Bradhuther’s Blog


Final Project: What drives/does not drive us to use Facebook?
January 14, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Assignments | Tags: , , , , ,

What drives/does not drive us to use Facebook?

In this day and age, we are becoming more and more dependent on technology. With the invention of the Internet, we have enabled society to keep in touch at all times and contribute information via web pages. We are becoming very connected to technology and communication that we even engage in them in the comfort of our own homes. Facebook is a website in which people can create a free profile and stay connected with friends and family. It has enabled us to even take this further and gives us the ability to meet new people who share our interests, and even find our future significant other! Facebook was created at Harvard College by a student named Mark Zuckerberg and with help from him friend Eduardo Saverin. These two college students realized that a social network site for college students could be a huge hit and they could become rich. So they pursued their dream and created the site in hopes that it would catch on. Sure enough, Facebook started becoming recognized by many other Harvard students and eventually by the world. Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college to pursue his creation and eventually became very rich and famous from the site. This short essay explains why Facebook is so popular and examines what really drives people to use Facebook. There are many benefits to social networking but there could also be many downfalls if used irresponsibly.

face

First, lets start with the benefits that drive people to create a Facebook account. The ability to keep in touch with people and old friends is probably the most important key feature Facebook has to offer. Everyone likes to see what other people are up to in their lives and Facebook grants us the ability to do so. We can go online at anytime, comment a friend, and receive feedback within minutes! Even if you live on opposite sides of the world. Before Social Network Sites (SNS’s) like Facebook, that was virtually impossible without paying huge phone bills. It lets us stay in touch with people and show them that we care even if we are not able to physically talk to them face to face.

Another benefit to using Facebook is the ability to meet new people. You can go on Facebook at anytime and search for people and use a special filter to find the type of person you want to meet. I find this pretty amazing that technology has come so far that we can actually filter what we want to find in a person. This feature even sparks crushes and relationships over the web. Some people might be shy and prefer to meet people first on the Internet They may not be comfortable going up to someone and talking to them right away. Facebook could help people get over the awkward first meeting time in a relationship and learn a lot about each other so they have something to talk about and see if they are really interested.

Facebook is also a great way for artists to show their creativity for free over the web. Photographers, painters, digital imaging artists, and even paintwriters can express themselves through Facebook by putting up their work of art for other to see. It also a great way to connect with other artists and share you work. This definitely drives people with an interest in the arts to Facebook.


I think another key feature that drives people to using Facebook is the way people can connect with each other. There are so many groups in Facebook you can join about practically anything. People join these groups to share interests and educate eachother about virtually anything. The ability to find groups that you “fit into” definitely inspires people to join Facbook. “If your bowling league, your PTA, or your fellow Red Sox fans have connected online, you can join and connect with people who share your interests” (http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2008/04/why-do-people-p.htmlHYPERLINK “http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2008/04/why-do-people-p.html” ).

Facebook is not only good for personal connections, but many businesses are incorporating it into their strategy. People use the site to network about job opportunities, promotions, or information about competing companies. Businesses even use Facebook for putting their advertisements on in order to boost sales. Facebook could be very beneficial to businesses and many business people use this SNS in their everyday life. “I use Facebook for personal and business connections. I find it very useful for communicating with my friends, family and business associates” (http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/2008/11/21/social-media/). Facebook could be a great tool for advertising, especially to the younger crowd of people who do not routinely check the newspapers and do in fact routinely check their Facebook.

Although there are many obvious benefits to using Facebook, there are also negatives if the SNS is not properly used. People have to realize that others are going to look at their page and learn information about them. Our Facebook profile is more important than people think and can have devastating consequences if not taken seriously.

The most obvious negative aspect of Facebook is the ease to stalk other people. As I said before, people do not think that other people could use their page to get so much information from them. One example I read in an active users blog was about relationships. When people break up they change their status to “single” right away. This gets people’s attention going and brings a lot of attention to you. This is just one of the many examples of how Facebook could be an invasion of your privacy. However, as I said before, people need to realize that this information is only readily available because they put it there.

Due to the recent change in Facebook, the website allowes anyone with a valid e-mail address to join the SNS. This could in turn lead to false identities since there is no longer any proof of identification to join the site. In the beginning of the Facebook operation, people were required to have a .edu address. These addresses were only available if you were enrolled in college. The new method Facebook is using to allow users to join could in turn, lead to false identities on the site.

Another main problem many people believe is that Facebook, along with other SNS’s can cause is the isolation of people. Many people would rather just talk to someone online rather than face to face. This in turn could lead to isolation of people, lack of connection, and laziness. A lot of people argue that Facebook is taking away from the personalities of people because we are not “verbally” engaging in conversations. “These days, we are more connected than ever with our cell phones, computers and social networking — so connected that we use technology rather than talking to each other face to face”(http://www.theshorthorn.com/index.phpoption=com_content&task=view&id=14708&Itemid=72HYPERLINK “http://www.theshorthorn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14708&Itemid=72” ).

