A picture-collage of what social media does to a college student:
In post number two, I will give the gist on microblogging, a short intro into filter bubbles, and wrap it all up with some information on social media collecting. Don’t skip the links or the videos, they’re worth your time, I promise. Read on.
Despite the fact that I am seen wasting valuable homework hours on Twitter, Facebook is actually the most popular social networking site, holding close to a billion users in 2012, and 2014 marks Facebook’s 10th birthday. Want more on Facebook? Check out this article, and read up on how the total number of users (757 million) was recorded and where the most Facebook users reside (I was surprised!).
As Facebook continues to change, and change often, Rettberg explains the differing factors between a blog and the popular social networking site, but also goes on to label it as a ‘microblog.’ Let’s pause for a second, and get the definition of that. Dictionary.com defines a microblog as a verb, and is the process of “posting very short entries, as a brief update or a photo, on a blog or a social-networking site,” and more simply put it is “a blog that is smaller than a traditional blog and contains very short entries.” “You have far less control over your Facebook feed and the way your posts to Facebook are displayed than you have with an individual blog,” Rettberg goes on to say, “but, on the other hand, you have an active audience. It is likely that most of your friends, family, and colleagues are on Facebook.”
One major concern that has come up within Rettberg’s writing about social networking and social media is that of the ‘filter bubble’ or ‘echo chamber.’ Rettberg explains that several critics of social media are concerned that we will become enclosed in these, where we will only ever see others who agree with us and are never confronted with any opposition or shared debates. Jonathon Stray, a Computational Journalism professor at Columbia University, explains filter bubbles as a name for anxiety, which stresses over the idea that the Internet may only begin to tell us what we want to hear, thus, leaving only the pleasant and hiding the unpleasant. Stray provides his readers with 5 potential ways out:
1) Stop Speculating and Start Looking,
2) Bring Curation Into Journalism
3) Build Better Filtering Algorithms
4) Don’t Just Filter, Map
5) Figure Out What We Really Want
Click here to read more, and check out the below video on the Social Media Revolution by Erik Qualman, who claims “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us, and in the future we will no longer search for products or services because they will find us…”
What about collecting, though? What has that got to do with social media? I’ll tell you.
The problem with social networking is that we get caught up in the collections. So many collections, and for the most part (which may vary from site to site) everything is saved for you, unless you delete it personally. And while Facebook becomes a bit more broad in this area, Pinterest steps in as a perfect example as it is literally just an idea-sharing site (see below). You create categories of your favorite things, and then share them or share new ideas. It is a collection. On Twitter you can favorite, and retweet any tweet out in cyberspace (as long as privacy settings are public) which creates a collection of everything you have ever favorited or retweeted since being on Twitter. Collections times infinity. Through our own instincts to collect though, we become social media junkies, because it is sites like these (below) that help us get our fix.
“Even social networking sites without any clear purpose apart from collecting as many friends as possible have become popular,” Rettberg claims in her novel, Blogging. Rettberg offers up Orkut, a project coming out of Google, which was an example of this kind of collecting. Orkut was released in 2004 and become increasingly popular among bloggers before getting buried by other, newer social networking sites shortly after (still has 37 million members, though!). Read more here, about how it came to be, what it really is, and who invented it. Or, if you are short on time, read just the gist on Orkut in 10 lines or less here!
More on social media coming soon.