Delusions of altruism? A critical investigation into virtual viral loops and the ‘revolutionary’ design of social networks

Crampton, Richard (2010) Delusions of altruism? A critical investigation into virtual viral loops and the ‘revolutionary’ design of social networks. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Social Networking, one of the so called ‘Web 2.0’ technologies, has shown exponential growth in recent years, arguably triggering a cultural shift in society. Indeed, web analysis firm Experian Hitwise lists Facebook as the most visited website in the USA this month, overtaking Google (Arrington, 2010), and perhaps ushering in a new mechanism of web domination; thus, perhaps all is not what it seems. This research project examines the attitudes of users to such sites, identifying user awareness of business practice and methods of market expansion. In particular, whether the design of SNSs principally serves the benign communal needs of users, or is merely the agent of networked viral marketing. The arguments here are not mutually exclusive, as each characteristic is inherently dynamic, although there certainly appears to be a tension between the business and the user. Both secondary and complementary primary research was undertaken. The latter includes a focus group providing triangulation for the electronic survey, allowing for an in depth review of these issues in an attempt to apprehend them as exactly as possible. The author concludes with how users are at risk from utilising these sites without a clear comprehension of the impact in doing so. McLuhan (1964) famously declared “the medium is the message”, but does this still hold true? The author would argue against, suggesting instead that the message is in fact now you, the user, as a commodity.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Computing
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:15

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