By Yuna, Liz, and Peter

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Erving Goffman’s discussion on “impression management” in his book “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”, leads one to believe that this adjustment of public performance acts as a mechanism of control. This form of control can easily be seen within the modern usage of Facebook and Tumblr, as people consider how others will view of them through these applications. In my analysis of Tumblr usage, I wish to see how people try to distance their performance and personas away from Facebook and their public image or continue a similar presentation. For example, my good friend who works with a rising internet company uses Facebook and Tumblr both with his real name and directly connected to a development of his everyday self. As a result, he refuses to add me (and others) on tumblr with more inappropriate names or content. This understanding of reputation and appearance is extremely important to some, while others either do not mind or use an alias as a means of free expression without worry towards their public image. I therefore propose the following questions in interviewing subjects on Tumblr usage and subsequent adjustment of self: Read the rest of this entry »

Our main argument focuses on an exploration of the differences in self-presentation between Tumblr and Facebook. On which platform do users feel they create a more accurate portrayal of themselves? How do they feel about their respective networks on the platforms? I’ve already noticed some key differences when I began to contact individuals. Upon asking them to be interviewed in their ‘Ask Boxes’ the first thing I needed to confirm was my intention by reinforcing my identity. More users responded when I included my e-mail address in my communication. While many people did e-mail me back, they continued to be skeptical. To further reinforce my identity, I directed them to my Facebook. While I suspect many people will say they feel they create a more accurate portrayal of themselves on Tumblr, it will be interesting to understand why Facebook played such a pivotal role in establishing my authenticity to them. Other questions I would like to ask would be similar to the following; what type of information do you find worthy to post on Tumblr? How about Facebook? Would you feel comfortable having your Facebook friends know about your Tumblr? Would you be comfortable being Facebook friends with your Tumblr followers? Would you rather lose a Tumblr follower or a Facebook friend? I am worried it may be difficult to get a video of the people I interview but I will try to do my best to get at least a couple of individuals.
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For the final travelogue, I think it might be interesting to combine some of the different topics we have discussed throughout the semester, including social networking, privacy, and identity. I propose that we take screen shots of different people’s FB information pages or a portion of their wall, leaving out any identifying information such as name, or photos of the user. Then, we can have other people try to make assumptions about that person: these could be gender, age, education level, profession, personality type (preppy, hipster, goth, etc.), what this person might be like in real life, etc. It would be interesting to see how much we think we can glean simply from a glance at someone’s facebook activity or basic information they provide on their profile. Once we have collected this data, we could post the screen shot and the assumptions, and then hide the real user/information behind a cut. After people have read through the assumptions and seen to what extent they agree or disagree, they can click the cut and see who the real person is, and see if their assumptions were true or not. Read the rest of this entry »

Jenny, Lara, Matt

Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life

In this essay, Danah Boyd tries to discover what makes social networking sites so appealing to teenagers and what they can tell us about the teenager’s lives. She concludes that they allow teens to “write themselves and their community into being…. providing teens with a space to work out identity and status, make sense of cultural cues, and negotiate public life” (2).

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By Xuan, Ahmed, and Queenie

The distinction between celebrities and micro-celebrities is relevant when discussing social networking sites and status. Celebrities can have thousands or million of ‘followers’ but those ‘followers’ are generally members of their fanbase. In other words, a celebrity can attract a large number of people not for their tweet’s content, but for who they are. Contrastingly, Marwick and Boyd identify ‘micro-celebrity’ as the act of people building up social statuses over the web via video, blogs, and social networking sites.“Marketers, technologists, and individuals seeking wide attention” maintain continual interaction on websites such as Twitter for the purpose of establishing a presence online (8 Marwick and Boyd). Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook allow for ordinary people to attain a certain status and following online.
Nowadays we see officials such as President Obama joining social networking sites like Twitter because social media networks have acquired a status themselves. In fact, President Barack Obama will hold a special "Facebook Live" townhall at the Facebook headquarters on April 20th “to discuss the tough choices we must all make in order to put our economy on a more responsible fiscal path, while still investing in areas like innovation that will help our economy grow and make America more competitive. “

When looking at how social statuses are constructed on social networking sites, audience is key.  When Marwick and Boyd asked a group of Twitter users who had strategic plans for their audiences what types of content they post, one responded with “like my stream 1/3 humors, 1/3 informative, 1/3 genial and unfiltered, and transparency is so chic, try to tweet the same way” (9 Marwick and Boyd).  Twitter is seen as a “platform to obtain and maintain attention, by targeting tweets towards their perceived audience’s interest and balancing different topic areas” (9 Marwick and Boyd).  Users post with certain types of imagined audience in mind.
In the presentation of self, authenticity is also a crucial aspect for Twitter users interested in increasing popularity online.  

