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Announcement: Social Networking Systems

(See also Open Tagging Systems, which allow for a minimal level of community formation around shared metadata tags designating common categories of interest.)

TimesPeople Transliteracies Research Report

The New York Times released TimesPeople on June 18, 2008 with the goal of creating a social network based on sharing content from the website. The June 18th launch, previously available only in Firefox and as a plug-in, became more widely available in September 2008 and allowed users additional features like the ability to sync their TimesPeople activity with their Facebook accounts. More recently, in February, The New York Times added the TimesPeople API to their current list of APIs to facilitate interaction with the Times outside of the website and to move one step closer to reimagining the future of the news through collaboration with developers.

Starter Links: TimesPeople Home Page

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Renee Hudson

Sophie Transliteracies Research Report

Sophie is an open-source multimedia authoring software.

“Sophie’s goal is to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people and institutions and in so doing, redefine the notion of a book or academic paper to include both rich media and mechanisms for reader feedback and conversation” (http://sophieproject.cntv.usc.edu/)

Starter Links: Sophie Project Home Page | Sophie Blog

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Renee Hudson

agoraXchange-Make the Game Change the World

“agoraXchange is an online community for designing a massive multi-player global politics game challenging the violence and inequality of our present political system. Phase I was launched as a commission for the Tate Online on 15 March 2004 and now contains a database of ideas for the rules, game environment, and site look-and-feel.”


Following is a quote from the game manifesto:

“Our present political institutions are not natural or inevitable, but an experiment gone awry, a utopia for the paranoid. We seek collaborators for bringing an end to the system of nation-states, the demise of rules rendering us passive objects tied to identities and locations given at birth. We call on all communities of and for the imagination, for creative thinkers and visionaries, including citizens, activists, artists, scholars, political leaders, and the stateless, to eliminate those laws requiring us to live and be seen largely as vessels for ancestral identities. We seek to develop in agoraXchange and elsewhere laws that will privilege creativity, empathy, and freedom.”

LibraryThingTransliteracies Research Report

A website that allows users to catalogue their personal libraries.

“LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere–even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth” (LibraryThing website).

Starter Links: LibraryThing website

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Kim Knight

Cemetery 2.0

Conceptual art piece that proposes to network final resting places with online content.

“Cemetery 2.0, by Elliott Malkin, is a concept for networked devices that connect burial sites to online memorials for the deceased. The prototype links the gravestone of Hyman Victor, Malkin’s great-grandfather, to his surviving Internet presence…The Cemetery 2.0 device maintains a live satellite Internet connection. Visitors to the physical memorial can view related memorials on the device display, while visitors of any of the online memorials will recognize that their browsing is associated directly with the actual burial site.” (From We Make Money Not Art)

Starter Links: Review from We Make Money Not Art | Project Description from the Artist’s Web Site

MediaBASE Transliteracies Research Report

Collaborative tool for creating and exchanging multimedia compositions

“MediaBASE is a software application for creating, sharing and exchanging media objects and compositions within a delimited social context. It places rich media authorship—ordinarily confined to discrete, resource-intensive media projects—in the hands of casual users, who are able to manipulate and exchange media compositions with the speed and informality of text-centric technologies such as weblogs, chat rooms, instant messaging, discussion forums and e-mail. Because it is built around an associatively-indexed database, MediaBASE allows these media “conversations” or “dialogues” to transcend their original contexts and take on relevance for subsequent users of the system. MediaBASE can be used: to augment existing discourse communities, such as a school, course, museum, local forum or design collective; to provide a common forum for linked classes and remote user groups; to create networks around a given topic or body of material, such as an online art collection or digital archive” (from MediaBASE website).

Starter Links: MediaBASE at Institute for Multimedia Literacy

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Nowell Marshall

Second Life

Online community owned by its residents.

“Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by nearly 100,000 people from around the globe.” (From the web site.)

Starter Links: Second Life | mouchette.org | Guardian Unlimited article about publishing in Second Life

Web 2.0

The next phase of the world wide web.

“Web 2.0 is a term popularized by O’Reilly Media and MediaLive International as the name for a series of web development conferences that started in October 2004. It has since come to refer to what some people describe as a second phase of architecture and application development for the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997). They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The term may include blogs and wikis. To some extent Web 2.0 has become a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts). A consensus on its exact meaning has not yet been reached.” (From wikipedia)

Starter Links: wikipedia definition | O’Reilly Radar definition


Online search engine that provides an innovative method for searching the web.

