This can result in connections between individuals

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to articulate and make visible their social networks. This can result in connections between individuals that would not otherwise be made, but often that is not the goal, and these meetings are frequently between ‘latent ties’ (a term she borrows from Haythornthwaite, 2005) who share some offline connection. On many of the large social network sites, participants are not necessarily ‘networking’ or looking to meet new people; instead, they are primarily communicating with people who are already a part of their extended social network, in the physical world. To emphasize this articulated social network as a critical organizing feature of these sites, boyd labels them ‘s ocial network sites’ (211). It seems that boyd still favors these already existing offline connections over the relationships that are primarily built via a social network site. While theorizing social media, boyd very much uses a
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8 framework from the physical world. This approach limits the scope and possible influence of social media and already sees the relations that are developed online as ‘lesser’ that existing contacts. It is much more productive to take the relationships that are initiated and developed online just as serious as connections that originated from face-to-face contact. Distinguishing between ‘network’ and ‘networking’ is redundant if one assumes an egalitarian approach towards interactions in the ‘offline’ and ‘online’ world. Bo th kinds of social interactions explored in the cultural representations are valued as equally important. The following abbreviations are used to indicate quotations from the novels: LaM Look at Me by Jennifer Egan PR Pattern Recognition by William Gibson C The Circle by Dave Eggers
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9 1.0 Posthumanism, Networks and Protocols McLuhan and the Nature of Social Media In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan noted why the Greek Narcissus myth is important in understanding the technological experience. Narcissus mistook his own reflection in the water for another person. This extension of himself by mirror numbed his perceptions until he became the servomechanism of his own extended or repeated image. […] He was numb. He had adapted to his extension of himself and had become a closed system. (41) McLuhan uses ‘servomechanism’ and ‘closed system’ to explain the internal processes of what is happening when one encounters and extension of self. A servomechanism is an automatic device that uses error-sensing negative feedback to correct its performance. The functioning of a servo is a closed feedback loop. A man being a servomechanism then is someone who automatically adjusts his own self-image to fit the representation in front of him. By reference to the Narcisssus myth McLuhan does not mean to foreground the self-loving nature of media but rather to highlight the mistake Narcissus is making in thinking he is the one in reflection : ‘ Now the point of this myth is the fact that men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in any material other than themselves. […]
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