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Chapter 5

CMNS 253W Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Participatory Culture, Hacktivism, Prosumer

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Frederik Lesage

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Chapter 5 - Social Networks and Participatory Culture
Participatory culture - a culture in which people are both media consumers and
producers ("prosumers")
Networks have the ability to remix, reuse, and repurpose online and digital materials
Only recently have networks been extended past commercial and professional use
oDue to high cost and complex nature of required infrastructure
oComputer era has dramatically decreased these costs
Communication networks are a central factor in social theories, and particularly social
theories about new media
Key feature of networked electronic communication - ability to connect directly with almost
any other person in your various social networks - no appointment or movement necessary
Wellman argues that a computer network is part of our social network
oSocial network - face-to-face or electronic relations between people for formal and
informal purposes
Key distinguishing feature between a network and a group - in a group, everyone knows
everyone. In a network, one might "know someone who knows someone"
oIndirect connections, seen as part of a general process of modernity
"Cyberspace 'ghts against physical place less than it complements it"
Characteristics of network campaigns that generate advantages for groups include:
oHaving a shared goal
oBeing "structure-light"
oMobilizing a diverse coalition of skills and resources around shared goals
oMaking advanced use of new media technologies
oEmbracing diversity and openness
oCultivating the ability to draw upon and develop media celebrity
oExploiting media spectacle around speci'c targets
oUsing time-limited strategies
oMaintaining high levels of media visibility
oBeing ready to act quickly and cheaply
These strategies were originally devised for peaceful organizations such as Greenpeace,
but are also used by terrorist groups
Al-Qaeda was able to use new media to disseminate messages widely
New form of online activism - "hacktivism"
Social network analysis - methodology developed in the social and behavioural sciences
to map interpersonal linkages using statistical and graphical techniques
oUnderstanding forms of self, activity, and behaviour as related is fundamental to
this approach
Four key elements of social network analysis (as identi'ed by Wasserman and Faust):
oActors and actions viewed as interdependent
oRelational ties (linkages) are channels for the 5ow of resources (material or
oNetwork models view the network structural environment as providing opportunities
for, or presenting restraints upon, individual behaviour
oNetwork models conceptualize structure (social, economic, political) as lasting
patterns of relations among actors
Social network analysis aims to identify relationships that exist in a particular place and
Seven core concepts of social network analysis (as identi'ed by Wasserman and Faust):
oActor - discrete unit of decision-making and action - may be an individual or a
corporation, government agency, or other organization
oRelational ties - establishment of links between actors
oDyad - information used to establish a relational tie between two actors
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