Thursday, 15 August 2013

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.

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.  
Cheers Simone


Barnes, G. (1997). Passage of the cyber-flanuer. Retrieved 11 August, 2013 from

Flanuer. (2009). In One-way street. Retrieved August 8,2013 from

Petray, T. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, narratives and the making of place, Lecture 3:Mapping. [PowerPoint slides] Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Hi Simone,

    I read your post, shutting out my own opinion of Facebook (as I also chose Facebook as my virtual network to analyse) and really took in what you had written. In reference to your statement about the site operators gathering information to build a map and target users with advertisements, giving the operators the power to dictate what you see on FB, I think people really forget that we are being watched, constantly. It reminds me of the Panopticon in a way. “The Panopticon enabled a prison guard to see all prisoners without being seen. At any given moment anyone prisoner was perhaps being observed, perhaps not.” Turkle, S. (1995). This task is similar in the sense that we have been observing a social network, but we don’t often think about who is watching us. The site operator takes on a similar role as the prison guard of the Panopticon, possibly watching you and what you’re doing, but then again, maybe not. You never really know who is watching you. We really do exist in a ‘surveillance society’ where we are being scrutinised (Barnes, G. 1997).

    I look forward to reading more of your posts in the next few weeks.

    Barnes, G. (1997). Passage of the cyber-flanuer. Retrieved 11 August, 2013 from

    Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the Screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York, USA: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.