Understanding Socio-Technical Phenomena in a Web2.0 Era

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by: danah boyd

Earlier this week, I had the honor of giving a talk at the opening of the Microsoft Research New England Lab. I have uploaded a crib of that talk, entitled "Understanding Socio-Technical Phenomena in a Web2.0 Era" for anyone who is interested in what I had to say. The abstract is here:

Web2.0 signals an iteration in Internet culture, shaped by changes in technology, entrepreneurism, and social practices. Beneath the buzzwords that flutter around Web2.0, people are experiencing a radical reworking of social media. Networked public spaces that once catered to communities of interest are now being leveraged by people of all ages to connect with people they already know. Social network sites like MySpace and Facebook enable people to map out their social networks in order to create public spaces for interaction. People can use social media to vocalize their thoughts, although having a blog or video feed doesn’t guarantee having an audience. Tagging platforms allow people to find, organize and share content in entirely new ways. Mass collaborative projects like Wikipedia allow people to collectively create valuable cultural artifacts. These are but a few examples of Web2.0.

Getting to the core of technologically-mediated phenomena requires understanding the interplay between everyday practices, social structures, culture, and technology. In this talk, I will map out some of what’s currently taking place, offer a framework for understanding these phenomena, and discuss strategies for researching emergent practices.

Videos of my talk along with the other talks at the event can be found here. For those interested in computer science education (or CS in general), I strongly recommend the one by Erik Demaine (where he makes a compelling case for how computer science is everywhere). For those into design, definitely check out the talk by Bill Buxton (where he refutes the notion that everyone is a designer). Both of these talks had me giggling and smiling for hours.

Original Post: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/09/25/understanding_s.html