3.     User Types and Community

a.     Who uses FB and why?  Key theme

b.     Are anonymous cowards and trolls missing from FaceBook? Pros/Cons

c.      Six Types, according to Birnbaum (2008)

                                                    i.     Partier

                                                  ii.     Social

                                                iii.     Adventurous/risk-taker

                                                iv.     Humorous/funny/silly

                                                  v.     Part of larger community, and

                                                vi.     Unique

d.     Blumler and Katz’s (1974) and McQuail’s (1987) categories of Uses and Gratifications:

                                                    i.     Information

                                                  ii.     Integration and social interaction

                                                iii.     Entertainment

                                                iv.     Surveillance versus privacy

1.     Matt McKeon’s “Changes in Default Profile Settings over Time

                                                  v.     Diversion

                                                vi.     Personal identity

1.     Niobe Way, Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011). (THE review)

2.     Marjorie H. Goodwin, The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status and Exclusion (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006).

                                              vii.     Personal relationships

1.     How Facebook Affects You and Your Relationships” (infographic jpg)

2.     See Breakupupnotifier.com

3.     Marguerite Fields, “Want to Be My Boyfriend?” New York Times, 4 May 2008: online.

e.     Foregger’s (2008) Uses and Gratifications typology:

                                                    i.     Pass Time

                                                  ii.     Connection

                                                iii.     Sexual Attraction

1.     See http://www.crushnotifier.com/

                                                iv.     Utilities and Upkeep

                                                  v.     Establish/Maintain Old Ties

                                                vi.     Accumulation

                                              vii.     Social Comparison

                                            viii.     Channel Use

                                                ix.     Networking

f.      Consumer motivations (Krisanic, 2008)

                                                    i.     Information

                                                  ii.     Entertainment (e.g., music)

1.     John Tierney, “A Generation’s Vanity, Heard Through Lyrics,” New York Times, 25 April 2011 (online).

                                                iii.     Discussion

                                                iv.     Connect (i.e., dating, romance)

1.     unresolved conflict in one’s family of origin” as a predictor of FB use (Sude, 2008)

                                                  v.     Shopping

                                                vi.     Games (e.g., Farmville)

                                              vii.     Update

                                            viii.     Product inquiry

                                                ix.     Impression management

g.     Community of Friends (or Strangers)

                                                    i.     Utility of sociograms

                                                  ii.     Boundaries (can’t really have more than the Dunbar number?)

1.     ’Path’ Social Network Limits Users to 50 Friends

h.     Children, marginalized or exploited groups (connectedness)

                                                    i.     7.5 million children on FB; 5 million under age 10 (Consumer Reports, June 2011)

1.     1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) sets age at 13

2.     Why would parents help their children create FB accounts?

                                                  ii.     FOMO (“Feelings of Missing Out”)

1.     Jenna Wortham, “Feel Like a Wallflower? Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall” (NYT, 9 April 2011)

2.     Jenna Wortham, “Do Social Networks Make You Feel Left Out?“ (NYT, 12 April 2011)

                                                iii.     Loners and Isolationists

1.     Miller McPherson; Lynn Smith-Lovin; and Matthew E. Bashears, “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades,” American Sociological Review 71 (no. 3, 2008): 353-375.

2.     Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (New York: Basic Books, 2011).

                                                iv.     In versus out groups

1.     Danah Boyd’s social steganography

a.     Later version, “Learning to Hide in Plain Sight

                                                  v.     Cyberbullying and Cyber Stalking

1.     Facebook’s New Anti-Bullying Tools…” (2011)

2.     “Testing a special e-mail address...that gives schools…reports on bullying…”

3.     Check out your customized stalker at http://www.takethislollipop.com/

                                                vi.     Sexual predators or prostitution

1.     DigitalStakeout

                                              vii.     Bio-power and confession

1.     See Michele Dillon, Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2009), especially 352ff and 355ff.

i.       Readings

                                                    i.     Eric Gilbert, Karrie Karahalios; and Christian Sandvig, “The Network in the Garden” An Empirical Analysis of Social Media in Rural Life,” American Behavioral Scientist 53 (no. 9, 2010): 1367-1388.

                                                  ii.     Donath, J. (2007). “Signals in social supernets,” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 12. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/donath.html

                                                iii.     Kimberly N. Rosenfeld, “The Virtualization of Everyday Life: Identity, Ideology and the Reconstruction of Education,” PhD Dissertation, UCLA, forthcoming 2012.


j.       Question/Assignments:

                                                    i.     What type of user are you?

                                                  ii.     Would you pose other schemas? How do urban versus rural users different?

                                                iii.     Find in FB (and/or other sites) exemplars of these types listed above.

                                                iv.     Is there an ethical problem about in versus out groups on FB?  In other words, what about cyberbullying?


Updated:  3 February 2012; created: 11 May 2009.