Bridging Connections (Final Paper)

June 4, 2010

The internet is a fairly new invention that has revolutionized the world as we know it. Not only can we upload pictures and videos to share with others, but now we can talk to people across the world. Recently, I found out that you can buy groceries online and have them delivered without ever leaving your home. This is especially helpful for those workaholics or for those that don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish all they have to do. Some lack access to the internet, but those that don’t might think “wow this is amazing”; others, however, may actually find it harming. Social networks have been increasing over the past several years with more and more people subscribing to them. What seems to explain this increase is that face-to-face interactions aren’t as feasible as they used to be, or rather, are not an efficient way of communicating with others. This being said, the internet as a whole – including social networks like MySpace and Facebook– have  brought us closer together because it has no distance constrictions, it is time efficient, and it allows us to get to know a person on a deeper level.

Distance or relationships, no matter what kind, is always a deal breaker when these relationships are not properly maintained. Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe (2007) argue that “online interactions do not necessarily remove people from their offline world, but may indeed be used to support relationships and keep people in contact”. People are constantly moving either across the city or across the nation. In particular, college students are not only leaving home, but also their friends and social network. As their lives become busier seeing old friends or even talking to them on the phone becomes much harder. Social networks allow us to reconnect and keep up with our friends’ lives back at home.

Distance isn’t always a bad thing, however, since it may allow creating a network rich with information that you might not be aware of otherwise. Many people have hundreds of friends on these social networks that they probably haven’t met in person. Networking or having “weak ties” with people all around the world wouldn’t exist without the internet (Thompson, 2008) as such it brings us closer together to a diverse population. These “weak ties” or “connections” also “could have strong payoffs in terms of jobs, internships, and other opportunities” (Ellison et al, 2007) and we know how useful these things can be, especially with the way the economy has been. In an experiment (#6), we were to ask questions or for favors on our Facebook status and observe what would happen. I asked random questions such as “why do we celebrate the 5th of May?” and people whom I hadn’t talked to in a while commented on my wall, answering with detail. I also asked “where can I find cheap tickets to NY?” and some of my “weak ties” gave me great search engines online and even told me about their experience when they were there.

Time runs our lives. We, as a society, are always in a hurry, meeting deadlines or working, amongst other things; so when do we have free time for ourselves? The internet gives us the opportunity to have some sort of free time because it is fast, cheap, efficient and convenient. Facebook, for example, is used to “maintain offline relationships” suggesting that the internet will bring us closer together because it is instantaneous communication. In the real world it is often hard to find the time to do anything, so through the internet we can often make a relationship with someone that much closer. It also “facilitates new connections, in that it provides people with an alternative way to connect with others who share their interests or relational goals” (Ellison et al, 2007). With schoolwork, actual work, reading, and studying, the people we interact with are mostly people that we see in class. Rarely do we meet people outside of our daily spaces that might share common interest or hobbies. In another experiment (#4), we were to join an online forum, and so I joined a scrapbooking one. I love taking pictures, but it then becomes hard to organize them and put more meaning into them. The people in this forum gave me great ideas on how to categorize them and how to make it unique according to my own experience, as such, they serve as a kind of support network.

Online forums and social networks allow users to express and present themselves to the world as they would like to be seen. Thompson (2008) argues that updating your status on these social networks allows us to get a “sense [of] the rhythms of friends’ lives”’ thus forming a “portrait” of them, bringing us closer together. In fact for experiment #2, we did just that. At first I thought that people constantly updating their Facebooks was kind of annoying, but I never really thought about the importance of it. In fact, we do end up creating a “portrait” of the person and get a sense of what they are like and what they are not. Thompson (2008) talks about the impact that the newsfeed on Facebook has had and argues that it brings people closer together. These newsfeeds appear on our homepages and when we look at them, we get a sense of what the person is doing, feeling, or thinking. It also gives us “more things to talk about” the next time we see them.

What happens when we don’t see them or have that physical contact? Carter (2005) suggests that friendships in cyber city agree that “physical contact is not important in a friendship and that this escape from the real social world “is the route to more in-depth friendships.” Suggesting that the internet has no barriers and that it can even bring people closer together in intimate ways. They also state that these friendships “last” because “you are able to connect with people who are like yourself in new ways”. It seems simple, but there are caveats to watch out for when meeting new people online just like when you meet people in person.

In conclusion, the internet has brought people closer together because it has no distance constraints, it is time efficient and it allows us to get to know a person on a deeper level. It is important to note that while the internet allows information to be instantaneous and “connecting” with friends to be efficient, there can be no “real substitute for the physical contact” (Easter 2007). This suggests that “a person may become lonely and depressed from a lack of physical contact” (Easter, 2007). It is interesting to wonder about the future of the internet, what is going to come next? Will it be possible for the internet to be even faster or for resources to be even more readily available? Could we become so disengaged from the real world if things become that much easier and accessible? It is too early to tell, but what we do know is that the internet is a gateway to a world of knowledge that we are only beginning to uncover.\

Works Cited

Carter, D. (2005) ‘Living in virtual communities: an ethnography of human relationships in

cyberspace’, Information, Communication & Society, 8: 2, 148 — 167

Easter, J. (2007). Happiness and the internet. Retrieved from http://feesta.com/dissertation-Jeff-

final.pdf

Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C, & Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook “friends”: social

capital and students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of computer-mediated communication, 12.                     Retrieved from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/ellison.html

Thompson, C. (2008, September 7). Brave new world of digital intimacy. Retrieved from

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html?_r=3&ref=technology&pagewanted=all

Week 2 Experiment: Updating Facebook status every two hours for a whole day.

Week 4 Experiment: Joining an online forum.

Week 6 Experiment: Asking questions or favors on my Facebook status.

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Neverending Happiness (Week 9)

May 28, 2010

This week’s experiment consisted of doing things that made me happy whether online or offline. Online, the things that I enjoy doing is looking up random quotes, being on Facebook and catching up with old friends, “window” shopping online so like looking at different stores online and looking to see if I like something amongst other things. I also like playing the game “bloons” online, but with the feature where the arrows are unlimited (J). Another thing that I enjoy doing online is being on YouTube and looking up funny videos. One of the funniest one was of two drunken guys dancing at a party that had my sister and I literally crying and rolling on the floor with laughter! Offline, I like spending time with my friends and cooking. My roommate and I on one day made chicken enchiladas and on the next day made chicken quesadillas with rice and beans on the side. I have to admit I am so not a great cook, but it was fun making them from “scratch” and learning from the experience. I also caught up with reading on my offline day. The similarities between my online and offline activities are that they make me happy and that I can catch up with friends that I am unable to see on a regular basis. Jeffrey Easter argues that “feeling self-worth fulfills one of the needs for people to find happiness” and it’s true because offline, I was able to interact with others and at the same time feel satisfied and feel productive. Often time when I am online and spend quite some time there, I feel guilty, whereas offline I do. This said, doing thing offline for me feel much more fulfilling, not only because I am learning things, but am making memories with my friends even though they take more time out of my schedule.

The key true to happiness is a mystery. Some would argue that doing what you love to do or rather having the freedom to do what you want is the true key to happiness, but what if what makes you happy is not socially acceptable? For me the true key to happiness is being true to you and having a feeling of being “fulfilled”. Jeffrey Easter talks about “flow” and being deeply immersed in whatever you are doing that brings you happiness and I have to agree with this. Whether you are reading a book or simply doing things with friends and afterwards if you don’t feel like you wasted your time doing something else, then to me you experienced flow and are overall happy. Another thing that Easter talks about is the problem of time. He mentions that we are always in a hurry to everything and that there is not enough time to accomplish everything we would like to accomplish in a day. To me it seems like in the Western world we are essentially living by the clock and that doesn’t bring happiness, at least in my opinion. When I was in Spain, sure there were clocks and watches, but nobody really used them. Nobody was ever in a hurry so it seems much more relaxed and people seemed happier and more likely to experience “flow” because they “lose track of time”.

