Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reflection on Joined Online Communities

"In a relationship and it's complicated," most of you must be familiar with this post. You will be in this situation if you joined online community (OC) without well known how to maintain your participation on it. You feel engage with the communication, friendship, sharing-exchanging information, and convenient on purchasing products. By the same time, you experience receiving tons of waste email, overwhelming with the keep changing on navigation of the site features, and your information were shared to public without having a consent from you. The entire articles for this week, with an explicit or implicit tone, pointed the double blade of OC. LaRose, Eastin, & Gregg (2001) used the term "paradox". Galston (2000) questioned "Does the internet [OC] strengthen community?". Tedjamulia, Dean, Olsen, Albercht (2005) mentioned about valuable and invaluable contribution of OC's participants. Weeks (2009) and Albrechtslund (2008) mentioned about there are positive and negative effects of OC to personal and social system. Furthermore, a classic article from Licker and Taylor (1968) had made an excellent prediction about the paradox of OC.

I will start the discussion about paradox of OC by reflecting to my personal experiences. I will then end up the post with summary about the similarity and nonparallel pieces from the referred articles.

My Experience with Online Community

A not user-friendly navigational, informational, and transactional aspect on the OC (Java, Finin, Song, & Tseng, 2007) will be burning head, not only for novice users but also for veteran users. How do not your head get burn because normally you want to become more productive by joined the community, but you are wasting too much time to resolve the problem on these technical aspects (LaRose, Eastin, Gregg, 2001). However, for veteran users with more advanced computer skills and high self-efficacy, overcome the difficulty on technical problem on the Internet will be easier compare to the beginners who have the lower self-efficacy (LaRose et al, 2001). A good example for this is setting up account and privacy on Facebook (FB), as well as keeps up date with the innovation on this site. In my pilot project on looking at the adolescent awareness on security and etiquette of FB (The, H.Y., Kong, K., Masaki, E., Ackerman, L., Ayala, P., & Borengasser, C. (2010), I found that the majority of adolescents did not know how to use the setting of account and privacy on FB. As a reflection, if you are a FB user, did you notice that something has change in FB recently? Do you follow the innovation update of FB through its blog or other technology's blogs, or from news? Have you notice that now FB users have their personal email address tight with FB messages that named with user' Do you also have disabled the sharing of your personal information by FB through the apps that you joined on FB?

Now I will move to the consequence of getting unwanted email because of you joined a OC. Unwanted email or I prefer to called it wasted email has caused some people become stressful (Gregg, 2001; Galtson, 2000; La Rose et al, 2001). Usually, when you joined an OC and registered to their site, you will automatically subscribe to the OC site mailing list. You must get to know this earlier and realized about this. While a little bit tricky, you can set up your OC site account for only sending you the email that you are willing to read. Every site has the unique way on doing this setting. It will be useful to look at their online manual, help section, or get assistance from their customer services for performing the setting. Another important strategy is maintaining your email account management. All email services, currently, has email management system. You are allowed to create a folder for your incoming email. You are allowed to make a rule to short the incoming email to exact folder. You are allowed to block and identify incoming email as spam. Moreover, you are allowed to receive email forwarded from another email account that you have. Performing email management system will help you safe your time on shorting the email that has a priority to be responded.

The third important piece from the reading is about cyberspace. According to Albrechtslund (2008), the cyberspace is related with the physical space. This is contradicted with Licklider and Taylor (1968) that stated for OC the concept or proximity become less important. In some certain, Licklider and Taylor correct. With the improvement of computer and Internet technology, OC can help on mediated the relationship across the border of the country and region. There is no boundary for people to meet and interact online 24/7. I experience with what Licklider and Taylor predicted about 50 years ago when I utilized Elluminate, Skype, Google apps, WiZiQ, and Social Networking Website. Other amazing experiences are watch my local TV program live through and read my hometown newspaper, Pontianak post on their site. I also keep in touch with colleagues, in my field of study, through join professional education OC, such as,,,, and With a friend in Indonesia, I administrated as our personal blog. However, on the other hand, I also agree with Albrechtslund (2008). Through conferences OC, I can have communication online and also meet in person with people while we have our annual meeting. Through Second Life (SL) and IMVU, I can send my avatar to attend a meeting, a class, or a presentation. Furthermore, I want to show you one excellent online virtual conference that held by campus technology 2010. In this conference, the whole representation of physical space was represented in a good setting for the campus technology virtual conference sim.

