Draft Book Review


1. Social Shaping

  • With its real-time human-driven results, Twitter has become the networking, information, and search engine of choice for many business professionals. (2)
  • There is a Tao to Twitter. There is a majestic random synergy that holds the potential to impact your life daily…if you know what you’re doing. (5)
2. Taste Performance
3. Identity Through Connections
4. Real People/ authenticity
  • There is a high value for authenticity and being human on Twitter…(13)
  • The Tao of Twitter formula= targeted connections+meaningful content+authentic happiness
  • the priority is on human interaction that leads to connections….trust is the ultimate catalyst to business benefits (15)
  • People are sick of being sold to, marketed to, and tricked into clicking on links…(14)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust
  • Add some personality (27)
5. Social capital
  • Content is the currency of the social web…(12)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust (18)
  • Once somebody understands how the networking operates and the range of business benefits that exist beyond just money, it’s easy to make the decision to give it a chance.
6. Community
  • I was witnessing a real-time, global brain storming session! (4)
  • Twitter tribe (7)
  • questions to the world (21)
7. Strong, Weak and Latent Ties
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust. (18)
  • The more followers the more potential interactions, the more opportunities to create business benefits.
8. Network vs. Networking
  • I made my first meaningful business connection. (4)
  • A torrent of links, humor, and insights came rushing to me every day as I learned to surround myself with thought leaders, teachers, and innovators. (5)
  • Like any smart networker, she had taken care to surround herself with people she could learn from. (6)
  • …the conditions were ripe for this connection because all three of us had systematically surrounded ourselves with people likely to want to know us, learn from us and help us. (12)
  • Through my stream of info on Twitter, he felt he knew me too. We had formed a connection that lead to friendship and trust. (18)
8. Friends vs friends
  • I had recently moved our online relationship into an offline relationship when I met him for lunch in his home state…(8)
  • the more atoms you have in the tube, the better your chances that a reaction will occur! (12)
    • The more followers the more potential interactions, the more opportunities to create business benefits.
    • add users who are interested in the same topic as you. (29)
9. Performing identity
  • I wanted to “reach” my “target audience” with well-defined “messaging”. (13)





Register at Your Own Risk

Before the Internet became the Information Superhighway or the ultimate playground for predator’s or Pandora’s Box and the root of all evil, parents were worried with a little gadget called the telegraph. That’s dinosaur technology for us now but guardians were worried about the creeper at the other end of the wire just as much as they are now with the person behind the profile. Sure there have been many cases of children who have been prey for sick-minded adults but to say that the Internet is a place where children are unsafe and vulnerable is an exaggeration. What’s more, sexting can’t fit under the same umbrella if it’s between people who are romantically involved. Of course we wish that teenagers had better judgment and weren’t so naïve about who they show their nude bodies to; but the danger of being exposed though social media can’t be put in the same danger zone as meeting nefarious strangers. In many cases sexting can be irresponsible but putting you at risk for pregnancy… and rape? That’s a slippery slope.

As shown in Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study, the number of youth involved in the exchange, both consensual and not, of sexual content through social media, is not as alarming as we might have thought. In fact, only 1% of the youth surveyed had been involved in an exchange that potentially violated child pornography laws within the past year (Mitchell et al, 6).

Aside from parents and educators worried about their exhibitionist children, religious leaders are addressing the trend and making it part of their indoctrination – good church going kids don’t sext. In two article posted about the topic: Sexting: Youth Pastors Deal with New Challenges; and Growing Sexting Trend and How to Respond posted on Effective Youth Ministry’s website, only extreme cases are showcased. In the first article the story of a young man who was convicted on charges of child pornography is told – he was eventually placed on the list of sexual offenders. What isn’t emphasized, though, is that the woman who he shared photos of was his girlfriend,17 at the time of the incident. In the second article, faulty data is used to convince readers that sexting is at epidemic levels – it includes people ages 13-26 in its survey sample. A person over eighteen no longer falls under child pornography restrictions – parents have no business monitoring a 26 year old’s sexual behavior.

