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AoIR 2017

Association of Internet Researchers conference, Tartu, 18-21 Oct. 2017

Facebook Commenting during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Debates

The second day at AoIR 2017 starts with a panel on the U.S. elections in 2016, and Patrícia Rossini is the first speaker. She notes the limited focus in the past on how voters interact with election campaigns; much of the research has paid attention simply to the campaigning strategies themselves. But there is also evidence that users encounter a good deal of campaigning in their social networks, though they do not necessarily like doing so – in part because the discourse can be heated, emotional, and uncivil. Further, reactions to some discourse differ based on whether users agree or disagree with the uncivil statements being made.

Donald Trump's Campaign and the Hybrid Media System

The first keynote at AoIR 2017 is by Andrew Chadwick, who explores what the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign means for our understanding of the hybrid media system. Political communication is in the middle of a chaotic transitional period, due in good part to the disruptions brought by newer, digital media; some older media have also been renewed by integrating the logics of newer media. This then represents a systemic perspective that examines forces while they are in flow.

The hybrid media system is built on the interactions of older and newer media logics in the reflexively connected field of media and politics. Actors in this field tap and steer information flows in ways that suit their goals, enable or disable the agency of others, across various older and newer media settings. 'Hybrid' here shifts our conceptualisation from 'either/or' to 'not only, but also'; it foregrounds complexity, interdependence and transition. We pay more attention to boundaries, flux, and liminal spaces, where practices intermeshing and co-evolve.

Selfie Practices on Instagram during Major Events

The final paper in this AoIR 2017 session is by Gemma San Corneliu and Antoni Roig, whose focus is on the study of selfies as performed personal narratives, in a broader context of narrative texts. How may such selfies be understood through an alternative genealogy that conceptualised selfies as small narratives?

Reply Trees in the Australian Twittersphere

The next speaker in this AoIR 2017 is my DMRC colleague Brenda Moon, whose focus is on reply chains on Twitter. There are a number of ways in which replies are chained together, and in fact the term 'reply tree' may be preferable to 'reply chains': there may be many replies to the same original tweet only, or a long dyadic interaction over a series of tweets, or various permutations between these two extremes.

Testing the Validity of Twitter API Data

The next speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Rebekah Tromble, whose focus is on the impact of digital data collection methods on scientific inference. Collecting data from social media APIs, how can we know whether we have 'good', valid data?

Social Media Bullshit on the Facebook 'Peace' Page

The next session at AoIR 2017 starts with this year's AoIR Nancy Baym Book Award winner Nicholas John, whose focus here is on unfriending practices in the context of specific political events. There is limited information about unfriending as the platforms themselves do not provide a great deal of information about such practice.

The Thin Line between Legitimate and Illegitimate Social Media Marketing Practices

The next speaker in this AoIR 2017 session is Thomas Beauvisage, who begins by highlighting the algorithmic ordering of content in social media. This is also a form of reputational capital, and has led to the development of a rogue industry providing 'fake' followers, likes, and other quantifiable measures of apparent user interest.

Patterns in Media References in the Dutch Twittersphere

The second paper in this AoIR 2017 session is by Daniela van Geenen and Mirko Schäfer, whose focus is on 'fake news' on Twitter. They began by tracking activities in the Dutch Twittersphere, and identified a number of communities within this userbase; within these communities, news and other information are being shared, and a process of social filtering takes place.

Governance and Regulation on Social Media Platforms

It is already the middle of the first day of AoIR 2017, and I'm finally getting to see a panel, on 'fake news', which starts with Christian Katzenbach and Kirsten Gollatz. They start by noting the increasing discussion about platform governance initiatives designed to limit the circulation of 'fake news', however the term is defined; this also builds on considerable amounts of research into the politics of platforms.


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