One of the biggest problems that surge with social networking sites and public figures is verifying authenticity in regards to the identity of the person behind the tweets and the messages or opinions expressed. Twitter implemented ‘Verified Accounts’, a badge that establishes an account’s authenticity, which takes care of the authentic identity concern. High status people like Ashton Kutcher have a ‘verified accounts’ check in their profile, whereas ordinary people don’t. The second concern is about crafted tweets that appear personal and authentic, but aim to sell a product or service. Celebrities are often hired to make endorsements and appearances and it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish sponsored posts. Last February, Hearst Corporation held a series of panels for Social Media Week New York. One of the panels was about being a ‘celebrity spokesperson in the digital age,’ in which actress Denise Richards talked about only tweeting about products she believes in.
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If someone asks you, “What’s Facebook?” what would be your reaction be?

For most of us, we would react with a dumbfounded look as if he/she is from another planet. In this century, the “Facebook” became a buzzword synonymous with the new way of social interaction.

Anyway, what’s Facebook?

Facebook, a social networking service and website, provides diverse services to its users. Users can upload photos/videos, write notes, and send/receive messages to share information with their friends. Facebook was launched in February 2004, and it has become dominant on the Internet since that time. It now has more than 600 million active users worldwide and the number of users keeps increasing.

According to Lou Kerner, the vice president of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, it has become harder and harder to detach our Internet life from social networking websites.  This phenomenon has led many other websites, such as Google, Yelp and Yahoo, to provide social networking services to make their original services more interesting and useful to attract more people. Among the tremendous number of social networking websites, Facebook has taken the #1 place on the Internet in the past few years, and Kerner calls Facebook “the second Internet.” It is mostly because Facebook became a virtual passport on the Internet, as it allows its users to integrate Facebook with many other preferred websites easily. For example, a user of Facebook does not need to fill out his/her personal information again when he/she joins most other websites, as long as the other websites have an integrate data system with Facebook.  As a result, many Internet users now spend almost equal time on Facebook as the amount of time spent on Google and other major websites to search, share and transmit information and ideas + their personal life.

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[Austin and Matt]

Without a doubt, blogging is changing the way we receive information and also refocusing our attention from traditional news media to the online world. Because of their more personal, interactive nature, blogs are an essential medium for understanding how and why information is circulating online. This concept is further exlplained in the idea of the Blogipelago.

It’s reported that 14% of the general public is on Twitter compared to the 74% of bloggers. The number is supposedly higher for professional bloggers, whose primary use is promotion of their own blogs. Information can reach a much wider audience through Twitter than through updating a site alone. The question, then, is what are professional bloggers? Another commonly asked question is whether or not bloggers should be considered journalists. Clay Shirky’s view on this that they are simply a new answer to how we inform society, and that the networks of how we are becoming informed are drastically changing with the increasing use of the internet in our everyday lives.

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Can you measure how much time you have spent on Facebook for past few years since you joined Facebook? I checked it through an application on Facebook, and it says I’ve spent more than 300 hours on Facebook since I joined the website on late 2009. It may not a reliable data, but we obviously see so many people constantly check Facebook pages with a smartphone, laptop and/or tablet everywhere, and it shows Facebook became influential to user’s life pattern.  Lou Kerner, the vice President Equity Research at Wedbush Securities covering the Social Media and E-Commerce sectors who came to my another class as a guest speaker, said that it has become harder and harder to detach our internet life from social network websites as both major and minor websites, such as Google, Yelp, and Groupon, are jumping into the social networking service business to make their original services more interesting and useful. As Facebook has taken the place of #1 social networking website in the most part of the world past few years, Kerner calls Facebook as “the second Internet,” based on the result from a survey that shows tremendous number of users now spend their time on Facebook, which is almost equal amount of time on Google and other major websites to search and share information, thoughts and ideas + their personal life.

Facebook became a passport to access other websites to integrate all information into one’s personal Facebook page. A Facebook user, for instance, can use his/her Facebook account to join other websites without filling Read the rest of this entry »

–Ahmed, Xuan, and Queenie–

 In this travelogue, we’ll be exploring the uses of social networking sites and their role in the creation and elevation of status, at two different levels.