It’s important to make the distinction of age and relationships because they are important players behind sexting. More importantly, these players are overlooked when measuring the number of teenagers engaging in sexting and the consequences displayed don’t necessarily always follow. They’re poisoning the well – posing a false dilemma, “register at your own risk”.

Church going or non-church going, teenagers are at their hormonal peek, fitting into their new and developing bodies. Who knows if before sexting, email, and Facebook, these kids weren’t exposing themselves in person-to-person contact, or weren’t sending each other sexually explicit messages elsewhere. These mediums have simply made it easier to store and replicate the messages.

Furthermore, the dangers in sexting aren’t in encountering strangers and sexual predators. None of the survey results or examples in the article demonstrate that a child has been molested or sexually assaulted as a result of sexting. That’s not to say that it isn’t dangerous – it’s just a different kind of dangerous. It can harm social relationships, your reputation and future but it won’t put a female at a higher risk of getting pregnant, much less by a stranger. Of course, it’s important to mention that most cases of rape occur between people that know each other. Still, there is no evidence to back the conclusion that sexting leads children to unwanted sexual contact with strangers.

As with most that is mysterious and unknown, sexting is a new practice, and older generations who are not familiar with it are, to no surprise, overly-concerned. It’s an issue but it’s not going to destroy the lives of our youth. It may well be a tool for sexual expression, and a vent safer than frequent sexual encounters. Such content when produced my females may well work as a liberator from gender norms and can be in some ways considered a feminist movement, as discussed by Amy Adele Hasinoff. Not to say that it should be considered media production, though – that’s a leap that implies mass production, which I’m not willing to take.

You Are The Social Network You Keep

Caught in the Web” by Hilary Stout is a timely New York Times article on the role and consequences of online representations, “Friends” (boyd 2006) and “public displays of connections“. (Donath and boyd 2004) It details how content, including Friends, on the Facebook pages of various people was a major player in life-altering decisions. It gives the example of a single mother of a teenage girl who applied for the purchase of a co-op. The board was skeptical about the sale because it was a one-bedroom apartment. However, after some profile scavenging, they found endearing Facebook photos of their travels together, what gave the go ahead and sealed the deal. So was the case for a couple with a 16-year-old son looking to rent a vacation apartment. The boys Facebook profile was the deal maker – he was a socially conscience entrepreneur. The article explains how real estate brokers, landlords, and co-op boards are now turning to social network sites as supplements to disclosure forms and background checks. The reason being that it provides a more intimate understanding of the personal applying for residence. What’s more, some brokers are going beyond the surface information found on Google and on profiles to look at the “mutual friends” listed in their networks. “Mr. Goldschmidt [senior vice president of the Warburg Marketing Group of Warburg Realty] says board members sometimes call those mutual friends and ask for their impressions of the applicant. (He said he would not, however, ask a mutual friend to sneak him onto another person’s page.)”. (Stout)

This article prove that your social network does in fact add, or take away, to the construction of your identity. The parents in this article could not have guessed that their children’s online persona would have been a deciding factor in the monetary transaction between adults. What’s more, the display of our connections on our “Top Friends” are not the only things that contribute to the creation of our image – photos and comments with and from our connections are also looked at and considered carefully. It’s interesting to note, also, that while boyd and Donath’s theories help us understand how we get to  know people, so to speak, through their online connections, in the cases presented in this article, it goes well beyond that. We can create meaning about a person through that person’s relationships, even if that person doesn’t have a public list of friends  or a profile, as was with the parents in Stout’s article.

In these examples the final results were positive; however, Stout gives six, well-balanced examples in total. Two searches were negative, revealing a bribing knifeman and a party monsters; the last two were lukewarm, showcasing two tenants with mirky pasts but believable alibis – they were still accepted by the boards which they applied to. She also includes a range of reasonable real estate brokers and landlords that seem to understand social media well and that make social networks still seem like a safe and uninhibited place to display your personality, be it through text or connections. “Information gleaned from Facebook, blogs or other Internet postings “is not pure data,” said Beth Markowitz, the president of Merlot Management, a company that manages about 32 co-ops and condominiums throughoutManhattan. Therefore, she said, it is not necessarily “true, accurate or unbiased.” (Stout)

Still, though, it’s hard not to think of Facebook and your Friends list like a resume, especially after a title like the one on this article. It also closes with the cautionary story of the broker/owener who found that her potentioal tenant had been arrested for threatening to cut off another man’s hands and genitalia if he didn’t give him $200,000; and the closing quote was of the broker declaring that he was denied. She could have ended the article by speaking of “online intelligence” as mentioned earlier in the article or of such firms as Your Net Coach that teach real estate firms to use the internet wisely and to their company’s advantage.

