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Social Networking Defined“ web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” (boyd & Ellison, 2007)
Layman’s Terms Social networking exists in the online environment and allows individuals toconnect with people, share thoughts, feelings, photos, videos and audio.
Recipe to Social NetworkIngredients: Social network site of your choosing Personality Friends Photos, videos and any other visual aids Thoughts & feelingsMethod: Join a social networking site – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., if you haven’t already. Add a handful of friends and stir. Season with a little personality. Upload photos, videos and any other visual aids to assist in your profile’s development. Whisk in your thoughts & feelings into multiple status updates. Voila!
A key ingredient to social networking is... Or Impression Management
Social networking & impression management go hand in hand.
Impression Management: Refers to the process of consciously controlling information in order to lead others’ opinions or perceptions in favour of personal or social goals.We could call this, ‘self PR?’
When we construct aprofile on our socialnetworking site, we arecontrolling whatinformation we wantpeople to know aboutourselves; we aremanaging theimpression we make onother people.
The process of collating information to present in your personal profile is called impression management. “Profiles tell us how people choose toportray themselves when asked explicitly to do so.” (Barash, et al., 2010)
“By looking at others’ profiles, teensget a sense of what types ofpresentations are socially appropriate;others’ profiles provide critical cuesabout what to present on their ownprofile”. (boyd, 2007)
Learning how to manage impressions is avaluable social skill acquired only throughexperience. This process begins aschildren and further develops as adults. (boyd, 2007)
As social networks are still a relatively newtechnology, the process of impressionmanagement within these sites is still anew concept.
In the context of social networkingsites, body languageand tone of voice are not immediatelyvisible and the skills people need to interpret situations and manage impressions are different. (boyd, 2007)
Although we try to manage impressions, oftenpeople may misinterpret what we are trying to convey.
When we post status updates or tweets, we encode acertain message we wish to portray.
However, our declared friends may decode our message in the unintended way.
5There are identified dimensions of impression management. (Barash, et al., 2010)
IngratiationA conscious attempt to beautify or perfect one’s image in the eyes of another.
Another key ingredient to social networking is... FRIENDS!!!!!
Facebook friends, or friends in any othersocial networking site, interact with, andprovide feedback to your profile andpostings.
Golder, et al.recently conducteda study on Facebookand found thatusers only ‘poke’and message a smallnumber of people,despite the largeamount of declared‘Facebook friends’. (Golder, et al., 2007: Huberman, et al. 2009)
So why all the friends, if you aren’tgoing to interact with them?
It all has to do with popularity,self-esteem and acceptance. Themore friends we declare on ourprofile, the cooler we look... ...or so we like to think!
Yes, self-esteem issues are present in online social networks as well. Sorry people, we can’t escape them!
Research has found self-esteem levels in adolescencewho social network aredirectly related to the tone ofresponses received toinformation posted onpersonal profiles... (Pempek et al., 2009)
As such, adolescence groups engage withsocial networking sites to gauge peer opinionsof themselves and to seek peer acceptancewhich ultimately leads to the formation of one’sidentity. (Pempek et al., 2009)
“ By early 2006, many considered participation on the key social network site, MySpace, esse ntial to being seen as cool at school.” (boyd, 2007, p.1)Although, let’s face it, the coolkids would never say, cool atschool.
Did you know?People who receive attention from multiplepeople will post more often than people who receive little attention. (Huberman, et al. 2009)
As a result, people with more declared friends will network more frequently. This can be likened to life outside of social media, those who have more friends will socialise more, than those who do not.
Random Fact # 1 “ Across the globe over the past year (2010) average time spent on social networking sites grew from 3 hours per month to 5.5 hours.” (Joe’s Blogg, 2011)
Random Fact # 2In 2011, Facebook’s user-base hit inexcess of 640 million users – half ofwhich login daily. (Joe’s Blogg, 2011)
Random Fact # 3 “ Facebook was the most- searched term in 2010 for the second year running.” (Charlton, 2011)
And there you have it.Social networking online is here to stay. Although there are so many deeperelements to social networking, at the endof the day the beauty is, communicating with friends is now easier than ever.
For an interesting video on social media facts for 2011, click the image below.
Referencesboyd, dm & Ellison, NB 2007, ‘Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship’, Journal ofComputer-Mediated Communication, vol 13, no. 1, viewed 19 October2011, <http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html >.Pempel, TA, Yermolayeya YA, Calvert SL 2009, ‘College students’ social networking experiences onFacebook’, Journal of Applied Development Psychology, vol. 30, pp. 227-238.Joe, 2010, Joe’s Blogg, weblog, viewed 20 October2011, <http://www.joesblogg.com/2010/03/social-media-usage-statistics-2010/>.Charlton, G, 2011, Econsultancy Digital Marketers United, weblog, viewed 20 October2011, <http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/8175-10-fantastic-facebook-infographics>.boyd, d 2007, ‘Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in TeenageSocial Life’, MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital MediaVolume, (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Barash, V, Ducheneaut, N, Isaacs, E & Bellotti, V, 2010, ‘Faceplant: Impression (Mis)management inFacebook Status Updates’, Proceedings of the Fourth International AAAI Conference on Weblogsand Social Media, Association of Artificial Intelligence, pp. 207-210Huberman, BA, Romero, DM & Wu, F 2009, ‘Social networks that matter: Twitter under themicroscope’, Peer Reviewed Journal on the Internet, vol. 14, no. 1-5