Archives for posts with tag: Social Media

The history of Face – the beginnings

The first model of Facebook was called Facemash and was created by second year Harvard student Mark Zukerberg and three other students in October 2008.  Facemash was set up as a game for Harvard students to compare and vote on pictures of female students on who was ‘hot’ or ‘not’.  To show Marks state of mind, he wanted to compare student pictures with pictures of animals.  Mark hacked into Harvard’s security network and copied student images from nine Houses to populate his Facemash website.

Within four hours of Facemash being online, 450 students viewed 22,000 photos. Harvard shut down the website a few days later.   Mark later blogged he was a jerk for making the website

For an art history final, Mark created a social study tool and uploaded 500 Augustan images to a website, one image per page with a section for other to comment.  His classmates soon started sharing their notes on the website.  Facemash was later sold for $30, 201.

Inspired by Facemash, Mark created ‘Thefacebook’ in February, 2004.  He wanted to create a universal website to communicate for Harvard University.  Within 24 hours of the website going on line, it had between 1,200 and 1,500 students registered.  Mark was accused of using an idea from three senior Harvard students and creating a similar website they asked Mark to help them build.

Membership was originally for Harvard students only.  Within the first month more than half the students were registered on ‘Thefacebook’.  Mark signed up others to promote the website.  In March 2004, Facebook expanded to other Universities, gradually expanding to Parker to become Facebook’s president and moved to California.  In 2005 ‘Thefacebook’ became ‘Facebook’.  Facebook is one of the fastest growing companies in history as well as being an essential part of social life for both teenagers and adults. Facebook is also influential in political protests.


Kirkpatrick, D 2010, the Facebook effect, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York.

Phillips, S ‘A brief history of Facebook’, The Guardian, 25th July 2007, retrieved from internet,


Facebook History – A brief history of the Facebook site

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 1

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 2

A brief history of Facebook

Winklevoss Twins – Facebook was our idea – Tyler & Cameron


As Facebook was in the beginning just geographically located in the Ivy League Universities on the East coast of America its adoption to now having more than 955 million active users worldwide it shows a pretty substantial growth rate since its move to making it accessible to anyone aged 13 and over with a valid email address in September 2006.

From once being used by university students to now being used by people of all ages and backgrounds, and even a marketplace for businesses and musicians to advertise music, goods and services.  Facebook now seems to be integrated into society with the majority of people online and posting regularly.

“Research done by Daniel Holder suggests that Facebook reinforces existing relationships more than expanding the creation of new relationships. This makes sense as Facebook provides a cheap way of keeping up with friends. He found that Facebook appears to shape the way in which people view their social relationships.”

I think what puts Facebook above the rest is its broad range of interactivity, there is plenty of things to do on Facebook; look at photos, videos, look at business pages, play games, poke hot girls, and did I mention be connected with nearly a billion people worldwide?

People generally start off using Facebook not so regularly but as their network grows then generally so does their Facebook usage, the more friends you get, the more friends you talk to and interact with.

“I realized that Facebook isn’t just a social network; Facebook is actually a society in and of itself. There is only one rule in this society: complete transparency. When you become a member, you agree to broadcast all kinds of information about yourself with the understanding that anyone who knows you will receive it. Anything you do within the confines of this society is fair game, and further, you’re encouraged to share what you’re doing outside of the society as well.”[i]


The growth of Facebook

With the current number of people signed up to Facebook ranging within the 900 million mark, and with the one billion mark in sight, the company is in pretty good shape to handle this week’s upcoming IPO. But while we talk about how many are on the site and how many more people will join, we tend to forget that this success didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of planning and work for the social media giant to reach this point.

On the question on what are some of the decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach almost a one billion users?” was posted to Product Manager Andy Johns and he provides a detailed response.

While tactics and planning was important to Facebook success and is part of any successful company out there, it was the site’s atmosphere and priorities that made such growth possible. Johns says that the team grew to 30 – 40 people and everything functioned around ‘decisions’, which revolved around tactics, strategy, hiring and priorities and culture.

The greatest factor, in Johns’ opinion, in increasing the number of users on the site was making the site available in as many languages as possible. The reasons behind this is obvious, but Johns says that “Growth was not about hiring 10 people per country and putting them in the 20 most important countries and expecting it to grow. Growth was about engineer systems of scale and enabling our users to grow the product for us.” Building the international growth side of the team and then scaling it was vital to this growth, which the video below explains.

Also, there were two main features in the office to keep people focused on the task at hand: the first was displaying flags of different nations which not only represented the company’s international workforce, but the global audience it targeted. The second was numerous banners designed to encourage the team to work as hard as possible. Johns mentions two specific signs that hung above the growth team: The first sign read “Go Big Or Go Home” and had a picture of Godzilla next to it (that, according to Johns, made it more awesome) while the other read “Up And To The Right.” That along with many other motivational messages were scattered throughout the office to help motivate the different teams.

Team leader Chamath Palihapitiya says that the key to understanding how growth works can be broken down into two things: The first is a fundamental understanding of your product and knowing why people use it. The second is creating a simple framework for doing your work as making it complicated only makes things harder for yourself.



Netwar 2.0:

Digital freedom is a person’s right to post/write/share any information they desire on the internet. Some governments around the world are trying to restrict digital freedom, at times without public knowledge as to let such law pass without public debate or hassles. The People’s Republic of China is considered to be the world’s strictest government body in relation to internet censorship and the freedom of digital information.

The introduction of the internet has made it very difficult for companies to protect their products and assets from being freely shared by its users. Maintaining copyright is imperative to protecting its financial value and society’s norms of capitalism.

2 modes of capitalism:

‘Incumbent wing’ – Entertainment companies, which are in favour of the copyright otherwise file/product sharing leads to loss of sales and revenue.

‘Vectoralist class’ – users that feed off this common production eg. Facebook, E-bay, Amazon, Google, Microsoft.

The Vectoralist class aren’t as noble as they would like you to believe as they do it for their own financial gain and benefit whilst making it appear to give liberty of express to its users.

2 sides of digital expression:

– Such software programes offer a horizonal and free structure of information exchange

– Those who criticize this specifically digital capitalism that was founded on data capture

There are 2 types of capitalism stated: Network and Material. They may be slightly different forms, yet they are not completely different or separate from each other. Financial capitalism is very much integrated in digital capitalism. It functions on the same formula of production and expansion, and with some sites/software, continual payments/upgrades (even after the initial purchase).

This will not result in a clash of 2 capitalisms, but instead a reconfiguration.


Anonymous is for digital freedom and provides alternatives to corporate social communication sites. They are in support of Wikileaks and attack any organisation they believe blocks digital expression and freedom. Anonymous are very integrated in the social activist movement, providing multiple channels for political debate amongst users and creating a non-hierarchical environment in the process.

They do not want to associate themselves with leadership or fame. They provide an inverted alternative to the current culture of digital communication. No-one is ifentified with one’s own name, nor do they allow individual attention seeking behaviour. People in Anonymous who more invested in the project have a natural authority, but that does not mean they are more influential as a result. Anyone can speak with the vertical mass media on an individual level, but no-one is allowed to themselves as a representative unless they are involved directly with the given action, or else they face expulsion.

Big Brother is watching you!

It is predicted that the convergence of the net and the streets will only get stronger as time goes on.

Social Media Activism:

Social media is changing the way activism, of a political or charitable nature, plays out in our environment. People are split as to whether it is having a positive or a negative influence. Some argue that social media is “Slacktivism” and clicking like on a facebook page is completely void and does nothing to assist charities to make a buck. It is only providing the user with a false sense of accomplishment.


Classic Slacktivism

On the other side of the argument, is the widely expanded exposure that sharing these links/videos (whether a person contributes their time/money beyond this or not) brings to a greater audience. As Kessler says, the basic act of ‘liking’ something is “the first step in a ladder of engagement”. The ability of social media to instantaneously connect large numbers of people interested in supporting whatever specific issue has never been at the level it is now, by connecting such masses with instant updates etc…without the issues of bureaucracy to stand in its way.

Organising these groups of people can have a significant impact. By funneling the interest of people, some organisations feel that they could turn some of those clicked likes (loose ties) into more active users and create tight ties or “activists” – they’d essentially climb the ladder of involvement by making steps via social media then ultimately head to a gathering/meeting etc to get more involved. It is somewhat of a gateway for the user to deeper engagement in the future.

Social media being incorporated into activism is only in its infancy. It’s a new digital age where providing information to a mass audience can only be improved and grow. The strategies and campaigns of activism through social media are testing new ground, and with time can only improve with its efficiency.

How to Become a 21st-Century Social Activist.

Q. What do you think will be some of the future pros and cons for social activism?

Q. How do you feel about the Australian government’s plans to monitor users online activity?  Safety or Invasion of privacy?

40GB of Data Leaked Using Australian Government Monitoring Technology

Related News:

New York cracks down on social media gangsters

Facebook is a website devoted to social networking. It currently has over 500 million daily users and 900 monthly users worldwide and it is the second most popular website only behind Google.


Facebook was established by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 and gained popularity almost immediately. By the end of its first year it had over 64 million users.

Daily Life Usage

200 million people access Facebook via a mobile device each day

  • More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared each day
  • Users that access Facebook on mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook compared to non-mobile users
  • Facebook generates a staggering 770 billion page views per month
  • 200 million people access Facebook via a mobile device each day
  • Average user sends 8 friend requests per month

Facebook Stats

Facebook users log an average of 60 minutes per day

When you log on what is the first thing you see? The NEWSFEED!!

The Newsfeed is one of the most significant parts in Facebook. This is where you see your friend’s links to news, their check-ins to places and their likes (contents in general). The Newsfeed is the place where the conversations start rolling if the subject is of interest.
“A ‘performative’ virtual playground that drives the production of subjectivities on-line, while simultaneously acting as site of capture for the immaterial labour required for users to remain recognizable” (Cote & Pybus, 2011, p.6) .

Facebook practising a form of Biopower

Biopower “uses this population like a machine for production, for the production of wealth, goods and other individuals” (Foucault, cited in Cote & Pybus 2011, p. 10).

Facebook is not as private as you think. They are actually using your information to advertise contents according to your interests. Your likes and dislikes and personal information are essential as it allows Facebook to choose what you see (in terms of advertisements) selling products back to us.


Immaterial? Labour? Immaterial labour?

Social networking is all about connecting with friends and family and meeting new people, right?

Yes, that is gist of it. However, immaterial labour is the major player in social networks such as Facebook as companies are earning big bucks while users are providing free labour to promote products, places, fashion and news simply by sharing with friends. This will make other people on the network want the things you like and are able to find out more about the place/product then users will participate and feel involved and be a part of a community by keeping the social flow going. This gets users to be more productive which is shown by of all the things that get generated.

From the Audience Commodity to Immaterial Labour

Social Media has become central to the process of media. An example of this was back in 2004 when Richard Murdoch’s News Corp spent more than a half a million on MySpace. This turned out to be a horrible investment.This purchase showed the growing relationship between Audiences and Popular Culture and those social media platforms like MySpace and now Facebook are not just a form of communication but they are in fact an important part of the media in general. News, current events and people’s everyday lives are spread much quicker through social media.

Through time we as users have changed. We no longer gain all our knowledge and news from the television set, just listening to one side of the story, they story they want us to hear. We have now moved to on to dictate what the media tells us. As we join social media we become a central part of social networks. We update, we tweet, we check in. We share our own opinion and not the opinion of the news.

The Audience Commodity is focused on a response to correct the term of consumption. It is an update on previous theories of how audiences act. Immaterial labour is a new way to describe the ‘audience’. It better helps us understand the line between culture, subjectivity and capital. When dealing with a social network like Facebook, the word audience is irrelevant as there are so many different aspects to consider.


Convergence is a major feature of social networking sites like Facebook. Convergence aids immaterial labour in that the user both produces and consumes the product, and this helps the creation of the cultural content of a community. Unlike past times, major media companies do not produce products for the public to consume, as can be seen in traditional TV production. With Facebook, the user both consumes the product and influences or even creates the product. The role of the user in this situation is important, because the user participates in the cultural content of the product. This is what connects convergence to immaterial labour.

The Digital Archive of the Self, of Feeling, and of Profit

In Facebook there are two parties, Facebook itself and its users. Facebook gains more power the more the users update. Its market value increases as users continually post, upload, share and update their immaterial and affective labour.


When Facebook’s timeline was introduced, it gave new meaning to this theory of ‘the digital archive of the self’. These digital archives are user-generated. We, as users, upload and update everything about our lives on our Facebook profiles. Through Timeline, we have an easily accessible digital archive of our online lives. Our digital archive is always being updated as we upload new information and new media. Our digital archive is always in a process. Even if we stop updating ourselves, on our friends may do it for us by tagging. It also remains a process by still being there and remaining as our online history.

Facebook Timeline

Are you FOR or AGAINST the Facebook Timeline? Why?

