My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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social hacking meets techno-hacking

I think our talk went really well. Hopefully, others have feedback….

I was psyched because the panel twisted into a conversation about what happens when tech hacking meets social hacking. Key points:

– Mobile folks know something; social software folks know something. But users have a whole different view of the world.

– Social software is what happens when technologists try to hack the social; mobile culture is what happens when the public socially hacks the technology.

– Social hacking is meeting techno-hacking. We are seeing this collision now and we need to pay attention to both sides. Similar issues are arising on both sides. For example, the technology is bringing out concerns about privacy; the social is bringing out issues of vulnerability. These needs need to be addressed simultaneously.

– Technologists tend to argue for an open technology, but they try to constrain the social behavior that is permitted; we need to open up the possibilities for the technology as well as the social, even when we don’t like all possibilities. We’re being hypocritical here.

It should be fascinating to see what ends up happening in this collision.

[Btw: if you were at the talk and have a better idea of what i/we said, let me know… it quickly turns into a bit of a daze.]

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6 comments to social hacking meets techno-hacking

  • Here are the co-edited notes that Liz hosted (and almost entirely created) during the session:

    Participant Session on Defining/Categorizing Blogs

    Term has been used in many contexts; everything from journalists and politicians to individuals.

    Is there a difference between journaling and blogs?

    Is a blog simply defined by someone saying it’s a blog?

    Is it meaningful to even use the term?

    what are the aspects of value in this context?
    influence is only one axis

    Jeff Jarvis — the more things are categorized, the more income potential there is. more opportunities when you can define the context. who are the authors, who is the audience?

    Also the value of community–how do you find other people and ideas you’re interested in?

    Jason Calcanis (weblogs inc). Doing busines-to-business blogs to make profit. How do you create a categorization system that works across sites. Do you self-organize? Do you use DMOZ as a model? SIC codes?

    Categories of content as opposed to categories for form as opposed to categories of author

    subject matter vs authorship vs influence/reach vs financial viability vs interaction

    Granularity of categories: by blog, URL, author, post, link

    [TFS: Perhaps it would be more helpful to talk about the tools which could reveal categories instead of trying to pick the categories out of our heads?]

    boris: blogs as identity management

    Phil Wolff: atomic unit is the post, not the blog. subject categorization and keywords are on the post level.

    danah – a flaw in our assumption is that the audience for our blogs remains the same across posts, despite the fact that different people are interested only in a few of our topics and search engines feed people our way for only a single post.

    Someone pointed out that a difference in choosing to unsubscribe because the topic of the blog have varied are a faster version of giving up on an author whose last book or two no longer supply you with the same value as the earlier books.

    axes: subject matter vs authorship vs influence/reach vs financial viability vs interaction?

    styles of discourse; aggregator blogs, commentary blogs, voices on a blog,

    Trevor: Hey, EL: Perhaps a blog is defined by whether it will be consumed by our tools to understand blogs.
    Liz: yeah, but what if someon says “this is not a blog” (ceci n’est pas une pipe)
    Trevor: This is a blog because I find patterns in it like I find in my own blog… Hmmm.
    Trevor: Sifry has slashdot in there, because it will feed into his tools.

    justin hall: started as a page. then a diary. now people ccall it a blog.

    Trevor: partitioning systems we’ve mentioned: voting (amIBlogOrNot.com), tools (do I fit in Technorati, do I have a feed), publishing time (I need a data set, so here’s what I’m using), conversational (here’s what we’re talking about), advertising based (what google adWords can separate into markets)

    Maggie Runchey: conversation shifts when it becomes about money?

    Jan ???: Audience as axis. Who comes back and reads it? Why?

    Howard: Means by which we find what we need have changed over time. Categories are less important when we use search, social networks, collaborative filtering (one step out from social networks)

    Soman: What’s the motivation for looking for something? Again, audience as axis. To whom is it useful?

    Scott Moore schwablearning.org : motivations for the authors; motivations for the readers. ask them. (that’s often problematic in terms of self-reporting)
    Not everyone is a producer; many are only consumers.

    Scott Rosenberg (salon.com): why do we want anything but the broadest possible definition? danah’s response:

    axes: do you want to be searched? by who? using what tools?
    layers of publicity (closely related to identity management)

    Randy Moss cancer.org: Is building boxes going to restrict people.

    stve bird – intel.com/education : tools of creation as a categorization tool.

  • Randy

    To expand my point;
    My concern is that if we build preset categories then we will either overlook the ones that fall between boxes or discourage people from creating freely.

    I am dealing with this at work, the question of do we create support groups and define them, or do we create the tools for support groups to define themselves through their work.

    My sentiment is that we should encourge deffinition on both an authorial and user level.

    (db I have more cough drops)

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