Sunday, March 22, 2009

Facebook

Chapter 8 “The Emergence if Critical and Cultural Theories of Mass Communication” of the Baran and David text discusses the impact of new forms of mass communication on society. The text discusses several communications theories about the way media catalyzes changes in social life. Advancements in communications and media affect social practices and the way we interact with one another. From the telegraph to the Internet each advancement in technology leads to changes in the ways we interact with one another from one generation to the next. “The new perspectives argued that media might have the power to intrude into and alter how we make sense of ourselves our relationship to others”(Baran and Davis 199).

            Media makes a huge impact on social institutions and culture. Today’s youth consumed by media, they are often referred to as Generation M (for media). “Increasingly, children and young adults live in a mediated world where face-to-face communication with others is supplemented by and interwoven with a broad range of mediated communication, from instant and text messaging to email to television to movies to interactive video games” (Baran and Davis 200) The abundance of different ways to communicated at all times has allowed people to stay in contact with anyone and everyone. “Today some critics argue that newer media technologies such as iPods, the Internet, and video enabled cell phones are ‘personal media’ that are inherently biased toward individualism” (Baran and Davis 201) Generation M holds a great deal of power in the media industry. As the consumers technologies are constantly improved and reinvented. The internet is one of the most powerful sources of communication threw instant messages, video chats, email, message boards, blogs, and networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook, people can communicated instantly from anywhere in many different ways. Generation M has made websites such as Facebook a huge phenomenon. In the past five years it has evolved and grown.

            “Facebook’s redesign: Time to listen to users?” by Jonathan Skillings discusses the recent redesign of Facebook and the negative reactions from its large number of site users. http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10201694-2.html “Hopeful, positive comments from Facebook users have been awfully hard to come by in recent days since the powerhouse social networking site pushed out a redesign that seems inspired, at least in part, by the up and coming Twitter service.”(Skillings) The article discusses how Facebook users have been protesting the new Facebook design. While Facebook is looking to consumers advice on how to make the site better is they only listed to users there would be no innovation. Do you think Facebook should listen to its users more? Do this would lead to a lack of innovation? Do you think Facebook is an example of a form of media that has effected our culture?

12 comments:

  1. I, like most of the kids my age, have a Facebook. Every time they decide to change Facebook's look around I get extremely frustrated. I never understand why they feel the need to change things and I hate having to learn the new format over again. Each time they have made changes to the page, I have joined the numerous amount of groups made to stop this action.

    I believe Facebook should listen to their users more; we are the one's that keep this page up and running and use it on a daily basis. A few changes here and there can be made and a couple of updates. Yet, when the site is updating what seems like every month, it becomes too much. I also think it is wrong to change their format to fit that of the up and coming Twitter. Why would one site want to replicate another? I do not think this is leading to a lack of innovation if we put a stop to all of the updates; innovation is new ideas and inventions, not necessarily new homepages. However, no matter how much people hate the new updates, I can guarantee they will not stop using the site.

    Facebook is a new form of media that has affected our culture and keeps us connected. It has brought people from all over the world together and has made us into a sort of global village. McLuhan explains this term as “a new form of social organization [that ties the] entire world into one great social, political, and cultural system” (Baran & Davis 220). I believe this definition holds true for Facebook and other social networks. Not only are we connecting with people through out the world but it allows us to understand their cultures and familiarize ourselves with different things. It is truly broadening our horizon just like the rest of the internet.

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  2. I strongly believe that Facebook has changed the way we interact with one another. I find myself checking the social network multiple times a day, just to see who has updated what. I first heard of Facebook at Quinnipiac’s freshman orientation four years ago, when it was brand new. At the time, it was only for college students in order for them to connect to other new students, and to keep in contact with their friends from high school. Then Facebook really expanded when it allowed college professors and faculty to use it, and then anyone not affiliated with a school was allowed access; this is where Facebook began to really explode. With everyone being able to use Facebook to socially network, it changed the way we use the internet from here on out.

    Baran and Davis state it perfectly when they say, “The sheer amount of time young people spend using media-an average of 6 ½ hours a day – makes it plain that the potential of media to impact virtually every aspect of young people’s lives cannot be ignored” (200). Media, and most certainly the internet, has seemed to take over our generations’ lives, as the obsession for social networks such as Facebook has created the need for more, such as the new website, Twitter.

