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.