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Friday, October 12 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Intermedia/tions

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MO' CHARACTERS MO' PROBLEMS: ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM CONSTRAINTS AND MODES OF COMMUNICATION
Lewis Mitchell, Joshua Dent, Joshua Ross
It is widely accepted that different online social media platforms produce different modes of communication, however the ways in which these modalities are shaped by the constraints of a particular platform remain difficult to quantify. On 7 November 2017 Twitter doubled the character limit for users to 280 characters, presenting a unique opportunity to study the response of this population to an exogenous change to the communication medium. Here we analyse a large dataset comprising 387 million English-language tweets (10% of all public tweets) collected over the September 2017--January 2018 period to quantify and explain large-scale changes in individual behaviour and communication patterns precipitated by the character-length change. Using statistical and natural language processing techniques we find that linguistic complexity increased after the change, with individuals writing at a significantly higher reading level. However, we find that some textual properties such as statistical language distribution remain invariant across the change, and are no different to writings in different online media. By fitting a generative mathematical model to the data we find a surprisingly slow response of the Twitter population to this exogenous change, with a substantial number of users taking a number of weeks to adjust to the new medium. In the talk we describe the model and Bayesian parameter estimation techniques used to make these inferences. Furthermore, we argue for mathematical models as an alternative exploratory methodology for "Big" social media datasets, empowering the researcher to make inferences about the human behavioural processes which underlie large-scale patterns and trends.

HACKING AND MAKING THE DIGITAL ERA: SONY’S PLAYSTATION PORTABLE AND THE POST-DIGITAL POLITICS OF PIRACY
David Murphy
This conference paper uses a media archaeology approach (Parikka, 2012; Huhatamo, 1997) to excavate the Sony Playstation Portable’s unique hacking, piracy, and homebrew software development history—a history which is brimming with implications for today’s debates over piracy, innovation, and the socio-technical management of networked devices. It will begin with a discussion of the theories and methodologies being implemented before delving into the Playstation Portable’s history and the technical milestones that its hardware hacking scene achieved. Then, it will describe how these milestones contributed to new anti-piracy technologies and a new hegemonic shift in which hacking and piracy are not only treated as a source of innovation (Raustiala & Sprigman, 2006; Johns, 2009; Soderberg & Delfanti, 2015), but are also still classified, in a juridical sense, as illicit user behaviors. Finally, the paper will describe how this shift points to subtle changes in intellectual property practice and thinking, resulting in a post-digital politics of intellectual property which seeks to foster and subsume illicit networks and illegal user activities.

FROM ITUNES TO FACEBOOK: NAVIGATING THE CHALLENGES OF SHIFTING DIGITAL COMEDY FROM AN APP TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO ENGAGE YOUNG MEN WITH SEXUAL HEALTH INFORMATION
Kim Osman
The proposed paper reports on the findings of a two-year study that used digital vulgar comedy to engage young men with information about healthy sexual development. The project partnered with a sexual health organisation to target young, straight-identifying men with information about sex and relationships, as they are not always considered as a discrete group with particular sex education needs (McKee, Walsh, & Watson, 2014). The research aimed to address the gap through the lens of entertainment-education (Singhal & Rogers, 2004), furthering past efforts (Gold et al., 2012; Johnston, 2017; Pascoe, 2011) to examine new ways to engage young people with information about sex and relationships via digital media.

The paper reflects on the challenges, risks and opportunities of the shift from a teaching or media production model to a curation-based, ‘spreadability’ (Jenkins, Ford & Green, 2013) model of sexual health education, grounded in the everyday routines and practices of young people. We argue that, despite the discomfort that comes with this release of control, there are significant benefits to this model for sexual health and education organisations.

BROADCAST NOW & GO LIVE: GLOBAL LIVESTREAMING APPS IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Megan Sapnar Ankerson
If early television promised a new expansive global view—“your window on the world”—from the family living room television set (Spigel 1992: 102), what view of the world does live-streaming promise? What does global live-streaming and social broadcasting mean within the historical contexts of television and the internet? Live-streaming app Periscope's tagline, for example, urges viewers to “explore the world through someone else’s eyes.” What modes of mediated looking do live streaming apps enable, and how might we situate these practices culturally and historically? How does the discourse of “social broadcasting” compare with that of early broadcast radio and television? To address these questions, this paper employs a material-semiotic analysis of the Periscope app and Facebook Live, examining interface design, technological affordances, and media discourse surrounding live-streaming as way to critically engage the complex dynamics underpinning the entanglement of mass media logic and social media logic.

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avatar for Lewis Mitchell

Lewis Mitchell

Applied mathematician/data scientist, University of Adelaide
Large-scale quantitative social media analysis; computational social science; data science methods


Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am
Sheraton - Salon 5

Attendees (6)