How do you see / experience community on Facebook? Which communities of yours are online? Which people do you keep up with on Facebook?
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J: So who are—you mentioned talking to different friends on it—the different kind of communities that you interact with?
I: Well maybe it’s someone I met one night—maybe a weekend like a month ago—I normally wouldn’t ever talk to them again but I friended them on Facebook. So I have some type of connection with them and maybe that will open doors to more times we’re gonna hang out or something like that.
J: So it might be weak ties.
J: So what about friends from high school and stuff like that? Say maybe they went to another college or did something else instead of college?
J: Do you connect to those kind of people?
I: Well in the past, well actually not the past, for a while now, I’ve been trying to connect with older high school friends, because I wasn’t on Facebook during high school, umb… I never friended that many people in my high school, so I kinda went back, I looked through the network, my high school network
J: So you traced through and tracked them down and...
I: and I… actually found my old neighbor, the other day, which is kinda neat. So umb… he offered to give me a call when I get back from school… he still lives close, but we never really talked anyway… umb and then with other people that I am closer with, that I do talk to on the phone. Talk on the phone, I think it takes more attention. If I talk on Facebook, like I can go away from it and something like that and I’ve used it almost like an instant message type deal. Like she’ll respond to me and then I’ll write back it’ll be a series of quotes, it’s not like a prolonged letter where it ends or something like that.
So who is your Facebook community? Who would you see as community in there? Is it people from everyday life, is it a separate thing?
I: Umb, well, I have like my college community of friends, that I can keep in touch with regularly, on there. And then I have people from high school and I’ve been looking for people from grammar school… and oh my god it’s like a reunion, like we just got this guy who went to both my high school and my grammar school and he left around 7th grade, and everybody was like where’s [name] where is he, somebody found him on Facebook.
J: So his existence was verified by Facebook, just like the events you can only find out about them on Facebook.
I: Yeah. We’re gonna have an elementary school reunion when I get back home, it’s been a while. It’s like old pictures from elementary school, like [garbled]
J: So that kinda begs the question of how you see community on Facebook. Do you see many communities you interact with on a day to day basis on Facebook? Is it one big Facebook community?
I:I think small communities like make up this huge Facebook community. And uh, by small community I mean by region and school, and even interest.
J: So like by—what do you mean by interest exactly?
I:Maybe like the Facebook groups.
J: So some of your best friends are on Facebook, but who all do you keep up with on Facebook? Which people or groups or communities are on Facebook?
I: I think it’s pretty much everybody, but people who’ve I’ve just met usually. Best friends you talk to them all of the time because you see them every day anyway. Family I usually talk to on the phone more, but like my sisters use Facebook. And umb, I do use it for friends from high school, but I went to high school in Korea, and people in Korea don’t really know about Facebook, so not many of my friends are on Facebook. So I usually use it for people I just met, say hey, glad to meet you, lets meet again kinda thing.
J: So a connection thing.
J: Ok. Who are, we haven’t touched on the who, the people who stop talking to you, the people you might message that you wouldn’t normally message, who is that in your community? How do you see community on Facebook as reflective of the face to face world? Are there new ones on Facebook? Is it one big community or do you think community doesn’t exist on Facebook?
I:in general or like of my friends?
I: id say of my friends I have people that I, the people that I was friends with that I was talking about, the certain kind of friendship that you can talk on Facebook and not in other places. uh, and then just so many friends that I’ll probably never ever talk to and might’ve never talked to in the first place, but just kinda like the riff raff, the extra-extra friends that you like never think about.
J:describe riff raff for me here.
I:just like people in high school pretty much, people I never really had a connection with in high school and I don’t think that I’ll be able to make a connection ever in life, especially through Facebook because, uh if I had known them in real life we didn’t become friends I don’t think you can ever be like over a connection with a computer and then I guess the other group would be, the people I’m actually close to like family and people that I’m that I would stay close to in life. But in general I don’t really know how to characterize uh…
J: How do you envision community when you think about Facebook?
I:Well, when I’m on Facebook the only people I really communicate with are friends from here and friends from home. Never really family.
J:I assume you’re not working full-time yet.
J:Is it linked into any work or resumes or networking or anything?
J:How about the bigger community, who do you envision is seeing you and interacting with you on Facebook?
I:Well I mean, I have a lot of friends of people on Facebook and they’re just random people—like some I maybe met once and then never really talked to again, so when I’m on Facebook I sometimes think, “I wonder if someone is looking at my profile” because sometimes I click on some random person’s face and see who is this person, I and then I’ll remember, oh yeah.
J: Does Facebook ever seem to have a life of its own? Do things seem to act outside of your control?
I:I guess, if you really go into it. Like Facebook is really a part of every college student’s life, they always go on it and talk about it and find out things from it.
J:Does the newsfeed ever say anything you don’t want to see?
I:Yeah, there’s sometimes like, it’ll just say stupid things on the newsfeed, like “this person wrote on this person’s wall at 10:11 AM.” It’s just like a really big medium to do things.
J:What do you mean, like a big society or institution?
I:It is kind of like a society, yeah it is.
J: Have you noticed any other big changes to Facebook that altered how you used it? I’ve observed you notice a lot of little changes that other people might not pick up on.
