and exchange ideas.

Cons

However, there are plenty of arguments against cheap web hosting, the foremost being that when a low-cost service provider offers their services at such a cheap rate, they have only two ways by which they can survive in a business that is so competitive: they can either reduce their services or increase their rates later. Hence, before opting for cheap hosting option, one must keep in mind that their main focus is their own survival.
The critics are also of the opinion that at crucial moments, such as a breakdown in the server or an attack by a hacker, the service providers are never available. Plus, the hosting plans provided by them are usually ill conceived and badly designed.
Another disadvantage is that you will have to share server space with other companies. This could jeopardize your company if these companies use mailing lists to send spam. If that is done, the chances are high of every domain that is hosted by the server being blocked by anti-spam software, resulting in your company becoming a victim too.

Hence, before deciding, it is best to take into consideration the above pros and cons, and base it on your actual requirements, although budget constraints may leave you with limited choices. However, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. An efficient, rugged, quality, and result-oriented service has the potential of making all the difference to your business. Therefore, if you require high uptime as well as a web hosting experience that you can depend upon, then it is best to go in for a service provider that is both efficient as well as economical.

How to Build a Web Server

You may want to build your own server for a small business or if you wish to start your own website. To build a web server, you need a computer and the required software. Also, building one will save money to a great extent. It contains pages of your website in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The one you build should be connected to the Internet all the time, so that everybody on the Internet can access your website.

Requirements

The configuration of the computer used for building a web server must match the basic requirements. A random access memory (RAM) of 4GB or more is required. The RAM requirements increase as the number of clients of your website increases. For this, you must always track website visitors. A high speed Internet connection is also one of the basic requirements to keep it connected to the Internet. Along with this, you need to have a permanent IP address. Sometimes, many website owners face the problem of dynamic IP address. If the dynamic IP problem is not solved, the IP address of the website will keep on changing and the Internet user will not be able to connect to your web server. You must buy a permanent IP address from the Internet service provider, which is somewhat costly. The software required to develop and maintain the client-server interaction is called web server software. There are many software applications available, of which, some are specific to a particular operating system.

Instructions

Step I
The first step is to install the software. This software is responsible for finding the requested web page. After installing the software, configure it accordingly so that the search for web pages within the server is easy. When an Internet user types a URL, the software directs the user to the requested page on the Internet.

Step II
The domain name is assigned to the server. This is a convenient way so that it is easier to remember the IP address of the web server. You need to buy the name from a domain name provider and the domain name servers keep a track of the corresponding IP address of the websites. When the Internet user types your name in the web browser, the domain name server makes it easier to find the IP address of the requested website. To build a server, you need to configure the domain name server and the router. The router will transfer the request of the Internet user to the server.

Step III
The web server must be protected with an antivirus software to ensure protection against viruses and worms. If you do not protect it from the virus attacks, you may lose all the data of your website, which at times may be confidential.

The main advantage of owning a web server is to cut down on the charges required for hosting your website. Owning a website can also earn you extra money if you host various other websites. The only thing you need to do is to upgrade your computer to the configuration suitable for the extra load of other websites. For online gamers, building a web server is an interesting option.

An Overview of Web Hosting Technology

Web hosting is a prime service that users can utilize after obtaining either dial-up or broadband Internet access. It lets users broadcast their own information resources to any Internet user, who is interested in accessing them. It makes use of the server/client model for content distribution. A web host will provide its client with the right to access a web server that will push the client’s content to recipients on request. Recipients use web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to request content from the web, over their own Internet connection.

The websites are stored or hosted on a special computer called a server. It permits Internet users who are connected anywhere to reach a particular site, when they put the host’s domain address in the web browser. The host computers are set up so that when someone types a web address in the browser, the address will follow a route from computer to computer until it reaches the host computer and website. After that, the Internet user will be able to browse throughout the website.

Web hosts provide the technical resources and equipment that are required to offer a customized website to a consumer.

Many small businesses take advantage of web hosts in order to free themselves from preoccupying their scarce human and financial resources on hosting issues. Companies and individuals outsource their web presence to achieve the following objectives: improve own company focus, reduce operating costs, gain access to in-depth expertise, free internal resources for core competencies, and obtain access to world-class capabilities to control IT functions which are difficult to handle. In multiple formats, web hosting is offered to the consumer, based upon his/her requirements. These requirements are dependent on the cost and infrastructure provided.

