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Paper Session [clear filter]
Thursday, October 11
 

9:00am EDT

Affect, Community and the (dis)Connectivities of Queer Digital Media Practices
QUEER DISCONNECTIONS: AFFECT, BREAK AND DELAY IN DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY
Jenny Sundén
In this paper, my intent is to explore the intricate relation between technological materiality and affect by considering questions of digital vulnerability – of disconnections, breaks, and delays – as a way of rethinking our intimate attachments to digital devices. By extension, I also wish to connect this argument with a framework of queer theory, as an opportunity to think differently about intimate relations through questions of technological ruptures and deferrals. My baseline for this endeavor is the idea of the break as formative for how we can both sense and make sense of digital connectivity, in so far as the break has the potential to bring forth what constant connectivity means, and how it feels. Similarly, the break can potentially make tangible relational norms around continuous, coherent, and linear ways of relating and connecting, and thus provide alternative models for ways of being with digital devices, networks, and each other. Based on a Spinozian understanding of ‘sad’ and ‘joyful’ affects and encounters, I focus on the intense layering of anxiety and anticipation within networked connectivity, and how a break feels different from a delay, or a postponement. The kind of disconnect that keeps someone hanging in midair could be a place or a moment for breathing more easily, by consisting of a temporary slowing down of the pace with which affective connections and relations are made. But it could as easily be a place for holding one’s breath, a heightened kind of tension as technologies and relations momentarily get stuck.

QUEER TUMBLR CONNECTIONS: TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITIES OR "SOMEWHERE TO PUT THINGS"?
Paul Byron, Brady Robards, Son Vivienne, Benjamin Hanckel, Brendan Churchill
Tumblr is an important source of information and support for queer and gender diverse young people. Data from a study of Australian LGBTIQ+ young people’s social media practices will be used to consider the role of Tumblr in young people’s negotiations of gender and sexual diversities. Participants often described Tumblr as a crucial site for learning about gender and sexuality, where anonymity afforded a feeling of safety in negotiating one’s identity/ies. In comparison to other social media platforms, participants described Tumblr as offering more intense experiences of peer interaction and self-discovery, and as being pivotal in learning to embrace their queerness and/or gender identities. For many, Tumblr offered a space to work through feelings and experiences, and to build and maintain an affective space of support. Participants also used Tumblr for self-reflection, with several using the platform to record and track their feelings and experiences, affording a sense of movement and self-development. This paper considers how these accounts of Tumblr question a common discussion of the platform as transnational ‘community space’. We argue that a ‘queer communities’ focus within Tumblr research may misrepresent the interpersonal and affective aspects of Tumblr use among many LGBTIQ+ young people.

LOGGING IN AND COMING OUT: SELF-BRANDING, IDENTITY, AND THE QUEER MASTER NARRATIVE
Colten Meisner
Drawing on an analysis of 91 YouTube videos, this study calls into question the role of "live reaction" coming out videos in commodifying queer identity. Understanding coming out videos as materialized expressions of identity, this study advances the notion that self-branding practices have encroached on even the most sacred of subjects: the queer master narrative. Upon examining how authenticity, voyeurism, and virality impact content creation in this study, practical implications for queer digital laborers are considered.

"WE'RE HERE, WE'RE QUEER, AND WE HAVE E-MAIL" RECONSTRUCTING EARLY LGBTQ HISTORY ONLINE
Avery Phelan Dame-Griff
This paper considers the pragmatic process and methodological challenges of archiving and researching the early LGBTQ Net. Drawing on my experiences building an archive of early LGBTQ-specific groups and forums online, I analyse 3 barriers to researching computer networks before the rise of the commercial internet: identifying forums, limited digital traces, and the ethics of sharing archival information. For each barrier, I discuss methodological challenges and identify possible solutions. Traces of the LGBTQ “Net,” I argue, can be found throughout the robust LGBTQ print culture of the time, from newspaper clippings, advertisements, classified listings, reprints of digital materials in group newsletters, and contemporaneous (and rapidly outdated) “web guides” like Jeff Dawson’s Gay & Lesbian Online.

