sharing personal information with students (on Twitter) can increase the perceived credibility of the instructor —
Johnson, K. A. (2011). The effect of Twitter posts on students’ perceptions of instructor credibility. Learning, Media and Technology, Vol 36(1): 21-38.
full text pdf
A small-scale study that shows an increase in students’ perceptions of instructor credibility (competence, trustworthiness & caring) as a function of self-disclosure on Twitter. Specifically there was evidence for an increase in ratings of credibility if the instructor used the microblogging platform to tweet about personal information.
Interestingly, there was no evidence of an effect between social-only tweets (greatest credibility of all) and a combination of social and instructional tweets, or instructional-only tweets and the combination of social and instructional tweets.
I like this explanation:
No longer do teachers need to use class time to reveal bits of personal information about themselves: instead, this revelation of information can take place outside of class in a forum where students can choose whether to look at it.
the public do not seek out foreign news online —
Moore, M. (2010, Nov). Shrinking World: The decline of international reporting in the British press. Media Standards Trust.
Good overview of the shift in our interests in news consumption and news investigation based on a content analysis of four major UK newspapers during the period of 1979 and 2010.
I didn’t realise The Daily Mirror broke the story of Cambodia’s Killing Fields.
In our study we witnessed a divided blogosphere: liberals and conservatives linking primarily within their separate communities, with far fewer cross-links exchanged between them —
Adamic, L & Glance, N. (2005). The political blogosphere and the 2004 US Election: Divided they blog. Proceedings of the 3rd international workshop on Link discovery, p.36-43.
full text pdf
A lovely example of the echo chamber effect in online conversations. In this paper, Lada and Natalie analyse an impressive amount of linking data to identify how often the top 40 political blogs linked to one another. They found that the two parties kept themselves to themselves, linking between one another very little. Interestingly, the conservatives were more likely to link to the liberals than the other way around.
Great study. Still stands.
apparently trivial uses and features of SNS actually play an important role in setting the social and informational context of the rest of the conversation —
Radovanovic, D. & Ragnedda, M. (2012). Small talk in the digital age: Making sense of phatic posts. In Proceedings of the #MSM2012 Workshop. 16 April 2012, Lyon, France.
A great position paper about how our apparent nonsense on twitter and facebook actually serves an important social function.
Online Jargon -
jargon from online communities
Freetown Christiania (& the boundaries of idealism) -
I often compare the idealism of online communities with the idealism of the Christiania commune in Copenhagen, DK.
Initially open and free, with an anything-goes attitude, as soon as peole who didn’t share their ideals moved in an exploited the openness and freeness, hierarchies and social structures emerged, dividing the group into people who believe in the original ethos and those who are freeloading.
Journalist and (almost) lawyer Julian Dibbell describes how the idealistic community LambdaMOO became a “society” after one of its members acted outside the unspoken (but community-accepted) rules of behaviour. That article, originally titled A Rape In Cyberspace and published in the Village Voice in 1993, is well-worth a read.
howard rheingold's | the virtual community -
A chapter on online community isn’t complete without reference to this.
Profoundly idealistic yet deliciously prescient, Rheingold’s loving description of the WELL - one of the most influential collections of people in the modern digital world - is an excellent primer in what was then a brand new phenomenon and what now seems almost invisibly commonplace.
Gemeinschaft (often translated as community) is an association in which individuals are oriented to the large association as much as, if not more than, to their own self interest. Furthermore, individuals in gemeinschaft are regulated by common mores, or beliefs about the appropriate behavior and responsibility of members of the association, to each other and to the association at large; associations are marked by “unity of will” (Tönnies, 22). —
Ferdinand Tonnies’ Gemeinschaft is a sociological definition of community that is distinct from its conceptual partner Gesellschaft.
This was a very useful chapter when I was writing about community and networks for my PhD thesis in 2009. Social Networks and Online Community, by Caroline Haythornthwaite, is a great overview of the main topics of interest in trying to untanlge the effects of the web on our social environment.
