This Week’s Readings: Likes and Dislikes
Boyd & Ellison: Like
I have long been a fan of danah boyd. Ever since I first heard of her back in 2009 when I started the program, she has been a great source – my go-to specialist when it comes to social media. She seems to be very tapped into the social aspect of social media and I appreciate her insight
and the way she interweaves herself into her commitment of the discipline. I’d love to meet her someday.
Her collaborative “Social Network Sites: Definition, History and Scholarship,” with Karen Ellison was an excellent look into the background
of the phenomenon that so many of us are interested in. I especially was fascinated by the idea that who you are friends with is a social marker showing how you fit into the context of your peer group. They state, “Another aspect of self-presentation is the articulation of friendship links, which serve as identity markers for the profile owner (boyd & Ellison, 2007).
I also enjoyed reading the history of the different forms of social media, just like I enjoyed watching the fictionalized movie The Social Network. I like to know where our overarching, taken-for granted phenomena come from. I’m kind of a history nerd that way.
Qualman: Like…with reservations
I’ve read either all or most of Socialnomics before. In the portion that we read, I am fascinated by the fact that people are, “…willing to have open diaries within social media because their ultimate desire is to feel a part of something larger” (Qualman p.42). Although I agree, (as I do with most of his points), sometimes the evidence backing his very broad assertions just isn’t there. He does a good job of using quotes and giving examples, but I don’t see any hard research backing a lot of his stuff up.
For chapter three, he uses one anecdote of an 83-year-old man and one of a “mother of three” to back up his claim that social media makes
us more reflective on our lives. Maybe, but that’s shaky evidence. Also, his claim that “reality tv” is out and is being replaced by “reality social media,” seems ridiculous. If anything, the horror that is reality tv seems to be expanding and driving out all semblance of common sense and dignity from television programming. (Ask me how I really feel…)
Turkle: Dislike The ethics of this study are mentioned a few times, but this trainwreck of a study is unconscionable. Testing AI dolls on vulnerable populations (emotionally fragile children) made me sick. Exploiting them by writing about it in this book is horrible. I read most of this book before for another class, and I don’t remember reading this. It was painful. “What we ask of robots shows us what we need” (Turkle, p.87) may have turned out to be true for these kids, but the cost of finding out was too much, in my opinion. It was like pulling the wings of an insect to see what it would do.
This quick overview of uses for social networking was concise, yet comprehensive. It showed social networking benefits that many may have been overlooked by newcomers. It also reinforced the idea that what you put out there tells people a lot about you, so be careful what you say. I also appreciated the mention of the importance of one’s “internet footprint.” That’s something I am hoping to develop through this class.
I remember having read this a while back, and it’s a good refresher. It’s interesting to read this stuff that was – just a few years back – so fresh. Although the technology has zoomed along apace, I think that the behaviors (avoidance, screening people, racking up the friends) is as true today as it was five years ago when they did the study.
I have to admit that I am totally addicted to Facebook. I am kind of an introvert in a lot of ways, so Facebook allows me to stay in contact, without it being too overwhelming. That’s part of why I like this major, too, is because I like time to be able to digest information before I interact. Don’t get me wrong – I like hanging out with people and being around people, but it often wears me out rather than gives me energy. Facebook provides me the information and light interaction that I crave, and it also provides a platform for further contact.