Online Conversations & Social Networks

On: September 30, 2009
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About Joery Bruijntjes
Joery Bruijntjes is a digital media enthusiast with a profound interest in the social uses of media. As a digital native he breathes digital oxygen and loves to stay at the razors edge of technology, social media and marketing. He's MA in New Media and frequently blogs about contentmarketing and other stuff. If you want to learn more about him please visit his website for an overview of his web activities.

When Facebook bought FriendFeed to take on Twitter, there was a lot of discussion whether or not Facebook could provide the end users with enough added value to ‘make the switch.’ Personally I found that question to be irrelevant. Twitter has quite a loyal user base that sticks with them trough thick & thin so far, al be it with (loud) critique.

Much more interesting, to me, is the relationship between the conversations taking place on Twitter or Facebook. In my experience there has been a shift from media-centered discussion to decentered discussion the last two years (to the point that it’s seems impossible to track down all responses to your publications). This is particulary clear when looking at the blogosphere where some bloggers claim the death of blog comments.

Although slightly overstated by Robert Scoble, there is a ring of truth to all this. Personal experience has lead me to believe that responses to blogging are now mostly communicated trough other media than the blog (email, facebook, hyves, twitter, friendfeed, etc).

An interesting topic for new media research would then be how these conversations are scattered trough different online media, and how one could once again ‘remap’ the discussion. The challenge here is both to find a suitable model for this ‘social map’ that fits with current & future media, and to ‘map’ enough conversations to see how different online media relate. From this we could anwser questions like if the link between Blogs & Twitter is closer than Facebook & Twitter and what type of discussions find place trough which channels. My proposed research methodolgy would be a combination of desk research, ethnography and questionnaires.

Loice Le Meur made a video (above) about the need for ‘social maps’ a while ago. I feel it’s a good illustration of what exactly is going on with online conversations. From a new media researches perspective I feel this would open up the floor to make new media research more ‘multi’ media aware, something I feel is not being dealt with in a significant way just yet.

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