Types of Web Hosting

Web hosting services are present in all sizes and shapes. It is useful to break down all services into several “classes”, in order to understand the most fundamental differences in pricing and functionality. Each “class” speaks about the needs of a particular type of customer.

1) Shared Hosting
This is the most basic and important of all services. The hosting service providers put several websites on a single powerful machine.

2) Virtual Dedicated Hosting
This is a fairly new web hosting service, which seems to be a bridge between “shared” and “dedicated” hosting. Several websites are hosted on a server, but the number of such sites is small and each one is provided with a dedicated “copy” of the operating system, along with a portion of computer resources. Also, a copy of web server software, in addition to direct “root-level” access is provided to the customer.

3) Dedicated Hosting
A dedicated hosting service is a type, in which the client leases an entire server, which is not shared with anyone else. This type of hosting allocates a website to its own server. This is more flexible because it has full control over the back end of the server, including the choice of OS.

4) Colocated Hosting (Colocation)
Colocation provides ultimate degree of flexibility. This type of hosting consists of buying and installing your own server on the provider’s premises.

5) Managed Hosting
It is accompanied by a full suite of technical support, maintenance, and monitoring services. In managed hosting, customers are provided with their own servers, but are still responsible for virtually all administrative and maintenance duties.

Web Hosting Server Technologies

The different hosting technologies are as follows:

1) Windows Hosting
This is hosting of web services that use Windows operating system. User should choose this type of hosting, if he wants to use Active Server Pages as server scripting, or if he wants to use a database like Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server. It is also the best choice if the user wants to develop a website using Microsoft Front Page.

2) Unix Hosting
This is hosting of web services that use UNIX operating system. It was the first reliable and stable web server operating system.

3) Linux Hosting
This means hosting of web services that uses Linux operating system.

4) ASP – Active Server Pages
Microsoft developed Active Server Pages as a server-side scripting technology. With ASP, dynamic web pages can be created by embedding scripting code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server, before the page is returned to the browser. Both Visual Basic and JavaScript can be used for ASP code.

5) JSP
This is a server-side technology developed by Sun. With JSP, dynamic web pages can be created by embedding Java code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server, before the page is returned to the browser. Since JSP uses Java, the technology is not limited to any server-specific platform.

6) FrontPage
Microsoft developed this software as a website design tool. FrontPage provides users with an easy way to develop a website, without any deep knowledge of web development. Most Windows hosting solutions maintain FrontPage servers for users that use FrontPage to develop their website.

7) PHP
This is a server-side scripting language which allows creating dynamic web pages by embedding script code inside HTML pages. The code is run by the web server before the page is returned to the browser.

8) Cold Fusion
Macromedia developed this software, which is another server-side scripting language used to develop dynamic web pages.

Shared Hosting Vs Dedicated Hosting

The Internet is a platform for every business to make its presence felt. In order to maintain a website, a web service provider needs to be contacted for hosting. You need to make a choice between shared and dedicated hosting. It would be impossible for a company to make this choice in haste, and it needs to consider many things before taking a final call.

What is Shared Hosting?

Also known as virtual hosting, it occurs when you dish out a monthly fee to a third-party service provider in order to use his equipment for your web server. The service provider handles everything ranging from backup and security to setting up the server and managing the bandwidth. The sole task of your company in this scenario will be to develop the content for your website.

In this type, you end up sharing the server where your website is placed, with many other websites. This has various pros and cons, but the biggest disadvantage is the fact that you end up sharing many resources. It is also possible that the traffic on your website would be affected by the traffic on other websites, hosted on the same server.

Features

Sharing the IP Address: Since you are sharing the server with other websites, you will obviously have the same IP address. If these websites happen to be blacklisted for spamming or some other illegal activity, you would also suffer the consequences for the same. To avoid such a scenario, you should choose your web host responsibly.

Greater Response Time : If there are two or more websites on the same server, it goes without saying that the response time for each individual website would be longer. This will make the visitors wait longer and they might not wish to visit your website again.

