SNS came to my life since 2008. At that time, I didn’t realize how prosperous this industry would be today, and how deep it will influence my daily life, as well as others’. Even though I can’t be called a sophisticated SNS user, my attitude towards social network site changed greatly through these five years, from get-to-know, via indulged and can’t live without it, to stay away from it. Now, I remind myself to keep an appropriate and healthy boundary to SNS websites.
Initially, I heard of Xiaonei.com from my classmate, who is also one of my good friends. It is a Chinese version of Facebook, which was designed to provide a bounded system for classmates to get in touch with each other. Many students share their pictures and diaries on this website. At first, I just created an account but seldom logged in, because I was a high school student and had little time surfing the Internet. Most importantly, only few students of mine knew that website and flocked on it. Classmates can meet each other on the school and share the interesting stories during the break, so there is no need for us to put the story on the Internet. Finally, I forgot my account’s password, and I even didn’t want to find it back.
Graduated from high school, students went to different cities for further education. Everyone is going to enjoy a new university life that dissimilar to high school’s. As it became impossible to keep in touch with every high school classmate–and also impossible to have a “break talk”–SNS website has aroused more attention than ever before. I decided to recreate an account on Xiaonei.com, then set up my profile, searched for my best friends’ name, and tagged them as “Friend”. Only apply for Friend and get approved can visit other’s homepage and comment on their sharing things.
I would like to analysis Xiaonei.com from several aspects which had been mentioned in the second week’s reading material.
On this website, I can not only search for my friends who have not seen each other for a long time, but find new strangers who have “latent ties” with me. For example, the website always sent me a list of “possible friends” who are in the same university or high school with me, or friend’s friends. Several familiar faces appeared in that list: some of them are in the same school but in different classes, some are in different grades. The website made a great possibility for me to know more potential friends who are already a part of my extended social network.
Xiaonei.com is one of the earliest social network platform in China, which was designed to support college student only. At the beginning of the August 2009, it changed its name into Renren.com, which is available to everyone.(Xiaonei means “in the school” in Chinese, and Renren means everybody) Originally, the target customers of Xiaonei.com was the shcool students. However, after the name changed, the school students strategy alter to the society members, which is aimed at expanding the target customers.
Privacy on visibility
User can set the visibility on the website by themselves, whether visible to anyone or only visible to friends. Visitors who do not have an account cannot visit other’s homepages, and the account member can only view other’s brief information such as name, portray, recent status, and the most meaningful one, mutual friends, which allow users to enlarge their social work.
Actually, I set the visibility to all visitors. Instead of worrying about information being leaked out, I prefer providing a whole image to strangers who wants to get know me, which affords great possibility for me to make more potential friends. Otherwise, the information posted online or the picture and articles I shared on website are not that essential–at least I have not been pished ever before, and I think I will not in the future, too.
This website allows me to keep in touch with my friends and let me know what are they doing nowadays, or what is the hot topic people are discussing. The information I received from the Xiaonei.com give me a great amount of themes so that it would be much easier for me to find a topic during the conversation with my friends.
However, at most time, I was submerged in too large scale of information. Although the friends’ news on website can reveal their recent situation, but the useful information, which is really relevant to their status, are so rare. Most news are just sharing an article talked about how to dress decently, or a link of a piece of music sang by themselves–the majority has nothing to do with themselves, which is also useless to me. Browing SNS website seems to be a time-consuming and low-return-rate thing. Eventually, I was tied of it.
Life without SNS turned out to be very hard: I missed the messages that friends left to me, I lost the chance to take part in the interesting activities, and I found myself extremely uncomfortable and uneasy. Then I realized, maybe to keep a proper distance with SNS is the best way to get involved with the hi-tech society but not indulged in it. Turn off the cell phone during the study hour in order to keep away from the Facebook and Twitter, which would distract attention on books, and view the SNS website less than one hour to avoid spending too much time on it. That is what I think about SNS: when you have it, you don’t cherish it; when you lose it, you will miss it.
- Social Media: Nothing new anymore?! (thelittlethingcalledmedia.wordpress.com)
- Trying to fit in to the new environment? Use SNSs to help you! (emmazhangblog.wordpress.com)