Monday, December 1, 2008

Final Essay -- Web 2.0 Medium -- Facebook

There are many Web 2.0 media that have contributed to the broad spectrum of communication, as we know today. Some examples are MySpace, Facebook, BitTorrent, Napster, Wikis, Google AdSense, and Flickr. Facebook appeals to many people because in a sense it has features that reflect other sites. There are applications that make the site fun, interactive, and more personable than other sites. The array of people that Facebook reaches is phenomenal hence the amount of new users annually. Facebook has evolved considering in 2004 it was only accessible on the Harvard campus. There are many aspects of the site that make it such a popular social network today.

Facebook is a social network that has many applications that keep users coming back for more. Some of the popular features that Facebook has to offer are wall postings, status updates, private messaging, and plenty of applications to keep busy for hours. Applications are programs that make Facebook so fascinating and addicting. These programs include but are not limited to photo sharing, groups, events, market place, graffiti, free gifts, and bumper stickers. An anchor for Facebook would have to be the photo sharing capabilities. It allows for photos to be uploaded effortlessly and the option to tag whoever was involved in the event. Tagging is simply putting a name to a face in pictures. Picture sharing is a popular feature because it allows for the user to show some side of their life that may or may not reflect them. Pictures mold users and give others a better understanding of this person. This is a good way to keep family and friends up to date on your personal life.

Other great applications that have made Facebook stand out are groups, events and the marketplace. Anyone can create a group on Facebook. This allows for diverse and distinct groups to be created. There are groups that range from politics to winter sports on Facebook. These groups are created to entertain and to involve users. Being part of groups gives users the sense of acceptance. We all like to be involved in some sort of community-based environment. Groups give users the opportunity to connect with others with similar interests, backgrounds, or views. This is important because, if no one on Facebook could relate would it be an affective social network? Event planning can be done on Facebook as well. There is an application where you can create an event and send it to whoever you want. This is a great feature for personal use as well as business use. For business purposes this is a great way to promote and advertise because it reaches thousands of users and it is free. An application that is very diverse and covers an array of subjects is the marketplace. Capabilities on the marketplace consists of selling items, wanted item ads, housing, and free stuff as well. These are all great technological affordance that Facebook offer its users and viewers.

There are many functions that Facebook has to offer its users. Of course Facebook is a social networking site and that is a big “function” but, there is so much more to the social networking scene. Being able to keep in contact with friends and family is a key to this site. There will always be horror stories that surface on every site such as Tracy Clark-Flory’s article about a pro-anorexia (pro-ana). Clark-Flory’s article Facebook status update: I’m anorexic, is about a pro-ana sites groups on Facebook that promote unhealthy eating habits. This is a downfall to the openness that Facebook allows but gives users the sense of virtual community.

Taking a college kid for example would be a great example. Johnny goes off to college and wants to keep in contact with friends from back home as well as family. It is easy to send private messages to mom and dad telling them about school. Convenient and fast to send them a message if he needs something or wanted to tell them about something that happened to him in the dorm, that he might be ashamed to let everyone know about. Johnny receives a message from his cousin in Florida and soon finds out from his cousin’s pictures that she has a baby on the way. They can post comments back and forth on the each other’s walls and catch up. The pictures from both parties allowed them to see what the other has been up to lately if anything at all. Johnny goes out one weekend and has pictures that he does not want his parents to see so he creates a new album using the photo application. This album allows Johnny to select who he wants to be able to view the album and limits other from viewing it. After all, Johnny’s parents would not be happy where the money went that they just sent him. Johnny logs into Facebook one day and notices his friends all joining the group, “Dutch Quad Is The Best”. Johnny joins the group and sees a couple people that he has seen around his quad and of course his roommates are in the group as well. This is a great way to network and meet new people on the quad. Then Johnny gets an invitation to an event in his hall where he meets Jill. They have fun that night and Johnny changes his profile to “in a relationship with Jill”. Jill buys Johnny his favorite movie, Bad Boys II, because she read Johnny’s interest section on his page. Then Johnny gets a call from his parents asking who is the girl that he “in a relationship” with? All this is possible because of the many features and applications that Facebook has to offer.

