Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Power of Mapping

Map don’t just have the single purpose of showing us where to go and what the word geographically looks like; maps illustrate society in that they show us how society sees itself and spatially represents power relationships ( Petray, 2013). The maps’ creators have the power as they deliberately chose what to include, exclude and represent to their audience (Petray, 2013). As stated by Wood, Ward & Abramms (2006), “Every map has a point of view. No map can show everything at once…” (p.12).
The virtual network I have decided to critically analyse for my assessment is Facebook. I have been a member of Facebook since the age of fourteen. I initially joined Facebook just for the novelty of having it like everyone else but now it has been a means for connecting with people, not just for fun but for meaningful interactions - the purpose for which it was originally created for back in 2004. It aims to not only connect friends together and share experiences but to connect people with similar interests from all over the world.

The Newsfeed Facebook provides is updated almost every second, informing viewers of their friends interactions and activities without having to directly engage with it themselves. And “just as the flaneur of historical times enjoyed the fluidity of the stroll in the city,” becoming the observing without having to partake in the action, “so too does cyberspace offer to the cyber-flaneur an unrestricted flânerie” (Barnes, 1997) (Prouty, 2009).

Through Facebook’s features of mutual friends and collaborating your interests and activities, people can find others that they have connections with worldwide, extending their boundaries yet at the same time making the world a seemingly smaller place to live in.  The image above shows a map of international human relationships using a ten million Facebook friend pair sample size.  “It’s not just a pretty picture, it’s a reaffirmation of the impact we have in connecting people, even across oceans and borders” states creator Paul Butler (Bliss, 2011, p.13). His project’s purpose, discussed on, is to demonstrate how wide-reaching the connections on Facebook really are.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mikayla,

    I enjoyed reading your blog especially the graphic you embedded in the text which was an excellent illustration (map) of the connection between the physical and cyber worlds.

    You made an excellent point with the proposal that the map maker has the power of what they show and what they leave out as you indicated with your reference to Wood,Ward and Abramms (2006).

    The idea of "cyberspace as an alternate geography that needs to be seen, witnessed, and experienced in order to exist" Barnes (1997) is well indicated with your discussion of how you have found new forms of connections while you have walked through cyberspace with the assistance from the directions of Facebook.




    Barnes G. (1997) Passage of the Cyber - Flanuer
    Retrieved from http//

    Wood, D., Ward, K.I., & Abramms, B (2006) The Multiple Truths of the Mappable World. In Seeing Through Maps:Many Ways to See the World. (pp.1-12)
    Retrieved from http//