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Jyri Engeström - object-centered sociality

Excellent talk from Jyri centered around the question why so many social networking platforms fail. He explained how social networks emerge: networks emerge around objects. The representation of social networks in node diagrams are good at representing links between the people, but it doesn't explain what connects those particular people and others not. If you look at networks centered around certain dates, they look completely different from your network centered around your job. Jyri explained why a lot of people will have lost contact with friends in high-school. As soon as you leave school, the objects around which the network of friends are centered will dissolve (he refers to doing homework together, going out together). Without the object, the network will dissolve as well. He compared YASNS as Linked-In as a way of ladder-climbing. If you've reached the top, what will happen then? The platform is built upon a competitive model. In networks we sort of play, but not only in the competitive sense. New platforms should integrate more forms of play to be successful.

I have some difficulties with the term object Jyri uses. Is making homework an object? What would be an on-line object we play around? A tag in a physical space could be an object, but does a network emerge around the tag? In current YASN's many people 'tag' the place they live in, but are networks emerging from that? As current platforms already offer this type of tagging and they still don't seem to work, what is needed in the design of a platform to do make it work? I need to chew on this a bit longer, but it certainly is an interesting topic. Read Jyri's full argument.

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Academics are also debating how the term 'object' should be understood, and there are multiple interpretations. A useful way to think about objects is that they manifest as a material thing and as a sign. It's hard to pass school without producing a material manifestation of homework. As we carry on this discussion, we're textually playing (or tinkering / crafting / hacking) around the online object of my post which you linked to, creating new ones in the process. I also think that when you point to the problem of location-based YASNS you're asking the million-Euro question: if no one has quite succeeded in turning location into a broadly workable object yet, then who will, and how?

Ps. Regarding the title, my name is spelled is 'Jyri Engestr?m'

Posted by: Jyri at June 11, 2005 1:46 PM

Thanks for your comment Jyri. Corrected your name in the title.

Posted by: Elmine at June 11, 2005 2:51 PM
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