Difference between revisions of "Facebook"

From FYSE 1396: Digital Media Literacy
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<h2>Analysis</h2>Although, like many other social networking sites, Facebook constantly changes its layout, it relies on three key features: “profiles, public testimonials or comments, and publicly articulated, traversable lists of friends.”<ref>Boyd, Danah. "Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life." The Berkman Center for Internet & Society Research Publication Series 2007.17 (2007): 118-42. Social Science Research Network. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2013. <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1518924>.</ref> When you sign up for Facebook, it will generate your profile. Profiles are individual pages that represent individual users, and give them the option to list personal information (relationship status, location, education level), upload photos (Facebook currently has over 50 billion pictures uploaded), and show connections under the “friends list.”<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Facebook then allows users to add to their friends profiles by posting comments, links and photos. It should be noted that while individual privacy settings can be adjusted, on Facebook, users must be friends to contribute to each others profiles.<ref>"Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref>
 
<h2>Analysis</h2>Although, like many other social networking sites, Facebook constantly changes its layout, it relies on three key features: “profiles, public testimonials or comments, and publicly articulated, traversable lists of friends.”<ref>Boyd, Danah. "Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life." The Berkman Center for Internet & Society Research Publication Series 2007.17 (2007): 118-42. Social Science Research Network. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2013. <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1518924>.</ref> When you sign up for Facebook, it will generate your profile. Profiles are individual pages that represent individual users, and give them the option to list personal information (relationship status, location, education level), upload photos (Facebook currently has over 50 billion pictures uploaded), and show connections under the “friends list.”<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Facebook then allows users to add to their friends profiles by posting comments, links and photos. It should be noted that while individual privacy settings can be adjusted, on Facebook, users must be friends to contribute to each others profiles.<ref>"Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref>
  
By looking at the seven key concepts outlined in Nancy Baym's book, “Personal Connections in the Digital Age,” it’s clear why Facebook is so successful.<ref>Baym, Nancy K. Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. Print.</ref>  Unlike any other other social networking site that has preceded it, Facebook now has the advantage of size. It’s reach is tremendous; it is now the largest social networking site in North American, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. With more than 1.15 billion people registered on Facebook, almost a sixth of world’s population is represented on the website.<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Furthermore, with its mobile app, Facebook can now be accessed from almost anywhere. In 2013, it was reported that 874 million people accessed Facebook through the mobile application. Facebook’s size and influence on popular culture have become so large that some people are joining the website simply so that they don’t miss out on cultural experiences.<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> For example, now, events are being planned, conversations are being had, and information is being shared, exclusively on Facebook – if you don't have an account, you are becoming increasingly structurally unable to participate in some parts of society.
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By looking at the seven key concepts outlined in Nancy Baym's book, “Personal Connections in the Digital Age,” it’s clear why Facebook is so successful.<ref>Baym, Nancy K. Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. Print.</ref>  Unlike any other other social networking site that has preceded it, Facebook now has the advantage of size. It’s reach is tremendous; it is now the largest social networking site in North American, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. With more than 1.15 billion people registered on Facebook, almost a sixth of the world’s population is represented on the website.<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Furthermore, with its mobile app, Facebook can now be accessed from almost anywhere. In 2013, it was reported that 874 million people accessed Facebook through the mobile application. Facebook’s size and influence on popular culture have become so large that some people are joining the website simply so that they don’t miss out on cultural experiences.<ref>"The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> For example, now, events are being planned, conversations are being had, and information is being shared, exclusively on Facebook – if you don't have an account, you are becoming increasingly structurally unable to participate in some parts of society.
  
 
Besides Facebook’s gravitation pull, it has extremely rich textual cues. Whether users want to communicate through text, photos, video, video calling, or even the ‘like' button, Facebook gives its users the ability to convey meaning and build community in a plethora of different ways. Furthermore, because of its structure, Facebook allows for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. With video calling, messages, and an automatically updating newsfeed, you can communicate with your friends in real time as well as leave your notifications and messages for later. Moreover, because Facebook’s structure allows users to view posts, photos, and conversations at any time, its accessibly can be a double edged sword. One essentially becomes reachable at all hours of the day. Another downside of Facebook's structure is that Facebook’s searchability and permanence can be extremely damaging for its young users. For children that grew up with Facebook, anything they posted when they were younger will always exist and be accessible. Even when a Facebook profile is deactivated, the information can still be found.
 
