Social Media a Necessity?
This weeks reading Topologies of Communication focused on social connections, the formation of networks, and the way they are used to achieve social goals. The reading suggest social networks can help do things such as find someone to house sit, to find a job, or get a new plumber. I couldn’t help but think the way the Internet has transformed the way we use social networks. If I needed a plumber, chances are I would use the Google network rather than a contacting someone in my social network. Apple has recently released Siri—an iphone assistant that allows customers to use commands to do everything from setting reminders, placing phone calls, to finding the closest Indian restaurant. Can networks be replaced by technology, would you listen to Siri more than a trusted friend?
In another sense websites are making networks more and more perceptible. A new feature on Facebook invites user to separate their contacts into different networks, from friends, to co-workers, or family. Facebook user’s employ this network to organize events, share news, and maintain contacts. When a person leaves Facebook, its as if they have fallen off the network grid. Recently a friend of mine decided to leave Facebook, she felt frustrated by the large amounts of “weak ties” she obtained, where as previously these ties would have faded they are maintained because of the site. In order to disable her account she was prompted several times to explain why she was leaving, and after completing those actions she was finally shown pictures of her friends with text read so and so will miss you. Since she was a previously a user, she’s had to explain again and again that she is no longer on Facebook and that for events she can’t just “log onto Facebook". Networks are a series of relationships, and technology is not needed to facilitate these networks, although it will interesting to see how technology helps shape and facilitate these networks.