Social Networks and Communities -- Tufts University EXP-50-CS Spring 2014: Social Media -- Lecture 3

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Social Media

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: jlittlew



Lecture 3 from Tufts University EXP-50-CS "Social Media: Participatory Culture and Content Creation in Society." View more at or contact @j_littlewood on Twitter.

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AGENDA • Twitter • Recap previous week: Digital Identity • Economics of Social Media presentation by Ben • Communities • Q+A • Core media theory mini- • Lightning Talks module: medium/message, affordances, social norms ! • Next week


MAKING SENSE OF NEW MEDIA • Places social media in the context of history of personal communication technology • Societal responses • P A C Perspectives E consider to Rthis class throughout R F M O A L T S E W K E


DANAH BOYD E W R C E P A R F M O Credit: James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media, Inc. Source: K E T lifestyle • Always-on S A L • “Online is always just around the corner” • Ecosystem • Virtual reality is tired, augmented reality is wired

• Context • Increase in solitary living K E • Decrease in confidants R C E P A R F M O L E W • Bowling Alone T S consumption” vs. A“Passive • “composed communication” • The more digitally connected we become, the more distant and superficial our offline relationships are. • A lot of online conversation is “meaningless babble.”

SOCIAL NETWORK SITES: DEFINITION, HISTORY, AND SCHOLARSHIP • Consistent technology features, different cultures • Draw some boundaries around “social media” and “social networking sites” P A R F M O A L • (1) Public or semi-public profile R C E • (2) List other users & connect • (3) Traverse the list of connections Source: T S E W K E

LORI KENDALL: COMMUNITY AND THE INTERNET • “Community” is used ad nauseum in marketing speak • Actual community, or “networked individualism?” • No clear definition • Does Facebook have community? • Does Reddit have community? Contance Porter Wikipedia 1. Purpose 1. Group Of People 2. Place 2. Who Interact Via 3. Platform Communication 4. Interaction Media Structure 5. Profit Model Mynatt Et All 1. Persistence 2. Periodicity 3. Boundaries 4. Engagement 5. Authoring Feenberg And Bakardjieva 1. Identification With Symbols/Ritual Practices 2. Acceptance Of Common Rules 3. Mutual Aid 4. Mutual Respect 5. Authentic Communication

MARSHALL MCLUHAN — MEDIA THEORY • The “McLuhan Equation” — “The medium is the message.” • Message = “the change of scale or pace or pattern” • Content of a message is another medium — always building. • Unanticipated consequences

MARSHALL MCLUHAN — MEDIA THEORY • Always pre-existing conditions in society and culture. • Non-obvious “ground” (context) • New messages result in more than just understanding, they create change • Media itself should be the study, not just the content. • Most people miss the “message” and focus on content.

MCLUHAN: THE LIGHT BULB • A medium without a message? • No “content” per se • … but resulted in significant change. • What is the McLuhanian message? Photo Credit:

MCLUHAN: CUBIST PA I N T I N G S • Example: Cubist paintings. (Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 by Macel Duchamp) • Painting vs. a melody — “what is it about?” • Representation was the content • Cubism dispenses with representation via perspective • Cubism is “about” the medium, more or less. Photo Credit:

MCLUHN AS P E R TA I N S T O SOCIAL MEDIA • Media technologies shape society • Media technologies “extend” us — print is the extension of the eye. Is the internet the extension of the brain? • Examining content -> understand the impact of this medium • Just don’t assume this content is in a vaccum. • Social media: content includes users.

D E S I G N O F E V E R Y D AY T H I N G S - D O N A L D NORMAN • “Psychology of everyday things” • Many people are “designers” • Design is communication • User-centered design

DONALD NORMAN — AFFORDANCES • “Affordance” — what is/isn’t possible
 with the state of the world • Norman applied the term
 to a perceived dimension • A plate or button affords pushing • A bar or handle affords pulling • What are some examples of 
 digital affordances?

D O NA L D N O R M A N —PA R A D OX O F TECHNOLOGY • Technology yields benefits that make like easier and more enjoyable. • Technology increases complexity, which increases frustration. • Good design can overcome the paradox of technology.

HAROLD GARFINKLE — SOCIAL AFFORDANCES?? • “Making commonplace scenes visible.” • Proposed that the social world was filled with hidden rules for behavior that were so taken for granted it could be very difficult to notice them even if you tried to. • Spend an hour in your home imagining that you are a boarder — paying for the room as a stranger. • Act in a circumspect and polite fashion. • Avoid getting personal • Use formal address • Speak only when spoken to.

