I was a bit miffed to read Marc Canter’s perception of my views:
danah thinks we should treat these relationships more seriously. Or somehow believe that by calling someone a ‘friend’ in an explicit social networking environment – actually means something.
I am not interested in what users SHOULD do; i’m interested in what they do do. That said, i truly believe that early users help construct the social norms for any given environment. In “Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do,” Scott Feld talks about how people’s understanding of how may friends they should have is constructed by their friends.
Marc – i don’t believe that users should take these relationships more seriously; i believe that YOU should. Users will do whatever they damn well please, and i think that we should learn from them. But out of respect to the creators of these systems, many of whom are our friends, i truly believe that we should respect their goals and not engage in behavior that disrespects their intentions. Furthermore, i believe that we should never be the exceptions on any given service, the ones who push the boundaries. We are not average users. We should sit back and watch what average users do, not try to top them. By engaging in disrespectful behavior, we make it much harder for our friends and colleagues to execute their business plans as they’re busy policing us.
This is about ethics and respect, not about any false notion that these networks actually mean something. This is about business models, strategy, and scalability, not research.
[Lago: i definitely realize that it’s a game; i’m sorry that you thought otherwise.]