    Having had Facebook for a few years now, I have seen the changes that the websites’ creators have implemented. I remember when they introduced the “live mini-feed” two years ago, and how much I hated it along with millions of others, but I eventually grown accustomed to it, and couldn’t imagine the website functioning as well as it does without it. Over this past spring break, Facebook once again updated their website, and once again I was not pleased, but decided to deal with it, as opposed to the alternative of deleting my account. I had heard of the uproar of displeased users, but still think that the creators’ are just doing what they can to keep up with the times, and their competition. Should they listen to users’ complaints? Maybe, if people started to delete their accounts, but for the most part I believe that most will just become used to it. It is clear from the amount of people who have a Facebook page that this particular website has affected our culture and the way we communicate and perceive others.

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  3. Facebook is absolutely a form of media that has affected out culture, much more than any other social networking site. It began by first changing the way college students interacted with their peers and has since expanded to all ages; anyone with an email address can create a Facebook account. I was shocked when my mom added me on Facebook, and even more shocked when my best friend received a friend request from her grandma. My cousin even created a Facebook profile for her cat, complete with tagged pictures and a comprehensive activities list that includes “waking Claire up at any given hour of the night” and “trying to sneak outside to eat garbage.” While this is certainly not the norm, it suggests that Facebook has really become a phenomenon.

    I think it is appropriate in an example like Facebook to examine the micro-level implications of this form of media. The questions that microscopic cultural studies researchers would ask seem to relate well to the site, such as “what happens when mass media are incorporated into the routines of daily life and play an essential role in shaping our experience of the social world – are there serious disruptions or do media enhance daily experience?” and “Could media be causing problems that are somehow being compensated for or concealed?” (Baran & Davis 202). I believe, in regard to Facebook, the answer to both of these questions is yes.

    Facebook has affected a range of social practices, such as creating an “event”, from a friend’s birthday party, to a night at a local bar, to a charitable fundraiser. Facebook events have become a completely legitimate way to host a party or event, invite people, and have them RSVP, all with no direct communication whatsoever.
    The site has definitely also changed the way in which we interact with one another. Through the variety of elements and applications that are so characteristic of Facebook, we can achieve the feeling of social interaction without actual interaction. Our friends update their status so we know what they’re up to, we can post pictures and videos of nights out or vacations, we can send email-like messages to people and receive messages from others, we can write on each other’s walls, and we can even share personal information with others (some more than others) such as our AIM screen name, phone number, and even where we live. Being able to obtain all this information about a person just by looking at their profile cultivates a completely false feeling of knowing someone, which I would argue is a detriment to normal social interaction.

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  4. Facebook is definitely a massive part of every young person’s life, and I’m sure it has gotten a lot bigger than everyone expected. I think that Baran and Davis got it right when they said “the sheer amount of time young people spend using media-an average of 6 ½ hours a day-makes it plain that the potential of media to impact virtually every aspect of young people’s lives cannot be ignored.” Facebook is a large part of that media consumption, especially among college students. Whenever I’m bored, I check Facebook. I intern two days a week for 7 hours, and when the office is slow, I immediately log onto Facebook. For most of us, I think it’s just an automatic thing that we do.

    With that being said, the constant layout changes are definitely obnoxious. I get used to them eventually, but I’m tired of having to adjust to something that used to be so easy to operate. With the latest update, I hated it at first, but its growing on me. I like the sleeker layout, but the news feed updates are absolutely ridiculous. Facebook should have stayed the way it was, updating members on all aspects of their friends’ profiles, not just status updates.

    The comparison to Twitter is spot on. I just got a Twitter account, and Facebook is starting to become exactly like that. Twitter is just a way to let your “followers” know what you’re up to at that moment, Facebook is so much more. So why would you need to downgrade Facebook to that status? And like Michaela said, why would you need two websites that do the exact same thing?

    I definitely think that Facebook needs to listen to its members. We’re the ones who are joining the site and contributing to its success. I don’t think that it would stop the innovation, because in reality, we aren’t the ones who have the say in whether or not it changes. However, every time that it does, hundreds of groups are created protesting the newest update. It’s obvious that right now, creators are not paying any attention to what the users have to say. I’m not saying that they should obey our every whim, but they should at least acknowledge the fact that a lot of the members are unhappy.