Server Crashes Often: In many cases, if the server host does not monitor the activities properly, the server will get overloaded and crash. This occurs more frequently in shared hosting vis-a-vis dedicated hosting. Choosing a web host that is reliable and well-known will help you avoid such a situation.

Cost-effective: The most important benefit is the cost factor. Since you are sharing the server with other websites, it is pretty economical. Also the maintenance and monitoring of the server is not your responsibility, so you do not have to divert resources towards it.

Hardware and Security: As with any web based activity, good security is essential. This is handled by the service provider and you need not worry about it. The web host also provides the required hardware, so you do not have to invest any resources there.

What is Dedicated Hosting?

As opposed to shared server hosting, dedicated hosting carries greater efficiency, provides more security, and entails lesser problems. Dedicated web hosting service is mostly used by big corporations and businesses that see a large amount of traffic. It simply means that your web server sits on its own box which is partly managed by the service provider. It is completely opposite to shared hosting, and means that the server is entirely dedicated to your needs and web traffic alone.

Features

Faster Response: Since the server is solely dedicated to your website alone, the response time will be much lesser as there are smaller lines that the visitors have to wait in. This helps to maintain the level of traffic on your website.

No Bandwidth Restrictions: On shared server hosting, each website has a limit of bandwidth and it cannot be crossed. This is not applicable as far as dedicated server hosting is concerned. The entire bandwidth available on the server lies at your disposal.

Greater Control: In this case, you are the boss. Nobody’s activities can harm the functioning of your website. You are free to install any application and you can also carry out script testing as regularly as you want. You’re given much more freedom, as running your website smoothly is entirely your own responsibility in this case.

Higher Cost: Since you are monitoring and regulating the server yourself, the costs incurred by you will be greater. You will have to invest more on hardware and security, and regularly carry out maintenance checks. As a result of all this, the price will go up and due to this very fact, dedicated server hosting is chosen only by big web-based companies, social networking sites, or large corporations.

Greater Security: As compared to shared hosting, you can achieve greater levels of security in dedicated hosting. Again, this stems from the fact that you are in control of the security measures and you can adopt whatever means you find appropriate and necessary. The web host will also provide you with backups in this case.

Final Choice

Now that the difference between shared and dedicated hosting is clear, the question is which is better. The truth of the matter is that you cannot say that one of these methods is better than the other. You can only decide which method is more suitable for your business needs. The size of your company will also help you determine if you should opt for either.

Different Types of Websites

The World wide web has evolved so much in the recent years that it is simply flooded by the continuous creation of websites. If you want information on something, all you got to do is to type it on Google’s search engine, and in microseconds, it will open up thousands of websites that are related to your search. There are a variety of websites catering to different needs like information, commercial, health, technology, etc., while some are entertainment ones. Making money from this technological aspect is a lucrative business, and the Internet marketing sites specialize in this agenda.

Corporate Websites
They are also known as business websites, which provide information to the users about the company, and also give their contact numbers, rather than transacting business or any other services. They are useful for companies that are planning to use the website as a marketing tool. Navigate consulting and team excellence are some of the examples of this type.

Personal Websites
They are owned by individuals, with their personal profile featured on it, and the things that they are interested in. These websites have a limited scope, and it doesn’t take too much capital to put one of them on the Internet.

Flash Websites
They are one of the most popular ones, as they allow you to watch videos to describe their offered products. They have advanced graphics, and are a great way of marketing, as people relate faster to live streaming videos than a text based advert. For example, YouTube.

E-commerce Websites
They are mainly transactional ones, which allow you to shop from your home. For many consumers, they are like an online store, and for businessmen, they are a great way of conducting business without the need of an expensive outlet. Some of the websites that make money from E-commerce are Amazon, eBay, etc.

Social Media and Networking Websites
These are the top visited ones, as they are created purely for socializing and catching up with friends, etc. Few of these websites include networking for both business and personal use. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Photo-sharing Websites
They allow people to share/upload their photos, and are generally free to use so that many people can share their amazing moments with their friends, relatives, etc. Fastline media, jR customization are some of the examples.