The Demographics for Facebook are very broad and consists of over 26 million users alone in the United States (’s article, Facebook Demographics 2008 Update – It’s Getting Older In There, breaks down United States users into several categories. Istrategylabs is a site that does content creation services and experimental marketing ( According to istrategylabs over 14 million of the 26 million users are in the age range of 18 to 24, that’s nearly 54 percent. Surprisingly the most users in the United States are from New York. Istrategylabs surveyed over 1 million users coming from New York alone. One important statistic gained from this survey is that over 11 million users are in college or alumni. In 2004 when Facebook first opened its doors to social networking it was only available to college students. This is most likely why the statistics are still so high for college and alumni compared to other sub-categories. An interesting fact from this data as well is the biggest interest on Facebook which is “Music”. Most believe that Facebook’s popularity is only going to grow and take over sites such as MySpace (Hinchcliffe). These are the most current demographics taken June 18, 2008 (

These numbers are going to take off considering the efforts of Facebook trying to go global. Regions where Facebook have launched in already are Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany ( In 2008, Facebook released over 20 additional language applications ( There are going to limitless connections that could happen amongst all these networks, once they are all up and going. Facebook has done a great job of expanding and really putting a though on social networking.

There are hundreds of reasons why people use Facebook. Assuming the population that uses it the most being 18 to 24, the use of Facebook is closely related to awareness. This age group is in a way obsessed with knowing what their friends are doing or letting people know what they are doing. The status update is at the top of every page and is tempting every user when they sign on to write what they are doing at that split second. Whether the status is for what one is doing over the weekend or what the day has planned ahead, it is constantly changing. A status update can lead a user to sign on and change their own or to see what their friends are up to. This is an easy, effortless way of managing friends and family member’s schedules without the stalker view some may perceive of you. Users sign on at least once a day maybe several times per day. This can be viewed as being in touch with other or as an addiction. It is hard to go on Facebook for one thing now. It use to be easy with the old format because it was not taunting you to look at everyone’s new pictures. Now as soon as one signs on the status box is at the top and then there is a list of friends updates that follow. This is a fantastic way to see what friends are doing and try to make plans with them. Again, there are too many reasons why people use Facebook.

According to Ryan Scoble’s blog, he uses it because it is more personal. He compares to Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter, Pownce, and Jaiku (Scoble). He says that LinkedIn does not suit his needs because too many people try to “link” to him because of his popularity (Scoble). This did not work for him and he went on to join Facebook. He said he liked Facebook a lot because you can separate contacts (Scoble). He has business contacts and he has personal contacts (Scoble). This is why Ryan Scoble uses Facebook and why it works for him. Of course there may be more that leads to his favoritism of Facebook over other sites but this is what appealed to him. Facebook has come a long way since 2004 and now appeals to a much larger market.

Facebook was created in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin ( At first it was only available on their Harvard campus but soon expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale ( By the end of 2004 Facebook has almost one million users (

In 2005 they achieve great heights when expanding to over 800 college networks and open up to high school networks as well ( At the end of 2005 Facebook has added international school networks, photo application is in position, and over 5 million active users are part of the site ( They raise nearly $13 million from Accel partners in venture capital (

In 2006 Facebook raises over $27 million, adds work networks, and the mobile application is launched ( The work networks are great because this opens up many avenues for employees to network outside of the work atmosphere. The mobile application allows for users to access Facebook on their phones and stay connected wherever they go. Along with the feed and mini feed being added in 2006 this is when Facebook finally is a totally open network and anyone can join. The feed system is important because this is how people are updated about their friend’s activities, events, and future events. Along with 12 million active users at the end of 2006 Facebook now have over 20 partner sites that are affiliated with the site (

In 2007 this was a tremendous year for expanding. Facebook had over 2 million Canadian users as well as 1 million United Kingdom users ( This is a big event because Facebook is now connecting people around the world. This is a crazy thought considering just a couple years back it was only on the Harvard campus. Hosting 20 million users Facebook now offers over 85 applications and are teamed up with over 65 developer partners ( Closing the year out with over 50 million users Facebook also has Microsoft aboard and working with them as well (

Facebook took networking to a whole new level when they decided in 2008 to expand to French, Spanish, and German. Later in the year they decided to release over 21 different language applications ( This is a great feature to really put an emphasis on networking. Facebook not only exists in the United States but in other countries as well and they are giving people of different backgrounds the opportunity to experience Facebook as well. An interesting application that Facebook came out with in 2008 as well is the “chat” application. This allows for users that are currently on Facebook to chat with one another. This is trying to act like the modern day AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Again Facebook is breaking into another niche of technology. These are the events over the past years that have accumulated to what Facebook is today.

