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SOCNET  January 2008

SOCNET January 2008

Subject:

Re: Tom Hodgkinson's op-ed in The Guardian on Facebook

From:

"Rhoten, Diana R." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rhoten, Diana R.

Date:

Mon, 28 Jan 2008 16:05:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (169 lines)

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Nice post


_________________________________
Diana Rhoten, PhD
Program Director
Office of Cyberinfrastructure
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1145
Arlington, VA 22230
vox: +1.703.292.8276
fax: +1.703.292.9060

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of danah boyd
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 6:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SOCNET] Tom Hodgkinson's op-ed in The Guardian on Facebook

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Uhh... I think that he completely misses the point. Except for the tech
fetishists and bloggers, people primarily use sites like Facebook when
they're not able to connect using the "free" means of
communication:

1) teens because they're not allowed out of the house to hang out with
their friends and if they are, their friends aren't or they have to go
to highly regulated and supervised settings

2) college students because they know that they're supposed to be in
class/doing homework/sleeping, but they're procrastinating because
talking to friends is much more fun and a little bit of low-level
talking through FB can be justified far better than meeting up with
someone for a coffee

3) white collar workers because they're bored at work and want to hang
out with their friends when they should be doing a variety of other
things

4) nightshift/hourly service workers because their friends work
different hours

5) parents at home because they can't really go and hang out with their
friends because babysitting costs too bloody much

6) highly mobile adults and military folks because their friends are far
away, probably in a different timezone and getting together in person
can only take place sporadically


When given a truly open choice, most people would much much much prefer
hanging out with their friends in person in an unregulated environment.
But there are unbelievable numbers of reasons why people cannot connect
in meatspace at a shared time. I'm not saying FB and MS are god's
gifts, but their popularity is not caused by anti-social people, but by
people who are highly social and are living in a society with all sorts
of restrictions. Maybe if we didn't work 80 hour weeks... maybe if we
didn't switch jobs every 18 months... maybe if we had more than 2 weeks
vacation a year... maybe if we all worked 9-5... maybe if we let our
teens run around outside with their friends... maybe if we didn't ship
thousands of young men and women off to fight a foolish war...

Don't blame the technology - it's filling a gap, but it didn't create
the gap. The key question should be: what is up with that gap and how
do we fix it?

danah


On Jan 16, 2008, at 2:48 AM, Moses Boudourides wrote:

> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
>
> Hi,
> You might find it interesting: Tom Hodgkinson has written an op-ed in
> The Guardian on Facebook, where he's sort of campaigning against the
> substitution of digital networking for real life. He starts with the
> narcissism argument: "Facebook appeals to a kind of vanity and
> self-importance in us, too. If I put up a flattering picture of myself

> with a list of my favourite things, I can construct an artificial
> representation of who I am in order to get sex or approval. ("I like
> Facebook," said another friend. "I got a shag out of it.") It also
> encourages a disturbing competitivness around friendship: it seems
> that with friends today, quality counts for nothing and quantity is
> king. The more friends you have, the better you are. You are
> "popular", in the sense much loved in American high schools." He's
> also wondering about authentic connectivity through
> Facebook:
> "Doesn't it rather disconnect us, since instead of doing something
> enjoyable such as talking and eating and dancing and drinking with my
> friends, I am merely sending them little ungrammatical notes and
> amusing photos in cyberspace, while chained to my desk? A friend of
> mine recently told me that he had spent a Saturday night at home alone

> on Facebook, drinking at his desk. What a gloomy image. Far from
> connecting us, Facebook actually isolates us at our workstations."
> Next, Hodgkinson explores the blurred facet of the issue related to
> capitalism and libertarianism: "Clearly, Facebook is another
> uber-capitalist experiment: can you make money out of friendship? Can
> you create communities free of national boundaries - and then sell
> Coca-Cola to them? Facebook is profoundly uncreative. It makes nothing

> at all. It simply mediates in relationships that were happening
> anyway....The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with

> the programme. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions

> of Facebook addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs
> and lists of their favourite consumer objects. ... Here at last is the

> Enlightenment state longed for since the Puritans of the 17th century
> sailed away to North America, a world where everyone is free to
> express themselves as they please, according to who is watching.
> National boundaries are a thing of the past and everyone cavorts
> together in freewheeling virtual space.
> Nature has
> been conquered through man's boundless ingenuity." So, he
> concludes: "this
> heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic,
> where your own self and your relationships with your friends are
> converted into commodites on sale to giant global brands. ... For my
> own part, I am going to retreat from the whole thing, remain as
> unplugged as possible, and spend the time I save by not going on
> Facebook doing something useful, such as reading books. And if I want
> to connect with the people around me, I will revert to an old piece of

> technology. It's free, it's easy and it delivers a uniquely individual

> experience in sharing information: it's called talking."
>
> You can read the whole op-ed at:
>
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook
>
>
> Greetings and see you soon at St. Pete!
>
>
> --Moses
>
> _____________________________________________________________________
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
> network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an
> email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

- - - - - - - - d a n a h ( d o t ) o r g - - - - - - - -

"cuz i don't care if they eat me alive
i've got better things to do than survive"

musings :: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an
email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE
SOCNET in the body of the message.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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