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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. Winner of the 2004 EduBlog Awards as best paper.

Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
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The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

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Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

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Last Updated November 22, 2005.

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My Book2
New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

November 02, 2005

ICA Pre-Conf - Web/Mobile hybrids and the “Ex-Girlfriend Problem”

If I get to go to Dresden for ICA I will definitely be looking at Terri Senft's Pre-Conference on Mobile Communications. This is very cool stuff. Abstract follows:

Each day, new social software applications are being developed that allow users to affiliate with one another over the Web, contact one another via text messages on cell phones, and meet up in physical spaces on a moment's notice. Each day, users of these services are discover something sociologists already know: friendship doesn't travel as well as we think it does. In this project, I use ethnography to explore the context-dependent nature of social ties forged over, a service that rings your phone to let you know where your designated friends are meeting in local bars. I am particularly interested in what DodgeBall users call "ex-girlfriend problem": the desire to list someone as a friend in the context of a social networking service, yet whose live appearance in a bar seems too close for comfort.

It is common to hear the tracking capacities of social software/mobile communication hybrids discussed as what Clay Calvert calls "mediated voyeurism," a term that depends on cinematic gaze theory as its reference point. Yet I suggest that rather than the cinematic gaze or even the televisual glance, the term "grab" (with all of its connections to temporality, embodiment, power and politics) more accurately describes the dynamics of these new technologies. Continuing in a psychoanalytic vein, "grabbing" represents not voyeurism, but rather commodity fetishism and its attendant belief that what matters is what can be owned, if even for a moment. Yet I believe these technologies are interesting not because they seamlessly enable commodity fetishism, but because of their inevitable failure to please all consumers/viewers, all the time. The persistence of the ex-girlfriend problem demonstrates that contrary to hype, all economies of social capital reach points of diminishing returns.

At this juncture, both users and developers of Dodgeball's software seem to view the live presence of an unwanted witness summoned via cell phone to a public gathering as a social disaster of the first order. Yet there are many populations who could use the presence of a live witness connected to the situation only through affinities articulated online. One example might be members of online communities devoted to helping women deal with domestic violence who volunteer to list themselves on Dodgeball as "on call" should someone require a witness to document aggression in a public place. In the second part of this project, I build on the work of political theorist Jodi Dean to discuss what I call "networked reflective solidarity": a commitment to use networks in order to seek out others who may not yet acknowledge themselves as connected to us. I end by considering how Web/phone hybrids might be used for networked reflective solidarity, suggesting that in the near future, "friends" who are technically strangers (but with whom we feel certain types of affinities, and on whom we might count on at a moment's notice) might be just as significant than in-the-flesh drinking buddies we now buzz with our phones each day.

Posted by prolurkr at November 2, 2005 06:20 AM

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Hi, Hon! Just wanted to drop a note to say this is a proposal for an already existing pre-con, rather than *my* precon. But thanks for the kind words, regardless! xoTerri

Posted by: Terri Senft at November 9, 2005 07:24 PM