Facebook as a New Media Technology
New Media Technology
New media refers to the emergence of new technologies that emerged towards the end of the twentieth century. These technologies are in the field of information and communication technology and are digital, computerized, and networked. The allow individuals to interact over networks all over the world. One of these new media technologies is the Facebook. It is a social networking website where individuals with electronic mails and over the age of thirteen can join to interact with friends. It allows registered users to add friends, update their personal profiles, and send messages to friends. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with the help of some students in Harvard University. Facebook has led to the evolvement of many cultures where individuals now interact frequently. The young people are the most affected where they use their mobile phones to access their Facebook accounts. Facebook allows users to search for old and new friends. When the time available for people to meet is limited, they can chat over long distances. Some people have started love relationships over Facebook. It is however important to note that the use of Facebook brings some conflicts that may affect the direction of its further development. This paper will seek to analyze the cultures that have developed as a result of the use of Facebook.
Historical Development of Facebook
Facebook started being developed in 2003 by Mark Zuckerberg who was a student in Harvard University. He first developed Facemash with the help of his roommates. Facemash was a site that was only used in Harvard and was used to compare pictures of undergraduates. It then developed to include individuals from other colleges such as Columbia, Yale, and Stanford, and others. It then extended to those from high school, and finally anybody who was over the age of thirteen. An individual who is interested in opening a Facebook account must have an email address. In February 2004, Mark developed TheFacebook which was advancement of Facemash. He dropped the word ‘the’ from TheFacebook in 2005 to form Facebook. This took place in the month of august. In the same year, Mark developed the high school version of the Facebook. For a high school network to join, the school had to be invited. Companies then started having their networks on Facebook.
Key Actors and Moments in the Development of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg was triggered the development of Facebook. He started it when he was in the sophomore year in the university. He was however assisted by many other people. His friends and roommates especially Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz played a major role in development of the website. They joined him in the initial periods and helped him to advance it to the next higher levels. In fact, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz dropped out of school to invest all their time in the project. The idea came into his mind one night after he had been dumped by his girlfriend. He was trying to do something that could get the girl out of his mind. He had to hack the university’s protected network in order to access the dormitory ID images. He actually started the development of Facebook but was assisted by fellow computer science students.
Cultures Surrounding the Use of Facebook
Facebook has affected the culture of individuals who use it. It has increased the frequency of communication between friends. Today, many people spend a lot of time chatting with friends and relatives using their Facebook accounts. Some of these individuals are very far but the internet makes it possible for them to communicate (Bargh and McKenna 2004, p.583). The message is cheap and this allows all users who can access the network use the service at the lowest price. It is not imaginable for two lovers to spend a day without communicating over the Facebook. The chat service provided by Facebook allows friends to communicate instantly. As long as the two friends are online, a message sent reaches the other end within a short period of time. Many people do not make calls or send short messages these days because using Facebook is cheaper and more convenient. Making international calls is a bit expensive but Facebook has a flat rate regardless of the distance between two friends. This has increased the use of Facebook for communication and eventually increased the frequency of communication. Facebook has changed the culture of friends where the frequency of communication between them has increased.
Facebook has also changed the form of communication used by some organizations. Organizations and social movements open their directories in Facebook. Organization’s members use these directories to communicate with fellow members. Messages are posted in the walls of employees so that the employees can view them when they open their accounts. Messages that are shared between members over the network can only be viewed by those who are members of the organization. Social movements use Facebook to communicate with members. Messages are posted into the walls of all members. This is different from the culture of making calls and sending short messages to all members of an organization or a social movement. The method of communication ahs therefore been affected the invention of Facebook.
The use of Facebook has led to the development of new subcultures. A subculture such as the text speak has developed a new method of informal writing (Steinfield, Lampe and Ellison 2008, par.4). Individuals use a combination of letters and numbers to shorten words. Also, numbers that sound like words are used to represent these words. A letter like 4 is used to represent the word ‘for’ and 2 is used to represent the word ‘to’. This improves the language of those students who are interested in informal writing. Another subculture that has developed is the cyberpunk where hackers break into individual’s accounts and interrupt with them. This is however unethical and punishable. The Facebook has contributed to the development of these subcultures.
Facebook has presented young children with an easy way of conversation and building relationships. It has been noted that young people use Facebook to communicate with their friends especially if they are shy to engage in face-to-face conversation. They say that it is easier to break up with ones boyfriend or girlfriend over the Facebook than face then or send them text messages. Many other children are starting new friendships and relationships online using Facebook (Horrigan 2002, par.7). Facebook have provided them with a large network of where they can look for new friends and start new relationships. Consequently, Facebook has been used by young children to start relationships.
