Clicking for friendship: social network sites and the medium of personhood

  • Daniel B. Lee California State University Channel Islands
  • Jessica Goede California State University Channel Islands
  • Rebecca Shryock California State University Channel Islands
Keywords: social systems, communication media, social network sites

Abstract

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook depend on familiar social resources, including language, reading/writing and established semantic constructs such as personhood, privacy and friends. However, the use of computers, the Web 2.0 platform, and the latest networking software are revolutionising how “personhood” and “friendship” are produced by communication. We refer to the media theory of Niklas Luhmann to identify specific differences in how communication is organised and reproduced on networking sites. The electronic medium appears to be changing the way participants selectively construct and bind expectations of personhood and communicative ties to themselves and others. Using software available on the Web, users confront each other as digital bodies, as participants in communication, available for friendship within a new “ether of interactivity”.

Author Biographies

Daniel B. Lee, California State University Channel Islands
Daniel B. Lee is a native of California. His doctoral work was completed in Sociology at the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs, an interdisciplinary institution at Syracuse University. Dr. Lee earned tenure at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught for ten years prior to joining the faculty at CSUCI. He has enjoyed teaching as a visiting professor at a number of universities; two years at Dartmouth College, a summer at Pepperdine University, and three semesters at the University of Munich, in Germany.
Jessica Goede, California State University Channel Islands
Ma. student
Rebecca Shryock, California State University Channel Islands
Ma. student
Published
2010-11-26
How to Cite
Lee, D., Goede, J., & Shryock, R. (2010). Clicking for friendship: social network sites and the medium of personhood. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 26(49), 14 p. https://doi.org/10.7146/mediekultur.v26i49.2585
Section
Articles: Theme section