some thoughts on social computing

So I was just invited to be a part of a panel at Wellesley College on social computing, creating a public persona via the web, the use of online resources for political organization, public versus private life, and so on, and I figured that since I’ve just become a part of this teamblog that it was sort of appropriate. It’s sort of funny that the first time I become a part of something like a team blog (and I can’t lie here, I’m glad that I got this email because it gave me something to write about, the total freedom involved otherwise was a little too much for me) and all of a sudden I have to think about my public persona in terms of the interweb.

I notice personally that for me, the parts of the internet I most frequent have become somewhat ritualized. Checking Livejournal, the comics, my email, and facebook is as much a part of my routine as drinking coffee in the morning and reading before I go to sleep at night. In fact, I find I’m restless and unable to sleep if I don’t check these things before I go to bed, and unable to concentrate on classes or work if I don’t check them when I wake up. But at the same time, while they are social to some extent(checking what people I know have said on Livejournal, basically stalking everyone I know on Facebook), they also seem very private, as if we as a society are creating new ways of ‘socializing’ while basically being alone and keeping to ourselves. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons the wide world of the internet appeals to me.

Unlike most people I know, also, I don’t use any AIM type client. I don’t really go online to manage nineteen mostly vapid conversations…I do use Google chat, but since most people I know don’t use it, I’m usually safe from being caught in the socialization trap.

So I feel like in terms of social computing I’m sort of at a loss, since I use the internet and computing in general as a way to sort of keep my shields up and avoid people while still technically maintaining sociality. (Pretend it’s a word and that I used it right. Go on, do it.)

Anyone have any thoughts on this sort of thing?

becca, first post out. 🙂


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