Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Facebook: A Place for the Social

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Facebook is currently undergoing an interesting transition. It is transitioning demographically from young to middle-aged users in part because the users who initially joined Facebook in their teens are aging and in part because of the expansion of Facebook beyond the university population. With this shifting demographic, Facebook's purpose is similarly in motion evolving from the casual social media site which hosts conversations between college students towards an easy to use communication platform utilized for a variety of purposes. While many users have personal opinions as to what is appropriate to post on Facebook, besides the monitoring of explicit content, the site is a merger of many kinds of statuses and posts. This exhibit is intended to feature the different kinds of everyday writing that appear on the social media site, Facebook.

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Obsessed with Our Pets

If you go onto basically any part of the web, you will see that most web users are pretty obsessed with animals, and in particular cute pets. This permeates most aspects of web culture, but is especially obvious on sites like YouTube with its millions of cat videos and in memes. However, there has been a relatively recent trend where users create social networking sites dedicated to and used for/”by” people’s pets; this trend is especially prevalent on Instagram, where the platform focuses more on the visual content (aka a cute video of a cat or dog), with the written content being secondary via captions, hashtags, and comments. These sites tend to be light-hearted and fun, and can be seen both in celebrities (particularly YouTube personalities, it seems) and non-celebrities. That is to say, anyone can create and enjoy pet accounts on social media, and they can be purely used for the person to show the animal and their lives with little in mind beyond a sort of diary structure, or they can try to build the account up and get followers (primarily through networking and the use of hashtags) and potentially even end up creating a following significant enough to earn money or sponsorships in exchange for being featured on the account. Most accounts that are not tied to a celebrity name tend to circulate just the same as the owner’s personal account, but because of the way the internet loves adorable animals some accounts can grow to significantly exceed the owner’s own following.

 

These accounts tend to have certain features that depending on how the account is being used, including the use of specific hashtags that are aimed at expanding the audience beyond the creators personal network, using captions that either verbalize the animals “thoughts” or in some way act as though the animal is the one composing and curating the account, and of course, the pictures used are always adorable and capture the personality of the animal (whether they are spontaneous or staged is another question). However, there are some that also break from those loose conventions and act more as a public scrapbook or photo diary than as an interactive account. Most interaction by other users primarily consist of various ways of saying “Aw, so cute” or “This animal is ridiculous;” the users react to the animal similarly to if they were in person, but the feedback is (mostly) directed toward the owner. 

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