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How Text Messaging Affects Teen Literacy

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Facebook is the most popular and widely used social networking site in today’s society. Social networking sites have increasingly become popular over the last few years, with new sites emerging every day. Facebook meets the three criteria needed in order to be coined a social networking site. According to class lecture, those criteria are; 1. Be able to make a profile, 2. Be able to communicate with others, and 3. Be able to view the entire network. Facebook was started by Mark Zuckerberg and three friends, while at Harvard University in 2004 (pg. 294). The site was originally intended for college students (those who attended Harvard) only, but in 2005 Facebook was available to those that held a .edu email address. In 2006, anyone that was over the age of thirteen, and had a valid email address could join Facebook (pg. 294). Facebook became popular due to its live “news feed” feature that is streaming on the users profile page. This was revolutionary, because a user no longer had to click on a particular profile page to see what their friends were posting.

Facebook also gained its popularity from micro blogging, which limited the amount of characters a user could type on their wall, which reduced the amount of time spent reading an entry (class notes). According to class lecture, micro blogging has become widely accepted by the millennial generation, because they are the ones that were hooked on cell phones as a means of communication through texting. As of May 2010, the site brought in more than double the amount of unique visitors at 250,000,000, compared to its competitor MySpace (pg 294). While Facebook has its unique capabilities of communicating with people and friends, some researchers say it leads to a greater need satisfaction. Kennon Sheldon, Neetu Abad, and Christian Hinsch conducted four studies to see if Facebook helps meet people’s related needs (i.e., ones feelings of connected vs. disconnected).

The first study focused on Facebook use and amount of need satisfaction that was gained or lost. The results of this study showed that Facebook users felt both connect and disconnect while using Facebook (Sheldon 768). Study two was conducted, in order to try and replicate the results of the first study. This study showed similar results indicating Facebook usage is used from both forms of need satisfaction (more site usage stems from motivation from disconnectedness, while connectedness with others also resulted from increased usage) (Sheldon 769). Study three focused on deprivation from Facebook for a forty eight hour time period.

The results showed that more disconnect was likely to occur and therefore inhibit more usage of the site. Connectedness was decreased during the forty-eight hours, but did not show/predict more usage when not in a state of deprivation (Sheldon 771). The last study was based on the participants’ individual needs and goals towards reducing time spent on Facebook. The study showed that participants struggled with disconnect, therefore leaning towards Facebook as a type of coping mechanism (Sheldon 772). The overall results of these studies showed that Facebook is both a form of connecting and disconnecting with the social world. Facebook serves as a coping tool for those who are feeling disconnected, and these users should try to uncover their personal issues (with disconnect) through other forms of socialization (Sheldon 774).

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