12-21: How to Friend and Influence People

Social Networking: Facebook

What is Social Networking?

This video from Common craft gives a great visual example of Social Networking:

Examples of Social Networking sites:

For more social networking sites visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites


Whether or not you know much about it, most people have heard of Facebook, it’s a bit hard not too!  With its name being dropped by work colleagues, or being featured in the media or your friends who keep asking ‘Have you got Facebook?’ it’s one of those things that’s a bit hard to avoid.

Facebook is a social networking site with an interesting history.  It was created in 2004 by Harvard College student Mark Zuckerberg and was initially used by Harvard, Ivy League and Stanford University students as a tool to communicate and socialise with each other.  It became increasingly popular and started to spread rapidly, as demand grew Mark decided to enlist his 3 college roommates to help him build Facebook to the phenomenon we know today.  ‘The Social Network’ movie, which has just been released in Australia, is loosely based on Mark’s Facebook story.

Facebook’s main purpose is to connect family and friends together via a network.  You begin by setting up a Facebook profile, adding a photo so others can recognise you (only if you wish) and then start searching for your friends.

Depending on the security options you have selected ‘friends’ can generally:

  • send private messages
  • write on each others wall (a place for your friends to post public messages on your profile)
  • share photos
  • receive updates when a friends profile is updated.

Security of personal information on Facebook is a big issue. There are some useful websites that provide security tips for using Facebook:

Due to Facebook’s popularity with students and staff the UWA Library has recently launched its own Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/UWALibrary giving the library the opportunity to provide another avenue of communication/information access to library users.  Student Services, of course, also runs the very popular UWA Students (http://www.facebook.com/UWAstudents) page.

Some people take Facebook very seriously!

  1. Sign up for a Facebook account and make sure to apply your security settings as discussed in the workshop.
  2. If you are already a Facebook user, change your security settings to your ideal preference as discussed during the workshop.  Alternatively, you might want to create a second facebook account and have one for personal purposes and one for professional purposes.
  3. Add some people as friends (either other participants or actual friends).  You might want to become a fan of UWA Students or UWA Library while you’re at it.
  4. Blog about your experiences using Facebook and/or other social networking tools.  What are the benefits and drawbacks?  What have you heard or seen in the media?

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