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December 07, 2006

danah boyd on "Creating culture through collective identity performance"


Technologies of Cooperation

My post about danah boyd's November 14 presentation is up at Annenberg Center's DIY Media blog (including a classic photo by Ross Mayfield of danah, Mimi Ito, and Justin Hall):

boyd pointed out that the personal profiles in social networking services provide "moments of representation of identity and digital body." What makes SNSs unique, boyd asserted, are features around friends and networks of friendship that articulate and make visible aspects of interpersonal relationships and social networks that have always existed, but not so visibly. The SNS feature enabling participants to create, display, and edit lists of friends online (e.g., "Top 8" in MySpace, friends lists in Facebook, Friendster, et. al.) presents young people with an opportunity to present their networks of social connections visibly to the world. "In MySpace," boyd noted, ""top 8" is like a high school drama -- who you tell the world your best friend is will get you in horrible trouble offline or online. Who do I put in the top left slot"? MySpace management realized that this feature attracted attention, so they sold as a premium what had been a misfeature in their original design, charging to have more than 8 friends.

Comments on Friendster evolved beyond Friendster-like testimonials. "It became a way of speaking to and about someone and about yourself in the process. Making sure everyone else knows that they are in your list of friends solicits reciprocity. "

This identity-play and social experimentation is a form of DIY media, boyd pointed out, because in social network services, social rituals and norms are signalled by online representations like graphical backgrounds and friend lists, displays of cultural consumption (playlists and fashions) and cultural production (photos, photostreams, and videos). [blogged by howard on Smart Mobs]

Posted by jo at December 7, 2006 08:20 AM