I really appreciated the New York Times article on Facebook and its effects on adolescent communication. Most times when I read articles or hear news stories about it, the effects are usually vilified or praised, but this article showed a wide range of responses, showing that the effects of social networking should not be generalized. I most connected with the last story of the kid who was extremely shy, and his father encouraged him to use Facebook to become more social. I was also really shy during my adolescents and I believe through online communication my relationships became stronger and I did become more social. The online world allowed me to take more risks than I would have 'in real life'.
Every time I read about Facebook and the various ways that information is collected, I feel like I should be more outraged than I am and that I should be taking action - such as deleting my account. But I realize I am not motivated because Facebook is such a large entity and has become such a part of my daily routine (along with the daily routine of most of my close contacts). To quit Facebook for me, would be a major disruption of my ability to make plans with my friends, it is the easiest way we have to coordinate. And it is partly the size which makes me still feel comfortable using it. I assume that because it is so large it is under heavier government scrutiny than say an upcoming competitor of a smaller size. That being said, because of its size and its wealth of information, the effects of misuse of information could be horrendous.
Okay, I'm going to be honest - I was for some reason on top of my game and read the Boyd piece before you assigned the replacement, so I only skimmed the Van Dijck article.
The Boyd piece really interested me, though, because I had no idea of the amount of different social media sites out there. And maybe this is me being an egocentric American, but I thought everyone in the world used Facebook as heavily as we do. I liked reading about the different social media sites around the world. This also got me thinking of Spotify, the social radio. It can be linked to your Facebook (although I always use a private listening session) and you can easily share music with your friends without even asking them to recommend anything. Is this a type of social media? Or just an extension of Facebook?
I do believe that social networking is making kids less interested in face to face communication. But they also need to know how to effectively communicate online. Because when they are on the job site years from now, most of their communication will be electronically. That's not to say that face to face communication is not important, because it is so very important.
Lastly, I am a social media intern for a magazine publishing company downtown. I run all the Facebook and Twitter pages, and absolutely love it. I get to communicate with readers on another level. When they have specific questions, requests or concerns, they tend to message the Facebook page, and I get to work one on one (through a computer, I guess) with them.
I found it interesting to read about the affects that Facebook is having on the next generation of young adults as they learn how to interact socially using technological devices. Although I’m usually on the side of claiming that social media like Facebook is degrading for social contact, I also found it refreshing to see that the entire article didn’t take only that one stance. Whenever people start freaking out about how awful technology is to people’s social interactions, it’s nice to hear stories like the one about how the dad was pushing his older son to go on Facebook and start chatting with people. I thought that it was realistic when he said that he couldn’t just shove his son out the door and tell him to go meet someone. While it’s still possible for people to meet randomly face to face, Facebook is kind of a bridge for shier people to get to know their acquaintances better, making it easier for them to connect in real life. However, I do share some of the fears that the child development specialists brought up. I think that it’s definitely a realistic reservation to suspect that social media might make it harder for kids to develop certain skills like empathetic feeling. However, I think that social media might heighten other skills, like multitasking and learning how to manage multiple relationships.
Jose Van Dijck’s chapter on Facebook was really interesting to read for a couple reasons. First, the fact that the book was written fairly recently helps give a clearer picture of Facebook’s journey from a relatively closed-off college site to now being a publically-traded company in less than a decade. It’s hard to believe Facebook hasn’t been around for very long. I was starting college when the site first gained popularity, and I’m thankful that it wasn’t around when I was in high school, because it just adds another dimension of popularity/”clique-ness” to high school.
Second, while reading the chapter, I was also struck by just how little control over, and how little knowledge, users have of how Facebook works. Here’s a site that is supposedly user-centered, a site that’s part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people, and yet, very little is known about what goes on “under-the-hood” at Facebook. Van Dijck highlights this lack of user awareness several times, and in one instance he writes:
“Putting the onus on user involvement while de-emphasizing Facebook's interest in commercial exploitation, the company's claim to transparency included in Facebook Principles is conspicuously one-sided. Transparency and openness apparently apply to users who are pushed to share as much information as they can, but does not pertain to owners reluctant to reveal information about their plans to share data for commercial purposes” (page 9 of PDF, italics mine).
I think Facebook has become so big and so important to how people socialize today that we sacrifice control over our data and our desire to know just what Facebook is doing with our information, often without realizing how much we’re giving up.
