Thursday, April 3, 2008

the "ing" difference

I'm big on clarity when it comes to the terms we use, particularly in professional and technical documentation. It's no wonder that I was exuberant over Madeline's description of the difference between social network spaces and social networking spaces. With appropriate reference to the scary-smart Danah Boyd, here's what Madeline gave us (paraphrased from notes):

A social network space has the following three characteristics: 1) Constructed boundaries understood and recognized by all users; 2) Within the bounded system, the user controls the groups and individuals with which to interact; 3) The user is active within the space, it doesn't count if you're not doing something.

A social networking space is used explicitly to make online (virtual?) connections that will be translated into off-line (non-virtual?) connections.

Mad's description is useful for me because it provides a starting point from which I can consider how these different spaces can be used in online learning situations. My question about virtual/non-virtual is in reaction to something Mad said about how we treat online spaces as "virtual" -- as if the interaction in the spaces is not real. I'm going to delve into that a little later because it bumps up against many of the discussions we have with faculty about the nature of online teaching and learning.

And with that, I'm now officially on Facebook. Yes, woefully late in the game compared to my peers, but there nonetheless... and already wondering about the relative creepiness of it.

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