Social Media/Networking and Culture Social media and networking has had a profound effect over American culture over recent years. One main reason why social networking sites are so popular is that they encourage group mentality. According to Webcredible’s “Designing online social networks: The theories of social groups,” the reason most people join social networking sites and participate in social media are because they: Provide encouragement and support
Establish identity with others and fulfill the need to feel included Provide the outlet for some people to establish their need for recognition, social status, control and/or leadership Alternatively, provide the necessary control over aspects of lives for those who don’t want to be leaders (e. g. Weight Watchers) Help establish friends, relationships and the opportunity to interact with others Because social networking sites capitalize on these needs and allow people to fulfill these social needs, they have been able to permeate and permanently alter our culture.
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Prime examples of prominent social networking are: Myspace, Youtube, and Facebook. Weblogs are also a rising social media phenomenon that is shaping our culture. They each contribute and cater to a specific social need in the growing Internet-centric American culture. However, for each positive change to our society, there are also negative repercussions. Myspace serves as a quintessential example of a successful entertainment social networking site. It reaches users from LA to Australia, from Japan to Jersey and exposes new movies, comedians, artists to about 245 million users.
Through Myspace, the once distant connection between entertainers and their fans is bridged. These resulting connections have changed the traditional enjoyment of entertainment and allows for the typical fan to have a closer, more personal experience. While Myspace is renowned for its open format, they have also run into some trouble with child predators. Larry Magid warns that parents must monitor their children’s interactions on the popular website, as our increasingly Internet based and influenced culture evolves (“Protect Kids On Myspace”, 2006)
Youtube is a social media site that has millions of users and allows them to upload and watch unlimited amounts of videos. It can be seen as both a positive and negative social media form. On the one hand, it allows for global distribution of television shows, commercials, movie trailers, and music videos. Youtube has risen to an icon in our society due to the open sharing of opinions on politics, recipes on a great meatloaf, and how to learn various skills, all which can be found with a simple search. The negative side of Youtube comes in the form of copyright infringements.
With the abundance of the free flow of information, much copyrighted material is distributed without proper permission. Monitoring the content of Youtube can be a difficult task but Youtube has taken action to rectify this issue as they have recently banned videos which incite violence (“YouTube Bans Videos That Incite Violence,” 2008). Facebook has become the standard student social networking site for many undergraduates. Walk around any college class and it is very likely that at least one student will be on the popular site.
Facebook has become one of the top social networking sites because of the way it allows people to connect to others. With the recent mass opening of the website, many older people were able to join and interact with the younger generation on Facebook. This inclusion of older members to Facebook has shaped the way social networking is used by people of all ages. A downside to Facebook is that it calls for a redefinition of privacy. With the increase of identity theft and stalking, users must be prudent about information posted on the Internet.
While it is perfectly normal to share arbitrary information like name, birthday, and interests on a website like Facebook, sharing information like phone numbers or addresses can be dangerous. Constant contact is another way that social media has shaped our culture. Many young people are members to many different kinds of social networking sites that cater to different specific needs (Twitter for constant updates, Facebook to keep in contact with classmates, Myspace to keep up with new musicians), thus people are able to remain in contact with others at an alarmingly increasing rate.
The usage of PDAs and Smartphones has facilitated this increase, as many of them allow users to connect to social media sites easier and more often. The aforementioned websites have even gone so far as to establish phone applications of their technology to allow users to connect easier. Finally, weblogs, or blogs, are a perfect example of the evolution of social media on culture. Because of the ease of creation and ability to spread your opinions, they have blossomed into an extremely popular form of expression.
In his article, “Facebook: More Popular than Porn,” Bill Tancer acknowledges their popularity, “Blogs came in third in popularity [in sites visited after people log into their social networking profiles] at 6. 1%, claiming more than four times the number of visits to traditional news sites” (2007). Blogs are updated much more often than most news sources, so they have begun to revolutionize how news is reported. Both Google and Yahoo have added a Blog Search to their homepages, which reflects just how strong of a presence blogs have established.
Overall, social media and networking had added additional dimension to our culture. Each has its positives and negatives and contributes new evolutions to our culture in such a short time and will likely continue shaping our culture for years to come. Works Cited Barnes, Susan B. “A Privacy Paradox: Social networking in the United States. ” FirstMonday. org. Sept. 2006. First Monday. 20 Sept. 2008 ;http://www. firstmonday. org/issues/issue11_9/barnes/index. html;. Dvorak, John C. “The Blog Phenomenon. ” PCMag. om. 02 Feb. 2002. PC Magazine. 20 Sept. 2008 ;http://www. pcmag. com/article2/0,2704,12899,00. asp;. Halabi, Lisa. “Designing online social networks: The theories of social groups. ” WebCredible Web Usability. Dec. 2007. WebCredible. 20 Sept. 2008 ;http://www. webcredible. co. uk/user-friendly-resources/web-usability/social-networks. shtml;. Magid, Larry. “Protect Kids On MySpace. ” CBSNews. com. 3 Feb. 2006. CBS. 20 Sept. 2008 ;http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2006/02/03/scitech/pcanswer/main1277909. sh