"Susie Q is eating a bagel, blueberry to be exact." "Paul Anderson is halo-ing it up then going to chill with Matt!" "Jamie Newman is sooooo in love with Dan!!!" Why do people do this? We sit for countless hours in front of a computer screen, updating our lives with our keyboards and a mouse click. We let others around us know what we are doing, who we are with, our plans for the day, who we love this week, and even song lyrics that really "speak" to us. So how do we know what people are doing, from across the country, from across the world? There is a creation that today is commonly known as Social Networking Sites (SNS) and is taking the internet by storm, having attracted "millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practices" (Ellison and Boyd). Social Networking Sites are a way for people to connect with others around the world and keep tabs on what is happening in their lives; "you can practically share and store every minute of your life" on these websites (Boom). Websites such as Myspace, Facebook, Friendster, or LinkedIn are flooding the web. The big question still remains, however: why do people, of all ages, join SNS? There are many small answers such as connecting to people, staying in touch with relatives, meeting new people, going with the flow of the new age technology, that all will be touched upon in the next couple hundred words; the centerpoint answer, however, is the need to belong.
Ellison and Boyd describe SNS as "web-based services" that consist of "a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system", a list of people they share a connection with -such as classmates or relatives- and a list of connections to "view and transverse" with that were created by fellow users of that website (N.Pag). While majority of SNS differ from one another, they all share some of the basic fundamentals of a social network site. Typically, when one signs up for a website, they are prompted to create a profile for themself and fill out certain information about them to share with others. Once that is done, the website will most likely try to match him up with people that person may know such as classmates, relatives, or after one already have friends, people who he shares mutual friends with. After one's profile is created and friends are added, they can update things about themselves via status updates to share with all their friends, or they can interact with others on the site, be it friends or complete strangers.
Many sites have the same set up for how they run their website, but that does not mean that one SNS can be more popular than others. One of the fastest growing SNS is Facebook, created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. From March of 2004, when the site was expanded to networks beyond Harvard, to July of 2010, Facebook reached 500 million registered members, "the equivalent of connecting with eigth per cent of the world's population" (Facebook: 10 milestones). It is said on the statistics page on Facebook.com that 50% of users log on to facebook every day (N.Pag). According to Eberhardt, in a study conducted by Syracuse University Online Communities Research Team, it found that 92 percent of their students that responded to the survey, have a facebook account and use it (N.Pag). Unfortunately, Facebook is not all it is cracked up to be.
Three articles found online, find little flaws in the use of Facebook. Tom Hodgkinson, who wrote Why you should beware of Facebook, argues that while Facebook does connect us virtually, it does not connect us in reality. He writes, "instead of doing something enjoyable such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my friends, I am merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and amusing photos in cyberspace, while chained to my desk" (N.Pag). Hodgkinson also writes that Facebook "appeals to a kind of vanity and self-importance in us" by putting up flattering pictures of ourselves in order to be liked or get approval, or to...
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