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Emerging Sociabilities on Social Network Sites
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Emerging Sociabilities on Social Network Sites


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  • Hello thank you, it is a pleasure to be here For organizing and hosting You may gather from the title that I am emphasing the social character of the internet and the fact that the internet is a social medium used by people who want to be social.
  • Please do not expect the internet to be anything but ordinary It is not the internet, it is our expectations Just another place with its intricacies Early research organizational/informational - social was mostly anecdotal accounts of mysterious things that happened in cyberspace
  • The power of social networking How information spreads, social information, too Why do humans take action and mobilize , work together and communicate Large scale social network experiment – crowdsourcing the entire US (locate terrorists, other threats) Online Social Networks SNSs and Social Media- What are they?
  • All information and social oriented: Appeal: Variety of social network sites Public Displays of Connection (PDCs) Social cost of not joining Public information and privacy connectivity
  • A performance You are who your friends are – not a new thing, but amplified Gossip magazines Things we post online need to make sense to a lot of different people, without compromising our sense of identity/ who we are Social capital is a term we use to refer to relationships that generate value for us
  • What am I interested in? with my collaborators Produce more or less social people? CMU story
  • Asked questions about how people use facebook Asked questions about personality factors and demographics And about habits – mobility, life satisfaction, economic security Relaxing entertainment and habitual passtime – new kind of sociability, in the past….activity, extroversion, talking Those social use it to sustain strong ties with family Those mobile use it to sustain weak ties – remote People do not distinguish between reasons why, use it fulfill a number of needs, some information, some social, some that used to be met by other media (I will hear of late breaking news via facebook or tweeter, before I hear from anywhere else) Sociability exercised from comfort of ones own couch Not fixed
  • Culture of posing for the camera, enables an analysis of the semiology of photos
  • A semiotic and discourse analysis of college student photo albums and the associated comments reveals that photography is integral to student identity formation. Photographs are used to demonstrate the existence of friendship groups and their cohesiveness and independence from family. Further, photographs and the camera are a almost required element of college life. Events and relationships are made real through the involvement of a camera. The vast majority of the images demonstrate a clear awareness of the camera by being posed, in addition the demonstrate behavior produced specifically for the camera. Comments reinforce this relationship. The photographs are used to spark conversation for those present at the making of thew photographs and for those who missed out. Contextual elements, through backgrounds, are de-emphasized, suggesting the the primacy of the human relationships and the existing knowledge in the head of viewers required for decoding the images. Facebook images are clearly meant for a closed group, reinforcing membership and cohesiveness. One must be a member to understand the full-meaning and by recognizing the meaning one gains a greater sense of membership.  Facebook photo albums ≠ all photos. Student use Facebook to play out college lives to/for each other Speaking to each other visually, publically The outfits /locations change, the poses/people don’t Meaning exists in viewers’ minds Primacy of relationships “ Proven” by quantity & nature of pics Events important only because of experiences w/ friends Suspended sociality
  • Definition of architecture : structure, content design How does it restrict and inspire your behavior? How does it shape, and how do you shape it? Similar to the physicality of spaces, this room No windows? Windows open? Door open, no walls? Smaller room? These are the slight differences I am talking about - what is the online equivalent to that? How do we sense it and react to it?
