Facebook: The Power of Sharing

Like. Friending. Connect.

These three words are strongly associated with the Facebook’s power of sharing of information to people all across the world.

Jose van Dijck shares in her journal article, “Facebook and the Imperative of Sharing,” that there are two meanings of “sharing” related to two different types of coding qualities (4).

  1. Connectedness– directing users to share information with other users through purposefully designed interfaces (4).
  2. Connectivity-to aim at sharing user data with third parties (such as the infamous “Like” button) (4).

The first type of sharing, connectedness, relates to users sharing information via their profile pages. Users can share photos, posts and contact information on their profile page–and also post life details such as date of birth, education and school, place of employment, place of current location and relationship status. Users can also list interests such as film, books, TV and movies. Users can communicate with friends through posting, messenger (chat) and live video. Users can join groups which can allow to communicate with people based on same interests. The News Feed feature allows users to see the top and most recent “stories” and activities from their friends list. The “poke” feature allows user to gain attention from another user, and Status is where users can post how they’re feeling or what they’re doing.  Lastly, “tagging” friends in statuses, posts, and pictures can be seen and shared to friends and also friends of friends to those users. So, this feature can be shared to across the network.

The second type of sharing, connectivity, I will focus on the “Like” button aspect. The Like button is important because with this feature–you can “like” almost about anything that you see across the network. This can be friends’ photos, statuses, posts, shared posts, life events, relationship statuses and anything that a user has changed on their profile (like cover page, profile picture, change of a new job or change of a new place, and like of a page). Again, what’s unique about this is that everyone can see this on their timeline: if a friend sees that friend ‘liked’ New York Yankees, that friend will know that information that their friend most likely is a fan of that team. Through this ‘like’ feature, information is universally shared. This information stretches across from all topics and to all kinds of people.

With that in mind, what I want to try to answer is: Is this too much? Personally, I think Facebook can be too stuffy–which means too much information is being shared. It can be a little too much knowing every single detail about a person. With this amount of sharing, you can know a person’s life. Of course, a user can opt to not share certain information with certain people. Users can decide who they want to share their information to (to public, friends or even to just themselves) and users can decide what to share or hide information on their profile page. To what ends does it end? Still today, Facebook is a dominant tool of connecting and sharing data and information. When a user started Facebook at a certain time, that information is stored on Facebook. Facebook “keeps” this information until the user deletes it. And remember, what’s uploaded, will stay there for the world to see forever. Users can also see information that they posted in the past–this new feature is called Memories, and users can look back on old information called On This Day and see what past information or activity happened on their page on that particular day.

It seems that Facebook will be here to stay in the online media world. It’s tough to grasp how Facebook will change or evolve over time. The thing I’m wondering is how it’s going to keep impacting the ability of sharing or connecting of information to a global network or community. Only time will tell.

 

Reference: Dijck, José Van. “Facebook and the Imperative of Sharing.” The Culture of Connectivity(2013): 45-67. Web.

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