However, this collection and identification raises important ethical questions about users’ right to privacy. In building an archive, users’ assumptions of “security through obscurity” on a pre-indexed web do not always hold, since deeply personal information can appear in archival content. Given these concerns, I argue for adopting an ethic of care, which focuses attention on the context of the content and its impact in the wider world. As an example, I look to the Zine Librarians’ Code of Ethics as a practical implementation of this ethic. Based on this discussion, I conclude with a preliminary LGBTQ “net history” derived from my current work. As I find, the early LGBTQ maintained deep connections to existing community infrastructure. These users built a Net that understood their needs, interests, and desires as not only unremarkable but worth celebrating.


Thursday October 11, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

9:00am EDT

Ambivalent Affordances: Women, Harassment and Empowerment Online
HOW DO WOMEN SCHOLARS COPE WITH ONLINE HARASSMENT?
Shandell Houlden, George Veletsianos, Jaigris Hodson, Chandell Gosse
Online spaces have become powerful locations for developing and disseminating research, both in terms of connecting with colleagues and students, as well as with the broader public. While researchers have noted the many positive impacts that the Internet offers to scholarly practice, online spaces can be notoriously unwelcoming to marginalized people, including women. In this study, we conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with women who self-identified as scholars having experienced online harassment. Throughout the interviews, participants described numerous coping strategies.

Participants employed multiple coping strategies. We categorized these strategies based on individual responses, and what those responses suggest about an interviewee’s orientation toward the harassment. This accounts for the potentially conflicting use of coping strategies as these strategies are employed with different ends in mind. The scholars who were interviewed coped with online harassment by engaging primarily in reactive, problem-focused coping like self-protection and resistance, and emotion-focused coping, like acceptance, and more negative experiences of coping like self-blame. No single individual engaged in one single strategy, while nearly all of them engaged in at least two of these approaches.

The main coping themes that emerged were self-protection, resistance, acceptance, and self-blame. While efforts to engage in emerging forms of scholarship that include digital and networked means are often seen with a positive light, this research demonstrates the contested terrain that some scholars face online.

I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL OF SUPPORT FOR WOMEN SCHOLARS EXPERIENCING ONLINE HARASSMENT
Chandell Enid Gosse, Jaigris Hodson, George Veletsianos, Shandell Houlden
This paper contributes to understanding the impact of online abuse and harassment on women scholars. We draw on data collected from 14 interviews with women scholars from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and report on the types of supports they sought during and after their experience with online abuse and harassment. We found that women scholars rely on three levels of support: the first level includes personal and social support (such as encouragement from friends and family and outsourcing comment reading to others); the second includes organizational (such as University or institutional policy), technological (such as reporting tools on Twitter or Facebook), and sectoral (such as law enforcement) support; and the third includes larger cultural and social attitudes and discourses (such as feminist support and the mantra ‘don’t feed the trolls’). While participants relied on social and personal support most frequently, it was also common to rely on multiple supports across all three levels. We use an ecological model as our framework to demonstrate how different types of support are interconnected, and suggest that support for targets of online abuse must integrate aspects of all three levels.

