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The Bailey Inquiry: My Virtual Community

After our class with Jolene and the Goodings, Locke & Brown (GLB) reading on place and identity in social media communities, I got to thinking about my own ‘virtual identity’ and how it is indicative of my real life.

The GLB reading looks at a MySpace exchange and deconstructs the text and interprets the relationship, the inferences and makes an assessment of the participants’ identities. Jolene’s research methods on tracking exchanges on facebook took this to another level as it made me look at the way I myself use facebook.

SO like we did in class, I thought I would conduct a mini self-evaluation to examine the details of my facebook (number of friends) and interpret how representative it is of my ‘real’ life (RL).

 I started out with over 500 friends, which is ridiculous because I obviously don’t talk to that many people in RL and don’t need to share any of my information pictures with those people either. I then went through my list and started ‘weeding’ out all of the people I don’t talk to, don’t know etc. I realized that there was so many people that I didn’t know, couldn’t remember where/ why we met and honestly had no real value to my ‘community.’  So I asked myself how did I let it get this out of control?

I realized that it came from a variety of things:

  1. My inability to say no to people  (aka they add me as a friend and I accept);
  2. My need to feel included and that I belong (so I add people that other friends have to feel included); and
  3. My need to shall I say ‘hoard’’ for a lack of a better word (getting so many things, being cluttered and surrounded by stuff).

 Maybe I’m thinking to much into this or maybe I just feel the need to talk about myself (JK), but this exercise really got me to think about the idea of a virtual community, what kind of community environment I wanted and who I wanted to share it with. I realized that having all of these people was of no value to me, and that my identity and community would remain intact regardless or not if they were there.

 

Thoughts? Ideas? Haters?

 

Over and out.

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May 27, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I agree with Bailey. Facebook might have its use but how much time do we waste creeping on someone else’s profile, looking at their pictures and finding useless information about others? Honestly too much.

    I have to say, I was shocked when Jolene said a person has on average 150 friends. I am far from average with almost 750 friends. I can honestly say that I don’t speak to all these people and some of them I can’t even remember how I met them or if I met them. So is Facebook helping me? One thing is for sure, I haven’t learned how to say no. A friend sends a request and I simply accept without even blinking an eye.

    I also find myself walking on a very fine line. Employed by a youth organization, Facebook is currently the best way to reach the board of directors (all aging between 14 and 18 years old). So you become friends with these kids in order to facilitate communication. But the question is do I really want them as my friends? How can you balance your personal and professional life on Facebook?

    Comment by eskimeau | May 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Interesting comments, Bailey. For the past six months or so I’ve been checking my Facebook friends list almost every week and ‘downsizing’, as I like to call it. There are some people that I rarely talk to that I do still consider friends and Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with them. For example, I have a friend who has been travelling for the past few years. I might only talk to her once a year, but it is great to have her as a “Facebook friend” so I can keep up with her comings and goings.
    My rule is: if I wouldn’t walk up to them and comment about the pictures I just looked at, or if I wouldn’t call them directly and start a conversation about the information they posted on their profile, I do not need to have this kind of connection with certain people. It’s been a good habit for me. Every time I look through my list it serves as a reminder of the friendships I value and of the people that maybe I should make more of an effort to connect with – online and offline.

    Comment by sarahjanemac | May 30, 2009 | Reply


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