Archive for the ‘socialnetwork’ Category

Diaspora challenge to Facebook

May 13th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Sometimes it it is hard to see anything stopping Facebook ruling the world. But a few years ago it was hard to see anyone ever challenging My Space. And some of us can still remember Friends Reunited. Now the tide may be beginning to change against Facebook. It is Facebook’s own financial greed and their willingness to run roughshod over privacy rights which is threatening their hold.

A new generation of entrepreneurs are emerging with a very different vision and different technologies.

A report in today’s New York Times explains: “A few months back, four geeky college students, living on pizza in a computer lab downtown on Mercer Street, decided to build a social network that wouldn’t force people to surrender their privacy to a big business.” They go onto say: “They have called their project Diaspora* and intend to distribute the software free, and to make the code openly available so that other programmers can build on it. As they describe it, the Diaspora* software will let users set up their own personal servers, called seeds, create their own hubs and fully control the information they share. Mr. Sofaer says that centralized networks like Facebook are not necessary. “In our real lives, we talk to each other,” he said. “We don’t need to hand our messages to a hub. What Facebook gives you as a user isn’t all that hard to do. All the little games, the little walls, the little chat, aren’t really rare things. The technology already exists.”

Meanwhile Facebook itself is showing some signs of recognising the danger.  Nick O’Neill on the All Facebook web site says: “Facing increasing pressure from the media and users, Facebook has called an all hands meeting tomorrow afternoon, at 4 PM Pacific, to discuss the company’s overall privacy strategy according to sources inside the company……..While it’s unknown what Facebook will announce during the meeting, it’s pretty obvious that changes will need to be made if Facebook is going to regain users’ trust. The most likely change will come in the form of a temporary removal of the “Instant Personalization” service, or at the least, a shift to “opt-in”, something many privacy advocates have been calling for.”

Social Media in Higher Education and Beyond

April 27th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Social Media in Higher Education and Beyond New forms of collaborating and developing team work A presentation for the interdisciplinary seminar “Future Social Learning Networks” at the University of Paderborn and the Knowledge Media Research Center in Augsburg. Tag for this event is #fsln10 Below is a voicethread with some ideas about Social Media for collaboration [...]

Reflection and people central to developing knowledge

April 14th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

A quick report from the European Commission funded Mature project. I am in Vienna this week at a meeting of the project consortium. The project is researching how knowledge matures in organisations and aims to develop and test software tools to support both individual knowledge development and organisational learning.

One of the activities undertaken over the last year was a ‘representative study’ based on interviewing individuals from 125 companies in Europe and look at how knowledge was developed and shared in their enterprise. The results of the survey will be published in the near future on the project web site.

One of the most interesting findings is what processes people perceived as important for knowledge maturing within their organisation and how ell they though these processes were important. The two processes perceived as most important were ‘reflection’ and ‘building relationships’ between people. These were also the two processes seen as amongst the least supported.

This could be seen as offering a strong steer for the development of new software tools. mature is already testing the prototype of a ‘people funding’ tool, designed to make more transparent the skills, competences and interests of employees in an organisation. The issue of ‘reflection’ is more complex. e-Portfolio researchers have always emphasised the centrality of reflection to learning, yet it is hard to see concrete examples of how this can be supported. Your comments on this would be most welcome.

Social networking in the real world

February 16th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

One thing we know about social networking is that it doesn’t stay still. Witness the decline of Bebo and My Space, which only two years ago looked all conquering. Now Facebook is in its zenith but how long will this prevail?

I am interested in the connections between the different affordances of social network sites and how we communicate (both on-line and face to face).

My Space was above all a site to talk about music and for bands to communicate with us and with each other. In those terms it remains highly stressful.

Facebook could be said to inherit the mantle of Friends Reunited. Whilst the latter sought just to allow us to stay in touch (or get back in touch) with friends from school or university – interestingly the attempt to extend it to the workplace didn’t really take off – Facebook started out primarily as a place to connect with present friends in college or university. Even following its expansion outside education the principle remained the same – friends mutually followed each other with both having to consent to the connection. Twitter changed all that by allowing non reciprocal connections i.e. I can follow people without them following me. And people rapidly grew long lists of followers. Different people use Twitter in different ways. For me, it is a great resource repository – an informal, real time feedreader if you like. And despite the long running debate as to whether Twitter is killing blogging, I find myself reading more blogs as a result following links in tweets.

