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The Impact of Social Networking on ResNet Users. Kevin Guidry IT Fellow at Sewanee, The University of the South Member, ResNet Applied Research Group. All original content in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Introductions. Who am I?

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the impact of social networking on resnet users

The Impact of Social Networking on ResNet Users

Kevin Guidry

IT Fellow at Sewanee, The University of the South

Member, ResNet Applied Research Group

All original content in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

  • Who am I?
  • Who are you?
  • I don’t know it all
  • No one knows it all
  • We’re going to play loose and fast with some of the language
  • Foundation and generalities
  • Facebook
  • Practical implications and practices
staggering statistics levy 2007
Staggering StatisticsLevy (2007)
  • MySpace:
    • More than 66 million users visit each month
    • 12 percent of all time on Internet spent there
  • Facebook
    • 23 million users visit each month
    • More than 2 million users joined in April (150,000 a day)
  • Compare with countries of the world
what is a social networking service sns
What is a Social Networking Service (SNS)?

Are these SNSs?

  • Blackboard
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Second Life
  • Slashdot
  • Wikipedia
  • World of Warcraft
how some researchers define sns
How some researchers define SNS

UNC Social Software Symposium

  • December 8-9, 2006, Chapel Hill NC
  • 37 attendees
  • Their definitions of SNS
how some researchers define sns11
How some researchers define SNS

danah boyd (2007a):

“These three features - profiles, Friends lists, and comments* - comprise the primary structure of all social network sites, although individual sites provide additional features for further engagement. While SNSes allow visitors to wander from Friend to Friend and communicate with anyone who has a visible profile, the primary use pattern is driven by pre-existing friend groups. People join the sites with their friends and use the different messaging tools to hang out, share cultural artifacts and ideas, and communicate with one another.”

* - emphasis added

key properties of sns boyd in press
Key properties of SNS(boyd, in press)
  • Persistence: Unlike the ephemeral quality of speech in unmediated publics, networked communications are recorded for posterity. This enables asynchronous communication but it also extends the period of existence of any speech act.
  • Searchability: Because expressions are recorded and identity is established through text, search and discovery tools help people find like minds. While people cannot currently acquire the geographical coordinates of any person in unmediated spaces, finding one’s digital body online is just a matter of keystrokes.
  • Replicability: Hearsay can be deflected as misinterpretation, but networked public expressions can be copied from one place to another verbatim such that there is no way to distinguish the “original” from the “copy.”
  • Invisible audiences: While we can visually detect most people who can overhear our speech in unmediated spaces, it is virtually impossible to ascertain all those who might run across our expressions in networked publics. This is further complicated by the other three properties, since our expression may be heard at a different time and place from when and where we originally spoke.
key properties of sns
Key properties of SNS
  • Persistence
  • Searchability
  • Replicability
  • Invisible audiences
why youths use sns
Why Youths use SNS

To create a

“digital publics”:

  • Socialization
  • Identity development
internet disinhibition suler 2004
Internet DisinhibitionSuler (2004)
  • Dissociative anonymity
  • Invisibility
  • Asynchronicity
  • Solipsistic introjection
  • Dissociative imagination
  • Minimization of authority
it s a dog eat dog world
It’s a dog-eat-dog world
  • I am not an expert in this application/tool
  • Research takes time
  • Significant gaps in the research
  • Facebook continues to change
recent facebook changes
“Recent” Facebook Changes
  • February 2006 – High school users allowed
  • September 2006 – All users allowed
  • May 2007 – API expanded/changed

“More than 40,000 developers have requested to be part of the project, around 1,500 applications have been produced so far, and some of the most popular went from zero to 850,000 users in three days.”

