Does everyone here have a social networking site/use chat rooms or messaging services?
How often do you go online?
Why do you use social networking sites/chat rooms/messaging services?
Which social networking sites/ chat rooms/ messaging services do you use the most?
How much do you share with others on these sites
Do you speak to people online that you do not know in person?
Have you ever felt threatened when on social networking sites/ chat rooms? Why?
If you get a friend request from someone you don’t know how does that make you feel?
How hard or easy is it for you to draw yourself away from these services?
Do you prefer communicating with someone online rather than face to face? Why?
Before you used these services, what was your means of communication?
How often do you use these means now compared to before?
How much time do you spend on one time on social networking sites/chat rooms/messaging services
How does being in constant communication with other people make you feel?
Do you think these sites and services have had a negative or positive impact on you? Why?
I did two of my own observations on two popular and widely used soial networking services - Twitter and Blackberry Messenger.
I took Notes on:
-The sensation experienced when on the sites
-How easy or difficult it is to communicate with strangers
-The type of content that users share
-Whether the sites have a help or advice option for people concerned with security or their safety
-How long others spend on each site
Twitter Observation (over a period of a week)
On my own personal twitter account I follow friends and celebrities that I am interested in. Each time I logged on I was quite anxious and excited to see what news, gossip and updates I was going to read about on my timeline. I found it quite easy to quickly go from one page to another, getting myself more and more engaged into the World of Twitter. For example I would be on one profile, see something interesting about another person, go onto their page and so on.
I didn’t actually tweet that much but the times when I did, I found myself constantly checking my mentions or retweets. When I tweeted I mostly shared my thoughts and what I was doing. Every time I logged on I felt like I was joining part of a worldwide social bubble. I didn’t actually find it hard to draw myself away but every time I logged in I felt as though I may have missed important news or gossip. This meant I usually worked my way back along the timeline to where I last left it. When I had new followers it made me quite excited and happy that more people were actually interested in me and my life.
In my opinion Twitter showed concern for safety to a certain extent. There is an option to lock your page so that people have to request to see your tweets. Also real names and photos don’t have to be used. However the link for help is quite small and I think it should have been more visible especially with the dangers of the internet. I found that there was quite a lot of spam posing as profiles which is quite worrying for the safety of users.
Until five weeks ago I didn’t own a Smartphone. This meant that I couldn’t use social networking sites or instant messaging services from my phone and on–the-go. I personally felt like an outcast because the majority of my friends and peers owned either a blackberry or an iPhone- Smartphones. My experiences without a Blackberry made me see other people as more anti-social as they would be in a room with people but would be on their phone either social networking or instant messaging.
When I did eventually own a blackberry I was excited to be joining a big social bubble via the Blackberry Messenger. At first when receiving a Ping (instant message) I would get quite excited but within my first week of using it I became frustrated. I didn’t want to be constantly available for people to contact me, as there is not an option to turn off the instant messenger. I found BBM quite distracting. For example, when trying to complete work, if I received a notification I felt compelled to read it just in case it was ‘important’, which it never was. This made work so much longer to complete.
As a person who travels regularly, I found BBM as a way to socialize whilst passing time on public transport or to use in awkward situations with people I didn’t particularly want to speak to face-face. In times of emergency, when I needed to desperately speak to someone it was very convenient because I was able to simply message them as I pleased. Things I spoke about to my messenger contacts were:
-What I or they were doing
-Update on each other’s lives
I haven’t yet experienced any threat to my safety although I did receive a messenger invite from someone I didn’t know and declined. It is quite easy for someone to type in a wrong letter or number and be connected to someone they don’t know, which in my opinion is quite concerning particularly for young Blackberry owners.
Overall I see the BBM service as very convenient to communicate with others, especially when travelling. However I feel as though my privacy has been invaded to a certain extent because mentally, I can never really switch off from it knowing that it’s still running in the background.