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  5. jennifer gigliottiMarch 23, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    I do think that Facebook is an example of a form of media that has affected our culture. It’s made its way into everyday life for everyone. When Facebook started years ago, it existed for college students to communicate with each other. You had to have a college e-mail address in order to sign up for it and it was exclusive. Now anyone can join the social networking site and there are all these new layouts, applications and extras you can add to your “page”. To answer Lauren’s question about Facebook listening more to its users, I think they should. I deleted my Facebook a few months ago when they started to change everything around. I recently reactivated it, and once again it’s completely different. The only thing I ever see on all the pages is “The new facebook sucks”. I don’t think the new layout is making people stop using the website but I do think if they were to listen to their users, there would be less problems. I remember there were groups going around months ago that said if you do this and this it would restore it back to the old Facebook but it ended up being hacks into your account. If anything, listening to the users would lead to more innovation. Everyone has a lot of really good ideas, and obviously the way things are now on the web site is a problem. If they were to take in feedback from the users, it would ultimately create a totally different innovative site.
    In Baran and Davis, it says “media have become a primary means by which many of us experience or learn about many aspects of the world around us” (200). I don’t think Facebook effects this negatively though. I’ve been able to get in touch with family from around the world through Facebook which I probably wouldn’t have been able to without that form of media. I know there are groups you can join on Facebook as well that can deal with culture and other things rather than your favorite kind of beer. Baran and Davis also say that “face-to-face communication with others is supplemented by and interwoven with a broad range of mediated communication,” and this also can be seen in a positive way with social networking sites. I remember when I first went away to school after orientation I was able to keep in touch during the summer with the other students in my group and once school began in August I already had some good friends. I think the whole idea of the internet and the media it has is evolving so quickly that no matter what happens it will be innovative.

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  6. I too must admit to using facebook and checking it often. This was just one of the most popular forms of media available to us as we were entering college. I believe one of the main reasons why it caught such fire to begin with had to have been the ease of use. I remember one of the first versions of the site and how simplistic it was in design. It was very user friendly catering to all age ranges even though it was only available to college students to start off. After it started to gain popularity other things, such as videos, bumper stickers, and a ton of other crazy and some non-important applications were installed and I think that’s where the problems started to arise.

    With all these new applications running and a seemingly huge amount of space to fit these on a person’s profile page traffic problems started to arise. You knew a person had a lot of applications when you went to their page and it took minutes to load all the stuff they had on there. In an effort to free up some of the clutter the newer version of facebook came out. I don’t believe these newer versions of the site are done just as a cosmetic ‘face lift’ alone but also to improve the performance of navigating around and through different pages. With that being said however obviously with new changes there most certainly will be some backlash.

    There are plenty of people who don’t like the latest version of facebook, me included. I believe most people have this general idea about the page layout in mind when using the site, “To criticize old and new cultural practices so those most deserving of attention can be identified and explicated and the less deserving can be dismissed” (Baran & Davis 208). So while a lot of us are creatures of habit and tend to favor certain things about a particular site that we go to we are also particular about any changes that might arise. We all want our favorite things highlighted and least favorite things dismissed or deleted altogether but the biggest challenge for this site is having everyone in mind when doing said changes.

    It is extremely difficult to have hundreds of millions of people be totally on board when new changes are brought to a site this popular. I also believe people are pretty quick to say they don’t like something instead of giving it a chance to grow on them because the newer version might actually be better. Facebook is definitely something that has affected our culture. If something like changes to a website is causing this much stir around the water cooler than it must be somewhat important.

    -Dave Bertagno

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  7. As a media major, I can’t help but enjoy the media and voluntarily give into the consumption of it on a daily basis. I guess you could categorize me as an active member of generation “m”. With that said, I can understand why certain individuals (mainly people from generations prior to ours) say that all younger generations have lost a sense of ‘’reality’ and no longer put face-to-face interactions at the top of our list of priorities. I actually think that our generation has a pretty fair grasp on the amount of time we are spending consuming the media and the amount of time we spend with actual personal encounters in our daily lives. I think the concern should lie with those younger than us. Children today would rather spend time sitting in front of the television than going outside to play with friends and actually use their imagination.
    “Increasingly, children and young adults live in a mediated world where face-to-face communication with others is supplemented by and interwoven with a broad range of mediated communication, from instant and text messaging to e-mail to television to movies to interactive video games”(200 Baran & Davis). I think the key part of this quote is the term “interwoven with a broad range of mediated communication”. Baran and Davis make a point that our world is educated by the media, and if you aren’t directly educated by it, whoever you are getting your information from is most likely getting it from a source of media. Again, generation M thoroughly enjoys their media, however we grew up when it still wasn’t completely consuming our every day lives. I truly believe we can defend both sides of the story, and hopefully do something to slightly alter how it may have a bigger influence on the generations after us.
    As for Facebook, I am a avid user of the site, and have been against the recent developments and changes they have made to the site. Facebook has greatly affected our culture, or rather our generation. I am able to keep in touch with so many people I usually would not be in contact with had it not been for this type of website. When it comes to the changes of Facebook, I understand that they need to keep up with the competition and with the recent success of Twitter, they have altered their own site to replicate Twitter. However, from what I have learned those who use Facebook appreciate the differences between Twitter and their site. If they are getting a majority feedback of likes and dislikes of their site they should listen to their users, after all “the customers always right”.

