So square

So, I’ve got a job.

This Monday, I officially started working at SocialSquare, Denmark’s premier advisers, builders and communicators of all things related to social media. I stress “Officially” since I’ve already spent a month here on a sort of trial-internship to get to know the people, the projects and the processes. In that time, I even helped write the brand-spanking new company website, so you can learn more about what we do, too.

Along with the new website, the company has officially changed its company language from Danish to English, in a brave attempt to signal openness towards a global market. Since the company works to promote the effects of social media and social network services in our daily lives and help organizations embrace that change, they’ve chosen a name that is intended to reflect that mindset.

Now, if you look up ‘Square’ in Wikipedia, you’ll find it to be a very ambiguous name. But you can rest assured that the Square in SocialSquare isn’t referring to any sort of mathematics or the notion of being unhip. Rather, it refers to the Square as a place – such as the Town Square or the Market Square. The central idea is, that the Internet has made it possible for people to reinvent the Town Square of yore, but since that square is no longer related to a specific place, it exists solely through the sociality of the people interacting within an on-line community built from shared practice, interest, or relation. Thus, Social Square.

Well, at least that’s my interpretation. You’ll note the new, hip way of drawing the two words together, which may obfuscate this somewhat, but I feel that my interpretation gets substantial support from the company… well, it’s not so much a logo as it is a map… of a town square (PDF).

So, apart from documenting internal processes and fussing about the company name, what does my job at SocialSquare actually entail?

I’ve been hired to work as an “Ethnographic Researcher” – that means using qualitative methods to gather information – both within organizations and among their external stakeholders and the prospective users of the services they would like to build – analyzing that data, and presenting these analyses in such a way that they can help the companies make informed decisions as to their social media strategy, or inform an ongoing design process where we help organizations build the necessary platforms for interaction, which they may need.

Basically, the job is a totally sweet spot between design anthropology and the anthropology of social media and on-line communities. At least, that’s my hope and expectation. So far, I’ve been involved with two big projects. One of these I can talk about, which is a project we’re doing for the biggest interest Danish organisation for elderly people, ?ldre Sagen. We’re in the initial phase of figuring out how social media can help bring the family closer together in support of weak or ill members of the family.

You can follow our efforts on the new project blog, which opened recently (Danish only, unfortunately). I’ll be blogging there as the project progresses, sharing some of the ideas and findings that we come upon. On top of that, I’ll be blogging at the SocialSquare blog from time to time.

That means that in way I’ll be paid to blog! Just not here, unfortunately. So updates may remain sporadic for some time. Especially in the coming weeks, as I have a lot of interviews lined up. It’ll be a very busy start, which seems to confirm that there is lots to do in this field.

7 comments

  1. Stefan

    Tillykke Andreas!!
    Jeg synes nu godt navnet kunne have en lille smule med matematik at gøre.

    Stefan

  2. Marie-Louise

    Officially, “congratulations” I find your negotiation of anthropology of virtual social spaces a very inspiring direction and especially in a slightly dry/”square” place such as Denmark.

    Best,
    Marie-Louise

  3. Laila

    Kære Andreas !

    DET er jeg da glad for at høre, tilykke med jobbet – and good luck .
    Knus og kram

    Mig

  4. Laila

    – for lige at demonstrere min brilliante evne til at forstå at der er to llèr i Tillykke – så vi tager den lige en gang til –

    Congratulations and good luck 🙂

  5. Andreas

    Thank you all for the kind words! I hope to celebrate my entry into the working world with a proper party come august – especially since I didn’t get around to having one for my graduation. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

  6. Liv

    Hej Andreas!
    Stort tillykke med jobbet! Det lyder virkelig spændende. Det dur jo heller ikke at en som dig ikke kunne få job. Så ville verden se sort ud for os andre 😉 Held og lykke med det!
    KH Liv

  7. Laila

    Hvis jeg ikke svarer er det selvfølgelig ikke fordi jeg ikke gider se dig – men jeg skal snart til Rumænien med Emil i to uger 🙂 – i august skal sønnen giftes – det kommer til at trække tænder ud – og et par dage efter SKAL jeg have trukket – ikke en virtuel – tand ud – men en helt konkret kindtand – der faktisk ikke skal trækkes men skæres 🙁

    Så dig for ikke så længe siden – jeg sad i bussen – og var ved at BANKE ruden i stykker – håber da så sandelig det var d.7. himmel du befandt dig i 🙂
    Vi snakkes – skal nok lade være med at sige ” bliv nu ikke for square ” for det ved jeg at det bliver du ikke . Kæmpekram – Laila

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