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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Just working through some notes on ethics and social networks and I thought I'd share the following paragraph that I've been working on - because it seems counter-intuitive at first.

There is a growing consensus that comments posted in social networks are not ‘in the public domain’ and that researchers should seek permission to use them. Researchers should also remember that because the internet is so readily searchable, they should avoid using literal quotes from social network discussions (in most cases) as this will potentially reveal who the respondent is.

In many codes of ethics and in a growing number of laws, the intention/expectation of the person making a post is important in determining what can be done with that post. In terms of privacy there are two issues. The first is that if a researcher has to join a network to see the post, then the person making the post is doing so in the expectation that they are talking to genuine members of the community, not to professional researchers or journalists. The second that is when somebody makes, say, 200 posts in their status bar over the course of a year, they did not have the expectation that all their quotes would be brought back together as a single corpus for investigation.

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I've enjoyed reading the reactions to Bob's comment's about Obama's connection to deliberative politics and his references to the "common good." A recent New Yorker piece takes a similar position and contrasts Obama's "deliberative" style with Clinton's penchant for partisanship: See George Packer's "The Choice" in THE NEW YORKER (Jan 28, 08).

In these discussions about Obama, Democrats, and the common good, it is important to remember that
Michael Tomasky got the Democrats back on to the language of the "common good" with his article, "Party in Search of a Notion," from THE AMERICAN PROSPECT (April 2006).

This talk of the common good, from Tomasky's perspective may be completely in line with partisan politics and need not be identified with deliberation. See Tomasky's review of Krugman's new book, "The Partisan," in the NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS (54:18 Nov 22, 07).

nina

agree but have the impression that the issue of netnography would first need more truly interesting and deep content/ comments. most I found very superficial so far and not truly helpful in gaining insights.

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I somehow do agree that no statement in any social networking site should be quoted in verbatim. Actually very few sites publish proper responsible content and information.

Praz

Excellent set of thoughts Ray, totally agree...

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