Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Secret lives

The Independent on Sunday carried an article entitled "How embarassing is it to see your parents on Facebook?" The point being that the original users of the system are becoming uneasy about the influx of johnny-come-lately parents, politicians and the 'strange tide of "friends".'

So is this pioneer-fear or resentment of settlers within a space that pioneers thought was for them and for their university or college-based nonsense? Or is it less resentment of settlers and more a resentment of the presence of different communities [similar to the way that immigrant Japanese or native American communities were regarded, driven out or coralled by pioneers in the West of America?]. Or is it simply pioneers getting tired of their landscape, which has become less risky, adventurous and enthralling.

The flip side of this is the view that parents should be on social networking sites precisely because it is regarded as risky and adventurous, and because you do not know whom it will enthral. There are growing reports of police and parents spending more time on-line because more space, that is not regulated in the same way as "real space", is 'a perfect hunting ground' for ne'er do wells.

This tension between the psychologies of pioneers and settlers, and their precise reasons for being in a particular space or matrix of spaces, will impact upon the development of specific social networking sites, in just the same way that advertisers' refusal to have their brands linked with extremist and facist political organisations impact on those sites.

These ownership tensions exist with every form of "land": real; virtual; institutional; personal. Social networking requires social conventions and accepted rules of engagement. This is something that we spend less time on than we should; maybe issues of control and ownership in Web 2.0 will alter that.

1 comment:

Pam said...

It is very embarrassing for young people to have parents anywhere near their social spaces, real or actual. I took a big leap before embracing social networking..too old etc, but think it's fine. It's all about tribes, territories and boundaries isn't it. When does a 'pioneer' become a coloniser? Pretty often, I reckon.