  • Inviting open, network comms conncetion everyone can join
  • Little less open liitte more private - professionals, to connect, you must specify a prof connection that the other person confirms
  • Private, by invitation only
  • Profile page This is everything I am and a small fraction of it at the same time Lively, colorful, open, messy and organized at at the same time
  • Here things get a little easier, setting more private, professional only, limited apps and opportunities to play
  • Here even more private, and it is like my personality has been put on mute
  • Facebook: carefully crafted statements, that mean different things to different people, but you communicate your social status by friend selection, and attitude toward the medium Easy to pick out celebrities, arrivistas, etc Linked in: symbolizes professional code of ethic, and a western, rather US based dogma of professionalism Smallworld:act of joining is a status statement in and of itself Tight and loose structures --- Goffman
  • Privacy as you know it is a thing of the past Space guides shapes how you behave, linken to room Internet another place Extraordinary is derived out of the ordinary What we understand as social behavior is reformed
  • Traverse to sociality via interlinked friends and connecttions 2. Privacy NOT essential for sociality (in response to point 2) Here, we are seeing an effort to become social, and at the same time, stay private Privacy a commodity of the modern era – people living in rural areas had no privacy 3. Rest on number of connections that are networked, that is the principle here redactional – you edit your own, others edit you Remixed, working on content that has been reworked, which you then re-work to provide a temporary personal stamp 4. Private public blurred, collapsed into the grand domain of the social, which consists of spaces and audiences that are multiplied Here the sese of place formed is reflexive to one’s sense of self
  • Transcript

    • 1. Social Media,Social People: Emerging Sociabilities on Social Network Site s Zizi Papacharissi, PhD Professor and Head, Communication University of Illinois-Chicago
    • 2.
      • The ultimate social impact of cyberspace will not flow from its exotic capabilities, but rather from the fact that people are putting it to ordinary, even mundane, social uses.
      • Parks and Floyd, 1996, Making Friends in Cyberspace
      . . . The internet as social space
    • 3. The exotic and the mundane: Chatroulette
    • 4.  
    • 5. How is this relevant?
      • Phenomenon spreads virally, through networks
      • Spreads through converged, social media
        • Youtube, facebook, news, social networks
      • People doing:
        • Ordinary things, the mundane
        • Ordinary things they cannot do as easily in their everyday life
      • It looks strange now, but it looks not too different from early versions of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, etc
    • 6. Online Social Networks, Social Network Sites, Social Media
      • Social networks have always been a part of everyday life and communication
      • Facebook etc technically not “networks”
        • Platforms
      • Social network sites are
        • Web sites that
        • Allow members to construct a public or semi-public profile
        • To connect with others
        • And view and traverse connections between themselves and others
    • 7.  
    • 8. Research on Social Network Sites (SNSs)
        • Multi-mediated self presentation
        • Public display of social connections
        • Electronically mediated social circles and status
        • Privacy and publicity of comm/multiple audiences
        • Social connections, local and remote
        • Strong and weak ties; social capital
        • The social become more social; less social have functional alternative
    • 9. The premise
      • More or less social people?
        • A networked self
      • More or less social media?
        • All media are social
      • More or less social places?
        • Social affordances of online spaces
    • 10. Research Findings
      • 3 studies
        • Facebook use and social capital (Papacharissi & Mendelson, 2009, Media Perspectives for 21 st Century, Papathanassopoulos-Ed . )
        • Look at us study – Visual Rhetoric of Facebook photo galleries (Mendelson & Papacharissi, 2009, Networked Self, Papacharissi- Ed.)
        • Architecture of online places and affordances of online social networks (Papacharissi, 2009, New Media & Society)
    • 11. Study 1: Uses of Facebook and Social Capital
      • A different kind of sociability
      • The social couch potato
        • Active? No. Passive? No.
      • Flexibility, mobility, and convergence of social behaviors (social multitasking)
      • Public Privacy of social ties
        • Recognition of privacy risk; inability to react
        • Reflexive understanding of privacy
    • 12. Study 2 - Look at Us: Visual Rhetoric of Facebook photo galleries
      • Elements examined (Chalfen – kodak culture)
        • Participants/Topics/Setting/Form/Code (aesthetics)
      • Participants/Topics/Setting
        • Friends, physically close, mostly same sex groups, even at parties, more women
        • Popular events: Parties. Trips w/ Friends. Dances and proms. School year holidays. Sporting events. Graduation (culture of documented/able festivity)
        • Mundane – hanging out
        • Self portraits, numerous versions of (exhibitionism, overt narcissism, celebrity culture)
    • 13.  
