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Internet Technologies in Party Decision-Making Processes in Germany

The third speaker in this session at Web Science 2016 is Gefion Thuermer, whose interest is in decision-making processes within political parties. Such processes must be equal and inclusive, which may be a problem the more Internet-based communication tools play a role.

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.

The Perceived Efficacy of Connective Action on Facebook

The next speaker in this ECREA 2014 panel is Cédric Courtois, whose interest is in individual action and collective efficacy on Facebook. Within Facebook, there are plenty of constraints, but we are nonetheless navigating these constraints to engage in connective action. What motivates people to do so, and what is their perception of the efficacy of such activities?

Possible explanations for engagement through liking, commenting, and content creation could be genuine involvement in an issue, and a perception that such involvement will effect change. Self-presentation as someone interested in specific issues may also play a role.

Political Pressure from Below in the Chinese Internet

The next speaker at AoIR 2010 is David Kurt Herold, who shifts our focus to China. ‘Online China’ represents a very large population now (at more than 400 million users), but is connected with the rest of the world through only 27 major connections. The Chinese Internet remains government-owned, too – China owns the network backbone, and government control over the Net is therefore the default setting. There is also substantially less content creation on the Chinese Net; Internet use is consumption-oriented, and operates largely through fairly old-fashioned major portals and BBSes. It is also a very violent place, with ‘human flesh search engines’ (RRSS) that enable users to search for and harass other users.

The Net has also been used for self-help purposes, though, through very similar mechanisms; the site 5-1-Zhao-Ren is a people search engine used to find long-lost friends and relatives, for example, or to otherwise highlight people who have performed positive actions in the past. Such sites have been used to highlight abuse and abductions – a group of 400 fathers whose kids had been abducted as child slaves for a factory posted an open letter about this, for example, and most of the kids were rescued in the end.

Online Campaigning by the Obama Campaign

The final speaker in this ECREA 2010 session is Sabine Baumann, whose interest is in online grassroots campaigning especially in the past US presidential election. There, of course, to win a candidate not only needs votes, but campaign funding in the first place, and the Obama campaign was exceptionally successful in attracting campaign contributions (collecting twice as much money as John McCain, mainly from small donations under US$200).

Spending figures are also interesting in this regard – McCain spent some US$4.6m on Internet campaigning, Obama spent a whopping US$24m. The Obama campaign Website also prominently displayed its donation and online merchandise functionality, of course; the online store was hugely successful, in fact (offering campaign clothing and art from notable designers and artists).

Big Boston Bombshell

Henry Jenkins is leaving MIT, to take up a position at the University of Southern California. Whoa - that's big news, and something of a seismic shift; Henry has been such a major driver of media and cultural studies (especially also in the new media area) in the US, and he's one of a handful of people who have made MIT a very strong player in this field. I wrote my Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage book while I was a visiting scholar with the Comparative Media Studies group there, and I'm very grateful for Henry's support and collegiality during and after that time (and in his announcement post, he's even found the time to include our Creative Industries Faculty at QUT as one of a select number of leading research institutions in the field) - so I wish him all the best at the new place; at least the flight over to Australia has now become a good deal shorter for him... Commiserations to the folks at MIT - it will be interesting to see whom they find to fill Henry's shoes!

5 Things You May or May Not Know about Me

Jean and Catherine (nice to hear from you again!) have both tagged me. It's taken me some time to reply to this challenge, but here we go - five things you didn't know about me:

  1. I once served in an electronic warfare unit in the West German army, and had to learn some basic Russian - our task was to listen in to Red Army transmissions in then-East Germany, presumably to work out if and when the Soviets were going to attack. Of course they didn't, and in fact during my time in the army the wall came down and the whole exercise became fairly pointless. (Well, you probably did know that one if you've read "The Redundant Spy"...)

'Anyone Can Edit' Rides Again
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Lincoln 2007. Make your own badge here.
Leeds / Lincoln / Leeds.
I'm back from a quick trip to the very pretty town of Lincoln, where I've visited my former M/C colleague turned University of Lincoln lecturer Guy Redden, to catch up and do a quick guest lecture: a very much revised version of 'Anyone Can Edit', the lecture I toured on the U.S. East Coast in late 2005. This new revision of the lecture incorporates some more of the research I'm currently undertaking for my book project From Production to Produsage, of course. After the lecture, I was also able to catch up with some more of the students at Lincoln, which was very enjoyable.


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