The term Web 2.0 is still a fairly new concept that leaves many people puzzled. Web 2.0 was first coined by Tim O’Reilly; he described Web 2.0 “as a set of principles and practices that tie together a veritable solar system of sites that demonstrate some or all of those principles, at a varying distance from that core” (para.5). Although this definition may not be clear, many of us use Web 2.0 communication media on a daily basis. Facebook is a Web 2.0 medium that is used by many people and of the most talked about social networking sites.
Facebook.com is popular social networking site created on February 4th, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg was a student at Harvard University when the site was created and initially only students at the school had access to the site. Before long students at other colleges gained access. Some time later Facebook was opened to high school students and today Facebook is used by anyone with a valid email address. According to a New York Times article ,because Facebook opened its doors to everyone the average users are adults and teens. Many people use Facebook to connect with old friends, share their lives with existing friends and to meet new people. Not only can those things be done, they are also able to upload photos, videos and experience cool applications. Facebook seems like another place to spend time with friends and in most cases family.
The popularity of Facebook also created a stir of controversy. The controversy came from other students at Harvard who claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea. In a Rolling Stone article three students said that they wanted Zuckerberg to work with them on a social networking site they were creating. They claimed that he agreed to write the code for their site, but soon after he gave them the brush off Facebook launched. One other student claimed that he created a site also named Facebook before Zuckerberg and the others conceived their sites. These battles for Facebook have been taken to the courtroom, where no resolution has occurred.
Since Facebook has been created there have been different observations about the site. One observation was about narcissistic personalities on Facebook. One college professor decided to see if narcissism can be detected by looking at ones profile. She concluded that narcissist tend to be active users of the site and that their profiles tend to have pictures of them that would be considered “glamorous” and pictures of them surrounded by people of the opposite sex. One other thing that she noticed was those same narcissistic people had in their “about me” sections information that one would consider boasting about how successful or popular they are.
The use of advertising on Facebook has also been a focus. If one is a user of the site than one should notice the advertisement banners that appear on the screen. According to the article, advertising on Facebook has not been successful. The reason why it has not been successful is because users of the site are not looking for things to purchase, they are more interested in socializing. The advertisements are a nuisance to users because it gets in the way of the objective of the site, which is to socialize. One of the things that one has to realize is that Facebook is a charge free site and it will only make money in advertisements if the users are willing to participate.
Social networking sites have been created to strengthen connections between people. They have helped further build upon those friend of a friend interactions and has helped us meet new people (Shirky, 2008). Not only is one interacting with others, but information is flowing between one another. Shirky mentions that these sites work in tandem as “amplifiers” and “filters.” The important things that everyone in your network knows about it will come to you and if it is not important enough to the network, then no one knows about it. Although we all share the social network, a division still exists. Bridging and bonding capital have been ways that social networks connect to one another. Bridging capital is the ideal that social networks would like to achieve, but this is hard when people prefer to communicate in a particular way.
Facebook is a great site that many people use. The site has been a social networking phenomenon since its debut. The ability to share “your world” with friends and family has been attracting new users each day. The popularity of this site has prompted others to take a look at it for them selves and experience what all the buzz is about. Social networking sites such as this one have helped to elevate us to the next level of communicating.
Buffardi, Laura E. (2008). "Mirror, Mirror on the (Facebook) Wall" The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/custom/2008/10/10/CU2008101002890.html
Lyons, Daniel. (2008). "Facebook's Roar Becomes a Meow; Putting ads in front of Facebook users is like hanging out a party interrupting conversations to hawk merchandise." Newsweek, Enterprise; Techtonic Shifts; Pg. E22 Vol. 152 No. 16. http://www.newsweek.com/id/163120
O'Reilly, Tim. (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Retrieved August 21, 2008 from http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.
Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (Chapter 9). New York: Penguin.