1) Ordinary people: These are the people who become popular through their online activity and become ‘famous’ (ex. NonSociety’s Julia Allison, fashion blogger Bryan Boy) or, the ones that have a superior status among friends as a result of what they share in social networks (these are the ones that friends look up to and seek for suggestions because they're in the know.)
2) Celebrities: These are the people who are paid for endorsements and to be spokespersons (ex. Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian.) This people have tons of followers (on Twitter or Facebook) and have the power to influence potential customers.
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This news reports about Facebook, which is going to share some contact information with third party developers, despite of objections of some lawmakers. And, it gives information about something users can do to keep their information private.
The main issue with Facebook is that it is trying to take over Google as the go-to social website, and it is doing so by sponsoring the use of “real identities” with First Name and Last Name, rather than Google usernames Now Facebook has allowed bloggers to comment with Facebook accounts, and third party websites such as Fandango, OpenTable, or Rent The Runway, now allow users to access their services with a Facebook account. Facebook is also installing a new e-mail service, and is working with developers to create a Facebook phone. Whether or not the Facebook fad is here to stay, it is clear that Facebook is expanding beyond the simple social networking site to become a sort of Online Passport – much like Microsoft had tried to do years ago with their However, this expansion of Facebook is blurring the boundaries between private, enclosed network, to the open, public, World Wide Web. Privacy is therefore becoming an ever-important issue as Facebook begins preparing for its IPO in May 2012.

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On January 25 thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered in Cairo and other major cities, calling for reforms and demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. This was followed by the “March of Millions” on the 28th of January, which marks the spectacular emergence of a new political society in Egypt. This uprising brings together a new coalition of forces, uniting reconfigured elements of the security state with prominent business people, internationalist leaders, and relatively new mass movements of youth, labor, women’s and religious groups. President Hosni Mubarak lost his political power on Friday, 28 January. On that night the Egyptian military let Mubarak’s ruling party headquarters burn down and ordered the police brigades attacking protesters to return to their barracks. For 18 days my life and every Egyptian’s life took a surreal turn, a turn of uncertainty, anxiety, and hope for a change. On February 11th 2011, president Mubarak stepped down from his office and delegated his responsiblies to the counsel of the Egyptian military. Read the rest of this entry »

When I started out the travelogue, I thought it would be extremely easy to find glaringly inappropriate pictures that had been posted on Facebook. Once I began my search, however, it quickly became clear that it would be quite difficult to do so. Users rarely posted pictures that I believed could be unequivocally declared by a majority to be  ’inappropriate’. Furthermore, the word ‘inappropriate‘ seemed to be subjective and allowed itself to be interpreted differently by a variety of people.  I quickly began to realize the complex web of interactions that users create on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

Better, faster, longer. Those three words describe the developments in computing power and internet speed that allow us to communicate over long distances. It’s easy to say that we have come a long way this past decade in terms of speed and efficiency of communication considering the recent failings of the postal service to deliver my birthday card from Germany. These breakthroughs make it easier to maintain long distance relationships. Two convenient applications that I downloaded for my blackberry which are sure to be (and already are in many ways,) game changers when it comes to international communication make our relationship much more feasible. The one I’ve had longer, Facebook, is useful for social networking on-the-go, and a useful instant messenger when I’m at the computer. The other, Skype, complements Facebook nicely, and I primarily use it as an instant messenger; however, this handy application also allows me to make and receive free Skype-to-Skype calls to and from potentially anywhere in the world with internet access. Although Facebook has been getting a lot of the press lately, its high membership numbers only “come close to the numbers that Skype has” with over 520 million users and I predict it will surpass 600 million before the half of the year. 1 Read the rest of this entry »

A new trend in the world of e-commerce is the phenomenon of “group buying.” The best-known player in the group buying game so far is Groupon. Groupon offers a geo-targeted “deal of the day” for users, as well as other “great deals nearby” which users can take advantage of. The way the service works is the site posts a deal which does not officially go into action until a certain number of people commit (with a credit card number) to buy the offer. When the offer “tips,” or enough people accept it, users are sent a printable “Groupon” to bring to the retail establishment. While Groupon set the groundwork, many other companies are catching on to this highly profitable trend. Read the rest of this entry »