Webometric Thoughts

November 12, 2009

My Circle of Distraction: Now with added Google Wave!

Filed under: circle of distraction — admin @ 12:23 pm

Increasingly we have web access wherever we go: wi-fi, dongles, mobile phones. For me, however, it’s nice to get away from the web, because when I do have access I have to be constantly on guard against falling into my personal circle of distraction: the never-ending loop of checking web services.

The specifics of the circle change over time as my interests change and different services go in and out of fashion. Previous/occasional entrants include Facebook, FeedJit, Google Analytics, Google Finance. The current circle looks something like this:

Whilst Twitter has obvious attractions for the easily distracted, as a webometrician I’m equally interested in bit.ly: how many people have followed the links I’ve placed since I looked 5 minutes earlier? Then there’s the email run: Hotmail, work email, University email. This tends to be followed by Google Wave, the latest new distraction on the block. Hardly anyone I know is really using it yet, but that means nothing in a circle of distraction. Then finally the Opera browser RSS reader. At which point there has been a sufficient gap to start the whole process again!

I dread to think how many times I find myself stuck in this, or a similar loop each day. Without the web I would get so much more work done, but what that work would be I don’t know.

November 8, 2009

The Presentation of Self: A framework for understanding social media

Filed under: Goffman,Social Media,real-time web — admin @ 11:53 am

I dislike the current focus on a real-time web for its tendency to emphasise recent information rather than quality information. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive, but often we are failing to take into consideration works of the past as we attempt to keep up with the new. This seems to be especially true in the realm of social media, where we are constantly striving to spot the next big thing. However I’ve just finished one of the best books for understanding the effect of social media, and it was published fifty years ago: Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.

Discussing social interactions and the presentation of self in a world very different to the one we find ourselves in today, Goffman provides both an intentional framework to help us understand the interactions, and an unintentional example of how these interactions can change over time.

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