Besides Facebook’s gravitation pull, it has extremely rich textual cues. Whether users want to communicate through text, photos, video, video calling, or even the ‘like' button, Facebook gives its users the ability to convey meaning and build community in a plethora of different ways. Furthermore, because of its structure, Facebook allows for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. With video calling, messages, and an automatically updating newsfeed, you can communicate with your friends in real time as well as leave your notifications and messages for later. Moreover, because Facebook’s structure allows users to view posts, photos, and conversations at any time, its accessibly can be a double edged sword. One essentially becomes reachable at all hours of the day. Another downside of Facebook's structure is that Facebook’s searchability and permanence can be extremely damaging for its young users. For children that grew up with Facebook, anything they posted when they were younger will always exist and be accessible. Even when a Facebook profile is deactivated, the information can still be found.
  
Facebook also gives its users an almost unparalleled ability to share and replicate and information. Whether that’s sharing links, pictures, or videos, Facebook gives its users the ability to take information and then share it to a potentially massive audience. With precise digital copying techniques, in many cases, it has become impossible for users to differentiate the copy from the original. These features are precisely what allow campaigns such as the infamous “[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012 Kony 2012]” to go so viral so quickly.<ref>"Kony 2012." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Additionally, with Facebook's recent incorporation of the 'hashtag', it's becoming easier to share information to large groups of people. While your posts used to only be accessible to the people in your friends list, users that aren't your friends can now see your posts by searching for your hashtag. This recent addition of the hashtag represents the website's effort to connect users with a broader community of people who share their same interests, thoughts, and ideas. While publics used to form around community pages and groups, the addition of hashtags allows users to partake in a more dynamic, fluid communities.
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Facebook also gives its users an almost unparalleled ability to share and replicate any information. Whether that’s sharing links, pictures, or videos, Facebook gives its users the ability to take information and then share it to a potentially massive audience. With precise digital copying techniques, in many cases, it has become impossible for users to differentiate the copy from the original. These features are precisely what allow campaigns such as the infamous “[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012 Kony 2012]” to go viral so quickly.<ref>"Kony 2012." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.</ref> Additionally, with Facebook's recent incorporation of the 'hashtag', it's becoming easier to share information to large groups of people. While your posts used to only be accessible to the people in your friends list, users that aren't your friends can now see your posts by searching for your hashtag. This recent addition of the hashtag represents the website's effort to connect users with a broader community of people who share their same interests, thoughts, and ideas. While publics used to form around community pages and groups, the addition of hashtags allows users to partake in a more dynamic, fluid communities.
  
 
Although Facebook does have some apparent security issues, its reach, mobility, temporal structure, storage, and ability to deliver social cues have placed it at the top of the social networking hierarchy where it’s likely to stay for a long time
 
Although Facebook does have some apparent security issues, its reach, mobility, temporal structure, storage, and ability to deliver social cues have placed it at the top of the social networking hierarchy where it’s likely to stay for a long time

Latest revision as of 17:43, 6 December 2013

Facebook's logo

Facebook is currently the world’s largest online social networking site, boasting a community of over a billion members from all around the world.[1] Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg and his Harvard classmates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, Facebook was only originally intended to be a social networking site for Harvard students but was quickly expanded to include other elite universities. In 2006, Facebook was opened to the general public.[2]


