Time to blow the dust off this thing and get back to posting on a (semi-)regular basis!
To mark my return, I’ve posted my slides and speaking notes from 3 conference presentations I’ve made during the past 6 months.
- The first, delivered at the annual meeting of Midwest Sociological Society in March, links current Internet prosumption to historical forms not owned by corporate interests and provides much-needed data regarding how the relationship between owners, administrators, and prosumers plays out in practice.
- The second, delivered at the Theorizing the Web conference in April at the University of Maryland, delves into the interactional and structural workings of claiming a male-dominated space at a popular social news website.
- And the third, delivered at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in August, looks at the role of Facebook in maintaining social ties and supplementing social capital.
Listed in reverse order below. Don’t forget to select View>Show speaker notes if you want to see my delivered remarks. And I’ll be doing my best from now on not to turn this site into a tumbleweed factory…
Lynn, Randy and James C. Witte. 2011. “Social Network Sites, Social Ties, and Social Capital.” 106th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 20-23, Las Vegas, NV. [Select View>Show speaker notes to see spoken text.]
In this paper we present results from a national sample of American adults (N = 571) of all ages, who are members of two online survey panels. The results show that social network sites (SNSs) are used to maintain social ties at a comparable rate to face-to-face, phone, and e-mail, and moreover that SNSs are used to maintain ties with close ties and family members as well as distant ties and friends. Facebook users who use Facebook to maintain ties are no more or less likely to maintain ties through other media, while Facebook users who don’t use Facebook to maintain ties compensate by relying more frequently upon other media. The findings further suggest that SNSs supplement–rather than simply increasing or decreasing–social capital, and are multifaceted portals that are not used in the same ways by all users.
Lynn, Randy and Jeffrey Johnson. 2011. “‘Bitches Love’ Ambiguous Sexism: Gender, ‘Karma,’ and the Limits of Male Progressivism in Online Communities.” Theorizing the Web 2011 Conference, April 9, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. [Select View>Show speaker notes to see spoken text.]
Although most social media applications have more female than male users, social news websites continue to be male-dominated. To investigate the causes of this phenomenon, we examined 52 front-page links and 45,454 comments relating to gender collected over one week of front page activity on Reddit.com. We found that hostile sexism was common on Reddit and identified three structural factors contributing to its prevalence: 1) front-page selection of links espousing or encouraging sexist or masculinist perspectives, 2) the relationship between “karma,” humor, and boundary maintenance, and 3) the rationalization of sexual objectification through a framework of “gender-blind sexism.” Examples illustrate how these factors combine to place considerable quantitative, spatial, and normative impediments in the way of anti-sexist and anti-masculinist sentiments.
Lynn, Randy and James C. Witte. 2011. “Repaired Is Broken: Newsgroup Commodification, Prosumption, and Rebellion.” Annual meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, March 24-27, St. Louis, MO. [Select View>Show speaker notes to see spoken text.]
Extant studies of Internet prosumption often do not situate the commodification of Internet prosumption in its historical contexts and lack empirical data. This study attempts to address these limitations by examining the social news website, employing a a mixed method analysis of all 282 front-page posts on Reddit between December 2005 and March 2011 in which one or more of the words “Digg,” “Digger,” or “Diggers” appear. Results show that corporatized Internet prosumption is linked to the cultural practices of early prosumptive communities (such as Usenet) in ways that affect its economic relationships. The data shows that prosumers will effectively use the traditional tools of resistance employed by producers and consumers owners or administrators of social news sites are thought to have illegitimately exercised their formal powers, but also that corporate ownership may leveraged by shrewd administrators to secure compliance from restless prosumers.