Anthropology of social networking
- A New Public Order: Network Politics and the Tea Party Movement
- Doing social network sites: the case of Cibervalle
- Facebook in Trinidad
- Mobile Berlin: Social Media and the New Europe
- Occupying Cyberspace: Indonesian Cyberactivism and Occupy Wall Street
- 'Online togetherness' of Brazilian migrants on social network sites
- Secret communication systems in Facebook
- Shifting Fields: Social Media, Religion and Popular Culture in Brazil and the Diaspora
- Social networking and social science
- The social experience of ageing in a technologically connected world
- What 'friends' on the screen may mean: social networking shaping the Filipino diaspora
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Social networking blog
Child in India? Sorry! No Facebook then!
Mon, 20 May 2013 11:57:07 +0000
The Delhi High Court had questioned the Union Government of India on why minors (children below 18 years of age) were on Facebook and Google. This was in response to a case filed by an ideologue of a major political party in India. The issue they wanted explained was how someone under the age of [...]
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What is social media about?
Thu, 09 May 2013 11:53:59 +0000
In this post I will summarise my individual interest in this project and how it relates to my previous work. In my PhD I discussed a particular and apparently individual reaction to the lack of appropriate alignment of the individual to the external forces that come from society. I showed that in rural southeast Romania [...]
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‘What is social media?’ – a definition
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 23:01:01 +0000
Having described our project as the Global Social Media Impact Study, we realised there was just one little thing we hadn’t actually done. This was to define, at least for our purposes, what we mean by the words ‘social media’. Our studies are ethnographies, there is pretty much nothing we would not wish to include. [...]
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The secret world of the inbox
Wed, 24 Apr 2013 20:03:35 +0000
This is my last week in my field site until 2014. I’ve been hussling to spend as much time with as many people as I can in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been invited to a wedding, a ceremony of Hindu prayers (a puja), a political rally, a cd launch by a local band and [...]
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Chinese ‘WeChat’ social media app will make the world look around and shake!
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 01:38:40 +0000
Two years is a long time in the world of social media. This point has been reinforced to me multiple times in the last few weeks since my return to China. When I was in the country carrying out research for my PhD in 2011, no-one in my fieldsite was talking about WeChat (威信 weixin). [...]Read more...
The social experience of ageing in a technologically connected world
Di Shaw, PhD candidate in Anthropology, Adelaide, Australia
The key purpose of my research was to understand how using the Internet mediates the social lives of older Australians. My research ethnographically explored the experiences of older Australians on an international social networking site (SNS) designed for people over the age of 40. My project embraced both online and offline components of my participants social practices. The offline component of the research was critical in understanding how socially connecting online interacts with the everyday social lives of older people.I spent 14 months online participating with, and observing, the online community. At the time of the research (2010), there were approximately 12,000 members primarily from Western countries such as Australia, America, Canada and the UK. Participants ranged in age between 60 and 85 years, although age ranges for the broader community were 50-90 years of age. It took a full 6 months to develop enough trust to explore the social lives of these technologically savvy social networking seniors!
Key themes that have emerged from my research include the following:
- Online presence and friendship formingOnline presence is based on both online and offline events and utilises the personal values of the participants for the purposes of friendship forming. My participants tell me that being online and socially interacting with their online friends is as real to them as sitting in the same room with a friend. I will be analysing the key ways that older people make their presence felt and argue that online relationships carry the same weight for my participants as offline ones.
- The emergence of self and the rebirth of communicationAs we age, our thinking process slows down. My participants, especially those who are significantly older – the 80 plus year olds – tell me that being online allows them to socially interact with others "at their own pace". I argue that being online and socially interacting with others, frees the internalised embodied self — the “grey matter” — of the constraints of an aged and crumbling external shell, essentially allowing the re-birth of communication.
- Social inclusionMy research shows that being online adds quality to the social lives of my participants. My research provides anthropological insight into the experiences that older people have online, which they attribute to friendship forming, social support, as well as feelings of social inclusion, and the ways in which being online contributes positively to their everyday lives.
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