MAPPING OUT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS (VAWG) ON TWITTER: CASE OF INDIA
Priya Kumar, Anatoliy Gruzd, Philip Mai
According to a 2015 report released by the UN Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Gender, 73% of women across the globe have been exposed to some form of violence online. Much of the current understanding of online VAWG and its psychological and cultural impacts have focused on Western democracies. This study analyzes VAWG in a non-Western context, in India, a country with a population of 1.2 billion. We focus on 101 Indian women of influence—politicians, journalists, celebrities, and businesswomen—leaders who may experience a disproportionate amount of online violence and abuse compared to men. We employ a mixed-methods approach, combining automated text analysis, manual content analysis, and social network analysis. Data was collected in November 2017 (study period), comprising of 931,363 tweets mentioning at least one of the women from our sample. The research shows different women of influence receive different types of online harassment. Women politicians receive offensive tweets that engage in explicit swearing and ‘Islamophobic’ slurs, commonly expressing discontent based on public policies, statements and agendas. Businesswomen conversely receive offensive tweets insulting financial decisions, investments, and partnerships. Offensive tweets received by women celebrities are more gendered and sexualized, engaging in body/‘slut’-shaming behaviours. Women journalists receive more direct forms of online sexual harassment and ethnic/racial slurs, often based on their social commentary. The research provides new methodological and empirical insights on the challenges associated with online VAWG. Failure to acknowledge this rising global problem may hinder women’s participation in public life, which carries lasting socio-political, and economic impacts.

VOICES EMPOWERED: IRANIAN WOMEN AND WEBLOGS
Tannaz Zargarian
Access to the Internet in 1998 created a unique sphere encompassing both public and private characteristics while offering a new form of communication, identity, and political participation (Rheingold 2000). As a result, access to the Internet provided women with an alternative way of defying the traditional masculine culture through "connection and communication" and "identity transformation" (Nouraei-Simon 2005).

The Internet ameliorated Iranian women's ability to contribute to the accelerating development of an online culture that offers a significant change to the definition of empowerment as it shifts the boundaries of the public and private realms, allowing Iranian women to seek self-determination despite Islamic ideology (Jones, 1997).

This work shows how the weblog has become one of the key tools to challenge social barriers in the quest for Iranian women's rights (Sreberny & Khiabany, 2010). This paper will critically examine the use of weblogs by some Iranian women to break the gender oriented restrictive rules imposed upon them by the patriarchal elements in higher education by exploring how and in what ways women advocate for their own and others' rights and equality?

This paper incorporates a critical textual analysis of primary and secondary academic sources. It integrates a critical feminist approach and have collected data from the work of female scholars, activists, bloggers, and filmmakers and have brought forth the unheard experiences of some Iranian women in higher education.

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Anatoliy Gruzd

Anatoliy Gruzd

Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship, Director of Research at the Social Media Lab (http://SocialMediaLab.ca/), Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University


Thursday October 11, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Drummond East

9:00am EDT

Big Data, Platform Power and Citizenship
CITIZEN OR CONSUMER? THE RIGHT TO ACCESS DATA IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND AUSTRALIA
James Michael Meese
This paper presents early stage findings from a research project that explores whether the provision of data access addresses concerns that have emerged with regards to data collection by private and public actors. Using the recent right to data access secured by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a point of departure, I examine Facebook and Twitter’s response to these regulations through the lens of their data access policies and processes. I analyse what sort of data is made available and assess what benefit the public gains from having access to their social media data. I then offer a conceptual intervention through a comparative analysis of the divergent approaches two jurisdictions take to data access. I compare the GDPR with an ongoing debate around the introduction of a consumer data access right into Australian law and analyse how these divergent legal traditions and public discourses alter the conceptualisation and enacting of the data access right (and digital rights more generally). This paper provides a timely examination of a right that has emerged in response to the increased datafication of society. As well as offering a detailed analysis of how social media platforms have responded to the data access provisions within the GDPR, the comparative analysis of the EU and Australia shows that significantly different legal foundations can animate this right, ultimately presenting two starkly different visions of internet users as either consumers or citizens.

