Friday, June 29, 2007

NNT, Day 2

Here I am again and this time I've snagged a seat near one of the few electrical outlets in this lecture hall. I'll try to catch up some of my earlier notes before the morning plenary starts--we're already 15 minutes late though...

Yesterday I also saw Tiziania Terranova and she had interesting things to say about immaterial labor, capturing customers and harnessing collective intelligence. She compared Yochai Benkler's ideas with Maurizio Lazzarato and Gabriel Tarde. Mainly she was arguing that social networks and even more online communities are about relationships, not economics, even though they have real economic consequences. One of many instances when it was unclear whether a speaker really meant to talk about networks or communities--this is a problem in my paper as well. Also some trouble just with the microphones hampered her talk, which was too bad, because I think she was getting at an important idea.

Next was Wendy Chun talking about imagined networks. This was the best of the first three presentations. She started with some questions: what needs to happen so that we think of interactions as networked; how do social and technical abstractions coincide, interact, etc; and a third question I missed because my jet-lag made me fuzz out for a minute... Maybe it was the most basic: are networks communities?

An important point to note before she gets started: public/private has shifted to all private that are open/closed. Her primary example (which unfortunately is not so well known in Europe) was Facebook which she argued is a profoundly nostalgic in its drive to create a feeling of intimacy. And, people join networks when they feel excluded. --probably true, but I think almost everyone feels that to some degree, or in some arenas, so is it a useful distinction? She went on to describe Facebook and how it works and eventually got to the idea that these networks are enduring though ephemeral. But, they aren't memory, they are just data storage. Memory requires "diligent regeneration." I'm sorry to say that by this point I was really getting unfocused, so I hope her paper will be available online--it seems that hardly anyone turned one in on time for the proceedings CD.

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