I appreciated danah boyd’s video interview because as Traci mentioned it is nice to “see a face with a name.” The history that she gave behind SNSs was interesting. The story of how MySpace is sort of a spin-off of Friendster, which was kicking people off its site, was news to me. This is an example of how online communities are built. Different sites appeal to different groups and demographics, as boyd pointed out. Sort of like a smorgasbord – there is something for everyone.
The study by the The Guardian that she referred to also caught my attention. It described how much a child’s safe play area has narrowed in the last three generations. It’s odd to think that via the Internet our children can virtually roam all over the world, but we are sometimes afraid for them to wander two blocks from their home. Equally peculiar is the fact that surfing the net from the comfort zone of our homes still carries an element of danger. We could feed our paranoia and decide that there is no safe place or we can accept the fact that we need to be cautious in whatever we do and wherever we go. That is just sensible.
She makes good points about the power of the Internet to create bottom-up pressure to make changes in our society. It will be interesting to see what effect the freedom of information, networking, and other services will have on our society. From what I understand the United States Postal Service is already suffering due to the popularity of email. Also, during the last Christmas holiday shopping period, I recall hearing reports that more people than ever had participated in online shopping. This does not bode well for malls and shopping centers. But, more than that, just the fact that huge numbers of people can network about other issues such as fuel prices and where to find the best prices or to arrange a boycott is empowering.