Bit I wonder if the social is missing somehow from these social networking services. In an article in Wired Magazine, Clive Thompson says:

socializing doesn’t scale. Once a group reaches a certain size, each participant starts to feel anonymous again, and the person they’re following — who once seemed proximal, like a friend — now seems larger than life and remote. “They feel they can’t possibly be the person who’s going to make the useful contribution,” ….. So the conversation stops. …. At a few hundred or a few thousand followers, they’re having fun — but any bigger and it falls apart. Social media stops being social. It’s no longer a bantering process of thinking and living out loud. It becomes old-fashioned broadcasting.

In that respect I think the rise of ‘extreme; social networking site Chatrouette is interesting. According to the Guardian newspaper:

Chatroulette, which was launched in November, has rocketed in popularity thanks to its simple premise: internet video chats with ­random strangers.

When users visit the site and switch on their webcams, they are suddenly connected to another, randomly chosen person who is doing precisely the same thing somewhere else in the world.

Once they are logged in together, chatters can do anything they like: talk to each other, type messages, entertain each other – or just say goodbye, hit the “next” button and move on in an attempt to find somebody more interesting.

Perhaps predictably, Chatroulette is reportedly host to “all sorts of unsavoury characters” and the Guardian quotes “veteran blogger Jason Kottke, who has spent years documenting some of the web’s most weird and wonderful corners, tried the site and then wrote about witnessing nudity, sexual activity and strange behaviour.”

But I wonder in Chatroulette is a sign of us wanting to use the internet as a social space to meet new friends, in the way we might face to face in a bar or at a party. Despite the attempts of Mr Tweet or of Facebook to introduce us to new people, they lack the randomness and intimacy of human face to face serendipitous encounter.

And I wonder too if that may be some of teh thinking behind the new Google Buzz social networking service. I can’t find the link now, but when I first looked at Buzz (in the pub!) on my mobile phone, there was a tab for ‘local’ allowing me to specify the geographical radius for activity I wanted to see. Along with us wanting to recreate the opportunity for meeting new friends, I think the future for social networking may be local, with us wanting to use such services to be able to find out what is going on around us, at a distance in which we can physically reach.

So as social networking becomes part of our everyday life, it may be that we want to  integrate it into our everyday physical spaces, rather than extend the range of the everyday to unreachable zones of cyberspace.

Just an idea.

Survey on use of Social Networking sites

February 2nd, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Interesting results from the latest Pew Internet survey on adults use of social networking sites in the United States (I wish we had a European equivalent). The survey found:

  • 79% of American adults used the internet in 2009, up from 67% in Feb. 2005
  • 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 8% in February 2005.
  • 65% of teens 12-17 use online social networks as of Feb 2008, up from 58% in 2007 and 55% in 2006.
  • As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults 18 and older.
  • 10-12% are on “other” sites like Bebo, Last.FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com?

Of adult SNS users:

  • 73% have a Facebook account
  • 48% have a MySpace profile
  • 14% have an account on LinkedIn
  • 1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com

Overall there is nothing particularly surprising in the results. The survey shows just how hegemonic Facebook has become in terms of social networking sites. I am a little surprised at how low the figures are for Flickr and YouTube. However this may be because you do not need an account unless you wish to upload material to these services. I guess it confirms the fact that only a relatively low percentage of social software and social network users are creating content.

It is also interesting to note the increasing numbers with a LinkedIn account. In the longer term I think LinkedIn may prove more sustainable than Facebook, if only because it has a real purpose behind it. And LinkedIn seem to have successfully increased the social networking functionality, whilst not allowing it to overwhelm the site.

Changing Practice

January 12th, 2010 by Cristina Costa
Today’s been a complicated day, if for nothing else because I hate chairing meetings!!!!!  On top of that this was a meeting that touched on a very sensitive area: changing practice. Although this allows me to kind of stick my nose into someone else’s practice and look at ways how it could be improved, especially [...]

Twitter and Flickr in 5 Minutes

February 25th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
I thoroughly enjoyed today’s session as part of Buth’s workshop. There were very though provoking questions there! It is great to connect to new people all the time…it’s just brilliant to be challenged by people’s ideas and experiences. It makes me think, it helps me reflect, and most important it helps me see things from [...]

Social Networking

February 4th, 2009 by Cristina Costa
This is a response to Peter Lake’s blog post, since I am not able to submit my comment in his blog. Peter is being cautious about the social networking phenomenon. And I don’t blame him. There’s a lot going on and the opinions are diverse. But I share the opinion that to form our own ideas [...]
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