Networked publics

  • Objective(s): Introduce participants to the concept of ‘networked publics’ to better understand the key issues and implications of technology’s expanded role in society.
  • Length: 20 minutes
  • Format: Session
  • Skill level: Basic
  • Required knowledge:
    • None required
  • Related sessions/exercises:
  • Needed materials:
    • Slides (with key points included below)
    • Laptop/Computer and Projector setup

This session is based on Danah Boyd’s research.

Leading the session

  1. Begin the session by explaining that it is focused on better understanding what happens when technology becomes an increasingly central and essential component of society, and the impact that this has on identity and privacy.

  2. Explain that, to illustrate this, you will be featuring some of the key concepts found in Danah Boyd’s research, called Taken Out of Context American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics:

    Networked Publics: Networked publics are simultaneously the space constructed through networked technologies and the imagined community that emerges as a > > result of the intersection of people, technology, and practice.

    Content of Networked Publics: The content of networked publics is inherently made out of bits. Both self-expressions and interactions between people produce bit-based content in networked publics.

    Four Properties of Networked Publics: The features of bits configure the four properties that are key to networked publics:

    Persistence: online expressions are automatically recorded and archived; Replicability: content made out of bits can be duplicated; Scalability: the potential visibility of content in networked publics is great; Searchability: content in networked publics can be accessed through search.

    These four properties structure network publics and the interactions that take place in them.

    Dynamics of Networked Publics: Invisible audiences: not all audiences are visible when a person is contributing online, nor are they necessarily co-present.

    Collapsed contexts: the lack of spatial, social, and temporal boundaries makes it difficult to maintain distinct social contexts.

    The blurring of public and private: without control over context, public and private become meaningless binaries, are scaled in new ways, and are difficult to maintain as distinct.

  3. Explain and provide examples of each of the four properties, as well as the dynamic. It will help if you can accompany this with images related to each, to make it easier for participants.