People using Facebook need to realize that Facebook could in fact, ruin their reputation. I read a story about a guy who had a wild night of drinking with his friends and next day called out of work, lying about the reason, saying he was naturally ill. In reality however, the reason he did not go to work was because he was too hungover. Sure we have all had nights like those but you may be asking yourself, “how does this relate to Facebook?” Well, this guy’s friends took photographs of him partying and posted them on Facebook and he also posted on his page he was throwing a party that night. Since so many people have Facebook, these pictures got back to his boss and he was fired on the spot for lying to the company and displaying irresponsibility toward his job. “He was an intern who called in sick, only to be caught lying to his thank to pictures of himself attending a party posted on his Facebook page. Calvin was famously called out by his boss, and then fired, leaving many shaking their heads and wondering how someone could do something so stupid” (http://www.switched.com/tag/facebook).

embarass

The last negative of Facebook I will discuss has to do with the facebook “beacon”. This beacon basically invaded the privacy of Facebook users by monitoring what they clicked on to the benefit of advertisements. When they clicked on these links, not only were they monitored and recorded, but their actions were sent to their Facebook friends. Many Facebook users did not know this was actually happening and when they found out they felt like their trust for the site was violated. This is an example of how Facebook users do not know everything that goes on behind closed doors. This example also illustrates how Facebook could make users feel a sense of mistrust and invasion of privacy without any knowledge.

Whether you are considering joining Facebook or are already on Facebook, there are many thing to be taken into consideration. There are many different things that attract people to Facebook, but at the same time, there are also many factors that make people not want to join the popular SNS. Facebook has many benefits but also many downfalls. It is important that people use Facebook responsibly or they could suffer from many repercussions. Your Facebook experience is what you make out of it and the information you decide to put on your page is essential to you experience. Facebook could connect lost relatives and friends, or it could get your fired from you job. People need to consider every extreme result with what they do on Facebook.

Sources

http://blogs.forrester.com/groundswell/2008/04/why-do-people-p.html

http://www.writingwhitepapers.com/blog/2008/11/21/social-media/

http://www.startup-review.com/blog/facebook-case-study-offline-behavior-drives-online-usage.php

http://www.switched.com/tag/facebook

http://www.theshorthorn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14708&Itemid=72

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/11/26/facebook-will-sink-u.html

http://pointlessbanter.net/2008/09/30/i-hate-people-that-use-their-facebook-relationship-status-for- attention/

http://chimprawk.blogspot.com/2006/05/facebooks-critical-success-factors.html

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do? command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9050698&pageNumber=1



Reading Assignement for 12/30: Part 1 of Readings 3: DIY and Web 2.0

The Machine is Us/ing Us

The computer has become a major part in the life of everyone that helps us and harms us in many ways. This was a very creative video that showed some of the functions the computer preformed and what it does that makes us want more. Digital text is very different from written text because not only does it contain meaning, but it also could contain links that send us in other directions. The world of the internet is very complex with many different stems that branch out to different things. For example the word angry might be underlined in an article read online. You can scroll over the word “angry” and a window could pop up explaining what angry is or it could link us to another page explaining anger. I think the video was trying to show us that the computer learns from us by monitoring what we look at. I’ll use face book as an example of this. Tons of people use Facebook especially college students. The people who work for Facebook could see how many people click on the link every day, showing its importance. Also, it could even see what we write to people because a lot of the things we put on Facebook are available to the public. In my opinion, this video basically was trying to show us how the computer can be dangerous and how it hold such an important role in our lives. It also was showing us how the computer and the internet are very powerful tools that are readily available and can be used to our advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it.

1. What did you think the main point of this video was and what it was trying to display?
2. Do you think that the things we do on the computer or more monitored than we think they are? By this I mean do you think there are people on the other side watching what we do online at all times?

Watch this 10 minute video of Clay Shirky

(based on his book Here Comes Everybody for which there is also a blog, FYI)
The central theme about this video was love and helping others. Clay Shirky explained how the internet can be a very powerful tool into helping other people, voicing opinions, and innovation. He explains how he believe through commenting on message boards and blogging for companies can help give businesses better ideas for innovation and restructuring their companies. He compared these concepts to a Japanese shrine that was constantly being rebuilt as tradition to holy grounds. He explained how the internet and message boards are constantly rebuilding on ideas and concepts and keeping them going. He also explains how love is important as is caring and sharing. The central idea of this video was about how networking can help other people with problems as well as innovations for businesses, corporations, and companies. I do believe that networking could help businesses and it also makes the general population be more involved in their company. It gives people a sense of self-worth. I am for the idea of Pearl and message boards and think it’s a great way to safely voice your opinions and suggestions.

1. Do you think message boards and blogging for companies is an effective way to promote innovation?
2. Something that came to my mind when watching this is if someone posts something on a companies message board and the company that reads it puts that person’s suggestion into effect, will people be wanting recognition of their suggestion?

