Rettberg Blogging Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3 - BLOGS, COMMUNITIES, AND NETWORKS -
-blogs - social genre
-clear expectation of having readers.
-everyone famous to 15-people

-dense network small audiences - many producers.

-social software - software to support networks of social interaction.

-free-form - decentralized - run on author's own domain - connect haphazardly to other blogs

-social software often centralized on single server -<ex> Facebook
-some blogsites centralized -<ex>WordPress

-weblogs as social network - most visible thru links
-commentators usually leave links.
-read by computers
-search engines and services trace patterns and connectns between blogs -<ex>Technorati.com - tranks links from blogs
-tracking trends

-services draw map of connections showing diff sites

EXOSKELETON(?) - external services provide for blogs
-DISPLAY COMMUNITY BETWEEN BLOGS - not immediately visible to casual observer.

INTRASKELETON - YouTube, MySpace, Facebook - online communities gathered on one site - as opposed to blogs on many sites - immediate connections seen - intraskeleton

-SOCIAL NETWORK THEORY -
-weak ties - Granovetter - '73
-weak ties more important than strong ties
-backed by lotsa data/analysis
-weak ties give new info cuz strong ties more closed
-greater social distance between acquaintances shows things to the other they don't know.
-BRIDGES BETWEEN SOCIAL GROUPS
-people who are bridges - may appear socially isolated
-have weak ties w/ 2 or more groups
-very early access to new info
-'small world' experiments - Milgram - 1967
-send booklet to random target person
-forward to someone more likely to know target
-avg of 6 connectns
-popular idea of six degrees of connection between any 2 people in world.
-study done w/ US people
-Granovetter notes that chain more likely completed if WEAK tie between people of chain - aka pass onto acquaintance instead family member
-esp in inter-racial chains

-social networks develop for other reasons than pure info gathering -
-<ex>family ties, common job, neighborhood
-vs. blogs - primarily networks for sharing ideas, trends, and info.
-<ex>fashion blogs

-LOOK AT LINKS BETWEEN BLOGS TO SEE MAP OF NETWORK OR COMMUNITY.
-offline social networks not primarily info
-online social networks primarily info
-trust built
-friendships, alliances and controversies develop
-trends and styles spread and evolve w/in network.

-DISTRIBUTED CONVERSATIONS-
-Inet is distributed - Baran - '64
-remain functional in case of attack - Inet began as military and later was private sector.
-centralized - one hub - goes down if hub malfunctions

-RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MASS MEDIA AND READERS, LISTENERS, VIEWERS IS CENTRALIZED NETWORK.

-VS. BLOGS - DISTRIBUTED NETWORK
-no central hub
-instead link to no. of other individ blogs
-individ blogs not equal nodes in network
-easier for search engines to count links than to count readers

-Alexa.com - rating service - volunteers use software when surf Inet so Alexa sees what sites most frequently visited.
-links easier to count but not necessarlly visitors
-most blogs have handful othr blogs linking

-'long tail' of blogging - Anderson - '06
-have only few readers
-all put together, though, more readers than New Yourk Times or viewers than BBC.
-vs. BoingBoing.net - links = 50,000

-power law - Shirky - 2003
-vast diff between most pop blogs and most other blogs
-blogs that already have 'power' will get more
-power law is common pattern in new social systems developing online in last few decades
-describes 'honeymoon' period and then problems of scale set in.
-core group seems more connected than rest.
-in blogworld, power = links
-lotsa links means blog easier to find by those following links, by search engines and sites that index links.
-if Google, highest hit will be site w/ lotsa inbound links
-Google algorithms based on links

-blog connections = digitally mediated social neworks

- MIT - Ondrejka - '07 - argues that community can't develop in blogs cuz people aren't present at same time and in same place.
-"blogging = standing on hill and yelling into megaphone
-(I say, blogs are windows and wikis are doorways or bridges - bridges are artifacts created by wikis - bridges lead to diff places/things like knowledge or common cause like support for Japan during earthquake)
-same argument as Plato against writing - writing makes distance between author and reader that doesn't exist in conversation.
-Ondr. argument seen from perspective of reader - if blog, not part of conversation - no immediate access to readers like chat room or other similar communication space.

-RETTBERG'S HOWEVER - blogs have persistence.
-blogs archived - life not archived for future reference.
-present tense valued in blogs - most immedately visible aspect of blogs.
-most recent posts are first.
-most blogs automatically archive.
-ARCHIVE ALLOWS SLOW CONVERSATIONS.
-synchronous commun media - chat rooms, face-to-face, synthetic worlds like World of Warcraft - all present at same time
-if not there, cannot participate
-asynchronous commun media - email, Web discussion forums and blogs
-participants can communicate w/ each other w/out being present at same time.
-conversations between blogs can move quickly.
-(I say, compare quick conversation to pamphlets published when printing new - pamphlet states view and another one published to refute - many published quickly).
-speed of Inet communication emphasized - ideas spread FAST.
-ONE ADVANTAGE OF CITIZEN MEDIA IS SPEED.
-mainstream media uses blog posts pub by people close to event.

- PERSISTENCE OF BLOGS - conversations don't have to take place immediately - slow conversation - Jodi Dean - 2006
-"blogs are archives, specific accountings of the passage of time that can then be explores, returned to, dug up."

-Ondrejka has point - yelling in megaphone - when post, can't see readers - unless receive comments, not immediately obvious if HAVE any readers.

