Monthly Archives: July 2003

it took a village, but i moved to amazonia

Wow. My friends descended alongside the two Irish boys and moving just happened. Seriously, it was the smoothest move i’ve ever witnessed. So many people, so many beers and just a lot of positive energy. We wisked through my old house, moved it, cleaned it and voila, i’m now in my new room! The new place isn’t fully unpacked, but it’s full of danah color and i feel like it will be really good. I feel calm, relaxed and happy to be in my new home. Now i just need to start processing all that has been forgotten in my recent whirlwind.

Overconnected: On Friendster, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How Many

Overconnected: On Friendster, It’s Not Who You Know, It’s How Many (Sean Nealson in The Stranger)

“Friendster is just another piece of driftwood in the weblog ocean, akin to the countless personality tests, polls, and petitions that are wildly popular one day, spread like viruses, and are soon forgotten, quickly supplanted by the next meme of the moment”

Sean Nealson’s negatively slanted Friendster article focuses on the efforts to amass friends and search for acquaintenances. He compares LiveJournal to Friendster and provides endless fun quotes:

“Where a blog offers the chance to expand on one’s self, Friendster reduces the self to a trading card, suitable for collection.”

Friendster: “the newest trend in online extroversion, like LiveJournal for grownups” … “this is a pyramid scheme without the money, or the advancement, or the pyramid, for that matter. It’s just a scheme”

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moving day!

I despise moving. With a passion. But, here it is, moving day. Luckily, i started packing last nite so it’s not going to be a complete disaster. Of course, all of my friends look at my place and freak, noting that i’m a complete pack rat. Today, a chunk of my friends are going to converge, drink some beers and play with the Irish men i hired to do some heavy lifting. This outta be interesting. Soon i will be in Amazonia, living with my cat and good friends. Yay!

introducing Jen King

In order to make certain that i capture as much information as possible through this blog, i’ve welcomed Jen King to share this space with me. Thus, she may pop up occasionally as an additional voice here. Jen is a really smart character who is also fascinated by how people construct and maintain “community.”

does Friendster work?

I’ve been talking to more and more press lately and one question always comes up “Does Friendster work?” Of course, this is more complicated than any of them want to hear in byte size form. Thus, i’ve never seen any of them reflect my answer. More often than not, what they really want to know is whether or not people use Friendster to date.

The answer is: Of course! The interesting part is how. There are a variety of different usage scenarios.

– People will see someone through their friend’s list and ask the friend about them and encourage their friend to introduce them in RL. Or at least they will ask for their common friend’s opinion before introducing themselves.

– People will recognize familiar strangers and thus have multiple contexts in which to begin a dialogue, online of offline.

– People use it as though it’s and reach out to effectively strangers with another data point for conversation.

The most interesting usage scenario follows the familiar strangers element. These are people that are recognizable by sight. The viewer sorta knows them (perhaps they are part of the same scene), but has never had a reason to converse. Not only does Friendster provide useful information about a potential date (single status, sexuality, age, etc.), but it provides an additional context in which to start a conversation.

If you see a person in the pub every week, starting a conversation might be challenging. But if you see them on Friendster, you can write to them saying “oh, i see you’re Bob’s friend and i know i recognize you from XXX pub.” Or, conversely, you can go up to them in the pub and say “you’re Bob’s Friendster, right?”

I love this model because it integrates two of Stanley Milgram’s most powerful concepts.

burning man 2003 tours

Travelocity and Burning Tours invites you to Burning Man 2003! Come experience the colorful sights, the amazing sounds, and interesting people that come to this grand festival in the Nevada desert every year!

For only $1400, you can purchase the Travelocity Burning Man Package, which includes 14 meals, Burning Man 2003 ticket, modern air-conditioned tent with private sleeping areas and a separate toilet facility, a professional Burning Man guide and much much more!

[Yes, this is a joke. The problem is that it’s actually believable.]

critiquing myself

When one presents oneself in a public space, one is constantly trying to negotiate their presentation of self to give off the intended perception. Based on the reaction one gets, one changes this presentation.

Lately, i’ve been doing enough press interviews or other discussions such that people have been writing up quotes by me or otherwise processing and projecting my ideas. Sometimes, i read a quote by me and i recognize it; other times, i recognize a word or two, but feel completely misrepresented. Overall though, it’s so peculiar to see myself in someone else’s article, to see how someone else digested and processed my presentation of ideas. I find myself reading my own quotes and arguing against them, disagreeing with different points. It makes me wonder how much of what i say is really heard. It also makes me wonder how other people must perceive me based on supposed quotes by me. And finally, it makes me wonder what model of danah is formed when people read my blog, which is at best a haphazard collection of links of importance to me and other arbitrary thoughts.

In any case, i’m quite humored to be able to critique myself.

Making Friendsters in High Places

[from the connected selves blog]

Wired ran an article today about Making Friendsters in High Places, including quotes by moi (and referencing the eBay phenomenon and Ross’ comparison of different tools).

I must say that i think it’s fascinating to hear people reference each other as Friendsters. “Oh, you’re danah’s Friendster.” This shows how it is not really a listing of your friends, but some other not-entirely-defined set of people that you sorta know in some context or another.

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