Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Social Networks

As I read Boyd's article, the section "But Why there?" had me question why I had joined Facebook to begin with. My account is fairly new and I obtained it in April after my visit to Brown. Facebook is not a South Texas thing; however, it was all the rage with everyone I met. In order to keep in touch with new friends, I got an account. Facebook was a connection to the people who I couldn't just give a call to or who I couldn't just visit. Later I was introduced to the Brown Class of 2012 page which answered all my questions about the next four years of my life, and Facebook became an obsession.

Facebook seems like a good source of information and a great way to stay connected, but I must admit that sometimes it gets creepy. The safe space that they promote is in no way that. Take for example Facebook's history. According to Wikipedia, "Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Ivy League. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 120 million active users worldwide." (My cousins in Mexico had a Facebook account years before I did.)

The ads that are placed around the website gives us insight into why Facebook would open the network to the world. The bigger audience it can reach, the more convenient it is for companies, the more money Facebook gets, and everybody wins. But should we blame Facebook for the fact that my 60 year old neighbor has a Facebook account?!

Perhaps not because my 60 year old neighbor loves exposing his life to the public as much as Facebook does too. Not many people would be interested in obtaining his pictures, but he still posts them. He also is not trying to escape reality as Boyd says most teenagers are trying to do.

So I guess it's an ongoing circle of Facebook's need for exposure and our own. Everyone is as responsible as the other.

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