Thursday, August 11, 2011

Social Me(dia) Rivers

Anne Helmond (2010) describes Social Media Rivers as having certain characteristics. Firstly, they should be in perpetual Beta, meaning that they are always changing, then, they should be networked - not one single website or page, but a shared community. Also they should be user generated, one users identity is determined by other users. They should be distributed, storing and sharing in the 'cloud'. They should be indexed and need to be updated regularly, and finally, they should be persistent, lasting and enduring.

Akshay Java et al (2007) describe microblogging, in particular Twitter, as a phenomenon in which users share and seek information in small bursts. It is described as fulfilling a need to communicate ever faster, and because the space is limited to 140 characters, there is less demand on the user to write long texts. The main user intentions are described as daily chatter, conversations, sharing of information and URLs, and reporting news. The main types of users are the information source, friends, and the information seeker.

Personally I find the notion of sharing daily banalities completely useless and boring. The main reason I can see for using Twitter is to make links with users with similar interests and in doing so be up on new and interesting things happening in the world, in my personal case I link with artists, arts groups and galleries.

Anne Helmond (2010) ' Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software.' Anne Helmond. New Media Research Blog. Available:
Akshay Java et al (2007) ‘Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities’, Procedings of the Joint 9th WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop 2007, August 12.
Tama Leaver (2007) ‘It’s a Small World After All: From Wired’s Minifesto to the Twitterati’, Tama Leaver dot Net, March 11.

Digital Shadows

This week we looked at the idea of Digital Shadows.
Your digital shadow is different to your Internet Footprint in that it is the involuntary information which accumulates on the web about you from a variety of sources. Ways of searching for your Digital Shadow include doing a Standard Google search, a Blind Search, and using a platform called Spezify. With the standard Google search you end up with a list of sites which mention your name depending on the formula which Google uses. With the Blind Search you get 3 lists from different search engines. The results vary in each list, as they use different algorithms to organise their links. I found Yahoo! gave me the best results for my name. The Spezify search engine arranges the results as a map of images which connect with the word which was entered in the search. I found this was not very forthcoming as to my particular search.

Also on topic was the idea of privacy and reputation. danah boyd (2008) talks about the sharing of personal information on social networks such as Facebook and notions of exposure and invasion (of privacy) and she highlights the importance of differentiating between the two concepts.

Daniel Solove (2007)talks about invasion of privacy in his book, The Future of Reputation Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. He talks about the dangers and longevity of information on the web. He also talks about the benefits of blogging on communication. He also talks about the idea of privacy vs too much privacy and the creation of reputation. False information can effect reputation quickly, Solove says.

When thinking about the topics of Digital Shadows, privacy and reputation, I wonder if we really need to be so worried about sharing information which anyone can find in a phone book, but then again, there is information you don't want all and sundry to be privy to. I think there is a fine line between creating a web presence and keeping yourself safe online. I think web users need to be careful with the kinds of things they post about themselves and be mindful that that information can be used by others in all kinds of ways, some not too savoury. But on the other hand you need to give out enough to facilitate communication, and build the reputation that you want.

danah boyd (2008). "Facebook's Privacy Trainwreck: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence." Convergence, 14 (1)

Solove, D., (2007). How the Free Flow of Information Liberates and Constrains Us, in The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet. Available:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Internet Footprints

Your Internet Footprint is your "purposeful identity" on the Internet (Leaver, 2011).
What does this mean? Erving Goffman, in his work The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life talks about what it is that makes up the notion of the self. It is the sum of all your experiences, and so your Internet identity is the sum of all your web interactions. Also the way people interact over the internet is a reflection of themselves. As people have different views of who they are, they often choose an avatar that reflects their own 'theory of self' so to speak.
Internet etiquette, or Netiquette, and our use of it, is a reflection of our personalities, and one needs to be mindful that everything we write on the Net shows a little of who we are and what kind of person we are. Many social networks have rules about netiquette you need to adheare to if you wish to be part of that network.

Leaver, T. 2011. iLecture Internet Footprints. Curtain University.
Goffman E. 1959 Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Double Day Anchor Books Doubleday & Company,, Inc. Carden City, New York.

Content Sharing

Web 2.0 platforms, such as Flickr and You Tube, have made it possible for people everywhere to share their content with a world wide audience. With all the content out there, to find what you want can be a daunting task. Thankfully there are ways to sort through the huge volumes of multi-media content. One of the ways this is done is through tagging. Kennedy et al (2007) explain how knowledge can be generated through "representative tags" and "metadata patterns".
Being able to search collective content by typing in a tag word can help narrow the search for the right image or video you may be looking for.
The creation of memes and mash-ups bring up the question of copy right and how much of someone's work can be used before it contravenes copyright rules. Then there's the question of stifling creativity. Creative Commons goes some way to helping with that score. You can use work to certain degrees tagged as a Creative Common, and if you are creative you can get a creative common tag put on your work and share it with others.

