How do you use Facebook as a communication medium? How do you personally use (messaging/wall/status/chat)? How does Facebook compare to other ways of communicating? Is Facebook an efficient way of communicating?

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Respondent 1

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J: would you say it’s more like email or more like instant messenger?

I: Umb…

J: If so, which part, cause like you know there’s the wall, status, and the kinda different ways you…

I: I think it’s close to instant message for the wall, but then you got the message system, which is more like email, but I think it’s more accessible.  I can login – I have it set to login whenever I go to the page – and uh I don’t have to log in on my college email and stuff like that.

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Respondent 2

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J: When you’re updating your status, is it like how I’m feeling today or like literally I’m at the intersection between Goodwin and Green and I’m looking for a bus, what’s it like?

I:Most of the time it’s like what’s going on, so like oh I’m having trouble… [garbled] but like when I got back on Facebook my status was like [interviewee name] is back by popular demand, I know you guys missed me, I’m sorry. Yeah.  Today is gonna be [interviewee] is gonna hit the books, ready for finals, like it’s just whatever is going on

J: So in a general way?


J: So what about the wall?

I:Yeah, I write on—I really don’t write on people’s walls unless it’s their birthday, to send them a message, but if somebody writes on my wall I write back on theirs. Facebook is so like, public, everybody is on your wall, “who you talking to, talking about…” but you can’t [garbled] Facebook like the real world.
I know people that took their walls off their page.


I:Yes, so people won’t know who’s writing on their wall, so somebody has to send them a message.

J: So what do you use messaging for then?

I:For what, I don’t anybody who has access to my page to read, or like if somebody messaged me I’d respond to that, but if I like wanted to ask somebody a question… [garbled]

J: So what all does this stuff involve? So you got email, you got Facebook, you got phone texting, you might have AIM or some other IM…?

I:No I don’t have AIM, I have enough ways to message people, that’s the one thing I don’t do, makes my life easier.

J: So how do you do each one for different stuff.  Is email for official stuff, is Facebook for event planning and stuff?

I:Email is mostly like if I need to talk to a professor or a TA or something, or from an organization or something.  I still have conversations in email sometimes, but they’re not as inconvenient, but they’re not readily available or whatever.  I guess that’s where AIM comes in, but I’m not gonna mess with that. Texting, I text recreation, when I want to talk to people I really care about.  Facebook is because it’s more people on Facebook, you have more people you can talk to, like if you don’t have their number, you can just shoot them a message on Facebook, that’s how I can get away with don’t have any numbers… [garbled]

J:What about that chat thing, in the lower right?

I:Yeah just started popping up?  Yeah I don’t really know how to use it, I like clicked on it and people started talking to me on it, it’s like Facebook AIM, right?

J:It’s as far as I can understand, it’s somewhere in between AIM and Facebook messaging, because it interlaces the updates you get, if someone posts to your wall, it’ll tell you down there.

I:Yeah it’ll say 9, and I click on the thing and it pops up and gives a message

J:I think it’s supposed to get you thinking about whatever that little notification is about, if they posted on your wall, you can talk about whatever they said.  But have you been using it?

I:Yeah when people use it, send it to me, I talk back, but I don’t know how to initiate it.  I’ll figure it out before I go home, I got a friend who’s a real Facebook junky, they’ll let me know before I get back.

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Respondent 3

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J: Explain that a little further, when you say it’s like a cell phone?

I: There’s a contact list, because you have all of the friends added to your friends list, and that’s a lot bigger than your cell phone list, and even if you don’t have the number of that person you can go on Facebook you can go on their wall and write ‘call me at’ or ‘meet me at’


J: Okay, so what then do you use Facebook for?

I:I use Facebook for a lot of communication usually.  It’s a good way of keeping track of who you know because it’s such a big campus and usually you meet people once or twice and then you don’t see them anymore.  And then you tend to forget that person, so sometimes I go through my list and see who’s there and keep track of who I know.

J: So you said communication, there’s the wall communication, and message and other ways, which ways do you use Facebook to communicate?

I:Umb, I use wall and messaging a lot.  Wall is usually is like for things that I can open up to other people, and messaging is more private I think because like you don’t want other people to see it.  Those two are the main ones.

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Respondent 4

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I: Uh, no not really. I have kinda a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Uh like, just recently, because I haven’t much to do because of finals, and I’ve been going on Facebook a lot more than I normally would and also because of this new chat feature. It’s like

J:yeah so what this has come out in the midst of all the interviews so I don’t have an official question about it but what do you think about it?