History

Between 2006 and 2009, Facebook experienced enormous growth. It surpassed MySpace as America’s most popular social networking site in 2008 and became America’s second most visited website in 2009 (after Google).[3] In 2011, Facebook partnered with Skype to introduce one to one video calling.[4] In April 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for one billion dollars.[5] With twenty seven million members at the time of its purchase, Instagram was quickly integrated into Facebook while it also continued to work as a own stand-alone app.[6] In May of 2012, Facebook went public opening at thirty-eight dollars a share which made it worth a hundred and four billion dollars: the largest initial valuation ever.[7] However, Facebook’s IPO is generally considered a failure because it lost almost twenty five percent of its initial value within a month of its offering.[8]

Business Model

Facebook primarily generates revenue by selling advertising space on the site.[9]To begin this process, Facebook aggregates and analyses the data of its users. Then, it determines what groups are most likely to click on specific advertisements by drawing assumptions from their age, sex, location, job, etc.[10] By tailoring advertisements to specific interest groups, Facebook attempts to match potential buyers with sellers. Nevertheless, Facebook has a lower clickthrough rate (CTR) than the industry average. For example, Google has average CTR of 3.16% with its best adds topping out at an astounding 8%. [11] Inversely, Facebook's strongest preforming advertising sector, telecommunications, only had a CTR of 0.96%.[12] Although many theories have attempted to account for this phenomenon, Facebook's low CTR is mostly attributed the successful use of add-blocking software and the fact that the younger generation, Facebook's main user base, is more adept at ignoring advertisements. [13]

Privacy Controversies

Ever since a group of MIT students wrote a program that downloaded the Facebook profiles of 70,000 users from MIT, NYU, University of Oklahoma, and Harvard University as part of a study on privacy on Facebook in 2005, Facebook's privacy policies have been under constant scrutiny.[14] Although Facebook's business model relies on using its user's data to sell appropriate advertisements, concerns have risen over some of Facebook's more intrusive policies. For example, in 2011, Facebook enabled a facial recognition feature dubbed "Tag Suggestions" which gave users suggestions as to which of their friends were in recently uploaded pictures. Although privacy concerns were brought up over this feature, Facebook defended its new 'Big Brotheresque' piece of tech by pointing out that it could be disabled.[15] Furthermore, through a user's cookies, Facebook is able to see and aggregate the user's web history for the past 90 days.[16] That means that if someone accesses a Facebook page, Facebook is then able to see what they do after they leave and for how long they do it.[17]

In the summer of 2013, Facebook released a report detailing how much information they share with governments. Overall, Facebook received 26,000 separate requests for information on nearly 39,000 profiles from 72 different countries.[18]. Although Facebook claims that governments must meet a "very high legal bar [...] in order to receive any information about any of [their] users," the jury is still out on how much Facebook actually protects the data of its users.[19]

Analysis

Although, like many other social networking sites, Facebook constantly changes its layout, it relies on three key features: “profiles, public testimonials or comments, and publicly articulated, traversable lists of friends.”[20] When you sign up for Facebook, it will generate your profile. Profiles are individual pages that represent individual users, and give them the option to list personal information (relationship status, location, education level), upload photos (Facebook currently has over 50 billion pictures uploaded), and show connections under the “friends list.”[21] Facebook then allows users to add to their friends profiles by posting comments, links and photos. It should be noted that while individual privacy settings can be adjusted, on Facebook, users must be friends to contribute to each others profiles.[22]

By looking at the seven key concepts outlined in Nancy Baym's book, “Personal Connections in the Digital Age,” it’s clear why Facebook is so successful.[23] Unlike any other other social networking site that has preceded it, Facebook now has the advantage of size. It’s reach is tremendous; it is now the largest social networking site in North American, South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. With more than 1.15 billion people registered on Facebook, almost a sixth of the world’s population is represented on the website.[24] Furthermore, with its mobile app, Facebook can now be accessed from almost anywhere. In 2013, it was reported that 874 million people accessed Facebook through the mobile application. Facebook’s size and influence on popular culture have become so large that some people are joining the website simply so that they don’t miss out on cultural experiences.[25] For example, now, events are being planned, conversations are being had, and information is being shared, exclusively on Facebook – if you don't have an account, you are becoming increasingly structurally unable to participate in some parts of society.

