Wednesday, October 3, 2007


We will be pursuing why Facebook came around meaning what was the social network like before Facebook, why was it created, and how did it become so popular so quickly? We will try to understand this from a student or user point of view as well as an intellectual point of view to see what each group thinks about the social network of our time. In understanding the importance of Facebook from this point of view, we must discover how it emerged. Once we understand why it came around, we will delve into why it is so popular, which will also involve information from intellectuals and peers. Finally we will examine why Facebook has stayed around for as long as it has. This will examine how Facebook differs from "reality" and again analyze user stories of why they use it. This information can be found in a variety of ways. Intellectuals have written journals about Facebook, which we can look up online using the library webpage. We have thousands of users all around us, so conducting interviews of how they think shouldn't be too difficult. We will have to find some journals concerning the origin of Facebook, but hopefully with enough digging we'll find this somewhere on the internet as well.

Our primary task is initially research. In order to find answers to questions and develop interesting theories to present, we have to start with research. After some preliminary research, we will brainstorm ideas on how we can present the material we gathered in an interesting and entertaining way. Different tasks will be split up and assigned by the project manager, Miranda. Nina has been appointed creative director and will be primarily responsible for coming up with ideas that we can all help elaborate on. Nathan, Furat, Shane and Doruk are responsible for doing most of the research, although Nina and Miranda will also be helping out. A week before our presentation, we will have developed a general outline on what we will be discussing in class. And finally, on October 24, we will present to the class everything that we have spent almost a month researching and putting together.

The first topic that interests us is what intellectuals have to say about Facebook. Many intellectuals are saying that Facebook is a great opportunity to interact with a diverse world of people. Not only is it a good interacting tool, but also a good scholarly tool. They are also saying that Facebook can teach you how to use the Internet to create relationships among people. Facebook can be seen as an introduction into the business world, especially by many of the world's entrepreneurs. Although Facebook is a good social tool it should not be used irresponsibly. There are 5 basic fundamentals to consider when using Facebook. The first is invincibility which refers to appropriately posting pictures on Facebook and neglecting inappropriate materials. The second is caching, which influences people to consider phrases or words they may post because even if they remove the material it will still be available for all internet users to view later. The next two are policies regarding a person’s freedom and responsibility. Since no one is designated to constantly monitor and remind people about posting rules and restrictions, it is up to that person to what they are putting online. The final recommendation is adhere to the law and always respect others privacy.

Another topic of interest is the contrast of Facebook vs. reality. Using Facebook one can become anonymous; one can create an entirely new persona different to real life. Personalities, characteristics, even interests can be made up or skewed in a way that makes one look more appealing to their peers. In all truth, one doesn’t even need to describe a single thing about themselves honestly. Friends can be added without ever meeting in real life, and thus a "virtual world" engulfs many people into cyberspace.

Our final topic is the comparison of past social networking to current social networking, as well as the drawbacks. Basically what Facebook allows us do is to connect with friends from various networks. The Facebook software then creates a "social graph" and makes it useful to you. The social graph helps you visualize the locations of your friends and allows you to search via general location, school, or even company. You can use this graph to see who your friends know as well as mutual friends. This allows your social graph to expand much faster and easier. Before there was an application such as this, it was very hard to see who your friends knew or who mutual friends were without contacting individuals and trying to coordinate and find out these details. An obvious drawback of this is that people rely too heavily on Facebook for their social networking. If Facebook were to suddenly disappear, all of the info would be lost and there would be no quick way of recreating your social network and recovering your social graph. It seems that Facebook has made everyone dependent on the technology and no longer knows how to network the "old-fashioned" way with writing down contact info because everything is done digitally these days.


Leo C said...

one of the things that facebook's team have said is that there focus isn't to build virtual communities like friendster etc tried before. As in, it's not focused on making new friends, it's about managing your existing social connections as a social networking tool. That's what I read on one of the articles I can't recall at the moment.

Remember a few months back or a yr maybe, when facebook introduced the feeds? It freaked a lot of users out and some grps were created as protests, but it largely fizzled out and it seems accepted now. What happened?

Leo C said...

huge paragraphs makes it a bit difficult to read, put a simpler prospectus and the schedule up.

Leo C said...

The relationship or lack of between facebook and myspace should be looked at. What are the reasons people would want to use one over the other, or both? Are the functions different? Are the demographics different?

Network effect is a key vocab on this project in particular. The more people using a network the more will join.

Leo C said...

Recent news is that facebook gets a valuation of 10bil, that's based on the estimation that its here to stay and will be a huge part of everyday life for a huge group of people (thus to offer product and services).

The academic interests in the studies of it is also based on the expectation that this form of social networking have and will continue to change human activity.

Plenty of opportunities to go from here.