IL2008: danah boyd Keynote

danah boyd gave this morning’s keynote session. An aside – Howard Rheingold AND danah boyd – way to go, Information Today!

Title: Social Media & Networked Technologies: Research & Insights

Web 2.0 means different things to different people.

  • user-generated content
  • techies – always beta
  • business crowd – it was a glimmer of hope (an “after the first crash” thing)

Early days of the web – very topic driven.

Now instead of information organized around topics, it’s arranged around people – around friends.

What make it a social network site?

physical world – clothes, hair styles, etc define us
digital world
– we’re an IP address…
– we repurpose stuff to reflect us (ie., lying about age in myspace).
– younger people’s profile pages are similar to their bedroom walls (and probably horrify their parents in the same way)

Friending (not sure that was the word she used):
– it’s still awkward to us
– some have 30-50 friends (it reflects their real life friends)
– some have 1-200 friends, trying to collect a whole school
– 3rd category – people who collect as many friends as possible
– MySpace lets you arrange friends “in order” Top Friends is a very tricky thing. Bands are safe, put them in your family list (that’s safe), put your girlfriend in the top 10, etc.

– not much meaning in those – I’m bored, what’s up type conversation
– it’s a type of social grooming – very similar to the “how are you” greeting in the physical space
– it’s a way of validating each other

Status Updates:
– facebook status, twitter
– lots of different purposes
– creating a sense of peripheral awareness
– this will still evolve for the next several years

Why are we using these tools and services?

one reason – parents don’t let their kids out of the house – so they chat on myspace, txt, and talk on the phone

Quote by a 16-year old: “if you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.”

Properties of public spaces:

– what you say sticks around.
– every ephemeral act is stored

– you can copy/paste
– take stuff from one context to another
– I’d probably put mashups here, too
– she mentioned modification of content/context
– it’s also a way young people bully each other

– “It’s public”
– It’s a global medium… but the average blog is read by a whopping 6 people
– you have the option of reaching a million people, and the reality of reaching no one

– currently, you’re not searchable as you walk around
– your boss doesn’t always know where you are
– with the internet, you become searchable – even by people you don’t want to find you

plays out in 3 different dynamics:

there are invisible audiences
– we’re a visible audience, and she’s adjusting the presentation based on our reactions… with the web, we don’t know our audience
– so we have to deal with the possibility of invisible audiences
– friends – an invisible audience

collapsed contexts:
– a wedding is a highly scripted event
– online, we might be socializing with our boss AND our kids
– it’s challenging to deal with both contexts

public = private
– about control

Tagging – the skills librarians learned in grad school are now becoming skills everyone needs to learn. Wow.

wikipedia – collorative knowledge. The most transparent gathering of knowledge the world has ever seen.

young people learn about it by means of grafiti – they erase everything on a wikipedia page and put their name on it. In the process, they learn.

we should teach kids how to interact with it and add to it and be critical thinkers, rather than to avoid it …

And my battery ont he mac died – go search “danah boyd” il2008 for the rest of the talk :-)