[iDC] How does social media educate? :: a playlist in response to danah

Fred Stutzman fred at metalab.unc.edu
Wed Feb 14 14:27:40 EST 2007

09. All privacy is created equal.
The privacy expectations and assumptions of developers are being directly 
integrated into the social fabric constructed by web 2.0/social media. 
Unfortunately, we are not all equally powerful to be transparent, thus 
limiting the value we can get from systems and architecture that depend on 
disclosure and reciprocity.

This ties into a quote from Barry Wellman: "The less one is powerful, the 
more transparent his or her life. The powerful will remain much less 


On Wed, 14 Feb 2007, Ulises wrote:

> danah poses a challenging question:
> What values are embedded deeply into the web 2.0/social media ethos that we are
> perpetuating by 1) building these systems into the infrastructure of social
> life; 2) idealizing them as the great equalizer?
> I can by no means attempt a full response, but maybe I can 'mashup' one from
> various contributions to the discussion as well as from my own. Think of the
> following as the Playlist for a Critique of Social Media (i.e., it's the list of
> the songs to be included, but not the full melodies):
> 01. How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? :: sociable web media (even when
> operating within 'open' models) exists in a capitalist economy; it cannot exist
> prior to its commercialization
> 02. Can't Buy Me Love :: the architectures of participation in sociable web
> media are determined primarily by the dynamics of a market economy, which raises
> ethical questions because capitalism is inherently anti-social
> 03. If I Knew You Were Coming (I'd've Baked A Cake) :: yes, social media objects
> operate in both a market and a gift economy, but the 'gift' is always
> subordinate to the opportunities to derive profit from it; the best we can hope
> for is hybrid capitalism
> 04. This Unavoidable Thing Between Us :: sociable web media *can* be potential
> resources of anticapitalist struggle; however, the actualization of these
> resources cannot be framed in terms of bridging the 'digital divide' in order to
> grant everyone access to the 'marketplace' of the public
> 05. It Smells Like Teen Spirit :: sociable web media controlled by corporations
> produces plural monocultures, which should not be confused for diverse or
> authentic social spaces
> 06. Where The Hood At :: the network is a limited model for organizing social
> realities; nodocentrism can be particularly corrosive to local connections, as
> it makes anything not plugged-in to the network virtually invisible (despite the
> hype, the hyperlocal does not enhance but subordinate the local and the social
> to a market economy)
> 07. Alone Together :: the social scripts of networked individualism leave people
> more alienated and prone to control by state and corporate interests,
> monopolizing social and personal desire
> 08. We Don't Need No Education :: we need to not just teach/learn 'with'
> sociable web media, but 'against' it; we can struggle to design for more
> autonomy and diversity, but we need to simultaneously develop the 'literacy' to
> question the assumptions behind it
> If I have missed some important 'tracks,' please feel free to add them or re-mix
> them to your heart's content.
> Saludos,
> -Ulises
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Fred Stutzman
AIM: chimprawk

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