Tag Archives: Facebook

Brief Social History of Social Media?

Yesterday, Google took a moment to unveil its jump into the social media pool, Buzz. It’s an interesting step, I had long predicted that Facebook was building itself so that it would be purchased by Google, but then it started to become clear the two didn’t need one another. Buzz transforms Gmail accounts into Facebook-like platforms in which users connect with friends and family, share photos and videos, and generally waste time. But Google has carefully studied Facebook’s limitations and hopes that by solving Facebook’s problems, it’ll carve at least a piece of this market out for itself. And users will be able to seamlessly switch from e-mail to Google Buzz with a single click, keeping them snugly within the Google universe.

An article in Slate prompted;  Buzz is “intriguing” but it will “take a lot to lure Facebookers away from their profiles, their friend networks, photo albums, and addicting games. It may be especially difficult to get Facebook users who don’t have Gmail to both switch e-mail services and social networks to Buzz”. That’s true, but if Facebook starts thinking that way they’ll quickly be the next Myspace

A Short Social History of Facebook

My first Facebook encounter happened my sophomore year of college, in a sorority house. My good friend wanted me to check out his girlfriend’s “super hot big sister”. I didn’t entirely get it, but I was into the idea that said “super hot big sister” posteed photos of herself dancing on tables and breaking hearts at Charlie O’s. A few months later my school joined the community, and my nightly homework of economic analysis was happily traded in for searching Facebook for attractive people (that was the point in the first place!). In it’s early stages Facebook was only open to users with an .edu e-mail address. That’s a pretty inclusive crowd, but even people with that requirement felt some dissonance ( i.e. search the “groups” section of any early CCRI adapter and you might find the ” Why is CCRI in This Shit?” group). This created a certain social articulation for Facebook, I can remember my roommate’s critique of Facebook’s one time rival, Myspace, which was  for “bands, art-fags, and sluts” (Myspace is the milieu that produced Tila Tequila, we’ve yet to see a Facebook equivalent). Whether acknowledging it or not, Facebook was shaped around the symbiosis of youthful needs; acceptance, individuality and privacy.

That tacit agreement was broken when people got their first friend requests from Parents, distant family members, bossess etc, etc.  “Why is my mom friending me on Facebook?!?!?!” was the chorus heard on pretty much every campus. Facebook had become a public space, and while adding economic capital  it lost a lot of social capital, people became much more aware of what and who was operating within the space. It was not the door stop that it used to be. Undoubtedly, my assessment comes from being within the generation who fostered in social media, and now I’m growing old with it, I need it to adapt with me.

This hit a zenith other day when I received the request to become a “fan” of John J. Lombardi*. Fair enough, he seems like a good guy with some solid policy solutions, but there was a problem with this

1) I’m not a registered voter in RI. So what is this worth?

2) “Fans” carry no inherit value (this is what most people get wrong with social media), What “fandom” can do is allow you a platform to convert “fans” into teams of marketers, promoters and activists. A group of the right twenty people can be more beneficial than a group of 2,000.

This is why I think Buzz is interesting. For me, Facebook has become a space of casual associations, while my Gmail account has access to more academics, politicians, and business associates. Gmail/Buzz also gives me access to their functional e-mail address. I wouldn’t suggest that e-mail accounts alone can actualize value of networks, but a dialogue can be started without being intruded upon by someone’s Farmville updates.

So for now that might be where Buzz is at, a better version of Linkedin. But that’s only from my vantage point, there are plenty of people who are feed up with  Zuckerburg’s views on personal privacy and Facebook’s addiction to changing the interface on users. oh! and the academics. All of which will bring new evaluations to how people can, and will, work with social media.

Google certainly has it’s ear to the pulse of the clouds

– Yikes, Latour and Lovnik?!?! I’m amazed I have a girlfriend

*This is not a criticism of Mr. Lombardi, from his Facebook he certainly seems to have built a passionate group, it was just an example that got me thinking about similar situations that have occurred in the past


Playground or Prison?

The impetus for this blog was a Facebook conversation, so it seems only fitting that  this space will provide an opportunity for some withdrawal from  Facebook.

I’ve always championed for social media, claiming sites like Facebook allowed me to “have the conversations that I wish I was having with the people I don’t get to see”. I’ve traveled a lot, as have many of my friends, and often our geographic locations don’t line up. Facebook allowed for maintenance of pre-existing interpersonal relationships. It might only be in the format of a brief wall post or tagged photo as simple reminder that they were on my mind, but I think that enriches relationships rather than deteriorates them.

