“People are connecting one-on-one - they have their online social network or their cell phone with 250 people on speed dial - but do they feel part of a community? Do they feel responsibility to a set of shared political commitments? Do they feel a need to take responsibility for issues that would require that they act in concert rather than just connect? Recently, connectivity and statements of identity on places such as Facebook or MySpace have themselves become values. It is a concern when self-expression becomes more important than social action.”

Excerpt from “Living online: I'll have to ask my friends” September 20, 2006, from New Scientist Print Edition by Liz Else and Sherry Turkle

FreeFormed.net is a web and mobile phone based project conceived by five master’s degree candidates in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; Jadie Oh, Megan MacMurray, Catherine Colman, Nanna Halinen and Yonatan Kelib. Collectively, we took notice of the trends in online social networking and media sharing and felt that there was a significant problem, not only in the structure and architecture of many of the more popular media based sites which often promote lack of searchability and connectivity, but also in the social networking world, which currently appeals to a very specific demographic and where emphasis is placed more often then not on the quantity of relationships rather then the quality or the significance. We also took note of the trends in mobile posting and mobile development and felt that while many sites were doing interesting things, there was still a gap between the technology and its function within the online community.

FreeFormed is an experiment aimed at bridging that gap by encouraging the use of mobile phones in the development of online circles of conversation, emphasizing media as the point of connection rather then arbitrary self-serving definitions of identity. We are not opposed to the current popular sites working in this vein, we use them ourselves. We simply think there may be other ways to facilitate connectivity and a sense of community online that have the potential to produce different results then what we see now.

FreeFormed.net would not have been possible without the help of Shawn Van Every. Thanks for everything!