Like Facebook? In NYC this weekend? Well, come and hear me speak!

My academic checklist for this spring:

Write thesis? check

Speak at PCA/ACA conference in San Fran? check

Speak at Science & Technology conference in DC? check

Guest lecture for GU comp sci class? check

Speak at Critical Themes conference in NYC? damnit, still have something left to do.

So this Saturday, I will — for all intents and purposes — wrap up my master’s career with a final presentation on Facebook at the Critical Themes in Digital Media conference at the New School in New York. As per usual, I’ll be discussing my master’s thesis research, which included a survey of 644 Georgetown University undergraduates and considers the impact of online identities/online relationships on offline relationships. So if you’re going to be in NYC this weekend and have nothing to do Saturday around, say, 1:30pm, and you’re interested in seeing a dynamic presentation on social networking sites, feel free to stop on by! I’m sure it will be fun and exciting for the whole family.

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Oh glorious master’s degree, you are within my grasp!

I defended my thesis today in front of my advisor, reader and an audience of my peers. My thesis considers the impact of new technologies on communication methods, specifically the impact of Facebook on college students’ methods of interaction, both in the online and offline worlds. I gave a solid presentation and was awarded “distinction” for my research, which gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Apparently, six months of hard work, research and writing non-stop can actually pay off. I’ll post the link once the final version is online, and hopefully I’ll be able to publish my work in a major journal by year-end. I’ll certainly be continuing this strain of research over the next several years as I pursue my PhD at Michigan State. w00t!

Dear Facebook, stop giving preferential treatment to the ivy-leagues!

I’ve been patiently waiting for Facebook Chat to launch for a week or so, even though I’m not sure why I care so much about it. A staunch devotee to GChat, I don’t really plan on using the feature, but I guess curiosity has gotten the better of me. I blame my thesis, since I want to blame just about everything on it right now (e.g., My Saxby’s chai tastes bad? Must be because of my damn thesis! grrr). Yes, yes, I know, too much anger is a bad thing. But it’s also so much fun!

ANYWAY… So last week Nick O’Neill teased me by saying the launch was imminent, and should definitely happen by week-end, i.e., April 5th. Well I waited and waited. When I was presenting research at a conference Saturday, I excitedly told everyone it should be “any second now.” A CNN article boldly claims that Facebook Chat will surpass GChat in terms of use because of the frequency with which users log onto the site.

But here I am, still excited, and still waiting. This feature could have a significant impact on both my recent research on collegiate Facebook use, as well as Michigan State’s ongoing Facebook research. I don’t know about you, but because of GCHat (and, I’ll admit, because I’m addicted to my email), I keep Gmail open 24/7. I don’t quite do that yet with Facebook, although it is often open as a reference for my thesis writing (ok ok, and because I’m obsessed with online communication). Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t talk about instant messaging in my thesis…

But now I just found out why I’m not seeing Facebook Chat yet. After teasing me last week, Nick O’Neill has now posted on allfacebook that the feature did indeed roll out, but just to the “elites” of the collegiate world — namely, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, Berkeley, Brown, Dartmouth and MIT. First, a quick question: Why the hell is U of C in this group? C’mon people, Georgetown should get chat long before that university. The rest of the roll out will happen gradually, and in typical Facebook-fashion, without a definite time frame. I’m expecting it to launch completely on the day of my thesis defense, and somehow find a way to nullify all my results.

Damn you Facebook!

Massive UK study on social networking site use

Ofcom, the “independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries,” released a 63-page report today on social networking sites. I’m reading it right now, and so far, it looks to be a great mirror to research being conducted at Pew Internet on social networking sites, especially research on young people’s use of the sites.

Here are some of the big stats the report reveals:

  • 49% of children 8-17 have an online profile
  • 22% of 16+ have an online profile
  • On average adults have profiles on 1.6 sites
  • 63% of 8 to 17-year-olds with a profile use Bebo
  • 37% of 8 to 17-year-olds with profile use MySpace
  • 18% of 8 to 17-year-olds with a profile use Facebook
  • 59% of 8 to 17-year-olds use social networks to make new friends
  • 16% of parents do not know if their child’s profile is visible to all
  • 33% of parents say they set no rules for their children’s use of social networks
  • 43% of children say their parents set no rules for use of social networks

Check out a .pdf of the whole report here.

Check out some of Pew’s recent reports related to this topic here and here.

Social networking site adoption worldwide

Here’s a great map showing which social networking sites are popular around the world, along with my observations:

1) Friendster is still popular in Indonesia, which reaffirms my belief the Indonesia is the location of Hades.

2) As per usual, France feels the need to be different that everyone else, and especially from the U.S. by using some service even I’ve never heard of. In addition, the bastards publish the map in French, as if anyone outside of France knows their language!

3) I know there are people living on Antarctica because I saw it on an episode of House, which is the end-all, be-all of fact. So why isn’t it on the map? Such discrimination against the largest continent.

(Addendum: I guess I shouldn’t hate on France too much since the map exists only because of the French. No wait, I can still hate on them. Ha!)

Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet my new sexually confused boyfriend….

Ahh, the joys of Facebook. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you are dumb enough to post things you don’t want certain people to know about on a social networking site, you have to accept the consequences. If, for example, you tell your boss last minute you have to go home for a family emergency, don’t post pictures of yourself dressed like a fairy on Facebook when you know some of your coworkers can and will see them. If only we had a Darwin Award-equivalent for Internet idiocy. Sigh.