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On Jan 17, 2008 2:01 AM, danah boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I find that many US parents don't trust other parents.  The reasons
> are fascinating.  Many US families move when they start having
> children and move again when they "need more space." They often do not
> know their neighbors or kids' friends' parents.  When I ask them why,
> they uniformly tell me that they don't have time.  Families are quite
> insular and the kids are expected to be at home because the outside
> world is dangerous.  Likewise, the parents are also always home and
> wouldn't feel comfortable leaving their child in the house to gather
> with other parents.  There's no hanging out on the stoops, even in
> communities that have them, so there's no natural meeting of other
> parents.

I take issue, just because I see a different reality (here in Austin, which
is admittedly not Anytown USA) - but I don't think it's safe to generalize
too much.  I have children and grandchildren, and the parents really do get
to know each other, if not deeply, and the children do have sleepovers etc.
- in fact, all the time.

There are movements to build livable cities and livable neighborhoods, too,
and one aspect of "livable" is that they're more open, people walk around
and hang out - they're structured to facilitate that.  The growing number of
builders and developers who focus on green/sustainable building are also
aware of the need to facilitate open social environments.  Community
development, which had passed from civic planners to commercial developers
post WWII, is falling into the hands of citizen stakeholders via charrettes
etc. People will be hanging out on the stoops again - they do it here,

I realize you have to go where your data takes you, but this is just another
perspective. I don't know that the reality I'm seeing is typical, but I
don't think it's completely atypically.  Ed may be seeing something similar
(Austin and Ann Arbor have always been similar communities).

> practices. Think Usenet pre/post 95, Zephyr/ICQ->AIM, blogging pre/
> post 04, Friendster->MySpace (although funnily enough we twist back
> with a world collision on Facebook which is a complete mess).  More
> generally, social tech is moving from primarily interest-driven to
> primarily friend-driven (Usenet, BBSs, mailing lists, boards | IM,
> blogging, SNS).  We're old skool.  <grin>

I think it's more of a mashup - users drift from completely friend-driven
SNSs, while those that address both friends and interest(s) (Flickr,
Facebook) sustain interest through ongoing interest-driven activity.

~ Jon

Jon Lebkowsky

Polycot Associates

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