Friday, January 23, 2009

Do the Friends Justify the Means?

Academics who study digital rhetoric often don't make it into the news, particularly if they present more nuanced views of social network sites. However, this video from University of Minnesota Professor Laura Gurak, a Facebook friend, may disprove the rule, even if part of the purpose in running the story on Gurak seemed to be to promote the web presence of a broadcast brand. Of course, I wasn't sure that I would necessarily allow a TV station to show a screen shot of the news feed on my own home page, as Gurak does, given the private status updates that it might contain, but Gurak's advice that people might consider multiple profiles recognizes the reality of the multiply online identity positions that most are already negotiating. It's also interesting to note that after the segment, one of the local news anchors said that she maintained some privacy by using her married name on one of her social network sites. Then the male colleague with whom she shared the desk showed his idiocy by adding the following bit of patter to her comment: "Yeah, I think we all do."

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