basic stats as of may 2007 cashmore 2007
Basic stats (as of May 2007)Cashmore (2007)
  • General Growth• More than 24 million active users• More than 100,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007• An average of 3 percent weekly growth since Jan. 2007• Active users have doubled since Facebook expanded registration in Sept. 2006User Demographics• Over 47,000 regional, work-related, collegiate, and high school networks• More than half of Facebook users are outside of college• The fastest growing demographic is those 25 years old and older• Maintain 85 percent market share of 4-year U.S. universities
  • User Engagement• Sixth-most trafficked site in the United States*• More than 40 billion page views per month in May 2007• More than half of active users return daily• People spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily*
  • Applications• No. 1 photo sharing application on the web*• Photo application draws more than twice as much traffic as the next three sites combined*• More than 1.8 billion photos on the site• More than 6 million active user groups on the site
  • International Growth• Canada has the most users outside of the United States, with more than 2.5 million active users• The U.K. is the third largest country with more than 1.4 million active users• Remaining Top 10 countries in order of active users (outside of the U.S., Canada and UK): Norway,Australia, South Africa, Lebanon, Egypt, Sweden and India

*Source: comScore Media Metrix

how many students use facebook
How many students use Facebook?
  • ECAR (2006): “More than 70 percent use social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and of those 65.9 percent do so several times a week or more.”
  • Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe (2006): 94% of MSU freshmen
  • Stutzman (2006): In week 1, 85% of UNC freshmen; by week 16, 94%
  • Vanden Boogart (2006): 94.4% of participants at 4 different institutions
frequency of facebook daily use vanden boogart 2006
Frequency of Facebook Daily UseVanden Boogart (2006)

N Percent

0 - 30 minutes 1539 53.9%

30 minutes - 1 hour 837 29.3%

1 hour - 2 hours 362 12.7%

2 hours - 3 hours 89 3.1%

more than 3 hours 30 1.1%

Total 2857 100.0%

is anyone not using facebook
Is anyone not using Facebook?
  • Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe (2006): “Neither gender, ethnicity, nor income appeared to relate to propensity to join Facebook. Older students, and those who have been at school longer are significantly less likely to be on Facebook, probably reflecting an effect of the recency which with the MSU Facebook community began.”
how many friends do they have
How many “friends” do they have?
  • Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe (2006): “Students report…between 150 and 200 friends on the system.”
  • Vanden Boogart (2006): “The average respondent had 145 friends at their institution and 127 friends at other institutions.”
  • Golder, Wilkinson, & Huberman (2006): “Of the 4.2 million users in our dataset, we found a median of 144 friends and mean of 179.53 friends per user.”
dunbar s number 150
Dunbar's number = 150

Dunbar (2002): “The cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships.”

what are they doing on facebook27
What are they doing on Facebook?

Vanden Boogart (2006): “The highest area for use on Facebook is staying connected to high school friends. One would expect more people using Facebook to connect to college peers; however a very small percentage (21.1%) are using it for this purpose.”

why do they use facebook
Why do they use Facebook?

Bumgarner (2006):

  • Gossip
  • Directory
  • Diversion
  • Voyeurism and exhibitionism
privacy expectations awareness
Privacy expectations & awareness
  • Acquisti & Gross (2006): “Most of privacy concerned undergraduates still join the network”
  • Govani & Pashley (2005): “Facebook users generally feel comfortable sharing their personal information in a campus environment. [Survey] participants said that they ‘had nothing to hide’ and ‘they don’t really care if other people see their information.’”
  • Jones & Soltren (2005): “Women definitely self-censor their Facebook data more than men do.”
prolific bad photos
Prolific “bad” photos?
  • Watson, Smith, & Driver (2006): “The recent media reports indicating student users of Facebook routinely post questionable photos on their sites…appear to be largely unfounded based on the evidence elicited from this research study.”
  • Results closely replicated by Saunders, Jamieson, & Hale (2007)
when are students in front of their computers
When are students in front of their computers?
  • Rhythms of social interaction time/day data on pages 8 & 9
how do we get started
How do we get started?
  • NCSU Facebook Phenomenon 19:27 – 21:30
digital divide
Digital Divide

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (2007):

