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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.

Phases of Social Media Adoption in Italian Politics

The final presenter in this AoIR 2015 session is Luca Rossi, who shifts our attention to Italian politics. His interest moves beyond elections, too, as elections represent a very specific political moment. Internet and social media use in Italy is still relatively limited – in 2012, only 62% of the population were online, and the main source of information remains television.

Social Media Messaging Types by US Gubernatorial Candidates

Up next in this AoIR 2015 session is AoIR president Jenny Stromer-Galley, whose focus is on the social media use of US gubernatorial candidates. Their tweeting activities are linked of course to the very lengthy US electoral process from surfacing candidates through primaries and nominating conventions to the elections themselves.

Social Media in Australian Elections through the Years

The next AoIR 2015 paper is by Tim Highfield and me, and I'll add I've added our presentation slides below as soon as I can. The paper will also be a chapter in the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics, which my colleagues Gunn Enli, Eli Skogerbø, Anders Larsson, Christian Christensen and I have edited – and which will appear in early 2016.

Social Media and Elections in Sweden since 2010

The post-lunch session at AoIR 2015 is a panel on social media and elections that my colleague Tim Highfield and I are contributing to, but we begin with the excellent Anders Olof Larsson, whose focus is on recent Swedish elections. Sweden traditionally has a high level of election participation and substantial Internet and social media access, and social media have become increasingly visible in election campaigns, unsurprisingly this has increased over time.

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