Facebook as the space where the world and people can be more open and connected places a lot of pressure on this model. As the Van Dijck's article is laying out, Facebook is changing the way that we all act and interact. This article brought up a thought for me surrounding how it is that Facebook is changing the social in our society. The like button. There are those on Facebook who wish for a dislike button, but Facebook only allows a positive response to a post. This does not stop people from placing negative comments on a certain post, but I do find it interesting that Facebook does not encourage this kind of behavior. There is no easy one-click way to have a negative impact. Facebook's intention of being a vehicle for the world to be more open and connected is a noble intention and I do believe that they do their best to be this open and positive space for people to connect.
As noted in the Van Dijck article, social media websites such as Facebook are changing the way that we socially interact with one another. We can now connect with people from around the world, regardless of time and place. In addition, I agree with the article that it has become a force in organizing people’s social lives. We can post pictures, videos, and comments on one central page while allowing hundreds of friends and family members to view and comment at the same time. I believe that this feature of being able to communicate with multiple people at once is the best feature of Facebook, because anyone has the ability to communicate at any time of day and the recipient doesn’t have to respond right away. This allows conversations to be somewhat continuous, where you no longer have to tell them everything on the phone at once before you hang up or find a time when both of you are available to talk. This continuation, in return, makes you feel as though you are always connected to and in contact with that person. Although it does take away from the face-to-face interaction, I think the ability to post pictures and videos makes this social interaction more personal and emotional as it allows viewers to experience events with you when they can’t be there.
There were a couple things in the Van Dijck article that were disturbing.
It describes that the failure of Facebook's Beacon sharing/notification service was caused because it was too explicit (specific) about the intention of the service - specifically to give advertisers more direct access to the user and their friend's likes and automatically share them amongst the user's network. After public outcry, the service was canceled.
The article says that since then, Facebook has experimented with several ways of incorporating advertising into its system. This time more gradually to avoid another uproar. It describes how third-party like buttons (buttons hosted on non-Facebook sites) are used to track users whether they act on the Like button or not - whether they are signed in or not.
Does this bother anyone else? Why do people use a service that they (we) don't really understand? Because that's where our friends are? Because there are no other ways to connect with them? Because the information we give to Facebook doesn't really have any value to us, so who cares how they use it?
Every once in a while I consider deleting my Facebook account. It seems like such a nuisance to be addicted to it. Personally, whenever I’m on the Internet, Facebook is the first place I go. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. If I no longer had Facebook, I wouldn’t have to worry about checking it all the time. I think about how nice that would be. But then I think about all the things I would miss out on. I’d miss out on party invites, events, news, articles, friends’ life events, and much more. Facebook is how I keep in touch with my friends from high school, with my cousins who live across the country, and with the people I live with. Facebook is the center of online communication. And its terrifying how much power that gives Facebook. It’s eerie how I’ll post one comment on someone else’s article, and suddenly all the ads change based on what I just typed. I fear about the things I post incase future employers or my grandmother looks at my profile. We get so much out of Facebook, but in order to do that, we have to give up so much.
Reading through this, it was interesting for myself to note how much the idea of privacy has almost been villainous in a culture of social media and connectedness. Being connected with the 'opaque and secretive' seems almost Big Brotherish in ideal, in that those who have something to be private about have something to hide, are undesirable. This is reminiscent of the novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin in which society is trying to create mathmatically perfect society, where any time in the home other than one hour per day is totally open, the walls made of glass, and people are unable to be alone and to themselves. It promotes a homogenization of culture once someone removes privacy and creates such villanization. The idea that people need to opt out instead of opting in to share all their data is quite scary put into the context of We as well as 1984 and many other dystopian novels, which is compounded with the fact that it is very difficult to opt out of these things in many cases.
The subtle shifts this brings are not all bad, but we must be wary of full openness, as it can impact our lives in ways we may not initially see.
Facebook is ubiquitous and very few people I know don't have a facebook profile. It is in every corner of the lives of modern people. The amount of things that is shared in such a forum can be quite large. The data that comes from this is obviously enough for facebook or other social networking companies to leverage for their economic well-being. Without the use of user data, there is a lot less interest in it as a platform for companies. The ability to connect consumers or users with companies seems to have been a long journey for the company, as they attempted to monetize their structure. The IPO caused them to figure out a strong way to get such a thing done.
As far as what networking and personal communication have done in their large shift from face-to-face communication, I think that there are valid points for both the proponents and opponents of the shift. Some people would probably be less engaged with others without the option of text or facebook communication. This could help those people with their social skills that otherwise may be underdeveloped. On the other hand, the social skills being developed may not be the same skills that will be needed later in life. As with most things, it ends up being a toss-up.
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on April 18, 2013 2:46 PM.
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