Special Order Coming Up!! (Week 8)

May 21, 2010

Going on match.com for the first time or to any dating site for that matter was actually pretty interesting. I always see the commercials for these dating services like EHarmony where they have testimonials of people who have actually “fallen in love”. As soon as I registered on match.com, it allowed me to play around with the filters and select what I wanted in a guy. It was kind of like putting an order for that “ideal guy”.  At first, the information that I entered had not retrieved any matches, so then I tried it again, but this time broadening the range on the search to at least 30 miles and it gave me 3 pages of potential profiles. While exploring these profiles, I decided to look at the profiles that were closest in range to me. I looked at a total of three profiles and all of them emphasized the reasons why they were on this site which was mainly that they didn’t have any time for “real” dating because of their job or other demands. Most of them had at least graduated from high school and some of them actually went on to college, one actually graduated from UCLA! Also these three that I viewed had traveled, which to me is amazing. Based on their profiles, I would consider dating them, however only after I met them in person and I would even be hesitant to do so. Most of the profiles that I browsed through seem very interesting and genuine in their search for their “other half”. One of them was really picky and even stated that even though he was Hispanic/Latin; he doesn’t “really want to date a Hispanic/Latin gal”. I mean on dating services like these, you have the opportunity to essentially “pick” what you want, but some are “highly selective” as Sautter, Tippett and Morgan state.

The internet dating service has increased significantly over the past years and even more so because it does “facilitate connections” and it “provides important insights about [the] presentation of self and identity” as Sautter et al argues. I do agree with the article in that there is a specific subpopulation of people that go on the internet and go on these dating services which is based on “sociodemographic factors, computer literacy and social network effects”. The impact of the use of internet use, specifically for internet dating, has becomes available and efficient as the article points us, but it is actually safe? What are the success rates of these couples formed through dating services? We would only know if others that we know have tried these and were successful. How do we know for sure that these people aren’t lying? Perhaps we can’t be sure until we meet them in person, but I must say that people are hesitant because it could be dangerous. There is still stigma associated with dating services for the reasons mentioned before, but also because it is seen negatively. The article mentions that  29% of people agree that “people who use online dating are desperate”, but I have to disagree with this because some people are actually pretty shy to meet new people or might not have the time to go out and signing up was more efficient, not necessarily desperate. Who knows, maybe signing up could change your life and meet new people who you would have never met otherwise.

Privacy? What’s That!?

May 14, 2010

This week our experiment was to “follow” or rather “stalk” someone on Facebook and see how much we could see or learn from them from their profiles. At first I was kind of hesitant and didn’t want anybody to “stalk” me on my facebook nor did I want to do it, but then I realized that, duh, the reason why people have profiles is or others to see them haha. So then I proceeded to complete the assignment and at first before I added Shao-An Chang, I was only able to see a limited profile which means that I was able to see one of her picture albums and her information. After we became friends, I was able to see her wall and the rest of her picture albums. Shao-An Chang was born August 3rd, 1988 which means that she is a Leo and is a 4th year psychology student. She has over 450 friends and it is interesting that we also have one friend in common. By the comments on her page, she seems like a social and sweet person who likes to spend quality time with her friends, which she also refers to them as sisters. I am not certain, but I think she has a tattoo and would have liked to get another in Japan (where she spent time in). It also seems from her pictures that she has a sweet tooth and likes to go out dancing and have fun. Either she currently plays the flute or perhaps wanted to learn, but took a class. She also took a singing class and I have actually always wanted to take a singing class, but never knew they offered it at school. She enjoys taking naps and had curly hair at one point. She also has attended dinner for 12 strangers and is considered by her friends to be a smart and funny person. She is trilingual and speaks Japanese, English, and Spanish. She seems family oriented and it seems like she isn’t online too much. I think she also took a Korean drumming class and often posts ads on the marketplace so she seems very resourceful. She is from North Cal. She also fell asleep during a midterm and has been attacked by a bird. She has seen Jay-Z, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and others here at UCLA. Her pictures of food, I have to say are very good, almost professional.

