Category Archives: Connection/Isolation

When Sierra Leone crumbled it’s citizens created a borderless virtual nation

The nation-state of Sierra Leone crumbled during the 1990s. A decade-long civil war destroyed the state and brutalized the national imaginings. Despite the lack of institutional structure, some members of its society chose to keep the nation alive through discourse on a listserv, an email forum called Leonenet. Using a multi-methodological approach that incorporated content analysis, interviews with cultural informants, ethnography and participant observation, the findings of the study reported in this article indicate that list members had created a virtual nation, defined as any community that communicates in cyberspace, whose collective discourse and/or actions are aimed towards the building, binding, maintenance, rebuilding or rebinding of a nation. Leonenet was a diasporic communicative space where Sierra Leone’s state-related symbols were generated and then held in conceptual escrow, waiting for the institutional structure to return.

Abstract from Robert Tynes’ Nation-building and the diaspora on Leonenet: a case of Sierra Leone in cyberspace from the journal of New Media & Society


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Filed under Connection/Isolation, Virtual Communities

Online counseling lends itself to desire for anonymity

“(Online counseling) teaches clients to be aware of what’s coming out of their mouths, what they’re feeling and thinking, their wholeness and whole bodies,” Mankita said. “It’s an exciting and empowering thing that we haven’t done in the past (in person) the way we can with text. Text is really powerful.” Online therapy is particularly suited to sex and relationship work, especially for clients who crave a layer of anonymity we can’t get by going through our insurance companies or driving to an office. And clients can seek matches based on compatibility rather than proximity.

Read this item from WIRED’s Regina Lynn

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Filed under Anonymity, Connection/Isolation, Identity, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Turns out their are maps for these territories. Lots of them.

With the help of simple tools introduced by Internet companies recently, millions of people are trying their hand at cartography, drawing on digital maps and annotating them with text, images, sound and videos. In the process, they are reshaping the world of mapmaking and collectively creating a new kind of atlas that is likely to be both richer and messier than any other. They are also turning the Web into a medium where maps will play a more central role in how information is organized and found.

Read this article from the New York Times

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Aggregate, Connection/Isolation, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Tools, Usability, User generated content, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

Forgive me Tim Berners-Lee, it’s been two hours since my last post

Links and commentary from MetaFilter

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Filed under Anonymity, Blogosphere, Connection/Isolation, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

MyFat: Recent study links obesity to social networks

Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties. These findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.

Abstract from the The New England Journal of Medicine’s The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years

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Filed under Connection/Isolation, Networks, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror

Digital Divide evolving from a question of access, to one of social skills

Henry Jenkins, director of the media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said here Tuesday that the divisions are extending further to a so-called participation gap, which exists between teens who have 24/7 access to digital technologies and kids who can only get online from school or the library. “We’re moving from a (digital divide that’s about) access to technology to one that’s about access to social skills and cultural knowledge that emerges from access to digital technologies,” Jenkins said in an interview at Mashup 2007, a two-day confab on teens and technology.

Read this item from C|Net. Previously from WNM: Choice of social media reflects class divideā€¦II

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Filed under Connection/Isolation, Digital Divide, Networks, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Google Maps help do-gooders

Google has launched an initiative to help charities and other nonprofit groups use maps and satellite images to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and encourage donations. The Google Earth Outreach program, announced late last month, represents a formalization of ad-hoc partnerships with organizations using the free software to publicize their works.

Read this AP item from the Nashua Telegraph. Previously from WNM: Mapping applications used by activists to raise awareness.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Connection/Isolation, Digital Commons, Technology, our Mirror, The Politics of New Media, Tools, Virtual Communities, web 2.0