Read the Wikipedia entry on Do It Yourself

Do It Yourself refers to depending on yourself to complete a task rather than depending on other people to do it for you. The article argues that there were always people who were handy and did things themselves such as repair men, and there were also people who spent money to have people do something for them. The people who would spend money to have something done for them greatly exceed the number of people who do it themselves. Before the computer, do it yourself mostly focused on manual jobs around the house and business. Do it yourself People would perform repairs around their house or business would hire outsourced people to perform different tasks. However, with the growth of the internet, do it yourself has been given a new broader meaning. There are websites that strictly focus on doing things yourself, as well as magazines. If someone has a question about how to fix a sink that is leaking they can simply go online and post an entry on a message board and within minutes, could receive a number of different responses from other people who specialize in sink repairs. Not only does this save people money, it also gives them knowledge from people who specialize in the repair or learned from trail and error. Not only does online do it yourself websites help people, magazines and television shows strictly focus on projects. They help people get a better understanding of the task at hand and give them an insight as to how to approach the problem. I think do it yourself websites, TV shows, and magazines are great interactive tools that help people save money and gain knowledge.

1. How has technology change the “do it yourself” attitude?
2. Since the growth in popularity of the internet, do you think more people have been attempting projects by themselves rather than hiring people?
3. Do you think “do it yourself” websites could help businesses?

Listen to the first two excerpts of James Surowieki’s book:Introduction to The Wisdom of Crowds (MP3 downloads)

These excerpts were about an anthropologist/scientist who specialized in statistics named Fracis Galton, who tested the genealogy of people. There was a contest going on in town that involved guessing the weight of livestock. There were trained butchers and farmers guessing the weight but at the same time, the majority of the people were not experts in the area and just common townsfolk with different jobs. The people were to look at an Ox and guess its weight after it was butchered and dressed. After everyone had their votes in and received their prizes, Galton took their tickets and began to run his experiments. He wanted to see if the results yielded a bell shaped curve, resulting in a normal distribution. Much to his surprise, after putting the numbers in sequential order (highest to lowest), he began to calculate the mean, or average number. The average number was in fact, 1 pound away from the actual weight. This test demonstrated that even the average person can know something an expert can not and that our common knowledge may be more extensive than we think. The excerpt also discussed how crowds influence us and how many experts argue the idea that crowds can accomplish tasks more effectively than experts.

1. Do you think people who are not experts in a particular field help people who are in that field?
2. Does this excerpt make you think of the internet, message boards, blogging, or the “do it yourself“ concept? If so, how?
3. Do you think people’s knowledge is underestimated or taken for granted of in society today?
4. Do you agree when people say “chasing the expert” is a mistake?
5. Do you believe people that people learn better in groups or crowds? Why or why not?

Read: Nicholas Carr’s article: The Ignorance of Crowds

This article was also about crowds and peers and how they contribute to the internet and in turn businesses and databases. There has been many programs out there that have been set out for peer to peer sharing of information such as Wikipedia, Linux, and Bazaar. These websites enabled people to sign on and post things and help other with problems they might have. Some of the benefits these websites have are the diversity of the approaches to problems from different people. Everyone has a different approach to something and may have looked elsewhere for their information or help. As I said in the other article, people can see what others have done by trail and error or extensive research. However, these websites are also negative because it is hard to monitor what people say and whether it is true or not. Also, although the style of the websites are decentralized, most of them have a centralized power where things are monitored and looked into. That central power may find it difficult to read everything due to the massive amounts of input people put into their website. Another negative to Wikipedia and sites like it are since they are free and anyone can join, the material is often disorganized and poorly-written. In my opinion, this article explained how these sites are great tools but central authority is very important when starting a peer-to-peer or peer-to-business website.

1. Since anyone can post on Wikipedia, do you consider it to be a good source for information?
2. Do you think these sites need to strengthen their central authority in order to improve the reliability of the information on these sites?

Read: A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Reference Source

This article was closely related to the previous article on peer-to-website sharing by explaining the negatives of Wikipedia. It argues that since anyone can put information up, it is not a reliable source. There is cases going on right now about weather to ban Wikipedia from citing in colleges. They argue that it is not reliable enough to cite and people are learning or could potentially adopt incorrect ideas or meanings. It all started in a Japanese history class over a war that was started and how the students had false information in their papers due to information cited from Wikipedia. I already knew that Wikipedia could not be counted for a valid source of information, but I do however believe most of the information on the website is in fact true, at least the things I look up (such as town demographics, band information.) I never use Wikipedia for school so even if the information is false, the things I look up on it are not very significant either way. I do believe Wikipedia should be banned from college papers and tests because of the lack of reliability.

1. Do you think Wikipedia should be banned from college citations?
2. What do you think would make Wikipedia a more valid source for information?