Here are a few of my notes:
* can community exist without a geographic touchstone? Haythornthwaite argues one can “liberate community from its physical setting” by looking at the basis of community as interaction. It’s in the interactions between online community members where you see the richness and the social-emotional connotations that are implied in generic definitions of community:
Interactions such as the exchange of information and advice, social support, mutual help and provision and receipt of services can have the cumulative impact of creating trust…shared history and language and known expectations about behaviour that support the community and identify common goals.
that’s on page 121 of the Handbook.
* “community” has been under threat by industrialisation and urbanisation, leading to the decline of society (an increase in crime, decreased quality of life):
Each new disruption in the (imagined) ideals of home and town is met with resistance and fear of the further degradation of our daily experiences.”
* here’s a very traditional definition of community from 1887 by Tonnies:
Gemeinschaft: … a collective based on strong interpersonal ties, face-to-face interaction, a shared focus and common purpose, language and identity
* i like this:
…the emergence of community online is as much a surprise to online participants as it is to non-participants
She reminded me of Howard Rheingold’s seminal study of the WELL, an online messaging board full of the great and the good in internet history, known as the birthplace of the online community movement. He published his observations as The Virtual Community in 1993. It was the first to describe the online collectives in this way, and for this we are thankful.
She also reminded me of Ray Oldenberg’s concept of Third Places - the “great, good” environments that are inherently and uniquely neutral - like parks, cafes, etc - where interactions are playful and are locations where people across social statuses interact and co-exist.
And then, crucially, she turns to the network view of community, a kind of post-modern, perspective on connections that has emerged from a methodology that links people together based on who is connected with whom. These social network graphs have become more popular since sites like Facebook started letting people draw them: they usually reveal unexpected and fascinating collectives of people with lots of mutual friends, plus surprising interconnections that people may not have known existed until they saw the topography of their social spaces.
Specifically, this comes from Barry Wellman’s concept of “liberated” communities that are personally constructed, experienced by individuals. The social, he argues, is essentially subjective. Haythornthwaite is a disciple of Wellman; they are both at the University of Toronto, but she also believes in the group collective notion of community. She describes technologically-facilitated liberated communities thus:
…an external view of lost, local community does not need to translate into an individual lacking in community. As the time of the early studies, contacts were found to be maintained across distance by telephone calls and visiting by car and place. Means of contact now include the full range of CMC, as well as the ubiquitous cell phone and continued travel bty car and plane. Indeed, community is now so liberated that it can be reinforced nearly anywhere at anytime with mobile computing and phone communication.
page 125. emphasis added
A great chapter. Citation:
Haythornthwaite, C. (2007). Social Networks and Online Community. In A. Joinson, K. McKenna, T. Postmes and U. Reips (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology, Oxford University Press: Oxford.
This article analyses the emergence of complicit risk communities where the performative display of information in Social Networking Sites is a behaviour which sustains the architecture of such sites, and facilitates new types of deviance, fraud, deception and crime while enabling new types of communities and fraternities. -
Ibrahim, Y. (2008). The new risk communities: Social networking sites and risk. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 4(2): 245-253.
tho i have access to full text. it’s rather doom-heavy.
here’s the conclusion (emphasis added):
The popularity of social networking sites heralds the emergence of complicit risk communities where personal information becomes social capital which is traded and exchanged, and where there are also therapeutic and narcissistic elements, particularly with regard to the construction of self-image and identities. The culture of social networking sites thrives on the performative, on the one hand, and reciprocity and exchange, on the other. Hence the potential dangers and risks of willingly disclosing and displaying personal details become part of the architecture or code of these sites. Social networking sites then leverage on the resulting cultural conventions and communions in order to sustain themselves. The appropriation of new technologies by individuals in order to communicate, form new communities and to maintain existing relationships signifies new ways in which risk becomes embedded and encoded into our social practices, posing new ethical and legal challenges which inadvertently expand the landscape of risk.