For my final paper I’d like to take a stab at answering the question, what type of organization is an online social network? There are a number of past and current examples of OSNs such as Facebook, Myspace, MyhometownLink, and many others—but how exactly are they classified as an organization? What sort of characteristics do they have? Why are they useful or what is their purpose? How are they potentially dangerous or detrimental to others? What is their effect on other more traditional organizations such as businesses or government? Are they a natural, rational, or open system?
My interest in the topic of OSNs stems from two sources: Facebook and my involvement in creating one. Facebook has redefined a generation and vastly altered how we as college students interact with one another. Communication norms and expectations have shifted significantly since we all joined Facebook. Why call a person or send a card when you can simply post a message on their wall wishing them a happy birthday? Why send invitations in the mail when you can create an event and invite ten times as many people as you traditionally could? The student body as an organization is different because of Facebook—why? Take a look at this article in the NY Times that goes more in depth on the current status of Facebook.
Secondly, a friend and I are working on developing an OSN that acts a communication platform between parents in need of babysitters, lawn workers, tutors, etc. and students willing to perform those tasks. (Feel free to check it out at www.LewisburgLink.com!) I would like to brush off the dust of history and find out how and why and where OSNs got started. Why are they so big now as opposed to ten years ago? They are certainly not a new idea…
So I’ve asked a lot of questions. I’d love to hear any answers, comments, suggestions, ideas from the peanut gallery!