Mobile Device Websites
There are certain websites that have been created, by keeping in mind the mobile phones, as checking a 3D phone on a 2D platform is not so interesting. They have a 3D interface, by which you can check your mobile’s 3D view, as you would have done in a store. gsmarena and vodafoneuk are some of the examples.

Brochures
They provide users with the necessary information about a particular company’s products. But, unlike E-commerce websites, these don’t have a system to purchase things instantly. They guide you to the latest company retail outlet. Examples are narrowdesign and tink.

Blogs
Blog is a short form for web logs. Blogging is very popular as it provides an individual direct communication with the readers, their feedback, thought sharing, etc. Blogging has become one of the marketing strategies for many companies, and many sportspersons, businessmen, and actors are using it to connect with their audiences. Some of the best blogging websites are huffingtonpost, tmz, etc.

News Websites
Nowadays, every newspaper or magazine has its own online edition. These websites allow users from all over the world to have access to the latest news. Some of the examples are, bbcuk, newyorktimes, etc.

Government Websites
All the government branches have their own websites so that information can be given to the public on a regular basis. They have a suffix .gov at the end; for instance, the website for FBI is fbi.gov, and the one for supreme court is supremecourtus.gov.

Content Websites
They are some of the most useful ones on the Internet, when you want to increase your knowledge about various things. They also help you to get information on diverse topics. For example, goarticles, ezinearticles, etc.

The World Wide Web has become massive and gigantic. Every website tries its level best to grab the public attention. It has been generally seen that the ones that are preferred by users, have better appearance, content, optimization, etc.

How to Create a Photo Gallery Website?

Poetry is a speaking picture while a picture is a silent poetry! You would definitely want to publish these silent poems on your website! Won’t you? Here’s how you go about …

A photo gallery is basically a collection of your pictures and home videos, which you can organize on your website. You can view and manage your photos and upload new ones in the gallery. Photo galleries offer functions of uploading and editing as well as organizing the uploaded pictures.

There are mainly two ways to make a photo gallery website:

Photo Gallery Software: – There are many software available, some of which are freely downloadable. Picasa is one of such software. Community server is another, which works on the asp.net platform. One needs a license for its commercial use. In choosing your software, check the platforms it supports and the protocol it uses for the upload operations. Don’t ignore the licensing strategies used by the software. See if it supports iptc and geotagging. These are processes concerned with associating metadata to your images. Does that sound complicated? Actually, it’s not very difficult. Firstly, these software come with a good explanation of how they function and going through their specifications helps you understand them better.
Photo Gallery Website Template: – Templates give you a ready-made framework to upload and manage your photos. Again, some templates are absolutely free, while others have to be bought. They provide you with a layout to put up your photos.

For those of you who are tech-savvy, there are options to create your domain, design a template for yourself, and start uploading photos. That will take some web designing skills and some programming using javascript and css. Templates will help you design your site and give web developers a sense of full control in the design and functioning of their website. After setting up the template, uploading photos is easy!

Advantages of a Photo Gallery Website
Firstly, you are in total control of what you exhibit on your site. Secondly, creating a photo gallery website does not cost you much. Then you can always put up your pictures for sale and make money. Showcasing your pictures on a website makes them available to almost anyone using the Internet. Your photos can travel miles in minutes, and become available to far-off friends.

Major concerns in creating a photo gallery website are the image formats supported and the way the images are arranged on your site. Due to the easy-to-use software and ready-made templates, the process of making a gallery becomes easy.

The photos you showcase in the gallery can be grouped categorically into albums. Photo gallery websites offer ways to organize your pictures into albums. There are some album generators as well. You could sign up to one of the photo album generating services. There you can upload your photos in the albums and even satisfy your security needs by protecting them with a password. The albums shall treasure your memories safely.

When it comes to a photo gallery, remember to showcase the best of your collection. A few ‘not-so-nice’ pictures can spoil the impression of your gallery. Also see that the photos are laid out well. Adding comments that speak about the picture would give that extra edge to your picture collection.

10 Steps to Hiring the Best Web Designer Or Web Design Company For Your Business Website

save

You have been planning forever to get a website designer to work on your site. Your plans are clear and you have prepared your content. What next? How do you go about choosing the best web designer or web design company?