But recently the dark side of social media reared its head (or did social media pull out the dark side of me?). A person whom I see about two-three times a year, usually in a bar, made a comment in what I perceived to be a “private space” ( yes, I realize Facebook is an antonym to “private” , but we all create some set of norms in our heads as to what belongs on there and what doesn’t) what evolved from it was a digital pissing contest.

I’m more than willing to share my life with Facebook, less thrilled about living in Facebook. So I’ve decided to take a vacation with the hopes of converting  the 10-20 minutes a day I spent on Facebook into micro/macro polemicals and other brain plasma , since that’s what I wanted to do with this in the first place.

It certainly will not  be daily but I’m going to try for a Tuesday/Thursday thing.

Things I’m digging right now:

Big Fan (the trailer makes it look more dramatic than it is)

This fall our hearts and minds were captivated by the  hoodwinks and drunken blunders of eight twenty-somethings spending their summer on the Jersey Shore. Over winter break my life was entirely consumed by it’s popularity; on a crowded Metro North train I met one of the shows producers, a friend served Pauly D. at a RI Chelos, which promted me to do some research on Facebook as to how far I was separated from the Johnston native (the answer is one). What’s interesting, and servely overlooked, is that 3/6 of the cast came from New York’s fifth burrough; Staten Island. Living in New York I’m fascinated by Staten Island, but refuse to spend more than an hour there. The fact that Mike “The Situation” emerged from Staten Island isn’t an entire surprise, but he’s not the only product of the milieu. Big Fan’s central figure is Paul, he is an equally  isolated but drastically less ambitious then his fellow islanders.  A New York Giants fan who lives at home,  works in a toll booth, and spends his days composing rebuttals to an on-air advisory;  Philadelphia Phil (played by Michale Rapperport). The self constructed force-field around Paul’s life is destroyed when he ventures into Manhattan to try and meet his favorite Giant’s player. The bulk of the movie Paul tried to forget/wish away the world outside of Staten Island . At times the film feels like it may descend into some dark territory, a Staten Island version of Taxi Driver, but there is a certain logic that governs both worlds of Paul and the Jersey Shore kids . It’s obnoxiously  juvenile, but it is not criminal.

I spent a lazy morning watching Big Fan, and upon finishing it I crossed my fingers that   True Life: I’m a Staten Island Girl rerun would be playing on MTV

Nixonland: by Rick Perlstein– forty-four men have held the title of “President of the United States” for the 226 years the position has existed. Of those men, only one has resigned. If i were to guess the number of psychobiographies on Richard M. Nixon is triple that of any other president. Nixon was an intelligent but troubled man, who fostered a political rhetoric based on (often exaggerated) moralistic outcry. But Nixonland isn’t really about the man as much as it is about “the voter who…pulled the lever for the Democrat for president because to do anything else…seemed to court civilizational chaos, and who, eight years later, pulled the lever for the Republican for exactly the same reason”.

I’m fascinated by Nixon. From a media studies stand point his presidency was created and destroyed using the new medium of TV. “Liberal eggheads” like  Newton Minlow considered TV a “vast wasteland”, but Nixon was using TV to invite a mass audience into his living room of middle-class sensibilities. Reading the constitution to his daughters, introducing America to his dog. If you ever take a Media Theory class undoubtedly someone will discuss how those exposed to Kennedy’s good looks on TV helped win him the elction, but Nixon is who shaped broadcast into the rhetoric spilling, partisan confirming, device that it is still used for today.

When Brute Force Fails: by Mark Kleinman– Interesting fact, on a global scale America has considerable less crime than other “civilized nations”, yet it has a homicide rate three times that of Australia, Canada, and the U.K. What gives?

Kleinman is a professor of Public Policy at UCLA who argues that the “brute force” of our current crime control policy has been a costly social and financial mistake. He argues  “zero tolerance” is non-sense: there is always more offenses then there is punishment capacity, but there is a way to create a “focused” form of zero tolerance. Kelinman’s command of narrative is a little more academic than someone like Malcolm Gladwell, but the architecture of the book is the same; use interesting and personal stories to engage an audience in research and analysis that is usually only interesting to experts and individauls working in the field.

I’ve been told by some friends in the criminal justice profession that this book “offer nothing new” but I know very little about the subject…. so it was new to me