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Anti-social networking October 27, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Facebook, Friendship, Social networking sites.
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What does it mean to be a friend online? As I have pointed out in an earlier blog post and as I stressed during my AoIR-presentation last week, the concept of friendship has changed. Young people do call their contacts on social networking sites ‘friends’ (or at least Danish youngsters do) – even though the majority of their online relationships or the hundreds of people on their friend lists more resemble acquaintances. This, of course, has to do with the fact that social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Arto use the metaphor of ‘friending’.

Because of the possibility to ‘friend’ every Tom, Dick and Harry it has been suggested that a new trend on anti-social networking is seeing the light of day. My friend Anders Olsen just pointed me towards an article from LabConfidential that mentions an emerging resistance against the concept of friendship on online social networking sites. The Danish article refers to this article from The Boston Globe on anti-social networks on Facebook etc. The article reads:

Now that Internet users have forged online relationships with the people they like, they can turn their attention to shaming the folks they hate.

With Enemybook, a new program that runs on the social networking site Facebook, you can connect to people you loathe, display their photos and evil deeds, and give them the virtual finger.

Enemybook is one of several new online applications developed by computer-savvy twentysomethings who say they are tired of bogus online friendships. In a dig at the notion of virtual networking, they hope to encourage people to undermine, or at least mock, the online social communities sites such as Facebook were designed to create.

Besides Enemybook the two articles also mention Snubster, Hatebook, IFHY (I Fucking Hate You), NoSo (No Social) and isolatr as anti-social networking sites or applications.

I must admit that I had not heard of half of these sites, but I find the resistance against (the popularity of) online social networking interesting. Does anyone know of any Danish examples? I know that the Danish site Narto (now Narro) started as an opposition to the hugely popular Danish Arto, even though it is not an anti-social networking site per se, but advertises on the front page with the phrase: “If you are too annoying for any other social networking site, then create a profile here – and feel much worse” (my translation from Danish)”. According to the site itself, it has more than 50.000 users (Arto has app. 600.000).

AoIR: Facebook is the new business card October 24, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Conferences, Facebook.
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I am now home in Denmark after two lovely weeks with conferences in Canada. The latest in Vancouver was Association of Internet Researchers‘ annual conference entitled Internet Research 8.0: Let’s Play (which by the way will be held in Denmark next year at the IT University of Copenhagen – hooray). I really enjoyed the conference which was right up my alley with many of the sessions focusing on social networking. Especially, Facebook was a hot topic this year and many American researchers presented their work on Facebook’s entry among their students.

What is interesting (in a sort of meta way) is that Facebook now functions as academics’ business card. Instead of handing out our business cards when networking between sessions we would more often friend each other on Facebook. This, I find, has many advantages. I don’t have to keep track with a bunch of physical cards, all my contacts are stored in the same place, the site remembers them for me and the profile pictures make it easier to remember who is who.

By the way, it is interesting to see how Facebook is exploding in Denmark at the moment. As fellow researcher Lisbeth Klastrup has pointed out in a recent blog post more than 1500 Danes a day currently join Facebook.

4S: Slides for today’s presentation October 11, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Conferences.
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Today I presented a paper at the 4S conference here in Montreal as part of the session called “Ways of Knowing Everything About Each Other: Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0 and Social Networking”. Unfortunately, there was no LCD projector in the room where the session was held (!!!) . As you can probably imagine, it makes little sense to give a presentation on social practice and central mediated actions on a social networking site without any visualization in form of slides with screen shot examples.

Therefore, I have uploaded my PowerPoint-slides – they can be found here (2,5 MB).

The slides are interactive in the sense that the links in the text are clickable (click on link to get to picture, click on picture to return).

Leaving for conferences in Canada October 8, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Conferences.
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Tomorrow I am going to Copenhagen where I will be giving a guest lecture at the IT University in a digital culture-course.

The day after that I will leave for Montreal where I am participating in the 4S conference. Here I am presenting a paper in a session called “Ways of Knowing Everything About Each Other: Critical Perspectives on Web 2.0 and Social Networking”. The conference ends at the 13th and a few days later I will head on to another conference, the AoIR conference in Vancouver, where I will be presenting as well.

My paper for both conferences is entitled “Understanding Social Networking: On Young People’s Construction and Co-construction of Identity Online”. An abstract can be found here and the paper is available for download here.

I hope I will have time to do some blogging during the conferences. I will be back in Aalborg October 22nd.

Acting with Technology October 5, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, PhD, Technology.
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This week I have been participating in an interesting PhD course at Aalborg University entitled “Acting with Technology – Research Methods on Context and Change“. The course is mainly focusing on methodology and providing methods, tools and techniques for research on people acting with technology in various settings.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part consisted of sessions with local researchers Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Ellen Christiansen and Pirkko Raudaskoski focusing on e.g. problem based learning, user-driven innovation, action research, activity theory, ethnomethodology, Nexus Analysis and other related fields. I really enjoyed this first part of the course which both inspired me and assured me that I am on the right track in using Nexus Analysis as an overall methodology or research framework in my PhD project.

The second part of the course will take place in November and will be lead by professor and anthropologist Bonnie Nardi. I am sure that this part of the PhD course will be interesting too and I am looking forward to have Nardi commenting on my methodology and research design – especially the part where I plan to apply a multi-sited ethnographical approach.

By the way, here are five nice questions to consider in any PhD or research project:

  • What is the problem (practical, societal, political, personal motivation, and scientific)?
  • Who has the problem (different actors)?
  • When did the problem come into existence (historical facts and historical development)?
  • Why did the problem come into existence (causes and trends)?
  • How can the problem be solved (methodology/design based research)?

From Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld‘s slides.