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 Mashable.com, is to demonstrate how wide-reaching the connections on Facebook really are.