[iDC] How does social media educate?

danah boyd zephoria at zephoria.org
Sun Feb 11 15:40:11 EST 2007

On Feb 11, 2007, at 2:38 AM, Armin Medosch wrote:

> first of all, when I follow, loosely, I must admit, this debate here
> about social media an interview comes to my mind which I recently did
> with a young hacker. he said, haveing looked at myspace et al, he came
> to the conclusion that whoever called those environments 'social' must
> have a very different idea from his about what is 'social'.
> so why do eminent scholars and digital media experts on this list buy
> into the social media hype? is it because big capital and mainstream
> media has developed a couple of years ago the notion of web 2.0?  
> and now
> we are forced to believe that those things are important? how  
> important
> are they really?

What are you talking about?  How on earth would the practices that  
have emerged on MySpace not be considered social?  There's no doubt  
that there's also a commercial component to these systems, but to say  
that there's no social component to them is preposterous.  Every day  
millions of teenagers login to hang out with their friends, converse,  
show off, validate one another, and otherwise go about a slew of  
social practices.  Every day, i talk to teenagers who tell me about  
all of the different social interactions that get played out across  
multiple media - mobiles, IM, MySpace, etc.   I would concede that  
the artifact itself is not inherently social, but as an environment,  
it is designed to and successfully supports social interaction.

And you ask how important these systems are?  Have you spent time  
with American teenagers lately?  Or musicians?  (Or LA scenesters,  
but that's a different story...)  MySpace has radically altered the  
social dynamics and information flow amongst these groups (and  
between bands and fans).  And this is just MySpace.  There are  
hundreds of these sites that have changed the lives of all different  
relevant social groups.  Who cares if the industry and media has  
hyped it and is creating all sorts of funny terms that have become  
naturalized into the vocabulary of those invested in the systems?   
The fact of the matter is that these systems are playing a  
significant role in society today and it's critical to pay attention  
to them for exactly that reason.  It seems idiotic to me to only pay  
attention to the systems that i theoretically value.  This is like  
saying that pop culture and "low-brow" art should not be studied  
because the only thing of value is that which has "high-brow"  
cultural capital.  MySpace is mainstream, like it or not, and thus i  
think it's *extremely* important.


- - - - - - - - - - d a n a h ( d o t ) o r g - - - - - - - - - -
"taken out of context i must seem so strange"

musings :: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts

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