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.