Step 1. Ask around. Ask friends, or similar companies who have hired a web designer in the past. Besides getting the contact numbers of the web designers, ask how it is to work with that person. Find out what happened during the design process and what they think of the designs submitted.

Step 2. Do your research for contact information. Use the internet or your phonebook to get the names and contact information of web design companies in your area. If you use the internet, have a peek of their past work. Then contact each and ask for a quotation.

Step 3. Look through the portfolio of the web design company you are choosing from. See if the designs are professional-looking, clean and easy to use.

Step 4. Look at the experience of the web designer or Web Design Company. How long has the person or company been in business? How many companies have they designed for?

Step 5. See if the designer or web design company is up to date with the newest trends in web marketing. Useful, profitable websites attract the correct traffic with search engine optimization and usability and by employing web 2.0 strategies such as social media marketing. Effective web sites take SEO and usability into serious consideration. See if your web designer has at least a basic knowledge of both. In order for your website to be successful you need to be able to implement a successful internet marketing campaign.

Step 6. Look at the web designer or web design company proposed turnaround time. Does it match the schedule of your company’s plans?

Step 7. Examine the web designer or web design company terms of service and website files ownership. See if you agree with the conditions set by the designer to work with you. See also the rights as to who owns the final output and what sizes. If this is not clear from the start, you just may be surprised to find that the work you commissioned is not yours and you may have to pay extra to get it.

Step 8. See what the web designer offers for after-design services. Will the designer help maintain your site or is the designer only expected to do the initial design?

Step 9. Talk to the designer. Is s/he easy to communicate with? You should be able to communicate with your web designer easily. You should be comfortable presenting problems that you want solved. Your web designer should be respectful and prompt. You should both be able to compromise on what will work best for the viewers, not necessarily your personal taste.

Step 10. Look for previous, happy clients. You may look through the designer’s website or blog and see if there are client testimonials. Note what they have to say about the designer. You may also try to call them (you may ask the contact number from the web designer) and ask for comments regarding the design process and final output.

Web Design and Development Information

Web design usually involves many varied disciplines and skills in the maintenance and production of websites. The different parts that encompasses web designing include interface design, graphic design, authoring which includes proprietary software and standardized code, search engine optimization and user experience design. Although some designers may specialize in all the aspects of web design, most designers usually work in groups each individual tackling a different aspect of the process.

The term web design is mostly used to refer to the design process involving the front-end design of a site that includes writing mark up too. In the wider scope of website development, Web design is partially complex more than web engineering. This is because web designers are expected to have the technical Know-How in usability and to be at par with the current website accessibility guidelines if their work involves creating mark up too.

HTML and CSS in Web design

HyperText Markup Language commonly known as HTML, plays a big role in web design since it gives the content in the website, it’s meaning and structure by defining what the content is, for instance, paragraphs, images, headings and so on. Cascading Style Sheets or what is commonly referred to as CSS, is a display language used to enhance the appearance of the content in the site for example use of colors and fonts.

Both the languages CSS and HTML are used independently of each other and that should be maintained when dealing with web design. For instance in all your web related activities such as “Web Design and development, appearance, website, homepage, HTML” HTML should not be written in a CSS document vice versa. The general rule is that HTML should always be representing content while CSS should always represent how that content appears. For those who are the beginners of HTML, in some cases you might encounter strange and often-new terms but with time you are likely to become more conversant with all of them. However, the commonly used terms in HTML you should begin with include attributes, tags and elements.

New standards in HTML and CSS

To enhance “Web Design and development, appearance, website, homepage, HTML” the W3C recently released new standards of CSS the CSS3 and HTML the HTML5. Additionally the W3C released new JavaScript API’s. Although they are all new but they are all individual standards. While the new term HTML 5 solely refers to the latest version of the HTML and a number of the JavaScript API’s it is common to hear most people use it to refer to the whole lot of the new standard both the CSS3,the HTML 5 and JavaScript.

