How do you think power works on Facebook? Can a person be powerful? How so? How does authority appear on Facebook?
J: So here’s the question though, you know a lot of people, right, and you can maybe connect up with a lot of people, do you think that makes you more powerful on Facebook?
I:Kinda, but it’s usually it’s like I have to be more conscious of what I put on Facebook, so I gotta be careful about what they can see me do.
J: So it’s a little more responsibility then.
I:Right, I never want somebody to see me at a place that I look bad, it kinda keeps me in check, and I’ll think I’m not gonna do this because it might show up on Facebook.
J:Have you ever pushed an event and used all the connections you’ve got?
I:Yeah my friends have this party and I always make fliers and make it my profile pic and stuff and you gotta get tickets, I got mine, what you gonna do?
J: Have you ever had any connections with authority figures, like parents or teachers or a boss at work or something like that?
J: So the same guy you mentioned before?
I:Yes, but they’re students at U of I so it doesn’t really count as authority figures.
J: So I would be a graduate student at U of I, would I be an authority figure?
J: So this all leads into another question. How do you think power works on Facebook – what makes a person powerful there? Is it possible to be powerful there?
I:Umb, I guess so, if you have a lot of friends on Facebook you’re seen as like popular, so that kind of builds up your popularity which leads to power. I think.
J:What would be the benefits of having a lot of connections be?
I:Networking really. Which is like what they call social…
J: Social networking?
I:No… from class
J: Social capital?
J: How do you see power working in Facebook? What makes a person powerful on Facebook? Or is it even possible for a person to be powerful on Facebook?
I:I don’t know
J:I know you’re like envisioning a superhero or something, right?
I:Uh, power on Facebook. uh, I guess with power I think like status so I guess if they’re someone could be more powerful if they are in like a serious relationship and they tell you that on Facebook or they have this many friends like ok I have so many friends and I have this many wall posts.
J: So popularity seems them to determine power?
I:yeah I guess so
J: Okay, well we’re just about out of time. Do you have any final comments?
I:I think most people I talk to love it [Facebook]
J:What about like, teachers?
I:Well I know there’s a lot of controversy in my high school because our athletic director was going on to Facebook and MySpace and trying to look for pictures of alcohol so everyone freaked out and deleted all of their pictures. It’s kind of a way for authority to check up on what kids are doing and they can get in trouble.
J: So my last question is, what makes something powerful on Facbeook and then also what makes something popular on Facebook? And I know those two may or may not be linked, but what do you think?
I:I think often something popular, is something that’s either something funny that can attract a large audience because it’s type of humor, or something that people can attach to and be like “oh that sounds like me.” Even though it might—there are certain groups that people will be like “I totally do that” –people who when they see a dry leaf they totally step on it to make a crackling noise or whatever. People are like “oh yeah that’s totally awesome” even though everyone does it. That’s one of the groups that gets hundreds of thousands of people—that’s really clever and I think it’s cool, I want to think of something like that and start a group.
J:Oregon Trail or something like that, shared culture?
I:Yeah, something like that, something that everyone can relate to, that sort of thing that is popular, something more powerful, some sort of deeper meaning or call to purpose.
J:Okay, so would that be necessarily attached to a real world organization? So say Illini Pride is on Facebook would they be more powerful than the atheist group s on Facebook?
I:Yeah, I think so.
J:Okay, so what about people? What makes a person more able to influence or control on Facebook?
I:I would think it’s more… the amount of friends you have, because the more friends you have the more quickly you could spread things on Facebook.
J:Well strength of ties might vary by person and their friends. Some people might know all of their Facebook friends better than others. Does that matter?
I:Yeah, so I guess it’s definitely connected to your real-life. There’s probably a correlation there.
J: Okay, so another weird question. How do you see power operating on Facebook? Could a person be powerful on Facebook? And if so how would they be powerful on Facebook?
I:I don’t really see power as a part of Facebook. I guess if you thought about it, they say now companies look at people that are interviewing, so I guess in there, what you put on Facebook could diminish your power because you could not get the job or do get the job.