The Hard Pencil are drawing illustrations at Winter Camp and this one refers to the plenary session from Wednesday night. Someone from the audience said that when we talk about networks and communities we need to keep in mind that our online friends are not our friends in the same sense as our offline friends.
boyd and Ellison (2007) make a clear distinction between the offline and the online when they make a clear distinction between the two and “To differentiate the articulated list of Friends on SNSs from the colloquial term “friends,” we capitalize the former.” In a reponse Beer (2008) mentions the remediation of the everyday life where Friending (online) gives a new meaning to friending (offline). The social arrangements change due to this new form and type of friendship.
What seems to be missing from both pieces is that technology, or rather, the settings within current social networking sites don’t allow for a detailed description of links. While Flickr offers the possibility to distinguish between “friends,” “famility” and “other” these are just three descriptions of links between people. Links within networks are often not clearly defined but they receive a rigid label within social networking sites.
Beer, D. D. ‘Social network(ing) sites… revisiting the story so far: A response to danah boyd & Nicole Ellison.’ Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13, nr. 2 (2008): p. 516-529.
boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html