Facebook has changed the form of interaction between individuals. Many forms of interaction that exist only allow a one-to-one or one-to-many interaction but Facebook has presented a many-to-many form of communication. An individual posts a message into his or her wall and all his or her friends can view the message. All the friends who view the message can respond to it. This message is used to communicate to many individuals unlike in the case of for example a phone call or a short message where each person has to be called or sent a short message. In addition to text that individuals post on their walls, Facebook provides them with an option where they can post images and sounds (Horrigan 2002, par.9). An individual posts his or her pictures for friends to make comments about them. This helps them determine the best styles that make them look more presentable. Facebook has become a form of entertainment where funny pictures and images are posted. An individual posts pictures and images he or she feels will be entertaining to friends. When an individual gets bored, he or she opens his or her Facebook account so as to get entertained by what his or her friends have posted in their walls. Individuals who have accounts use them for interaction and entertainment purposes. Interaction between individuals has been made easier by the invention of Facebook.
Students use Facebook for education purposes. Facebook is used to support learning inside and outside the classroom (Ellison 2010, par.6). It acts as a good resource for instructors and students. Students arrange study groups and dates when they shall meet using Facebook. They also keep on updating each other of the meeting and the time. If a class is postponed, students who are aware post the notice in their walls and save other students the time they could have wasted travelling with no class. Some students also communicate over Facebook to collaborate on an assignment so that they can fulfill what the instructor would like (Mazer, Murphy and Simonds 2007, p.6). Other than these discussion groups, students also use Facebook to support social events. It has been an important tool for students in their education.
Past and Future Impacts of Facebook
Since its creation in 2004, Facebook has had and will continue having many impacts especially on the social lives of many individuals and business organizations. The number of registered users of Facebook is currently estimated to be four hundred million. Users who are typical log in at least twenty minutes per day and about seventy five percent of users use it every day (Bargh and McKenna 2004, p.586). This affects the social lives of individuals in that the frequency of interaction increases and one keeps in contact with friends and family members who are quite far to meet regularly. Individuals remain updated on matters taking place regardless of their absence. Facebook has also allowed individuals to connect with their old friends who had been long forgotten. This has increased the social network of such individuals. Young people have also been able to start relationships over Facebook. Many organizations have been able to have Facebook directories allowing them to advertise and communicate with members and customers at a higher rate. This has increased their competitive advantage over those organizations that do not have directories with Facebook. Eventually, this increases their revenue. Many individuals continue to join Facebook so as to enjoy the services that it offers. Many young people join the social site immediately they are thirteen years. Organizations are also joining the site so as to increase their competitive advantage over other organizations. This means that Facebook will continue impacting on the lives of individuals and on organizations just as it has had.
Conflicts and Tensions that may affect the Further Development of Facebook
Facebook has been a useful social site for many but there are some conflicts and tensions that might affect its further development. One of the major conflicts is the privacy of individuals as they communicate over Facebook (Gross and Acquisti 2005, p.24). Facebook users provide a lot of information that could be private and confidential. This may put the user at a risk bearing in mind that there are many hackers who are interested in breaking these accounts and stealing important information such as passwords. In fact, some people have closed their Facebook accounts due to lack of privacy when using them. In some other instances, Facebook has led to breakage of love relationships as a result of the messages that individuals post in an individual’s wall. There are also claims that Facebook is addictive and individuals waste a lot of time chatting with friends or reading the comments on the walls of other individuals. Some individuals put their work aside so as to access their accounts on Facebook. In fact, some organizations have banned the used of Facebook in their organizations so as to prevent wastage of time. All these negatives about Facebook are likely to affect its further development.
New media technology is used to refer to the emergence of digital, computerized, and networked technologies towards the end of the twentieth century. Facebook is a social network site that allows individuals to interact frequently. It was developed by Mark Zuckerberg with the help of roommates and fellow computer science students. Facebook has led to development of new cultures where the frequency of communication has increased. Organizations have opened Facebook directories allowing them to increase their competitive advantage over other organizations. Young children have an easier way of communication and students use Facebook for academic purposes. Many individuals are also capable of interacting with one another through Facebook. Facebook has many impacts and will continue impacting on the life of individuals and on organizations due the increased rate of individuals opening accounts in the site. Some of the conflicts that might affect its future development include lack of privacy, addiction, negative effects on love relationships and many others.
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