Social Networks

InfoCamp Conference Notes

I attended parts of InfoCamp this weekend as a volunteer. I was initially drawn to the conference because of its MindCamp “unconference” format; the topics (information architecture, usability, information science) are of interest as well.

One of the more interesting projects I encountered was KnowledgeAsPower, a Seattle-based 501(c) devoted to improving access to and involvement in state government by making the legislative process more transparent. (See Monica Guzman’s summer profile.)

In a session on the social web, I learned about Ning (allows you to create a Web2.0 group – v Yahoo!Groups, for example, which is rooted in e-mail discussion groups) … FriendWheel (a cool Facebook application!) … and a great librarian blog.

Conversations about the social web revolved around issues of identity (similar to one of my NetEconomics class sessions this summer). In other words – we all have several personas (family, friends, work). Do we want people from all these different parts of our life seeing everything, unfiltered? Or will we have social network portals for our different parts of self?

One hypothesis about Facebook: people who “grew up” with Facebook may be more likely to keep it as the center of their digital life than those of us who “added it” later. Also, there is a perception that MySpace is both younger (teens) and less educated (how many are only high school grads?) whereas the core Facebook audience is people in college. (Re-read that; I wrote core audience, not sole audience, not current growth focus!).

I remain a skeptic about how well Facebook can scale beyond close (for some definition of close) friends. But that could simply be my age speaking.

Finally, Bob Boiko from UW (Content Management Bible) was Sunday’s opening speaker. It was kinda funny to hear some of the things I say to our MCDM students come out of someone else’s mouth. ;-) The opening speaker, Nick Finck, talked about the mobile web and an interesting application he has written for the iPhone — read the NYT or Newsvine via an iPhone-friendly interface using a Leaflet.

See Seattle IA MeetUp GroupComplexDiagrams.comSeattleNetTuesdayPuget Sound STC Events.

Upcoming & Related: Steve Krug is at Puget Sound Sig-CHI on 25 October; 7 pm; free.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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