Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
The new Journal of Computer Mediated Communication is out, featuring articles on social networking, with danah boyd and Nicole Ellison guest-editing. The pair also team up to write an introduction that defines 'social network sites' ("as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system"), gives a history (with a good timeline), and then outlines the scholarship. The stuff on 'network and network structure' is pretty light and, not surprisingly, looks only at social networks (no neural nets here!).

I don't know why they focus on social networking sites, instead of the phenomenon generally - it would b interesting to see what could be made of distributed peer-to-peer social networking, like (say) instant messaging. It would at least include the contribution from R. Kelly Garrett and James N. Danziger, who write on instant messaging's disruptive effect in the workplace. They find - counterintuitively to those not used to quick communication with ICQ - "people who utilize IM at work report being interrupted less frequently than non-users, and they engage in more frequent computer-mediated communication than non-users." IM is great - it waits for you, unlike (say) a telephone call or personal visit.

You'll also be interested in Publicly Private and Privately Public: Social Networking on YouTube, by Patricia G. Lange, an interesting look at the way connections between members work in the video culture. She proposes "new categories of nuanced behavior types that are neither strictly public nor strictly private," and specifically, looks at the ways members delineate belonging to different communities. Thanks to Emma for the link.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jul 26, 2021 10:38 p.m.