Social Media & Networked Technologies: Research & Insights – danah boyd

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this particular keynote since I heard danah (this is how she spells it – no caps – even on international capslock day) was going to be here at the conference.
She began her talk by telling us that she wants to talk about what’s going on with different kinds of social media and how to apply it. Web 2.0 – tech crowd sees it as a shift in development/deployment – a change in the way you get information out there. Web 2.0 – business crowd sees it as hope, coming right after the big crash.
Social network sites include: profiles (change from being “an IP address” to a digital body), public articulation of friends (used as social leveraging – getting social acceptance in return for being in the “top 8 friends”), comments – or wall – section (form of social grooming, even when their comments are banal and dull), status updates (peripheral awareness of everything that’s going on around you).
What are people doing on these sites? All kinds of social purposes – gossiping, flirting, making sure people around you are ok – stuff that we used to do because we were allowed to go out in physical public spaces, kids today really don’t have that kind of freedom because of fear.
“If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist” – Skyler (16, Chicago)
Properties of social spaces:
• Persistence – what you say sticks around
• Replicability – copy and paste things from one place to another
• Scalability – potential to reach millions with the reality of reaching pretty much nobody, possibility of broadcast but not necessarily the ability
• Searchability – you can make yourself searchable – or not
• Invisible audiences – public articulation of friends is an articulation of their perceived audience
• Collapsed contexts – socializing with different people in different contexts, but in the same place
• Public = Private –
What does this mean? A change in both social and information ecologies. Wikipedia is the most transparent information creation project EVER. Teach our young people how to read the information & histories in Wikipedia – teach them media literacy.
This is an attention economy – what bubbles up isn’t necessarily the best, but what gets the most attention.
3 points where intervention are desperately needed:
• Net Neutrality – all bits are created equal – she is a Comcast customer and she can’t use YouTube at all
• DRM –, runs the risk of killing off the ability for people to interact with text
• Defending Fair Use – it’s only a defense, you have to be sued before it comes into play
Web 2.0 is going to become very mobile – cluster effects aren’t happening because of a lack of mobile standards, we need to get over that.
Technology is radically reshaping public spaces and “public” as we know it.

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