A surprising private study this spring found South Dakota has the highest Facebook adoption rate of the 50 states, with 31.1% of us having accounts on the social networking site.

But that doesn’t tell us how active we South Dakotans are on Facebook. Consumer research group Experian/Simmons issues its 2010 Social Networking Report and finds us about average, far from addict-level in social networking logins:

Simmons Heavy Social Network Index 2010

The Simmons report website doesn’t explain the “Heavy Social Network Index,” and their color-coding appears to be off: the middle-range white region on the legend appears to be light pink on the map. But Simmons appears to show South Dakota middling in heavy social network use, about the same as rural places like upper New England and panhandle Oklahoma-Texas. There appears to be slightly more avid Facebooking in areas of Minnesota and North Dakota. The biggest blob of heavy online social networkers runs through the Rockies to the Pacific Northwest.

Perhaps the most interesting place to study on this map would be Texas, a state with regions falling into each of the five index categories, from way high to way low. What cultural factors might lie behind those differences within a single state?


The South Dakota blogosphere was all a-fluster this month over two proposed bills, House Bills 1277 and 1278, which sought to impose some accountability on anonymous blog commenters. I tried to use my powers for good, offering some counterproposals that might address concerns about online defamation. I was surprised that Dakota State University folks weren’t more involved in this debate. We are the most wired campus in the state; DSU profs and students ought to be at the nexus of any debate involving online technology and culture.

Both bills died in committee Monday. But overseas (and on the Internet, is there any such thing as overseas?), there’s plenty more news about Internet law and policy:

In Italy yesterday, a Milan judge convicted three of four Google executives charged with violations of Italy’s privacy code. In 2006, some punks posted a video of themselves bullying an autistic kid. Google removed the video when notified by Italian police, but the court still pressed charges against the Google employees. The Google guys got out of defamation charges, but Google says the convictions establish a criminal liability for Internet providers that could destroy the Web:

Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming. European Union law was drafted specifically to give hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence. The belief, rightly in our opinion, was that a notice and take down regime of this kind would help creativity flourish and support free speech while protecting personal privacy. If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear [Matt Sucherman, “Serious Threat to the Web in Italy,” Google Blog, 2010.02.24].

Google is appealing the convictions.

China is requiring anyone who wants to start a website come down to City Hall for a chat with Uncle Mao. Most of us can get a domain name and start posting content from the comfort of our couch in minutes with a few clicks and a credit card. China wants domain seekers to meet with regulators and provide identity documents. The Communist government says they’re just trying to control online pornography, but rights activists know a chilling effect when they see one. Hmm… using offensive online content as an excuse for oppressive Web regulations… sound familiar?

Our friends the Poles at least are getting it right. Poland’s government just abandoned an Internet censorship plan. The plan to create a government registry of banned websites was part of a plan to crack down on gambling, but activists for Internet rights and free speech saw the potential for the government to abuse such a registry and start adding other sites various officials might find disagreeable.

Reading about Lou’s SPN dissertation and defense (Nash, 2004, pp. 124-125), I encounter Lou’s word multilogue and his desire for authenticity and connection.

Why was I drawn to the South Dakota blogosphere? Because for the first time, I could hear my state’s voice, South Dakotans speaking in their own voices about the life and the places I know. They were placing (are placing) this multiloguing (multilogical?) voice online, on an even footing with the professional media, which can never make South Dakota sound as authentic as the amateurs, in the original sense of the word, writing for love. I could hear South Dakota as more than a rare condescending mention from a national news reporter (clearly detached, sounding surprised to even be mentioning South Dakota, and almost always mispronouncing if not mislocating our capital).

And I could join them. Welcome to the conversation.

Nash, R. J. (2004). Liberating Scholarly Writing: The Power Of Personal Narrative. New York: Teachers College Press. 

South Dakota, Wireless Hotspot: Feasibility of Statewide WiMAX-Enabled Municipal Internet Built on the K-12 Network

A paper submitted 2009.04.13
for INFS 750 Networks (etc.)
By Cory Allen Heidelberger


Municipal wireless Internet offers potential economic and cultural benefits to all communities. However, the capital (physical and human) required to deploy and manage such networks appears to set a natural lower bound on the size of community that can successfully sustain such a system. Rural communities in South Dakota, most with populations under 10,000, likely fall below that threshold. Therefore, this paper proposes a model for a statewide cooperative network of municipal wireless Internet services in South Dakota, built on the existing infrastructure that provides Internet access to public schools across the state. (more…)

Dissertation-Topic for Consideration
Scholarly Personal Narrative and Social Knowledge Management
CA Heidelberger
Friday, April 3, 2009

Working Title: Self-Organizing Social Knowledge Management: A Case Study Investigating Evolutionary Learning Communities and Scholarly Personal Narrative


  1. Define and demonstrate scholarly personal narrative (SPN) as an information systems research methodology.
  2. Develop a model of geographically based self-organizing social knowledge management built on the “evolutionary learning community” model proposed by Laszlo and Laszlo (2002).
  3. Describe and investigate South Dakota online communities as first-generation IS manifestations of self-organizing social knowledge management. (more…)