Who would have thought that a Harvard based networking site would grow to over 50 million users less than 5 years later? None of this would be possible if the demand for a user friendly networking site was not on such a high demand. Yes, there was MySpace and other Web 2.0 sites that were out and growing. Not any of those sites could compare to what Facebook has built today. This site leaves user lost in a world that begs for more. Every other day it seems there is something new on Facebook with users waiting to eat it up. Just makes many wonder what is Facebook going to add next? These are the things that have made Facebook the giant network they are today and will push them forward in the future.

Clark-Flory, Tracy. (2008) Facebook Status Update: I’m Anorexic. Retrieved November 28, 2008, from (2008). Company Timeline. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Hinchcliffe, Dion. (2007) Facebook set to overtake MySpace? Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

iStrategyLabs. (2007) Facebook Demographics 2008 Update- It’s Getting Older In There. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Kirkpatrick, David. (2006) Why Facebook Matters. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Scoble, Robert. (2007). Why Facebook, why now? Retrieved November 28, 2008 from

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24th Observation

In the reading, Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky discusses the six degrees of separation. Shirky explains in this chapter the odds of meeting a person that that knows someone in your social network. Shirky really breaks down the chances of this happening and explains why this is not so odd after all. Some of the factors that Shirky use to explain the connections are “homophily, large groups being thinly connected, bridging, and bonding.

“Homophily is the grouping of like with like (Shirky, 213).” This could be closely related to my high school class. My graduating class was close to 600 students and we all knew each other some way or another. We all knew someone that knew someone and we were all linked in a sense. We did not know each other’s brothers and sisters names but we could most likely point them out by face. This is due to Skirky’s explanation of homophily and tight small networks.

Shirky explains that it is more efficient to know more people in small, tight networks rather than loose, large networks. Shirky says, “Instead of one loose group of twenty-five, you have five tight groups of five (Shirky, 216).” There might be less people in the overall number of connections this way but the group will be more resourceful and stronger.

The dodgeball social network was quite interesting as well. I did not know there was such a network where you could relay current position and the network would tell all your friends. I like how the network connected Shirky and Andy using friend-of-a-friend networking. This is pretty neat and practical.

Overall I thought this chapter was very interesting in the actuality of someone knowing a person in my social network. I thought it was resourceful to have a larger social network but after reading this article my views have changed. Shirky’s diagrams on the connection patterns clarified why small, tight networks are better than big, loose networks.

Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reading for 11/12/2008

For today’s class reading I read Shout into the wind and it shouts back, by Lori Kendall. LiveJournal reminded me of blogging. It is more like a diary in which you can talk about whatever you want, but I think mostly personal or everyday events. Of course a network of friends, family, and coworkers may have access to this so you have to watch what you say or don’t say. I believe this is good for people that feel they have to express every thought on their mind. Also this site is good for social networking. It is neat how you can link to friend’s journals and search their friends as well. This is similar to FaceBook or MySpace but of course this is a journal type atmosphere.

In this reading Kendall explains her two years of observation about LiveJournal and her recordings. The participants were in their late 20s to late 30s. Most of them have education up to a bachelor’s degree and she points out several of their jobs.

Some important studies she got from this were the separation of personal and work life. I think this should be the case for many things. Also surprisingly there are technicalities that LiveJournal sometimes goes through and filters can fail. This can create awkward or threatening situations in many cases. Kendall also concludes that the observers were pleased with the control they had with their own journals but were dissatisfied with the limited control on others journals.

