Friday, 16 August 2013

The Power of Facebook

The Power of Facebook


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 “…it was fashionable 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). To analyse my chosen virtual networking site (Facebook), I had to adopt the role of the flâneur, taking a step back from the way I use Facebook, and really watch what happens, in an attempt to understand the role of power.

I joined Facebook in 2009, when I was 13 years old. At that time, it was ‘cool’ to have Facebook, because it was such a popular social network. The structure of Facebook consists of your own profile (now called your timeline), a news feed where you are able to watch the activity of your friends, messaging, friends, events and games & apps, making Facebook an enjoyable social experience. With its easy to use navigation system, accessibility on a range of devices and connections to other social sites (twitter and instagram updates), Facebook is a powerful social network in terms of its users. According to Fisk, L. (2011) article on, “Today and every day, 500 million users log-in to Facebook and create 100 million “likes” on Facebook pages.” However, Facebook alone is not the only demonstration of power; the users themselves are able to obtain power within this network.

There are three types of power as a relationship: Domination – nearly all power is concentrated in the hands of people of similar status, whereas people of different status enjoy almost no power, Competition - power is unequally distributed, but not entirely concentrated in one group, and Cooperation: power is (nearly) equally distributed (Petray, T. 2013). In terms of Facebook, possession of power is given equally (cooperation), however, the exercise of power depends on the user – this is where the shift in power occurs (competition). All users, to begin with, are given the power to create a profile, search for friends, accept friend requests, or reject them. This is the cooperation relationship of power, when all users are given an equal distribution of power. However, users obtain more power by the amount of friends they have, or by the amount of “likes” they receive. Having many positive comments on a post is also a form of power, but comments themselves are also able to gain a sense of power. This is the competition relationship of power, when a persons activity demonstrates their role of power given by their peers (peers like or comment on your posts).

This blogging exercise will allow me to further investigate the power of Facebook, and give me a chance to look at how place and space may influence this site in terms of power.

Prouty, R. (2009). A turtle on a leash. Retrieved at

 Fisk, L. (2011). Leveraging the Power of Facebook. Retrieved at

 Petray, T. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narratives, and the Making of Place, Week 2 Notes (PowerPoint). Retrieved from:

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Summer,

    I really liked your blog and the idea of power distribution in Facebook. I have one idea though that you may like to consider when determining the power holders. Facebook as a site itself may also have some form power. I suggest this because upon making a Facebook account, a participant is required to ‘Accept the Terms and Policies’ and abide by them. If a member of Facebook chooses to violate the ‘Facebook Community Standards,’ found here:, of which they had agreed to follow, Facebook has the right to remove privileges (e.g. like buttons and commenting), ban or even terminate the Facebook account. In addition to this, if the violation is also in breech of any laws, Facebook is also required to inform the police.
    Taking this into account, you may also wish to suggest that the Police has some form of power in Facebook.

    Kindest Regards