Recently in Social Networks Category
February 28, 2014
Why social media feels so much less exciting when it's established:
Open systems start with no hierarchy, so they look like meritocracies at first, but network effects mean newcomers create a hierarchy, often without even meaning to. We will never return to a Twitter where there's little difference between newcomers and the old guard.
The form of the piece is an good old fashioned "it's not fair" - but it captures why the excitement and potential many find in the early days of a new tool often fails to come to fruition, as new hierarchies start to establish themselves.
January 8, 2014
Fascinating exploration of the motivation and results of sharing things like photos of food on Twitter:
There is a wealth of information out there for the interested. Knowledge opens doors. Never underestimate the power of small talk. Rapport is how humans sync with one another. The foundation of effective communication.
And small talk leads to big talk.
See Also: Today's XKCD.
January 7, 2014
This kerfuffle at the Smáralind shopping centre near Reykjavík, Iceland, last weekend isn't because One Direction are in town. It's because of two stars from Vine, the six-second video-blogging site.
Then I did this:
Vine has been through its maturing period and is rapidly making its way into the "interesting" category...
What can we learn from this?
- Mocking social media gurus is really popular
- Humour generally goes a long way
- People like shared pain - like the treatment of freelancers
- Liveblogging and exclusive interviews still carry value.
That's all good news, I think.
You see, we’ve come to define “social” in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. “Social” has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define “social” as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.
When we've come to understand "social" as meaning "corporate-mediated communications, within defined parameters, interruptible by branded messages", one is rather tempted to despair about humanity…
However, it makes it rather plain that the clock is ticking on "social" as we know it right now, and that's a good thing. I've just seen a community I'm a member of almost wiped out by a single troll and some automatic button-pushing at Facebook. That's no way to build a sustainable set of relationships.
December 21, 2013
That's a rather pretentious title to sum up a rather excellent XKCD cartoon that manages to both make me nostaligic for the chatrooms that made up some of my first experiences of community interaction on the web - and satirise the worst excesses of what passes for social these days. Fine, fine work.
December 3, 2013
I like this:
Lovely example of both how similar photos taken of certain sights can end up, even when "filtered" by Instagram, but also the creative potential of this vast online wealth of creative material we're building up.
[Found via Neil Perkin's e-mail newsletter]
Here's another example in a similar vein:
November 25, 2013
Are people rejecting the idea of a single online identity mediated by a large online entity? Stowe Boyd thinks so:
The Benthamite underpinnings of Facebook are becoming unpopular. Young people in particular don’t want their teachers, parents, employers, and even all their friends to know everything going on in their lives. Oh, and the government. People want to have multiple, contextually defined identities, different circles of knowing, different non-overlapping rules of attraction. Everything is not everything.
This, to me, seems the real lesson of teens' use of social media. They're seeing the dangers of centralising our online identity through the close-and-present authority figures of teachers and parents. We miss it because our authority figures are more distant. But the NSA are doing a bang-up job of bringing that reality home to us.
November 24, 2013
The organizations that have the idea for a community, spend weeks selecting a platform, months developing it, and a year before they invite anyone to participate, tend to struggle...a lot. Typically they splutter along for six months before being mercifully cancelled.
I bet anyone who's worked in community development within any sizable publisher is wincing right now.
November 18, 2013
Mathew Ingram responds to Farhad Manjoo on how telling teenagers' use of tech is:
[...] teens and twenty-somethings are good predictors of technology's future, even if the services or apps or hardware they prefer at a specific point in time don't become a "winner" in market terms. And that's why companies like Facebook -- and investors who hold shares in them -- should be concerned when they see younger users dropping off or adopting other services.
I'm not sure that I entirely agree with either of them - Manjoo is pretty clearly accurate when he points out that some major trends that do come to pass aren't led by teenagers, and it's not just the financially gated ones either - Twitter is one example of a service that has traction but which teens came to late, if at all.
But equally, Ingram is correct in saying that the behaviours of teens are more telling than the services they use. Teens' use of Bebo and MySpace in the mid-2000s heralded the rise of Facebook rather than a growth in the two sites they were using at the time. The trend was telling, rather than the sites.
So - look at teens' usage of disparate tools to maintain a loose, non-centralised network as the key message of today's situation, not at the particular services they're using to do that with right now. Indeed, if anything, this promiscuous use of a variety of tools makes it less likely that any one will become significant in the long-term - as swapping out any element of their social toolbox becomes significantly easier than it was in the centralise social network era.
And, of course, once their parents figure out they're doing it, that's exactly what they'll do. Snapchat's in the papers. The clock is ticking...
November 10, 2013
It might be a good time to start culling the politicians you follow on Twitter. Buzzfeed's Jim Waterson explains why Labour spammed its followers' Twitter feeds:
It's an attempt to recreate blanket broadcast-style coverage on Twitter. And if 4.5m people really did see this one tweet about energy bills then it would be an equivalent reach to the BBC's Six O'Clock News.
I suspect we're about to find out if people are prepared to accept politicians treating Twitter as a primarily broadcast medium. I have to say, if any group if people I followed did that, I'd unfollow the lot of them.
Nice piece of reporting by Buzzfeed.