Now, computer scientist Jörgen Skågeby of Linköping University in Sweden writing in the International Journal of Web Based Communities, explains how there are five dimensions to the way people give and receive gifts online, whether those gifts are information, mp3 files, photos, or illicit file shares.
"Different social media, such as wikis, MySpace, Flickr, and various forums have different ways for people to give and receive gifts," Skågeby says, "To fully understand online gifting we need to consider the question "who gives what to whom, how and why?"
Gift giving and receiving is a collaborative activity that pulls together social groups. However, little research has been done outside niche anthropological studies and the studies of "gifts" given or exchanged by animals in feeding and mating rituals. Skågeby says that gifts provide one type of social membrane so understanding what makes a strong membrane and what might cause it to rip are crucial to studies of online life.
There are five dimensions to gift giving among users of online communities, Skågeby explains. These are "initiative" in which an individual decides spontaneously to give a gift to another member of the community. This can be active with one person giving a piece of advice or a useful link in an online forum or passive where community members download something from a specific user automatically through a peer to peer network. In this case, the gift giver plays no role other than making the digital goods available online.
The second dimension is "direction" and tracks the path of a gift. For example, a public gift might come from an individual or organisation, a musician say, who loads their mp3 files on to their MySpace page, or a photographer who shares her photos using Flickr.com. Direction can also apply to gifts given to small communities or groups or given among online friends. An entirely private gift would be a single individual giving a gift to another or a very select group of friends.
The peer to peer networks, including the BitTorrent approach exploit another dimension of gift giving, the "incentive". Incentives can be enforced or voluntary. In the case of BitTorrent file sharing, users can only download a given gift, or file, if they simultaneously share that file as it downloads with other users, so the incentive process is often bidirectional.
Incentive gifting is exploited in illicitly distributing copyright materials such as movies and music, but also has a legitimate use in distributing large files within businesses and other communities. Voluntary incentive involves a points system so that users who share most, gain kudos or better access to additional gifts.
The final two dimensions of gift giving online are "identification", knowing who is giving or receiving a gift, or remaining anonymous. In some systems, such as BitTorrent, gifting is essentially anonymous, while users are known on MySpace when they share digital gifts. Another dimension is "limitation", which controls the level of access to gifts, either giving or receiving can be open to all or restrictive. An open gift system might be the free software available for anyone to download on the free software network sourceforge.net, whereas a private BitTorrent or other network would be considered a restrictive gift network.
Gifting is a central human activity in many communities, both offline and online, explains Skågeby, "As more and more of human social activities will be copied or migrate entirely to online, we need to consider what dimensions are central to these activities, so that we can analyse their long-term impact on individuals and society."
Jim Corlett | alfa
Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University
New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research