Social Network Blog

In Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship (2007), Danah Boyd and Nicole Ellison catalog the history and rise of social network sites (SNS). They describe and timeline. Social networks emerged, declined; Facebook learned from others mistakes and then took over the world. Boyd and Ellison differentiate that “network emphasizes relationship initiation” whereas “social network sites…enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks” (p.211). Boyd and Ellison show us the “science;” Andrew Keen and David Weinberger argue exposure, fault, privacy – cockroach.


The giant cockroach; I didn’t need that visualization. That’s what The Internet Is Not the Answer (2015) author Andrew Keen calls social media “authors-formerly-known-as-the-audience” in a web 2.0 woe and pro point/counterpoint with David Weinberger. I admit I’m on team Keen and slide more so into negativity as he laments the chattering “digital narcissism,” lack of art, and death of objectivity as more amateurs become authors on the web full of “lost truth.” His point is “the Web is us…a mirror rather than a medium” (214). What happened to us?


Weinberger and Keen bait each other, make good points, and I found myself checking the New York Times (NYT) bestsellers list: and the Top 40 hits for today: Not sure what I thought I could tell from that since I don’t recognize any of the music. But I see Weinberger’s point that the Web is meant to reach far and it’s far-reaching. He sees the good; Keen doesn’t.


This is killing me. Six hours in, numerous edits, and I still haven’t produced anything worthy of a blog. So I throw in a RedBox movie on teens and social media. For someone looking for a ray of sunshine in the cloud of crap online, this choice was a big mistake. Has anyone seen Men, Women, and Children ( with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner?

Men, Women and Children

It’s a worst-case, but probably all-to-real look at what’s going on with our families, and kids constantly exposed to, and numbed by social media. I want to scream. Kids can’t socialize without a device, families can’t communicate, and every tool leads to porn. Mom preaches Internet and social media safety to neighborhood groups, installs cameras in her kid’s rooms, keystroke loggers on computers, and insists her daughter take her phone everywhere “so I can track you.” One girl intent on becoming a Kardashian-ism makes a selfies site so modeling agencies can see her gift. Then Mom adds provocative photos of her in an effort to get her noticed. Oh, it does. Dad laments the missed “rite of passage” of finding his son’s porn magazines – it’s all on the web. So he does what any Dad would; checks it often – and orders an escort. Helicopter Mom psycho-checks daughter’s FB, MySpace, Twitter, and email. She’s safe, right? Except in gym where her friend nonchalantly shares her latest cell phone captured sex act. Everyone is desensitized, devoid of common sense and self-worth, and addicted to technology. Do I have to be that Mom?


I know there’s good stuff out there. TED Talks ( amaze me; speakers people are brilliant, inspired, informed, and show me a new way to think. My kids take Udemy ( and Kahn Academy ( courses, and I wouldn’t have found this program without the Internet. But I just learned that once you put something on the Web it’s out there forever. Don’t laugh at me. I just realize why I haven’t seen classmate blogs; I’m on the UWStout720 site. Sigh. My kids are on social network sites, but not Facebook ( since us “old people” took it over. But they tweet, YouTube (, and visit places I don’t know about. I better show them that movie. Right after I install cameras and recording devices on everything. Thank God, they don’t have cell phones.










Posted on September 20, 2015, in Blogs, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. While I have yet to see the film Men, Women, and Children, it does sound thought provoking. Despite coming from a slightly jaded Hollywood perspective, it broaches an interesting point concerning social media and how it affects family dynamics.

    Not only do these new technologies influence how individuals communicate, they also impact how families communicate as well. For better or worse, it’s clear that the Internet and social media have been incorporated into our everyday lives.

    A 2013 study by Coyne, Padilla-Walker, Day, Harper & Stockdale investigated the relationship between parent-child social networking and adolescent outcomes. Overall, their results suggest that the “joint use of social networking sites was associated with heightened connectivity between adolescents and parents.” In short, families that are involved with each other on social media report stronger relationships and lower behavioral issues.

    While these new forms of technology can offer a great source of communication, they also can be a source of tension. As a result, cell phones at the dinner table, going over monthly data plan and privacy are just a few possible points of contention that may arise.

    I know you mentioned that you have kids, so I’m curious- how would you say that technology has affected your family’s closeness?

    • The movie really bothered me and three days later I’m still analyzing what I saw.

      BYU professors Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker conducted a similar study with the same results. But after you read through their interview you get to the fundamental point (, – Parents who are already connected with their teens expand that connection through social media. It’s simply one more tool – being on social media with your kids doesn’t create a good relationship, nor improve a poor one. It’s simply that if you guys get along in person being on social media together may enhance (not will), the relationship. These are families that already have strong bonds, which means they already have lower behavioral problems.

      The news (, experts from Boston Medical Center (, psychologists etc. ( report that cell-phone addicted parents often ignore their kids in favor of the cell phone (watch any interaction in a restaurant), consider their kids a nuisance and are more likely to scold more harshly and snap if they’re interrupted by their kids while using a phone. It’s neglect.Certainly that aspect of using technology isn’t bringing anyone closer.

