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The Influence of Community Topics on Network Structures in V Kontakte

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?

Intersections between Follower and @mention Networks in the Australian Twittersphere

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.

Slides are below:

One Day in the Life of a National Twittersphere from Axel Bruns

Insider and Outsider Accounts in Online Communities

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.

Audience Flows and Platform Links between Legacy and New News Media in Spain

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.

Social Media and Their Consequences

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.

Tarot and Social Media?

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.

The Transformative Capacity of Social Media Research

Helen Webb starts off the next session of Social Media and Society, and begins by suggesting that social media have a transformative capacity for social research as well. To begin with, social media research challenges established conceptual and methodological approaches: they enable us to explore and revise existing theories of social interaction and self-presentation, for instance; or to review patterns and sequences of interaction in order to develop new views on conversational processes.

The Emotional Dimension of Data Visualisation

It's the final day at Social Media and Society, and today's keynote is by Helen Kennedy. She's beginning with the question of how data make us feel: and it is a question that reflects the power of data, of metrics, in an environment where such data have become ordinary and everyday. As data mining becomes more commonplace, new data relations emerge, and these are increasingly characterised by emotion as much as by rationality. This represents a desire for numbers, and points to some of the contradictions that include a hunger for as well as a criticism of numbers. How we get through the visualisation of numbers also plays an important role.

Social media data form part of a larger ecosystem of connective data in this context. Social media data mining has also become ordinary – and should such ordinary forms of social media data mining concern us in the same way that more exceptional data (such as the Snowden leaks) should concern us? Helen has examined this in close engagement with social media data generators and users, and this has also uncovered the visceral reactions that people have when they encounter a data visualisation. Such responses to 'seeing data' also deserve further research: how do we live with data from the bottom up?

Legacy News Media on Twitter: Still Waiting for Reciprocal Journalism

Next up at Social Media and Society is Jacob Groshek, whose interest is in new modes of journalism on social media. Journalism has traditionally been operating through gatekeeping, deciding what news is being published to their audiences and what news do not. This is still a key mechanism in digital networks, but increasingly redesigned to adjust to the multitude of senders and receivers that are now present in online spaces. All of us are now potential gatekeepers, making our own decisions about what to publish and what to ignore.

Networks of Propaganda on Social Media

OK, so I'm afraid I missed the first paper by Ching-ya Lin in this Social Media and Society session on journalism and propaganda because I was talking to one of the poster presenters. The second speaker is Ebru Kayaalp, who takes an actor-network theory approach to the study of the propaganda wars between the U.S. and ISIS.

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