Posted by: tylerjd | February 1, 2008

Essay #1: Facebook and Social Networking

  The digital media topic I decided to look into is the popular social networking site, Facebook.The first article I chose was written by an author for the Network Journal of Communications. In this article, author Brent Leary, compares and contrasts popular social networking sites and his recent experiences with them. He talks about being a member of over twelve different social networking sites in which he has spent time using each network. My main interest in this article was the author’s insight into his most recent addition to his list, Facebook. At the time the article was written in November of 2007, Leary credits Linkedin as the most popular business networking site on the web, but after joining Facebook, the he began to see far more Facebook network invites than he once saw on Linkedin. Once well acquainted with Facebook, he stated “What’s appealing about Facebook I the way it fosters more knowledge sharing and collaboration with those in your network. I have learned more about the people in my Facebook network in a few weeks than I have in several months of Linkedin”. The article also touches on the more recent features of Facebook applications that allow for even further interaction in many different areas of interest. He also notes that business application providers such as Yahoo! Finance, Zoho, etc. are building widgets to work with Facebook in order for Facebook to infiltrate further into the business networking field. I agree with this article that one of the most appealing characteristic of Facebook is that they have been able to grow from what was once only a college based network, to a worldwide network with many different areas of interest. Most importantly they have been able to do this while staying very user friendly, professional, and private, unlike other social networks such as Myspace. This has allowed Facebook to become as financially valuable to it’s creators as it is socially valuable for it’s members.
            I chose this second article because after reading the first article, I found it very interesting to see how Facebook has not only established itself in the networking world, but in financial market as well. My second source is an article that was written back in October 2007, titled “Microsoft Buys Stake In Facebook”. As indicated by the headline, this story was written about Microsoft winning the battle against Yahoo and Google, in which they surfaced as the first major investor in Facebook. This story was very important because it allowed the world to put a price on the value of Facebook as a company. Microsoft paid $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook which led to the total estimated value at $15 billion at the time. The article also includes a brief overview of how the company began and what types of perks Microsoft will look to receive from its investments. One of the very interesting quotes in the article, which I feel is very relative to the new digital media age we are in, was quoted by a venture capitalist who invested in companies that make applications for Facebook. She stated, “Once a social operating system takes over a country, it’s like it becomes the native language of that country”. I myself am fairly new to the social networking scene, yet I find this statement to be very true within my generation. I have witnessed both the growth of Facebook and Myspace alter the way in which we communicate. The basis for the idea behind social networks is the digital connection we are able to make with others which is not limited by space, time, or distance. Both Facebook and Myspace have been able to successfully capitalize on this by allowing users freedom to network within all different interest groups, which I believe has allowed them to grow into billion dollar companies at light speed.
          My first article written in the Network Journal, although scholarly, is written as a more opinionated piece. As someone who is not well rehearsed with other social networks other than Facebook and Myspace, this article gave me insight into why Facebook’s popularity and membership is where it is at in the social networking industry. This article was written in an analytical style that did an excellent job at contrasting the many different social networks, while explaining the concept/purpose of social networking at the same time. The next source I found via The New York Times, was a great follow-up read that presented a news story containing more factual writing than opinion. I have always wondered why certain social networking sites take off as Facebook and Myspace did. The way these articles complimented each other gave me a much better understanding not only into how they grow in terms of investment, but more importantly what the members of these sites value in terms of use and applications.

Citations

Leary, Brent. (2007). Social Networking. Network Journal, 15(2), 30. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ProQuest database. (Document ID: 1384417431).

ProQuest Search Entry: Facebook AND social networking (while limited to Sholarly Journals only)

Stone, Brad. (2007, October 25). Microsoft Buys Stake in Facebook. The New York Times. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from http://www.nytimes.com

New York Times Search Entry: Facebook

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