Wk 7: Social Networks

iLecture: Tama Leaver

Social networks are for young and geeky. (facetious). The biggest growth area in FB is the 35+ agegroup. SN is much more popular with all demographics. Social networking comes and goes in fads. many SNs have disappeared (bebo and myspace) but others have still survived (livejournal) Is flickr sn?

there’s been an explosion of SN over the last decade. What are the common features that make them a SN.

danah boyd does not capitalise her name. oh i like her!

  • 1. can construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system
  • 2. articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection (can see that network somehow)
  • 3. view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. The nature of those connections may vary from site to site. (nomenclature = name and way its described)

SNs make visible social networks. You see a visible representation of them and you can make them accessible. SNs = social existence (if you aren’t on a SN, you don’t exist). Your profile = identity (use your real name for fb). Networks can be social, professional, interest based (MySpace, LinkedIn, LastFM). SNs functionality standard to contemporary social media sites eg Youtube?

Tama said in the lecture that if friends have their photos up on facebook, then outsiders of fb can’t see them. This is not true. Outsiders can view the photos (depending on the privacy settings of the person who’s uploaded the pics) but outsiders cannot comment on them. Each photo and each album has its own unique URL that outsiders can use to view images.

FB emphasises we use our real names.

What facebook means to me: connection.

FB stats. 2nd most visited website in the world, second only to google. QQ is the tenth. Twitter is 12th.

More than 400 million active users. and more than 200 mill users logon daily. 10 x the pop of australia. Fastest growing demographic is 35+. Average user has 130 friends and more than 5 bill minutes are spent on FB each day. More than 5 billion pieces of content. number 1 photo sharing service. 100 mill access FB thru a mobile device and those ppl are active more than 50% on fb.

Facebook views overtook Google in March 2010, although google has retained its leadership, FB is a strong contender.  SN is the biggest aspect of internet use. friend is depleted and now multitasks in different ways. walls, notes, like and fb mail. does fb mail think it’s it’s own postal service? why have a like button but not a dislike button? applications are over the top and everywhere. you can import and export rss of everything in fb. so is fb a sns or a platform?

apps games etc.

farmville is v popular. an app within a bounded system, eg fb. plug in games and apps invite us to spend more and more time on fb, like fb is it’s own web. big profit for farmville too. the level of social interaction is very important to people.

Ownership and privacy. beacon service in 2007 combines your purchasing your history with your fb profile. our privacy can easily be lost. there is a shift from private as a default to public as a default. privacy issues can be problematic.


is twitter a sn? a microblogging service. no morethan 140 characters at a time. cynical – all about narcissim. talk about yourself as if you are a superstar. think about how twitter organises what it does. you can organise it socially. it groups together tweets tomake them easily findable.  twitter is a tool of political comm, advertising etc – how is twitter using it differently when it’s used on the web or on a smart phone.

Weekly Notes:

Social networking platforms provide users with a centralised way of communicating and sharing information with friends and colleagues.

Reading: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

Response: blah blah blah (reference, date) blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. There are social networking sites. It’s the same as Tama put on his lecture. they are there. They exist. People use them. I did find one quote I liked.

“There are even SNSs for dogs (Dogster) and cats (Catster), although their owners must manage their profiles.”

sixdegrees was the first sns in 1997, livejournal in 1999, lunarstorm 2000,  cyworld 2001.

next phase was ryze.com in 2001 and that site emphasised business networks. “In particular, the people behind Ryze, Tribe.net, LinkedIn, and Friendster were tightly entwined personally and professionally. They believed that they could support each other without competing (Festa, 2003). In the end, Ryze never acquired mass popularity, Tribe.net grew to attract a passionate niche user base, LinkedIn became a powerful business service, and Friendster became the most significant, if only as “one of the biggest disappointments in Internet history” (Chafkin, 2007, p. 1).”

Friendster launched in 2002 and was meant to be a companion to Ryze, and in competition with Match.com (interesting coz match.com is still widely know whilst friendster is unknown!

“professional sites such as LinkedIn, Visible Path, and Xing (formerly openBC) focus on business people. “Passion-centric” SNSs like Dogster (T. Rheingold, personal communication, August 2, 2007) help strangers connect based on shared interests. Care2 helps activists meet, Couchsurfing connects travelers to people with couches, and MyChurch joins Christian churches and their members. Furthermore, as the social media and user-generated content phenomena grew, websites focused on media sharing began implementing SNS features and becoming SNSs themselves. Examples include Flickr (photo sharing), Last.FM (music listening habits), and YouTube (video sharing).”

So by now, myspace has gone kaboom with people and gotten so many it’s scary (all those friendster people and indie bands helped) and in 2004 gadzillions of teenagers join myspace. it’s bought by news corp in 2005 and by 2006 it was riddled with law suits over security and sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Yeah yeah, so myspace died. only babies use it now. tweens and under. blah blah

so kapuey, now all these other sns start up, it’s 2005 now and they’re all fighting for a bit of the action. Niche markets open up and sns tries to find ways to capitalise on that. And blah blah blah blah snore snore snore, sorry fell asleep reading this montonous piece of drivel. So let’s just pretend it was doable. Even though it was more and more blah blah blah.

To reiterate, users can:

  • construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system.
  • articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection.
  • view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

In the short time that social networking platforms have been popular, they have gathered significant attention from academics. Issues such as privacy and the formation of identity online have proven of particular interest.


Privacy is important because it makes other people money. And they get that source of income without paying the users for it. I guess that would make this an ethical problem? I don’t kow, but I do konw that I don’t care if people make money off me. I’m not a capitalistic pig so I don’t care if others do that – that’s their life choice, not mine. After all, aren’t they providing a service to me for free? Isn’t it therefore an exchange of services? I give them membership and my data and they provide me with a place to play, to live, to connect, to exchange and collaborate. Doesn’t seem like too bad a deal to me!

Activity – Introducing Twitter

I am already a member of twitter with a personal account and now with my one for university (decuni)


Twitter is a web-based communication platform that has alternatively been described as a social networking service and a micro-blogging application.


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