I think that LiveJournal is a great way to relieve everything on your head and keep track of life. There are so many things that run through our heads daily that we forget. LiveJournal could be beneficial whether personal or business related. I have heard about LiveJournal but after this article I believe I will put some exploration into this site.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Dallas Cowboys Blog

A blog is a website where an individual could express their own personal feelings, interests, and opinions. This place is not limited nor should it be. Where all these blogs exist and are making such an impact is in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is the whole blogging world, which consists of all blogs and well as their community. A Blogger is the individual who creates a blog or reacts to a blog. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of a “Blogger”? Is it the stereotypical picture of a disheveled, computer-addicted individual? You may still be thinking when are they going to move out of their parent’s house and make an impact on society? Well if this is the outlook you had on Blogger’s then you have no clue what they have created. All these so called “basement rats” that blog all day long are making an impact on society and doing so in a remarkable way. Blogging @merica written by Aaron Barlow says, “As of April 2007, Technorati, a major blog monitoring service, claimed to be tracking more than 75 million blogs.” 75 million blogs is a huge number and this means that people are out there expressing their opinions on all sorts of subject matters. Over the past couple of weeks we have been reading

Blogging @merica in class and learning a lot more about the blogosphere. Barlow states in chapter two (pg 36) that, “… blogs have become important to many people’s lives.” Over the past week I have noticed that this is especially true when it comes to public opinion and feeling part of a community. People get attached to blogs and blogging and treat it as if it is a community. The past week I have observed a football blog. I visit this site a couple times a week regularly to find out the latest news on my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. This site consists of many users that react to blogs that are posted by editors on the site. What I do not like about the site is the possibility of changing your identity so easily. You do not have to be a member or sign up. All you have to do when commenting is provide a name and an email address. This makes it a lot easier for trolls to disrupt the community norms. For the most part people respected each other’s opinions and defended what they believed in.

A big topic right now in the Cowboy community is the possibility of making the playoffs or not. A discussion arose in one blog Saturday November 8th about playoff hopes. The cowboys are in last place in their division right now and they are competing with two other teams for a wild card spot to make the playoffs. The New York Giants were playing one of those teams and there were two outcomes of the situation. If the Giants won the Cowboys could compete with the two other teams to win the wild card. If the Giants lost it would be harder for the Cowboys to get into the playoffs because all the teams would be close in record and the Cowboys are currently in last place. Many of the users posts you could feel they were offended or thought they were right. This is what makes it seem so realistic because people get really defensive on a subject that will no longer be talked about in 3 months. Many users feel they must post their opinions in this blog and predict the Cowboys wins and losses. I think that people post their reactions on here because they want to feel part of a community they are interested in. They have to feel that they actually are heard and they are making a difference when they post on this site. Chances are low that many people have Dallas Cowboy fan groups in their towns and have meetings in town halls about the future of the team. I think many of Blogger’s surround themselves in communities that they feel they make a difference in. This is a main reason why blogging has become so big. Public opinion plays a huge role on subject matters and especially in the blogosphere.

You can start your own blog or blog in someone else’s and receive instant feedback. Many people do not feel like they can express themselves at work or discuss such topics at home. I think this has become a reason why bloggers are so powerful. As compared to in my observations on the Cowboys blog I found that people like to feed off one another. On November 8th a user (GO DALLAS!! SUPER BOWL-TAMPA!!) posted that the cowboys are a 250 to 1 underdog in going to the Super Bowl. These are the comments that are put in here that stir the pot. Then you get the side of the diehard Cowboy fans that rebel and say they are going to win and support with their opinions. The blogosphere is made up of opinions and this is why they are becoming so strong. When people post their own opinions and the mass start to agree with them, then you start to think this opinion is fact. This outlines the ongoing battle between journalists and bloggers that Barlow speaks of in his book as well.

I posted a couple times in the blog about free agency. I feel that I was well respected and people were there for opinions and heard me out. There were many free agents that were available that the Cowboys could have picked up and they did not. I commented and stated my opinion and stated who I was talking to in the blog. I feel that the conflict in a blog is great for the community. There is no fun if everyone likes the Cowboys because we are all on the same page. If there are people that oppose the Cowboys then we can state our case and vice versa. Of course there were a couple trolls that were in every other blog. A particular troll that stood out was Chris. He was not liked because he went to every blog and compared the presidential election to the Cowboys season. He was saying since a Democratic president has been in office to take over next year, the Cowboys will turn it around. I think the community did not like this because he would just say what he had to say and not contribute much further. He was called names and pretty much disliked by all.

