Podcast: Social Media Clarity S01E11: Interview danah boyd about “It’s Complicated”

Teens and Social Media

This week features hosts Randy Farmer (@frandallfarmer) and Scott Moore (@scottmoore) interviewing danah boyd (@zephoria) about her book It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens, coming out February 24th and available for preorder now.

image  image

Topics in the podcast interview include:

Download this MP3

Subscribe to the Social Media Podcast:
Subscribe via iTunes
Subscribe via RSS
Listen on Stitcher
Like us on Facebook

Social Media Clarity Podcast – E03 – Real Names for Social Order? Guest: Dr. Bernie Hogan (@blurky)

The Social Media Clarity Podcast has just released a new episode:

Save our Pseudonyms! Social Media Clarity S01E03

This is the “Real Names for Social Order?” episode, featuring guest sociologist: Dr. Bernie Hogan (@blurky) from the Oxford Internet Institute speaking with host Randy Farmer (@frandallfarmer) along with me & Bryce Glass (@bryceglass).

Building on the second episode which focused on the changes at the Huffington Post’s comment posting policy, in episode 3 we talk with Bernie Hogan who explains why sociologists are concerned by “context collapse” – the loss of the ability to be different people for different people – caused by social media.  Sociological research suggests this is not a positive thing because humans have always maintained different roles for different groups of people and not all roles are commensurate.  While time and place once kept separate roles separate, today the net makes any interaction into every interaction.

Get the podcast on iTunes.
Visit the Tumblr for the podcast.
Visit the Facebook page for the podcast.

TedX Bay Area Talk: The Myth of Selective Sharing – Digital Health Futures: Empowerment or coercion?

I spoke about my concerns with the continued belief in selective sharing.  I argue at this TedX Bay Area talk that it is unwise to expect that digital information systems are capable of privacy or selective sharing.  In other words, it is a dangerous myth to believe in a feature that in practice fails regularly and by design.  In fact, it seems that it is practically impossible to create any digital information system that is secure.

In such a world we may want to reconsider our sharing practices, particularly if they were built on the idea of selective sharing.  If any of your digital information is something you would rather not share publicly, you may want to rethink the idea that you can keep your information private.

If you are building an information system, you may want to rethink the idea that you can offer selective sharing in a reliable form.

Thanks to the folks at TedX Bay Area, particularly Tatyana Kanzaveli for the opportunity to work out these thoughts and share them.

Here are the slides that were used in the talk:

Virtual Public Spaces are not Public Spaces: Or, studying the social life of shopping malls

Protest in public spaceShopping Malls are not Public Spaces

I spend a lot of my time studying social media and the networks that form in them.  But I have growing doubts about the time I spend on commercial services.  Despite seeming like public spaces, these services are really not public.

Social media is increasingly the space in which public life takes place.  News, debates and discussions are more likely to take place now in Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services than in public squares, civic buildings, or community centers.  Virtual public spaces fill the void created by the lack of public spaces and places in our cities and towns that allow for public mixing and interaction.  But virtual public spaces are just that: virtual.  They are not real public spaces, and the “virtual” public space they provide is not “as if” or even better than the real thing.  Virtual public space lacks many of the features of real public space and is not an upgrade over the real thing.

Virtual public spaces try to seem like public spaces, but they are like shopping malls: commercial spaces that encourage only a subset of public behaviors.  Raised in commercial spaces that have replaced public spaces, many people no longer even imagine behaviors that are not welcome in a mall.  Protest, petitions, organizing, and protected speech have no place in a shopping mall.  Some property owners allow some forms of speech, but no one but the owners have a “right” to speech in a mall.  Shoppers, consumers, guests, customers, and visitors are not citizens while they are in a commercial space.

Virtual public spaces are not public spaces, but as we spend our public time in them, we drain the life from alternative public spaces.  Our collective chatter in social media becomes the intellectual property of a company not a commonly owned public asset.  Our history is not our history.

Social media services vary in terms of how open or restrictive they provide data generated by their users.

Some services, like Wikipedia, are very open, offering many methods to access large and small amounts of data from recent or historical times.

Some services, like LinkedIn, are very closed, offering almost no access to any data from their service.

Twitter is becoming more restrictive while Facebook is relatively open.

For many services, the lack of access to data is not an ideological choice, rather it is a practical issue related to the costs associated with storing and serving large volumes of data.  These companies are well within their rights to do as they like with their data and business plans.

However, their data is actually my data (and your data).  We may soon realize that we prefer to commit our bits to repositories that hold and redistribute our content on terms that support civic goals of open access.  What we need are credible alternatives to these services, with alternative funding models: perhaps a “Public Bit Service” or “National Public Retweet”?