Who are you? Social Media, identity & 'friends'

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A presentation prepared for Web Based Social Forms, a class I took as part of my MSc Innovation Management & Technology Policy


  • The Real Me: Problematic Concepts in Social Network Sites Web based social forms Sofia Gkiousou Dec 07
  • The Expensive Question October 2007 Microsoft hands over $240 million to Facebook for a minority stake and the Exclusive Rights to sell advertising on a worldwide scale targetting Facebooks 50 million members (and rising). Why? Targeted advertising utilising the online social network / social graph
  • Social Networks Durkheims anomie Traditional relationships are dissolved loss of social integration Granovetters ties Strong and weak ties Open and closed networks Traditional relationships and their boundaries might be further dissolving with the use of Social Network Sites (SNS)
  • Social Network Sites
    • web-based services that allow individuals to
    • 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).
    Are they really an extension of the social network?
  • Questions
    • Research Problems
    • Short lived subject matter makes research difficult.
    • Too much enthusiasm (remember the dot com bubble?)
    • Profile Construction
    • Who are you in real life? (Goffmans dramaturgy concept)
    • Who are you online? (breakdown of the concept of the self - Debord)
    • Recent research indicates that if youre a dog offline youre a dog online as well. (boyd. 2001)
  • Questions The Greek Proverb Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are
    • My boss, my boyfriend and my ex
    • Would you ever choose to have these people in the same room in Real Life? (a breakdown of boundaries)
    • Privacy issues/ data protection
    • Are you my friend?
    • The socially awkward situation
    • of rejecting a connection request
    • of creating Top Friends
    • of judging people (or is it just a bit of fun?)
    The Terry Pratchett principle Once you get past the gate everyone assumes that your presence has been cleared by management.