Facebook as a Form of Public Address

As I was thinking about the different forms of public address to write about, I came across one that was literally staring me in the face: Facebook. I can almost guarantee that everyone on this blog has a Facebook, and I believe that Facebook has really become one of the largest forms of public address in the world. After thinking about it, and feel free to disagree, but just about everything on Facebook addresses the public in some way. We share basic information about ourselves on our profiles that others are free to view, and although we can control what others can and cannot see, we are still communicating to and with others. Every time we change our status, upload pictures, join a group, or write on a friend’s wall, that information is out there for our public to see. These days, Facebook has become one of the fastest and easiest ways to share information with A LOT of people at once. Here at Denison, we have begun using Facebook to advertise and promote events, run campaigns, show support for something… the list is endless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm5B7j65S1c

This is a short clip of Mark Zuckerbeg, the creator of Facebook. He talks about the mission of Facebook being about giving people “the power to share.” He also talks about wanting Facebook to be more about “people’s apps and the experiences we are all building together.” One of his last quotes, “to give people more power and tools to share information,” to me, just seems to really grasp the fact that Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook is to have people constantly addressing the public through this network. I think his goal is definitely being realized.

-Sarah Ritchey

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3 comments so far

  1. julie1990 on

    I agree that Facebook is a unique form of public address. What makes it so interesting in this respect is that if we are to consider it a form of public address, then we must consider how we are to define the “rhetorical situation.” I think that it is interesting to consider that the goal of networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is to allow individuals to turn their lives into rhetorical situations with status updates and “tweets”. Furthermore, an individual’s profile serves as an opportunity to frame themselves in the “public” eye, and the individual faces certain constraints in that forum which pertain to what information is appropriate to share and who it is to be shared with.
    -Julia M.

  2. kbrickman on

    Going off of Julia’s idea of Facebook serving as an opportunity for users to frame themselves in the public eye, this is a very interesting point. Users have the option of choosing what they wish to show and what they wish to disclose on their profile and to specific people for safety reasons. But, in some instances, this enables users to create a different identity on these social media sites that is dissimilar to their identity as a person. Users are able to establish a masking identity that portrays a mask of their real identity, because users can choose what they want to reveal which may not always identify the actual person. To clarify, in my opinion, there is a difference between withholding some information for safety and because some things about your life should be kept personal only to yourself and not to the entire public, and those framing their identity to shed light on themselves in a different way.

    Kara Brickman

  3. dupublicaddress on

    To build off of what Kara said, I think there’s another side to the issue. While some people chose to withhold information from their Facebook profiles there are also those people who share EVERYTHING online. You know, those people who update their statuses every 5 minutes, share their location on facebook and post intimate details about their lives on their walls. When I look at people who use facebook like this, I’m not sure I agree with the statement that facebook isn’t a form of public address. I think facebook can definitely be a forum for public address when people chose to use it that way. That’s one of the things that makes facebook so appealing is that you can use it any way you want to, so for some it be a controlled outlet for social networking and for some it may be a major forum for public address!

    Lauren Waters


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