This “constant updating is a direct consequence of the new paradigm of permanent 25 transfer” and fits with how Foucault tried to characterize the evolution of the archive. That is, “not a monument for future memory but a document for possible use”.  (Cote & Pybus, 2011, p.25)

Throughout Nicholas Carr’s piece of is ‘Google making us Stupid’. Carr is describing the overabundance of information that is readily available over the internet. Arguing that due to a sheer volume of information not only have we altered our methods of taking in information, but this volume of knowledge has led to a drop in intelligence and intellectual pieces.

Being a frequent Google-user myself, I have concerns with Carr’s argument. His reasoning behind his disagreement is that Google is primary representative of how the Internet is rewiring our brain and changing the way we think. Before Google, Carr states how we would ‘deep read’ which would progress into us making our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, and foster our own ideas.

Carr argues the youth of today favour more unrefined and trashy pieces opposed to literary work such as Tolstoy’s War & Peace. Yes this may be true that the level of writing and prose has dropped since search engines have been implemented. But as Clay Shirky (2009) states “Whenever the abundance of written material spikes, the average quality of written material falls, as a side-effect of volume.” Taking Shirky’s statement into account, and coupling that with the ease of which anyone can at a few clicks of a mouse upload, and publish pieces that are available to the whole world. Which as Shirky described can easily account for the drop in quality. But this isn’t really an issue that should be taken into account. As Carr’s idea is a rather trivial argument due to the fact that if one wants to avoid such works then merely avoid clicking the link or actively refuse to read such pieces.

Next Carr states that the ability to concentrate, absorb and regurgitate information has diminished as a by-product of cyber-skimming.

As part of a five-year research program, scholars studied computer logs documenting the behaviour of visitors to two popular research sites. One was operated by the British Library and one that provided access to journal articles, e-books, and other sources of written information. It was found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” bouncing from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site.

Who here believes that skimming is a negative trait?

Carr debates upon the negative impact this is having on our youth. Although this may be true, we can view this form of cyber skimming as just a new and a more efficient way of studying. This new form of studying/reading is definitely relevant towards technological progression. As when vast steps forward in technology take place it is only natural that new forms of behaviour relating to studying surface. As Shirky (2009) states “Carr is correct that there is cultural sacrifice in the transformation of the media landscape, but this is hardly the first time that has happened.” To which Shirky goes onto discuss similar effects associated with Gutenberg’s printing press. The issue of is Google making us stupid isn’t the real question here. As the notion of technological advances creating a drop in intelligence cannot be related back to a system that in its own right has no ability to directly affect human action or persuade our thinking. As it isn’t the fault of search engines that people prefer less then academic information. It is more so the fact that people are utilising technology to pander to their wants and needs. As it would be fairly obvious that most of us would prefer to read an entertainment magazine then delve into a 1200 page novel. It’s not this overabundance of information that is making people stupid. But more it is a progression and realisation that society prefers to indulge in escapism as the stress of day to day life has never been as high as it is now.

Google is the perfect search engine; doesn’t it give you exactly what you want? Its information is a kind of product, and the more pieces of information we can “access” and the faster we can extract the substance, the more productive we become as thinkers.

However just as there’s a tendency to praise technological progress, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine. Throughout Carr’s article, he reaches out to various historical examples in which technology changed human behavior. These examples range from the clock helping us decide “when to eat, to work, to sleep, and then when to get up.” the stopwatch increasing factory productivity and even the printing press. These examples only weaken Carr’s argument as they each assisted human beings perform more tasks, further demonstrating the flexibility of the human mind.

The Internet, an immeasurably powerful computing system, is incorporating most of our other intellectual technologies. It’s becoming our map and our clock, our printing press and our typewriter, our calculator and our telephone, and our radio and TV.

Carr himself called the Web a “godsend”. It saved him a considerable amount of time whilst conducting his own research and writing. This is exactly the point: Google makes information much more accessible to us, as we determine what information we consume and what information to ignore.

Is Google Making Us Smarter?

To continue along this video stipulates how Google makes us smarter. Comparing brain scans with people who have never or rarely used the internet, compared to people who are well adverse with the internet and search engines. The findings indicate that people who were proficient with the internet and in particular using Google displayed far greater levels of learning in the parts of the brain that take care of information reattainment. The participants who were not adverse with the internet or search engines were told to spend an hour each day for a week practising the craft of probing on search engines. They discovered that the area of the brain responsible for learning had increased significantly after the 7 days of practising on the search engines.