Social Network, Social Shmetwork

Dr. David Beer has three principle discords with danah m. boyd and Nicole B. Ellison’s definition of social network sites (SNS). In “Social Network(ing) sites…revisiting the story so far: A response to danah boyd & Nicole Ellison”, he first suggests that making the distinction between a networking site and a network site is unaccommodating to the study of social media because it over simplifies it. Differentiating sites by how people connect on them overlooks the purpose of the sites and why people join them, which is a greater indicator.

 The difficulty that boyd and Ellison’s use of the term social network sites creates is that it becomes too broad, it stands in for too many things, it is intended to do too much of the analytical work, and therefore makes differentiated typology of these various user –generated web-applications more problematic. So, where we might group a series of different applications such as wikis, folksonomies, mashups and social networking sites – maybe under a broader umbrella term like Web 2.0 (see Beer & Burrows, 2007; O’Reilly, 2005) – we are instead faced with thinking of a vast range of often quite different applications simply as social network sites.     (Beer 519)

Boyd and Ellison’s formula for identifying an SNS – profiles, articulated friends lists, and navigability (boyd & Ellison 211) – is not enough to make Youtube and Facebook the same. However, while they are all user-generated web-applications or Web 2.0, and the umbrella term could comfortably fit wikis, folksonomies, mashups, social network and social networking sites, a distinction should be made between the sites whose community is on to connect with other people and whose platforms prolifically support that; and sites whose community is on to showcase information on a larger, less intimate scale, and whose platform supports those functions prolifically.

Don’t know what a mashup is or how it works?

Second, Beer takes up the topic of real-life friends and virtual Friends, as coined by boyd and Ellison. Beer disagrees that the relationships maintained online are any different than those experienced in reality. While boyd and Ellison claim that these relationships are parallel – side-by-side but separate – Beer suggests that increasingly, virtual relationships inform those in physical spaces (Beer 520). One would not feel comfortable walking up to a friend of a friend of a friend at the mall had there not been a mediated encounter first. Browsing the persons homepage and seeing them with someone we interact with physically has allowed us to move, confidently beyond the screen. Beer is correct when he declares that even real-world communication is mediated in some way.

Last, Beer offers a different set of questions for researchers of social media. He is concerned with the effects of social media use on society rather than the uses society has for social media. More specifically he’s interested in “knowing capitalism”. (Beer 524)

The information produced through routine engagement with SNS is just as likely to inform business as our purchasing at a supermarket or our purchasing of an online book – with the information being used to predict things about us, to find us out with recommendations, or even to discriminate between us as customers (see Turow, 2006). (Beer 525)

First, his approach is valid and functional only in a capitalist society; it’s ethnocentric on his part to declare that marketing opportunities is the pressing subject – SNS are not only in the U.S. and U.K. He, in his own right, may well only be worried interested in these countries, though. However, before we are able to understand how our information is used to lure us towards commodities and consumerism, we should understand the information being collected. SNS gather information within a bounded system (boyd & Ellison 211), still homepages vary greatly. The presentation of self online verses the presentation of self in the physical world will inform those third party users of SNS. Joshua Meyrowitz writes about the “situational geography” of social life. In “No Sense of Space”, Meyrowitz suggests that our behavior with our audience online is very different from our behavior in the physical world, just as we behave differently with or parents and friends (Meyrowitz 4). How then, do we know that what we display online as our favorite band is, in fact, the band that we most admire and follow? The same applies for name brand clothing, books, restaurants, ideologies, and other things to which we declare loyalty. There’s no good in finding what can, and is, being done with the information we load on to the internet if it does not accurately display our interest and identity.

That we’ll figure out Web 2.0 before Web 3.0 takes over – at this speed, who knows. It’s already in the works.