The article by Susan B. Barnes was a real eye-opener. I realized that privacy is actually a big issue and even more so when predators could be stalking you at any moment. Over the past several years there have been many reported cases of identity theft from online profiles. It really makes me wonder if the internet is safe at all. Millions of people have online accounts, not just networking, but also bank accounts amongst other things. People have learned ways to hack into these accounts and that is scary. I do have to agree with Barnes, that there is a paradox, that while adults want to keep as much information to themselves, teenagers are putting it all out there. I think that they just don’t realize that there are actually very malicious people out in the world that in order to make a profit will towards any means possible. On certain web pages this box pops up that reads something along the lines of “the information that you send can be read by 3rd parties, do you wish to continue”. I never really thought of it and always thought “yeah okay continue, I don’t care” but we should always be careful in what we put out there because it could at the end harm us. Without these networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook I wouldn’t be aware of what my friends were up to, but it is important for us to understand that when we do post pictures up after a crazy night that either we don’t put up inappropriate ones or tag people in them. The assignment this week just confirms what I said before. What I mean is that we are aware that others look at our pages or have access to them, thus we are ultimately responsible and ultimately have a choice of what to post and what we want others to know or not know about us, otherwise we wouldn’t post it so I think that by looking or “stalking” a person we aren’t invading their privacy. College admissions, potential employers and even parents are able to see them, and the article implies that we can’t really “be ourselves” without having to consider who might be looking at us, but at the end it is our choice. Also like Barnes said “awareness is key to solving the solution”.

Close Ties as Support Networks (Week 6)

May 7, 2010

This week’s experiment reminded me a lot of the experiment that had us updating our Facebook status every so often.  I have always wanted to travel and explore the world. Last summer I was in Spain and Paris. This year I can’t give myself the luxury of traveling outside the United States, but ever since I was in high school, I have always wanted to visit New York. Luckily, this summer, as a graduation present, some of my closest friends and I are going. At first we were debating as to whether we should go to New York or Chicago. I mean both places have really cool and amazing things that we could see. So I asked my Facebook friends, which one they would choose. The friends that commented and answered my question were one of my close friends who had actually been there before. Their insights were amazing and really helped me to make a unanimous decision of going to New York! The next question that I asked was for inexpensive tickets or rather for them to give me suggestions as to where I could find cheap tickets to New York. Again, their answers were extremely helpful and will be taking a look at these websites throughout the next week or so and make a decision. As everybody knows, today is May 5th the day when in the battle of Puebla, the Mexican Army defeated the French. I knew this much and knew that by looking on the internet I would easily find the answer, yet I posted on Facebook and the responses ranged from very informative and long to funny and short. Facebook is a social network that I think is able to provide support, more specifically; it is able to provide informational support.

 

In the article Nie (2001) argues “that internet use detracts from face-to-face time with others” and to an extent I have to agree with this because I believe that there is no replacement for interacting with others physically. However, time runs our lives meaning that we sacrifice physical interactions and often becomes much easier to keep in contact with someone online. The article argues that these “online interactions don’t remove people from their offline world” but much rather allow for people to keep in contact and build support networks when life changes. I would love to be able to catch up with old friends or keep in contact with new ones in person, but with school and work and many other things, it is easier just to send them an email or write on their wall. The term “friendsickness” or the distress associated with moving away from home and losing the connection with old friends, I think, is something that a lot of people deal with. What I mean is that I do agree that one of the main reasons why people have these social networks is to cope with this distress because that is the main reason why I am part of these social networks. These connections are helpful because as shown through the experiment, we can rely on either these “weak ties” or “close ties” to provide their support, whether informational or other. I am also pretty sure that if I needed a job, internships or opportunities, I know that I would be able to rely on these social networks.

