MIT 2374G Wednesday, January 16 , 2013
Social Media in the News: Facebook has unveiled graft search, which is a social graft that
allows you to search through things your friends have liked.
Why do we socially network? How do we socially network?
• Technological determinism vs. technological instrumentalism
• We have been socially networking for a very long time.
• What is technological instrumentalism?
o It is a tool and we have control over these tools. The tool that is facilitated
is a communication. It becomes easier to compress time.
• What is technological determinism?
o The flipside of course is that the technology is shaping us. This definition
is technological determinism.
o Shaping of human choice is one aspect of technological determinism. Ex.
Looking for things in your life to put on twitter.
o When you become and on demand communication device instead of a
human being, do you have a choice? You can cause social friction by not
communicating. Ex. Not answering a text message quick enough etc.
• Victorian era letters were so long because there was the aspect of time and space.
You knew if you wrote a letter to a friend they would not be receiving it for a few
months. The demands of technology make it so that we do not write lengthy
• Why do we socially network?
o Because we want to belong and we want to participate. It is hardwired
into our beings.
o We also social network because it is done to our own advantage. We are
guided by our own desires and are always looking for an opportunity.
o We want to be acknowledged for the good things that we do, and how
selfless we are. Therefore, there is no such thing as altruism.
o If you posted something and no one answered you would quickly bore of
it. We want someone to acknowledge that we exist. We want people to
respond and like our statuses. We expect a reply; we want something and
are guided by desire.
o We socially network because we are guided by desire and selfishness.
• How do we socially network?
o Facebook, Instagram, twitter, texting, telephone, letters, faxing, in person
o Our Networks: Family, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, work, faculty, school,
o BBM putting a receipt on communication forces you to communicate
Networks of Note •
o Religious, terrorist, digital, aristocratic, political, secret societies,
• What was the first social network?
o Family! The family is the first social network. One of the first rules was
the delegation of tasks or the organization of labour. After a period of time
families got larger and encountered other families. Conflict arose out of
these meetings because of the scarcity of resources.
o Rules help define the purpose, coherence, and the continuity of these
o LeviStrauss: every civilization that has come about has had an incest
taboo. One of the way to enforce these rules was through “the big man”
the head of the tribe who enforced the rules.
o A whole new class of people such as the clergy/shaman came about to
enforce social control. They cornered the market and controlled the ability
to speak to the “big man in the sky.” Capitalized on people’s fear of the
A Few Network Issues
• Privacy and surveillance, ownership of information, selfdisplay/narcissism,
cyberbullying, cyberluring, bots, booze, hierarchies, exclusion and inclusion,
• How does technology enable narcissism? When we are offline and socially
networking we are unable to do so without buying something ex. Booze and
Types of Social Networks
• Kinship, patronclient, Rhizomal v Arborescent, professional/organizational,
social, Multiplexed (labor and Leisure).
Social Network Ingredient List
o Every group needs a cause. Ex. MADD cause is to end drunk driving.
o What is the cause of social networking? Friendship, sharing common
o What is the cause of your family? Continuation of the species, love of
each other, mutual support/trust.
o What is the cause of Facebook? The ultimate cause of FB is to generate
o Connecting people for the mere sake of connecting people is
o Govern the