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What is a Networked Community
A networked community is an online community where a group of people have a sense of being in a group, or membership. The network integrates itself around some subject matter or the fulfillment of a goal or need. The definition above could count as a normal, physical network where people’s primary means of communication is a phone line! But, the one we are talking about here, is dependent to a degree on a digital network that is accessible via the Internet. Currently, academics are asking are these groups, lists, and platforms community networks or networked communities. I can see them working in both ways, and I’ll leave that thought right there.
These are communities created to support any range of activities including support groups for people with physical and mental medical needs, relationship support, support for pet owners, sports activities along with other recreations, gaming collaboration, genealogy, crafting. The list is nearly unexhaustive. There are nearly no rules for creating group on some networks. There are choices galore.
These groups allow you to post something that you want to say within in their own general set of rules. They allow cross talk both on the virtual network platform provided by Facebook, but also in a live chat with the members of that chosen group only.
I administer, co-administer, and am joined into a LOT of groups. Groups are networked defined by certain subjects such as: by surname, by region, by hobby, by subjects you may wish to learn about. I am in genealogy groups, Scandinavian groups, local culture groups (Celtic, Scandinavian), CPTSD, PCOS, crochet, and photography. Groups can run from one member and into thousands.
I ended up choosing a genealogy group on Facebook for my networked community. The group was called: Rowe, a Pioneer Family. (this branch is a pioneer family in the Eugene area) As it turns out, my experiment of posting for this homework turned into a dismal failure! In retrospect, it was a group of limited size, and the people in the group are interested in very specific things. I posted stuff about a 4th great grandfather, and truly the people in that group are young and really want to know more about their grandparents and great grandparents. Everyone in the group is family. I’ve posted all I can about their very close relations. I should have chosen my Esalen Group, as it’s a group of a bunch of people who spent time working, volunteering or learning at place Esalen in Northern California. It is training for the type of therapy that Fritz Pearls invented. It would not have taken much to get them going. But I did not realize the other would not work.
So, I decided to use my main Facebook page, because at least I can garner some comments there!! I have a friends list that currently have 391 people in it. This is down by more than 10 people because there were people on the list who were very much Trump supporters and were harassing me. I unfriended and blocked them.
I have learned about lists on Facebook and I have made lists so that I could target specific posts to specific people. My most personal posts, where I am looking for a pat on the back or a sort of virtual hug goes only to family and my closest friends—these are people who are very supportive of what I say and do and I won’t get dismissive or other types of negative remarks.
I have another list of just what I call “game friends”. Basically, these are people that I do not know. We help each other out on with the games available on the Facebook platform. I have other lists: people I went to high school with, family lists by surname, lists of people that are friends from specific towns where I lived, Cincinnati, Ohio, Newark and Cloverdale in California. I have a list that is a bunch of business-oriented friends – clients mostly.
The bottom line with my lists is that very little of what I post is generally public and open to the world, and nearly all of it is very targeted to a specific audience.
I have been on Facebook since 2002. Currently I also manage two “pages” one for a client, Matthew Glavach (StrugglingReaders.com) and one for the local American Legion Post, which is not utilized at all. It was a big waste of time. The page for StrugglingReaders.com is specifically for users of Mr. Glavachs’ books, people who want to ask questions, or are interested in buying a book. We also announce new products this way. My vision for the American Legion page was for the group to announce meetings, share photos, and use for communications. I administer close to a dozen groups including those for family with the surnames of: Bayley, Coop, Murphy, Rowe, McClaskey & VanAtta. I run one group for game collaboration, but do not play the game anymore. I am in the process of merging that group into another so I can give up being administrator. I run a group for history buffs on local history.
I guess the bottom line is that not only is Facebook a networking platform to begin with, but they provide tools that allow you to participate and invent in very specific ways groupings and lists of people to network with. I have learned how to do this and participate in very a very targeted manner. Within those two sub platforms there are other ways to communicate which include a live, in group chatting, and personal & private messaging.
My Facebook Page, Comments and Traffic
I have a tendency to post material that can be very controversial. Part of what I feel is my calling is to fight Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. My primary goal is to make a difference for women and children. I consider Facebook a way to possibly educate people to what the subject is and what it can encompass. I often use my own personal experiences for various reasons to share situations that help other people recognize what they are living through. I do the same thing on the blog. In fact, my Facebook page and blog are two arms of the same tool in this particular way. I’ve shared pictures of pets, family doings, vehicles, and other stuff. So, I do the normal posts too. For the purposes of this particular project, I’m going to use my more political and controversial stuff so that I do have reactions to show off. You may wish to not read what is posted if you are a sensitive person. It is not my wish to offend anyone, but I realize that I do (all the time).
Tagging, Categories, and other meta data
So far as I know Facebook does not allow tagging on a regular personal post on our specifically owned pages. (Our homepage, and timeline page) But, they do allow metadata on pages for groups, and the pages for businesses. The lists allow for descriptions. So, there is very little, if any tagging or categorizing for this project directly on Facebook. However, on my blog where I will post the final of this project, the software, WordPress allows for extensive categorizing, and tagging. So, I will be using those features. When getting to the end of the article just look down a bit, and you’ll see whatever I have chosen to add via those categories.
Just a note on my blog. Although my hosting company provides traffic logs and so forth, I do not use them. I only know when someone comes by and actually sends me a note. This is not very often. So, cross messages are allowed and can be public or private.
My blog is not meant to be a tool for self-promotion nor promotion for any business so much. It’s more of a thing for sharing my life, and my thoughts. I am very much an open book.
Please keep in mind that in this Word document that I am writing in a style that I would use on the blog. (Mostly) short paragraphs, some white space.