DATA SCORES AS GOVERNANCE: USES OF CITIZEN SCORING IN PUBLIC SERVICES
Lina Dencik, Arne Hintz, Joanna Redden
The use of data scores to profile and rank citizens, often by attaching suspicion and risk to people without their knowledge, represents a concrete manifestation of datafication that people recognize as problematic in tangible terms, making it a useful entry-point for investigating an abstract topic that remains under-reported and poorly understood. In this paper we present the findings from a one-year project funded by the Open Society Foundation that has sought to interrogate government uses of data scoring in the UK by combining different methods and lines of inquiry. The project combines computational methods (following the model used for the Algorithmic Tips project led by Nick Diakopolous) with desk research (media reports and Freedom of Information requests) and semi-structured interviews with practitioners from government departments and local authorities and experts from civil society and the technology industry. Looking across different sectors, including education, social welfare, children’s services, immigration, health and crime, the paper will present an interactive map produced as part of the project. In presenting this map, we will outline the role of data scores in the allocation of services and risk assessments in UK public services.

PERSUASION AND THE OTHER THING: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL CRITIQUE OF BIG DATA IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Molly Rebecca Sauter
This paper is a philosophical intervention in “big data” methodologies as they are deployed in electoral and representative politics in the West. This paper stakes out a phenomenological, critical perspective regarding the claims made by companies like Cambridge Analytica and the potential or reasonably foreseeable impacts of those claims and promises on democratic processes. Elish and boyd referred to these claims and promises as “the magic of big data” (Elish and boyd, 2017). This paper argues that the claims made by companies like Cambridge Analytica regarding the predictive modeling of individuals and populations in the context of Western electoral and representative politics can be read as a reflection of how the subjects of these big data analytics projects are viewed by those conducting the research, and the entitlements held by advertisers, tech firms, and researchers who deploy big data analytics in support of political campaigns or other political projects. This paper puts the claims of Cambridge Analytica other companies into dialogue with phenomenological arguments regarding the necessity of the encounter with the other, particularly claims like Kelly Oliver’s which advocate encounters that surpass or are “beyond recognition” (Oliver, 2001), meaning those encounter which jolt the participants out of habitual mental and social conversion of difference into assimilated familiarity.

This paper argues that the use of “big data” in politics strips its targets of subjectivity, turning individuals into ready-to-read “data objects,” and making it easier for those in positions of power to justify aggressive manipulation and invasive inference.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY: THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHMS ON PERSONAL AUTONOMY
Katherina Drinkuth
The paper uses a relational autonomy model (McKenzie and Stoljar, 2000) to highlight sharing and communicating as central preconditions to autonomy. Autonomy is depicted as inherently relational, and constituted within, not outside of, relationships with others and the material world. With social activities increasingly taking place online in algorithmically mediated environments (Newell and Marabelli, 2015; Taddeo and Floridi, 2015) social media platforms and their algorithms then become relevant sites for, and actors in, the constitution of personal autonomy.

The constant algorithmic mediation of the contemporary everyday (Willson, 2017) is not a mere extension of previous social processes shaping individuals' lives, but involves unique distorting factors at the structural level: novel types of big data knowledge and algorithmic logic. The paper explores how online autonomy is both enabled and constrained by social media algorithms as technological and material presence (Beer, 2017) and as socio-technical concepts.


Thursday October 11, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

9:00am EDT

Politics, Joy and Resistance in Black Cyberculture(s)
"JOY IS RESISTANCE": RESILIENCE AND (RE)INVENTION IN BLACK ORAL CULTURE ONLINE
Jessica H. Lu, Catherine Knight Steele
On February 13, Brittany Packnett, activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero tweeted, “Some folks really want activists to be sad, angry, depressed, never smiling, broke and downtrodden everyday. I don't get it.” She went on, “Love is resistance. Joy is resistance.” Through Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (Brock, 2016), we argue that Black users’ intentional deployment of joy online is a rhetorical strategy that utilizes the affordances of digital platforms to disrupt the conflation of blackness with death and dying. We begin by tracing the consumption of Black death narratives in contemporary media to the omnipresent threat to Black life normalized by American chattel slavery. The rhetoric that shapes and innovates digital platforms today is grounded in subversive strategies fostered before and during enslavement. We then analyze how Twitter and Vine users engage two hashtags, #CareFreeBlackKids2k16 and #FreeBlackChild, to disrupt dominant narratives in four ways: defying threats against black life; disproving the “menacing threat” of blackness; challenging the survival vs. freedom binary; and imagining black futures. Black users’ expressions of joy and pleasure online underscore the dynamic power of African American rhetorical practice, and highlight the ways in which Black oral culture leverages the affordances of digital platforms to foster resistance discourse.