    • 14.  
    • 15.  
    • 16.  
    • 17.  
    • 18.  
    • 19. Results – Behavior
      • Overt and exhibitionist articulations of play and affection
      • Awareness of, interaction w/ camera
      • Smiling
      • Play: extreme expressiveness; broad gestures, open-mouths, tongue out; overt drinking
        • Embarrassing shots remain up
      • Physical contact: hugging, arm-in-arm, heads together, cheek kissing
    • 20.  
    • 21.  
    • 22.  
    • 23.  
    • 24.  
    • 25.  
    • 26.  
    • 27.  
    • 28.  
    • 29. Results – Aesthetics
      • Focus on the self, self @ center (narcissism)
      • Centered, straight on
      • Medium to close distance, limited background
      • Self-shot
      • Posed
      • Bad composition ok
    • 30.  
    • 31.  
    • 32. What’s not there?
      • Family (Parents)
      • Small children
      • Landscapes
      • Animals
      • Older People
      • Sites/travel (w/out friends)
      • Overt sexual behavior
    • 33. Results – Organization
      • Mostly chronological – no structured narrative
      • Albums are collective – based on tags (Facebook architecture)
      • Deviations
        • Based on posts by numerous people, can be out of time order
        • “ Nostalgic” images – members of group in high school or even younger
    • 34. Results – Comments
      • Reinforces closeness & in-group membership
        • Nicknames, inside jokes, statements of affection, compliments, changing looks
        • References to what happened:
          • “ OMG THIS IS SO SWEET! i remember this! We were interviewedddddd!”
        • References to longing
          • “ aww I miss this” or “I miss you guys”
        • References to group inclusion
          • “ can someone please explain why no one tagged me in this!!!!”
          • “… .it still means ur a.. needs to get the hellzz down there woman”
      • Comments tied to pictures & those tags, not to individuals
    • 35. Conclusions
        • Visual self-presentation
        • Photography integral to identity formation
        • Demonstration of group cohesiveness and independence from family
        • Events and relationships made real through use of camera
        • Majority of images demonstrate
          • Awareness of camera
          • Behaviors produced specifically for the camera
          • Photos used as conversational pieces, contextual elements of photos de-emphasized
          • Images directed for closed group, reinforce group membership and cohesion
    • 36. Study 3: Architecture of SNSs
        • The architecture of online networks
        • Balance of public and private
    • 37.  
    • 38.  
    • 39.  
    • 40.  
    • 41. Study 3: Architecture of SNSs
        • The architecture of online networks
        • Balance of public and private
        • Self-presentation in spaces publicly private and privately public
    • 42.  
    • 43.  
    • 44.  
    • 45. Study 3: Architecture of SNSs
        • The architecture of online networks
        • Balance of public and private
        • Self-presentation in spaces publicly private and privately public
        • Intricate performances of taste and class
        • Tight and loose structures
    • 46.  
    • 47.  
    • 48.  
    • 49. Implications for the Future
        • Changes in Public/private binary
          • Subjectivity, flexibility of boundaries, reflexive adjustment
        • The affordances of Internet architecture/spaces
        • The meaning of sociability
        • Liquid relationships of converged context, blending political, social, economic, and cultural sensibilities
    • 50. Emerging Sociabilities (and implications for future work)
        • Affordances of online spaces: Expression and connection
          • (x- identity, x-community)
        • Networked persons maintain individuality of personal sphere as they traverse to sociality
          • Microcelebrity, narcissism, individualism
        • Sociabilities networked, remixed, and redactional
        • Converged architectures
          • private/public binary, multiplied space, the social
          • Subjectivity of boundaries, reflexive adjustment
        • Sense of place reflexive to sense of self
        • The affordances of Internet architecture/spaces
        • The meaning of sociability
        • Liquid relationships of converged context, blending political, social, economic, and cultural sensibilities
    • 51.
      • Thank you!
      • [email_address]
    • 52.  
    • 53.