Lost Connection (Week 5)

April 30, 2010

Try going without being on the internet for a whole hour, better yet try not being on it for a whole day!! After this week’s experiment I realized that not being able to go on the internet whatsoever was harder than I had imagined. I realized that I probably spend more time online that anything else and this includes being on it on my phone.  Throughout the week I check my email, my MySpace, my Facebook, my horoscope, daily news, amongst other things. I even do it during class!! (Not my favorite sociology 88 class of course!). It’s definitely a distraction and entertaining to see daily updates, but I can’t get through the day without them. I attempted to do it on one of my busy days just to see if it was possible that by not being on the internet I would be more productive with my school work since I would essentially have no distractions. Well let me tell you, this didn’t really work out because I found myself grabbing my phone to check my email and after I had checked it was when I realized that I had already messed up the experiment. I decided that I would give it another try on the weekend and although it was much easier since I was distracted by my little cousins and my puppy, I realized that it was only when I was bored or needed a distraction that I was on the internet. I am glad to say that though it was torture, I survived! Haha

This week’s reading was very interesting at the least. There were so many references to “thought control”, to being watched, to being controlled, to being in the Age of Television. I do have to agree to an extent with the author that our culture and “technology has altered every aspect of life in America”. The author seems to suggest that it has this alteration has been a bad thing and that it has produced a society ruled by the media. I also agree with the concern that television and the media do “limit certain kinds of content”. It was suggested that people should watch less television because everything has been turned into a business of entertainment. In the end, though, I think that television is not a dominating and powerful force if we don’t give it that force. Currently we are living in the Age of the Internet and like everything, it has its pros and cons, but to me the internet has provided us with many opportunities that otherwise we wouldn’t have. Who would have thought years ago that we would be able to communicate with people all over the world in a manner of seconds!

A Picture Says A Million Words (Week 4)

April 23, 2010

I have never before joined a forum of any kind before, but I have asked questions on Google and things like Wikipedia or Yahoo answers always come up with potential answers to my question. What I mean is that sometimes I am wondering about something and someone one out there has also asked a similar question and the beauty of it is that, to an extent, get our questions answered or at times get more confused. For this experiment I didn’t have a particular question that required a specific answer, but it was more opinion based. I love taking pictures of even the most random things. The only thing that is time consuming is choosing which ones to print out and organize into an album and even more time consuming is organizing them into a scrapbook. Needless to say I am not a very creative person so scrapbooking is ten times harder to do nor do I have the time or patience to do so. Despite these small challenges, I do love scrapbooking. I love sharing pictures and putting a scrapbook is much more fun when you do it together with other people and we all input our ideas. That was exactly my intention when I joined a scrapbook forum. I wanted to get ideas on how to organize my ‘Europe Adventure” trip. There are so many ways to do it and it will probably take months to complete, but I know that at the end I will be able to share it with others in a way that allows them to in a way also experience what I experienced, but through pictures and the words to describe them.

The topic I posted is :

Post: Spain Trip –> Millions of Pictures!! How do I Organize Them!?!?        (Topic#1533123)

http://www.scrapbook.com/forums/showtopic.php?fid/51/tid/1533123/pid/12641573/post/last/#LAST

The topics that I commented on are :

1.) http://www.scrapbook.com/forums/showtopic.php?fid/51/tid/1532607/pid/12646641/post/last/#LAST

2.) http://www.scrapbook.com/forums/showtopic.php?fid/51/tid/1529407/pid/12646675/post/last/#LAST

3.) http://www.scrapbook.com/forums/showtopic.php?fid/51/tid/1530167/pid/12646699/post/last/#LAST

In regards to the reading, being able to “meet” people from all over the country in a single space –cybercity – seems fascinating. Similarly, in a forum you also get to meet people all over the world with the same or similar interests as you have. They are different however, I don’t really imagine people that are registered in forums to be online 24-7, whereas I can definitely imagine people literally “living” in cybercity. Throughout the article, Carter argues that “real life and virtual lives are interwoven in terms of lived experiences” and that even in virtual lives there are certain norms or behaviors that have to be followed. Carter also argues that real and pure friendships can be created in these virtual lives and I have to agree with this to an extent. There are many misconceptions about the type of people on the internet as she argues, but truth be told I don’t necessarily believe that they are wrong. People use the internet as an escape from reality and yes they might argue that you can form honest and deep relationships online, but that is not always the case. Some people can be bullied online; others might be harassed or stalked. I also have to disagree with the statement that “physical contact is not important in a friendship”. To me personally, these types of physical interactions are paramount because you don’t always get to know a person by the things they say, but how they say it and even from their body language and gestures.