HAROLD GARFINKLE — “SOCIAL BREACHING” • Family members reacted “with accounts of astonishment, bewilderment, shock, anxiety, embarrassment, and anger, and with charges by various family members that the student was mean, inconsiderate, selfish, nasty, or impolite.” • Example of a social norm breaching experiment: https://

SMALL GROUP ASSIGNMENT • Generate a list of social norms on Facebook. • Pick three most common norms. • What are five most important factors that create these norms? • Technological affordances • Medium • Context

SOCIAL MEDIA NORM BREACHING ASSIGNMENT • Social Media Norms Breaching Assignment • Choose one of the following “breaching experiments” and proceed with the experiment as described. • Engage with the readings from Marshall McLuhan and Donald Norman. How do the technological affordances of the social media platforms create community norms? What did you learn about new or existing norms through the process of “breaching?” What surprised you about this experience? What confirmed your assumptions? • Your response essay is due by the start of class: Wednesday 2/17/13 at 6:30pm. Please upload a Word Document or PDF to Trunk, or email me if you are having technical difficulties with the Trunk assignments upload. • Please email me with any questions at • Your essay needs to stay within 500 words. • See reverse for experiment parameter options. Inspired by Christian Sandvig; source:

SOCIAL MEDIA NORM BREACHING ASSIGNMENT • Pick one of the following social media breaching exercises. • FACEBOOK PICTURE CREEPER. On Facebook, go through an acquaintance’s photo albums and comment on at least 15-20 photos older than six months over a period of 3 days. Write only positive comments (e.g. “cute photo!”). Check back and see if anyone else has commented on the photos after you have. Describe the responses and how you feel about doing this. • • • THE OVERSHARER. Pick either an acquaintance you don’t know that well or a parent. In a 24 hour period dramatically increase the amount of information you send this person using a text-based mobile communication technology that you know they can receive (like IM on your phone, text/SMS, or e-mail on your phone/PDA). For example, you could communicate with them every time you do anything (“hi I am getting on the bus”, “arrived in class,” “class is boring,” “having lunch,” “talking with friend.”) Describe the reactions. CHATTY FLICKR MARKUP: Sign up for an account and find users on Flickr (http:// that you do not know. Try to start a conversation with them using the “add note” tool and the “add your comment” box to mark an image that they have uploaded. Try varying the kind of image you comment on from those that are very personal (wedding, kids birthdays, etc.) to those that are very impersonal (buildings, landscapes) and see how the reactions vary. Note that you may have to post a lot of notes and comments to get any reaction. You may have to try different and creative strategies to get people to respond to you. Describe the reactions. GCHAT STRANGER. If you have a gmail account already, use gchat to begin chat conversations with people that you don’t know (or don’t know very well). Vary the kinds of things you say to see if you can get them to start a chat conversation with you. Describe what kind of chat message will successfully get a stranger to chat with you on gchat. Remember to be polite and respectful at all times. Note: You may have to try to gchat A LOT before you get someone to respond to you. Do not keep trying the same people if they do not respond. ! • WAY OFF TOPIC. On Facebook or a similar site that has threaded conversation (e.g., status updates with replies), over a period of three days leave a large number of comments that are all completely and obviously off-topic and not relevant to the thread. For this to work, there can be no relation between the reply and the topic at all; just start talking about something else. If you like, address some of them to the wrong person as well. Describe the results. • FACEBOOK WALL INQUISITOR. On Facebook, friend five strangers — people you don’t know (maybe friends of friends). Once they accept your friend request, post a public comment to their wall introducing yourself and asking them about themselves. In your posts, do not refer to any friends that you have in common; just talk about yourself and ask them about themselves. Try to get information from them about themselves. (You must start this assignment before Monday for it to work!). Describe the responses. • ONLY ONE MEDIUM. Choose one popular communication technology. Only use that technology for 3 days. (e.g. Use Facebook direct messages for ALL communication even when it is obviously inappropriate or impractical.) Describe the reactions. • ALWAYS MIX MEDIA. For 3 days, always “mix” media–always respond to a communication using a different medium of communication than the one that was used to contact you. (example: if you get a phone call, let it go to voicemail then SMS them. If you get an email, send a picture to their phone, etc. Respond to your twitter @’s in person.) Describe the reactions. Inspired by Christian Sandvig; source:

CLASS ADMIN • Lightning talks • Next week’s class • CMS sign-up sheet • Etc

L I G H T N I N G TA L K S • A brief, seven minute presentation on a specific example of social media that describes it, analyzes it, and critiques it. • Live demo, slides or still images (4-5 recommended) • Based on the topic we are discussing that week • Starts week after next!

NEXT WEEK: P R I VA C Y A N D SECURITY • Privacy paradox • The more you share, the more valuable you are • Digital “native” users & digital “immigrants”

N E X T W E E K : P R I VA C Y A N D S E C U R I T Y • Reading: • Palfrey, John and Gasser, Urs. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. Chapter 3, Privacy. pp. 62-82 • boyd, danah. 2006. Facebook's “Privacy Trainwreck”: Exposure, Invasion, and Drama. Apophenia Blog. September 8. • boyd, d., & Hargittai, E. (2010). Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?. First Monday, 15(8). http:// • Raine, Lee, et. all. Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project • Console, Richard. A Little Privacy, Please! Your Rights and Social Media Policies. Console & Hollawell Blog. April 8, 2003 • Assignment: Social breaching experiment papers due by 2/17 at 6:30pm on Trunk

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