Reading: Social Network Sites

For Tuesday 8 February, please read: danah m. boyd and Nicole B. Ellison, “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship,” available on the L drive.

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Introducing networks

In class today we will discuss chapter 1 (introduction) in Network Logic.  (Remember to post the required weblog entry on the reading before class.) To help with your understanding of this (and future) material, I provide the following rough definitions. Be sure to review them and be aware they may appear on a quiz or test.

Network: A network is an interconnected system of things or people. A network is usually understood as a set of points (nodes) that are connected to other points in some meaningful way. Networks can be isolated or interconnected with other networks.

Two major types of networks are particularly important to us in this course:

Telecommunication networks: A telecommunication network is a series of points (nodes) interconnected by communication paths. We can see these as technical networks used by people for communicating. (Examples: Broadcast network, telephone network, cable network, and various types of computer networks such as LANs [local area networks], WANs [wide area networks] and the internet [a network of computer networks].

Social networks: A social network is a way of understanding relationships among people as complex connections among individuals which together help to define a group. Some examples of social networks include families, friendship networks, professional networks, and different kinds of communities or groups.

We will be most interested in the intersections between social networks and telecommunications networks.

In our reading we have begun looking at networks. For your weblog entry this week, consider the following quotes from our reading:

“(Networks) are all around us. We rely on them. We are threatened by them. We are part of them. Networks shape our world, but they can be confusing: no obvious leader or centre, no familiar structure and no easy diagram to describe them. Networks self-organise, morphing and changing as they react to interference or breakdown.” (McCarthy et al, 2004: 11)


“Networks embody a set of fundamental principles for the ordering, distribution and coordination of different components, whether chemical, natural, social or digital. Network principles help to explain not just the distribution of wealth in monetary economies, but also the distribution of molecules in cellular systems. If we can recognise and detect these patterns more accurately, we could learn to use them for organisation and decision-making, to make possible new forms of coordination and collective action.” (McCarthy et al, 2004: 12)

Keeping the ideas from this quote in mind, describe a network you are part of and discuss ways in which it reflects (or not) some of the characteristics suggested in the quotes, or how the quotes might help us understand our networks. Consider what the network is like, how you got to be part of it, how it is important to you, how it connects to other networks, and so on. (These are suggestions to give you ideas of what to write about your chosen network–you may discuss other issues if you wish.)

Your entry should be approximately three paragraphs long and completed and posted before the beginning of class on Tuesday 8 February. Once you have submitted your entry, post a link to our facebook group.

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Required reading for Tuesday 1 February

Before class for Tuesday, February 1, please read chapter 1 (introduction) and chapter 2 (living networks) in Network Logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? A pdf version of the text is available online [( where you will scroll down and click the “download for free” link] or on the L drive (L:\Frederick Emrich\NITsSpring11\networklogic.pdf). In a weblog entry, also due before class on February 1, please write a three-paragraph discussion on one or more issues from the reading you find interesting. Post a link to your entry using our Facebook group.

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UN Refugee Agency representative to speak at KIMEP today

KIMEP’s Central Asian Studies Center (CASC) hosts a talk by Mr. Saber Azam, Regional Representative and Regional Coordinator for Central Asia at United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). All are welcome!
Thursday, 20 January, 17.30 to 18.30
Hall 2, New Building

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Making Twitter advertise your WordPress posts

You can use Twitter to promote entries that you write in Facebook. It’s pretty easy to do it. Here is the manual way to do it:

  1. Write and publish your post on WordPress.
  2. Once the post is published, copy the permanent entry for it (the full address, beginning with http:// for the entry; not the top-level domain address for your weblog). The address should be relatively long: something like this:
  3. Because Twitter limits you to only 140 characters per Tweet, you will probably want to shorten the link. Do this by visiting a link shortener such as and following the instructions on the site. I did this with the link above, and my new link is: which is much shorter.
  4. Copy your shortened link, then open your Twitter account, and write a Tweet that includes the following somewhere in your message: a) your shortened link from, including the http:// in the address; b) our course hashtag, #nitskz, and some kind of compelling headline or phrase that provides your readers enough information to know whether they will want to read more and, if so, to get them to follow the link to your site.
  5. An example of a possible Tweet for my entry: Want to use Twitter to promote your #nits weblog entries? Here’s how:
  6. Try it! You can also use this method to provide links to other people’s content. It is a good practice only to link to material on your site when you have added something useful/interesting/unique. Otherwise, link direct to the original source.
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In Class 20 January

Some quick instructions for today:

You now have set up gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress accounts, and we have been working quite a bit with Twitter and some with WordPress.

This site: can help you with questions about Twitter.

You should have posted a link to your weblog on Twitter using the #nitskz hashtag, and used a hashtag search for the same tag to locate weblogs of other students in the course. You should also have created a blogroll on WordPress with links to all course sites using this information.

Today in class: Finish any of the above you have not completed, and then use any tool you like to find some interesting news you would like to share with the group. (This should be current news.)

Write a one paragraph commentary on that news in your weblog, being sure to place a link to the original content in your post. Once that is complete, you will post a link to that blog entry in Twitter, giving a headline that lets readers understand enough of the story to know if it is interesting for them.

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Welcome to New Information Technologies!

This is a demonstration weblog for New Information Technologies, Spring 2011. I will use this site to demonstrate tasks for the course.

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