In the study “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks” by Church and Thambusamy, they analysed social media usage by university students in the United States. They found out that trust plays an important role as to why we don’t share our information with the platforms that we use. Also, that competition among users of these social media platforms is strong. And finally that we tend to falsify the information that we put up because of interpersonal competition.
I find it interesting how we are concerned about our privacy and want to conceal our personal information from the internet, yet so many of us post so many pictures of yourself. And we through social media apps, we can even know where our friends are at all times. I think social media serves as a way as to why people are becoming more self-aware, and why people are comparing followers, comparing likes, comparing their own lives with people on the internet. And when are constantly comparing themselves with others, and it affects things such as our self-worth and self-esteem. We are constantly comparing and competing with others, but also in a way that is fun. For apps such as Facetune, we are able to shape and mould ourselves into the way we want to look, in a way that we feel we should look.
The relationship between the users of social network platforms and the people behind them need data on their users in order to help their company to continue to grow. Platforms are always striving to give better engagement. Not only for each user and his or her audience but between the platform itself and its users. As mentioned in the study, Facebook had recently thought about adding a “dislike” button. This was something that was highly requested by the users of Facebook and the company took that into consideration, however, decided against that. Instead of having “dislike” buttons, Facebook added 5 more emojis similar to the like button that allowed the users to express more emotions towards a post. A great percentage of the users of Facebook were super displeased with the update, but the company kept this change. This is an example of why companies need to collect data from its users, to see what they enjoy and what they should make changes on. And it all comes down to how they can make their company better and how they can provide the greatest experience for its users because they are competing against other social media platforms.
But in the end, each platform has its own strengths, whether it’s because it’s the way the platform is structured, or the algorithm it has. For example, Facebook is used by a much wider age range, whereas Instagram has a much more direct interaction with its audience. And YouTube is an entirely different platform although all of these media seem to become more and more similar to each other as each company looks for new ways to branch out on. It is interesting how over time, the media platforms have changed from just a one-way one-to-many to the audience communicating directly to the person who made a post. A great example of this is Twitter, although basically, all social media platforms allow us to do this now.
In our class discussion, we talked about deception with the use of social media. Maybe it is easier to use deception on social media than it is in real life, because of the accessibility, the ability to show many more people. But just as we speak differently to different people, when we are in a given situation, we show different sides of ourselves. But it is still us. So maybe the use of the word deception doesn’t apply to everyone.
Relating this back to Bateson’s argument of more cooperation rather than competition, I can think of ways where it can be both cooperation and competition on social media. For example, on Instagram, we tag people in our posts. And on YouTube, many creators do collaborations. Although they are sharing followers and subscribers and encouraging their audiences to go to the other creator’s platform, they are also competing for them at the same time.