Week 7 Facebook

4 Sep

By Gail Power and Dee Tuncer

Introduction to Facebook

If one single factor changed the face of the internet, it was broadband. In the Eighties, computers were little more than fancy calculators with added typewriter functions. The Nineties brought email and online shopping to create a kind of alternative electronic reality. With broadband, there came a third phase. The world that computing made possible could no longer be thought of as parallel to the real world: the two had merged.

Welcome to  Facebook 2004

  • Facebook launches in February 2004 at Harvard University. Approximately 650 students appeared on thefacebook.com

  • In December 2004 Facebook reaches 1 million active users.
  • In April 2007, Facebook reaches 20 million active users and in May, the Facebook Platform launches.

Facebook 2012

Early in 2012, Facebook reaches 845 million monthly active users

  • Has Facebook changed our social, political and cultural world? We think yes!

Sing the Facebook Song


Immaterial Labour & Web 2.0


The concept of immaterial labor,  is defined by Maurizio Lazzarato (2006) as the labour that produces the informational and cultural content of the commodity.  As such,  immaterial labour has no physical or material end product. Instead, its raw materials and outcomes are the social relationships, information, and affects brought into being via these labouring processes.

Immaterial labor also involves a series of activities that are not normally recognized as “work”—in other words, the kinds of activities involved in defining and fixing cultural and artistic standards, fashions, tastes, consumer norms, and, more strategically, public opinion.

Mark Cote’ and Jennifer Pybus thesis on Immaterial Labour highlighted that what is transpiring on social networks, like Facebook, is a particular kind of immaterial labour – but a more accelerated, intensified kind of activity initially proposed by Lazzarato.

  • Do you think we are working for Facebook?

Facebook – the  factory

Andrea Bolder – Facebook marketer

  • What are the activities you use in Facebook?
The Facebook Status
Facebook is fast approaching One Billion members. Imagine what all those visitors, leads and customers can do for business or building a profile.
Marketing tool
facebook for business
Facebook is a powerful marketing tool for the modern business and can become a top traffic source
Facebook Profiles, Pages and Groups
3 basic ways of networking and connecting on Facebook which is readily used for political, social and business purposes
Facebook Timelines
Facebook Timeline profile helps you share your life story with friends, attract more leads and spotlight your profile.
The Fan Page
Connects businesses to people.

Facebook fashion culture

The Internet has revolutionized the fashion world, making trends more accessible and affordable for everyone, and expanding where and when we can shop. Social media has taken fashion a step further, encouraging discourse on designers and providing real-time feedback on the looks that work, and the ones that don’t.

Each single page of ‘Facebook’ is full of images, photos and videos. This social connectivity has opened new aspects for fashion lovers and trend setters. In seconds, the fashions are turning out to be trends. With every single click, a new fashion is being introduced to the world. Each time you surf your page, you come across a new trend.

  • Do you think Facebook encourages you to follow  fashion trends?
  • Do you think that your clothing and how your profile looks on Facebook has become a ‘top priority’?

According to Boyd (2006) profiles represent the individual and serve as a place of interaction.

Because of the social and public  nature of profiles, users craft their profiles to be seen by others. In other words they write themselves into being in a digital environment.

So we determine how we want to represent ourselves. Because of this, issues of fashion and style play a central role in creating our profiles.


Coté and Pybus point out that the interactive sociality that gets reproduced within Facebook’s circuits is extremely sophisticated.

MySpace users post on other pages, however, Facebook offers users “the newsfeed” (Butler 2009). The newsfeed is one of the most important biopolitical features on Facebook; a ‘performative’ virtual playground that drives the production of subjectivities on-line, while acting as site of capture for the immaterial labour required for users to remain recognizable.


Other political aspects

Despite the digital divides and the concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few multinational corporations, there is a trend towards democratisation.  As such the internet is increasingly used as a tool for political communication.

Kevin Rudd used Facebook to launch his Kevin 07 campaign using a series of Web 2.0 technologies in his race for politics’ top job. In the first e-mail bearing the Kevin 07 banner, Rudd exhorted supporters to post messages on Facebook photos of himself wearing Rudd’s campaign T-shirts.

