What you see online is not what others see online. It’s mediated through your friends.
How do we get a sense of our norms? Not through our audience, but through the people we follow. What we see gives us our sense of going on, rather than who sees us.
We’re not on the same internet as the average teen.
We have the ability to look in on people’s lives, a very powerful thing about the web. But lots of people don’t look.
Funny things that danah does is searching Twitter for “the” or random words to see what comes up. Even better in another language. => different kinds of environments.
Three case studies about visibility and what we see. Assumptions about what people see/do online that need questioning.
1. College admissions
MySpace, early on, college admissions officer calls danah about this young man who wrote a beautiful essay about wanting to leave the gang world, but his MySpace seemed to tell a different story. Interesting question: why do they lie to college admissions officers, and put the truth online? They’re not lying, just different ways of describing oneself in different parts of our lives to survive. Gang profile on MySpace to survive. Interesting: admissions officer assumes he is lying! Two different context, neither the kid or the officer knows how to deal with it.
2. Parental access
MySpace girl invited her dad to be her friend, but dad saw she took a test “what drug are you?” — cocaine. He did the good thing, talked to her. Asked her. “Dad, just one of these quizzes!” Having the conversation, opening up. Dad made the decision not to make assumptions based on what he saw, but to start conversations.
Young woman in Colorado murders her mother. American press: “girl with MySpace kills mother”. On her profile, detailed descriptions of how her mother abused her. It was documented but nobody did anything. Heartbreaking.
Just because it’s visible doesn’t mean people will see it or do anything about it.
We can be very visible, but nobody is looking. What does it mean to be public? Who is looking, and why are they looking?
Those who are looking are those who hold power over those observed. “If it’s public, I’m allowed to look!” => great conversations around privacy. Surveillance.
Flip it around: when should we be looking when we are not? Should we be looking to see a world different than ours? Jane Jacobs (?): “Eyes on the street.” Look at what is going on. One of the best ways to keep the community safe. Somebody is aware of what’s going on when a kid falls off his bicycle.
When should we be creating eyes on the street?
Privacy is used often to justify why we aren’t looking at things. Last 3 years: shift about how we think about domestic violence. 60s: didn’t exist. Can do what you want at home. Now: right to safety in private space. We use privacy to deal with when people are hurt in public spaces.
Lots of kids crying out for help online.
Transparency, visibility: the best and the worst is made available.
Bullying: lots of parents are afraid of technology because they fear it creates new dangers or situations. Data shows that bullying is not more present today than before, but it is much more visible.
Challenge: we can see when kids are hurt. Parents who don’t understand the technology blame the technology, when the technology is just making the problem visible. Call to action.
People move to gated communities to get away from different people and not have to deal with them but the internet is bringing all these people together. We might not want to be in such a mixed space.
BET: on Twitter, all the trending topics were black icons in America. And then also, critique of black culture, it’s full of black topics in Twitter. Reaction. How do we deal with this?
TV news often takes power by making us uncomfortable, showing us what we don’t like. But recently, showing us more what we want to see. And now, what happens when we’re forced to see what we don’t want?
Looking at the darker side of youth-generated content. But there is nobody to turn to. Legal? Easy to get the police involved, but not about social services, etc?
We’re making all sorts of parts of society visible, parts we like and others we don’t. Ramifications of doing this. How do we deal with this visibility of hurtful and harmful things? It doesn’t have to be illegal…