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Black Twitter's Engagement with #Scandal

The final presentation for AoIR 2015 is by Dayna Chatman and Kevin Driscoll, whose focus is on the communities and modes of social TV engagement with specific television texts. Their focus here is especially also on "black Twitter", a particular subset of the US Twitter population that has emerged in recent years: black American users on Twitter have been identified as a distinct group.

But black Twitter is actually a discursive phenomenon that is driven predominantly but not exclusively by black users in the US. The existence of this black Twitter community was detected especially through Twitter's trending topics, whose underlying algorithms were by accident especially well suited to detect the themes emerging from black Twitter, while "white Twitter" topics were not as prominently features.

Television Co-Creation with Social Media Users: #7DaysLater

The next speaker in our AoIR 2015 panel is Jonathon Hutchinson, who zooms in to a specific transmedia programme screened by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, #7DaysLater. The premise of the show is to create comedy programming within seven days, and to incorporate social media engagement practices into the show.

Such viewing is more than just subsequent watercooler discussions – it's about viewer co-creation practices. The challenge is to break through the noise barrier on social media, and to find the techniques for encouraging audience participation, especially in the context of a public service broadcaster.

Developing More Advanced Television Engagement Metrics for Twitter

The final AoIR 2015 session is our panel on social television, and starts with a co-authored paper presented by Darryl Woodford (slides to follow soon below).

Darryl begins by noting that raw social media engagement numbers for television are useful only to an extent: they are usually not normalised to account for specific factors, and simply offer raw quantities.

Nielsen SocialGuide's Twitter engagement statistics for social media follow that pattern, for example, and obviously shows on major TV channels do better than those on niche cable channels. Beamly's social media rankings are skewed by the Twitter terms they track: any tweet containing the letters 'yr' is counted as engagement with The Young and the Restless, for example, which is obviously wrong.

Identity Negotiations amongst Female and Minority Gamers

The final speaker in this AoIR 2015 session is Gabriela Richard, whose interest is in female gaming clans. She conducted an ethnographic study of the PMS Clan as well as interviews with gamers.

Overall, there are three waves of female gaming. The first wave identified gender difference in desire, interests, and playing styles; the second expanded the market to develop more female-oriented games; and the third explores more intersectionality between female and other identities (culture, race, sexuality, ...).

Understanding New Media Rupture-Talk

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Michael Stevenson, whose focus is on what he calls new media "rupture-talk". The idea here is to take what we often refer to as "mere talk" more seriously. Michael points to John Perry Barlow's "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" as an example of this – new media as a radical break from the past.

The concept of cyberspace has been on the decline since its heyday in the mid-1990s, even in major booster publications like Wired. But other rupture-talk concepts, such as MOOCs or the "social graph" have emerged, and are also used to signify a radical break from the immediate past. Such terms are often understandably criticised as hype (Evgeny Morozov's The Net Delusion is an obvious example).

The Global Demographics of Twitter

This final morning at AoIR 2015 opens with my paper with Darryl Woodford and Troy Sadkowsky which explores the global Twitter userbase. Our slides are below:

The Problems with Unmasking Online Trolls

The final AoIR 2015 speaker for today is Emily van der Nagel, whose interest is in the unmasking of prominent Reddit troll Violentacrez. There are thousands of Reddit sections that provide a space for the formation of various communities, some of which are highly confrontational and offensive.

The moderator of one of these spaces, Violentacrez, was recently unmasked by an investigative blogger – a process known as doxing –, and this is seen as destructive and a form of violence by Reddit users themselves. The unmasking practice is similar to the Chinese "human flesh search engine", a form of public shaming through online media.

Mechanisms for Self-Disclosure on Facebook

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Brady Robards, whose interest is in mapping changes in disclosure practices through sustained Facebook use. User presence on Facebook is constituted by both synchronous and asynchronous disclosure, through various communication mechanisms and governing algorithms. Disclosure practices have changed over time as Facebook itself has also changed.

Brady's project builds on a series of interviews with 20-something-year-old users (i.e. users at a critical age in identity formation). Information on their identity disclosure practices is informative of larger patterns.

In general, in the idealised self-presentation, the positive is always recorded over the negative, emphasising moments of celebration – but this is complicated by more 'authentic' presentations of the self in the moment, by users as well as their friends: the self is thus also co-constructed.

The Challenges of Expressing Online Identity

Next up at AoIR 2015 is Sonia Vivienne, whose focus is on self-exposure and social surveillance. She suggests that in using social media we are creating an exhibition of the self: the story of social presence builds on the perpetual connectedness of contemporary life, the intimate publics which emerge through this, and the networked private spheres that arise from it.

Intimate citizenship involves asserting the right to chose what we do with our bodies and identities; networked identity and privacy is negotiated and mediated, whether we are pseudonymous or not. There are both risks and rewards in establishing and expressing an online identity.


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