“THIS IS NOT THE POST-ELECTION CONVERSATION WE WANTED TO HAVE”: THE PODCAST IN COLOR AS POLITICAL PUBLIC SPHERE IN A POST-OBAMA WORLD
Briana Nicole Barner
In this “golden renaissance” of podcasting (Berry), the election of Trump is a particularly important moment to examine the significance of the platform—as an archive, but also as a medium of resistance, particularly when hosted by individuals who hold marginalized identities. Podcasts hosted by people of color, or “podcasts of/in color” provide a significant site of analysis for the development of political thought and resistance, especially during monumental political and social change. Using three episodes from the podcasts “Politically Re-Active,” “The Read” and “The Black Joy Mixtape,” this project will explore political thought and consciousness in podcasts, positioning them as alternative counterpublics. I am interested in examining the ideologies present in each of the episodes, how their marginalized identities are positioned throughout the episodes and also the value in having Black public spaces, which I am positing defines the Black podcast.

This project will utilize Brock’s critical technocultural discourse analysis (CTDA) to analyze three episodes of three podcasts. CTDA “combines interpretive methods (discourse analysis) and theoretical frameworks (e.g. critical race or feminist theory” (Brock, 2) and applies them to information and communication technologies (ICTs). I will also utilize textual analysis of each of the episodes and any significant social media postings. Sarah Florini’s notion of Black audio enclaves and Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s theorizations about Black public spaces will also be useful theories for this work.



Thursday October 11, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom West

11:00am EDT

Space, Place and Materialities of the Digital
AN ACCIDENTAL TRANSNATIONAL SOUNDSCAPE: ONLINE AUDIO-SHARING AND TROUBLED MAPS
Samuel Thulin
This paper addresses the coming together of soundscape studies and the internet. Since its beginnings in the 1960s soundscape studies has been concerned with the sonic environment globally, and with local, contextual aspects of sound, pointing to the material circumstances in which it is produced (Truax, 2001), while critiquing circulations of de-contextualized sound recordings (Schafer, 1977). Drawing on work in new materialisms (Barad, 2003; Coole and Frost, 2010) and sonic geography (Gallagher, Kanngieser, and Prior, 2016), I ask how the combination of sound’s material connections and online presence might reveal insights on the materiality of sonic practices, and how it might create productive frictions for thinking through relationships between distant places. Examining online sound maps and arguing that the apparent self-evidence of the relationship between audio-file and location needs to be questioned, I draw attention to the importance of the biases of sound maps and the fictional sound worlds that are created through the intentional and unintentional particularities of platforms. I investigate an accidental collection of sounds in the sound map view of one of the largest sound-sharing platforms – Freesound.org – to show the disjuncture between the material circumstances of a place represented by the map and the processes of sharing uploaded audio files. Rather than suggesting the unreliability of online sound maps for continuing the project of soundscape studies, I argue that this platform glitch provides a provocation for considering how the online circulation of audio files brings places into complex relationships rather than representing places.

