Surprises and Non-human Agency

Does Facebook ever do something you wouldn't expect? Does it seem like it has a life of its own?

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Respondent 3

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J: Okay, last question, might seem a little weird, we’re almost out of time.  Does Facebook ever seem to act on its own?  Does it ever seem to do things that you don’t think were specifically intended, that might be surprising?

I:The only surprising factor is like when Facebook changes, like for example when the newsfeed thing came out at first.  That kind of thing surprises me, but other than that I don’t think it, but otherwise I don’t think it does anything else.

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Respondent 4

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J: does the system ever seem to have a life of it’s own? Like does any part of Facebook ever seem to do something that was unintended or that you wouldn’t expect?

I: I think every now and then it kind of like Facebook kind of throws everyone off, like the newsfeed and Facebook chat thing, they just kind of introduce these er the applications they just kind of introduce this new thing and I know that I was never like asked if I wanted it. Its just like, everyone is gonna get this new feature that we think is really great that a lot of people will be really annoyed with so…

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Respondent 5

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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.

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Respondent 6

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J: Okay, I’ve got a little bit of a weird sounding question, so it’s okay if you don’t get it.  But do parts of the Facebook system, say like the newsfeed or the little pictures that appear under your picture, seem to act in a random or intentioned non-human self-acting form.  Do they ever act in ways you don’t expect?

I:I can’t really think of anything.

J: So most of the time things about the system seem pretty predictable?


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Respondent 8

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J: Okay, I have a weird question, but answer it as you can.  Do elements of the system ever seem to act on their own?  Does Facebook ever seem to do something unexpected or unintended?

I:Umb, it has errors a lot, if that’s what you mean?


I:Especially with bumper stickers, you try to send them to your friends or whatever, and it just says “Bumper Sticker and Facebook are working together to fix this problem” but it happens every time, so it’s hard to send bumper stickers or stuff like that.  It sometimes happens with applications too, but it doesn’t ever happen with the wall or anything.

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Respondent 10

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J: Does it ever seem like Facebook ever acts on its own?

I:Like does it mess up?

J:Yeah, or like the newsfeed or little pictures—just something that you didn’t expect.

I:Well I rarely ever—I don’t usually think when I write on someone’s wall like—I usually think people who go to the profile can see what I wrote on the wall, but I don’t usually think it’s going to be on someone’s newsfeed.  That’s weird.
Or Facebook messes up with two things, bumper stickers, sometimes people send you bumper stickers but it won’t let you see them or it will delete them from your profile.  Or like once, someone tagged me from 14 pictures or something and then I went to see them and there were only like 8, and I went back and it said I was only tagged in 8 and the next day it said I was tagged in 12.

J:Well like the little thumbnail pictures at the bottom of your profile picture – do those usually seem random or no?

I:I don’t know, sometimes you’ll look and you’ll think it’s funny that those two people showed up.  Or sometimes 4 girls from my house will show up and I’ll be like “that’s weird” 4 out of the 6 people are all in one group, but then sometimes it’s the most random people and then you look at them because you haven’t seen them in forever.