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The Changing Features of Communication on Twitter

Up next in this AoIR 2015 session is Sava Saheli Singh, whose focus is on subverting social media. Our use of such social media, such as Twitter, is shaped by the biases built-in by the people who design these spaces; and these have changed over time. Users reinterpret and repurpose the features of social media spaces, so there is a constant struggle between platform providers and users.

Understanding the Uses of Political Bots

The final day of AoIR 2015 has dawned, and it begins with a paper by Samuel Woolley; his interest is in political bots. Bots are software tools that automate human tasks on the Web; political bots, then, are social bots that engage with human users, largely through social media, to promote specific political causes.

Moving beyond First-Person Platform Studies

Finally in this AoIR 2015 session, we move on to Greg Elmer, one of the editors of Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data. His contribution is focussed on the practice of collecting data from social media sites, some of which is done using some very simple Web scraping tools (as Edward Snowden did at the NSA, apparently).

Reverse-Engineering Social Media Platforms

The next speaker in the Compromised Data session at AoIR 2015 is Robert Gehl, whose focus is on the effects of corporate social media. There is a conflict between the critiques of proprietary social media spaces and the obvious pleasures of using social media; what do we do about this?

Easy Data, Hard Data, Compromised Data

My QUT DMRC colleague Jean Burgess and I are next at AoIR 2015, presenting the core points from our chapter "Easy Data, Hard Data" in the Compromised Data collection. (The slides are below.) The chapter thinks through the pragmatics and politics of being social media researchers in a complex and precarious environment, and thus builds on David Berry's work on the computational turn in humanities and social science research.

When Data Are Compromised by Politics

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Joanna Redden, another contributor to the Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data collection. She focusses especially on how data are being used by governments, and how this impacts particularly on issues of poverty and inequality. Her work is based on interviews with public servants and consultants in Canada, and builds a picture of how and where data are being used in the government.

Big Data, Compromised Data?

The final panel at AoIR 2015 for today is the Compromised Data panel, celebrating the release of the book of the same name. Ganaele Langlois starts us off by highlighting the key themes of the book: data are now crucial to building the social, and the gaps and omissions in the data therefore have very significant impacts.

Understanding How Ordinary Users Comprehend Data Visualisations

The final speaker in this session at AoIR 2015 is Helen Kennedy, whose interest is in how people interact with data visualisations. This is very important in the context of the current datafication trend. But existing literature in this field lacks a user-centred knowledge base – much is driven by designers' instincts of what constitutes a good data visualisation. It mobilises narrow definitions and measures of effectiveness and provides little information about participants, while ignoring social and cultural factors.

Media Usage and Political Participation in Germany

The next AoIR 2015 speaker is Anna Sophia Kümpel, whose interest is in news usage patterns and their effects on political participatory behaviours. Mass media remain identified as a crucial determinant of political participatory behaviour, though their exact effects on participation remain disputed. One new factor which emerges in addition to this in more recent times is the question of which devices are being used.

Crowdsourced Journalism in Finland

I arrived a little late to Tanja Aitamurto's AoIR 2015 paper about crowdsourced journalism in northern Europe, where news sites used their readers to gather data on homeloan terms, for instance – crowdsourcing is thus defined as a mechanism for collaborative problem-solving that is driven by the initiator of the project; the locus of power therefore remains with the media organisation.


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