Networked for Life by Barry Wellman (NetLab) at mesh14

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Networked Life: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Barry Wellman NetLab iSchool, University of Toronto [email protected]

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Networked for Life: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly A presentation by Barry Wellman (NetLab) as part of a session entitled Disconnecting from the Grid: Forward-thinking or Flawed Premise? at mesh14 in Toronto (May, 2014)

Transcript of Networked for Life by Barry Wellman (NetLab) at mesh14

  • 1. Barry Wellman NetLab iSchool, University of Toronto [email protected]

2. In a Nutshell The Bad: Fixed belief that we are becoming more disconnected as our silos break down The Good Realization that the triple revolution is creating new, less-siloed opportunities for connectivity The Ugly Doing the hard work of collecting systematic evidence to evaluate networked life 3. 4 Traditional Small Groups: Door-to-Door Silos Old workgroups (& communities) based on - proximity, bureaucratic hierarchy, kinship All observe and interact with all Deal with only one group Knowledge comes only from within the group and stays within the group 4. 5 The Bad: Recurrent Claims That Things Are Always Falling Apart From urbanization, bureaucratization, industrialization, capitalism/socialism & technological change to the internet and mobile Thomas Jefferson: great constitutionalist, but loved silos "The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body (1784) Ferdinand Tnnies (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, 1887) thru Robert Putnam (Bowling Alone, 2000) to Sherry Turkle (Alone Together, 2010) 5. The Good The Turn From Groups To Social Networks 6 6. The Triple Revolution Three Phenomena Intertwined 1. Social Network: Reach Beyond Tight Groups: More Multiplicity, Partial Attention, Less Boundaries 2. Internet: Personalization, Weakened Distance 3. Mobile-ization of Info & Communication Hyper-Personal Body Appendages: Third Skin Accessible To You Available To Others Networked Individualism 7 7. 8 18 Month Old Boys with their Favorite Toys: Moms Laptop & Dads iPhone 8. Person To Person: Networked Individualism Mobile Phones, Portable Computing Individual, not work group or household Personalized networking Tailored media interactions Hyperconnectivity Private concerns replace public Online interactions linked with offline Glocalization 9. 10 People Function as Networked Individuals With Partial Membership in Multiple Networks .. and less as group or category members Social ties & events organized around the individual rather than a social unit such as a family, neighborhood, school, or organization The person has become the individual unit of social connectivity; and not the place, be it workplace, school, or household Agency: Each person operates own network Mobile phones and internet allow person-to-person contact to supplement place-to-place communication The social network revolution has provided the opportunities and stresses for people to reach beyond the world of tight groups 10. 11 Networked Individualism: Person-to-Person Structural Changes Linked as Individuals Less Groupiness More Agency Less Place Bound More Achieved, Less Ascribed 11. The New Media is The New Neighbourhood Lines between info, communication have blurred Geographic location is real, but less important In addition to neighbours, workmates: Most info-sharing transcends spatial & social boundaries Networked individuals can exchange & create media Projecting their voices to more extended audiences that become part of their social worlds 12. MIT Press 358 pp $14 (Kindle $9) 13. The Ugly: Actually Doing the Research Fourth study of residents of East York, Toronto since 1968 In-depth interviews with 101 residents. Transcribed, anonymized Research Issues Nature of life in multiple teams How does digital fit into ordinary life And what does mobile add? Home-work connectivity Privacy concerns Variations by age, gender, SES, family situations 14. Preliminary Findings People value privacy from each other, not institutions (NSA, Google) Everyday use of digital media integrated with rest of life use whatever is handy and appropriate Multiple connectivity Lots more this year as we analyze 15. 16 Networked Individual -- Nelu Handa @ Internet Caf, Toronto