Saturday, October 20, 2007
Where I'm coming from
Social networking sites provide rich examples of what Giddens describes as the ‘trajectory of the self’. My daughter, Emma describes how Friends Re-United never did anything for her, and MySpace was ‘too young’ whilst Facebook, not only thickens her existing social ties but also networks her with old acquaitances – friends who have moved abroad, people she knew at school and so on. This, she explains, 're-defines who you are' and ‘how far you’ve come’. As Giddens says: ‘The trajectory of the self has a coherence that derives from an awareness of the various phases of the lifespan. (1991:75). Interestingly, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook (interviewed here) says: ‘We're talking about the set of connections that everyone has in real life. All we're trying to do is take those connections and map it out. Once we have an accurate model, we can help people to share their information more effectively. But it's going to take 30 years – or at least tens of years – before this becomes a really mature platform.’ You can view this project as an attempt to establish personalization through commodified experience resolving one of Giddens’ dilemmas of the self. An ambitious project (...and I’m not on Facebook, yet).