About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New type of communication with facebook?

One thing I have been interested in the last few years is how people set up their computers. To me, it is like setting up a kitchen. Each person has their own habits and how to set things up. When I go to my mother's house, I can't find anything as she organizes things in a completely different way than I do.

I find the same thing with computers. My kids will go in and change something on the computer and both my husband and I will be lost for days looking for it!

Today, I looked over the shoulder of my son as he went through his facebook account. I can access his "wall", but I only get one side of the conversation. In order to get the other side, I will need to be friends with those that uploaded onto the wall. As many in his network are included in his friend's network, he can see their postings. It was interesting to see him follow the conversations by going back and forth. But the conversations were not the usual linear, monocronic conversations found on IM's or even in discussion forums. Rather, facebook allows for members to "listen in" on written conversations, follow the threads that they want to follow, and, if they are all part of the same group, to have an idea of what is going on between group members.

At any time, however, a group member can be "kicked out" by taking him or her off the friend's list. However, they can still be part of the group perrifially, as long as someone in the group maintains him or her as a friend. This has been my role to date. While I can read what is going on in the group through the eyes of my son, this is only a one sided conversation. There are many assumptions I need to make to really understand what is going on.

I see this as an emerging new method of communication in which the rules are still evolving. It will be interesting to see where it goes. I would be interested in knowing if there is a different style of facebook, how it's used, how it's set up, what happens in the the network, what happens around the fringe of the network, for different languages.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Hmmm Virginia.

This is what I've suspected about Facebook (and a few other social networking apps) and for a while now.

It seems that people will find their own ways to include or exclude and I assume it's just a human trait to do that.

Would it be too presumptive of me to suggest that the use of power is part of that trait - that some use it, some don't know how to use it, and others may not want to use it?

Ka kite

V Yonkers said...

Absolutely! This why I think "social software" is a good name for this type of application. I know that some don't like that label. In fact, this is why facebook can be a problem among teens. In most cases, they are still learning how to use power.

Interestingly enough, my son's school has allowed facebook. But when there was some "cyber bullying" going on, they blocked it temporarily. They focus on developing the social as well as academic skills. Fortunately, the current principal is the former (and current) technology teacher. Even though he is in his 60's, he is aware of the "power" and potential of facebook. As long as the boys use it appropriately, it will be allowed. He continues to monitor how it is used outside of school, and will allow it if the boys are civil in the space.