Friday, 16 March 2007

MySpace & my space.

I am dying to get footage of danah boyd talk about teens at SXSW this year -- alas, my searching has found me nothing, although I do admit that I am slightly too tired/apathetic to go all Sherlock.

Why do I want the footage? Well first because I (obviously) couldn't get to SXSW this year (5,000+ miles is apparently too far for my uni to consider a field trip) and I like trying to nab information on what happened at the event. Secondly: I've been reading danah's work casually since, hrmm, it must have been around '03/04, so I must have been about 16.

Although I know she makes some people get a little vicious, I have my own love/hate relationship with her work.

I love the concept - sociology/anthropology in contemporary youth/tech culture. Oh that's great. But I still, as someone who's nine years younger then danah, have problems digesting her perspective on youth culture & the internet, as I think it's a little precious and feels it never spoke to me & the way I used the internet, but rather a population of highschoolers who I never knew. While she stands outside and looks in, I sit inside and look out -- and sometimes I feel she's looking at culture This Very Moment in the present, and I'm looking at The Potential Moments in the future. Or maybe not, anyway.

Social networks, online etiquette and virtual landscapes enthral me. I've been using 'social networks' since I was nine years old - in the form of MUSHs and MUDs (which yes I argue /are/ social networks of an antique flavour) - and I've been 'active' on the 'net since that time too. I've been members of numerous online art groups, message boards, and web-rings when I was younger, and as I grew I moved on to LiveJournal and Flickr and deviantArt, YouTube and, most recently, MySpace.

Let's start by clearing the air: I Hate MySpace. But I have a profile -- why would I be included and associate myself with something that I hate? Because In Real Life (iRL lolz) it's important for my MeatSpace Social Life to have a virtual hub which, in some ways, secures those MeatSpace connections.

By having a profile I can send casual messages to friends, which isn't as forward as calling/texting them on their phone, and can be use to arrange social gatherings without committing oneself. It's a casual thing -- and that's Very Important. Being casual means being cool -- being casual means you're not being clingy, overbearing, weirdly eager or anything like that. Casual. Casual means nobody gets hurt, embarrassed or ignored - it just flows.

So of course teenagers don't care if their MySpace gets deleted or they forget their passwords; you just make another one and connect yourself with your friends, of whom are usually all friends with eachother, causing one huge net of Knowing Everyone. Not caring is casual - and as we now know, Casual is Cool.

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I have So Much More to say on the subject of MySpace & etc, but I'm far too tired -- despite the fact I've slept maybe 16 hours and then had a run around in the crisp pre-Spring air outside for like an hour to wake me up.

Not drinking coffee sucks - but I'm still banking on drinking nothing but decaf 'detox' tea (nettle, dandelion, burdock, peppermint, other crap) will somehow make me into a better human being.

I suspect there's crap wrong with me that I should have sorted out 6 years or so, just, gneh. I don't trust doctors, or rather, trust pharmaceutical companies to offer accurate and successful medication to be effective in any way. Or maybe that's just an excuse.

Bah humbug.

2 comments:

zephoria said...

Help me understand what you have problems with. Recognizing that my work cannot describe everyone exactly, but instead works to describe trends, where do you think i'm wrong? (If you could CC danah at danah dot org, i'd be super appreciative.)

j.black said...

Oh danah, talk about last person I actually expected to find commenting.

I'm aware that it would be absurd to expect every teen MySpace user to be mapped out individually - but I think that sometimes the brush is too wide, if that makes sense? I've found watching teens on MySpace is like watching a whole bunch of overlapping currents in a river - there is the general 'The River Flows This Way' statement which is undoubtedly incredibly important to be aware of.

But the finer details show when describing smaller niches, that is tribes or cliques which are the undercurrents, and offer a deeper colourful illustration of trends in teenage internet/SocialNetwork use which is important for understanding not only how the web is shaping physical social spaces for teens right now, but also how teens are shaping virtual social spaces -- and what that means for the future evolution of social etiquette on platforms like MySpace as well as in physical MeatSpace

I think it might be a personal insatiable need for thorough and occasionally overly complex information. I don't believe you're wrong in any sense, I just want *more* data on teen use of social networks which, as part of the demographic described, I might not be aware of or hold a blasé attitude towards. (You know the shelf life for information in this day...)

Of course there is the argument that by charting deviations and oddities and undercurrents in trends, one would start getting too hypothetical and break away from being a fact-based authority on the subject, to being an all and out theorist.

Man, I hope that made sense?