In Spite of Social Media Site Limitations Connecting With Others Always Finds A Way: Social Media’s Imposing Limitations Contradicting The True Nature Of Social Networking and Scale-free Networks
What is fascinating about social media sites is their immediate limitations on their participant. But after all without a participant there is no social media. Yet Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook all engage in controlling their participant’s behavior. But controlling the participant’s behavior is contrary to what it means to be social engaged and creating a social network and more importantly it goes against the nature of scale-free networks.
An easy answer from the social media perspective is that they are protecting us from all of the spammers and unwanted friends we might make or choose to pass. In Facebook’s case it might be that they want to keep us from being bombarded from people contacting us; instead we are bombarded with other requests (these are still awaiting me to do something):
• 1 Page suggestion
• 1 Farm town neighbor request
• 1 Fine wine request
• 1 Networkedblogs invitation
• 3 yoville crew requests
• 1 view tu hugs
• 1 which golden girl invitation
• 1 Eric’s sign invitation
• 3 kidnap requests!
• 2 sea garden requests
• 1 good karma
• 2 warlord requests
• 1 actual age test investigation
• 1 which 80s bands request
• 1 reef gift request
• 1 movie quiz request
• 1 80s song
• 2 heart requests
• 1 good karma
• 1 are you the ultimate request
• 3 (lil) green patch requests
• 2 plant gift requests
• 2 mafia wars requests
• 3 yoville gift requests
• 2 class mates requests
• 1 what’s your superpow request
• 46 farm town gift requests
Well I don’t have time to complete each request and it is not tied with my immediate connection with another person. This is an example where and you can see below “…may be considered annoying or abusive by other users” this is clearly that and yet when I am making friends I have received this message a few times. I have received this message in no particular order—seems to be so random and what more is the threat of a “permanently disabled account.” Well and in my case it was reaching out to logical friend choices—my choices were people that I felt a high probability and a common link. I did not go down a list and start requesting at random potential friends. Whatever the case is that this particular item is contradictory and more importantly grossly uneven. And to an even more important point is that there is no transparency on its treatment with its user. The user and myself included does not know if they will rule something to be worthy of a ‘permanent disabling.’? But the raison d’etre is not Facebook but us—the public who uses the site.
Warning! You are engaging in behaviour that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users.
Sometimes people get these warnings for simply misusing one of our features.
Which of the following links describes what you were trying to do? Clicking on a link will take you to more information on how to use Facebook’s features.
Networking/meeting new people
Connecting with Schoolmates/Friends
Promoting a business, product or service
Further misuse of site features may result in a temporary block or your account being permanently disabled.
Note the above is a warning that one gets in red ink and large font (my warning uses Queen’s English as that is part of my profile preferences–English UK but I switch to Italian and Spanish often).
There is a lot of brokering done with Linkedin and Facebook in their gate keeping or controlling whom we want to become friends or people to associate. But that is a strange place for them to be –though it is self-appointed and self-anointed it is a precarious and I contend an un-natural place for them to be in and even more un-natural for us to be in that constraint system. Looking at scale-free networks—many things in life follow this structure—a hierarchal structure with respect to networks is not natural. And if social media sites insist on hierarchy they circumvent their reason for being—it becomes a contradiction.
At some point, these top social media sites will have to understand the world of scale-free worlds to understand why people get together. If not they will risk their keys and kingdoms. Connecting to others always finds away—this connection is not an outright rebellion against hierarchy rather it is a natural expression of being. It is what social beings do.
© 2009 James Meléndez / Jaime Patricio Meléndez – All Rights Reserved