From Women's Studies
Social networking can be defined as a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. ([])
Today, social networking plays a major role in popular culture. While it has many pros and cons, it is constantly growing and changing and is an integral part of today's generation.
When people think of Myspace, the may very well view it as the "first" social network. Myspace was founded in 2003 by Tom Anderson (every users' first "friend") and Chris DeWolf and hit its peak from 2005 to early 2008 under ownership by News Corporation, earning its spot as the number one used soial network worldwide. Since its period as the most visited site on the internet, it has been surpassed by new social networks (such as Facebook in 2008) and renovated several times. Today,under ownership by Specific Media, its main use is to launch up-and-coming music and entertainment and keep users aware of happenings in popular culture media.
The appeal of Myspace is that its name defines what the site gives you. Each person on Myspace has the capability to make their page their own; much like in Second Life, this space is a form of techne because it allows the user to create themself as they would like to be viewed.
When Myspace was at its peak, these were the major features that a user could find:
Mood and Status
At this point in time, a user was able to pick an emoticon that identified with their current mood. Text could be included. At this point in time, this feature was used similarly to the way an AIM away message was used.
This section contained About Me, Who I'd Like to Meet, Details (such as birthdate, sex, hometown, etc.) and Interests (including General, Music, Movies, Television, Books). This section was editable by user and could be updated regularly. This is the main section a viewer would see when they visited someone else's page.
This feature allowed Myspace users to broadcast to anyone visting their site the people on Myspace that they favored and regularly interacted with, whether strictly online or in real life.
Another feature seen when viewed by a site visitor. A wall conists of public posts left by other Myspace users on a users page. A user has the option to delete posts and make posts be approved before they can be seen by the public.
A user has the capability to upload photos to Myspace in albums. They may also set a profile picture if they wish to opt out of using the default photo. A user is also able to tag other Myspace users in their photo and post a small description under the picture. A counter keeps track of how many times a photo has been viewed. Other users have the capability to comment on a users photos, depending on privacy settings set by the user.
This feature allows for users to send messages back-and-forth between each other without other users seeing what is said. This is a private form of communication.
On his/her homepage, a user can find a toolbar that notifies him of new friend requests, messages, and other interactions by other users. A newsfeed keeps the user updated on what his friends are doing on Myspace.
While these are the default settings that were found on a page, there were other settings that could be altered. A user could change their page background, add music that automatically played when a visitor came to their site, change text font and color, add banners, quiz results, and videos - most of the time, the customization options were endless. Like in Second Life, the elaboration of your site is pending on your time commitment and computer savviness.
As Myspace moved toward what it is today, the ability to upload mp3s for other visitors to listen to became a possibility. This addition has launched the discovery of many famous artists, such as Lily Allen and Sean Kingston. Myspace has changed from "a place for friends" to "a place for music".
A major concern with Myspace was online bullying. This is a perfect example of where Messner's concept of the triad of violence (violence others, violence against women, and violence against self) could easily occur. Messner focuses on men in his discussion, but gender roles can be reversed in this case as well. Many preteen/teenage girls used Myspace to post pictures of themselves and would put demeaning quotes underneath, encouraging others to comment on their picture.
Interestingly enough, you are now able to "Like" and share things on Myspace via Facebook and link a Myspace account to Facebook. You can even follow Myspace on Twitter.
References 1. Boellstorf, Thomas, Coming of Age in Second Life,(Princeton Univeristy Press: 2010). 2. Messner, Michael. Taking the Field, (University of Minnesota Press: 2002), Chapter 2. 3. “Social Network”. Wikipedia. 28 Nov. 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network
With more than 800 million users across the globe, Facebook, the social networking service and website launched in February 2004, has undoubtedly become a cultural phenomenon. Not only has it essentially defined a generation; Facebook has changed the way in which a generation communicates with one another. Once one creates their Facebook profile, one can list or fabricate almost every aspect of their life, whether it is if they are single or if they are currently going to the gym. After one finalizes a representation of one’s self, one begins communicating. Though Facebook provides a great center for networking and communication, one of the major problems with Facebook is that the distinction between one’s profile and one’s actual self is sometimes unclear. Much like Second Life, Facebook allows a person to open up to an alternate life, but with more ties to reality. One must analyze the major aspects of Facebook to determine whether the communicative benefits outweigh the privacy, safety, time-consuming disadvantages as well the replacement of more traditional forms of communication.
- News Feed:
- Creates an alternative home page in which users see a constantly updated list of their friends' Facebook activity. News Feed highlights information that includes profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates.
- The Wall is a space on each user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see while displaying the time and date the message was written. One user's Wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see his or her full profile, and different users' Wall posts show up in an individual's News Feed.
- Notifications of the more important events, for example, someone sharing a link on the user's wall or commenting on a post the user previously commented on, briefly appear for a few seconds in the bottom left as a popup message (if the user is online), and a red counter is updated on the toolbar at the top, thus allowing the user to keep track of all the most recent notifications.
- In 2011, Facebook launched a ticker that showed all of their friends and pages updates. For example, it shows when their friends comment or like a status, and their status updates as soon as they posted them.
- Advantage: Great way to stay reminded of important events and on top of your social life.
- Disadvantage: Communication loses its privacy.
- Users may chat with their Facebook friends on a one-to-one basis, or a user may chat with multiple friends simultaneously through the groups feature.
