WISERD Qualitative Researcher, 14 pp 8-10

Much excitement, public and scholastic, surrounds the ascent of Facebook, a social-networking website attracting over 500 million users since its inception in 2004. Facebook has been increasingly integrated into the public sphere, proliferating media activities, communication practices, and social experiences. It has become a glowing reference to the mounting centrality of internet technologies in our everyday existence. A burgeoning phenomenon showing no immediate sign of exhausting the interest of the current populace, Facebook offers its users various functions including, but not limited to, requesting ‘friends’, chatting among peers, playing games, uploading and ‘tagging’ photos, creating events, posting on a user’s ‘wall’, ‘poking’ or ‘throwing sheep’ at other users, and sharing media with other users. Academic attention on Facebook has identified its importance as a communication tool for users to support existing offline connections (Bumgarner 2007), together with how it contributes to the experience of jealousy in romantic relationships (Muise et al. 2009), how it provides university students with a backstage area where role-conflict is worked through (Selwyn 2009), and how it presents a risk to privacy invasion by prompting users to disclose personal information (Debatin et al. 2009).