Chapter 3: Facebook and Twitter

As the book says blogs are an open network of websites that, with crosslinks, conversations and comments, can function as a social network. There are many other social network sites where social connection are even more explicit than in blogs, and these sites have many things in common with blogs.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have been two of the most popular of these networks for the past few years with a combined 1.5 BILLION users. Both of these sites can be related to blogging. As we already know, blogs are frequently updated websites consisting of dated entries arranged in a reverse chronological order so the most recent posts appear first. Well Facebook and Twitter both use this characteristic. They can be seen as a community blogging site where our pictures, status updates and links are set up into a blog that is customized for each of your ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ where they then see posts from their ‘friends’ or ‘followers.’

Facebook and Twitter can be seen as closed network, or a data communication network used for a specific purpose and to which access is restricted. So in other words allowing someone to become friends with you or someone allowing you to follow them is how closed networking works. We create the atmosphere and population of individuals we allow ourselves to connect with or vise versa we make the decision of who we allow connect with us. Through Facebook and Twitter we get an active audience, and audience that is always posting, commenting, surfing, liking, favoriting, etc.

We as users are able to pick and chose what we do and do not see on our cites. Through the process of sharing, linking, liking, favoriting, and commenting we are logging our use for the site unknowingly and this customizes what we see on our feeds as viewers. This can be useful but can also hide sites that you would enjoy more but do not see because just a simple click se further view a post can overshadow that post you have yet to see yet. This comes to create a ‘echo chamber’ or a place where we will only see others who agree with us and are never confronted with any opposition. If we as users choose to only link to our friends or share their posts we will begin to only see posts of our own liking.

One of the reasons social networking like Facebook and Twitter are most popular is because they feed out instinct for collecting. Whether the viewer is collecting information on a specific news issue of the time, pictures of others, prices of products of different selling sites, or just the latest gossip we are still always searching for new information. A perfect example of the simplest way to collect information from these sites is those users who simply use Facebook and Twitter to see who can get the most ‘friends’ or ‘followers,’ these users are still collecting information. We as human beings are always looking for new information, gossip, issues, etc.

As these sites become popular, the social pressure can make it very difficult not to participate for the simple fact that ‘everyone else is doing it.’ As a society we have began to put more and more information of all kinds on the internet. This is creating more privacy issues today than we have ever seen before. While most of what we think we post on social networking sites and harmless, we must think about the other ways other viewers can chose to use this information. It has become easier today to find the most personal information about an individual with just a couple clicks of a button. Informing individuals of privacy issues and how to fix them can begin a new direction for society and create a safer atmosphere on the internet for us all.

One thing I really liked that the book brought up is that there are other sites out there such as Path, Pair, and The Diaspora Project that create a more personal site and intended to be more private than Facebook and Twitter. They allow the user to connect only with a small group, real friends, or one particular individual. These sites allow you to own your own work but yet still cross-post it to your Facebook and Twitter pages. Cross-posting keep everyone involved on your sites together as a community but could one day lead a large group of users over to other, safer sites.

In a sense I like to think that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that are mainly used to keep in contact with a group of your friends has started to take over many of our lives. With the basis of social media being the sharing of media, there are no longer one-source distributors of media that can be easily controlled. Instead, we are all distributors, or in this sense redistributers. Promoting privacy on the internet can lead to a society that feels like they have privacy rather than now when we ask ourselves what privacy even is anymore.


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