10/5 – The Culture of Connectivity, Chapter 1 (Jose Van Dijck)

In The Culture of Connectivity (Chapter 1), Jose Van Dijck argues that the history and characteristics of online environments and communities are important to study and understand. Specifically, Van Dijick shows how necessary it is to comprehend the tensions present within social media platforms as they are extremely pervasive and have inter-personal effects (online and offline). 

Van Dijck argues that online platforms are embedded into our everyday lives, which results in these platforms being affected by the historical circumstances in our society. Specifically, he notes that social media communities have a “larger sociocultural and political-economic context where it is inevitably molded by historical circumstances” (9). Moreover, he notes that it is important to look at the different facets of each social media platform to understand why and how they promote sociality, creativity and connectivity. As communication platforms have evolved alongside the development of society, Van Dijck emphasizes how the implications of social media matter. An important aspect of social media communications are that, “utterances previously expressed offhandedly are now released into a public domain where they can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects,” (7). In other words, our actions online have blurred the distinction between our private and public lives. This in turn alters how our society functions and interacts with each other offline as well. 

The argument presented by Van Dijck in this chapter made sense and was well supported. The inclusion of a micro-level family story and how they interacted with online platforms was impactful. He discussed the Alvin family and how their technology habits have evolved, which set the stage for a broad discussion of the macro-level impacts and evolution of online platforms overall. Furthermore, the analysis of how connective media has altered private and public communications was interesting to me. As a Sociology major and Mass Communications minor, I am intrigued by analyzing and understanding how technology communication platforms have impacted our society politically, economically and socially. Finally, it was beneficial that the author noted how dynamic/ever-changing social media platforms are and how humans evolve alongside these technologies.

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