The Unintended Consequences of Social Networking


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A presentation for The Emergence Group at Bryn Mawr College

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The Unintended Consequences of Social Networking

  1. 1. The Unintended Consequences of Social Networking  
  2. 2. What is Social Networking? <ul><li>We define social network sites as 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 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Comparison to blogs, etc. <ul><ul><li>Social Networking sites are self-contained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People who love Facebook tend to stay in Facebook and link to others within the site </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to link out </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs, Twitter part of online social network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The primary purpose is not to connect with people </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expression </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Rise of social network sites <ul><li>  </li></ul>
  5. 5. Individual unintended consequences <ul><ul><li>The Bad </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blurring the line between personal and professional lives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The TMI factor--finding out more than you want to know about colleagues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Losing job opportunities because of the drunken picture you posted </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Being stalked, harrassed, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Good </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blurring the line between personal and professional lives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finding out new and interesting things about colleagues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keeping up with far flung colleagues </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employment and other opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Societal Unintended Consequences <ul><ul><li>Commercialization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy and security concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manipulation through the network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mediating relationships and businesses through proprietary applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing social fabric </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership of identities and identity-related data </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Clueless <ul><li>Teenagers are learning how to use social networks by interacting with their friends, rather than learning these behaviors from their parents or teachers. . . . Often parents have no clue about the information teens are publicly revealing (Sullivan, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  8. 8. It's always been about &quot;monetizing&quot; <ul><li>Last September, Rupert Murdoch purchased MySpace from Intermix for a reported $580 million cash buyout. Currently, “Murdoch is getting: a gold mine of market research, a microscope into the content habits and brand choices of America’s capricious youth market — not to mention millions of potential new customers for News Corp.’s Fox subsidiaries.” [ 10 ]. . . . The commercial aspect of the site is quite apparent. Marketers who target teen consumers can use stated, personal information gathered from social networking sites for purposes other than what users intend. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Government wants that info, too <ul><li>In post 9/11 America, government agencies appear to be doing the opposite [of protecting privacy]. In 2005, the Department of Defense proposed to create a marketing and recruitment database to track students for military recruitment. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (2005), “Among the information kept on students were ethnicity, phone numbers, e–mail addresses, intended fields of study and extracurricular activities. The record system even included parents’ attitudes about military recruitment.” [ 16 ] But, the system was set up before notifying the public, a violation of the Privacy Act. </li></ul>
  10. 10. But that information can be used for good <ul><li>We have vast amounts of data that can be reapplied to investigate fundamental questions about social organization and about morality and other concerns that have perplexed us forever. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Social Graph of Facebook connections