from March 2014

  1. This is a chapter in a book about "Notification in Everyday Life." What is notification?
    • I first wrote about it in a 2006 Sociological Theory article called "Getting the Word Out." In a more recent piece, co-authored with Gillian Hadfield, the ideas in GTWO were applied to the use of discovery in civil litigation.
    • Other chapters:
    • Meta-notification
    • Drama, Humor, and Notification
    • Notification in Organizations
    • Notification and the Public Sphere
    • Technology and Notification
    • The Networked Self
  2. What is "notification"? My standard elevator example is this: imagine you are at work one day and your boss tells you at 2 pm that you are being fired. You spend the rest of the afternoon dealing with loose ends and then you head home where you spend a quiet evening with your spouse. After dinner and some television, you are in the middle of brushing your teeth and you say "oh, honey, by the way, I got fired today." You spouse becomes quite agitated and angry but you protest: "I just wanted to spend a pleasant evening with you. It's not like you could do anything about it if you had known earlier." And you are right: the information had zero instrumental value to your spouse. Neither protest nor sympathy would get you your job back and you did not want to spend the evening talking about it. But your spouse is right too. You apparently have no idea of what it means to be married.
    • It's the informational expectations and obligations that go with our social relationships, indeed which partially define those relationships, that I call "notification norms." Thus, the term "notification" is used here to mean "information behaviors associated with social roles/relationships."
    • My theoretical style here is ultimately Simmelian, thinking about this phenomenon across contexts and levels. In the book I look at notification in the interpersonal context just described, in organizations, in the relationship between individual and community, in families, as the stuff of humor and drama, and in the neuro-cognitive realm of the self.
    • Surrounding the idea of notification is something I call "the information order." By information order I mean the entire pattern of who knows what, who knows who knows what, who is finding out what, etc. Alternatively, I mean the distribution of information among a set of actors along with the first and second derivatives of that distribution - the flow of information and the changes in the flow of information among actors.
  3. Outline of Chapter/Talk
    1. Networks, nodes, edges; centrality, between-ness, distance, reachability; multiple networks; dynamic networks.
    2. Road networks. Plumbing. Diffusion/disease. Modeling vulnerability