An Intriguing Autopsy

FriendsterIn advance of our discussions on Social Spaces, the The Physics arXiv Blog has conveniently released a study resulting from a larger study exploring why Friendster failed. Often tagged as one of the first social networks – and subsequently as one of the more prolific failures, Friendster offers a unique forensic petri dish. There are some very interesting conclusions (ease of entry and exit, effort involved in participating, active means to encourage connection and engagement), some seemingly basic, but which shed some useful light on the larger principles emerging around online social networks. This study reflects an emerging opportunity to get an in-depth look at recently functioning entities – much in the same way that the digital detritus of ENRON provided massive indictment of flagrant cowboy culture.

One thought on “An Intriguing Autopsy”

  1. Definitely food for thought. This article appears to be stating the obvious. My understanding of this is that a simple change to a network, can cause one person to leave. They tell their friends they have left and are now on another social network. My first social networking site was Bebo and I left that for facebook on my friends recommendations. I heard on the radio one morning recently that facebook logins are decreasing lately. I am not as keen on Facebook as I once was. What drives me mad about facebook lately is all the irrelevant content posted by some people e.g. really bad pictures they find funny. Some status updates are “I just hung the washing out on the line” or “I’ve just had wheetabix for breakfast”. Ok some of them are good but there are only so many of those kind of status updates one can take.

    Apart from changes in the social networks themselves, there would appear to be a cultural change going on as well. People are now starting to question their rights in relation to content published online. I find myself increasingly nervous about putting stuff on social media. For example I saw a picture depicting An Taoiseach as Hitler recently and would not dare comment on something like that as it is unethical and there is this whole defamation thing where you / the site owner could be sued if somebody can prove that a publication has had a damaging effect i.e. the content is untrue. And if the publication is bad but true, you can’t really prove a damaging effect. See section 16(2) of defamation Act 2009 “) In a defamation action in respect of a statement containing 2 or more distinct allegations against the plaintiff, the defence of truth shall not fail by reason only of the truth of every allegation not being proved, if the words not proved to be true do not materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation having regard to the truth of the remaining allegations”. Do you really want your bad points blogged? Will this determine the success of social media in the future.

    And then if the material is published on the world wide web, it is available anywhere in the world with internet access meaning that a defamation case is not confined to the Irish jurisdiction. In this case you can take a case in the UK where the damages are better.

    The rise of social media has brought with it new questions and new challenges. Will social media remain strong in the face of severe legal challenges especially given that “Irish law holds the publication owner responsible for the content in its publication, regardless of the author.

    In an online context this means that comments published in a public forum or the comment section of a blog will be treated as the comments of the site owner, even if they are not” (Digital Rights Ireland 2013).

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