Confused about Social Networks

Sheila from CETIS recently blogged about a social media event and I feel some of the themes in her post are closely related to some experiences I have had this week while exploring the landscape for my PhD and conversations I’ve had with MWJ.

I’m interested around the following thoughts from the Blog post:

The things that struck me most were around the power to use social media to connect (or perhaps) reconnect place and community.

There also seems to be a growing recognition in academia of the power of social networks – are we, in Gartner terms, on the slope of enlightenment perhaps?

Theme of the month seems to be ‘Conviviality’. Last week I co designed and wrote a wookie widget that allows users from anywhere to create music as a unit, with a tutor coordinating the experience and there was something very emotionally powerful around the experience. I am also really interested in OnLives release this week. Streaming interfaces fascinating and I’ve started to wonder what we can do with libraries like socket.io can do. Marks J view when asking him his thoughts on this is that things are no longer about files but around streaming. I think this mirrors my view on where Microsoft and Apple are going with their operating systems.

I wonder why all these things create excitement for me around tools for conviviality but social networks don’t. Or maybe its just me as the social media and academia event seemed to suggest otherwise. What middle ground between what I am experiencing with these new exciting tools and what Sheila is experiencing with social networks is there. As a grumpy sod I tend to view my interaction with social networking as a puppet show with us all pulling strings.

There are lots of questions here.. I have been ordered to read some more Illich…

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