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  8. I’ve been a Facebook user for 4 years now. Twitter is basically a constant status update, you don’t need to be friends with the person to see their status or blog. The Facebook homepage has turned into Twitter with constant status updates and wall posts. I among everyone else do not like the new Facebook, if I wanted to see everyone’s comments and status’s I would of joined Twitter. I think it is very important and necessary for the Facebook creators to listen to their users and their opinions and complaints on the new updates. It’s hard to keep up with all the new changes because people get so used to their form of communication. People are constantly seeing information on people through their mini feed who they don’t really care to know about. The new homepage is posting too much information and I think users have to constantly update their profiles to protect their privacy. Whatever happened to just having Facebook for college students? I find it weird when a mother friends me on Facebook, I personally do not want these people to have such access to my social life. Facebook definitely has become an everyday part of my life, it’s pretty much routine for me to check facebook when I wake up and before I go to bed and also multiple times throughout the day. It is great for social networking and keeping up with friends. It’s hard to think of life without facebook now. Almost like how did we ever live and hang out with friends without cell phones?

    The options of communication are endless which helps to keep all of us connected; the only downfall to this technology is the face to face conversations. Our generation is constantly on our computers, cell phones, blackberrys etc. We lose social interaction that use to be normal, no longer are we bothered to talk on the phone when we can simply shoot a text or email. Media researcher Robert Kraut states and I would agree, “young adults who have inadequate social skills and difficulty with face-to-face communication will turn to e-mail and instant messaging as more comfortable ways of developing or maintaining social relations.”(Baran&Davis 200).

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  9. -Nick Sardone

    Of course i feel that facebook has changed the way we act and it has definetly changed the way we socialize. Our generation is still getting used to technology, you know? I didnt get a screen name until i was a sophmore in high school. I didnt get a cell phone until i was a freshman in high school and that was only for emergencies. When we were growing up there was no such thing as the internet, nobody had it, cellphones were the size of bricks, and email was just starting to be birthed when i was in about 5th grade and god knows i had no idea what that was. The only thing i knew about email and computers was taught to me by tom hanks and meg ryan in "you got mail."

    “young adults who have inadequate social skills and difficulty with face-to-face communication will turn to e-mail and instant messaging as more comfortable ways of developing or maintaining social relations.”(Baran&Davis 200). I took this quote like the entry above me because i feel it is a little true, but a little harsh at the same time, respectively. I dont feel like that is entirely true. Sure it is easier and sometimes the only way to contact certain people. We cant be everywhere at once and have everyone we need to talk to within reach of a face to face conversation. We dont need these things. We dont need facebook or AIM, but since we all have it we use it, because otherwise it is hard to communicate with everyone you would like to talk to.

    I have facebook, AIM, and a cell phone because i need to keep in touch with friends and family who are all around the country. I can't talk to them otherwise. So i dont feel that we can't communicate anymore, i just feel that we have adapted to the culture. I don't think that we need all of the technology, but we have it, so let's use it.

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  10. After reading this continual blog, I think it says something extremely important about how our generation uses media today. Almost every post on this blog has strong feelings and opinions about Facebook and I agree with most of them. For the purpose of not repeating when everyone has said I am going to try and turn the conversation in a new direction Baran and Davis said that “Media affects society because society because they affect how culture is created, learned, shared, and applied.” (p199)
    Obviously everyone has continued this blog on about Facebook. We all use Facebook on a daily basis-usually more than once a day. Facebook has become this generation’s way of communicating through messages, sharing photos, even poking each other! This generation’s communication style has completely flipped from the last generations. We no longer can carry on face to face conversations and get uncomfortable in social situations. Our social manners have disintegrated, but our online etiquette has grown. I completely agree with Baran and Davis in the above quote. Our lives are shaped by the media we use most often. Our culture is devoted to that media. It is simply proven by the fact of this blog. Look at how much we have to say and how strong our opinions are of this topic. I am sure everyone could say something about facebook and the conversation would most likely never run dry in this area.

