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Checking-in: The social structure of the status update
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Checking-in: The social structure of the status update

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By Crystal L. Cierlak

By Crystal L. Cierlak
Fielding Graduate University
MSC 560: Social Media and Emerging Technologies

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  • “Checking-in: The social structure of the status update” by Crystal L. Cierlak. \nMSC 560 Social Media and Emerging Technologies\nApril 1, 2012\n
  • The status message has come along way since the days of the Bulletin Board System in the 1980/90’s. Incarnations have included IRC, OLM, and AIM. Facebook shortened the status to form a different kind of asynchronous chat. Twitter compacted the status message even smaller to 140 characters. While both Facebook and Twitter are still hugely popular today, they have paved the way for check-in sites like FourSquare and GetGlue. \n
  • What you read, think, and watch says a lot about you. They reveal aspects of your identity that you may not be aware of that reside in your true self. The true self is home to traits which are owned but not expressed. The actual self is home to the owned traits that are expressed socially. That is the version of ourselves we put forth online. However, after just five minutes of interactivity online, it is the true self that comes about.\n
  • Check-in sites answer basic questions about how you are and what you like. Checking in at Starbucks tells your friends where you are physically located, that you enjoy drinking coffee (maybe that you pay too much for it), and that other hidden traits that may be meaningful. For example, if you tweeted about giving up coffee for Lent and check-in to Starbucks a week before Easter, you’re announcing that you could not get through Lent without drinking coffee. Entertainment-based check-in sites, such as GetGlue, answer questions about what sorts of media you like to enjoy. Checking-in to “The Hunger Games” says you’re reading a popular book, perhaps before seeing the movie in theaters, and that you enjoy dystopian literature. \n
  • The more you check-in, the more a pattern emerges. If a friend of yours were to check-in to the movie “Twilight,” the television show “The Vampire Diaries,” and the book, “The Vampire Lestat,” you would notice a pattern: vampires, fantasy, gothic, romance, etc... \n
  • While all of these stickers represent items I have checked-in to, they do not all correspond with what I watch or read the most. The stickers representing the weak ties were all earned from check-ins during a limited period of time. I do not know what I watched that unlocked the Mardis Gras sticker. The stickers on the right represent shows or books I check-in to often, such as textbooks for school, checking-in to soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” 15 times, and for checking in 21 days in a row. This is my personal social network of the media I consume and sometimes enjoy. What may be a weak tie for me could very well be a strong tie for another user, and vice versa. Bridging ties are made when my friends watch or read something based upon a check-in made on my profile. More on that later. \n
  • Freud, Turkle, McKenna and Whitty all offer a perspective on identity formation. On the one hand there is Freudian theory, which, applied today, would indicate that online communication can’t do much to affect identity because it was formed already in early life. On the other hand, Turkle’s theory suggests that the Internet and psychotherapy share similar qualities - space, warmth, safety and understanding - that create ample opportunity for identify formation online. From work by McKenna and others, Whitty defines the true self and the actual self. The true self are those traits we posses but don’t really express while the actual self is what we express socially. It is McKenna who says that after just five minutes online the true self that is more activated than the actual self. \n
  • The more choices for interactivity a website offers, the more possibility for interactivity exists (Functional View of Interactivity). The more interactivity a user can have on a site, the more they can express those idiosyncratic traits that make them truly unique. As you can see from my recent television check-ins, I really like science fiction (Game of Thrones, Fringe), enigmatic hosts (Conan, Good Eats), and a little reality TV (Kitchen Nightmares). This is just a sampling of preferences that help define my preferences and identity as a media consumer.\n
  • Over time, checking-in starts to form a social structure, patterns of behavior that form an understanding of an individual. Not unlike a Timeline. In the sample listed on the right, you can get a sense of my reading habits: I read non-academic literature between assigned readings in order to keep focus. When viewing the patterns like a Timeline, a story emerges.\n
  • Media convergence has cultured an online experience where entertainment can be consumed with or without a subscription service. This is increasing the tend of the second screen appearance, where individuals are increasingly using second screens - smartphones and tablets - to browse online while consuming media. Combined with entertainment-based check-in sites, this increases social influence, where what you watch, read, and consume can influence others. Moreover, this creates a sense of credibility. People are much more likely to explore something online if it’s recommended by another user. \n
  • The time difference between BBS and Twitter was decades. The time difference between Twitter and GetGlue was merely years. The status update is evolving at an increasing rate. What will the next iteration look like?\n
  • This concludes my presentation. Thank you. \n

Checking-in: The social structure of the status update Checking-in: The social structure of the status update Presentation Transcript

  • Crystal is going to talk about Checking-in: The social structure of the status update
  • BBSbulletin board system IRC internet relay chat facebook AIMaol instant messenger @twitter foursquare getglue
  • & I’m at Starbucks on I’m reading “The Hunger Games” Gosford and PanemaWhat am I doing? What am I doing? Where am I? What media do I consume?
  • What does it say about you if you check-in to the following:
  • Social networks are made up of weak and strong ties. Weak: Strong: Left - Right: Left - Right: Speed Reader: 3 book check-ins in 1 weekAcademy Awards: Watched it because I was bored Super Fan: Like and 15 check-ins Linkin Park: Unlocked from checking-in to Marathoner: Checking in to an item 21 days in a row Transformers 3, which I never finished Mardi Gras 2012: I don’t know
  • Freud Turkle McKenna Whitty True self: traits ownedIdentity is formed early in life. Acting out online is like After five minutes online the but not expressed. psychotherapy: true self is more activated Actual self: traits owned space, warmth, safety, than the actual self. and expressed socially. understanding
  • More Choices = More Interactivity = More Expression
  • Second screen experience. Social influence. Credibility.
  • What comes next?
  • Thank you.ccierlak@email.fielding.edu