Social Networking on Facebook

Social Networking on Facebook Arlene Pascual MIS Facebook (FB) is one of the latest trends in social networking (Facebook. com). Facebook (FB) is one of the most popular social networking sites among college students. FB started out as a site designed for and available to students at Harvard University to help them get acquainted with other students living in the dorms. But, it is now a public site. FB has become the number one choice of communication with college students, ranking higher than phone and email.

FB attracts many students because it provides a place where students can have space of their own to express themselves and communicate freely with peers. This site provides an easy way for students to build their social networks, show the world who they are, make new friends and keep up with old friends. Facebook is not just a tool for only college students anymore. In September 2006, FB went public. Before then, only people with an . edu email address could access the site. Now anyone with a valid email can become a registered user of the popular social networking site.

In addition, Computer Mediated Communication is communication that occurs via computer technology. CMC includes participating in chat room discussions, instant messaging, email, virtual teams, virtual communities, and voice activated messaging. CMC is also an excellent way to participate in social networking. Social networking is an important part of everyday life that assists people in planning and cultivating business, social contacts, and personal relationships. CMC is often preferred over face to face communication because it is convenient, easy, fast and highly effective in many situations.

Newspapers, news magazines, and television news have highlighted the dangers of Facebook and other social networking sites such as MySpace, such as online predators, dangers of revealing personal information on profiles, and the posting of obscene or illegal activities. Yet the positive aspects of social networking on the internet make these sites so appealing to millions of users. Given the widespread of FB use among college students, the main goal of this study is to explore how students are social networking on Facebook.

The following research questions are as follows: 1: How are students setting up their Facebook accounts? 2: How much time are students spending on Facebook? 3: How are students using Facebook? and 4: What kinds of negative experiences have students encountered on Facebook? Despite the negative press surrounding social networking sites, this study revealed that students are using Facebook for positive and appropriate networking. Everyone at their university can view their profiles, which allows more connections and interactions.

Students also reported that their profiles were accurate representations of themselves. Since students tend to allow everyone to see their profile information, telling lies about themselves can be obvious. However, some students reported that their profiles only “somewhat accurately” represent them. Students may think that they are able to stretch the truth about certain areas of their lives. Although data were not gathered about what parts of students’ profiles are less accurate than others, this paper guessed that misrepresentations are most likely to occur in the “About Me” section.

In this section, students write about anything they like, from their favorite things to how they view themselves. In many ways, the “about me” section is similar to a personal ad whereby students attempt to portray themselves in the most positive light possible. In addition, most students are not much concerned about privacy and they accept new friends request who they don’t know because that is the reason they join FB: to meet new friends. Majority of the respondents spent about 10 minutes a day.

The most common uses of FB were sending messages to friends and viewing photos. Students want to keep in touch and get to know others better. On the other hand, one clear finding of this study is that students do not use FB for overt romantic relationship development. Students do not want their dating attempts to be public. Students also did not use FB to advertise academic or social events or to recruit for their organizations. Overall, negative experiences on FB were relatively few and far between given the frequency and variety of student use.

In case of “stalker issue”, although FB is now open to the public, the default (and loosest) privacy setting enables student profiles to be viewed only by people at their own universities. Therefore, students must “confirm” that others outside their universities are their “friends” before people can view their profiles. These kinds of privacy safeguards might aid in keeping away stalkers. Concepts from two theoretical frameworks appear to be useful applications for explaining social networking on Facebook. First, Uncertainty Reduction

Theory (URT) posits that people do not like uncertainty in initial encounters and therefore attempt to reduce that uncertainty through verbal and nonverbal communication in these initial face-to-face meetings. Students on FB definitely attempted to reduce uncertainty with strangers (e. g. other students in their classes, residence halls, sororities, and clubs) through direct messaging on FB and through indirect means such as observing others’ profiles on FB (networks, pictures, and wall posts). Relational Maintenance (RM) provides insight into the strategies that established relational partners use to maintain their relationships.

RM can help enhance an existing relationship, repair a conflictual one, or maintain a relationship at its current level of engagement and satisfaction. Relational maintenance was prevalent on Facebook. Sending messages, updating profiles, and uploading pictures helped students feel connected with friends from high school and college. The RM strategies of positivity, self-disclosure, and assurances were all easily accomplished through FB and students perceived FB to be maintaining their relationships in important ways. FB can also foster closeness among users by sharing pictures that make events more personal and immediate.

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