Sociology of Virtual Communities and Social Media Project
The Findings Discussion
Reflection on Hypothesis
This research project was focused on the idea that internet communities play a very important role in socialization, findings new friends, and communicating with them via messengers online. Particularly, this research was aimed at determining the role of Facebook in life of people of different ages and social backgrounds. It was aimed to find the constraints that people have to take into a close consideration when making assessment on their social life online. In this relation, the possible error in findings can be justified by the high level of integrity into social networks communication, particularly into Facebook world that is characterized by a great level of diversity between communicants. For this reason, this research project was stated to take into account that communicants in Facebook may be from different countries of origin and current residence since this social network has been operating within the entire world. In such a way, it was very important to make assessment on the needs that can be crucial for building the chain of priorities that people can use when justifying the role of social networks in their life.
The hypothesis for this research project was chosen according to the highest level of constraints that society has to set for people who have no other way out but providing their socialization into the strict frames of time, face-to-face communication, and the burdens of responsibilities. The online world is different from real circumstances that make people think different than they want at the current moment. For example, face-to-face communication is indeed reach in emotions and splashes of temper: however, it is questionable whether this type of communication is always good and whether there is another way to express feelings. Online world is imaginary; however, it can create the pleasant illusion of the relevant communication that may be very good for socialization at least for those who want to escape from responsibility and the burdens of society. In the frameworks of this research project, it was found out that this kind of escapism is what people can expect from Facebook and other social networks.
The hypothesis for the project was focused on the assumption that in their majority, people use Facebook for their personal purposes rather than having commercial intentions. In this relation, within the frames of this project, the surveys were distributed among 30 people who had been considered to be eligible to become the participants to support the findings of the research project with the adequately based results. The survey was limited strictly to Facebook users as this social network was chosen to be one of the most popular among people of different genders, ages, social backgrounds, professions, etc. worldwide. The choice of the network can be considered to be rational according to the set of criteria, the most important of which is the popularity of Facebook. However, when providing the rationality of choice to the other dimensions, Facebook was chosen for this research project for it is one of the most popular networks among youth worldwide.
The survey was printed double side on single pieces of paper and was distributed among 30 people in an occasional manner in order to obtain the relevant results for the further analysis. For instance, the questionnaire was focused on the following issues: the regularity of Facebook use; the term of its use; the regularity of status updates; the amount of friends (being “friended”: by the “friend request” initiative); the assessment of the alternative ways of communication, which happens to be crucial for a person not to feel isolated from others; the marital status of a person/age/gender; the role of a mobile phone in communication, etc.
This information was crucial to make assessments based on the data retrieved from surveys. Therefore, the chosen hypothesis was supported by the obtained data from questionnaires. Finally, it was found out that the majority of Facebook users are unmarried young people who are mostly inclined to use this social network to satisfy their need for socialization in a way of how they are involved into daily communication with friends. In this relation, Facebook plays an important role of an intermediary between imaginary and real worlds. In the majority of cases, this social network is used for personal needs rather than for commercial purposes. Therefore, people who are registered in Facebook are inclined to use it in a predominantly “invasive” manner. This can be explained by the lack of the vivid restrictions when many people send spam or personal violating messages that can be a sign of protest against social order. In many cases, such restrictions may be relevant to the cases of personal limitations abuse in a way of “invading” throughout the borders of common sense.
However, within the scope of this research project, Facebook is a social network that bears the lack of restrictions in itself. Many fake profiles can be created for spam sending purposes. Therefore, for this study, the relevant data from real Facebook users were chosen to support the hypothesis on use of Facebook as the way to express one’s social identity for this crucial aspect of interactions between communicants is the way how things can be carried out from the boundaries of traditional ways of communication.
Limitations of the Study
This study has limitations that are related to the frameworks of this research project. Accordingly, it is highly advisable to analyze the scope of this study within the set frames that are relevant to the major findings. For instance, from the beginning, this research project was focused on social media as the major indicators of socialization and communication between people from all around the globe. The concept of the world as the so called global village was indicated as the major reasoning why this research is significant for the development of many socially related initiatives for the world economy and social policy development.
This research project is limited to the only one selected social network that is Facebook. It was chosen as one of the most popular among users worldwide. However, the results of this project may be relevant to the other social networks, as well, such as Twitter, Sonico, LinkedIn. Nevertheless, for instance, when analyzing LinkedIn as the platform for job contacts, it is very important to make assessment on its nature as the one that is particularly limited not to personal but to business communication. The other environments for this research project can be well established in relation to theoretical backgrounds that can be of the major importance for the further development of the study in different perspectives.
Particularly, in the future, it would be important to distinguish between different social networks as the ones that are of the greatest interest for the development of many initiatives that can be helpful to choose the social media of interest for marketing, business and personal communication. For instance, the future research perspectives include the opportunity to provide a well-established social media comparative analysis when distinctive and common features of different social media can be compared and contrasted accordingly.
The implications of this study include many aspects of interest that could be analyzed more deeply within the context of this research project. However, the limitations of this study provided the opportunity to set the scope to only Facebook as the social network that is considered to be wide and popular. In this relation, it can be concluded that this social media is the one that enables development of personal contacts for interpersonal communication rather than development business related initiatives.
Based on the provided survey data, it was found out that even people who have mobile phones for communication, from time to time, feel more comfortable when communicating online in social media. This can be explained by the growing use of the ready-to-go mobile devices including tablet PCs. Particularly, iPhones and iPads stimulate young people for the growing need for online communication that can be of the greatest interest for those who are involved in long and short-term travels.
However, psychologically, the need for online personal interactions can be threatening for some people show overindulgence in Facebook or Twitter even if they have an opportunity to communicate live with people who are their online friends. In some cases, extra use of Facebook can become the cause for the development of social fear for live communication, instead of serving as the mean to facilitate online communication.
In this relation, some experts suggest to ban Facebook as the social network in public spaces or in organizations. The opponents say that social media can be the way to unite people in a team for “hierarchical work models are no longer effective nor efficient” (). However, it is questionable whether it can become a relevant step to facilitate live communication. Indeed, in some restaurants and coffee-shops worldwide, people are encouraged to communicate live by means of creating zones that are free from Wi-Fi. In this context, the step of banning Facebook in public spaces can be justified by the need of socialization with live communication. On the other hand, such initiatives cannot be obligatory for, of course, tastes of public spaces visitors may differ. For some people, Facebook may be not only the way to express their status by making pictures with iPhone from a restaurant or coffee-shop they are visiting but also the way to communicate with friends right that moment. Using Facebook can be relevant to expressing emotions and feelings and staying in touch wherever one goes or whatever one does. In this relation, Facebook is not a problem but just the way to express the opportunity to be a part of the global world.