Before heading out for the weekend I wanted to give quick response to the discussion about Social Media's impact on how we define and theorize relationships. I appreciate the discussion so far. To help keep things together I copied the responses into one discussion thread with my original comments at the bottom and subsequent responses moving to the top, as in an email. Sorry for the extended length.
In response to your great comments let me start with this:
I don't like Facebook. Maybe I am too old or the wrong personality type, but I am ready to disembark the Facebook train. I like the connections with current and old friends, but I do not like having my stuff put out there for everyone. Typically I just want to send a message to one individual and don't want to navigate through FB to do that (frankly I still get confused by FB's less than user friendly setup). So I prefer email. In contrast, for a discussion like this, because we cannot meet F2F, I think it works well. But this is not quite the same as posting on a Social Media like FB.
I have no interest in posting to my world about what I am doing at any given moment in my average life. But that may be a personality thing. I can see, as Tori commented, why it is fun and useful for more socializing types. At heart I'm too introverted for that. But Tori, you do make a good point about the fun social nature of the medium.
I also like Ivan's description of "digital-byte-pixal-ships". I have not heard it put that way before. And I agree that in cyberspace we are more prone to get to know the managed limited "real" person than in F2F encounters. But I do see evidence in young people today of carrying that same narrow branded image of themselves into their real world connections, and being okay with this subtle form of deception. It seems harder to tell who the real person is, especially since we may be getting just an offline packaged version since they have so many online version of themselves in other social circles I may not be privy to. Not that it doesn't occur this way in the real world. We all do Impression Management to some degree. It just seems easier and more acceptable to fudge the lines when we become so saturated with this IM style in the digital world.
Hope at least some of this makes sense!
Have a good weekend everyone.
Steve Stogsdill, HSU Dept of Comm.
Someone asked the question, Do we need to redefine friendships and such? I don't think so. However, I do not think that form the life time friends that we used too. Facebook is great for keeping up with old friends and family, but in a social way. I do not think it is a good idea to put personal information out there that you do not want the whole world to know.
Ellen, I completely agree with what you said. I have friends and family that will not set up a facebook page, because they don't feel safe in doing so. I don't post personal information out there, but I will post "stupid" things like, "It feels like Monday, can it be Friday yet?" or I had a really great interview today, hopefully, I end up with a job from it! I do not put my "diary" out there.
As far as friendships go. I have made new friends on facebook. We were friends on there for a long time and finally got to meet in person a few weeks ago at the American Legion National Convention. It was great because got to skip all of the new friend things that people go through and sit and laugh and had great conversations.
My belief is that as long as you are careful about what you post, then things like facebook can be great fun.
I hope this makes some sense.
Tori, sk3vld sk3vld@...
sumangal haldar sumangal_haldar@...
I am a little leary of the social interactions that we have online, because it does not allow us to truly form a "true" relationship. Let me explain. Up until the great internet in the sky sent us this ability to connect, our only way we could form a relationship was by proximity, relative closeness and as such our whole concepts of self-worth, self-identity and communicating ability were defined by such realities of sight, smell, hearing, touching, feeling, empathy, proximics, body language, culture etc., now in this media age of having formed "digital-byte-pixal-ships" (the relation between online communication and development due to digital, bytes in a computer program, pixals in a digitalized video picture or camera which allows us to form some type of connective electronic relative definition) Thus are old ways those ancient customs, handed down to us through old stereo type involvements resulting in face to face relationships breaks down in such media and a few generations of having such "new communication tools" such as the internet cannot create or replace new characteritics to which we can judge a person's reality! Thus the more we communicate with another person, maybe they are person, we are force fed exactly and only what they want us to know, with such limitations, falsehoods abound. What is not defined for us in our communications with that other "alien" encounter we fill in subconciously. Why? Simply, because we can not do away with all that generational learning of how we interact with others. Nor can we turn it off and look differently at online relationnships and turn it back on when we deal with normal relationships.
Therefore; as we deal with online relationships we must form an understanding of exactly who we are dealing with, for self-disclosure can not be full self-disclosure for "physical real time space relationship" can not ever take place. We wished such could take place, but we must fully come to terms that it not matter how much information is given there is always that element there is just somethings that can not be digitally encoded and decoded because we are physical human individuals, not binary codes of the highest or perhaps of the lowest order.
I think the problem is many people do not realize or appreciate the scope of impact social networking can have. If we don't understand the scope of it, how can we consider the consequences. What is scarier to me, are people who don't seem to care about the possible consequences.
"Stogsdill, Steve" sstogsdill@...
It seems that all we do online is really open to any critique and exposure. If you don't want anyone else to know something, then don't post it. But, even as I write this, I know that it is now public note.
To me, the question comes down to a feeling of accountability to what we say or write. Yes, some people, especially younger college students seem to want everything they say and do exposed to as many as possible.
Privacy ideas have changed in our publications, videos, pictures and especially in our social networks. The only people I don't know a lot about are those who choose to stay off of social networks or who don't post anything regularly...the lurkers.
It is changing the way we view our life and other's lives for sure.
Ellen Taricani <etaricani@...
I taught an undergraduate seminar this summer called “Old Communication in a New Communication World.” We explored key communication theories in light of our new digital online world to see if old theories need to be changed. For example, we may need to redefine what we mean by friends and acquaintances because of social networking. (Consider how differently Social Penetration Theory would model friendships off-line v. online).
What are some thoughts?
If interested in a discussion on this topic I’m starting the ball rolling with the following:
Do we still want privacy?
In a story with Clay Shirky (Professor at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and author of Here Comes Everybody), one of the people on the street who was grabbed for a sound bite likened social networking to leaving your diary on a park bench for anyone to see. To me, the big difference is that I can’t search the world for, access, datamine, or copy-record-cut and paste-then forward that real world diary unless I happen to be there.
Shirky compares crawling the social networks to listening in on a conversation at a mall food court or setting up a boom mike for surveillance of conversations in a public space like Rockefeller Center. But in real life that would make you a weird person. Yet we accept it as okay on the web.
He has several good video pieces on Youtube with a lot of great insight into our new digital world. At the end of this interview he comments,
“The most seriously negative consequence of this is if somehow as a society we don’t carve out some space for documented personal action that’s okay, then we will really have robbed young people of something they didn’t even, they won’t even know they’re missing….because they never leave the net of surveillance.”
Ironically, there are a number of video clips from others that come up on Youtube explaining why they hate Facebook, each of them displayed on the uber public domain of Youtube!
Video story reference: Clay Shirky interview on Youtube: “Facebook killed the private life.”
Stogsdill, Steve <sstogsdill@...