I:uh, sometimes if like 30 of my Facebook friends’ll be on and I’ll find a handful of people that I haven’t talked to in a while and will wanna just say something, and its, I don’t have AIM or I don’t instant message on my computer I gave up on that kind of a long time ago and I think it’s a cross between AIM and a Facebook message ‘cause It’s not quite as personal as AIM because you don’t have to have somebody on your buddy list or like watch for them, but it’s not a message where you have to wait for them to reply to you, like, you can just say, ask them a question you’ll get on and so I think its kinda cool ‘cause I’ve talked to some of my friends that I haven’t talked to in a while, but it didn’t ya know we aren’t close enough where id go out of  my way to send them an email or an instant message but like there’s something there’s still something to talk about worthwhile.

J:Ok so then you mentioned that you don’t use AIM, so then how would Facebook communication in general seems to be a topic, how would that compare to other things like email or say texting on a cell phone.

I:uh, I think Facebook is somewhere in between texting and emailing because emailing you have to find peoples email addresses and keep them in your address book and things like that, and texting you kind of just, it’s like less formal, I’d say, than a Facebook message because you send probably a shorter message, bad grammar and I don’t know a Facebook message I always thought was a little more personal than a text but less personal than an email because

J:ok, so what about in Facebook, I should have been more specific there’s a few ways to communicate on Facebook, so you’re thinking specifically about messages right now?

I:I’m not big on writing on people’s walls because I, I don’t really like when people write on my wall because I think that anything that can be said on a wall can be said in a message or a phone call or text or email for that matter, but um if I have something to tell someone I tell them and just them and not all of their friends so I don’t know

J:and then what about say your status updating your status, that could be a way of communicating less directly. how does that work?

I: I never have one, I’ve actually set my privacy preferences to not show my status and I’ve just never completed it because I think it just gets out of hand, my sister has a Facebook, and she loves communicating through her status, and like my brother always jokes, oh [name] always like ya know she always changes her status and it’s like [name] is brushing, [name] is flossing.

J: So it’s like little arbitrary moments.

I:yeah like I think that if I started updating it, then I would feel compelled to keep updating it, and I don’t want to get into that so.

J:Ok would you say that Facebook is an efficient way of communicating? I don’t know how you define efficient.

I:I think with certain, in certain relationships, I definitely wouldn’t talk to my professors or I think it takes a certain kind of friendship to communicate through Facebook, because if I’m really close to someone no matter where they are, like no matter if I see them on a regular basis, ill talk to them on the phone. But there are people that I talk to on Facebook that live around me so I guess its, I don’t know yeah like, it takes a certain kind of friendship to only communicate on Facebook.

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Respondent 5

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J: That leads into another question.  How does communication with Facebook differ with face-to-face?

I:Well Facebook you don’t, you don’t have to be—like you can be shy and you can just go on Facebook and talk to people there, if you’re a shy person and don’t want to talk to them in person.

J:You mentioned it would be worse to use Facebook than to talk to friends face to face.

I:Sometimes, I mean, I remember last semester me and my best friend from home got in a big fight about something and it was really stupid, but she would just fight with me over Facebook messages, because she didn’t want to talk to me on the phone, because she wanted to write it all out so she got everything that she wanted to say, and I wrote back “This is stupid, let’s just talk on the phone, I mean why can’t we just do that?” And she was just like “Because then I can’t say everything that I was going to say to you.” So it’s easier to write it rather than say it face-to-face.

J:But that same thing could happen over email or texting.  How does Facebook compare to email?

I:I think they’re the same, basically, because Facebook basically is kind of like an email because you do have private messages.

J:What about the wall though?

I:The wall—that’s just for quicker comments, just like “Oh I had so much fun last night, we gotta do it again.”  You know, see you later.  Messages are more “I need to talk to you about this” or “This is what I want you to know but I don’t want other people to know about it, like parties.”

J:How does it compare to texting on your cell phone?

I:Texting—uh—it’s just like okay.  Texting, I just use to be like, “Oh hey meet me at the Union at 3.” You know, it’s not really… you can take your phone with you everywhere, you can’t really take Facebook with you unless you have your laptop. 

J:What about going to Facebook on your phone?

I:Yeah I haven’t tried that but I’ve seen people do that and I think that’s going too far.  I really do, I think why do you need to go to Facebook on your phone? I’ve seen it before—I saw a girl go to Facebook on her phone and I was looking at it, and it looked really confusing, just what’s the point? I don’t think I have internet on my phone though, so even if I wanted to go on to it.