  • Do you think you are better informed about political topics through the use of  Facebook?  Referring back to Eli Pariser – have you witness Facebook filtering your page?


India Facebook boom

As stated earlier, by the end of 2012 there will be more than a billion people using Facebook.

India will play a part in this.

The biggest beneficiary of the social networking boom in India is, of course, Facebook.


According to Forbes, India has a total of 43,497,980 Facebook as of February 1st, 2012.

  • Why do you think India has the most Facebook users?

Facebook – some Economic Goals

Facebook is a capitalist company, it’s economic  goal is to make a financial profit. It does this with the help of personalized advertising.


The social networking site is also proving effective for recruiting.  Brett Merchand, Senior VP of Cossette-Communication Marketing, “We were spending hundreds of thousands on recruiting fees, … Gen Y is different from the generation I came from ..that poses a recruitment challenge, because you have to address those concerns up front….. we’ve got four people in the past month through Facebook. It’s all about tribes now” (Dickie, Oct. 2007).


Instead of door knocking and hand delivering pamphlets many of us have turned to Facebook.  It allows businesses to make  contacts in Facebook and thereby increase the effectiveness of  marketing. Marketers  solicit and interact with users to get feedback regarding their brand, products, and services. This type of interaction with users allows marketers to potentially create new products or to change the positioning of their product to meet public needs.

Facebook – H&R

H&R Block is on several social platforms, but it narrows its focus on Facebook  that’s where it can talk with a lot of customers. It also feeds through Twitter and Facebook.

H&R Block has about 12,000 followers on Twitter and 113,000 likes on Facebook.


Facebook – advertising

General Motors (GM) announced it was pulling its ads on Facebook because the ads did not translate into car sales. GM spent $10 million to advertise on the social networking site last year, which is small compared to the $3.7 billion in revenue Facebook pulled in during 2011.

  • Has anybody been offered or referred to a particular job through use of Facebook?


Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) poll  indicates 59% of Facebook users have little to no trust in the company to keep their information private.

Facebook collects and keeps information you might not expect, including data on what you do while surfing around other websites. Even if you are on a website that has a Facebook “like” button or some sort of Facebook widget, it stores that information for up to 90 days.

There is a lot of pressure on Facebook from Washington to disclose all privacy issues to users. At the end of last year Facebook signed an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission promising not to deceive users about privacy.



  • What are the privacy implications?


Coté, Mark and Jennifer Pybus. 2011 Immaterial Labour 2.0 week 7 reading.

Anders Albrechtslund. 2008 Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance, First Monday 13: 3 Accessed at: http://firstmonday.org/article/view/2142/1949

Boyd, Danah. 2011 Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications, in A Network Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites (Papachrissi, Zizi ed.) London: Routledge

Fuchs, Christian. 2012 The Political economy of Privacy on Facebook. Television & New Media 13: 2 139-159

West, Anne et. al. 2009 Students, Facebook, Friends: Public and Private Spheres. Journal of Youth Studies 12: 6 615-627

One Response to “Week 7 Facebook”

  1. akel12 October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    “Your filter bubble is your own personal, unique universe of information that you live in online. What’s in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do. But you don’t decide what gets in — and more importantly, you don’t see what gets edited out.” (Eli Pariser)

    Firstly, I was unaware that if two people typed the same word into Google they would get different results. l thought that Eli’s Pariser speech about ‘filter bubbles’ was interesting. However, whilst l can appreciate what he is saying l do find it a little extreme. Particularly in relation to his concern that we will never broaden our minds if we are constantly consuming information that we have always consumed and are never exposed to information that may challenge us due to these ‘filter bubbles’. Can’t we take the responsibility of broadening our minds and challenging ourselves into our own hands and seek out other offline sources such as books or maybe journals etc?
    On a side note his appeal to the programmers behind the search engines to code them with ethics well….to me there is something so strange and ironic about that.

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