When I moved to China to do a year of continuous fieldwork, I didn't want to leave the country to give any talks. But when I got an invite from Lift Conference to speak, I didn't want to turn it down. I have been a fan of Lift Conferences for a long time and it was an honor to be invited. So I skipped out to Geneva for a week to speak at LIFT12. t
In her talk at Lift 12, she focuses on a story you may have heard of, concerning a student who ended up making international headlines for throwing shoes at the architect of China's internet censorship infrastructure and then become the hero for information freedom worldwide. Tricia tells us what happened to the student and how the outcomes were dependent on a variety of factors that tells us a lot about how we socialize and build trust online."
AHA MOMENT WITH CLAY SHIRKY in CHINA
- Sharing: "sharing creates the fewest demands on the participants....operate in a largley take it or leave it fashion, which allows for the max freedom of the individual to participate while creating the fewest complications of group life."
- Cooperation: "Cooperating is simply harder than sharing, because it involves changing your behavior to synchronize with people who are changing their behavior to synchronize with you. Unlike sharing, where the group is mailny an aggregate of participants, cooperating creates group identity - you know who you are cooperating with. One simple form of cooperation, almost universally with social tools, is conversational when people are in one another's company, even virtually, they like to talk...Collaboration production is a more involved form of cooperation, as it increases the tension between individual and group goals. The litmus test for collaborative production is simple: no one person can take credit for what gets created, and the project could not come into being without the participation of many. Structurally the biggest different between information sharing and collaborative production is that in collaborative production at least come collective decisions have to be made."
- Collective Action: "collective action, the third rung, is teh hardest kind of group effort, as it requires a group of people to commit themselves to undertaking a particular effort together, and to do so in a way that makes the decision of the group binding on the individual members. All group structures create dilemmas, but these dilemmas are hardest when it comes to collective action, because the cohesion of the group becomes critical to its success. Information sharing produces shared awareness among the participants, and collaborative production relies on shared creation, but collective action creates shared responsibility, by tying the user's identity to the identity of the group. In historical terms, a potluck dinner or a barn raising is collaborative production (the members works together to create something), while a union or government engages in collective action, action that si undertake in the name of the members meant to change something out in the world, often in opposition to other groups committed to different outcomes."
and filled it all up…
Even before he [Han] showed up at the university room that day, Han was already part of a larger collective of people sharing information, information that exposed new ideas, and ideas that eventually led to new behaviors. Although hundreds of people were involved in forwarding on the calls to harass Fan BingXin at his talk, it was accomplished with no formal chain of command, no organizational charts, and no personally known sources...To understand how Han got here, we have to understand how trust is constructed in the context of China.
Social Graphs are for what?
The underlying idea in the social graph is that the more we do all of that sharing stuff, like forwarding, posting, and commenting, the more data that can be aggregated about our relationships and thus revealing things like common interests, influencers, and predictive behaviors.The mathematical logic behind efforts to map the social graph relies on discrete definitions of people's relationships. This is problematic because it implies that the social graph is a web of trust, with the connection strength between ties as an indicator of the measurement of trust.
Sharing doesn’t always mean we trust our connection or network, sometimes sharing means we’re trying to figure out trust. And we figure out trust not just as an individual embedded within webs of relationships, but embedded within webs of institutions.But it's hard to algorithmically represent the strength of individual or institutional affiliations and how the meanings in these affiliations change over time because it's all dependent on this fragile thing called trust that unfolds within the unpredictable contingencies of everyday life.
In the same way we see pedestrians creating desire paths to take them from where they are to where they want to be in the most efficient manner, we also see that users establish desires paths of trust with unknown sources.We perform information acts act like favoriting, checking in, and liking, that serve as a set of trust-exploring practices to determine the least risky path to connect with someone. These are the unmarked roads that lead us outside of our social circles and into other circles and networks.Desire paths decrease social distance.
地上本没有路，走的人多了也成了路。In reality there are no roads, only paths that emerge where people walk.
TRUST CREATING MECHANISMS WITH IMPERSONAL TIES
Social circles consists of people we already know. Social network consists of entities that we don't have a personal relationship with - like individuals, search engines, websites, or organizations.
Circles reinforce our relationships, while networks expand them.When trust comes into play, social circles build on existing relations of trust, while social networks build out new relations of trust.This distinction, while it appears to be minor, matters for how we acquire and share information.
- The main protagonist of the story, our hero, @hanunyi, was so cool to share his story with me. Send him a message on twitter for his brave act!
- Thank you to Xiao Tie for introducing me to Hanunyi,
- A big shout out to Pete Warden for letting me use his social graph image in my slides. Using Pete's image is also very special, because if you remember a few years ago Facebook sued him for pulling in data.
- Thanks you to Lift's Nicolas Nova for inviting me - curating the panel.
- Thanks to Ayman Shamma for referring me to De Choudhury et. al.'s "Inferring relevant social networks from interpersonal communication" and Boshmaf et. al.'s "The Socialbot Network : When Bots Socialize for Fame and Money."
- Thanks to all those who read, advised, and listened to version(s) of the talk: Kevin Slavin, Kenyatta Cheese, An Xiao Mina, Kristen Taylor, and Pheona Chen
- Slide credit: The picture of Desire Paths is Rice Univeristy. | I used screenshots of tweets about the event from Issac Mao & Charles Custer. | Tannia Brannigan wrote a great story in The Guardian about Han's shoe throwing, I used the image in my slides also. | The google doc of all gifts offered to Han can be found here.
- In my last slide below, the image of giraffes is in honor of Pierre Croce who gave a talk on how to properly use powerpoints.
Boshmaf, Y., Muslukhov, I., Beznosov, K., & Ripeanu, M. (2011). The Socialbot Network : When Bots Socialize for Fame and Money. ACSAC 11. Orlando, Florida USA: ACM Press.