To help situate my study of the Facebook group "Sowerby and Luff's Fully Optamised Social Media Network" it is important to situate this research in the greater conversation about digital literacies.
Affinity Spaces and Collective Intellect
I looked at James Paul Gee and Pierre Levy because they are instrumental in explaining the specific phenomena of Facebook groups. Gee developed the idea of "Affinity Spaces." Essentially, "Affinity Spaces" are areas, specifically digital spaces in this research, where people go to share ideas about common interests. In turn, these "Affinity Spaces" give rise to the idea of "Collective Intellect" that Levy developed. Levy proposed that "Collective Intlellect"is the idea that people begin to share meaning making processes and memories the more they participate in groups, and that their thoughts then become filtered through the ideals of the groups in which they participate.
Michael J. Emme, furthers Levy's idea that the internet is great for interacting, but in concert with that it is also a place of representation. Emme developed an exercise to challenge representation on the internet by using terms that a person identifies with (gender, marital status, hair color, etc) and put them into a search engine. He found that often the internet stereotyped identifying terms (parenthood is associated primarily with women in his searches) and did not allow for as much freedom in identification. He questioned the system because it closes and tightens Levy's idea of "Collective Intellect": if one associates with a term then one must associate with the stereotype. Admittedly, Emme is writing from an artist perspective but that is his argument, the internet jointly with "Collective Intellect" and "Affinity Spaces" narrows perspective and can damage
As Dr Padma Rani and Shivam A Rai explains in "A Study of Emergence and Implications of Collective Intelligence on the World Wide Web" collective intelligence operates on the internet in a way to aggregate knowledge on specific subjects, and relies on individuals to input tho knowledge and create meaning from it. Dr Rani looked at several different places that provide knowledge that is is contributed by users and list social media and Wikipedia as the ultimate sources of this knowledge aggregation.
Carrie Heeter examines the idea of designed interactive media in "Interactivity in the Context of Designed Spaces." Essentially, Heeter argues that no matter what happens, the participant (audience) and the media are anchored in two different spaces and time. Heeter does concede that the internet has broken down some of these barriers allowing participants to inexact with media more closely; however, there is still a barrier. Designed media has to be thinking about future participants and cannot remain statically in its own time but has to be able to be interacted at intended time of interaction and past the intended time (Heeter uses the examples of Television programs that can be recorded and watched at a later time, and messages that can be ignored and looked at later).
Henry Jenkins examines Levy's idea of "Collective Intellect" through the lens of emergent interactive media, in his article "Interactive Audiences? The 'Collective Intelligence' of Media Fans." He examines the idea of how people use the internet to disrupt the idea of passive media consumerism and choose to add their own voices to the "Collective Intellect," and blogging/the internet allows people to add meaning to the media they are consuming almost instantly. Furthermore, in "Quentint Tarantino's Star Wars" Jenkins examines how media and consumers interact in fan spances and how media producers dictate interaction with media.
Lankshear and Knobel discuss affinity spaces and interactivity in their article "Digital Literacy and Participation." They examine how social networks focus on individuals as opposed to solely focusing on interest, though people can associate with each other based on interests. They also examine the idea of collocation, which situates a person by their participation and or interests.
Emme, Michael J. "Going Nowhere: Exploring the Cyber Space Between Our Ears." Real-world Readings in Art Education: Things Your Professor Never Told You. Ed. Dennis Earl Fehr, Kris Fehr, and Karen T. Keifer-Boyd. New York: Routledge, 2000. 147-54. Print.
Gee, James Paul. "Semiotic Social Spaces and Affinity Spaces: From the Age of Mythology to Today's Schools." Beyond Communities of Practice: Language, Power, and Social Context. Ed. David Barton and Karin Tusting. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. 214-32. Print.
Heeter, Carrie. "Interactivity in the Context of Designed ExperienceS." Journal of Interactive Advertising 1.1 (2000): 4-15. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Jenkins, Henry. "Interactive Audiences? The 'Collective Consciousness' of Media Fans." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Jenkins, Henry. "Quentin Tarantino's Star Wars? Grassroots Creativity Meets the Media Industry." Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2008. 131-68. Print.
Lankshear, Colin, and Michele Knobel. Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 251-78. Print.
Levy, Pierre. "The Art and Architecture of Cyberspace Collective Intelligence." Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. Ed. Randall Packer and Ken Jordan. New York: Norton, 2001. 335-34. Print.
Rani, Padma, and Shiva A. Rai. "A Study of Emergence and Collective Intelligence on the World Wide Web." (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.