The secret behind our obsession with Facebook

I have to admit that I am an ADDICTED Facebook user.

Along with the popularity of Facebook, more and more criticism pointed out that Facebook do more bad than good in terms of social relationship.

In Rakesh Narang blog, he even listed Five Most DEADFUL Effect of using Facebook, which includes degrading school performance, higher chance of being fired, being blamed by not shown up on your “Friends” birthday, staying up all night long and exposure of privacy.

These Five Deadful Effects make me think of something I learnt in class. In the class, we learnt that there are two literacies in Social Network Site: Managing connections and Managing identities. I think these two literacies have something to do with the effects.

What else can you say if you find out that you have spent almost 700 million minutes on Facebook per month? It seems that people have prioritized Facebook before studying, working and sleeping in their life.Boredom may be the main reason behind. It is also because we have constructed much of our identity in Facebook. We have been putting up so many photos and status up there, and we are being tagged, also joining different groups, sharing living experience and personal feeling there. We are creating our Facebook Identity. We desperately want to know how many people LIKE and Comment on our photos and status, just like when we have said something in daily life conversation; we are looking forward to the feedback.

20121127-173030.jpg

It is my Facebook, in the snap shot you can see I have circle some parts. You can see that under the photo there are people “like” my post and people can see what Fans Page I have liked. I don’t think I will post anything if I have nothing in my Friend List. My Friend may also refer to my “like” list and find out something they are interested in.

At the right hand side, there is a bar called Newsfeed. The Textbook has analyzed this feature: …… At first this was a controversial feature among users, making them feel like too much information about their actions was being broadcast to other people. The clever and oddly attractive part of this feature, however, is that it encourages the performative aspect of identity: our own lives and the lives of other become like dramas that are played out before different audience in our social network. Even the network itself, with its changing ties and relationship statuses, takes on a dramatic feel.

I can’t agree more on this, it’s like surveillance in real life what’s your friends are doing now at every second. And I am under the surveillance too, that every body will know immediately what I have done just now.

20121127-173136.jpg

Groups I joined has told my Friends where do I belong to, in here, I am a graduate in Our Lady of the Rosary College, a group member of Tracey’s Project, a girl that went to ChengChau in 2011. It constructs part of my Identity.

20121127-173302.jpg

20121127-173420.jpg

In fans page, people interact with each other with the topic or information they are interested in. More than that, we can share multimedia information on the wall to let public read and watch, that’s why Facebook is an online affinity spaces where people interact to promote a particular shared interest or common goal.

I know not all FB users are mavens, some are connectors, they may forward others’ post and fans page or photos in their page. I have “Like” certain few fans pages because the newsfeed told me that my friend has already liked that fans page. The connectors not only getting me “Like” the fans page, but also let me get acquaintance with somebody that ” you may want to know”.

20121127-173837.jpg

“Somebody you want to know” usually are people you may already known them in real life, but you are just too shy or too lazy to subscribe their Facebook. After you have sent out your Friend Invitation, you started to have connection with him/her in Facebook, that’s you can “see” him every day whenever you have your smartphone on hand. Or vice versa, people subscribe me because they saw me as mutual friend.
The affordance of Facebook is that you may have a chance to know some people that you don’t have a strong tie with, and once you two become “Friend” in Facebook, you can start to communicate with each other. Connector can spend lots of time on Facebook too, they can spend hours browsing others’ new status update and what’s new in the fan page, and it’s just like reading newspaper or flipping through gossip magazine, and we are the one who devoted our privacy to make entertainment for them. Can you imagine every single comment in your Facebook is revealed to others, it’s the same with using microphone to talk with your friends?

That’s why Facebook provides Friend Segregation; you can choose to conceal something that you don’t want mutual friend and public to know. However, in the textbook, it mentioned that most people will use the default setting of Facebook, that’s allowing maximum amount of information to the maximum amount of people. To secure oneself privacy, you got to do two things: First, reset you Privacy Setting. Second, make sure you know that person who send you a friend request.

It is a Funny video point out that Facebook is an online role play game which is extremely popular in worldwide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFKHaFJzUb4&feature=youtu.be

In the video, Somegreybloke has divided the friends into several categories: People I sometime physically see, People I know from various websites who I’ll probably never actually meet, People from the past, like college and university schoolmates and Good looking female group.
I know it is not an official categorization, but it has demonstrates that the two network relationship: Bong and Bridging. And in the video, most of his Friends are with Bridging relationship with him only. Think about your Facebook friend list, how many Friends are real in your life?