Questionnaire (Blank Version)
In Depth Interview 2: Shaakira
In Depth Interview 1: Sam Ab.
How old are you?
What race are you?
What gender are you
Where region do you live in?
How old were you when you first joined a social networking site/chat room/instant messaging service
Which site/service was this?
What made you join?
Can you list every social networking site/chat room/ instant messaging service that you have ever used?
Which do you use the most now? Why
How often each day do you use it/them?
How long do you spend each time you go on it?
Why do you spend so long on the sites?
Where do you access it/them from the most?
What do you share about your life with others on these sites?
Why do you feel comfortable with sharing this information with others?
Are you in communication through these sites with anyone you do not know in person?
If yes, why did you allow them to be a part of your online life?
How difficult or easy is it for you to draw yourself away from these sites?
How do you feel when you are away from these sites?
What do you do when on these sites?
Have you or friends ever had a bad experience on these sites? What was it
Do you feel safe on the sites?
How did you communicate with people before these sites?
How often do you use that way to communicate now?
Do you think people are more or less sociable because of these sites?
Can you tell me a positive and negative way these sites/services have impacted your life
Why do you think these sites and services are so popular?
If you wasn’t using these sites what would you be doing with your time?
Website: USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-02-01-tech-overload_N.htm
Author: Jon Swartz
Date Written: 2nd February 2011
Content: The article is about social media users being given too much information and data to keep up. Businessman Jose Huitron talks about how he is bombarded with updates from social networking sites. The impact of these constant updates is overwhelming social media users and is having a particularly damaging effect to businesses. The updates are seen as interruptions to companies and in 2007 business lost an estimate of $650 billion because of these interruptions.
How found: I found this article by typing ‘Social networking’ into Google. It came up as a ‘Google News’topic.
Reliability: USA Today is an American daily newspaper and has one of the widest circulations in America so should be trustworthy as it is being read by millions of people every day. When one of their correspondents was claimed to be fabricating stories, USA Today took the matter seriously and investigated it extensively. The correspondent resigned and USA Today issued an apology which shows that they want their readers to know that they are a reliable source. The article was written by a journalist so is a mixture of facts and opinion. It was published today so is very recent.
Website: My High School Journalism – Lakewood High School http://my.hsj.org/Schools/Newspaper/tabid/100/view/frontpage/articleid/409506/newspaperid/4270/The_Facebook_revolution.aspx
Author: Adrienne Visani
Date Written: 2nd February 2011
Content: The article talks about how Facebook was created and the recent film about the social networking site. It then goes on to discuss how Facebook has affected their school as a teacher wasn’t hired because parents had seen photos on Facebook of them drinking and partying. The article contains quotes about Facebook from students at the school each with different opinions about the site. The article is ended with “Facebook is entertaining, convenient, and innovative, and Lakewood students clearly agree.”
How Found: I typed in ‘Social networking effects’ into Google and it came up as a news article.
Reliability: The article is from a website for students from different schools where they can post their own news and articles. Although it is created by students, all of the information in the article is primary research as they have done interviews with people. It was written recently so I think it is reliable.
Website: Alexa http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/facebook.com
Date written: Daily statistic updates
Content: On Alexa Facebook is ranked as the 2nd most visited website worldwide. The website features the audience demographics of Facebook users. According to Alexa the top Facebook uses are:
· 35-44 year olds
· Without children
· Study at graduate school
· Browse from school
Alexa also analysed that the average time users spent on Facebook on 3rd February 2010 was 32 minutes.
How Found: From previous research lessons Miss Tomlinson showed us Alexa so I knew that it would be a valuable source for my topic and went straight to the website.
Reliability: Quite reliable because it is a website simply showing facts, not trying to sell us an angle. The data is produced daily so is pretty accurate.
Date Written: February 14th 2011
Content: This article is positive towards social networking sites and claims that Facebook and other social networking sites have helped shy people to interact with others more. The sites are like a bridge slowly bringing them out of their shell and progressing to communicate with others.
