Concepts: New media theory, Facebook, Friendship, Algorithms

Summary: In the Bucher article “friendship” are analyzed through social media platforms such as Facebook’s. These nuances are broken down as to what i really mean to be part of these types of relationships online, how and why they activate, and how algorithms play a part creating these friendships.

Quotaions:

“Facebook constitutes an assemblage of various relations and actors, including people, technology, software processes, social practices, and values.”

“Most users are ghosts in the machine just waiting to come alive. Once a user has confirmed his or her existence by registering, he or she is prompted to start filling in the template of the personal profile.”

Commentary: The Bucher article focuses on the friendships and how social media platforms, specifically Facebook is effecting how manage interact within those types of relationships. What I find interesting is at it’s core Facebook is built on information about you, and how accessible and compatible that information is to others. Ironically enough as much as we hate to categorize and group people, it sees that is the best ay these social media platforms allow us to make friends through there algorithms. A lot of this article focuses on the sites functionality and how that plays a role in creating an online presence that is accessible and relatable. Bucher also define acting as any action that incites another reaction from another person. I found this to be interesting due to the fact the article seems to make the assumption all actions taking place is a sort of performance which I would agree with. Even though in hindsight it would see obvious i was surprised just how much of Facebook’s functions are carefully calculated. It kind of left me with a some what uneasy feeling about what information I thought was important to know and what Facebook’s algorithm was telling me what I thought was important. I feel like this almost reinforces the concept of out of site out of mind. If they don’t show up on your newsfeed, and you don’t see them on a regular basis are they still your friend? Do they even still exist? They answers to these question seem simply, but this notion may speak less about the obvious answer and more about the way we think about relationships especially online verses offline. The second article “How Facebook changed our Friendships” was very relatable I thought. On the one hand social media platforms like Facebook have allowed me to keep in touch with old friends, and family who otherwise I may have not had relationships with at all. On the other however, i think the overall meaning of friendship to us may have lost some of it’s importance. Say for instance if you are only Facebook friends but never meet or talk “offline”, how genuine is that relationship. I definitely think this is an idea that has been fuels and expanded by social media. Being best friends for some people may not mean what it used to.

Question: It would seem through algorithms and analytical data, social media is able to pair and match us with people who they believe we can build relationships with. Although this may be helpful with interacting with others is there a sense of intimacy lost in a “real” or “offline” friendship numbers and data can’t pinpoint.

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