J:Would you say communicating with Facebook is efficient?

I:Umb, yeah, I guess. What do you mean?

J:Well efficient could be defined in a lot of ways – maybe lots of messages to many people, leave messages for people… but it also might not effectively communicate, like you couldn’t convey the tone over the phone.

I:I think it’s efficient because you can send a message to many people.  Like all of my friends from home, we’re all in one message, like we just talk and, I dunno, talk about our lives or whatever, what we’re up to, and it’s good, because I don’t think I’d be as close to them still, if it wasn’t for Facebook, to be honest.

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Respondent 6

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J: So it became a little bit easier… so think about Facebook in terms of communication.  How does it compare to say, you mentioned growing up with AIM.  How does it compare to AIM, email, texting or cell phones?  What are the different ways you can communicate with Facebook and how would that compare to other communication mediums?

I:Well I think they’re all pretty unique the specific ways you communicate.  Obviously.  I guess Facebook is a better way to communicate more with people you don’t know as well.  Like if you haven’t seen someone a lot, you might write on their wall “Hey I haven’t seen you in a long time.” If they don’t respond it’s not that of a big deal, there’s no really real pressure to keep up the conversation.  I don’t really know what the difference would be. I feel like messaging someone inbox –mail on Facebook, is less personal then sending it to their UIUC account or something.  Cause you get mail all of the time—mass mail for events and stuff.  So yeah it’s kind of like a step down as a form of impersonality.

J: So which is more impersonal?

I:Facebook is.

J: So how does it differ then from texting on a cell phone?

I:You mean like mail on Facebook vs. texting?

J:Yes, messaging on Facebook.

I:I think that texting is for immediate things.  Usually it’s like “Hey, we’re meeting up now.” Or something like that.  That’s what I use it for.  I don’t text that much because I don’t have texting on my plan, so I kind of avoid it all together.

J: So how about the wall?  How does that work as a communication thing?

I:That’s what I was kind of talking about before, when you just ask “hey what’s up” I think you’d write that on a wall more than an inbox.  Maybe it’s also different because it’s also public.


J: Do you pay attention to the birthday notifications that much?

I:No, it’s not like I check consistently to see if it’s anybody’s birthday and then write on their wall.  But like, I guess it’s one of the things I’ll do if it’s my friend.  I’ll write on their wall.

J:On that note, would you say Facebook is an efficient way to communicate? 

I:I think for the way Facebook is now, in terms of—it’s not as efficient as calling someone of course, but in terms of not calling someone, or not immediate communication or actually talking to them, I think it is pretty efficient, because most people do check Facebook often.  And if you get emails and stuff, it’s as efficient as email.

J: So efficiency as how quickly you get through to someone?

I:Not in terms of form of communication, quality, like obviously if you’re talking to someone face-to-face the communication will be a lot better, than say email, even if you’re saying the same thing.

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Respondent 7

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I: Nah, I just upload pictures from my phone. It’s too much. And now they have Facebook chat.  People are kind of mad about that, they think it defeats AIM, it’s kind of like okay, too much much.

J:It just came out as I’ve been doing interviews, so what do you think about it so far?

I:I mean, it’s okay I guess it’s cool, it’s just kind of too much, like now if you want to write on someone’s wall you can talk to them if they’re online.

J: So instead of writing on their wall you’d talk to them instead?

I:Right, yeah. It’s okay, but some people they don’t feel like doing that cause they use AIM and stuff. I don’t but my friends do, it’s kind of like too much, it’s like what’s the point.  There’s already too much to do, now you’re gonna be on even longer. Cause once you’re done checking your messages, you won’t get off.

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Respondent 8

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J: You mentioned the wall- there are a bunch of different ways to communicate on Facebook, like the wall, messaging, adjusting status, stuff like that – how do you communicate on Facebook?

I:I only use the wall, I don’t do any of the others.

J:When you set your status you might be communicating. Are you ever thinking about which group is reading it?

I:It’s pretty much to anybody, if I was actually worried about what people were gonna think of what I wrote then I wouldn’t put it up there.

J:What about the wall then, how do you use the wall?

I:Actually—I should have said I use the messaging one. That’s the one I use with my sisters, because that way it’s a little more hidden and everything.  Umb, but the walls I do just like “Happy birthday,” or like “Hey I had a great time last night” or even just like “Do you want to go to lunch?”