Kennedy, L., Naaman, M., Ahern, S., Nair, R., & Rattenbury, T. (2007). How Flickr helps us make sense of the world: context and content in community-contributed media collections. Proceedings of the 15th international conference on Multimedia. Augsburg, Germany.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Social Networks

According to boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007) social network sites are web-based services that facilitate users in creating a public or semi-public profile within a their network system. They display a list of other users sharing some kind of connection, and allow users to view and negotiate their list links and those made by others within the network. These connections can vary in their types types and titles.

The various network sites allow users to meet others with like interests, and they also make it possible for all their networked contacts to see each others contacts. This makes it possible for connections to be made that would not otherwise be made, but mostly it creates a platform for sharing and communicating (boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. 2007.)

Social network sites also vary greatly in their features and types of users. They can also facilitate professional networking, and make this a feature of their structure. An example of this would be LinkedIn. Others target specific interest groups, cultural or language groups. Some provide photo-sharing or video-sharing capabilities and others have built-in blogging and instant messaging technology. (boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. 2007.)

Often users can access their network using mobile devices. Social Network sites have become a global phenomenon. Love them or hate them, they are evolving and proliferating.

boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I found the whole idea of going in and doing something on Wikipedia quite daunting. However, I found the site to be fairly friendly. Being the average person who puts flatpacks together before reading the instructions, I found the wikitext a bit confusing at first. I made an account, no problemo, I even created my own sandbox; got scared, backtracked, lost my sandbox, found it again, then read the instructions. If in doubt, read the instructions! In the end I made a successful link to Salvidor Dali. Phew!

So then I looked up a few possible sites to add to. What do I know anything about? Well, nothing apparently! Nothing that wasn't already there, that is.

In the end I decided to look up my home town of Glenbrook, NSW. Was there anything missing that I could contribute? And how would I source it? I checked out Glenbrook on Google and found the Chamber of Commerce had a website. Nothing much there, and it hadn't been updated since last year. So I had another look at the Glenbrook page on Wikipedia and realised that the Recreation section had missed out on one of the most important recreative activities in Glenbrook - the bowling club. So I checked Google, found the website and copied its URL. Then I set about adding it as a link.

Back to the sandbox. It took me a few attempts to get the Wikitext correct, thank goodness there's a preview button, and hit Save.

Since then I have thought about other additions I could make.

I check it next day to see if there was a response, but there wasn't.

Considering Antony et al.'s discussion of the motivations behind contributions to Wikipedia, I can see why the main reasons would be intrinsic motivations. Reputation and committment to the Wikipedia group identity, are, according to Antony et al.(2007), the main motivations for contributing routinely to Wikipedia. Also the 'Good Samaritan' (Antony et al., 2007) contributes for a variety of intrinsic reasons. As for my own motivations, if I went back and added those other contributions I have thought of, I would do so for intrinsic motivations of my own, ie. to see the page about my home town up to date and more fully realised than it is now.
I feel there was an intrinsic benefit in contributing: I have done my bit for the collective knowledge about one little topic.

Anthony D, Smith S, Williamson T. 2007. The Quality of Open Source Production: Zealots and Good Samaritans in the Case of Wikipedia. Technical Report TR2007-606 Department of Computer Science Dartmouth College
Accessed 4 July 2011 from

Sunday, July 3, 2011


This week we looked at the world of blogging. We were asked to consider if the early predictions about blogging would eventuate, and what we thought 'distributed conversations' and 'distributed communities' meant.

I think the early predictions about the potential of blogging to give everyone who wanted it a voice and a venue to publish have definitely come true. In the past ten years the number of blogs has risen exponentially, so much so that weblogs originally set up to list and categorise available blogs have been abandoned because the task became too extreme. The current rate of new blogs created yearly is in the millions, and sites which track their development, do so in terms of those most visited or linked to, or the frequency of tags posted. Blog readers now rely on RSS feeds to notify them of updates to their favourite blogs, because to check each of the hundreds that some subscribe to would be an impossible task. Also, blogs are rich in variety, ranging from personal musings to news, to community interactions, to name but a few. Also, according to Sobel, more women are blogging and the use of mobile devices has also contributed to the increase.

The terms ‘distributed conversations’ and ‘distributed communities’ refer to the fact that these online blogs, due to their nature, allow conversations to take place over a wide range of participants and time. They are not necessarily localised or take place at the same time.


Rettberg, J., (2008), Blogs, Communities and Networks in Blogging. Polity Press; Cambridge. Accessed 3 July 2011.

Blood, Rebecca. "Weblogs: A History and Perspective", Rebecca's Pocket. 07 September 2000. 26 July 2010. . Accessed 3 July 2011.

Sobel, J. 2010. State of the Blogosphere 2010 Introduction Accessed 3 July 2011.