Ramblings & ephemera

The real digital divide: knowing how to use what you have & not knowing

From Howard Rheingold’s interview in “Howard Rheingold’s Latest Connection” (Business Week: 11 August 2004): Here’s where Wikipedia fits in. It used to be if you were a kid in a village in India or a village in northern Canada in the winter, maybe you could get to a place where they have a few books […]

Ambient awareness & social media

From Clive Thompson’s “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy” (The New York Times Magazine: 5 September 2008): In essence, Facebook users didn’t think they wanted constant, up-to-the-minute updates on what other people are doing. Yet when they experienced this sort of omnipresent knowledge, they found it intriguing and addictive. Why? Social scientists have a name […]

Interviewed for an article about mis-uses of Twitter

The Saint Louis Beacon published an article on 27 April 2009 titled “Tweets from the jury box aren’t amusing“, about legal “cases across the country where jurors have used cell phones, BlackBerrys and other devices to comment – sometimes minute by minute or second by second on Twitter, for instance – on what they are […]

Newspapers are doomed

From Jeff Sigmund’s “Newspaper Web Site Audience Increases More Than Ten Percent In First Quarter To 73.3 Million Visitors” (Newspaper Association of America: 23 April 2009): Newspaper Web sites attracted more than 73.3 million monthly unique visitors on average (43.6 percent of all Internet users) in the first quarter of 2009, a record number that […]

Social software: 5 properties & 3 dynamics

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Certain properties are core to social media in a combination that alters how people engage with one another. I want to discuss five properties of social media and three dynamics. These are […]

Kids & adults use social networking sites differently

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): For American teenagers, social network sites became a social hangout space, not unlike the malls in which I grew up or the dance halls of yesteryears. This was a place to gather […]

The importance of network effects to social software

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Many who build technology think that a technology’s feature set is the key to its adoption and popularity. With social media, this is often not the case. There are triggers that drive […]

35% of adults have a social networking profile

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): At this stage, over 35% of American adults have a profile on a social network site.

MySpace/Facebook history & sociology

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Facebook had launched as a Harvard-only site before expanding to other elite institutions before expanding to other 4-year-colleges before expanding to 2-year colleges. It captured the mindshare of college students everywhere. It […]

Defining social media, social software, & Web 2.0

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Social media is the latest buzzword in a long line of buzzwords. It is often used to describe the collection of software that enables individuals and communities to gather, communicate, share, and […]

Why everyone wants a computer: socializing

From Paul Graham’s “Why TV Lost” (Paul Graham: March 2009): The somewhat more surprising force was one specific type of innovation: social applications. The average teenage kid has a pretty much infinite capacity for talking to their friends. But they can’t physically be with them all the time. When I was in high school the […]

Facebook & the Dunbar number

From The Economist‘s “Primates on Facebook” (26 February 2009): Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist who now works at Oxford University, concluded that the cognitive power of the brain limits the size of the social network that an individual of any given species can develop. Extrapolating from the brain sizes and social networks of apes, Dr Dunbar […]

Socioeconomic analysis of MySpace & Facebook

From danah boyd’s “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace” (danah boyd: 24 June 2007): When MySpace launched in 2003, it was primarily used by 20/30-somethings (just like Friendster before it). The bands began populating the site by early 2004 and throughout 2004, the average age slowly declined. It wasn’t until late 2004 that […]

Wikipedia, freedom, & changes in production

From Clay Shirky’s “Old Revolutions, Good; New Revolutions, Bad” (Britannica Blog: 14 June 2007): Gorman’s theory about print – its capabilities ushered in an age very different from manuscript culture — is correct, and the same kind of shift is at work today. As with the transition from manuscripts to print, the new technologies offer […]

A single medium, with a single search engine, & a single info source

From Nicholas Carr’s “All hail the information triumvirate!” (Rough Type: 22 January 2009): Today, another year having passed, I did the searches [on Google] again. And guess what: World War II: #1 Israel: #1 George Washington: #1 Genome: #1 Agriculture: #1 Herman Melville: #1 Internet: #1 Magna Carta: #1 Evolution: #1 Epilepsy: #1 Yes, it’s […]

Social networking and “friendship”

From danah boyd’s “Friends, Friendsters, and MySpace Top 8: Writing Community Into Being on Social Network Sites” (First Monday: December 2006) John’s reference to “gateway Friends” concerns a specific technological affordance unique to Friendster. Because the company felt it would make the site more intimate, Friendster limits users from surfing to Profiles beyond four degrees […]

Why people “friend” others on social networks

From danah boyd’s “Facebook’s ‘Privacy Trainwreck’: Exposure, Invasion, and Drama” (8 September 2006): Why does everyone assume that Friends equals friends? Here are some of the main reasons why people friend other people on social network sites: 1. Because they are actual friends 2. To be nice to people that you barely know (like the […]

Craigslist “everything is free!” scams

Robert Salisbury From “Man scammed by Craigslist ad” (The Seattle Times: 24 March 2008): The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan. But Robert […]

Tim O’Reilly defines cloud computing

From Tim O’Reilly’s “Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing” (O’Reilly Radar: 26 October 2008): Since “cloud” seems to mean a lot of different things, let me start with some definitions of what I see as three very distinct types of cloud computing: 1. Utility computing. Amazon’s success in providing virtual machine instances, storage, and computation at […]

My new book – Podcasting with Audacity – is out!

Audacity is universally recognized as the number one software program for creating podcasts. Hundreds of thousands of amateurs and professionals alike have created podcasts using Audacity. Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software is designed to get you podcasting as quickly as possible. The first few chapters show you how to install […]