Monday, November 24, 2008

Summary for November 24, 2008

Today’s article was by Clay Shirkey and was about Dodgeball and Social organizing. Shirkey starts off by explaining a hypothetical situation of two people on an airplane, and explains the chances that the two people both know somebody. At first, you might think it’s a very big coincadence, after all there are 6 billion people in the world. However, Shirkey explains how it really is not that much of a coincadence because the number of people that fly on planes is a lot smaller than the total number of people in the world. Also, your chances of both knowing someone increase because you are departing from (or landing into) the same city as the other person, increasing your chances of knowing similar people.

It is the highly connected people that form social networks. And while chances are you are not a highly connected person, most likely, you know somebody who is. "The ‘knowing somebody in common’ link- the thing that makes you exclaim "small world!" with your seatmate is about that kind of connection" (Shirkey, 214). Basically, it’s not about knowing a lot of people personally, but if each person knows a few people, then we begin to network and form alliances, friendships, etc. And with the help of the selected few who are extremely social and known, it is even easier to run into someone and have a mutual friend, because those social butterflies know so many people, and it's not that rare for two of them to be sitting together on a plane, movie theatre, etc.

Shirkey explains how a networking service, such as Dodgeball, can significantly change the way we network and meet people. Dodgeball is a social networking site for mobile phone users. He gives an example of one day when he was in a bar and he put into Dodgeball that he was there, resulting in everyone else on the site getting a message telling them where he was. He explains how "FOAF networking"(friend of a friend networking) is incorportated into this- meaning, not only do his friends find out, but so do their friends, and their friends, and so on. Instead of just a few friends finding out information, more people than you could ever imagine might wind up finding out.

Dodgeball is similar to two websites that I use, Facebook and Myspace. Facebook is one that I frequent more than Myspace, and on this site, I have noticed similar things as Shirkey explains about Dodgeball. Often times, I am being suggested to add as friends "people who I may know", and I am often seeing pictures of my friends from previous nights out, parties, etc. Sometimes, I will recognize somebody and think to myself, "who is that?", only to remember that I do not know them, but I saw them in a few pictures with one of my best friends from college. It’s amazing how social networking sites like these can really make the world seem like a much smaller place.

Shirkey, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power if organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

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