#316 Taking on new forms of contact
Thursday 3rd April, 2008
Facebook: Why so socially demanding?
Facebook presents at times a complex medium of interaction. Where communication at first appears so straight-forward; a poke here, a wall post here, there are unforeseen and surprising demands that are made on the Facebook user. These kinds of demands redefine the usual social rules, and yes etiquettes, for how to stay in touch, what to do, how to act and respond to others.
It may be useful at this stage to think about not only what the new conditions of a connected and ‘responsible’ social presence look like, but how they feel and what they make you do! Familiar to all Facebook users is the profile page, the main hub for network connections and the ‘I am ‘here’’ feel. At first there is a marked uniformity, but take a closer look and there is also a noticeable diversity of the kinds of information that users are willing to reveal; heady is the dilemma about whether to include a ‘relationship status’, birth date etc.
So more demands: First to set the right accord with a profile and then in order to maintain at all times an accessible and persistence social presence. Such social activities take place across shared networks that are articulated only within users personal substrata of news and minifeeds. These represent the daily Facebook wear and tear, where users are dependent (if not hungry) for near instantaneous updates and information snap-shots about each other. Alongside these very visible, visual and deliberate social actions are more subtle forms of sociability. It is all too easy to ‘forget’ that Facebook whilst enables social activities and accessibility the site also represents a repository for the retrieval of information at a ‘friends’ (if your’re lucky) and third party request. So another set of social demands to take care of, even ones that you may not necessarily know about!
But, I don’t want to scare you off! Aside from the inappropriate, knee jerk reaction and over the top media reactions of the ‘dark side’ of SNSs; these overlook the ‘average’ user, who is young, capable and more than able to safe guard and to be aware of their identity online. Facebook is the new flexible friend, at once dynamic, dialogical and fluid it provides a form of public and publicised presence that can and should be enjoyed. Socially located, logging in is a purposeful and as pleasurable experience as you allow. And that’s worth demanding.Tweet