I learned a lot over the time period that we have spent on blogging and the blogosphere. Barlow’s book definitely puts emphasis on the real blogosphere and how people are reacting to the change. Again, the Dallas Cowboys blog was informational and a well respected blog environment. Many people are taking time from their daily lives to contribute to these online communities and I think it is great. Some people do not have a large number of friends and blogging is a great way to feel part of society. Blogging has affected many views and I believe that it will only grow and become more of a national norm.

Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers. Retrieved November 4th, 2008, from

November 8th Observation

The first blog that I was in today was about the Giants and Eagles game. People were immersing themselves with scenarios so the Cowboys could make the playoffs. I think the Cowboys should root for the Giants to win so they are not fighting more teams for a Wild Card berth. This is the breakdown of the Eagles and Giants game and the affect on the Cowboys. If the Eagles win they are two games ahead of the Cowboys in their division. This puts the Giants a couple of games ahead as well and the Redskins (the other team in the NFC division) will be ahead of the Cowboys too. On the other hand if the Giants win then the Eagles, Redskins, and Cowboys will all be competing for the wild card spot. The division will be much closer except for the Giants that basically look like they will go on and win the division. The blog consisted of mixed reviews.

For the most part many of the users think that the Giants should win so the rest of the division is bunched up. The Eagles and Redskins have pretty tough games ahead for the rest of the season. This is a good thing for the Cowboys and their future playoff spot. Users agree that the Cowboys have to win most of their games from here on out. They are all giving situations if the Giants win or if the Eagles win and so on. This is a pretty touchy subject because it involves the remainder of the Cowboys season. No one wants December to come and not see their team in the playoffs. To my surprise the same guy (chris) came into this blog once again posting his moronic remarks about the Cowboys winning because a Democrat got elected into office. This time he did not get any reactions to his comment. The blog closed with a user comparing the Cowboys to David and Goliath. GO DALLAS!! SUPER BOWL-TAMPA!! Said David was a 250 to 1 underdog and he won. You can tell this guy is one of those diehard Cowboy fans that paint their face on game day even though he is home watching the game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 7th Observation

I first jumped into an interesting article about a previous player for the Dallas Cowboys, Daryl Johnston, and his views on Cowboy fans. He argued that many people are bandwagon fans and are throwing in the white towel already to give up. He is saying since the Cowboys started out with a bang and they were doing exceptionally well, now that they are in the hole their fans are abandoning ship.

The bloggers were not too happy about this article. Right off the bat there was a couple people that said they were Cowboy fans to the end whether doing good or bad. It once again went off football talk and back to politics. This is getting to become routine now the whole mix of football and politics. Rudypm says the Cowboys have to stand up and take charge like Obama. This sparks a couple users attention and feelings start coming out. Ernest t rat throws in a smart remark about raising taxes and re-distributing them out to the NFL and Mo challenges his statement. Mo says that at least it would be a change for the cowboys and that is what they need. Ernest t rat then comes off, living up to his character, and states that Stalin and Hitler brought change as well. I believe all three of these users want change for the Cowboys but disagree on how to accomplish this. It is crazy to see how defensive people get about their favorite sports team and the measures they go to show their emotion.

November 6th Observation

The first article that I read today was on T.O. once again. It was on his reactions this season and how mellow he has been. He has not blown up like he usually does and is well known for. Every Cowboy fan is frustrated on how they have been playing. To be a player and be calm is a totally different thing. I think if I was a player I would be even angrier because the team stats are representing me as well. In this blog the bloggers are giving T.O. his credit for keeping his cool. It was a coin flip when the Cowboys went after T.O. for a player. Some fans thought it was crazy to get him based on his character. Then the other half thought that he is an excellent wide receiver and we should take a shot. Overall T.O. has been an asset to the Cowboys organization and most fans think so as well. There was another post about how the Democrats are in office and how the Cowboys are going to dominate once again. I think these guys are crazy to think since one party holds office it affects the outcome of a football team. The user that kept posting this got some nasty comments because he was leaving similar messages in all the blogs. I think it is funny how it goes from football and turns homosexual after about one reaction. Chris Crapcha on a graham craka says that cris is a moron and un-clever for comparing the two and it takes about a half hour for cris to react. They go off on another tangent but this shows how the users like to protect their community. Chris Crapcha on a graham craka is expressing that cris is filling the blogs with garbage and demoralizes him in efforts for cris to stop. This was the most interesting article today with the most chemistry in it.