Intro to Networked Collaboration

Week 1 Assignment

Well, I finally figured out how to post on the blog.  It’s a bit confusing to have to login @ WordPress.com, and then travel to the blog.  Any way to stay permanently logged-in on my computer?  I was looking for the POST button for at least two days!

“What are some of the social networks you use and why do you use them?”

I presently only have the time and patience to use only 1 or 2 social networks at one time.  It is simply too difficult and irritating to try and manage my online presence on multiple networks with considerable density.  I used to only use Friendster, and it was easy because everyone used it – there were few alternatives, so most people used that one site.  Once Myspace came along, I strongly resisted using it because of its poor design, vunerability to spam, lack of security features, and poor control over the “friend” and “comment” functions – people were adding just anyone to their profiles as friends, something that I think happens far less on Facebook and other second-generation sites.

I eventually signed up with Myspace, because many of my high school friends used it, and it was an excellent way to stay informed about small, unsigned bands that I had enjoyed at music festivals, live club shows and house parties.  Now, most of my friends have moved over to Facebook, but Myspace is still king of Music, and will be unless Facebook really pushes to innovate or outright purchases a media network like iMeem.

My reasons for using social networks seem to evolve with the capabilities of the networks themselves, as well as with the prevailing group trends (both online and off).  Myspace is so poorly designed visually, and so un-intuitive for the casual user, that I am only able to use it passively, for reading band updates and seeing what my friends are doing.  I have a very minimal desire to build, update, and improve upon my online Persona on myspace: my name, some pictures, that’s it.

Facebook (which I just joined this summer) has proven to be a very useful networking tool, as well as a fun and relatively painless way for me to create a virtual representation of my interests, opinions and experiences that I can share with old friends, but almost more importantly, new friends and contacts.  I work as a media freelancer, and in my world the lines between friends, co-workers, employeers, employees, clients and references are completely blurred.  Any person I meet on a job, or at an event (like Sundance) could potentially fit into any (or several) of the above categories.  Facebook allows me to stay near the front burner of minds of many busy people that I work with, without me worring about staying in regular touch via email/phone, and without taking up their time when I do so.  Everytime I post a new picture, or a link, my friends get an update message on their wall – it’s a little reminder that I’m out there, and people have called me out of the blue for a new project, etc. right after I updated my profile with something funny or interesting.  Strange perhaps, but true.

“How have technologies like sms/text messaging, youtube, and myspace changed the way that we interact?”

SMS/text and online social technologies have greatly changed the way people interact on a casual/social level, particularly for young people who are trying to expand their circle of associates as a part of the maturation process.  The motivators are many – romance, career development, hobbies, recreation, support, diversion, education, starting over, etc.  What these technologies do is allow people to search for, develop, manage and explore these relationships very differently then people have been able to do in the past.  Geographic restrictions to social interaction no longer confine us, they can be ignored if we choose, or for many networks (Meetup, etc.) they can be used as a boundary which yields specific results and individuals.  Another drastic change is time – the time between alternating pieces in a social transaction between multiple persons.  No longer are things as simple as “waiting 2 days to call the girl” you just met in a bar – long considered to be a standard for many people.  A text message can be sent that evening, perhaps from inside the bar, providing a discreet and flirtatious communication that may be replacing the act of having a bartender send someone a cocktail.
Granted, these above discussed communications are somewhat closed looped – you can’t text someone if you don’t have their phone number, and you can’t post on someone’s myspace page if they aren’t your friend first.  The next evolution will be the ability to send someone a text message without having their phone number, based on a profile they have created on their phone that can be browsed openly by other mobile devices within a pre-determined geographic area (25 ft, 10ft, 5ft, etc.)

Imagine a friday night at a Lower East Side, with lots of young hipsters sitting at the bar, flirting over the phone with someone in the same club that they haven’t yet met.  Pickup lines meets hide-and-seek.

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September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. I really wonder if that will ever happen…

    Comment by isrellyrel | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. I believe that iPhone has an app where you can see and message other members if they are within a defined radius.

    There is also a phone-based social network called Buzzd. They do something similar too.

    Comment by ayvak | September 13, 2008 | Reply

  3. This is Berry by the way, forgot to put that in my post!

    Comment by djbeefhart | September 18, 2008 | Reply


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