[Air-L] What went wrong with Multiply?

Andrew Schrock aschrock at usc.edu
Fri Jul 22 11:03:44 PDT 2011

> I would offer that in addition to the dynamics that danah mentioned, I personally believe it is the way in which those dynamics are presented to the user. Part HCI, part social construct ("dynamics"). A friend of mine once told me that a solutions often lay in how you view the problem - similarly, interactions often lay in how we view the environment. Not exactly prophetic, but almost too simplistic.

Culture is still a disputed term and means quite different things to different disciplines. Software engineers might see features as simply fostering a desired culture, which is too simple - it's not just about features. I am pessimistic about the adage of "just give your customers what they want" recipe to grow membership. History is written by and about winners, who tend to view their product as successful because they were smart enough to recognize an opportunity when it came along. Nicholas' work could be very valuable, and suggests that there are "secret histories" of social networking sites that have evolved in another direction, failed, or have been mis-characterized - these stories must be out there. 

IMHO "social shaping" and "affordances" are an HCI-friendly way to think about both the way individuals have a role in creating community/actively selecting from resources via sensemaking. Then there is the impact of macro social forces (economic, social structure, etc.). Cultural sociologists would view culture as the first mover in situations like this, asking a version of the classic sociological question: what is the relationship of individuals to society? Not to speak for danah, but she has already presented a very nuanced perspective on how "class" relates to movements between social network sites. Maybe that's in part addressing Rasha's very appropriate question of where these dynamics come from, and what influence they have. 


Andrew Schrock
USC Annenberg Doctoral Student
aschrock at usc.edu

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