Introduction to Facelife

With so many individuals in analog reality experiencing existence through the veil of digital interaction, the question has been asked as to how social networking sites such as Facebook are altering interpersonal relationships, modes of interaction, and the sheer lengths to which individuals are willing to go in any given situation? To examine this question farther, our method of research will be to transpose the social frame of Facebook onto reality as closely as is possible through analog means. Our hypothesis is that behaving as if one were on Facebook in live settings will be seen as “socially awkward,” “surreal,” or “bizarre” to onlookers, particularly because such actions break the social frame of both live and digital interaction.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Conclusions of Facelife Experiment

The Facelife project began with the question “where do we draw the boundaries between social networking websites and real life?” In other words, how far have we allowed social networking sites to permeate our daily lives? Our experiment began with the theory that the interactive framework of social networking sites have not assimilated into our analog lives to a large extent. Our results have shown this to be the case. The social framework of becoming friends with someone on the social networking sites translates from the digital world to the analog world at a 61.1% success rate, showing that although the subject may find the process to be awkward or uncomfortable, they understand what the asker is inquiring of them.

As we delve further into the social framework of social networking sites, the subjects become increasingly uncomfortable or wary of the process. When the asker requests to take a picture of the subject, the subject appears to be taken slightly aback, and they ask more questions. Clearly, people are aware of the possible ramifications associated with having a person they have just met take their picture. “What are you going to use it for?” and “Why do you need my picture?” were the two most asked questions in our experiment. The overall percentage of respondents who allowed the picture to be taken was also an indicator of this wariness.

It is clear that the social framework of sites like Facebook and MySpace have begun to impose their way into the daily lives of people. However, it is also clear that we remain a society that views the analog world as different, and the social framework that we accept as the norm in the analog world will be resistant to the intrusions of the digital world.

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