IR 11.1.4

Session 4
Networking and Social Sites

Robert Joseph Bodle, “Opening the social media ecosystem: the tenuous nature of interoperability, crossposting, and sharing among dominant social media sites, services and devices”

— APIs as “the sex organs of open networking”
— interoperability as key to development of web – prevent vendor lock-in, etc; but tends toward a kind of sharing that results in loss of user autonomy, creation of data monopolies
— increasingly open Facebook APIs, beginning with Facebook Developer, leading up to Open Graph
— privacy, autonomy, freedom; Zuckerberg misses the difference between friends and apps/advertisers
— Facebook achieving a form of lock-in, in which people feel they must share
— interoperability revisited: transparency, privacy/security, user control, etc

Christian Thorsten Callisen, “The Old Face of ‘New’ Social Networks: The Republic of Letters…”

— contextualizing the so-called digital revolution within the longer history of the virtual
— separating the virtual from the digital; virtual as “real idealization” that creates “the illusion of presence”
— the Republic of Letters as virtual community; relationships of commerce, reciprocal sharing of information
— techniques of virtuality, means of creating co-presence: props, simulations, rituals
— mean of media change over time, meanings bound by cultural constraints, must ask not about meaning but about effect?

Michael Zimmer, “The Laws of Social Networking, or, How Facebook Feigns Privacy”

— new revelation of Facebook privacy breach, but not the first time
— pattern emerging to how Facebook acts and reacts in these scenarios, a Machiavellian public relations strategy: introduce new “features” that share more and more info, await public outcry, make minor, mostly superficial modifications, say “we heard you, we care about your privacy”
— laws of social networking:
— social networking sites have material incentives to promote free and unfettered flow of personal information
— providing users with robust and easy-to-use tools to control information flows is counter to profit maximization
— therefore, provide privacy controls only when you must, positioning them as a great sacrifice and something that most users probably shouldn’t bother with
— i.e., make privacy hard
— great success at Facebook in monetizing our information flows
— Zuckerberg’s philosophy of information: it doesn’t want to be free, but it does want to be shared (so it can be sold)
— claim that providing privacy controls is enough (they don’t have to be easy or usable)
— Facebook suggestion that users who don’t share don’t have a satisfying social networking experience
— Facebook view that privacy is a binary: if you don’t want to share (with everyone), don’t
— skepticism about degree to which Diaspora* will be able to buck this trend; Google’s founders once proclaimed need for advertising-free search engine; pressures are toward monetization of information

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