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  11. What started as a simple idea by a couple of students at Harvard has turned into a cultural phenomenon. Almost everyone I know has a Facebook, including most of my friends' parents and family, and if they do not have one themselves they definitely know about it. Baran and Davis state on page 200 that "the potential of media to impact virtually every aspect of young people's lives cannot be ignored." It is seldom that one can walk into any college dorm on campus, or even any classroom, and not find one person on Facebook. It has become a huge part of our culture, which can be seen by its wildfire spread throughout age groups and generations. I never thought, four years ago when I first started my facebook, that my seven year old cousin would have one or my friend's 84 year old grandmother would be commenting my pictures. People who do not use this technology may feel left out or not in the loop.

    Facebook has not only changed the way we communicate, but it has changed the way we receive information as well. People comment each others' "walls" instead of saying things face-to-face, and "message" each other with questions, comments, or concerns instead of calling another person. Information has become available on Facebook in abundant amounts. "Groups" are created sometimes to give people information, or network with other people who share the same interests. Even the way we do invitations has changed. Now, instead of going to the card store and picking out a beautiful pink sparkly princess invitation for your tenth birthday, you can send and e-vite out through Facebook.

    This technology has permanently changed the way we interact and the way we use media. There have been days that I promised myself I would not go on Facebook, and it has yet to happen. It is sometimes a mindless escape, and other times a fountain of knowledge.

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1644040,00.html This story appeared in TIME magazine in 2007. It is an interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, and discusses where he sees the site going in the next couple of years. I don't even think he anticipated what a phenomenon it would be.

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  12. John Devlin
    Response to Lauren Buckley
    Chapter 8 “The Emergence if Critical and Cultural Theories of Mass Communication” of the Baran and David text discusses the impact of new forms of mass communication on society. It only makes sense that media will indeed have enormous affects on the social practices and on the ways that we interact with one-another. It is easy to see the changes such media have had, especially in radio and televsion. Given what we have been studying, we have seen the enormous affect that the Internet has made with these changes. Daily life for every single college student is completely different than it was 20 years ago before the Internet. This one emerging media has almost centered the social life of college students and other groups of people completely around it. It is not that students are using the Internet for work, but it controls their social being. Where people used to have to go out to meet friends, or to call them on the phone, social interaction can now be completely mobile over the Internet, and people can conduct most of their social lives over social networks such as Myspace and Facebook. Some people’s entire day can completely center around one of these social networks, meaning, most of some people’s entire social life can now exists electronically. But instead of looking at these individual’s changes, Baron and Davis look at entire changes in culture. Baron and Davis gave an example of how mass mediums grow and gradullay become more of a part of peoples’ lives. Baron and Davis gave an example of when children are 3, they watch up to three hours of televsion a day, by 8, that is up to a solid 4 hours. But, this isn’t exactly negative. Baron and Davis stated,
    “Increasingly, children and young adults live in a mediated world where face-to-face communication with others is supplemented by and interwoven with a broad range of mediated communication, from instant- and text-messaging to e-mail to televsion to movies to interactive video games.” (Baron and Davis pg. 200)
    Even though the media is becoming increasingly more of a part of people’s lives, children for example, media can take up to 6.5 hours of their day, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because they are still learning. It is amazing to think that there are more televsion sets in houses in america than there are people, but it makes sense. So is this media taking away from “actual” life with “real” people. I think not. I think it is just a part of life, and its changes will not be so astronomical as people think they will be. As I stated all semester long, there are negative aspects, and there are positive aspects, and both, not just one, must be considered. Looking at this Facebook article, “Facebook’s redesign: Time to listen to users?” by Jonathan Skillings, is an example of looking negatively, and really looking one-sided. The article discussed how Facebook users had been protesting the new Facebook design. The article really only focused on the negative feedback, and not really the positive prosepectives. Skillings stated, “When your application becomes an integral part of your customers lives and identities, it is almost expected that they protest any major changes to the user experience.” Of course users are going to protest this design, it is completely different than what they are used to. He stated that Facebook made these changes quickly, and didn’t focus so much on user feedback as they needed to. These changes happened drastically, leaving many confused. He stated Facebook needed to “Ease people into this chage,” which is exactly correct. I believe that people cannot have excessive changes all at once to something that they rely on and something that they heavily use. Facebook should have listened to the users, then they wouldn’t have these abrupt sudden changes, and nowhere near as much negative feedback. This would not necessarily lead to a lack of innovation, rather it would make these changes and transitions much easier for the users. Facebook has definitely affected our culture. The article stated that there are over 175 million users, that is over half of the United States population, of course it is affecting our culture. Facebook has become a part of many people’s lives, and has completely reshaped their social culture from how it was even 5 years ago. People realy on it, and as we see, people freak out over sudden changes.

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