a feminist technology blog

Month: December 2006 (Page 1 of 2)

Link roundup for December 15, 2006

Pretty rad designy store that sells giftwrap, cushions, etc. by contemporary graphic designers.

Rad new documentary about nerdcore rap. The kick-ass trailer is featured on YouTube.

links for 2006-12-13

Link roundup for December 12, 2006

BW article on advergames, with slideshow.

Link roundup for December 10, 2006

YouTube now allows recording directly to the site from webcams! This is super awesome, I wonder what will come out of this.

CHEESY report on how teens use technology. Will not be shocking to anyone in my network. Aimed at marketeers who think Facebook is befuddling.

Summary of survey of 1500 white collar workers on their participation in online communities. Concludes that they value fame, are willing to criticize their orgs on the web, etc. Enterprise-focused.

Liveblogging the UNC SS: Social Networking One Minute Wrapups

Thomas Vander Wal: disciplinary terms are socially loaded, so if I use my own terms I can talk across fields. Same with tagging (I agree with him about studying, although in the academy you need to locate yourself disciplinarily. But with regard to tagging, I feel that using terms that are specific to particular communities means that you identify yourself with a community of practice, which can be really useful if you’re trolling del.icio.us looking for like-minded people.)

Carolyn Hank: Success of SNS is like your unit of measurement for critical mass, threshold for a social network to become a phenomenon / with institutional repositories “cross-federated IRs” – making different identities in different systems come together – what’s going to be the impetus for anyone making social networks interoperable (I agree with this, there’s no business reason to do so – walled gardens capture eyeballs, advertising dollars)

Jacob Kramer-Duffield: I agree with Thomas. We need more rigorous definitions and be conscious of the words we’re using to communicate ideas.

Terrell Russell: Something about how using English as a lingua franca might lead to loss of linguistic diversity (Wasn’t paying clear attention)

Jackson Fox: We spent most of our time talking about Facebook and MySpace; we haven’t talked about this in a cross-cultural or non-Western sense (totally true). How does this work outside of the US? Does it work outside of the US? Yes: Cyworld (Korea), (I’d add Wallop in China, Orkut in Brazil and Iran, MSN Spaces in India). We need to study social networks in other countries.

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links for 2006-12-09

LiveBlogging UNC SSS: Social Network Panel

Amanda, Pew Internet and American Life project

Methodology and problems with methodologies
We’ve done 2 research projects on this:

1. Focus groups with middle school and high school students: SNS and their feelings about it. What expectations of privacy did they have in this space? What was the utility of social networks in their social lives? What kind of truth-telling did they do? (Before MySpace allowed private profiles; the young women often labelled themselves as younger than they really were to get the privacy protections, which used to only be available to people under… 14?)

– No info that could lead to identification in physical space / real time (home address, location). Many people lied about their location – my friends know I live in PA rather than CA, and people who I don’t want to know where I live will think I’m in CA. Teens took small steps to protect themselves. Otherwise, they thought things were generally private but obviously not perfectly
– Tension between people you wanted to find you (people from your school who you don’t know) vs. people you didn’t want to find you (older people, creepy people, etc.)
– Some disconnects about school identification: people had a hard time noting that their school mapped to their physical space: especially since very large schools have many students, which provides a modicum of privacy.

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Liveblogging UNC SSS: Social Networking Session

Nicole Ellison (MSU) (who is editing a special issue of the JCMC about social networks with danah) and Cliff Lampe (School of Information at University of Michigan)

Dataset = Survey of undergraduates last spring: 285
First pass explores: different kinds of social capital (bridging, bonding, and maintained – maintaining ties with a previously joined community like high school peers) AND measured intensity of facebook use. Found that Intensity of FB use was a significant predictor of all three (esp. weak ties)

Web crawling: capture entire MSU Facebook network
– allows us to probe relationship between profile fields, number of friends and social capital

First year student survey: do they use FB to search for new people or browse the network, etc.

In the future they plan to do “cognitive walkthroughs”: sit them in front of FB and ask them about their profile, their friends, etc. & interviews on self-presentation and impression formation

Overall Methods

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Liveblogging UNC SSS: Tagging: One Minute Wrap-Up

Each person gets one minute to say something about tags.


  • There are many uses of tags:
  • For information retrieval: finding vs. browsing
  • To perform identity, identify self with community of practice
  • Making sense of the object tagged; also express opinion/political thought/point of view about an object (for example, tagging a book on amazon “this sucks”)
  • Learning new ideas from tags
  • Using tags as reminder followups: todo, toread
  • We must consider context
  • Relationships between tags and communities: some tags identify you as a community member, some people use tags to find like-minded people, some people’s tags are more valuable because you share interests.
  • My contribution:

    These types of organizational systems (flickr, delicious, rawsugar, etc.) privilege certain kinds of use
    1. ephemeral knowledge / informalized knowledge / cannot be articulated
    2. communities of practice whose expertise does not line up with the tools available
    3. So who is represented? Who speaks in these systems? What is more or less valued?

    RAW DATA: may be mistakes, there are certainly people left out.

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    Liveblogging the UNC SSS: David Weinberger and Thomas Vander Wal

    David Weinberger, author of Cluetrain Manifesto / “Everything is Miscellaneous” (Times 2007): Folksonomy as symbol.

    Folksonomy as political: what right do other people have to tell us how we should think about information? (Obviously expert-based folksonomies have value –> I think he said this b/c there’s a lot of (potentially) indignant mils in the room)

    Not just “emergent”, but “ours” b/c emerges from us

    Emergence is a fascinating phenomenon because it explains complexity through intrinsic simplicity. E.g., termites build complex towers by following rules so simple that they fit in a termite’s brain. But there is also a political side to our interest in emergence, beyond its explanatory power. Emergence is hope. It says (or we take it as saying) that left to ourselves, without extrinsic structuring or regulation or governance, we will be magnificent. This is beyond the hope implicit in democracy, that says a group will be able to live together if all are given equal power. We won’t just live together, but something far beyond the capabilities of any of us will emerge. Simply by being together, cathedrals will emerge.

    I also like his point that folksonomies work best w/ excess: lots and lots of tags, lots and lots of clusters. Author of “ambient findability” (-> a book still on my shelf, unread) worried that there are too many tags, and this will end up in non-findability (bogged down, poor signal to noise ratio), but this hasn’t been held up by actual experience. Folksonomy says the “more the better”.

    Rejection of essentialism: if we use a doll as a doorstop, we know we’re not making the “real” use of the doorstop – we know there is a “real” sense. We want to preserve this sense of the real and the absolute. There’s something intuitive about this, but when you take this to essentialism — this is the way it really is — requires “an impossible metaphysics” (not sure what he means by this exactly, as essentialism remains extremely prevalent and the idea of fixity of meaning is very strong– how can it simultaneously be strong and be unenforceable?).

    Thomas Vander Wal

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