- Advantage: Able to put a face to the person you are chatting with. Instant. Able to think out what one is going to say.
- Disadvantage: Lose the personal feel that a voice can offer. Can make actual face-to-face or voice-to-voice interaction obsolete.
- To "Friend" means "to send a friend request on Facebook." It is possible in Facebook's friend settings to remove someone from the Friend status, which is referred to as "Unfriend" by Facebook, or also "De-Friend"."Unfriend" was New Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year in 2009
- Advantage: More friends can boost self esteem. Able to stay in touch with friends one has not seen in days, months, or even years.
- Disadvantage: We cannot count on cyber friends when we need help, and some people get a false sense of support.
- Users of Facebook can "like" status updates, comments, photos, and links posted by their Facebook friends and other users, as well as adverts, by clicking a link at the bottom of the post or content. This makes the content appear in their friends' News feeds. Facebook says "Liking" is intended to "Give positive feedback and connect with things you care about"
- Advantage: Encouragement and/or praise for someone
- Disadvantage: Can be used for hurtful purposes. For example, if someone is "no longer listed in a relationship, somebody can 'like' that thus hurting one of the two that were in the relationship.
- Photos & Tagging:
- Facebook allows people share pictures and "tag" their friends, indicating who the picture is of.
- Advantage: Fun ways to relive the eventful days and/or nights in your life. Tagging allows a way to personalize photos
- Disadvantage: Friends tag you in pictures or videos that you would rather not have others see. When one is tagged in pictures that are posted to Facebook, there is a strong chance that a professor, employer, or even one of your parents will at some point view an embarrassing picture
- The poke feature is intended to be a poke gesture (similar to "nudge" in instant messaging) to attract the attention of another user.
- Advantage: If one is too shy to post on someone's wall or message someone, they may "poke" them to let them know they are thinking of them
- Disadvantage: Can be creepy.
- Status Updates:
- Facebook has a feature called "status updates" (also referred to simply as "status") which allows users to post messages for all their friends to read. In turn, friends can respond with their own comments, and also press the "Like" button to show that they enjoyed reading it
- Advantage: Let's everyone know what you are feeling, doing, or thinking at that moment.
- Disadvantage: Let's everyone know what you are feeling, doing, or thinking at that moment. (This is what Twitter is for).
- Networks, Groups, & Pages:
- Facebook allows different networks and groups which many users can join. It also allows privacy settings on basis of networks. Groups are used for discussions, events, etc. and are a way of enabling a number of people to come together online to share information and discuss specific subjects
- Advantage: Allows for people to have a sense of acceptance and to feel like the belong to a certain community
- Disadvantage: Can eliminate the desire to actually go out in the real world and join a certain community.
- Since the website's founding, it has allowed users to send messages to each other, like a private e-mail. A Facebook user can send a message to any number of his/her friends at a time. Recently, Facebook's messaging system has somewhat merged with its Chat.
- Advantage: Private
- Disadvantage: Can eliminate the need for real life private interaction.
Social networking has vastly grown within the past few years, and Twitter is just one of the newest forms of social media used to connect people with their family, their friends, and celebrities. Twitter, along with other social networks, takes what used to be our private lives and puts it out there for anyone to see, that is, if we want them to. Never before has there been such instant communication of things that used to not have that much significance in our lives. Such as what were eating, who we are with at that moment, or the funny remark your friend just made. Now with Twitter, everyone can know those things in a instant.
Twitter was created in March of 2006 by Jack Dorsey and was launched to the public later that year in July. It is a first of it's kind social networking site people are not burdened with having to look through your profile, instead you are able to just post your thoughts, as long as they are 160 or less characters long, and can "tweet" them out to their followers. It the first network that has has been called a SMS-based social network. Unlike the other social outlets Twitter is meant to mainly be used on mobile devices, so that you can easily update what you are doing throughout the day. Twitter has grown within the past 5 years to include over 300 milion users, which in turn has generated over 300 million tweets per day. One of the most significant things that Twitter has given us is a whole new dictionary of words that revolve around Twitter such as:
The singular version of the name given to all posts on Twitter.
Words or phrases prefixed with the symbol # such as: #ilovetwitter or #addicted
To be addicted to twitter
A combination of "social media" and "twitter"
choosing to sign up to receive someones tweets
The ocassional tweeter
If you take any word or any action that you are performing at the time you are tweeting and add "Tw" to the beginning of it you can add it to the twitter dictionary.
Twitter has grown from not only a social media outlet but has started to be used in commercial and political outlets. The amount of tweets during major public events increases and the hashtags that trend usually end up relating to that event. This was first seen soon after Twitter was released to the public during the 2007 music festival South by Southwest when daily tweets went from 20,000 to 60,000. Also, after a twitter town hall was announced in July of 2011 Twitter received over 100,000 #askobama tweets. TV has used twitter to get their watchers more involved while watching. Many award shows such as MTV awards and the VMAs to vote for various things. Twitter has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and one that I can only see growing and it quickly becoming used across a wide variety of networks and people.
2010, Late November. "Twitter." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter>.
Boellstorff, Tom. Coming of Age in Second Life: an Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2008. Print.
"Twittonary: A Twitter Dictionary." Twittonary | A Twitter Dictionary. Web. 16 Dec. 2011. <http://twittonary.com/>.
By Hannah Mausteller, Louis Coccoli, Keri Simonette