Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Networked Publics

In her article, Danah Boyd discusses social networking sites such as Myspace as Facebook and their popularity among teens. Social networks are appealing not just because people can keep in touch with each other, but because they can present themselves as they would like to be seen. The appeal of a profile is that you can manage exactly how people see you. You can put up pictures that are the most flattering, say you like popular movies and music, and in general customize your profile to your liking. When people interact in real life, there are always little details that cannot be controlled that others use in their judgements. In a profile, you can only see exactly what the owner wants you to.

The article also mentions the complications of privacy in social networks. People write private messgaes on their friends profiles which end up being in public for anyone to see. However, they are aware that their messages will be read by others and in a way desire it. At least in Facebook, there is the option of leaving a message in a person's inbox where only they can see it. Facebook users choose to leave messages on the public Wall, even if they might be semi-private, so that people will see them as being social and having friends that they exchange messages with. A series of exchanged messages on a Facebook Wall generally denotes friendship past the automatic friendship that Facebook grants. In many ways, Facebook is used much more to promote the user's own social life than to actually keep in touch with people.

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