Besides Facebook’s gravitation pull, it has extremely rich textual cues. Whether users want to communicate through text, photos, video, video calling, or even the ‘like' button, Facebook gives its users the ability to convey meaning and build community in a plethora of different ways. Furthermore, because of its structure, Facebook allows for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. With video calling, messages, and an automatically updating newsfeed, you can communicate with your friends in real time as well as leave your notifications and messages for later. Moreover, because Facebook’s structure allows users to view posts, photos, and conversations at any time, its accessibly can be a double edged sword. One essentially becomes reachable at all hours of the day. Another downside of Facebook's structure is that Facebook’s searchability and permanence can be extremely damaging for its young users. For children that grew up with Facebook, anything they posted when they were younger will always exist and be accessible. Even when a Facebook profile is deactivated, the information can still be found.

Facebook also gives its users an almost unparalleled ability to share and replicate any information. Whether that’s sharing links, pictures, or videos, Facebook gives its users the ability to take information and then share it to a potentially massive audience. With precise digital copying techniques, in many cases, it has become impossible for users to differentiate the copy from the original. These features are precisely what allow campaigns such as the infamous “Kony 2012” to go viral so quickly.[26] Additionally, with Facebook's recent incorporation of the 'hashtag', it's becoming easier to share information to large groups of people. While your posts used to only be accessible to the people in your friends list, users that aren't your friends can now see your posts by searching for your hashtag. This recent addition of the hashtag represents the website's effort to connect users with a broader community of people who share their same interests, thoughts, and ideas. While publics used to form around community pages and groups, the addition of hashtags allows users to partake in a more dynamic, fluid communities.

Although Facebook does have some apparent security issues, its reach, mobility, temporal structure, storage, and ability to deliver social cues have placed it at the top of the social networking hierarchy where it’s likely to stay for a long time

References

  1. "Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  2. "Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  3. "The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  4. "The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  5. "Facebook Buys Instagram For $1 Billion, Turns Budding Rival Into Its Standalone Photo App." TechCrunch. TechCrunch, 12 Apr. 12. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  6. "Facebook Buys Instagram For $1 Billion, Turns Budding Rival Into Its Standalone Photo App." TechCrunch. TechCrunch, 12 Apr. 12. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  7. "Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  8. "Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  9. "Advertising and Facebook Content." Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
  10. "Advertising and Facebook Content." Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
  11. Divecha, Farhad. "Google AdWords Click Through Rates Per Position." AccuraCast. AccuraCast, 09 Oct. 2009. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
  12. Smith, Cooper. "Facebook Ads Still Lag Paid Search In Click-Through Rates." Business Insider. Business Insider, 13 July 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
  13. Nerney, Chris. "Study: Facebook Ad Click-through Rates Surprisingly Low." IT World. The IDG Network, 31 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
  14. Jones, Harvey, & Soltren, José Hiram (2005). Facebook: Threats to Privacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT (MIT 6.805/STS085: Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier - Fall 2005). (PDF)
  15. Parr, Ben. "Facebook Brings Facial Recognition to Photo Tagging." CNN. Cable News Network, 16 Dec. 2010. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.
  16. Acohido, Byron. "USA TODAY." USATODAY.COM. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.
  17. Acohido, Byron. "USA TODAY." USATODAY.COM. N.p., 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.
  18. Boehm, Eric. "Dislike: Facebook Admits to Sharing Personal Information with Governments 26,000 times in the First Six Months of 2013 « Watchdog.org." Watchdogorg RSS. N.p., 27 Aug. 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.
  19. "Global Government Requests Report." Welcome to Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.
  20. Boyd, Danah. "Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life." The Berkman Center for Internet & Society Research Publication Series 2007.17 (2007): 118-42. Social Science Research Network. Web. Oct.-Nov. 2013. <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1518924>.
  21. "The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  22. "Facebook." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  23. Baym, Nancy K. Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. Print.
  24. "The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  25. "The Ultimate History of Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]." RSS. Social Media Today, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  26. "Kony 2012." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.