About Social Networks
  • Mark Granovetter holds a theory on social networks that says that weak ties between individuals are actually more important for networking than the strong ties for the "broad dissemination of information" (Rettberg 59).
  • Chapter 10, Bolter, "Writing Culture"
    • Electronic communication is a very popular way these days for us to use to network and to form/maintain relationships
    • Email, chat rooms, and the World Wide Web in general = highly mediated versions of community
    • We use this technology mostly to talk to and talk back to each interactively
    • Instead of using electronic communication only to strengthen already existing traditional institutions, we have used electronic communication largely to promote diversity (Fred Rheingold argues that the diversity that is able to be expressed/seen in "virtual environments")
    • Some people see the Internet "as enabling new forms of community or democratic empowerment" (downside: not everyone has access to the Internet neccesarily, access mostly limited to North America, Europe, and a few other countries)
    • Millions of people who use the Internet find easy access to popular culture, commodity culture, and traditional high culture as well (so web definitely not limited to just diverse, not main stream communities)
    • One result of this networking of culture is "the abandonment of the ideal of high culture ... as a unifying force," this is because there is not one culture on the Internet, but a "network" of cultures
  • "Emerging Social Networks," Rettberg
    • Both blogs and social networking sites are very new forms of communication, still in an experimental phase
    • Nokia's Lifelog: a program that converts media received or created on your mobile phone and organizes it as an automatically generated diary that you can keep private on your computer, or upload to the Web as a blog (an example of a tool that resembles a blog). Included in this could be photos and videos from your phone, texts messages, events recorded on a calendar, and location data.
    • Plazes.com: tracks where users are. When a user uses their computer at a new IP address, Plazes automatically receives a message from the computer about its location. Users type in the name of the location and the system records the user's movements, displaying the movements to a community of the user's friends. Generates an automated blog about this particular part of your life and day. (Creates a blog and another kind of social network)
    • Social networks, like facebook, create a kind of extended narrative, an autobiography so to speak, that you recorded about your life, social networks create a kind of self-documentation
    • We don't know where systems like blogger or facebook will bring us in the future, too soon to tell
    • It could bring us a stronger sense of belonging in the future, where people have a better sense of who we each are and who care about us
    • Danah Boyd, sociologist and social networking researcher, identifies four characteristics of "online social spaces" that distinguish them from their offline counterparts (Rettberg 76):
      • Persistance
        • The information is recorded and available for later access, whereas, in offline social spaces, the information is only able to be recalled through memory, and then never exactly or precisely. Even if notes are taken of a social interaction, those notes are only a representation of the interaction. An online record is the social interaction itself, preserved
      • Searchability
        • Anyone can find you.
      • Replicability
        • Content can be altered and copied to the point that they are unrecognizable. This can have political or personal aims.
      • Invisible Audiences
        • While you know who a great deal of your audience members are, you can never be sure of who everyone is, and usually can't even know exactly how big your audience is. in an offline social space, you know who you are talking to, and, more often than not, you know who is listening and who is within earshot. Also, because the content is persistent, your audience will include people from the future, which is an impossibility in offline social space.
  • Technorati is a tool that measures the popularity of a blog by keeping track of how many blogs have linked to a certain blog. For a blog that is linked to other blogs, the more blogs that link back to that certain blog the more popular that blog site is. This also helps others see your blog on other people's blog pages. Tools like these help to connect blogs and make communities of blogs of note.

Examples of Social Networking Communities
  • Twitter -- A social networking website that allows users to send and share short messages, 140 characters or less, with the users who follow them. Twitter has become an interesting tool for those working in marketing or public relations, as it allows them to put out a company's message to a mass audience while interacting with customers and consumers in an environment that feels casual and intimate.
  • LinkedIn -- A social networking website that is used primarily in a business context. It allows users to search for people and make connections with people who could help them in their career goals. Users build profiles containing photos, resume information and some personal information, though it is more formal than a Facebook page.
  • Facebook and MySpace - Two social networking websites that do not have blogging as the main emphasis of the site. On Facebook, you connect to one or more networks that you "belong" to, such as your regional area, school, workplace, or community
    • These social networks are usually defined by traditional ways of forming social contacts; they are also immediately visible to casual users, by searching your user profile
  • Facebook Facts:
    • The most trafficked social media site in the world according to Comscore
    • there are more than 200 million active users and half of those users log on at least once a day
    • The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older.
    • If Facebook was a country it would be the 4th most populated in the world.
  • MySpace Facts:
    • The firstwidely popular social media network
    • Currently to trying to rejuvenatethe community to be entertainment oriented
    • Applications and sections that feature all forms of media
    • Interactive communities where all users create and share content with each other, ex. Karaoke Channel
    • 110 million users, but controversy surrounds this number due to the large number of inactive accounts
  • Linkedin Facts: According to ( http://press.linkedin.com )
    • Linkedin has members in over 200 countries
    • There are over 65 million users
    • New members join close to every second and approximately half of the new members are from outside the United States.
    • Executives from every Fortune 500 company are members of Linkedin.