Friday, October 06, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
A reporter with the Daily Universe, BYU's paper, interviewed me via email about Facebook, social capital, and the announced rollout of Facebook to non-academic settings. I've copied some of my responses below in case they are of interest to others:
3) After conducting your survey, do think there is any harm as far as privacy issues on the site?
NE: There is the potential for students to disclose personal information without realizing that their true audience is not limited to their on-campus friends.
4) Facebook is planning to open up its eligibility to anyone with an email address- what do you think about this?
NE: I think depending on how it’s implemented, it could mean very little changes for current members, or it could be very disruptive. There is already a movement growing to protest this change; Facebook should tread carefully so as to not alienate its core userbase – college students who value the exclusivity of the system.
5) do you think this will affect social capital?
NE: Theoretically, it could lead to an increase in current members’ bridging social capital. This kind of social capital is based on having lots of “weak ties” – people you don’t know that well but who might provide you with valuable information or resources. Of course, it all depends on how the new system is implemented and how easy it is for people to connect with those outside their network.
6) How do you think this will affect college students willingness to use facebook?
NE: see 4 above – we could see a backlash of students who leave Facebook in protest, or because they think they’ll have encounters with people they don’t want to connect with. Some of the message boards have talked about it becoming non-exclusive like MySpace or full of pedophiles. I think this fear is overblown, but I do think Facebook will have to manage the rollout carefully. I’m surprised they are doing it so soon after the NewsFeeds incident.
7) Do you think usership will increase or decrease?
NE: Overall, it will increase. Among college students, it could decrease, depending on how the system is set up and the reaction among existing members.
8) Is there any other information, you learned while conducting your study, that you think would be valuable for college students to know?
NE: Facebook can be a valuable tool for getting information, staying in touch with people, and finding out more about people you want to get to know. But be aware that it’s not as exclusive as most people think – it’s fairly easy for law enforcement, future employers, marketing companies, and others to get access to it. Give some thought to how you want to present yourself online knowing that you may have multiple audiences for your profile.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Speaking of the dark side, i'm going to be officially a Mac person again in a couple of weeks once my new macbook arrives!
I think Cliff's point is a good one- students feel ownership of facebook and want to have more of a voice in the design of the site. It will be interesting to see how the facebook team reacts.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Since my last post, I've had two articles appear in print. Both are linked from my homepage. I'm especially proud of the JCMC piece, Managing Impressions Online: Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment, a birthing many, many months in the making. Both of these pieces deal with self-presentation in online dating contexts, an area that is particularly fascinating to me.
In other news - we are revising our Facebook paper for publication, I'm working on another piece exploring the use of blogs in the classroom, "Blogs for Learning" is close to being ready for beta-testing, and I just got back from a week in the Bahamas having "encounters" with wild dolphins, sharks (nurse, lemon, and tiger), rays, sea turtles, and more Europeans than you could shake a stick at. I should put in a plug for Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures, the diving operation out of Palm Beach that ran the trip. Except for a few small unavoidable logistical problems, everything was top-notch. Now back to reality!
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I participated in my first online conference last week - HigherEdBlogCon. I co-authored two presentations - one with Ethan Watrall on an online web resource we are building (with a team of undergrads and support from our college) on blogging in the classroom, which is available here; and a second presentation titled "An empirical test of blogging in the classroom" which is based on the data I collected last Fall. Although I wasn't too keen on the lack of immediate feedback while recording the screencast, the comments have been useful and I am less skeptical than before of the possibilities for these kind of events.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
This made me think about some of the findings that have emerged from my interviews with online dating participants. Many of these individuals disucssed the way in which the words in a profile (the content) were not as important clues to identity as were other stylistic aspects of the message, such as the time an email was sent, the extent to which the message included typographic or grammatical errors, the length of a profile description. I'm still thinking about the meaning of this, but I think there's something interesting here about the ways in which technology gives voice to more individuals, but in doing so mutes their individuality. And thus we work harder to insert this information back in (lugging manual typewriters around) and to discern information about others ("What time was this message sent? 1 am? He must be desperate."). Of course, SIP (Social Information Processing) theory does a similar claim, but I think there's more there to uncover -- especially as CMC norms continue to develop.