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I am not trying to be a party pooper. I just think that if we do not control our wild imagining of Facebook, we will end up interpreting it as what it is not. I see Facebook as a real space populated by real people belonging to groups, cultures, communities, and societies. It has spatiality and mobility. On Facebook, people come and go. They bond and break their bonds. It can be scaled and mapped.
Francine raises a key question of whether we respond to new technology by hyping it as radically new, or dismissing it as stuff we have all seen before in another form. My feeling is that we need to be open to each and every aspect that it might or might not represent significant change Lets just take Francine's example of memorialisation. Here is a case where i would be prepared to say Facebook is radically new, unprecedented and is going to be extremely important.
When I wrote my book on money in the digital revolution, one of my main ideas was that the new abundance of cheap information made it possible to make the impersonal relations of long-distance commerce, including money itself, more personal. It did not take me long to realize that this was not a question of personalizing impersonal society, but a historical shift in how the personal and the impersonal are socially constructed together. The "nothing new about Facebook" line obscures the fact that everything is old and new, same and different in varying degree. Both Danny and Fran are staking out their claim for tracing this dialectic in interesting ways.