Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Friending and orality

Snow in Old Whittington #2
This is a really interesting piece by Alex Wright who links the conversational and ‘friending’ aspect of social networking to Walter Ong’s work on orality. I liked the Michael Wesch quote: In tribal cultures, your identity is completely wrapped up in the question of how people know you … when you look at Facebook, you can see the same pattern at work: people projecting their identities by demonstrating their relationships to each other. You define yourself in terms of who your friends are (see more of Michael Wesch’s work here). I think the analysis is interesting, but there are some very significant ways in which online interaction is different to tribal behaviour - but that aside, the parallels between written conversations and orality are useful. I also liked Lance Strate’s comment that social networking sites: fulfill our need to be recognized as human beings, and as members of a community.

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