Friday, January 11, 2008

Is online social networking as effective as we say it is?

I have been thinking about the effectiveness of virtual social networking ever since Leigh Blackall made a comment on his blog about the International Computer Mediated Social Networking Conference that is being held in Dunedin this year.

There are two main tertiary institutions in Dunedin: the University of Otago where the organizers of the conference are based, and Otago Polytechnic where Leigh and I work. Leigh was a bit miffed that we had not heard anything about the conference and that there had not been any sort of consultation or collaboration. In fact, there has not even been any advertising of the conference at Otago Polytechnic; I found out about it on the international AOIR discussion list

Considering Dunedin is such as small city, it seems to be a shame that there is not more collaboration between the two institutions. But then again, how would the Department of Information Science at Otago University know what we're up to, or for that matter, even know who we are?

I do not want to get into a discussion about inter-institutional politics, but I do wonder about the effectiveness of the networks we use. What networks are conference organizers using and how are they different from the ones we use? Is all the rhetoric about online social networking actually a load of old codswallop if a few people in a small city cannot find each other?

I am thinking that the best way to approach this is the old fashioned networking method ie give them a ring and try to arrange a 'get-together' to discuss mutual interests. If all else fails, I guess we'll meet at the conference.

Image: 'network' Diego Sevilla Ruiz


Sue Waters said...

I don't think the issue relates to is online social networking as effective as we think. Obviously the people on the communities are highly regarded with the expertise in computering however are they experienced with participating in social networking? Have you and Leigh googled their names? How many of them blog, twitter, are involved with Ning Communites? I know that if there was a conference here - I would know the people involved or my friends in my network would know them and would have informed me about it.

Sarah Stewart said...

Yes, and maybe that's why they are having this conference - to find out more about social networking so they can become more involved in it themselves.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hmm, they're not on, their conference website has nothing in or on it to suggest they are on, yet they do a good job of sounding like experts...

Anonymous said...

could be just the old fashioned class system eh? They are a university- you are a polytech.It will always be up to the polytech to make the approach - the uni just don't see it. o on - give em a ring