-HOW DO INDIVID BLOGS MAKE A COMMUNITY?????????????
-AT BASE OF NETWORK IS SIMPLE LINK-
-bloggers read other blogs and link
-human readers see link AND machine can read link.
-links between blogs - interpreted as recommending blog.
-links one-way on www.
-insert code into sites to get info about readers.
-blog search engines allow bloggers to track conversations between blogs.

-tag post w/ keyword and can find other posts on other blogs taggd w/ same keyword.
-set up alert for keywords and will get email when keywords mentioned on blogs.
-bloggers are best sources for finding conversations

-other sites - MySpace - blogging part of users' profiles - also music, photos, vids
-Facebook - originally students.
-connect to 1 or more networks.
-can see profiles of those in network.
-only see name and photo of user not in network.
-'07 - basic info became viewable to users not logged into Fbook.
-indexed by Google and other search engines.
-type name into search field when logged in - see list of people w/ name and small versions of profile photos and note of their networks.
-otherwise, only read more if are 'friends.'

-blogs vs social network sites - blog communities not immediately visible.
-social netwrk sites - predefined according to traditional ideas of social networks.
-connections are people associated w/ via school, work, 'neighborhood'.
-bloggers create communities by linking, blogrolls and commenting.
-Fbook - same effect by adding as friend - add people out of immediate network and create social network w/ strong and weak ties.
-Fbook has blogging but not used much.
-everytime do something on Fbook, generates news item created and put at top of profile.
-"automatically generated blog" - but story reported/narrated by Fbook and not by you - news items archived like blog posts.
-home page is not profile page - is page w/ all news feeds from friends.
-'06 - public list of news feeds introduced - users upset and stage organized protests.
-Fbook keeps news feeds, but users can opt out of it.
-strong vs. weak ties - spread of info very evident on Fbook via news feed.
-marking identity and personal choices and preferences thru joining or leaving group.

-<ex>- news spread diffly in diff networks - school shootings at Virginia Tech in '07.
-system of limiting access to networks to nonmembers makes a lot of what's happening invisible to most users.

LinkedIn - social networking site for business people.
-profile is diff - categories for schooling, honors, degrees, jobs, etc.
-not friends, but connections.
-jobs available.

-Flickr and LiveJournal - share photos/blog posts shared w/ your social network instead of entire world.

-social networking sites popular cuz appeal to instinct for collecting.
-(I see absolutely NO appeal to collecting or to these online social networks. Why am I the odd one out? I don't consider 'social networks' to be satisfying or appealing pursuit. I see online social networks as a counterfeit for true social interactions. Get the hell off the computer and go see friends).

-sites w/ sole purpose of collecting friends popular.
<ex>-Orkut from Google.
-demographics of social networking site drastically shift.

-social pressure can make difficult to not participate.
-85% college students in US on Fbook in '05.
-complaints - so much of social life on Fbook, so to not take part is to be socially ostracized.

-maybe social sites make possible social interactions that wouldn't happen w/out Inet.
-schools preventing access to Fbook via their servers - proxy server.

-privacy issues - Scroogled - read it. - "Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him."
-Fbook's Terms of Use - what's uploaded can be used in other contexts.
-can use unless is deleted by user - still keeps archives.
-blogger has greater ownership of creations - esp. if on independent server and not hosted by company like Blogger (Google).

-publicly proclaim relationships - LinkedIn - is pathetically important to have well-known connections as to have impressive CV - such bullshit.

-publicly articulated relationships - boyd - describes importance of public display of social network.
-4 characteristics that make online social 'spaces' diff from offline:
1. persistence - info entered is recorded and can be accessed later.
2. searchability - people can find you.
3. replicable - photos and conversations can be copied and modified so can't tell from original.
4. invisible audiences - don't know whose reading profile or blog.
-some of audience will be in future.
-teens and other users of social networking sites are aware of these characteristics and adept at navigating them.

-COLLIDING NETWORKS - separate social networks that are meant to b KEPT separate collide cuz is all in one place on a social site.
-segmentation of place - we keep offline environments separate from other ones - diff social groups
-social spheres collide - people tame down profiles.
-but if friends post wild stuff to profile, then boss, etc, still shocked.
-but if don't link to friends, then no point in being on site.
-persistence of digital documents

-Dooce's story - blogs got her fired

-pseudonym - added level of security
-some sites allow diff groups of friends to keep separate.

-blogs & social networks appear to have developed into stable forms
-in 20-years, could see they were only in early stages.
-could become something we don't yet know nature of.
-took 50-years after Gutenberg press for developments of print forms we take for granted.
-<ex>-didn't have page numbers, titles, table of contents.
-<ex>-cinema - experimental phase and then established genre
-already are new types of personal publication tools similar to blogs.
-<ex>-Nokia's Lifelog - organize all media created/received on mobile phone to create private diary or blog to upload.
-demonstrates how more of life being documented today.
-some deliberate and some incidental.
-Plazes.com tracks where users are.
-Google and search engines track online activities.
-is now anonymized.
-if have Google account, you give it more info about you and it will give access to info about you.

-when piece of software presents traces of your life in chronological order, traces are extended narrative - autobiog created on the fly.

-Rettberg describes possibility of every picture you take, every email, every phone call or SMS, everything written on computer, every game played online, EVERYTHING, even most private messages to friends could be formed and organized by computer.
-could choose to publish as blog and share with others.
-I find the idea both ridiculous and revolting.
-participating in auto-tracking means giving up lotsa privacy
-we're "more complacent to do so" as per Rettberg - bullshit - I find it nauseating. - who the Hell wants to pick thru all that drivel??

-as per Rettberg - we're complacent because return is so great - stronger sense of belonging to community, of belonging to a group of people who not only see who we are, but who care about us as well.