Social networking is only for entertainment in my world. And for spying.

You know why we love social networking?  Because we love ourselves, we naturally compare ourselves to others, and we are nosey.  Also, we feel important when we self-publish.

What?  That’s just me?

Boyd and Ellison

Friendster failed because it tried to tell its users what they should be, rather than allowing them to (even unknowingly) contribute to the development of the site’s features.  Facebook has been more receptive to the directions in which users themselves are taking the site.  A main point of social networking is to allow individuals to express and define themselves, and Friendster seems to have been hellbent on nipping that in the bud.


In Chapter 3, Qualman discusses Millennials as though they are all committed to bettering the world.  Qualman seems to assume Millennials are keenly aware of world happenings, but while they are exposed to much more information than previous generations, might much of that information not be from reputable sources?  In fact, in our world of instant communication, there have been embarrassing incidents of incorrect information given out by reputable sources that jumped the gun and reported results of elections (for example) prematurely.  The speed with which news must be reported in order for outlets to be competitive, and the desire to create eye-catching headlines compromises the integrity of even the most trusted sources.

Also, are Millennials really that much more interested in bettering the world?  Or is it just that they are in their mid-20s, fresh out of college, and it seems that anything is possible?  Weren’t hippies the same way in the 1960s?  Perhaps if social networking were available to hippies, they would be branded the same way Millennials are in the present time.  Now they are “baby boomers” and considered to have different priorities from Generations X and Y.  Of course they do!  They’re at a different point in life!  They’ve experienced things that demonstrate why change is difficult to make in the world, and they’ve moved on to working on the things they have control over.  Qualman points to the fact that so many Generation Yers voted in the 2008 election, compared to lower numbers of Generation Xers who had voted when they were the same age.  This factoid used as “proof” that Generation Yers are out to change the world fails to consider that the 2008 election was a huge deal, with more voters participating overall, due to several economic and social factors in the U.S., along with the first African American candidate.

I realize this was not the main point of this reading, but I get frustrated when any large number of people are assumed to have the same (albeit generalized) set of values.

I was also bothered by the practices Qualman brings to light, especially the quote from Allison Bahm on page 46, “I’ve started relationships and signed contracts exclusively within social networks.”  Yipes!  While I don’t know the exact nature of Ms. Bahm’s business, this practice would make me very nervous.  The work world I live in requires everything in writing, documented, confidential and hand-signed.  It is difficult for me to imagine my employer or any of our usual customers considering any SNS to be suitable for professional use, but then again, we government contractors are an anal-retentive bunch.

Hey, baby. What’s your Telex number?

“Is Social Networking for You?”

I have to admit I couldn’t relate very well to “Is Social Networking for You?”  The company I work for sells products to the Department of Defense rather than the general public.  At this point, there is no way government buyers are allowed to source products or manufacturers through social networking.  We are called out on drawings and official documents as approved sources for certain part numbers, and sometimes the customer has no choice but to buy the product from us.  I suppose social networking is not “for” our company, but involvement in social networking can obviously be beneficial for those that sell products to the general population.  If I hear about a product I’m interested in, I go to the company’s website to learn about it and then ask my Facebook friends if they’ve used the product in order to get reviews, much like practices that are discussed in Qualman’s chapters.  It is in those companies’ best interest to have lots of information available for the consumer.

Posted on September 21, 2012, in Literacy, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’m a generation X’er and I remember that when I got out of college Time magazine did a big issue that attempted to describe who we were. If I remember correctly, it described member of Gen X as antisocial and somewhat self-absorbed and potentially depressed–kinda like Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice.

    I think that the statistical trends are useful when describing a particular generation, but it is just not fair or accurate to try and distill millions of individuals that happen to be the same age group into a single archetype.

  2. Laura,
    I understood that SNS in your company is not THE way of communicating with the audience. However, considering being a professional in our field, would you try to keep up-to-date to these trends (even if that means you gotta do it privately), because it might be beneficial for your future career choices? We never really know where life’s taking us…

  3. Oh, absolutely, Britta. I completely understand the value of SNS as a business or marketing tool in many situations, and I passively keep up with SNS, but only for social reasons – nothing professional. I suppose it just bothers me that the idea of using SNS in business is presented in a one-size-fits-all manner. Nothing is appropriate for every situation!

    • See, I would like to do it the other way around. Since I am a pretty private person, but still intrigued by the SNS, I would like to use these media just for business purposes. I hope this course will give me the foundation about how to do it properly, what are the ethics, etc.

      • It’s not a SNS per se, but what about the rise of PayPal as method of online payment? And the Square Card reader you can attach to your smartphone? See Isn’t that kind of exchange of information a form of contract signing? The folks I see rely on these methods are often small business owners, so it offers them options that a Web-less world couldn’t. Pretty interesting trends to consider alongside the more “traditional” business contracts!

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