Case Study: Facebook
Facebook is an extremely popular social networking site that provides a few good examples of interactivity today. Here we’ll outline a few components of Facebook that are clearly designed for interaction between users:
Wall: A “wall” in Facebook is the place where other users comment about a particular person. The person can delete comments on their wall of whichthey don’t approve. Walls generally are a place for all sorts of comments about anything going on in life between two people. As a sort of extended messaging system, it obviously bears the hallmarks of interactivity online.
Photos / Video: Facebook has a photo-sharing feature similar to Flickr, although it is less fully-featured. Users can post photos and photo albums and share them with others. Others can leave comments on uploaded photos. Users can also “tag” other users or themselves in photos. By tagging yourself in photos, you can easily find all the pictures you are in at a later date. All photos have a privacy control, so that users can determine who is able to view them. Facebook also includes a Video application with similar features.
Posted Items: Similar to Photos and Videos, posted items can be websites, songs, videos, and other things. They can be shared with friends or certain users. These users can then comment on them.
Networks / Groups: Facebook is organized through groups and networks. Generally, members of a group or network share a common interest or common trait—for example, all could attend the same school, hail from the same region, or support a particular political candidate. Organizing the site in this way facilitates increased interaction between users with similar interests.
Applications: Facebook now has allowed users to develop their own applications with which to interact with each other. Examples of these are remakes of popular games such as Scrabble. This is the ultimate extension of interactivity. Now, not only do users interact with each other through messages and media sharing, but they also do so in a way of their choosing, providing for more complex, fun, and customized methods of interaction.
Facebook lists a number of features on their home page: