Please note that I’ve added another handout on Zotero (program that helps you do research more efficiently). I have a shared library of SNA and digital anthropology sources that may be helpful for your own research projects, https://www.zotero.org/groups/318450/ant291. If you want to be added to the group (which lets you add other articles and books that you find), please email me.
For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be getting away from reading about social network analysis to focusing on social media, starting with danah boyd’s book on teen use of social media It’s Complicated. And please note that her name is not capitalized. This does not mean that we won’t be doing social network analysis – you should be going through the SNA tutorial by Katherine Ognyanova on your own while we read about social media.(If you want to annotate lectures with SNA comments/questions, please feel free to add them to whatever lecture note page that you want – if you add it to the most recent lecture, there’s a greater chance of others seeing it.)
boyd’s fieldwork on teens using social media focuses on age-group a little older than you. As she says in her introduction, while the tools may be dated and different, the issues are the same. Here are some points that I’d like you to think about.
Social media creates something that she calls networked publics:
Networked publics are publics that are restructured by networked technologies. As such, they are simultaneously (1) the space constructed through networked technologies and (2) the imagined community that emerges as a result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice (boyd 2014, 8).
Both the networked part and the public part is what makes social media a social phenomenon. To translate what boyd is saying into political theory, social media allows teens to participate in civil society – something that she suggests may be alarming to adults.
Networked publics differ from traditional civil society in that they have the following characteristics (boyd 2014, 10):
- persistence: the durability of online expressions and content;
- visibility: the potential audience who can bear witness
- spreadability: the ease with which content can be shared; and
- searchability: the ability to find content
I would add a fifth characteristic: they are analyzability (yes, I know that’s not a word). This is what makes things interesting for political and marketing consultants.
More things to think about: the issue of technological determinism; digital natives?
Lastly, the following quote:
The internet mirrors, magnifies, and makes more visible the good, bad, and ugly of everyday life.