Extra Post: Reading Responses to Reccommended Readings

Hi All! After missing class last week, I worked with Professor Rheingold to come up with an activity to do to make up for my absence. I spent a few hours this week doing some of the recommended readings, and I wanted to post some short summaries/responses. My goal is to inspire you guys to take a look at some of the recommended readings as well, or at least just be exposed to some of them via my summaries. I’ll be the first to admit that I rarely want to do more reading than is assigned, especially when getting through just the required reading can be pretty time intensive. But Professor Rheingold has such a wealth of knowledge and so many of the recommended readings are really valuable!

“Everyone– Think Before You Post” (video)

This video looks like it was some sort of PSA targeted towards young internet users to be aware that everything they post online is visible to a wide audience. Your parents, teachers, friends, and even strangers can view what you post online, and giving the wrong people the wrong type of knowledge or the wrong impression can be downright dangerous.

It really made me think back to the days when the Internet was new and how much of a problem this was for early users! As I grew up, my parents were very wary of the internet and internet safety, so I was taught to be very very cautious about what I posted online. For children whose parents didn’t have the same concern about the internet or the time to share their concern with their children, early internet usage could have been so so different!

“Facebook Manners and You” (video)

This video was hysterical! It was done in black and white and with a purposefully very cheesy attitude. The video listed advice for how to behave politely on Facebook, such as not changing relationship status’s without consulting the other person and not airing your personal dirty laundry online for the world to see.

It got me thinking about online social norms, and how many unwritten rules there are. Because so many of the online cultural norms go unsaid and seem to just be widespread knowledge, I can imagine that it would be extremely difficult for someone from an older generation or for someone who grew up without access to technology to adapt to join online communities and participate effectively.

“Facebook Ettiquette: Five Dos and Don’ts” (article)

This article was similar to the Facebook manners videos, and my favorite of the Facebook rules it listed was on how to thoughtfully select your profile picture. Your profile picture is someone’s first impression of you online, and first impressions are hard to change.

Friends, Friendsters, and Top 8: Writing Community into Being on Socaial Network Sites

I really enjoyed the mandatory reading by Danah Boyd, and this piece had a really similar perspective/style. In this piece, Boyd talked about the complicated real world effects of choosing your top 8 friends on MySpace. This feature made people start thinking about their friends in terms of how much social capital they brought to the table, and choosing your top friends to display to the world really complicated the notion of juggling multiple groups of friends.

I personally hated the top friends feature on Myspace, and I agreed with all of Boyd’s conclusions about how the feature was potentially damaging and harmful. I know that if I ever had people in my top 8 friends, and I wasn’t in their top 8, I was slightly hurt. I hate that online communities can cause real world drama and real world hurt, and this feature certainly enables that. Great piece. I’d definitely recommend checking it out!

The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and Colege Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites

This was a study done in 2007 about Facebook use and college student’s social capital. A lot of the findings support what I think of as common sense outcomes of Facebook use, but it was interesting to think about how wide Facebook’s social effects were when it first came out and how much was unknown about social media when it first became mainstream.

The study found that there is a positive relationship between certain kinds of Facebook use and the maintenance and creation of social capital. They found that most Facebook members use the site to keep in touch with old friends and to maintain or intensify existing relationships rather than use the site to meet new people.

One thing that was particularly striking was that the article found that Facebook may provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction. This seemed to contradict new research that suggests that Facebook may actually cause depression and low self-esteem because when people compare themselves to the best versions of their friends (as portrayed online), they are likely to feel down.