Although Carr makes some good points specifically about how the level of writing has dropped since the widespread commercial use of the internet has taken place, and also the use of cyber-skimming to learn. They ultimately fall on deaf ears. Firstly his criticism of the degradation of writing is valid but as mentioned before is trivial. As we have the option to ignore such pieces. Secondly his remarks about our cyber-skimming seemed to indicate that it will, and has affected our ability to take in information. To which I would counter is incorrect as it allows for us to take in far greater amounts of various pieces. This means our personal library of information contains opinions and views from far more sources, this allows for a greater and more articulated assessment on various topics.

Do you believe that with the explosion of search engines that our ability to analyse, critique, argue and write pieces has been compromised? Or has this ability increased due to the substantial amount of numerous views and opinions that we can use to derive our answers from?

Read the rest of this entry »

Web 2.0 refers to the change in relationship on the internet between the producer and consumer, it opens opportunities for an individual to become a prosumer. The user experience is no longer decided by the web site designer, visitors can now make public contributions and have shared ownership over a site. This causes a shift in power structures and a shift in models based on equal partnership.
This in theory opens possibilities regarding Habermas’ ideal democratic model of the ‘Public Sphere’. The ‘Public Sphere’ indicates a domain of social life where public opinion is expressed through rational public discourse and debate: a forum specifically for debate NOT collective political action.
Benkler identifies 5 criteria to judge the effectiveness of a Public Sphere on Web 2.0, it:
-Must be open to everyone
-Must show itself capable of filtering information
-Must include systems for accrediting information sources
-Must be capable at synthesising public opinion
-Must be independent from the government

Ben Robert identifies some problems with Benkler and his ideological view of Web 2.0 as a ‘new network information economy’. Although there is the potential through availability to multiple sources of information not provided by traditional media, the non-market modes of participation/production and the increased connectivity of individuals to each other, Robert contends that this network is not used in such a manner.  Firstly; the network is not open to everyone nor does everyone who has access contribute in an equal manner. There still tends to be a domination by the same corporate media sites who do not provide the independence necessary for a true ‘public sphere’. With the top 5 news websites accessed in August 2012 being purveyors of more traditional media and from media corporations ( ).

Web Participation

The concept of democracy revolves around assumptions about the nature of political communication, these including the active and collaborative nature of feedback from those affected. Web 2.0 has the ability to provide that function on previously unimaginable levels. The recent uses of Web 2.0, specifically mass social media to cause fundamental political change demonstrates the increased capabilities of people through the web. Perhaps the greatest example of Web 2.0’s use in democratic ideals is the recent Arab Spring phenomena where a chain reaction of revolutions were ignited and sustained through social media. : Documentary on how social media was implemented in the spread of revolutionary ideas in the Middle East.

This kind of organisation and spread of ideas also have been replicated in a Western context, with the Occupy movement expanding from a protest in one city, to separate movements in over 500 ( )
Although not directly responsible for such political movements, mass and instant communicative media provides an effective tool in the organisation and propagation of political ideas. And raises the question, would a movement on a scale such as the Arab Spring or Occupy have been able to happen without the connectional and organisational apparatus of Web 2.0?

There is also the use of non-market participation on Web 2.0 linking back to the idea of the ‘prosumer’. There are users who contribute to sites such as Wikipedia or creating other user generated content who are collectively contributing to work that have a real economic value. These users are mostly exchanging their labour for no money or any reward, an altruistic act. This would fit in with Benkler’s idea of the ‘network information economy’ however a survey on those who used the internet frequently found that 52% are inactive users of user generated content sites, 33% are passive spectators and only 13% are actual creators: the average income of passive spectators is significantly higher than those of content creators.
There is also a significant difference between the users of the ‘commercially driven’ online communities (i.e. Facebook and Youtube) and those not-for-profit community based exchange sites (wikis). Most people who visit user generated content sites are taken there via the ‘commercially driven’ social media sites or through similar marketing mechanisms. An example of this  was the ‘overnight success’ of a Dutch Teenager who through promotion of her Youtube video on the Hyves friends network (Dutch social networking site: ) and the eventual contribution from Justin Timberlake’s professional marketers successfully started her pop career. She has gone from relative anonymity to a Dutch celebrity with over 168 million video views simply through viral promotion ( ). This also demonstrates the connectivity of Web 2.0.