EXPLORING THE RURAL DIGITAL LANDSCAPE: LIBRARIES, EQUITY, AND SCALE
Sharon Strover, Alexis Schrubbe
As community anchors and public spaces, libraries are in unique positions to serve emerging 21st century information needs for the unconnected. Some libraries have extended their technology offerings beyond basic computers and Internet to include mobile hotspot lending, which allows patrons to "take home" the Internet from the library. The research in this project examines hotspot lending programs undertaken by the Maine State Library and the Kansas State Library across 24 different libraries in small and rural communities. In the United States, rural areas tend to have lower Internet adoption because many communities face considerable barriers to competitive and fast Internet service, exacerbated by the fact that rural communities tend to be older, of lower-income, and less digitally skilled. This research examines the role of library hotspot lending and how free and mobile-based Internet connects rural communities and serves their information needs. Through qualitative and quantitative assessments this research details the scope and efficacy of programs to reach publics, the impact that rural hotspots have in communities, and the larger information and communications ecosystem in these rural communities in Maine and Kansas.

“WHAT IS FLINT?”: LEVERAGING ONLINE MEDIA FOR PLACE-BASED ACTIVISM DURING THE FLINT WATER CRISIS
Rae Moors
This paper explores the social media activism that emerged from Flint, Michigan in the wake of the 2016 national news coverage of the Flint Water crisis. Utilizing a critical technocultural discourse analysis, this paper argues that these practices can be understood using a critical logic of connectivity: a logic that combines the connective and co-constitutive features of social media with material implications for discourse, identity, and power struggles. It finds that Flint citizens leveraged the connective features online media platforms and practices to reclaim authority over their own place and identity, and thus shape their material existence. In the case of Flint, these practices coalesced around three major themes; 1) their campaigns leverage social media in order to forward a critique of deficient journalistic storytelling; 2) they use the affective process of storytelling via social media to claim authority over their own material offline existence, and 3) they use their place-based exigency to implicate others as a witness via the global network of social media. In closely analyzing the critical logic of connectivity that features in these three themes, this paper contributes to an understanding of how communities in crisis mobilize globally networked online media in order to fulfill the needs of highly local, material existences.

Moderators
avatar for Steve Jones

Steve Jones

Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago - Communication & Computer Science

Speakers

Thursday October 11, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

11:00am EDT

Trolls, Leakers, Vigilantes
THE SECRET KILLERS: TOWARDS A TAXONOMY OF RADICAL LEAKING "AFTER WIKILEAKS"
Luke Heemsbergen
This paper is concerned with mapping the socio-material ecosystems of online leaks projects that followed WikiLeaks. The period of initial popularisation/infamy of WikiLeaks (2006-2015) correlates with an emergence of over 90 less-known radical online disclosure projects designed to "Kill Secrets" (Greenberg 2012). We offer the first systematic study of the decentralised and widely disparate ecosystem of leaks projects to build a taxonomy of leaks sites (n:94) from various observable socio-technical vectors. Affordances tied to user and technical practice, vectors such as self-identified thematic focus (issue, region, etc.), and measures of publication efficacy for each site are all open coded to discern patterns and clusters of practice.

Analysis then shifts to mapping of visible interrelationships between sites via social network analysis (SNA) for further insight to the ecology of leaks sites. Taxonomy over typology signals observing material practice without predetermined ideal type, and normative links to agonistic democratic theory. At a macro level our findings suggest, an ecology of leaks sites blossomed and died, with only a handful of sites remaining online, or having ever actually functioned. Micro to Meso analysis of practices show how leaks sites' socio-technical materiality helps shape both efficacy and normative goals, from which unique and sometimes agonistic normative governmental functions can be inferred. Discussion of findings then critically assess how digital leaks served (and severed) ties to already problematic equations of 'transparency' and democracy from a frame of agonistic and algorithmic government practices (Heemsbergen, 2016; Ananny and Crawford, 2016) and suggest tentative paths forward.

