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Social Media Use in US Political Campaigning

We start the second session this morning at AoIR 2016 with a paper by Jennifer Stromer-Galley and Patricia Rossini, whose interest is in the social media posts of presidential candidates in the U.S. election campaign in 2016. On their live tracker they are capturing the social media activities of both Clinton and Trump, and these have also been coded by content.

Twitter and the Bill Cosby Scandal

The final speaker in this AoIR 2016 session is Karen Assmann, whose interest is in the social media coverage of the Bill Cosby scandal. Allegations about Cosby's behaviour had been circulating since the mid-2000s, but these were not widely investigated by journalists at the time (and the court material at the time was sealed after an out-of-court settlement); some journalists have questioned whether they have failed in pursuing this story.

The story blew up again in 2015 after a video discussing the allegations went viral on Twitter, and was picked up on Buzzfeed; eventually the UK's Daily Mail covered the story in some more detail and in October and November 2015 more substantial coverage both online and offline, and both in traditional and new news media finally emerged. Journalists reflected at the time that social media, as well as non-traditional news sites such as Buzzfeed, played an important role in finally generating attention to this story.

Reader Engagement in De Correspondent and Krautreporter

The second paper in this news session at AoIR 2016 starts with Lena Knaudt and Renske Siebe, who begin by highlighting the transformation of journalism in the context of participatory and social media. How does journalism redefine itself as an institution in this environment; how do we understand news beyond the industrial paradigm?

There are three levels of de-industrialisation of journalism: the business model, the production process, and the journalistic paradigm; in terms of production, in particular, there is an opportunity to move away from deadline-driven, high-throughput journalism and towards 'slow journalism' that engages in considered news production and also involves the audience as co-producers. However, journalists' perceptions and experiences of such models are not usually very positive, with incivility noted as a particular problem, and they are therefore reluctant to engage.

Newssharing on Twitter

The first proper day of AoIR 2016 begins with a paper that I'm involved in, along with a host of colleagues from Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. We cover patterns in newssharing across these countries, and I'll add the slides for our presentation below as soon as I can the slides for our presentation are below now.

 

Towards the Platform Society

After an exciting workshop day, we're now starting AoIR 2016 proper with the opening keynote by José van Dijck from the University of Amsterdam. She begins by noting the work of Tarleton Gillespie on the politics of online platforms, which has been very influential in Internet studies in recent years. Internet platforms are now intricately interwoven in a technical, commercial, and social ecosystem, with a number of leading platforms serving as the major gateways to that ecosystem.

But new platforms are constantly emerging, to systematically connect people to things, ideas, and money. These platforms penetrate all aspects of our public and private lives; in any major area these platforms are important gateways to information and connectivity. A platform in this context is an online site that deploys automated technologies and business models to organise data streams, economic interactions, and social exchanges between users of the Internet, José suggests. They are therefore not simple facilitators, or stand-alone objects, but are intricately connected to each other.

Situating Digital Methods

Our Digital Methods pre-conference workshop at AoIR 2016, combining presenters from the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam and the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology starts with a presentation by Richard Rogers on the recent history of digital methods. He points out the gradual transition from a conceptualisation of the Internet and the Web as cyberspace or as a virtual space to an understanding of the Web as inherently linked with the 'real' world: online rather than offline becomes the baseline, and there is an increasing sense of online groundedness.

Some Talks in Oslo ahead of AoIR 2016 in Berlin

I’m on my way to Berlin for this year’s Association of Internet Researchers conference, which will be one of our biggest yet – but on my way I’ve also swung by Oslo to visit my colleagues in the Social Media and Agenda-Setting in Election Campaigns (SAC) project which is now coming to its conclusion. While there I gave a couple of invited talks on my recent research – and the slides from those presentations are now available here.

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:

Axel Bruns. “How the Person in the Street Became a Journalist: Social Media and the Second Wave of Citizen Journalism.” Invited presentation at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, Oslo, 27 Sep. 2016.

The Experience of Social Time in Mobile Dating Apps

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?

Gender Biases in the Social Sharing of Academic Research

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).

Visual Self-Portrayals of Athletes on Social Media

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.

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