Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
Facebook is an online social networking site, which as of spring 2014 had more than 1.2 billion users and had recently celebrated its 10th birthday. The site seeks to foster interactions between “friends” through updates, sharing photographs, and playing games together. Facebook has become a household name, not only because of its large user base, but also its prominent use in social movements (including the Arab Spring in 2012), elections (e.g., the 2012 American presidential election), and the 2011 UK riots (Baker 2012). Though Facebook initially began as a social network for college students, it has become ubiquitous among diverse demographic groups in both developed and developing countries.
Facebook, like other online social networking sites, is built upon “profiles” which contain photographs, basic to detailed demographic data, employment and educational history, relationship information, and information about a user's hobbies, musical preferences, favorite movies, and other social preferences. The medium has made common-place the term “friending,” which involves inviting someone to connect with you on the medium. Friends on Facebook are able to see each other's profiles as well as any “status updates,” usually one- to two-line social updates. Facebook relies on the production and consumption of large amounts of “user-generated content” which can include low-effort content such ...