Technologies and Tools used in web design

Depending on the step of the production process, web designers use a wide range of varied tools in their work. Though the principles behind them remain the same, the tools and technologies are updated with time by the current software and standards. To create design prototypes or and images that are formatted on the web, web designers use raster and vector graphics. The main technology used in creating websites is the standardized mark up, which can be generated or handcooked using the WYSIWYG editing software. Furthermore, there is proprietary software that uses plug-ins to bypass the user’s browser versions. They are mostly WYSIWYG but with the choice of using the scripting language of the software. Search engine optimization strategies may also be applied to check the ranking at the search engine and suggest ways of improving it. Other tools used are the mark up validators and other tools used for testing accessibility and usability. This is to make sure that the website meets the website accessibity guideline.

Homepage design

Most Usability professionals and experts such as Kyle Soucy and Jakob Nielsen have on a number of times insisted on homepage design for any website success since the homepage is the most essential part of a website. However, in the early 2000’s it was discovered that a surging number of web traffic was inconsiderate to the homepage and was directly going to the contents of the pages via e-newsletters, RSS feeds and search engines.

Due to this, it is evident that homepages play a lesser important role in the success of any website. In the years 2012 and 2013 rotating banners and sliders, also known as carousels became a very popular component of web design on homepages. The carousels are used to display recent content in a specific space. However, while undertaking “Web Design and development, appearance, website, homepage, HTML” it should be noted that carousels often damage site’s usability and search engine optimization.

Web development

The term web development is used to refer to the work involved in coming up with a website for the World Wide Web. Development usually ranges from coming with simple single page sites using plain text to the complex web applications, social network services and electronic businesses. Tasks in web development include web design, client liaison and e-commerce development.

Web site appearance

The feel and look of your site is more essential than just displaying the information you want, but doing it in a way that it appeals and creates attention from your target audience information. Multiple factors should be taken into account when scaling out the appearance of your website. One of the major considerations is your intended audience. Look at their nationality, gender, age bracket, animations, colors, animations and graphics.

In summary, the idea here is to assist you develop a site that appeals and gets attention from the largest possible audience in all your work including web design and development.

Understanding Proxemics in Different Cultures

Definition
Proxemics is the interrelated observations and theories of man’s use of space as a specialized elaboration of culture.
Proxemics is a subset of non-verbal communication that refers to the distance between two people that are interacting with each other. This space between two communicating individuals can be an indicator of the relationship between them, the age difference, the difference in social and monetary status, etc. Depending on the type of relationship between the two individuals, spatial boundaries are maintained. There exist 4 types of spatial boundaries, which can be described as concentric circles with increasing radii, and the person at the center. If one examined them in an increasing order, they would be as follows:

Intimate Distance: less than 1.5ft; for lovers, partners, etc.
Personal Space: 4ft; for friends and family
Social Space: 12ft; Acquaintances, colleagues, etc.
Public Distance: 25 ft; interacting with strangers or public speaking

However, these distances are not strictly defined, and may change due to the population density of a region as well as the cultural norms observed there. It is difficult to offer generalizations on the concept of personal space due to these constraints. For example, Japanese people stand 4-5 ft apart from each other when in a meeting or when carrying out a discussion, while Europeans and North Americans stand quite closer in the same scenario. On the other hand, when using public transport, the Japanese will show a reduced personal space due to high population density, whereas the Europeans and North Americans will have greater personal space as the population density is comparatively low in those regions. Hence, cultural norms play a huge role in determining the dynamics of personal space between two individuals. To fully understand the subtle differences in the proxemics around the world, one must understand the dynamics of personal space across various cultures.

Proxemics in Different Cultures

To understand the scope of variation in proxemics across various cultures and countries, Edward Hall classified cultures into two main categories, namely contact and non-contact culture. These categories refer to the amount of physical touching permitted socially between any two individuals in any given culture. Some cultures have a high propensity for physical touching (contact) between people having a conversation, while some cultures lack this inclination (non-contact). In contact cultures, physical touching is not only permitted but also necessary for establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Examples of this type of culture include the Arab, Italian, French, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cultures. On the other hand, in case of non-contact cultures, physical touching is not prevalent, and occurs only in case of intimate friends and family. Such type of cultures include the North American, Norwegian, Japanese, and most other Asian cultures.

