SXSW: How to Leverage Decentralized Social Networks

Notes from the How to Leverage Decentralized Social Networks panel this morning. Click on, yo.

How to Leverage Decentralized Social Networks

Tantek Celik, Technorati, moderator
— What is a social software? Is email social software?
— Who owns your data?
– Can tech be too simple?

Jonas M Luster,
— In Mogedeshu: an expert is someone who carries a suitcase, talks alot but knows nothing
– first time I saw Friendster, I thought this a community site, not a social network
– what’s in a social network:
— there’s more than 1 variable, not just you are my friend or not
— dont forget networks are transient, people come in and out of relationships
— well defind vocabularies or free declarations?
— overlay networks connect: trans-communal areas

Joyce Park, CommerceNet
— built friendster
— do people undrsand the consequences of putting personal info online? particularly women.
— women have greater needs for privacy, nuances, security…
— most “social networks” (airquotes) are built by young men for young men

danah boyd, PhD student, ehtnographic engineer
— interested in how and why of social connections
— how are culture and people transformed by technology?
— in 95, created ani defranco fan site, which attracts young queer girls who are usually victim of abuse
— in 97, the same audience came to my blog which is more open. they get attacked here.
— gay men on friendster thought everyone was. surprised when they found out it wasn’t.
— asummptions about who your audience is
— social networks tend to reflect the audience assumptions of technologists who create them
— 50% of typepad blogs are private, 25% of livejournal are private

Ernie Hsiung, Web Developer
— coming from user advocate perspective
— XFN: joke on psychic friends network
— assumptions of XFN: you have a blog, a blogroll
— rubhub.com – XFN spidering service

Danah:
— anonymity is not possible. your voice has a finger print.
— collective communities of trust
— i create coded messages to specific people on my blog.

Jonas:
— the word “folksonomy” sucks

Danah:
— the maximum # of people whom we could keep up with congnitively is 150.
— we gossip which is akin to monkeys grooming.

Q: what about reputation systems?
A: Danah: ebay: very few people post a negative. most of us don’t want to. has to be serious.

Q: Why big adoption by Brazilians of Orkut & inernalization use of social networks?
A: Ernie: geeks first on Orkut. focus of friends went to Brazil.
Danah: Brazilians went to Orkut because of country flags. They want to kick the other countries’ ass! Like the World Cup. Brazillians tend to stay in two major cities. very family oriented, then they started transfering between cities. Orkut fit their needs, something that was already happening.

Q: what do u tell developers to keep in mind of unintended consequences of social networks?
A: Ernie: research
Danah: homogeny
Joyce: subpoena
Jonas: same too

Observation from audience:
In Manila, Friendster is extremely popular because of Muslim social norms require you to know your social networks of who you want to be involved with.

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