DENUNCIATION AND DOXING: TOWARDS A CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF DIGITAL VIGILANTISM
Daniel Trottier
Individuals rely on digital media to denounce and shame other individuals. This may be based on perceived offences, while often reproducing categorical forms of discrimination. Both offence taking and its response are expressed online by gathering and distributing information about targeted individuals. By seeking their own form of criminal justice, participants challenge the monopolisation of violence by state. Yet digital vigilantism includes shaming and other forms of cultural violence that are not as clearly monopolised, or even regulated. Indeed, they may feed from state or press-led initiatives to shame targets, or simply to gather information about them. Digital vigilantism remains a contested practice: Terms of appropriate use are unclear, and public discourse may vary based on the severity of the offence, severity of response, as well as based on identities and affiliations of participants. Moreover, it overlaps conceptually with other phenomena, including online harassment and doxing. While these can be understood as distinct practices, they also comprise an arsenal of options for civic actors to utilise. This paper advances and seeks to implement a conceptually informed model of digital vigilantism, in recognition of its coordinated, moral and communicative components. Drawing upon preliminary case studies in countries including Russia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as relevant literature on embodied vigilantism and concurrent forms of online coordination and harassment, it considers a range of recent cases in a global context in order to direct subsequent empirical analysis of how digital vigilantism is rendered meaningful.

THE REDDIT SIDEBAR AS DIGITAL DOXA: AN EXPLORATION OF R/THEREDPILL'S KNOWLEDGE CURATION PRACTICES
Julia Rose DeCook
Reddit has been a hub for extremist movements for some time, particularly in the development and spread of Men's Rights activism that trickles over into alt-right ideologies. This study examined, through critical discourse analysis, the role of the subreddit sidebar in the enactment of a digital doxa where socialization processes and indoctrination into a group occurs, and how the sidebar materials are a form of knowledge curation. Looking specifically at the men's rights affiliated movement r/TheRedPill, this study proposes that the sidebar is a spatiotemporally suspended space that enacts a new reality for its adherents. The sidebar functions not only as a space where rules of the community are learned but also as a user-generated archive where the moderators curate certain readings that are representative of the group's shared ideology and also for the curation of a collective narrative. This collective narrative then grants members a shared collective history, and the moderators serve as the gatekeepers to the doxa and archive. The materials themselves on the sidebar are not merely a collection of readings and rules, but rather are representative of a knowledge production process unique to the individual subreddits, and is omnipresent throughout the subreddit's community. The sidebar in subreddits like r/TheRedPill is more than a space where community guidelines are posted, but also where members become a part of the group, and where a past, present, and futurity are enacted; giving the group a common foundation to build upon and fueling their social movement.

CYBERHATE ANONYMITY AND THE RISK OF BEING EXPOSED
Emma von Essen, Joakim Jansson
In this paper, we predict hateful content as well as quantify the causal link between anonymity and hateful content in political discussions online. First, we make use of a supervised machine-learning model to find a prediction model of cyberhate in political discussions on a dominating Swedish Internet forum, Flashback. Second, we investigate how changes in anonymity affect the writing of hateful content.

We scrape text from the political discussions on Flashback and let a research assistant manually classify each post from a random subset of the threads by whether it contained, e.g. hateful writings, aggressive writings as well as towards whom the hate is directed. We use the classified data to find a prediction model in the full set of threads. We then use the predictions of hate to estimate the effect of changes in anonymity on cyberhate. An event suddenly changed the anonymity at the discussion forum. The event affected only a certain type of user, creating a quasi-experiment, with early-registered users as a treatment group and late-registered users as a control group.

We find a prediction model of hateful content. Using these predictions in the quasi-experimental estimation, we find that early users of the forum decreased their share of hateful content more than later registered users did after the event when there was a threat of less anonymity. We also show that this behavioural change is a combination of individuals’ changing how they express themselves and that they reduce their writing or stop entirely.


Thursday October 11, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

11:00am EDT

Value(s) of Privacy
APPLYING INTERPERSONAL MENTAL MODELS OF PRIVACY TO THE INTERNET OF THINGS
D.E. Wittkower
Studies conducted on the privacy paradox seek explanations on the user side and seek to reform users’ thoughts and behaviors to fit with the available technical systems of privacy. A normal engineering ethics perspective would ask instead why privacy systems do not fit with users’ mental models of privacy, and how these systems can be reformed to allow users to take effective action.

