Circularity

One of the interesting features of the Experience Project is the concept of My Circle.

Whilst there is no actual common social *space* on the Experience Project, there is a definite sense of community. People come to know of other people as they see them about the EP, writing stories and making posts; this is what constitutes having a state of personhood on the EP - your social identity is determined by the content and nature of your posts and  comments.

What I find particularly fascination is the formation of informal social sub-communities; nebulous groupings of people.  Different parts of the EP seem to be frequented by particular people.

Occasionally, exploring new territory will unveil a whole set of people whom have only a small presence in the places that you have explored previously, but they have instead become established and informally networked, aligned even, with the people within their own territory.

There are no obvious delineations to these territories - the lines are unseen. If anything, they seem to be underpinned by life-stage, or dominant life experience and frequently held together by strong personalities. People gravitate to the most important thing, the most dominant thing in their lives, as is natural, but from there, the social reinforcement of familiar posters and commentators creates a social space that is home; safety, familiarity.

It is not even indentifiable as such most of the time, although sometimes large groups with a strong sense of collective identity will self-identify.

The My Circle activity feature is a strong reinforcer of this. People are more predisposed to see what their familiars are doing, and thus it becomes a self reinforcing system. The more you look at what your circle is up to, the more it reinforces these very loose alliances and alignments; necessarily it means you can not be looking at the experiences of people outside your circle.

What I find most interesting is how nebulous the sub-community/clique formation is. If you try to draw a line around any one group of people it is a meaningless exercise. But the phenomena is still a very real one. MOST people do not really experience this as a feature of their usage, either. However, watching things unfold and watching the social dynamics reveals that this sort of thing operating on a macroscopic level, over a long time frame.

Although I've seen it described as such, I don't feel the EP is a social networking site, in the traditional sense. This is why I find the networks that evolve quite fascinating.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
1 Response Aug 16, 2007

Tis the very reason I sooooo ENJOY the 'Recommendations' page. It brings me out of my 'circle' many times thrusting me into the unknown which soon becomes familiar. This cycle repeats itself continually for me.