The Power of Mapping
“the flanuer moves through space and among the people with a viscosity that both enables and priviledges vision.” (Barnes, 1997) Our weekly blogs will allow us to become the flanuer in our virtual world as we observe and analysis our chosen social network.
For the blogging, I have chosen to analyse Facebook (FB). I first joined Facebook in 1998 and was immediately amazed at the ability to connect with friends and family regardless of ‘space’ or ‘place.’ Through advances in technology the ability access Facebook allow the user to be constantly connected to cyber space.
Since joining Facebook I have observed an explosion in its popularity, as illustrated by the Map of Social Networks (Petray, 2013). This explosion has led to changes in the users and the site operator’s power. On first joining FB the user filled out a basic profile including such details as name, date of birth, where you live, where you went to school/worked etc. and this would assist users to connect and find family, old work/school mates. Users then have access to observe and follow ‘friends’ via a news feed. These profiles have slowly expanded its questioning and more advertisement material is also visible. Individual users have the power to create an identity, accept or reject ‘friends’ request and change privacy settings. However site operators can gather information which allows them to build a map and target users with advertisements and pages, giving the site operators power to dictate what the user sees when accessing FB. In this week’s readings Barnes (1997) states that we exist in a ‘surveillance society’ where we are always being scrutinised. In October of 2011 The Guardian newspaper reported a case exposing how FB surveils individual users but how this individual took the power back. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/oct/20/facebook-fine-holding-data-deleted
This blogging exercise will allow me to really observe how by using virtual networks, though we may not feel or see the physical space, we are contained and surveyed constantly.
Barnes, G. (1997). Passage of the cyber-flanuer. Retrieved 11 August, 2013 from http://raybird.com/essays/Passage_Flanuer.html
Flanuer. (2009). In One-way street. Retrieved August 8,2013 from http://onewaystreet.typepad.com/one_way_street/2009/10/a-turtle-on-a-leash.html
Petray, T. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, narratives and the making of place, Lecture 3:Mapping. [PowerPoint slides] Retrieved from http://learnjcu.edu.au