Same Old BS Different Medium


Boyd, Sample and Park reiterate the themes race, class, inequality, oppression, racism, labels…. (I’m sure I’m missing a few) and apply these themes to social networks and communities. Boyd focuses on the separation of society onto two major social media sites: Myspace and Facebook. Sample and Park describe how twitter can be used as a platform for activism.

Boyd draws parallels between white flight and teens movement from Myspace to Facebook. Myspace and Facebook resembled a prison yard with networks separated by race, class, gender…etc. Myspace housed those prisoners from the hood while the white-collar criminals went over to Facebook. White flight may have been a little too strong of a word. No one was actively preventing Myspace users from switching over to Facebook; whereas with white flight there were actual obstacles to be overcome in order to move to the suburbs. .

Sample and Park opened my mind to new ways the internet has become a digital medium for activism, namely twitter.

Sample shed light on how robots are being used on twitter to disseminate information. What he really focused on were robots used for activism. Sample gives the example of the @NSA_PRISMbot which he used to spread ‘fake news’ about the NRA. For the academic these robots can be a source of data for future studies.

Park took a different approach. Park built a community from the bottom up and gave that organization a name, #NotYourAsianSidekick. Private companies were consulting her about how to get a popular hashtag. Park broke down how a hashtag is a community thing. It is interesting how in the end the companies still put the spotlight back on her.

If you are online chances are you are part of a community. Individuals either actively seek out these communities or unknowingly join. In most instances users knowingly migrate towards a group of their choosing whether by hashtags or online friend circles. Right now I think a lot of us are trying to figure out how all of this changes our perception of community

About trapanesed

I'm a social studies and financial literacy teacher in the Jersey City public school system. I enjoy eating, sleeping, martial arts, and playing poker.
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5 Responses to Same Old BS Different Medium

  1. ohh_kei says:

    I think you’re right about the usage of the “white flight” metaphor by Boyd- there was no gatekeeper in Facebook preventing groups of people to join and reside in a certain community in the way that white flight literally occurred in our nation’s suburbs. I do think that her metaphor helped me visualize the move of a plethora of teens (and other folks) to one site over another. Of course, the creation of online communities are inherently exclusive in their topics and hashtags on twitter (you have to be a part of a certain conversation to know of or be a part of a particular movement/group) and you have to be friends with someone on facebook in order to do so. I really appreciate that social networks do create a sense of community, as you claim is inherently impossible, because it allows people to remain connected and apart of some conversations they will not be able to due to time, space, or geographic limitations. Furthermore, as you noted, hashtags do help create a sense of community as well because people interested in the given topic will flock to it and either participate or watch. Its all really cool.


    • ohh_kei says:

      One more thing, I disagree with your title. Some conversations and sense of communities cannot and are not fostered in the ‘real’ world in the ways that they are digitally. People are participating in conversations with people all over their city, state, country, and even the globe. Shared interests, political activism, popular culture etc have people engaged with strangers, family, members, friends, and coworkers in ways unimaginable in real life. It may sound like a stretch but its true. Just look at the presidential campaign or the awards ceremonies of this year and see how conversations and sub-conversations have spurred.


      • trapanesed says:

        Did you just troll me?


      • lornaebner says:

        One thing hashtags do, that you mentioned, is create communities that don’t have geographic limitations. In this way, the spread of knowledge is almost beyond comprehension as far as audience. It’s a really amazing phenomenon, especially for social movements, that is still hard to come to terms with as far as implications and results.


  2. lornaebner says:

    Thanks for sharing! Boyd’s white flight metaphor has limitations, like the one you mentioned, but for people who aren’t super savvy about social media, it’s creation, and specific design, it can be really useful in comparing it to a concrete situation that many are familiar with.
    Also, I’m with you when you speak about how the readings have introduced new concepts of community within social media. It has always been called a community, but there are a million ways to define community, in real life, and on the web. Navigating communities, particularly ones that may not be associated with each other, is also something that users are learning to deal with. In this week’s reading, Moya Bailey, discusses the use of “digital alchemy.” Her example was the transgender women of color community using twitter and the hashtag #girlslikeus to reclaim public representation, dialogue, and language. What are your thoughts on the use of hashtags and twitter in social movements? Do you think that they create a viable community?


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