Cosmetic Advert is here and there

When I walk into the MTR station, advertisement can be seen on the wall or at the platform and even inside the carriage. From my observation, out of a half advisements are about slimming and cosmetic. Famous TV artist, singer or film stars are in the poster and they have perfect body ship and complexion. While looking at them, it makes me feel bad about myself: Am I look retard? Am I fat? Do I need a facial treatment also?

In the chapter “Information everywhere”, we know that there are too much data available to us nowadays, in order to avoid overloading of data, we need to be clever enough to choose useful data and make it become information and knowledge. However, it is not easy to filter out useless data in a sophisticated city, like Hong Kong, as advertisements are following you anywhere you go.

Advertising is kind of data that confuse people, we don’t come to find advertising, adverts come to find you, and you have no where to hide from them. Adverts are interconnected with media, we see them in the TV, hear them in the radio, receive cold calls, get spam mails in your e-mail box and they are on your Facebook page too. As I have mentioned at the beginning, cosmetic adverts are most prevalent. According to the study by the University of the Basque Country, the respondents who tried the cosmetic products feel good through the perception of ‘caring for oneself’ and removing feelings of worry and guilt about not taking care of one’s appearance. Ironically, to achieve this effect, the brand must first make the consumers have negative feeling about their appearance first. The brands do it subtly in the advertisement, by telling you that how ugly you are. I am going to share you with some advert that was banned and make use of critical literacies to analyze the implication behind advert.

20121127-001731.jpg

Natalie Portman is used in Miss Dior perfume advert, and also is the mascara advert. Unluckily, the later one is banned in UK, saying that the eyelashes of Natalie Portman is retouched and exaggerated.
Natalie Portman is the main character of Black Swan, and it has something to do that Dior chose her for all new lines product advertising. First, the advertising agency presume that the consumer know her as an elegant and charming film star. Second, they make an intertextual connection between the mascara and Natalie Portman “If you use this, you can have that charming eyes like Natalie!”
Third, the ad boasts “the miracle of a nano brush for an unrivaled lash creator effect. It delivers spectacular volume-multiplying effect, lash by lash”, unrivaled lash creator effect? The word “Creator” somehow is making comparison with other brands, and Dior is the best among them.

20121127-001918.jpg

20121127-001926.jpg

It is interesting that even in Asia, mascara advert usually have western model only. I think it is making use of the obsession of western look from Asian.

20121127-001951.jpg

The advert boasts here is making a sense of scientific. Here, the advert makes a logical connection: DNA research = Product= Beauty. The ideology that DNA research is a professional knowledge is the selling point; furthermore, “it’s your DNA” this create the sense of closeness with the consumer by addressing her/him directly and also the uniqueness of the product.

20121127-002023.jpg

YouTube is another platform for advertising. If a YouTuber is popular enough, YouTube may send him/her an invitation that they want to insert an advert in the video and the YouTube will pay for the advert. Beauty channel is one of the most popular channels in YouTube and some famous YouTubers have advert in their video and the advert will be shown before the video start.

The Source of the advert come from the brand, and what they are doing is making connection between the YouTuber and the brand, trying to create a sense that the Youtuber like that brand and they use the products from that brand. Another way to promote the brand is that they will send the product to the Blogger and ask them to comment on the product in their sharing. You can see that there are agendas in advertisement through the ideational function of language and image. The brand and the advertising agency want to “implement” their agendas into consumer mind so as to boost the sales.

I know it may be a bit out focus in this entry but I also want to point out the attention exchange relationship between the Blogger/ YouTubers and the brand. According to Micheal Goldhaber, we are living in an attention economy, where value is created from the exchange of attention and what matters is seeking, obtaining and paying attention. The Blogger get attention form the viewer and the attention is sold to the cosmetic brand, this kind of attention exchange is common nowadays as the Blog and YouTube offer a sharing channel which allows ordinary people to get attention from the public. Internet provides us various ways to get attention, but in such situation, it’s not easy to get most of the attention from public and being attended for long, that’s why Micheal Goldhaber said that winner is the one who can get and manage attention.