The Weekend FT had an excellent, long article on Social Networks titled The high priestess of internet friendship, which profiled Danah Boyd. The article presents plenty of evidence for the "you are what you publish theme."
...most people, Boyd found, were using the sites to present themselves to a small group of friends and get their recognition and feedback. The sites are an opportunity to define in public who they are. By providing an audience, and the tools to interact with that audience, the social networks are satisfying that need. Boyd calls this behaviour “identity production” and, employing a favourite phrase of hers, says that young people are trying to “write themselves into being”. The MySpace page is like an online version of a teenager’s or student’s bedroom wall. “They are tuning into an audience,” said Fred Stutzman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who studies student behaviour on Facebook. “One of the things students do at college is they test out identities. Maybe that is one new thing we are seeing now - more rapid changes of identity. Online you get feedback and you can change at a moment’s notice.”
Of all Alacra's content partners, Forrester offers the most comprehensive coverage of the social networking space. Some recent reports include:
- July 7, 2006 - Financial Consumers Adopt Social Computing by Bruce D. Temkin
- September 25, 2006 - Teens + Social Computing = Social Shopping by Charlene Li
- October 3, 2006 - How Consumers Find Web Sites In 2006 by Charlene Li
Charlene Li posts often on this space.