How Found: I searched ‘social networking effects’ on Yahoo.
Reliability: I think the article is very reliable because although it is written by a journalist and includes some opinion, it also has statistics, facts and primary research such as interviews. It was also written very recently so the content is relevant.
Date Written: 14th June 2010
Content: The article talks about how useful social networking sites are because medical researchers are able to easily access key information via the sites that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
How Found: I searched Virtual World effects on Google and this article was one of the top results.
Reliability: This source is quite reliable because NHS is a trusted nationwide service. Also the date that the article was written is fairly recent so is still relevant to my research. They have used first-hand quotes from a researcher as primary research so again, it is thorough and dependable.
Date Written: January 2011
Content: In the article social media sites are seen as negative to society. The article claims that we are under the illusion that the new technology such as Blackberry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter etc allows us to become closer and communicate more. However these technologies are making us less interactive with people in the real world. An author of books attacking social media sites says that while at a funeral, other guests were checking their iPhones and other technology.
How Found: I searched on Google for Social Media effects and this was one of the top results.
Reliability: This is a good source because The Guardian is one of the most known papers in the UK and is one of the highest ranked for web-traffic. The source uses quotes from a book of which the author has done her own primary research for so I think it is trustworthy. It was written very recently so is relevant to my research.
Date Written: February 3rd 2010
Content: This article talks about the risks of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Security has been a big problem with social networking sites and celebrities (Barack Obama, Britney Spears etc.) have even been hacked in the past. It says that the sites are the perfect platform for hackers and scammers because they have access to millions of unique users. According to the article the most basic risks are people using the same password for multiple accounts and it being discovered giving hackers access to all of their account. The other risk is people sharing too much information such as birthdays and relatives as it can lead to identity theft.
How Found: I searched ‘Social Media Risks’ on Google.
Reliability: I would say that this is a reliable source because it uses numbers, statistics and facts to support ideas. Also it was written fairly recently so is relevant to my research.
Website: Mashable http://mashable.com/2010/01/07/social-media-changed-us/
Date Written: January 7th 2010
Content: This article talks about the way social media has changed us and the positive effects. In the article a survey was conducted on over 3000 children and according to it, the children who interacted the most with social media websites had better literacy skills than the children who didn’t.
How Found: I found this source by searching on Yahoo ‘How social media has changed us’ and it was one of the first results.
Reliability: This is a good source because it has used statistics to produce their results. The survey was released by The National Literacy Trust; a dependable source supporting education and the fact that it was conducted on over 3000 children shows that it was thorough research. Although it is just over a year old I still think it is a valuable source because it can be put into historical context and be used as a comparison to any research I carry out.
Date Written: February 9th 2011
Content: The article presents its findings in researching children using social networking sites. According to the site 45 percent of 2,300 11-18 year olds are happier online than in reality. A quote from a child is “It’s easier to be who you want to be, because nobody knows you and if you don’t like the situation you can just exit and it is over.” The other statistics are:
Reliability: This is a good source because a lot of primary research has been used to come up with the report. The research has been done on over 2000 children which means they have received a wide range of results to analyse. Also the report was written very recently.
Date Written: February 17th 2011
Content: This article talks about why businesses should avoid social networking sites to attract consumers. Firstly according to a survey 12 percent of users with around 117 Facebook friends said that they felt anxious because of Facebook. Having to reject friend requests made the users feel guilty and they felt pressured to stay a member on the site in case they missed out on something. Secondly Facebook is not an effective place for unknown businesses because people aren’t going to seek something out that they don’t know anything about. Thirdly there have been many security issues with social networking sites and is a big risk for businesses to get involved with that.
Reliability: The source is relevant because it was written recently. However the survey was only taken by 200 students from the same area –Edinburgh Napier University – which could have caused the results to be quite one sided due to lack of variety.