Social Networking Sites: An Introspective on Concept-Dependent Social Phenomenon

A Realist Approach

Dr. Sayer author of Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach

Concept-dependent social phenomenon as described by Andrew Sayer in Method of Social Science, is the ideal that “practices, institutions, rules, roles or relationships in society are depends on what they mean in society to its members.”  In our emerging Internet-dependent society, social networking sites are heavily relied upon to connect and network with other members of society who share common interests, lifestyles, goals, professions, etc.

Peter Winch, has argued that the “essential feature of social institutions is that  individuals have a knowledge of more or less tacit constitutive rules concerning not only what can and cannot be done but how things should be done.”

I am really amazed by the proliferation of these sites into mainstream, society, media, and even the world of business. For example, more and more news outlets, such as CNN have a YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter account. These are all social networking sites that are aimed at bringing together members from around the globe in an effort to collaborate and share information. The understanding or known meaning as Sayer terms it, is that the members of the above social networking sites understand that the site’s goal is to provide a platform for which sharing is the intended behavior.

I was partly influenced by Chris Brogan’s post today and partly influenced by my discussion question for a class that I am taking, “Human Inquiry and Science” in which my professor, Dr. Flor asked the class to, “Give and explain an example from your own area of interest of a concept-dependent social phenomenon, after reading the first Chapter of Sayer’s Method of Social Science.

I have eagerly consumed the intricacies of social media marketing and its skyrocket to popularity in main-stream media.  We are greatly affected by this phenomenon, and anyone that is not connected in any shape or form, will soon be left left behind and forgotten.

That’s just my introspective thought for today. It’s Friday, maybe I have too much information stored in one place!

UPDATE:  I have posted a new article with relevant academic journal articles on concept-dependent social phenomenon, read it here.

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