I:Not really. I just notice because like I—do a lot of things on Facebook and if something looks different then I’m like “oh that’s different, look at that.”
J: So it’s not an active effort.
I:No, plus like, the change with the ‘is’ in the status or whatever, I know there were a lot of groups that were like “petition to get rid of the ‘is’ on Facebook”
J:Can you think of any political movements that have taken place on Facebook?
I:Yeah, I think it’s a good forum for expressing your political viewpoints. There are a lot of groups that thousands of people are in, some are funny, some are like—there are ones for like Darfur and world events and just a cause for… and then there are just like funny ones, I remember seeing one that was called “stop wearing crocks you look like a dumbass” or something. It like comments on fashion or what’s popular in society or why it’s stupid.
J: So like social norms and regulation?
I:Yeah and other basic things that a lot of people have similar viewpoints on, like “if I see a crunchy leaf I will step on it.” Or something.
J:yeah that one is pretty popular, can you think of other popular groups?
I:What every guy should know about girls [interruption someone coming into the room]
J:Umb, okay, sorry we got side-tracked. What do you notice about that group?
I:Well just people write like common things that they think about things, so they’ll join it, and they’ll think “Oh I totally agree with that” or “that’s so funny” so they’ll join it. And people will add their own. And there’s other groups that a lot of people join, like “University of Illinois class of 2011.” The Chief groups, those are really popular too.
J: Well then you also mentioned you get information from groups you’re part of, right?
J:What kinds of communities are those from? Do they connect to communities of any kind?
I:I think it really depends, for me personally. It really depends on the time, sometimes it will be for—like when I first joined the informatics minor, I checked that relatively often, and it was something new and exciting and so I looked to see if anything was happening. I check the AAF group on it, because there’s sometimes interesting discussions on.
I:Atheist Agnostics Free Thinkers. There’s also the American Advertising Federation, which I’m also in, which gets kinda confusing.
J:Ha, have you ever gotten an event invite for one and thought it was for the other?
J: Who are the different communities you interact with on Facebook?
I:A lot of people from here, U of I. My friends from my high school, I’m still on my network from my high school. I have friends from my high school that go to other universities, and I’m on the Chicago network too, it’s kind of like a city… mainly like schools though and then like my cousins and people from like home and stuff that I know from a long time ago.
J:Is it mostly younger family?
I:Yeah, yeah, younger family. No uncles yet or anything like that, it would kinda freak me out.
J:Why would it freak you out if an uncle were on Facebook?
I:I wouldn’t know what to do. I wouldn’t want them- because I’m Nigerian, and the Nigerian community tends to be very communicative, you know, parents, kids, and stuff. So if one of my aunts saw my picture they might text my mom, “oh you know I was just on Facebook” –that’s what happened with MySpace, and my mom was like “Oh you do that, you have that? Why did you sign up for that?” They might start conversing about that…
J: So it’s a gossip thing that you don’t want them to be in on?
J: How does that relate to community then? How do you see community on Facebook?
I:I’m not sure. I have a lot of different groups on Facebook, because I have a lot of different groups in life, I think of them as like my high school friends or my family, or some of my cousins are on Facebook, and then my U of I friends, I guess Facebook kind of combines them all, but they’re still separate.
J: You’ve already jumped the gun already of some of the things you do on there, but before we get to that, how do you see community on Facebook? What communities or groups of people do you interact with on Facebook?
I:Friends, from high school and college, the ones back home.
J: So sounds like a lot of people from all over the place. What would be the range of friends you might have on Facebook? People you know a lot, a little bit?
I:I guess on Facebook some friends I could know a little bit. If I think they’re cool or if I like them I might be friends with them.
J:is it always someone you’ve met in person first?
I:I’ve had a few random people friend me before.
J:How have you reacted to that?
I:I’ve confirmed their friendship like once or twice.
J:Why do you think they’d friend you if you don’t know them?
I:I guess they’re just looking for friends. Usually it’s incoming friends. Incoming freshman looking for friends.
J: Do you feel like there’s a community on Facebook? Are there a bunch of communities on Facebook? How do you see community and Facebook?
I:I don’t know if this is a community – but there are all of the people at home that I look at at one time, so I’ll either go on to check out what all of my friends from home are doing at one time—like today I clicked through people from home for like a really long time. But other times it’s like me and my friends pictures are tagging and commenting, people from here, people from home. It’s all like one group.
J: So some of the stuff that gets popular on Facebook-
I:Like bumper stickers?
J:Yeah sure, does that come from a big community or more from individuals?
I:I think it starts from individual people. At first I saw them and I wondered why but now everyone has bumper stickers.
J: Who do you most often keep up with on Facebook?
I:Like talk to? Girls from home, and then my best friends from here. We all tag each other and stuff in pictures. Basically the only people who write on my wall are my two best friends from home, or like, my friends from here, something funny happened they want to make fun of me, and then like random people you see out one night, they might make a funny comment the next day. Like on my wall at least.
J: It would be unusual thing to do would be to friend someone who you haven’t met in person?
J:Do you know anyone that does that?
I:That friends people that they don’t know? I don’t think so.