Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Wall

Image courtesy of

danah boyd, the guru on online social networks, has uploaded a recent talk she gave, titled "Teen Socialization Practices in Networked Publics".

In particular I like her insights on what teenagers actually mean when they write on their friends' walls on sites like MySpace or Facebook. While it would appear that what they actually write is somewhat frivolous, irrelevant and random, there is method to their madness.

To quote danah directly:

"Often, the specific content is less relevant than the way in which that content helps teens maintain their relationships. In other words, "yo, wazzup" "not much, how you?" "goood" may seem pointless, but it has tremendous value.

That supposedly meaningless interaction was a re-affirmation of friendship, a tightening of social bonds, and a confirmation that there is no drama. Those meaningless interactions are what builds the social ties that we rely on.

In other words, what was really being said was: "I'm thinking of you and want validation that we are still friends and that you're willing to spend time talking to me." "Yes, of course we are friends. To prove it, I will say it publicly so that others know that we're still friends." "OK, cool. Thank you!!

You can read her full draft here. I highly recommend it.


Sinéad said...

I've always enjoyed her approach to investigating online socialisation. Thanks for sharing this.

Paul Dervan said...

yep, she's very good alright. Sinead, I've added you to blogroll. meant to a couple weeks ago. I'll keep an eye on you project too