      As I said in another post, I’m against cell phones for kids as it’s really another umbilical cord; a study by Indiana University Bloomington explains it better than I:

      As for technology in my home, both my sons take virtual high school courses as part of their regular school day so they spend time on the computer. One son watches news and politics and he likes to spar with me (we’re huge Colbert/ Stewart fans). He also uses the computer to teach himself programming and guitar. He’s usually on their for information and I’m always impressed by what he brings to a conversation. My other son only uses it for schoolwork as he spends most of his time playing sports with friends, or on the Ps3. We are all on each other’s​ FB account, although they stay off and don’t get on other social media except YouTube. Sunday is technology-free day at home. Tehcnology has a place in my home, but we could live without it. We’re bigger fans of going to the beach or museums and I’m often taking a crowd of their friends.

  2. Technology is not all that bad. Being able to know where your children are at any time is a blessing, in my humble opinion, especially when they are teenagers, as they might not always be honest where they really are. (I may have told a few fibs as a teen). A kid having a phone with a tracking device is good for that, and in case they are ever in trouble. Just imagine all the missing or lost kids we could have found if they had a tracking device on them. How old are your kids? Do you expect to them to check in when they get to where they are going? Or, do you trust them (and others) completely?

    As for your comment about the “lack of art,” there are a number of places to see this online, that you might not get a chance to see otherwise. There are countless independent film makers on and beautiful photography on And have you seen sculptures carved out of pencil lead, right on a pencil tip?

    The Internet allows for amazing artists to share their work with the world. Those those who search for beautiful things, will find beautiful things. Those who are only interested in trash and darkness, will always seek out those instead, setting beautiful forests on fire, if that is what it takes.

    • My fear regarding kids is that they don’t know where the searches may take them. Their brains are fully formed at 16 and they’re prone to addiction. I realize there’s beauty out on the web and no I haven’t spent time looking for it. I live in the present, with people, doing and enjoying things. For me, being online isn’t a preferred way to spend my time.
      As for my kids and phones, they’re 17 and never had one. I’ll pay for one when they go to college since that’s most likely from home. I don’t believe in tracking them. Period. None of us told our parents where we were every second. Tracking is used as “safety,” but it’s about control. At some point parents need to stop hovering over their little darlings and let them grow up. Kids lie, stay out late, end up where we think they shouldn’t be. They need to navigate those situations and the consequences. It’s insanity that generations grew up without phones now everyone needs one. Kids need to decide and build their character. Kids need to know we trust them (or pretend to); it strengthens our relationship with them and builds self-esteem. And it offers them the chance to do thew right thing. Tracking them takes that option out of the equation – they don’t decide; you do.

      And I don’t believe more children would be found if they had phones and tracking devices. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ( reports that 84 % of missing children are runaways, 12% are family abductions (96% family-related) and 1% are young adults aged 18-20. The remaining 2% are lost, injured, or missing children – mostly very young. All of it’s bad but to say if they’d had phones they’d be found isn’t a pure truth. Plus, phones are expensive and it’s unlikely most of the kids in these categories come from families who can afford it.

      As for beauty, I find it in many places. Sand sculptures on the beach, watching​ my kid read, and yes, I’ve seen some cool stuff on the web. Perhaps I’ll look for more, but right now there’s no time.
      I appreciate your viewpoint and thank you for taking the time to comment. Dana

    • I’m with Kat here about the amount of art out there online. I know you might not have the time or drive to look for it, but it would open your eyes to a new aspect of the web. Indeed, it is a side of the web that connects to tech comm because those artists often rely on the free tools/sites out there but want to have their sites stand out, which brings in awareness of user experience, information architecture, and content management. Also, on the e-commerce side of things, they can also manage their works and sell them on sites like cafepress, etsy, or redbubble.

      TED is an inspiring place to start and since we had a Zittrain reading this week, check his TED talk out, which focuses on the “kind” places out there online!

  3. I always tell my kids “people matter, not computers.” I mean that computers are not the end; they are a means to an end. The older one (13) has a cell phone because I am a single parent and often need to pick him up and drop him off, and we need to coordinate times and places, etc. The younger one (6) is simply too young to handle a phone. I don’t have a DVD player in my car for the kids, because I think kids should be looking out the window at the scenery, talking or daydreaming; kids need to learn how to be bored and how to entertain themselves. Phones or any kind of computer aren’t allowed at the dinner table or when we are socializing with family or friends. When phones and computers are used to communicate with people for good purposes, they’re great tools. But they’re not a substitute for face-to-face contact and interaction.

    Your views about not “tracking” kids are refreshing. Today, parents are simply paranoid about their kids getting abducted, when very few kids are ever abducted by strangers. Our fear is simply magnified because we can and do read about horrible, heartbreaking abductions every day and conclude that they will happen the second you lose sight of your kid. For parents, it’s a struggle between being a helicopter parent wanting to microchip your child and being sufficiently vigilant. I don’t think technology is the answer to this problem; I think being educated about risks and taking reasonable precautions is.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.