Monday, February 12, 2007

What are the differences between the various social network sites?

Danah Boyd in an interview in The Nation: Networked

WT: What are some the differences between online and offline networks?
db: There are sort of four properties and one key practice that are fundamentally different online. The key practice is that you have to write yourself into being. To a certain degree we do this offline as well, whereby you have a body that you're working with that you then accessorize to hell. Online you don't have a body, you don't have a presence, you don't have anything that sort of marks your existence.

Online you don‘t have a body? No presence? Nothing to mark your existence? The heck you don‘t! People are doing this very thing in Second Life (and other virtual worlds) every day.

The difference is that you do not have to write yourself in to existence in MUVEs. There are all sorts of ways that people can choose to express themselves and create. People gravitate to the social networking environment that maximizes their artistic advantages. For some that is writing encyclopedia entries, and for others it‘s accessorizing their avatar.

It‘s the exact same dynamic you see in environments based on words. It‘s a different set of skills that are emphasized in MUVEs, but it‘s the exact same social dynamic. There are many similarities between between these various social networking sites. The medium of expression accounts for a small difference. Dare I speculate that the medium is insignificant?

No comments: