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Tag Archives: social network sites

Ice Cream Spy’s Conclusion…For Now…

This certainly isn’t the conclusion for the NYC Ice Cream Spy, but just of me formally keeping the class updated on its whereabouts. I definitely intend to keep carrying out this project and seeing how far I can take it throughout the Spring and into the Summer.

I’ve moved my “How-To” section on how I made the bot/website back to the WordPress blog, as to not clutter  the Blogger site, containing the map that I am hoping NYCers will use. Sorry for all the changing up!

Here’s my post on how the promotion of Ice Cream Spy has been going over this past week: http://icecreamspy.wordpress.com/

A quick look at the stats:

  • @IceCreamSpy – Following: 413 | Followers: 82 | Listed: 6
  • 7 ice cream trucks displaying sticker (Honieh & Ryan- thank you for the wonderful idea of making stickers/talking to ice cream truck owners; it seems to be working well!)
  • 24 geotagged ice cream trucks on map (on Blogger site)

Ice cream truck displaying sticker

Week 3 Summary: Networked Groups and Social Networks

Some of the major themes that tie this week’s readings together include understanding how technology has changed the way groups form and individuals collaborate, the way in which this communication happens in public mediated spaces and understanding what affects these are having on our society.

danah boyd: Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?

danah boyd (who doesn’t capitalize her name on purpose) is a Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet. In this podcast/article/presentation she discusses mediated publics and the relationship of these publics to teenagers in society. She points to four properties that are part of mediated communication spaces (e.g. publics) which are radically changing how younger generations are negotiating this public world:

  1. Persistence: What you say sticks around a long longer than they used to; things are no longer ephemeral
  2. Searchability: Today’s teens are faced with an environment where they are easily searchable, both to people that they want to be found by (friends) and by those they don’t (marketers, sexual predators, etc)
  3. Replicability: The ability for things to spread very fast online, it’s impossible to distinguish between a copy and an original
  4. Invisible audiences: We’re used to unmediated spaces, where we have a sense of who can hear us, with these mediated spaces, the audiences are invisible, so you don’t know who your audience is

With respect to social network sites (which she believes these sites should be called rather than social networking sites), she talks about three of their key features, including profiles, friends features, and comments. She sites that these features are often more public than adults are used to, but they are means by which young people use these sites according to their needs. boyd concludes by saying that she sees the internet as both a mirror and a magnifier for what goes on offline in the life of teenagers. Although for adults this may appear shockingly public, it is the environment that these kids are growing up in.


  1. boyd talks about the distinctions of public spaces for young people vs. adults. Do you see this distinction as relevant several later? Or do you think that as older generations have begun to adopt these tools something has fundamentally changed? If so, how?
  2. Do you see a valid distinction n between social network sites and social networking sites? Do you think this is valid as these sites have grown in popularity and more and more people have adopted these technologies? Could you think of examples of each?

Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Event Video/Audio)

In this audio presentation from February of 2008, Clay Shirky (a professor in the ITP Program at Tisch) starts by reminding the audience we are living through the largest increase in human expressive capability thanks to the internet. This has led to a move away from a traditional one-way communication medium to a two-way communications system. As a result of this, group action has gotten easier, to the point of “ridiculously easy group forming.” There are several consequences to this world of two-way group communication, including the recognition that groups get complicated faster than they get larger. According to Shirky it’s not necessarily enough to understand the technology itself that allowed this to happen, some of it consists of even the most basic things like e-mail, but instead it’s only when the technology itself becomes boring, that its social effects becomes important. The spread of the capability and the massive adoption of its technology is what have the ability to drive social group interaction forward.

Shirky then discusses the ways in which the action of a group adds up to something more than just aggregated individual action. He points to four key steps. The first is sharing, a sort of “me-first collaboration” in which the social affects are aggregated after the fact; people share links, urls, tags, and eventually come together around a type. This type of sharing is a reverse of the so-called old order of sharing, where you’d congregate first and then share (examples include flickr, delicious, etc.) The second is conversation, that is, the synchronization of people with each other and the coming together to learn more about something and to get better at it. The third is collaboration, in which a group forms under the purpose of some common effort. It requires a division of labor, and teamwork. It can often be characterized by people wanting to fix a market failure, and is motivated by increasing accessibility. The fourth and final step is collective action, which Shirky sights as “mainly still in the future.” The key point about collective action is that the fate of the group as a whole becomes important.


  1. Shirky concludes that moving forward he expects an increase in collective action. Given that this talk was from February of 2008, can you think of some examples in which the kind of collection action he talks about has become more normal and integrated in our society?
  2. Have we seen the mass scale adoption of sharing, conversation, collaboration and collective action? Are we at a point now where we’ve seen the technology become boring? If so, where do you think the future lies?
  3. What do you think the relationship is between collaborative action and creative effective social change in areas such as human rights, the environment etc?

Clay Shirky Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

Shirky argues that the critical technology for the 20th century that served as a vast civic surplus was the sitcom; for decades Americans spent their free time watching television. He goes so far as to describe it as a “collective bender” akin to the actual gin bender experienced in the early phases of the industrial revolution. He says that we are at a point now where we are starting to see the cognitive surplus as an asset rather than as a crisis. The key point here is that while media has traditionally been based primarily on the notion of consumption (you produce, I sit around watching endlessly for hours), we are now actually moving towards an era where people like to produce and share just as much, if not more than they like to consume. Since technology has made the producing and sharing possible, he argues that we will see a new era of participation that will lead to big change. He concludes by asking “If we carve out a little bit of the cognitive surplus and deploy it here, could we make a good thing happen?” He bets the answer is yes.


  1. What do you think? Do you agree with Shirky concluding statement? Can you think of examples either from your own life or those around you that illustrate his ideas?

Clay Shirky: “Sharing Anchors Community” from Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.

Shirky discusses how as groups grow, they become more and more complex. As groups form, coordination, organization and even communication becomes harder. His cites this complexity with the words of physicist Philip Anderson, saying that “more is different.” As these groups grow, it becomes impossible for everyone to interact directly with everyone else. Traditionally this has been solved by established hierarchies, in which institutions and organizations have established in order to run them efficiently. However, now groups are forming without the set boundaries and parameters that have traditionally shaped many kind of groups. New social tools relieve some of those burdens, allowing for a new kind of group-forming. He gives several examples that vary with respect to their contents: photos from the Mermaid Day Parade in Coney Island, the London Transport Bombings in 2005, and the 2006 military coup in Thailand. These are all techniques that use simple sharing to anchor the creation of new groups. The kind of tools that allow this kind of group forming to happen (Flickr for example) succeed not by increasing any sort of managerial oversight, but “by abandoning any hope of such oversight in the first place, instead putting in place tools for the self-synchronization of otherwise latent groups.”

Shirky cites these kinds of group as post-managerial organizations, and discusses just how new tools provide ways for self-assemble. Our new electronic networks are “enabling novel forms of collective action, enabling the creation of collaborative groups that are larger and more distributed than at any other time in history.” Shirky describes how these new communication tools and social patterns end up being a better fit for our desires and talents for group efforts. He then describes the concepts of sharing, cooperation, collaborative production and collective action, which I detail above.