Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Boyd Identity.

To be honest, I'm not to keen on Boyd's views. I think particularly, her research methods involving MySpace are questionable at best (she researches through "hanging out??") and her entire article is just an glorified psychological projection of self, disguised as fact and statistics. She seems to believe that people on MySpace find some deep meaning in their lives or some unsaid psychological growth through hours spent perusing profile pages. Additionally she makes statements, generalizing the social networking users out there. On page 14 she notes, "The reason that the Top Friends feature wreaks social havoc on teens' lives is because there are social consequences in publicly announcing one's friends, best friends, and bestest friends. Feelings are hurt when individuals find that someone they feel close with does not reciprocate." I think the majority of people out there who use facebook or MySpace, really don't care for all that drama. At least my friends don't.
For the sake of discussion however, her two points-- 1. Separating the concept of being in public, from speaking in public and 2. participation becoming a form of communication. According to Boyd, being in public means to live a passive existence in the eyes of the public, potentially never becoming noticed by the large majority of those out there. Speaking in public means to actively participate. Whether it is to create a "Fakester" account, or to post witty comments / testimonials, or to band-wagon on a recent my space meme and represent it under your profile. More importantly, speaking in public means to identify yourself, though not necessarily loudly. Examples of this are given by Boyd in her section on teens fabricating identifications online.
One example I keep returning to (off the top of my head) is Leeroy Jenkins.

-Boyd's questions (not including Youth Culture vs Adults).


Charlie said...

I would defend Boyd's research methods and content. Myspace/Facebook have a huge impact on this generation and on the development of an individual's identity, and I think Boyd's exposé of these effects is accurate and relevant. She does not research through hanging out; she researches the youth's act of hanging out using online networks.
Also, regarding the quotation, "Feelings are hurt when individuals find that someone they feel close with does not reciprocate," I wouldn't call that much of a generalization. Are you saying that there's a large population of people out there who are simply not affected at all when they find out people they considered friends don't actually care about them?
I'm not saying everyone is some huge drama queen, but the effects are there whether people admit it or not. They are there to the same extent that they are there in the "real" world. Myspace/Facebook is a real world, and all acts of participation are a form of communication. Going on facebook is like going to a big party, and inevitably people are thinking about how others are perceiving them. Writing on someone's public Wall is like yelling at them from across the room so all can hear. Sending someone a private message is like taking them upstairs to talk about something personal. Visibly responding to one person's comments but not another's is like ignoring the weird girl on your right when she asks you to pass the hookah hose and then locking lips to pass smoke with the hot girl on your left. So when people interpret what others communicate via Myspace/Facebook participation, they are reading messages that affect them and adjusting their perception of what people think of them accordingly.

Does anyone else agree, or do you think that people actually just don't even care or think about what they see on Myspace/Facebook. That people participate so actively suggests they do care...

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scsorto said...

I think that there are various types of users of Myspace, and Danah Boyd's attempts to "generalize" everyone are her downfall. While I agree with DKTa that her research is questionable, I think that her results bother me even more. Her results are all inclusive, they don't narrow down the typical myspace user: they include a little bit of everyone, almost as if she purposefully just infused all the myspace stereotypes into her paper. I guess my biggest problem is that she is trying to come up with some big general myspace user, but this isn't possible. it's like trying to say "all santa clara students are xyz".