Social Networking of Media-Sharing Websites

It is pretty clear that, in recent years, media-sharing websites such as Youtube have become important ways for many users to connect with one another online. Many articles have been written that discuss the social networking involved through the use of these sites. One of these articles, entitled “Publicly Private and Privately Public: Social Networking on YouTube,” discusses some of the behaviors exhibited by users of Youtube, including “publicly private” behavior and “privately public” behavior. Publicly private behavior, according to the article, refers to “the idea that some media creators’ identities are revealed but their content is relatively private because it is not widely accessed” ( Lange, 2007). In contrast, privately public behavior refers to “the sharing of widely accessible content with many viewers while the creator’s identities are relatively unknown” ( Lange, 2007). The article discusses these behaviors in depth and identifies a number of reasons for why users engage in them. For example, in the case of publicly private behavior, users may only desire to have close friends or relatives to view their uploaded content. Aside from these behaviors, the article also elaborates on the idea that many people connect socially through Youtube by posting comments on user-uploaded videos.

Another article that aims to examine social-networking through sites such as Youtube is entitled, “Exploring Social Dynamics in Online Media Sharing.” The authors of this article did a study on Youtube and compiled a number of very interesting findings. One of the study’s conclusions indicates that, “users tend to visit the site [mainly] to view videos rather than to add their own media” (Halvey & Keane, 2007). Another important finding of the study showed that there is a failure among many users to utilize the community opportunities offered through the website. This finding is based off of the fact that most users of Youtube are not members of groups, do not have any subscriptions, do not list friends or favorites, and do not comment on other users’ videos. The article goes on to suggest that, in order to correct the issue of users not exploiting community opportunities, better media search methods must be discovered and, also, “differences between search paradigms and users [must be] identified” (Halvey & Keane, 2007). Overall, these two articles take an extensive look at social networks among media-sharing websites, and both aim to explain the behaviors of users on these sites.

Halvey, M. J., & Keane, M. T. (2007). Exploring Social Dynamics in Online Media Sharing. Paper presented at the International World Wide Web Conference, Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Lange, P. G. (2007). Publicly Private and Privately Public: Social Networking on YouTube. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 18.


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