Faceless Interactions (Week 3)

April 16, 2010

Did your parents ever tell you not to talk to strangers? They were speaking about strangers that we would see out in the streets, not people through the internet that without a “face”. Chatting for me is relatively new, I mean I chat with my friends on AIM on or Facebook and even Myspace, but chatting with someone random who we don’t have a “face” to is something fun, but creepy at the same time. I have to say that I had to disconnect a couple of times because most of the strangers, who we literally know NOTHING about and even if they tell us most of the time they’re lying, were either young girls or young boys who in their terms wanted to “have some fun” by giving me random websites to go and talk to them on web cam. Other times it was old men (they were in their late thirties) who were just too creepy and would ask me if I had pictures or if I wanted to see their pictures. I started talking to this guy (as seen on chat conversation) who seemed pretty cool, but then the conversation started to get interesting when he started talking about buying girl shoes and wearing them because he was girly. It could be the case that this served him as a medium to express himself, where in his everyday life, can’t for fear of discrimination. One of my friends loved going on chat rooms with people who either had profiles or at least a screen name that had some kind of tracking, unlike Omegle who is with literally a stranger! This friend actually met her boyfriend through a chat room, I mean these profiles or personal pages is a way, like Cheung argued,  where people can explore their identity and be “emancipated”. When she met him in person for the first time I went with her for security purposes, but as it turns out he was exactly who he said he was and was even more charming in person. Now they’ve been together for a while.

My argument is that , okay yes I do agree with Cheung that a profile “allows much more strategic self-presentation than everyday interaction” and that most of it could be true in some respects, but it is still not who we truly are because we choose how people view us. If we want to be seen as a person who likes to have fun, we post things or pictures of us at a party, but instead if we want to be seen as studious we do the opposite, can we be both? Of course and if your intention is for people to view you as both, you will create your homepage or profile in such a way, but where does privacy come in? However, what if you’re neither of these, but simply pretending to be? Wouldn’t this lead to an “alternate” identity? Is this even healthy? Creating a false persona is done with such an ease that it is quite scary and to an extent dangerous because we could never truly be sure of who the other person really is.

CHAT

You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!

You: wuts up?

Stranger: how are you?

You: im good. u?

Stranger: fabulous

Stranger: asl

Stranger: ?

You: 24, f,

You: u?

Stranger: 18 m

Stranger: where from?

You: france

Stranger: cool

You: u?

Stranger: usa

Stranger: so do you like to shop?

You: yes. do u?

You: what part of us?

Stranger: love it!

Stranger: south carolina

You: sorry i do not know where that is

Stranger: haha its fine

Stranger: so i bet shopping in france is amazing 🙂

You: most people think that. i am sure from your televisors

You: but we do have a large fashion district

Stranger: thats awesome

You: you are male? what do you shop for?

Stranger: yes i am. and clothes shoes etc

You: im sorry. i am not trying to be sexist? (is that the correct word?)

Stranger: kinda and haha its fine

You: how is your weather in south carolina?

You: do u go to school?

Stranger: warm

Stranger: yea im in high school

You: at 18?

Stranger: yea

You: oh i graduated prep at 16. but it must be different?

You: do u do any sports?

You: or any other hobbies?

Stranger: yea it is haha

Stranger: no im kinda girly to play sports

Stranger: and as far as hobbies i listen to music shop and hangout with friends

You: you sound like me a few years back! i work a lot

You: at a baguette and cafe

Stranger: haha i sound like you how?

You: your hobbies is what i meant

You: music. shopping. friends.

Stranger: o haha

Stranger: you want to help me?

You: help you with what?

Stranger: pick between two shoes

You: tell me the outfit. color. texture or material.

Stranger: ill show you pics

Stranger: i want to buy one pair

You: you take picture of shoes when you shop? I do that too!

Stranger: haha some but these are off line

You: my saying is that if you cant decide between 2 then buy them both

Stranger: i love that!

You: how many euros?

Stranger: and i might but i know i can get onne

You: i mean dollars?

Stranger: they are fairly cheap like 50 dollars

You: what kind are they? i am familiar with a few usa brands.