J:Is there a benefit—so the “Hey you want to go to lunch?” might be on that person’s wall, but someone else might see it and join you.  Is that intentional or do you just quickly post things without thinking about that?

I:It’s pretty much just a quick fast place to post something, now that you mention it you know, it seems, you know, it is a public type thing, but if I was actually worried about it I wouldn’t post it on the wall anyway.

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Respondent 9

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J: So how about the specific elements of Facebook.  Like say the wall?

I:I just communicate with people.

J:Is it any different from the normal messaging system?

I:The inbox and all that? Yeah I was just gonna get to that.  With the messages and inbox they’re more private or more personal.  With the wall it’s something you do that’s more open that everybody can see.

J:What about the status box at the top? Ever use that thing?


J:Like what?

I:I used to use it a lot more.  It’s kind of—a lot of people use it to just complain about their regular lives.

J: So is it mostly bad?

I:I wouldn’t say mostly, I just think it’s annoying.  People just start keep complaining a lot and a lot. So I just leave that alone.

J:What might be an example of someone complaining?

I:Oh I don’t know… [fake name] is really unhappy

J: So it’s usually more about emotions or how a person is feeling then it is something like my car has a flat tire.

I:Yes, yes.

J:Do you ever use it as a way to communicate? Like “I’m going out to the bars at 5, join me if you like.”

I:I’ve done that a few times, but mainly just if I’m going to an event to say I’m gonna show up or something.

J:Why use the status instead of an event to do that?

I:I’m lazy.  And another reasons is that most people might not show up anyways. I don’t want to take the time.


J: Okay so earlier you mentioned networking, how does one network on Facebook?

I:[inaudible]… cause like say there’s someone I need to get in touch with or get a resource… [inaudible]

J: So you could just go message them on Facebook then?

I:Usually if it’s a pressure setting like a job, I won’t do Facebook.  If it’s something more important I’ll use email.

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Respondent 10

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I: I just… I feel like it’s as important as email, it became—it used to be people just checked their email and now people check their Facebook then their email.  Or I just spent like an hour staring at Facebook instead of doing homework, using it as a time-waster or a way to get out of your homework. People use it as another form of like—you either call someone, or if you’re too scared to call em you text em and if you’re too scared to text them then you Facebook message them.

J:Is it always too scared?

I:Maybe not too scared, just like different levels of communication. Or like inbox sometimes, if you don’t want to email someone, because that’s too formal.

J:How do you see differences between Facebook, AIM, and email?

I:At home, people stopped doing AIM like sophomore year, but like here—I’m from [west coast city] so like there no one did it, but like here everyone I know has one.

J:I should have said instant messaging, sometimes I accidentally refer to all instant messaging as AIM. But back to the original communication question.

I:Well, you’d inbox someone something… well you know this because you have one.  Let me think of examples. So you might write on someone’s wall if you’re gonna tell them happy birthday, or if you’re like “Let’s hang out soon” or if you want to make a joke about something that happened over the weekend.  It’s basically all you do.  Or if you’re like “How are you?” but that rarely ever happens. You inbox someone if you have to tell them a big story and you don’t usually talk to them on the phone.  Or if you have a question that you’re gonna put… like my friends use inboxing like IM almost, like we have a 6 person inbox and we just comment about how our breaks are going the whole time. What else is there?

J:Well you’ve mentioned the wall and messaging.  And then I had mentioned IM and email.

I:Instant messaging I’m not really sure why people still do it… just kind of like texting but a faster reaction.

J:Do you say things with Status at all?

I:Yeah, I don’t do like [person’s name] is doing homework because that’s boring and people don’t care.  But I’ll put like… we went Saki bombing with my sorority, I guess I put things up there that I think are like fun.  Like we went Saki bombing, so I put [person’s name] is Saki bombing, because who else is gonna be Saki bombing, you know? Some people put everything up there.

J:Do you know anyone who updates from their cell phone?

I:I don’t know, sometimes it says it, it has the little icon next to it.

J:Okay, so you’ve talked about some of the communication within Facebook then.  Are there times you’d prefer using Facebook to talk to someone instead of email?

I:Well you just don’t really email your friends in general.  Is that what you mean?

J:Well interpret it as you will.

I:So when you would use Facebook instead of phone or email?


I:You wouldn’t email any of your friends ever really, so you would inbox them, or call them.  You wouldn’t text someone, like let’s hang out again.  You’d use Facebook way more often than other things, there are a lot more things to use on Facebook.