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How much time do Danish youngsters spend on social network sites? February 14, 2008

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in PhD Data, Social networking sites, Survey, Youth.

As promised, I would blog in English about the new survey on Danish young people’s experiences on social network sites. I can start off with something simple; the amount of time that they spend on social network sites.

According to the questionnaire, 30,9 % of the Danish users between the age of 12 and 18 spend more than two hours a day on SNS:

[Respondents’ answers to the question: ”How often do you use communities or social network sites?”]

Please note that these are not average numbers for all Danish teenagers, but reflect the amount of time that users of social network site between the age of 12 and 18 spend on the sites that they themselves consider to be social network sites. In the questionnaire we did not predefine SNS as we wanted the respondents’ take on it. Many of them consider MSN Messenger to be a social network site/community/chat portal as well.

In the category “Other” many of the wrote “All the time” or informed that they spend up to four, five or even ten hours a day on social network sites.

About the survey
The survey was conducted in 2007 together with The Danish Media Council for Children and Young People. It consisted of an online questionnaire with both factual questions about media habits and use as well as questions to which respondents could answer qualitatively. 2400 youngsters between the age of 12 and 18 years old answered the questionnaire with personal views on as well as examples from their online experiences.

Anti-social networking October 27, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Facebook, Friendship, Social networking sites.

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).

35 Perspectives on Online Social Networking – new article in Social Computing Magazine July 5, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Online, Social Networking, Social networking sites, Youngsters.

Yesterday I was contacted by Social Computing Magazine who wanted to turn my two blog posts on perspectives on social networking into an article in their online magazine. Of course I am happy to have my posts turned into something coherent. I have not really changed much in the article according to the original posts. But now they have transformed into a single list with 35 perspectives on online social networking.

You can read the article here.

Thoughts on virtual ethnography field notes June 19, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Ethnography, Social networking sites, Virtual Ethnography.
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Last week I just started writing field notes for my virtual ethnographical investigation of several Danish social networking sites. (I am doing participant observation – not only ‘lurking’). I found myself restricted in some way. There was something missing from what I wanted to report on basis of my online observations and experiences. Then I realized that I was missing all of my other observations and experiences with online social networking. Things that do not only come from a virtual ethnographical investigation of specific sites. Things such as my lectures on youngsters and Arto, my own internet usage, informal conversations with youngsters, parents, teachers and so on. Also, the fact that I have already conducted an extensive virtual ethnography once before effects my experiences during the new investigation.

Therefore I decided to include those perspectives in my field notes making them notes from my whole range of experiences rather than just the virtual ones. My supervisor, Pirkko Raudaskoski, pointed out that I was actually doing small field analyses instead of just writing field notes. In this connection she recommended that I look into Situational Analysis from Adele Clarke. (more…)

The digital generation gap: A classic example May 3, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Generation gap, MySpace, Social networking sites.

Is there really a huge generation gap between youngsters and their parents when it comes to new media? I’m not sure. However, many parents seem to have a hard time understanding their children’s use of new social media and especially social networking sites.

On Carolyn Shelby’s blog I just read a classic example of this. A parent who is in no way up-to-date with MySpace where his step-daughter has created a profile. The father is worried because an old pervert is trying to pick up his daughter:

“It’s some guy named Tom, and his profile says he’s 31.”

Read the post and find out who the old pervert is here 🙂

“I love you” the best message April 15, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Friendship, Social networking sites, Youth Culture.
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I just wanted to share some preliminary findings from the online questionnaires that I am working on with The Danish Media Council for Children and Young People. In the questionnaire aimed at children and young people between the age of 12 and 18 we ask them what the best message they have received at a social networking site is.

The majority of the youngsters say that a guest book message with the words “I love you” is the very best message they have ever received. Such messages most often come from close “real life” friends or boy- or girlfriends.

This is very much in accordance with the results from my Arto-study where I identified a strong love discourse between “offline” friends. By the way, I have an article about that very subject coming up in the Danish journal “Ungdomsforskning“. The article is called “Love and friendship at Arto.dk” and I will remember to write a post once it gets out.

Lecture on Social Networking and Virtual Ethnography March 16, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Aalborg University, Academic, Arto, Moral panic, Social Networking, Social networking sites, Virtual Ethnography.
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Today I gave my first “real” lecture as a PhD Student at the University. The students were from 6th semester at Communication Studies and the subject was social networking sites (with Arto as case), moral panic, virtual ethnography and Nexus Analysis.

If you are interested in these subjects you can check out my PowerPoint presentation from the lecture which is available for download here (unfortunately, it is mostly in Danish, but there are many pictures and social networking examples :-)).

The meaning of a friendship? March 9, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Arto, Friendship, MySpace, Social Networking, Social networking sites.

Concurrently with social networking sites and services becoming increasingly popular the notion of ‘friendship’ is changing.2007-03-07_151952.png Many of the large social networking sites like MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Facebook and Arto are using the friendship metaphor in relation to the contactvenner.jpg lists. This means that the word ‘friendship’ has a new meaning online and rings more hollow than in its original sense.

Even though you have to be accepted as a friend from the other part, it is quite easy to collect many friends (since almost everyone wants a high number of friends). As a result young people often have more than 100 ‘friends’ on their friend lists. Then, what do they do when they want to signal who their actual or ‘real’ friends are? (more…)

FakeYourSpace In Real Life Troubles March 7, 2007

Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Fakers, Friendship, MySpace, Social Networking, Social networking sites.

It seems that FakeYourSpace – a website that provides fake friends for social networking sites – has shut down.
A blog on social networks reports today that the site has some legal problems:

FakeYourSpace Facing Very Real Problems

FakeYourSpace shut down today, citing “legal problems”. The specifics weren’t mentioned, but we know that iStockPhoto had contacted the company regarding the misuse of model’s images, and it also seemed that FakeYourSpace might be against the terms and conditions of those social networks.

It seems that the problem is that the models the site offers as fake friends are in fact real people 🙂 Read the rest of the post here.

I was wondering where the site had gone. A few days ago I noticed that it was no longer to be found on the URL www.fakeyourspace.com.