Microblogging such as Twitter is also a unique OC. I am not an active Tweeter. Regarding to Tedjamulia et al (2005), my participation on Twitter can be labeled as a lucker. As mentioned by Java et al (2007), Twitter has been used particularly for daily chat, conversations, sharing information, and reporting news. I used Twitter in order to gain information and update from several technology blogs. Several names of those blogs are mashable, education week, the young and the digital, and Google blogs. The updates from these blogs are running quickly, and I could not read every single update of them. I feel the benefit of joining this running information, particularly for mining new resources and getting ideas for writing my research paper.

There are so many things to tell about my relationship with the OC. I still want to continue on telling a story about getting discount from online book store, benefit of free book for book club, and a free magazine send to me every month by an OC that I joined. It is also interesting for discussing apps on FB or Google by reflecting to the paper from Bernstein, Michael, Tan, Smith, Czerwinski, & Horvitz (2010) that focused on Collabio, a tagging game. More specific, it will be awesome to discuss IMVU and SL by making the connection with the concept of online identity and affective emotional such as mentioned by Bigge (2006). If I keep continuing those things, this blog will be too long for a session post. I will keep that for the next posting.

The similarities and differences from the referred articles

The common things that appear on all these referred paper are:

  1. Analyzing characteristics of OC in general or in specific (Twitter, Collabio, and Internet Paradox).
  2. Starting the discussion with the usability and functionality of OC and then narrow down to identify the impact of OC to its members and the society.
  3. Authors try to be neutral by provided in balance the discussion and evidence for positive and negative impact of OC to its members.
  4. The main purpose for doing the study is the author want to contribute on determine how the members of OC develop and benefit from join the community.

The uniqueness of each paper are:

  1. Using a different concepts or terms for starting the discussion about OC. For example, Java et al (2007) specified on understanding the usability of OC and Tedjamulia et al (2005) focused on motivating contribution of participants on OC.
  2. Convincing audiences by implementing different methods. For example, Biggie (2006), Albrechtslund (2008), and Galston (2000) wrote opinion papers; while Java et al (2007)and LaRose et al (2001) are using statistical data.
  3. Variables that become focus are specifically different and in my opinion will be adding exclusive contribution for developing the hypothetical and theoretical framework on analyzing OC.

Albrechtslund, A(2008). Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance. First Monday 13(3).

Bernstein, Michael, Tan, D., Smith, G., Czerwinski, M., & Horvitz, E. (2010). Personalization via Friendsourcing. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 17(2), Article 6.

Bigge, Ryan (2006). The Cost of (Anti-) Social Networks: Identity, Agency and Neo-Luddites" First Monday 11(12).

Galston, W. A. (2000). Does the Internet Strengthen Community? National Civic Review 89(3), 193-202.

LaRose, R., Eastin, M.S., & Gregg J. (2001). Reformulating the Internet Paradox: Social Cognitive Explanations of Internet Use and Depression. Journal of Online Behavior 1(2).

Licklider, J.C.R., and Taylor, R. (1968). The computer as a communication device.

The, H.Y., Kong, K., Masaki, E., Ackerman, L., Ayala, P., & Borengasser, C. (2010). Adolescent awareness of security and etiquette on Facebook. 33rd AECT 2010 Annual Conference Proceeding Volume 1.

Weeks, L. (2009). Social Responsibility and the Web: A Drama Unfolds. 8 January 2009.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Conceptions of Social Computing: A Blog Analysis

In this posting, I would like to discuss the blog post made by Zornic (Jan 8, 2011) entitle “[UPDATED] Democratic Rep. Grabrielle Giffords, 18 Others Shot at Even in Arizona; Judge, Child among Dead”. The discussion starts with identification of blog characteristics, elements, and structures. Analyzing the relation of what I identified with prior research about blogging will be following the discussion. The discussion closes with definition of social computing and identification of it impact to social life.

Blog’s Identification

Zornick posted the blog about shooting tragedy of Giffords on Jan 8. 2010 at 2:14 pm. The Blog post was published on, which is a news-blog post from Center for American Progress Action Fund. In the title, author put the word UPDATE in parentheses with capitalized to show that this blog was showed the update of what happened after the tragedy. Blog post were made as describe what happened with quoted statements from eminent politicians, such as Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, Jesse Kelly, and President Barack Obama. The text-post was featured with pictures as well as links to other blog post related with the topic. There are 13 links of resources provided. The list of those cited resources was posted at the end of the blog post.

