ConvergeSouth 2006 – Social Networking, MySpace

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Walked in on Bora Coturnix ( BlogAroundTheClock ) discussing his use of MySpace to identify folk by common Yugoslavian last names and then reach out through th “Add to Friend” function of MySpace to contact them…

Nearly every one contacted joined. He goes on to describe, given the youth of those folks responding, how his profile makes it absolutely clear he’s 40 years-old, a parent, a husband and not some freakish MySpace stalker.

OK, this post got lost in the ether. I’m reconstructing from memory.

Several comments on privacy on social networks. Jen – “as soon as you put your private information in it becomes public…”

Ed Cone – taught kids to treat the ‘net like the local mall – your kids know not to wander off with strangers – real problem is folks don’t understand that interacting on the ‘net is just like the “real” world…

Audience member – it isn’t like the “real” world…when someone is reviewing a college grads history they probably know there’s a good chance that person had been drunk once or twice – that’s OK – it doesn’t disqualify them – BUT if a picture of them drunk shows up on MySpace – that’s it….

Moderator starts a digression on rural Internet access up Edenton way…”there should be an effort like rural electrification to bring Internet to everyone” – I point out that the telcos have been collecting surcharges since 1996 (specified in the 1996 Telecommunications Act) but that they hadn’t fulfilled their obligation and squandered 100’s of billion dollars. I mentioned our Chapel Hill effort to create a muni-network – to bridge the digital divide. A professor at NC A&T asks “what about computers?” I mention that it’s connectivity not computers that we’re short of – that we’re awash in cast-off computers. She says “I want those computers”. Turns out she was part of an organization of 90 GSO churches trying to get computers into the community. They’d tried everything.

Cool thing happens. Several GSO tech people jump in and offer to coordinate getting free gear and free access for her group! There’s about a 10 minute side-bar where various GSO folk do a quick ad hoc plan to make things happen.

I kid the group saying “for the young folk, what you just saw was some old-style social networking”. I really hope the GSO folk rise to the challenge.

Moderator steers the discussion back to social networks. Anonymity, privacy and identity discussion ensues.

Moderator: as soon as everyone can log into MySpace a bunch of “illegal immigrants will flood the MySpace nation” . Audience picks up on dilutive effect of opening flood gates – diminishment of special quality of MySpace.

Student: While she was working with Turner (? Broadcasting) this summer they had their interns search MySpace to report back on prospective employment candidates. They farmed out the job to students because the company didn’t have direct access to MySpace [kind of sleazy, ethically questionable on the company’s part].

Pretty good session. I had more notes that got truncated. Hopefully someone else took good notes.

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