As I’ve pointed out a number of times in class, all network analysis helps clarify is structure – what is the structure of a community and how people connected to each other. You still need to use ideas, once you’ve done the fieldwork, to explain the significance of what you find.
Horst looks at new media (digital technology, social media, etc.) as double articulation: new media technologies are not just objects to study – they not only have meaning – , but themselves express meaning in linking the private and public spheres (2013:67). So in looking at the resulting networks, think of the structure not as just an object of study, as a subject expressing some kind of meaning. This is even more the case if your network analysis project looks at social media or texts. Another way that Horst suggest thinking about the impact of social media technologies on everyday life is to think about the ‘moral economy of the household’ – a new technology, whether a dishwasher or Facebook, undergoes a process of domestication where, after creating certain changes or social/cultural adaptations, becomes a normal part of everyday life. She suggests three key issues that will help explore the impact of new media (2013:68:
- the management of space and time
- microdynamics of the household
- boundaries between private and public
Horst then gives us three case studies that highlight the tensions and change created by the domestication of social media/new media technologies: from a kitchen society to a desktop society, coming of age in social media, locating connection and disconnection.
One common thread is this idea of ‘participatory culture,’ which in the case of fangrrl can be understood as geeking out: “a genre of participation that reflects deep commitment and engagement in a particular site, community, or practice which often involves feedback, commenting, or other forms of interactions in networked spaces” (2013:74). Geeking out as high-betweenness?