Saturday, April 9, 2011

Facebook: Maintaining Separated Friendships?

The reading this week, a talk by Danah Boyd, brought out several good questions about the online social interactions in facebook and myspace. Unfortunately, the website hosting the other articles was down as of this writing.

The question to answer, refering to an article that I came across a while ago, is: "Is Facebook around primarily to help maintain relationships?"

In December 2010, a Facebook intern put together a stunning diagram of the interactions between people around the world using Facebook. This diagram is stunning, in that it shows, without a doubt, that Facebook is supporting connections between people from all over the world. Here is a link:

According to the reading, early adopters matter. Looking at the formation of Facebook, the Social Networking Service reached out to create connections between people at a college, then many colleges, and finally the world. The initial connections made by the college students that were early adopters to Facebook were geographically close, so how did Facebook get so many multi-national connections?

I would suggest that Facebook closes the structural, cultural, and distance based divides that have prevented multi-national friendships to date. The reading says: "when people are structurally divided, they do not share space with one another and they do not communicate with one another." In the case of Facebook, people can reach out across these bounds, in the comfort of their homes and computers.

Why is Facebook around? The legal definition, to make money. Plain and simple. The culture, on the other hand, would say that Facebook is used as a connection to find, and primarily maintain friend relationships through the many differences.


  1. Josh,
    I thought you made interesting points on why Facebook is used by so many college students. Facebook was created for a connection with other college students and then it expanded to all different kinds of social groups. Also, I liked your title of this blog post because Facebook is used to help maintain friend relationships through and after education, such as college. Your usage of the quotes from the readings really stand out to me because you connected them well with your blog post especially in your sixth paragraph where you talked about people being structurally divided and said that Facebook is a way to get out of the bounds.

    Have you ever used Myspace though? Could you compare anything from this blog post to that social networking site?

  2. I have never really used Myspace to speak of, I was late into the game with MS, and got a Facebook a couple months later. Of course, Myspace follows the same relationship context, although it is definitely designed more for searching out new friendships. This is a design point for startup bands, etc.