Myspace is an occult!!!!....not really, I just won't join!!!
As the internet has evolved obviously so has the socializing because of our now endless opportunities and the no distance barrier function that the net presents. We can so easily stay in contact with all of our friends, family or whoever!
I could probably estimate that I have been in the social networking scene for about 4 years now. My first online experience with social networking or being involved in an online community was when I first became involved in the world of cars. The net presented such a fantastic opportunity to get connected to very knowledgable people in the business and also get connected to those who shared the same likes as you. Mainly for myself is when I joined my number one community which is my Nissan car community. (www.sr20forum.com) This site helps bring together from around the world those who love the infamous sr20 engine and lets us discuss the endless possibilities that we can come up with to help modify our engines and the cars that those engines came with. I believe that what Baym's writing still has much application to todays social communities. Well at least for myself and my online nissan group I can pick out many things that Baym describes and I see everyday. For instance "the emergence of a particular individuals within the communities brings with it the potential for tension with those who are less known (page 10)." There are specific individuals who are just know and respected as experts on my forum, and someone new comes along with information or a radical idea, or even dares question some of these experts. They probably are going to have an uphill battle to fight if they want to be liked. That sounds rediculous to say in my opinio, but if a person gets a bad rep in our community, most likely anything they post with regards to questions or pictures will be ignored or will be recieving uber amounts of flaming. The person will usually leave and basically need to try and start over now. I don't think all of Baym's words are applicable though when looking at communities such as Facebook or myspace. I think that Boyd's article does a fantastic job of discussion though with regards to friends within the online world.
I vowed I would never join myspace or facebook or anything resembling them. I guess I really did not have a particularly solid reason for this logic, but it just seemed "fake" to me. I try to use that word somewhat loosely. What am i really going to do with 500 myspace friends, they are not my friends. I sent them an online text, they thought I was cute and BOOM you have a new friend. Just a little to superficial for me, I might never really even get to know that person!!! But then I joined facebook, I think out of strait peer pressure from my offline friends who were all online. I played with it for awhile, sent out a bunch of friend requests, and yeah now I have my online community! But it actually became a fun distraction to even stay connected with my real offline friends and I have actually met in person some of the people with whom I hooked up with online...imagine that, and became friends who actually talk and chill together. I have a buddy who met his girfriend on myspace, and soon to be wife!! But it is truely amazing as Boyd makes clear when she lists the most common reason for friendship from current users of online friend communitites. Also the fact of there actually being social online costs to rejecting people. People are honestly getting frusterated as if this was offline and the people were right there because you have had a pending friend request to someone for 5 days...and you know they are online because the site tells you they are! But I do agree with the statement "There are so many reasons why people link to strangers that there seems to be little incentive to be selective about Friendship. If someone seems interesting or you want to get to know them better, what’s the loss in Friending them? As far as most participants are concerned, Friendship doesn’t mean anything really, so why not?" This is true why not. I believe with these online communities the offline and online will become more relieant and have greater impact on each other and our social lives.