For the sake of documentation, the meta data allowed on the graphics I’ll upload is as follows: alt-text, Title, Caption, Description
I think that the word “Intervention,” which I think I would call an experiment, is an interesting word to use for a name for what we were trying to accomplish. I think of medical procedures when I hear the word.
My first two attempts of an intervention was in the Rowe, A Pioneer Family group. Firstly, I posted an obituary for a 5th great uncle, who of course, would be a brother to a 5th great grandfather. Of a group that includes 90 members, all of them family of one sort or another, the post got 6 seen, one like, and zero posts. I was disappointed. I could have put up an obit of someone much more closely related with a name the people recognized and generated a lot more traffic. So, you have to decide in these genealogy groups for your family do you want to document or gab. Our group is for both. Uploading the obituary documents, the death of a family, preserves it for at least as long as the group exists, and shares with cousins. So, in a way, I accomplished two goals.
My second intervention was simple chit-chat in the group. Talked about newspaper clippings I was finding and that I had found the new sub-topic function and had created sub-topics to make posts more organized. Didn’t even get a thank you!
My third intervention was not an intentional one at all. Rather it was a sharing with very close family and friends who are very, very supportive. I have a tendency to bounce what I am thinking with those that I trust to be sure that I’m on the right track. Of course, part of what I am saying is that the post was personal in nature.
This post generated 2 likes, 2 sad emojis, and 1 love emoji. There are 9 comments.
Having said that, it actually got negative comment from family member which surprised me quite a bit. I erased it because at the time, I didn’t think I’d be using it for schoolwork. The commentator is a first cousin to my father, was angry about what I said about my father, and wanted me to stop. So, I erased, deleted, and blocked. Don’t need that kind of negativity in the least. My dad is dead and buried, and I am safe, and that means I get to talk about it regardless if she or anyone else likes it or not. I wrote her a private note saying this before I blocked her.
My fourth intervention was simply a post about my schoolwork and what I learned in my Women’s Sexuality and Gender Studies class. Got some really good participation on that one. And participation from a family member that I have not heard from in literally years! It got four likes, one love, and one ha-ha. I got at least 6 comments, but I am fairly sure Facebook counts where I answer other comments.
A fifth intervention included a post that in the end garnered 27 comments. It was a comment about the fact that I was learning about gender in class. I got a private message from a distant cousin about someone married into the family who in an industrial accident had his gender (in his mind) changed in one swoop. So, it turned out to be a good thing. I learned from it. This post by the way got only three likes.
Some of the groups I am in do have rules. In general they are: be nice to people, no flaming, no naked pictures, no racism, no discrimination….the obvious things.
In the groups I run I’ve never put up a set of rules. There is a point of common sense that I hope that these people follow: be nice to people, no flaming, no naked pictures, no discrimination…. The obvious things.
Going back to a comment I made in the class discussion board with a tiny bit of expansion – when I am in a group it’s like I’m in my very own Livingroom have a discussion with others who are thinking with the same purpose or goals. Even if all the goal is to be close with others. So, in general, I expect people to act accordingly. Act like you would face-to-face and remember your manners. This is how I go into a group as a member and it is how I expect anyone to act in a group that I run.
Having said that, though I have made no rules in my Facebook groups, I do actively monitor them to be sure they are staying safe. I also run some Yahoo groups for genealogy. I have always had rules posted there concerning privacy. I also monitor those closely.
Just some last words. My 391 friends run the gamut from right-wing politics to left-wing. Conservatives and Liberals. And it all works so long as everyone keeps respecting others. The moment I think someone has put down another, called them a name, or in general is just being rude, then I usually delete and block them. No one is going to come into my living room and start “shit”. The fact that I keep my page as friends only, and most things marked for only “exclusive” friends on my lists means that really my page is pretty private. The loudest of the people on my list are those who have chosen a political side. I “unfollow” the people I don’t agree with and I check in on the page once in a blue moon to be sure they are doing ok. So, I am hoping that most of the people have been following me long enough that they know about my page is like that living room example, and I am protective of it. They should be assuming that I want to have my say in peace. My friends group is just a big bunch of people who have a tendency to have a love of genealogy and politics. The only thing any of us every disagree on are 1. Politics 2. What I post. 3. Genealogy – When DNA proves that a child is one of your cousins.
#2 –that comes into play when I use examples from my life to tell a story. I’ve had to people complain. My sister and a cousin. My sister called me and asked me to stop talking about family stuff. I told her I’d quit when I’m dead. My cousin made a comment to let my dad RIP. I’ve informed him that he already is, and that I’m not bugging him in the least. I also told her she’d been more honest to say she didn’t want to see the things I wrote.
3. DNA has made genealogy very interesting. I am actually looking for an older 1/2 sister. But, this past summer I was approached by the adoptive mother of a young cousins (1 time removed). I was able to identify the father very easily. I brought it up with family members asking for stories and photos of the kids father for him. I got politely ignored is what I got. The father told everyone he was incapable of having children when this one was born. But, He listed on the original child support papers and DNA from that time proved that 99.6% chance that he was the father.
Patterns and themes
Right now the patterns and themes that show on my page is mostly of anti-trump statements, memes, and stuff like that, and that is peppered with personal stuff, comments about school work, and links to articles to various topics: CPSTD, PCOS, mental health issues, domestic violence, sexual assault. Stuff that I read because that is stuff that I have to deal with. Unfortunately, people who are connected with me just have to deal with it or leave. I’ve invited a great many to leave over the years, and my block list is HUGE!
Last note: I use twitter to advance ideas that are important to me. Those have been discussed. It is because I use twitter that I include the link.
I really didn’t use much in the way of sources—lot’s of what I write about is already in my head!!!