“StumbleUpon uses [thumbs-up/thumbs-down] ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like—minded stumblers have liked.” (From StumbleUpon.)

Starter Links: StumbleUpon


Online book-tracking service that allows people to enter a “collective library” on the Internet.

“Bibliophil allows its users to keep track of their books in a customized library with public/private library security available. Users can create Buddies with trust relationships, recommend books to buddies, and keep track of recommendations. Query their library and sort by title, author, rating, date read, etc. filter by author, unrated books, unread, reviewed on loan, wish lists, and for sale. Users can also export available via Excel (CSV) and have PDA and Mobile access to their libraries.” (From Bibliophil.org.)

Starter Links: Bibliophil.org | Answers.com take on bibliophil.org as a social library


Online organization devoted to enabling political action and mobilization through Internet activity and communication.

“The MoveOn family of organizations brings real Americans back into the political process. With over 3.3 million members across America — from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders — we work together to realize the progressive vision of our country’s founders. MoveOn is a service — a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media.

The MoveOn family of organizations is made up of a couple of different pieces. MoveOn.org Civic Action, a 501©(4) nonprofit organization, formerly known just as MoveOn.org, primarily focuses on education and advocacy on important national issues. MoveOn.org Political Action, a federal PAC, formerly known as MoveOn PAC, mobilizes people across the country to fight important battles in Congress and help elect candidates who reflect our values. Both organizations are entirely funded by individuals. ” (from MoveOn.org)

Starter Links: MoveOn.org | “MoveOn Moves Up,” Michelle Goldberg’s article on Salon.com


Free online matching service. Users of the site define their personalities and those whom they wish to meet through a plethora of traditional and very-non-traditional personality tests. Users can create a profile page, upload photos, define “real friends,” and search for people with similar interests. OKCupid is distinctive because of its emphasis on semi-recreational test-taking and creative test-writing.

“What is OkCupid? It’s a totally free matching service. It’s also extremely accurate, as long as (a) you’re honest, and (b) you know what you want. We don’t claim to evaluate you perfectly, but we do claim to find someone who claims to fulfill your claimed requirements, exactly. We firmly believe that most matching sites are just personals services; their “matching” systems are nonexistent or overly subjective.

While we have a small team here, we all take math (and all that math implies) very seriously. OkCupid is a fun project for us for a variety of reasons, only one of which is the actual content. We aim to be the best matching service on every front: superior technology, better math, better psychology. And of course, it’s free, unlike all the others. ” (from OkCupid.)

Starter Links: OKCupid Homepage | OKCupid Wikipedia Entry

Transliteracies Research ReportFacebook

Popular social-networking site serving college students (a second branch of the site was later created to serve high school students):

“Facebook is an online directory that connects people through social networks at schools…. You can use Facebook to:

  • Look up people at your school.
  • See how people know each other.

Transliteracies Research ReportMySpace.com

Popular social networking site that spread from its origins in the music/band scene to college, high-school, and even middle-school communities:

“MySpace is an online community that lets you meet your friends’ friends.
Create a private community on MySpace and you can share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends! See who knows who, or how you are connected. Find out if you really are six people away from Kevin Bacon.” (from About on MySpace.com)

Starter Links: Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Garnet Hertz


Influential as one of the original social-networking sites:

“Find old classmates and co-workers. Provide an easy way for your friends to find your blog. Share photos with your friends. Never forget your friends’ birthdays or lose their contact information. Check your friend compatibility on any given day using joint horoscopes. See your relationship to any member on Friendster, allowing you to safely meet people through your friends.” (from Overview on Friendster site)

Starter Links: Friendster home page


Browser designed with integrated social-networking features, including integration with Flickr, del.icio.us, and blogs (still in “developer preview” release as of Jan. 2005):

“We believe that it should be easy for everyone to contribute to and participate on the web. To that end, we’ve started with integrating tools that make it easier to blog, publish your photos and share and discover things that are interesting to you.” (from Flock home page)

“Flock did a good job at sticking to the basic structure of a browser and basically looks like a beautified Firefox, but with extra features. The buttons on the navigation bar has the basic back, forward, refresh, and home button. But you also get a few new buttons such as a button to open the blog editor, the favorites manager, and the star button to star a site…. There are only two topbars as of now. The “Flickr Photosâ€? and ‘Blog Topbar.’” (from detailed review of 18 Oct. 2005 on Solution Watch site)

Starter Links: Flock home page | Solution Watch review, 18 Oct. 2005