Danah Boyd on Social Networking and Values

Danah Boyd, a digital ethnographer who was recently hired by Microsoft Research New England to study online social networks, posted a much-publicized essay last year about how she perceived there to be class divisions between the userbases of Facebook and Myspace.  This essay was entitled “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace”.

Since part of my research is about whether different cultures and countries will use the internet differently, based on their values, rituals, and customs, it would be important for me to make sure that there indeed is a potential for people to express those key differences by selecting a different social networking site online versus others.  Some would argue that behavior online is converging on universal behavior (generally:  feedback loops, transparency, collaboration), but I think cultures will retain their identities even after buying into the online revolution. Read More »

Americans’ Attitudes on Digital Footprints (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

I wanted to get more information about “online culture” within the US, since it is still, at least for now, the standard for what an online society looks like in terms of debating privacy versus openness, online presence, and reputation.

In December 2007, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released the findings from its surveys on “digital footprints” and “online identity management and search in the age of transparency”.  You can read the full report (PDF) online, and the questionnaire they used, as well.

It is interesting to study the attitudes versus the actions of social networking users when it comes to privacy versus openness.  The study found that “[m]ost internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information.” Read More »