First, I visited Anders Larsson at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, where I outlined my thoughts on what I’ve started to call the second wave of citizen journalism, now taking place through social media. This essentially provides an overview of the key themes in Gatewatching Revisited – the update to my 2005 Gatewatching book which I’m currently writing:
The (very) final speaker at Social Media and Society is Dominic Yeo, whose focus is on mobile dating apps. Such apps have fully arrived in recent years, and are now also incorporating geolocation functionality, for instance. Such apps have been studied from a number of angles, but the dimension of time has been largely ignored: how does the concept of social time affect these mobile-enhanced dating practices?
The next speaker at Social Media and Society is Stefanie Haustein, who begins by highlighting the substantial gender gap in academia – especially at higher levels of employment, but also in academic publishing and citation patterns. Similarly, there was a substantial gender gap online, at least early on, and this has balanced out only in relatively recent times, especially also since the advent of social media (with some social media platforms very substantially female-dominated).
The final session at Social Media and Society is starting with Ann Pegoraro and Ashleigh-Jane Thompson, whose interest is in the visual coverage and self-presentation of athletes on social media. This can be linked to Goffman's ideas of backstage and frontstage performance, and also tends to play out quite differently depending on the athlete's gender.
The final speaker in this Social Media and Society session is Yuri Rykov, whose focus is on the Russian social network site V Kontakte. What is the structure of online communities on this site? Are they flat, inclusive, and egalitarian, or are they stratified and hierarchical, with clear leadership structures emerging, as a power law distribution would expect? What new light can network analytics shed on these questions?
The next paper in this Social Media and Society session is by my QUT colleague Brenda Moon and me. Our work-in-progress presentation explores how we can connect our long-term data on the structures of follower networks in the Australian Twittersphere with shorter-term comprehensive information on actual posting activity; we are interested how follower networks and @mention networks cross-influence each other. What emerges already from our preliminary work is that different communities of Australian Twitter users appear to exhibit some very different activity patterns, and that some appear more likely to break out of their follower/followee network clusters than others. One of the newer Twitter communities in Australia, teen users, seem to tweet particularly differently from the others.
The next speaker at Social Media and Society is Shih-Yun Chen, who focusses on online communities. Such communities are used to connect, share information, and give mutual support; and it important to understand the participant roles that emerge in such communities, what content they contribute, and how this affects the sustainability of a community. This study focusses on these patterns in the context of knowledge sharing and social events.
The next session at Social Media and Society starts with Sílvia Majó-Vázquez, whose interest is in the role and positioning of legacy news media in social media spaces, for the particular context of Spain's media ecology. Some legacy news media have recognised their own difficulties in engaging with the online space; some are significantly decreasing their offline activities and therefore need to improve their online services by comparison.
The final speaker in this Social Media and Society session is William Housley, whose interest is in the role of social media as disruptive technologies: they affect how we organise ourselves in our social relations, and how these social relations are captured through big data on social media activities. This has a strong temporal dimension, recognising the dynamics of change over time.
The next speaker in this Social Media and Society session is Karen Gregory. Her past research has been with esoteric practitioners in New York City, in the wake of the global financial crisis: these were women who learnt tarot card reading as a new profession in an unstable job market. Tarot itself can be understood as a social medium: it was played by nobles in the 15th century as a game that enabled social interaction; it is used today as a self-help technique that serves as a social commentary and 'has a bit of Facebook built into it', Karen suggests.