The blogger allowed readers to mashup the blog post with other social networking tools. When it was retrieved, January 11, 2011 at 08.30PM, the blog post had been tweeted by 46 users and liked by 857 Facebook users. In total, 1891 comments were posted for this blog. The blog comment area was featured with “like” tab and “reply” tab. In the comments, it was clear those readers not only commenting, but they were arguing, insulting one another, and flagging other reader’s comments. For examples, “So don't put your stupid words into my mouth”, “go f*** yourself you subhuman f***”, “Look in the mirror you Leftist hate monger!”, and “This comment was flagged for review.” The blog post comments can also being shorts in fourth modes: popular now, best rating, newest first, and older first. The blog post can be subscribed with email or RSS feed. Links for users to contact the blogger and make a donation, advertisements, blog rolls, and archives drop down menu are some additional features that can be found on this blog.


According to Blood (2002), blog genre can be divided into filters, personal journals, and notebooks. While as, Krishnamurthy (2002) categorize blog genre into fourth, which are online diaries, support group, enhanced column, and collaborative content. Enhanced column on Krishnamurthy by Halavais (2002) and Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, and Wright (2004) was identified has the same characteristics with filters. Zornic’s blog (Jan 8, 2011) can be categorized as filters blog. Where the blog post has these three characteristics: 1) the blog post content are about current events, which just happened and has a big impact to people, especially for people in Arizona, USA; 2) the blogs were posted for external information; and 3) readers can react and make a comment to the events in the blog comment area. In term of structural features, the blog has most of feature mentioned on Herring, et al. (2004). Those freatures are “archives, badges, images, comments allowed, link to email blog author, ads, and search function (p.7)”.

Blogging sites have improved in quantity and quality. Design recommendation mentioned on Nardi, Schiano, and Gumbrech (2004) for improving blogging systems was mostly accomplished being embedded on current blogging sites, including the blog that analyzed in this post. The figure below showed the relation of what being recommended by Nardi et al. (2004) with the existing blogging structures and features.

In the analyzed blog, Zornic (Jan 8, 2011), we can also see the mashups mentioned by Beer and Burrows (2007) happened. Most of blogging sites, like this one is now mashups with web 2.0 tools. Zornic’s blog enables the reader for tweeting the blogs, using Facebook to show their like the blog, printing friendly the blog, and feeding the blog with RSS or email. With the possibility to link the blog post with other popular social networking websites such as, Twitter and Facebook will increase the popularity of the blog.

In one hand, the development of social computing has positive impacts that we mentioned which are more features and more options. On the other hand, it also has negative impacts for social life. Some of these negative impacts mentioned by Boyd and Ellison (2007) are difficulty on differentiate the truth and not truth, difficulty on controlling privacy, and change in social interaction online. These negative impacts clearly can be identified from Zornick’s blog (Jan 8, 2011). When the tragedy happened, the blogger want to deliver the information quickly, while as the information still not being verified. The blogger could not explain the accuracy of information, except mentioned some unverified information. When the comment of blog posting is enabling for everyone, there is a possibility of coming in to the comment post, the inappropriate posting. The blogger seems try to maintain the comment by flagging inappropriate comments, but other inappropriate comments still keep come into the comment forum. Moreover, disagreeing on posting, and different on political ideology, religion, ethnicity, etc. caused the readers of this blog involved on online conflict, which is the latent functionality of the social computing.


Social computing is a study that concern about the emerging and transforming of social behavior with the improvement of communication and interaction through the online platform. The online platform can be blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging (IM), etc. The positive aspects of improvement in social computing are 1) news and information can be broadcasted quickly to the entire world people without restriction of time and region; 2) people can have collaboration on improving knowledge and research; and 3) the free version of the tools can be used as an alternative to replace pay version software. The negative impact of social computing are 1) challenge of the quality and trustiness of information; 2) challenge on providing privacy and security for sites/tools users; and 3) challenge on developing suitable ethic regarding to copyright and property rights.


Blood, R. (2002). The weblog handbook: Practical advice on creating and maintaining your blog. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Pub.

Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Retrieved from

Halavais, A. (2002). Blogs and the “Social Weather. Internet Research 30.

Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., & Wright, E. (2004). Bridging the gap: A genre analysis of weblogs. 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2004 Proceedings of the (Vol. 0, pp. 101-111). Ieee. Retrieved from

Krishnamurthy, S. (2002). The Multidimensionality of Blog Conversations: The Virtual Enactment of September 11. Internet Research 30 (Vol. 3).

Nardi, B. A., Schiano, D. J., & Gumbrecht, M. (2004). Blogging as social activity, or, would you let 900 million people read your diary? Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work CSCW 04 (Vol. 6, pp. 222-231). ACM Press. Retrieved from

Zornic, G., (Jan 8, 2011). [UPDATED] Democratic Rep. Grabrielle Giffords, 18 Others Shot at Even in Arizona; Judge, Child among Dead. Retrieved from

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