From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

social networks

about social networks

Social networks are social systems with abstract and concrete relationships. It can be regarded as social relations that connect informally: all kind social connections, including family connections, business connections, social cleavage, indirect connections as well as their junctures, disjunctures, and all kinds of ad-hoc connections and clusters.

Saskia Sassen: Networks, Power, and Democracy

Saskia Sassen spoke to the Networked Publics Group at the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California on March 23, 2006.

Professor Saskia Sassen is in the Department of Sociology and The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She is also a Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.

Saskia Sassen’s research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. In her research she has focused on the unexpected and the counterintuitive as a way to cut through established “truths.” Her three major books have each sought to demolish a key established “truth.” Thus in her first book, The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press 1988), she showed how foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants.

In her second book The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991; 2nd ed 2002) she showed how the global economy far from being placeless, has and needs very specific territorial insertions, and that this need is sharpest in the case of highly globalized and electronic sectors such as finance; this went against established notions at the time that the global economy transcended territory and its associated regulatory umbrellas. In her most recent book, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2006), she shows that the foundational transformations afoot today take place largely inside core and thick national environments; this allows her to explain that some of the changes inside liberal states, most evident in the USA but also increasingly in other countries, are not distortions or anomalies, but are the result of these foundational transformations inside the state apparatus. She shows how this foundational transformation hence consists not only of globalizing dynamics but also of denationalizing dynamics: we are seeing the formation of multiple often highly specialized assemblages of bits of territory, authority and rights that were once ensconced in national framings. Today these assemblages traverse global and national settings, thereby denationalizing what was historically constructed as national.


lecture video: 

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.

Submitted by admin on November 22, 2008 - 7:41pm

you gonna pay for that im?

How much will *you* pay for IM? AOL is betting that at least the corporate world will cough up money for "pro" IM capabilities. A partnership with WebEx gives them IM with video, security, conferencing, etc. Time will tell if people will pay for it, and whether the competition (Yahoo, Google, MS) respond in-kind.

more @ ZD Net

Submitted by todd on February 21, 2006 - 5:10pm

Kazys Varnelis, Networked Publics Fellow Lectures at Yale, 18 February

Kazys Varnelis, visiting scholar with the Networked Publics program at the Annenberg Center for Communication will be speaking on Saturday, February 18 at “Philip Johnson and the Constancy of Change,

Submitted by kvarnelis on February 13, 2006 - 10:26pm

Pew Internet Report — Social Networks

The Pew Internet & American Life Project today released a report
describing how the internet improves Americans' capacity to maintain
their social networks and how they gain a big payoff when they use the
internet to activate those networks to solicit help.

The report is based on two surveys and finds that the internet and email
expand and strengthen the social ties that people maintain in the
offline world. The surveys show that people not only socialize online,
but they also incorporate the internet into their quest for information
and advice as they seek help and make decisions.

Disputing concerns that heavy use of the internet might diminish
people's social relations, the report finds that the internet fits
seamlessly with Americans' in-person and phone encounters. With the help
of the internet, people are able to maintain active contact with sizable
social networks, even though many of the people in those networks do not
live close to them.

The report, "The Strength of Internet Ties," highlights how email
supplements, rather than replaces, the communication people have with
others in their network.

The full report is available at:

Technorati Tags:

Submitted by jbleecker on January 25, 2006 - 11:55pm

Collocation and Familiar Strangers

I wrote up some reading notes on my research blog on the topic of co-location and the Familiar Strangers theme, brought to the future Mobile Social Software world from Stanley Milgram's work in 1967.

Familiar Strangers is a recurring theme in the mobile designed experience world, particularly since Goodman and Paulos' Familiar Strangers project. It's also topical for a more tragic reason. In 1964 Kitty Genovese was murdered in the middle of a busy apartment courtyard in Queens, New York City. Many people were "witness" to the event — overhearing it — yet did absolutely nothing.

This is the other side to the promise latent within the Familiar Strangers concept: even though we may be amongst lots of familiar strangers, we may not want to become involved in each others' lives. We may have familiarity with the strangers we see, but what are the design implications for that phenomenon in the age of social software? How much do we really want to involve ourselves in the lives of familiar strangers? What are the social practices in which a networked public can comfortably engage through the networks created by mobile, networked terminals? Dating? Sharing? F2F exchanges? Finding someone who speaks your language when in a foreign country?


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Submitted by jbleecker on December 24, 2005 - 6:27am


So, what does it mean that yahoo has wrapped into its media cocktail?

While I wouldn't presume to have any special insight into what it means when and the other properties are mixed in the same stew, I might suggest that is, when you invert it, a rich database of individual's (and groups, I supposed) self-authored descriptions of their interests, activities, projects — the whole thing.

Turning this into a way to create useful indices to people for a variety of purposes seems most obvious. Knee jerk purpose says advertising, but I'm betting that clever heads will find a host of more promising kinds of ways to create vibrant enhancements to existing social formations and ways in which culture is circulated amongst networked publics.

More than tagging pages on the web — tagging "my stuff" in the world is still something TBD. Through, I can provide indices through taxonomies and folksonomies to things that are of interest to me, or related to a project. Some inferences can be made about my personality, or the things in which I am engaged. But that's a degree removed from an explicit articulation of who I am, what I have, what I want to get rid of, what I want to share, what I need, etc. Think of what a distributed MySpaces might look like, without the hassle of having to manage yet another social software application.

[via Russell Beattie's Notebook]

Technorati Tags: ,

Submitted by jbleecker on December 11, 2005 - 5:48am

Conference backchannels: distributed intelligence or divided attention

Nicolas Nova calls out this recent paper on "back-channels" at conferences.

Conference backchannels: distributed intelligence or divided attention:

Jacobs N, Mcfarlane A. (2005) Conferences as learning communities: some early lessons in using `back-channel’ technologies at an academic conference - distributed intelligence or divided attention? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Vol. 21, No. 5., pp. 317-329

Submitted by jbleecker on December 1, 2005 - 5:10am

Mike Liebhold Lecture: The Geospatial Web and Mobile Service Ecologies Video

This is a video of Mike Liebhold's lecture on the Geospatial Web at the Annenberg Center for Communication.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 23, 2005 - 1:59pm

Chris Anderson - Resistance is Fertile

Chris Anderson / Long Tail Culture

I blogged notes and commentary from Chris' discussion during the netpublics seminar and shorter notes from his public presentation downstairs.

I'll quote my sort of Talmudic meta-question:

Why do I blog this? The Long(er) Tail is a steamroller meme with lots of resonance and entirely legible in the context of digital dissemination networks. And the netpublics seminar I'm participating in is drawn to the topic of social formations that arise in the context of such dissemination and communication networks. I'm also made profoundly nervous by things that seem to absorb lots of phenomenon into a graph. But there are questions wanting here. For instance, what are the consequences for innovation? How does the Long Tail miss comprehending the circulation of culture? What is the limit of The Long Tail — when does it break down or skid off into the bushes? Where are the ethics of The Long Tail, particularly if it's easy to say that insurgency is The Long Tail of warfare? How can The Long Tail sustain itself when we make the safe assumption that the operators/aggregators at the head will behave selfishly to sustain their enterprises' influence, power and economies? What happens when the head (aggregators) eats the tail - why wouldn't that happen so that aggregators can reap more of the sum of the area below the graph? Finally, why do I get nervous that so much fits into that graph there?

Technorati Tags: ,

Submitted by jbleecker on November 10, 2005 - 3:29am