Friday, 16 August 2013

Facebook: Who Has The Real Power?

                                          (Image 1)

The increased employment of Facebook as part of our very lives is an incredible transformation not only of our social interactions with people, but also when reflecting on the seeming power by which it can posses and how individuals may utilise this. The idea or point of Facebook revolves around that of social networking. In a sense it attempts to create a social environment through which people may communicate. There are several different means through which this can be achieved. Users have the option of sending a personal message to a 'friend' which can only be seen by the sender and recipient, groups and events may be created in order to achieve communication on a larger or mass scale, while users can also 'post' their thoughts, ideas, etc online for the world to view if they so wish. 

I joined Facebook in 2010 in Year 9. First joining Facebook while still in school enabled me to easily assimilate myself with the site. This was due to my seemingly 'required' use of it in order to stay in contact with all of my friends while outside of school hours. Rather than texting or calling each other individually, we were able to have group conversations with relative ease. This also allowed for easier times when attempting to plan group assignments, sporting events or after school activities. 

In order to achieve this required overview of the site despite my deep involvement, I have endeavoured to remove myself and act in the role of a flaneur. This requires a certain level of self control which may be aided in remembering the original patience technique going to "…walk through the arcades with a turtle on a leash in order to enforce the slow pace really determined looking required." (Prouty, R. 2009). 

In the lecture, the three different distributions of power described by Petray, T. (2013) were shown. These were that of domination; involving the power being held by a concentrated group of people with a similar status and is usually associated with fear, competition; power is unusually distributed while still not within the control of a single group, and cooperation; where power is equally distributed. 

These three distributions may be applied to a particular part or activity within the Facebook sphere. This can range from various actives including such things as 'liking' a status, uploading a particular picture, creating an event or even posting about an important issue with which the user believes is important. 

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted just how powerful the actual Facebook organisation itself was. Instead of viewing each or a user, the article focused on just how many people (over 800 million) used the site and that for a company to know so much about its 'customers', could be viewed as quite concerning. The article itself can be found here: These two different views on who may have the power on Facebook could be referred to the work of Sherry Turkle (1955) in her view of the Panopticon. A user is unsure when they are being monitored by either Facebook itself or another user. 

Reference List:

  • Petray, T. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, narratives and the making of place, Lecture 2: Power. Retrieved from
  • Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the Screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York, USA: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.

Image Credits:

  • Image 1, retrieved from 

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