Social Networking Does Not Require Social Media Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Social Networking Does Not Require Social Media However Social Networking Is Increasingly Utilizing Social Media

The objective of this study is to examine social networking and how it does not require social media however, social networking is increasingly utilizing social media. This work will discuss how one's social networks in real life may or may not connect with their social networks online.

Defining Social Networking and Social Media

The work of Matt Goddard entitled "Social Networking Vs. Social Media" states that social networking and social media "both have the word 'social' in them, but they should not be confused as the same thing." (nd, p.1) Social networking is stated by Goddard to be "the what" and social media is stated to be "the how." (nd, p.1) Social networks are comprised by peers "seeking and giving advice to make better decisions. Advanced social networking science can even tell us which people give out the most advice in the network and have the most influence. These people are called opinion leaders." (Goddard, nd, p.1) Social networks are reported to connect through traditional means such as "face-to-face conversations, but we also use new fangled approaches, such as blogs, syndicated videos, social bookmarks, and more, which we call social media. Unlike social network theory, which involves decision behaviors based on patterns of advice seeking, social media pertains to how this information can be shared online." (Goddard, nd, p.1)

I. Social Networking Uses, Gratifications, and Social Outcomes

The work of Park, Kee and Valenzuela (2009) reports that Facebook had 67 million active users in 2008 and that more than half of those users returned daily and spent an average of 20 minutes each day on the Facebook website. Park, Kee and Valenzuela (2009) additionally note that the ability of college student populations to "form friends on the site" has resulted in huge success for Facebook in that they are provided with a way to "bridge their online and offline contacts. Additionally stated is that a great many studies "have been conducted to ?gure out the link between Facebook use and civic and political involvement based on social capital theory. However, it is not clear what speci-c features of Facebook produce those effects. Among the diverse applications of Facebook, Facebook Groups is a particularly popular and useful module that allows discussion forums and threads based on common interests and activities." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5)

The ability of the application to "recruit members and spread messages easily through social networking, diverse political, social and other special-interest organizations are creating online groups and utilizing the useful and fun enhancements of Facebook Groups." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5) It is reported that once the individual belongs to a political or civic group on Facebook, individuals can receive mobilizing information that may not be available elsewhere. These individuals may also encounter more opportunities to engage in political activities." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5)

II. Previous Studies Examined

Park, Key and Valenzuela (2009) report that prior studies "have argued that specific gratifications and uses of social network sites (SNSs) may mediate different social outcomes such as civic and political involvement." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5) Additionally, it is reported that one study indicated the fact that "increasing SNS use stemming from information motivations is more related to higher levels of social involvement than to entertainment purposes." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5) Furthermore, the social needs of these online groups strengthen social contacts, community engagement and attachment by connecting the whole community through networks." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5)

Previous studies do not however, examine different applications on Facebook and how they function in a unique manner to satisfy different needs of users of those applications. While some users leave short messages for their friends, these are the types of messages involving interpersonal communication. As well, it is noted that there are groups created specifically for the purpose of organizing meetings or events and for sharing or discussing common issues about campus, community, politics or casual issues." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5)

Park, Key and Valenzuela (2009) state that the "two-way nature of online technologies such as e-mail, bulletin boards, and chat rooms requires audience members to be active users." (2009, p.1) Previous studies have demonstrated that "life satisfaction and social trust are significant factors that influence the relationship between individuals' SNS use and political and civic involvement." (Park, Key and Valenzuela, 2009, p.5) A factor analysis performed by Park, Key and Valenzuela (2009) shows that the top factors for participating in Facebook Groups include those as follows:

(1) Socializing: receive peer support; meeting interesting people; to belong to a community, to talk about something with others; stay in touch with people.

(2) Entertainment: it is entertaining, it is funny, it is exciting.

(3) Self-status seeking: peer pressure to participate, makes myself look cool, to develop career through group participation.

(4) Information seeking: get information about events both on and off campus and to get useful information about products and services. (Park, Key and Valenzuela. 2009, p.6)

The work of Pempek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva and Calvert (2009) reports that media use makes provision of "an important backdrop for the social, emotional and cognitive development of youth, accounting for a large portion of their time." (p.227) It is stated that a type of online application that has experience quick growth and gained in popularity is "social networking on the Internet. Social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal, and Bebo, are member-based Internet communities that allow users to post pro-le information, such as a username and photograph, and to communicate with others in innovative ways such as sending public or private online messages or sharing photos online." (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.228) Additionally reported is that the Nielsen/NetRatings in the spring of 2006 reported that the top ten social networking sites in the United States "grew in number of users from 46.8 million to 68.8 million during the previous year. These sites reveal important information about how adolescents and young adults are interacting with one another in the information age." (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.228)

The design of social networking sites are geared toward encouraging "social interaction in a virtual environment. In general, communication is facilitated through information posted in the pro-le (i.e., the user's personal page), which often includes a photograph of the member and personal information describing his or her interests, both of which provide information about one's identity. Members can view one another's pro-les and can communicate through various applications similar to email or online message boards. Such interactions can potentially address many concerns of adolescence and emerging adulthood, such as the need for friendship and peer feedback." (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.229)

Previous studies are reported to have indicated that a strong link between social networking sites and social capital exists. Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, (2009) report that surveys of teens and college students reveal that "…youth primarily use these [social networking] sites to stay in touch with friends they see often and those whom they see rarely." (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.230) Additionally reported is that approximately 50% of teens "use social networking sites to make new friend and about half of college students use them to let others "know about me." (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.230) The study conducted by Pampek, Yermolayeva, and Calvert (2009) reported the following response by percentages on social media networking site use by college students:

(1) Communicating with friends not on campus (old friends, friends at other schools, etc.) 50.00

(2) Communicating with friends on campus 17.39

(3) Communicating with friends seen rarely 13.04

(4) Looking at or posting photos 35.87

(5) Entertainment (to pass time, to ?ght boredom, to procrastinate, etc.) 25.00

(6) Finding out about or planning events 25.00

(7) Sending or receiving messages 13.04

(8) Making or reading wall posts 11.96

(9) Getting to know people better (friends or people recently met) 11.96

(10) Getting contact information (email address, phone number, etc.) 8.70

(11) Presenting oneself to others through the content in one's pro-le 4.35 (Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert, 2009, p.232)

Pampek, Yermolayeva, and Calvert (2009) state that their study was specifically interested in "potential markers that might be used to express the user's identity, as this is an important developmental task during emerging adulthood." (2009, p.232) The following type of profile information, percent students including info type and reason for including information was reported to be as follows:

Figure 1

Source: Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert (2009)

The following responses were given for activities participated in during the week on social media networking sites:

Figure 2

Source: Pampek, Yevdokiya, Yermolayeva, and Calvert (2009)

III. Examination of Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

The work of Lange (2007) entitled "Publicly Private and Privately Public: Social Networking on YouTube" states that research on SNSs has demonstrated "that the meanings of social network site practices and feature differ across sites and individuals." (p.361)…

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