  • 53% of all US households have high-speed Internet access.
  • High-speed services now account for about 72% of all home Internet subscriptions – compared to 60% last year.
  • “While broadband subscriptions continued to increase across the country in the past year, broadband penetration remains strongly correlated with household income.”
    • 68% of all households with annual incomes over $50,000 subscribe to high-speed access
    • 39% of all households with annual incomes under $50,000 subscribe to high-speed access
  • 81% of all US households have at least one computer but only 56% of those with annual household incomes under $30,000 have a computer at home
  • 45% of households with annual incomes below $30,000 subscribe to an Internet service at home – compared to 92% of households with annual incomes above $75,000
  • 7% of all Internet subscribers say that high-speed access is not available in their area
participatory divide
Participatory Divide

Boyd (in press): “Those who only access their [MySpace] accounts in schools use it primarily as an asynchronous communication tool, while those with continuous nighttime access at home spend more time surfing the network, modifying their profile, collecting friends, and talking to strangers. When it comes to social network sites, there appears to be a far greater participatory divide than an access divide.”

nyu new student orientation
NYU New Student Orientation
  • Undergraduate Orientation Leader application statement:

“I understand that, as a UOL, I will be expected to serve as a role model and be conscious of how I present myself in all forums, including electronic ones, such as Facebook and Myspace [sic]….Furthermore, though any information I have available in an on-line community will not be formally researched as a part of the staff selection process, I understand that members of the selection staff may have accounts and unintentionally come across my on-line personal profile.”

nyu new student orientation38
NYU New Student Orientation
  • Facebook-related exercises during group interviews
  • Statement on Orientation Leader Contract:

“I will be conscious of how I represent myself in all forums, including electronic ones, such as Facebook or Myspace [sic].”

institutional monitoring
Institutional monitoring?

Steinbeck & Deavers (2007):

  • Is the college monitoring its students’ online activities regularly?
  • If the institution monitors this activity, why has it chosen to do so?
  • Has the college informed its students of its policy toward monitoring?
facebook platform
Facebook Platform
  • Official website:
  • Example application: UIUC Library Search
  • Acquisti, A., & Gross, R. (2006). Imagined communities: Awareness, information sharing, and privacy on the facebook. Cambridge, England: 6th Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies.
  • boyd, d. (2007a). Social network sites: public, private, or what? The Knowledge Tree(13). Retreived June 11, 2007, from
  • boyd, d. (in press). Why youth (heart) social network sites: the role of networked publics in teenage social life. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Identity Volume New York: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved June 11, 2007, from
  • Cashmore, P.. (2007, May 24). Facebook F8 Live. Mashable. Retrieved June 19, 2007, from
  • Dunbar, R.I.M. (1992) Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution 22: 469-493.
  • Govani, T., & Pashley, H. (2005). Student awareness of the privacy implications when using facebook. Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University. [Student Poster].
  • Jones, H., & Soltren, J. H. (2005). Facebook: threats to privacy. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [Unpublished student paper].
  • Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (2007). Over half of u.s. households subscribe to broadband internet. Durham, NC: Leichtman Research Group, Inc. [Press release]. Retrieved June 11, 2007, from
  • Levy, S. (2007, May 28). Is Facebook catching up with MySpace? Newsweek. Retrieved June 11, 2007, from
  • McCarthy, Caroline (2007, June 18). FaceBook platform attracts 1,000 developers a day. CNET Retrieved June 20, 2007, from,130061733,339278661,00.htm
  • Steinbeck, S. E. & Deavers, L. M. (2007, April 3). The Brave New World of MySpace and Facebook. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 13, 2007, from
  • Suler, J. (2004). The online disinhibition effect. CyberPsychology & Behavior,7(3).
  • Vanden Boogart, M. R. (2006). Uncovering the social impacts of facebook on a college campus. Unpublished Master of Science Thesis, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.
  • Watson, S. W., Smith, Z., & Driver, J. (2006). Alcohol, sex and illegal activities: an analysis of selected facebook central photos in fifty states. [ERIC Document ED493049].