You: though i do not know about male shoes

Stranger: well they actually girls 😦

Stranger: *:)

Stranger: lol

You: lol?

Stranger: laugh out loud

You: oh yes. im sorry. i am barely mastering the regular english language

You: lol (ha ha)

Stranger: haha ill try to keep it simple haha

Stranger: so ill show you the shoes

You: how?

Stranger: these

Stranger: http://resources.shopstyle.com/sim/20/dc/20dc9cdc185905e499b6e687b97d8092_medium/express-sandals-snakeskin-tstrap-sandals.jpg

Stranger: in white though

Stranger: or

Stranger: http://images.urbanoutfitters.com/is/image/UrbanOutfitters/17696931_046_a?$cat$

You: my computer cannot access that page. are you certain?

Stranger: yea

You: oh I have heard of urban outfitters

You: why are you buying girl shoes?

You: for yourself?

Stranger: yea

Stranger: i kinda dress girly

Stranger: haha

You: do you wear girl flats or heels? which kind of girly?

You: if you do not care for me to ask?

Stranger: no i dont care at both

Stranger: just matters when

You: my second tab will not open any longer. now i cannot access the pictures?

Stranger: aw want me to try again?

You: interesting.

You: yes. i can try. my browser is somewhat slow.

You: hey I gotta run, but it was nice talking to u!

Journal #1 Week 2 –> Digital Intimacy

April 9, 2010

The experiment was to update my status every two hours on facebook. In terms of difficulty, it wasn’t hard since I posted the first thing that came into my head, but in terms of annoyance, let me tell you, it was very annoying. On my facebook, I usually update it every week or so, but I have noticed my cousins and a couple of friends and siblings of friends who update their status every minute! Where is the privacy? There is in particular a girl who happens to be my friend on facebook (don’t ask me how), but she updates her status constantly and it is usually filled with drama about her life, her baby, her baby’s daddy, her new man, the trouble she’s having with this new guy and how he doesn’t call her. I mean who doesn’t like gossip right? BUT enough is enough and I feel like in some way, she wants people to feel sorry for her. I was seriously thinking of deleting her, but I can’t for reasons I won’t discuss. With other friends, they update their statutes once in a while and I have to agree with Thompson, that the “ambient awareness” that it creates makes me feel much more connected to a person, in some aspects. My concern is that when we meet strangers or start talking to people whom we haven’t spoken to in years, how do we know that they are being honest? How can we know for sure that it isn’t just a persona that they have created – perhaps not consciously – for others to see and know? We want to be liked and so we create a façade for others and we could come to believe it ourselves.

I like it when people post things about events, create facebook pages for events or activities and clubs that they are involved in because I too might also be interested in getting involved. Things that are annoying are usually repetitive and I agree with Alex Beam, the Boston Globe columnist, I mean who really cares!? Take for example my cousin, I understand she’s young and thinks that it is important for people to know how she is feeling at every hour so that her friends console her or congratulate her or whatnot, but when it becomes so repetitive, dramatic, and exaggerated it really gets under my skin. I do have to disagree on this with Thompson though that it hasn’t, for me at least, created an accurate “portrait” of my friends and family because she doesn’t usually act like that in person.

The news feed on facebook is interesting and I like to skim over it, but we can’t really know a person until we interact with them in different contexts and face to face to form deep relationships, which are the ones that matter in the long run, even though acquaintances can be great sources of networking. I agree with Danah Boyd that people can “observe you, but it’s not the same as knowing you” even though people after a while might not feel like strangers, but then again it depends on what kinds of relationships are important to you in creating an “ambient intimacy” and feeling “less alone”. Is it qualitative or quantitative relationships? What’s more important? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer to this.

Facebook has been changing a lot of the ways that they do things like the news feed, but one thing that I don’t like about it is that now on the top right corner they have added a feature where it suggest people to “reconnect” with them. I think that in theory it was good, but in reality it could stir up emotions if for example that person passed away or you ended in bad terms and had forgotten we had them as friends or perhaps we don’t talk to that person for a reason and facebook doesn’t consider that. All in all, I love facebook! Haha



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April 9, 2010

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