Online Conversational Spaces: The Vocal and the Previously Silenced

Comments on Internet discussion forums have been the subject of much analysis ever since electronic conversational spaces first made their appearance back in the 1970s. Pioneering scholars of ‘computerized conferencing systems’ like Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz–who conducted most of their empirical studies on the Electronic Information Exchange System–noted that several features of theseContinue reading “Online Conversational Spaces: The Vocal and the Previously Silenced”

Social Networks and Loneliness

As a graduate student in the late 1980s, I discovered, in quick succession, email, computerized conferencing, and Usenet newsgroups.  My usage of the last two especially–and later, the Internet Relay Chat–would often prompt me to say, facetiously, that I would have finished my graduate studies quicker had I stayed off the ‘Net more. That lameContinue reading “Social Networks and Loneliness”

More Than 140 Characters on Twitter

I must be a very savvy social networker, because I use both Facebook and Twitter (and indeed, I even have a Tumblr page). That’s a little inside joke – just between me and myself, because in point of fact, I don’t consider myself to be any such thing. And nothing quite shows up my socialContinue reading “More Than 140 Characters on Twitter”

Reflections on Facebook, Part Three

Facebook statuses are legendary. They have been indicted ad nauseam as archives of exhibitionism, narcissism, boring and pointless navel-gazing, repositories of TMI, and many other sins. But they still repay some attention. The Facebook status typically includes a prompt. The current one is ‘What’s on your mind?’ The one before that was ‘How are youContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part Three”

Reflections on Facebook, Part Two

Facebook’ problematic relationship with privacy issues infuriates most of its users; it has ensured that no contemporary discussion of online privacy can proceed without a Facebook-related example. This has largely been the case because Facebook set out to provide a means of social networking and communication with an architecture designed to induce behavior in itsContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part Two”

Reflections on Facebook, Part One

This post is the first of several posts I intend to write on my Facebook experiences. Like many (very many!) people, I’m a Facebook user. And like many of those people, I have a vexed relationship with it, a fact best demonstrated by my decision to leave Facebook a couple of years ago, close myContinue reading “Reflections on Facebook, Part One”

Cyberflânerie Contd.

My post yesterday on cyberflanerie sparked a couple of thoughtful and interesting comments in response. John says: [T]he social web also permits us to make ‘friends’ on the basis of common interests. On blogs or on Twitter, we regularly see conversations between former strangers on subjects of common interest. And David Barry said: [T]o a smallContinue reading “Cyberflânerie Contd.”

Jaron Lanier and the Web’s “False Ideals”

Jaron Lanier’s Op-Ed in the New York Times today is a classic piece of muddled Lanier writing that allows him to train his sights, yet again, on his favorite bugaboo and strawman: ‘free content.’ And in persisting with this notion of the demand for ‘free content’ being the true threat to the ‘Net, Lanier showsContinue reading “Jaron Lanier and the Web’s “False Ideals””