Based on Hall’s categorization of cultures, Richard Lewis further expanded the types of cultures based on the communication styles adopted by each culture type. This cultural classification is called the “The Lewis Model”. It also includes a test that individuals can take to determine their own cultural style of communication. In the model, Lewis outlined three categories, of which one represented the contact culture, whereas the other two were a bifurcation of the non-contact cultures. They are as follows.

Linear-active: It is a subset of non-contact cultures, and is characterized by cool, logical, and decisive actions of the individuals. People of this type of culture tend to be direct and to the point, and are often perceived as being impatient. Their general demeanor is reserved, and they mostly deal with facts rather than speculations. They include cultures like the North American, and Northern European cultures.
Reactive: It is the other subset of non-contact cultures. The people belonging to it are accommodating and non-confrontational. They are mostly calm and collected and do not instigate or encourage an aggressive behavior. They value decorum and diplomacy over facts and emotions in order to conduct everyday activities in a harmonious fashion. They are very patient listeners, and exhibit neutral body language and expressions. This type includes cultures of Vietnam, China, and Japan.
Multi-active: This subtype represents the contact cultures, where the people are warm and impulsive. Individuals are enthusiastic and readily express emotion in an extravagant display. They prefer personal stories and emotional accounts over cold hard facts. Their enthusiasm is evident in the way they interrupt each others flow of conversation. These type of people are impulsive and openly impatient. Examples of these cultures are those of Brazil, Mexico, and Greece.

Despite the usefulness of the study of proxemics, the theory suffers from extensive criticism on account of it offering sweeping generalizations and cultural stereotypes. While these claims may be partially true, the fact that these studies help in enhancing cross-cultural communication and non-verbal behavior cannot be overlooked.

Effect of Social Media on Healthcare

social media

While social media has made a mark in every realm of our lives, the realm of healthcare is not far behind, and is in fact catching up pretty quickly. The presence of the healthcare industry in different types of social media has created quite a stir regarding its impact on society at large. With the growing number of e-patients, the authenticity of information shared on these media is being questioned. However, the fact that the e-patient is becoming more responsible for his own health and well-being cannot be overlooked.

Be it interaction on online communities such as PatientsLikeMe or Inspire, mere information dissemination via networks like Facebook and Twitter, or videos on YouTube explaining medical procedures, discoveries, or patient experiences, the presence of social media is strongly rooted in the world of healthcare and will remain so in the future. As we can see, there are two sides to this coin too, and here we discuss the positive and the negative impact of social media on healthcare and on the e-patient.

Social Media and Its Impact on the Healthcare Industry

In the year 2009, live updates were sent on Twitter while a surgery was performed on a patient to get rid of a cancerous tumor in his kidney, by the Henry Ford Hospital. Real-time updates about such a sensitive procedure created a huge buzz in the online community. The purpose, the hospital said, was to educate future patients with a similar condition about such procedures, so that they were more informed and would be able to understand the process without being intimidated by it. Of course, a lot of students benefited from the procedure, as live updates and videos of this surgery helped them in the course of study. As such, this social medium let out to the world, information that was otherwise considered restricted within a hospital/medical center.

This instance tells us a lot about perhaps the growing necessity of social media in the field of healthcare. While a lot of people would still refute the necessity of tweeting a live operation, there are others who claimed to have been better informed by it. This procedure was also termed as a marketing strategy to attract new patients to the hospital, which is believed to have worked in their favor. And this is just one way in which social media has entered this industry.

Positive Impact

A recent survey reports that 61% of Internet users resort to the Internet for health information. One fact that has been revealed from this survey is that the e-patient is slowly becoming more responsible for his own health, and is taking steps to become more self-reliant. This is a broad advantage of the entry of social media in this industry.

The Rise of the E-Patient
Online health communities, forums and support groups have allowed patients from all over the world to connect with each other, and this is particularly beneficial for those suffering from rare health conditions. While you may be the only one in your town to have a disease, you definitely are not the only one in the world. These interactive communities are allowing patients themselves to suggest the right person to consult for a particular health condition, and the kind of questions that should be posed to the healthcare practitioner regarding the condition. In fact, these communities respect patient privacy by allowing patients to participate anonymously.

Direct Communication with the Healthcare Practitioner
It is not unknown that accessing doctors has become more difficult nowadays. However, by connecting with doctors via various social media, patients are now able to get their medical advice sooner. Doctors are not only imparting direct information to their own patients, but also put up blog posts, or tweet information continuously to inform patients about various conditions without specific diagnoses. These are time-saving and cost-effective methods that help both, the doctor and the patient. Doctors also use these platforms to educate the public about life-saving measures in case of emergencies.

Marketing Tool for Hospitals/Pharmaceutical Companies
Social media is also used as a great marketing tool to launch a variety of healthcare products. The informed consumer even has the ability to rate and review these products, thereby providing first-hand information to those who would like to try these products themselves. With regard to using social media marketing by hospitals, the aforementioned example of the live tweets of a surgery was a good marketing strategy to attract more patients as well as personnel to the hospital.

Raising General Awareness
Both e-patients and doctors are using social media platforms to raise awareness about different health conditions and healthcare products that may prove beneficial to others. Rapid information dissemination via Facebook and Twitter allows the consumer/potential patient to educate himself much sooner. Also, such platforms are being used to address cases of suicides, where immediate help may be provided to prevent such an action.

Rising Popularity of Non-Profit Health Organizations
Non-profit organizations are utilizing the power of social media to garner attention to their causes, and get people to participate more in enabling eradication of health issues that plague society in general. This is one of the biggest influences of social media on healthcare.

Negative Impact

With every positive side there comes a negative side too, and this is true even in the case of the utilization of social media in this industry. However, it is believed that increased regulation may reduce the intensity of some of these negative effects.

Abuse of Social Media by Hospital Employees

William Wells arrived at the emergency room at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach on April 9, mortally wounded. The 60-year-old had been stabbed more than a dozen times by a fellow nursing home resident, his throat slashed so savagely he was almost decapitated.

Instead of focusing on treating him, an employee said, the nurses and other hospital staff did the unthinkable: they snapped photos of the dying man and posted them on Facebook.

This is a clear case of how social media is abused by the healthcare industry. The concerned staff were fired immediately, but that does not guarantee that such instances will not recur. Moreover, violating the privacy of patients by sharing their personal or health-related information via various social media is an occurrence that is likely to continue unless regulated strictly by the parent organization. It has also been found that hospital employees spend more time online than they do working, thereby resulting in several cases of negligence.

Supposed Lack of Authentic Information
No matter how far social media goes, nothing can replace the personal diagnosis of a doctor. Yes, in less serious situations, one may rely on the information available online. However, when a patient does enter an online support group, how much can he rely on the information available there? YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter posts can be relied upon to a certain extent. But before doing so, the e-patient must thoroughly examine the authenticity of the person providing the information by checking the profile of the person and viewing the source (website on which it is presented) of the information. If it is a website or a forum dedicated to health and medicine, it is likely to be more reliable than an anonymous Twitter post.

Increasing Demands on a Doctor’s Time
A question of concern that has been often raised in this area is the amount of time that doctors always seem to have a dearth of. Will they be able to tend to patients personally as well as online? Again, the same amount of responsibility is essential when talking to a patient via social media, and whether or not they can give this kind of time and responsibility, is a major concern.

Blurring Line Between Personal and Professional Lives of Doctors
Befriend your doctor on Facebook and you may be privy to more information than you thought was necessary. Doctors have personal lives too, and seeing a photo of your doctor enjoying a drink at a party may affect your perception of him, as well as how reliable you now consider him to be. It is important then, that doctors create separate accounts specifically for their patients in order to keep the relationship strictly professional, and provide necessary information that can be used to authenticate their credibility.

All in all, it can be said that social media cannot be used as a replacement for the traditional mode of treatment or health care; instead, it can be used to enhance awareness and create a well-informed global community that can personally benefit from the plethora of information that is being put out there by the minute. Increased knowledge and responsibility on part of the e-patient as well as the healthcare provider, and the ability of the doctor to spread awareness with cost-effective methods is sure to have a deep and positive impact in the long run, particularly if the methods of online communication in the healthcare sector are thoroughly regulated.