I outline users’ mental models of privacy and to use those mental models to explore interactions in the internet of things (IoT) to see where users’ mental models raise ignored privacy issues or fit poorly with existing privacy-relevant systems.

I outline an interpersonal phenomenology of privacy oriented by ethics of care, considering privacy as it appears in parenting, friendship, romantic relationships, and care for elderly and disabled persons. Three distinctive dynamics of privacy are identified in interpersonal contexts: (1.) how privacy is connected to self-determination, (2.) how privacy is used in information economies to create intimacy, and (3.) how constantly refreshed consent is integral to maintaining trust and intimacy in interpersonal privacy contexts.

These elements of the phenomenology of privacy in interpersonal contexts are then applied to a variety of kinds of IoT devices and systems: GPS navigators, the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, Nest, and PARO and RIBA.

Through consideration of these examples, we see how privacy violations are not experienced through access and use of data, but through failures to exhibit care for the user in ongoing relationships that are respectful and open to renegotiation.

EXPLORING THE DIMENSIONALITY AND SCOPE OF PRIVACY CYNICISM IN GERMANY
Christoph Lutz, Christian Pieter Hoffmann, Giulia Ranzini
Internet users face many risks and threats online. Among others, they can become victims of online harassment, spam, hacking, or identity theft. Academic literature has long investigated such experiences and related attitudes within the field of online privacy. Recently, a strand of privacy research has argued that users have resorted to privacy fatigue, privacy cynicism, or privacy apathy. Accordingly, Internet users develop coping mechanisms to subjectively resolve the paradoxical tension between wanting to use online applications and being concerned about their safety. Existing studies on privacy fatigue, privacy cynicism, or privacy apathy are, however, still in their infancy and mostly based on qualitative research. Therefore, we set out to provide more generalizable evidence on the phenomenon, summarizing initial findings from a large-scale survey on online privacy in Germany. In particular, we develop and present a first measurement of the concept of privacy cynicism, differentiating four dimensions. We further show that powerlessness and mistrust are the most prevalent dimensions of cynicism, followed by uncertainty and resignation.

PRIVACY BY DESIGN IN A SENSOR RICH CITY
Erika Pearson
This paper uses a case study to explore critical privacy issues inherent in a pilot IoT-based sensor system designed to measure urban flows. This case study, whose experiences have been shared with cities around the world intending to roll out similar IoT and “smart” city solutions, will illustrate the complexity of privacy as one facet amid the technical, financial and legal constraints acting on existing urban spaces as they attempt to use these new technologies for achieving laudable governmental objectives. In particular, this paper will explore the tensions found in the development of the project between technological and policy pressures to deliver data and individual attempts to incorporate a “privacy by design” framework into the system. Over the three years of this pilot, privacy was raised by multiple actors involved in the trial as an important concern, yet ultimately privacy was de-prioritized in comparison to the data-rich outputs of complex urban sensor networks. As this pilot will be one of a set of trials informing global experience, this paper will explore and deconstruct where privacy issues, particularly the privacy by design approach, both succeeded and failed to succeed, and offer suggestions for future experiments to more fully develop their privacy frameworks in the face of strong technical pressures.

PRIVACY BOUNDARIES AND INFORMATION FLOW SOLIPSISM IN THE PERSONAL FITNESS INFORMATION ECOSYSTEM
Michael Zimmer, Katie Chamberlain Kritikos, Jessica Vitak, Priya Kumar, Yuting Liao
Fitness trackers are an increasingly popular tool for tracking health and physical activity. Their benefits hinge on ubiquitous data collection and the algorithmic processing of personal fitness information (PFI). While PFI can reveal novel insights about users’ physical activity, health, and personal habits, it also contains potentially sensitive information that third parties may access in contexts unanticipated by fitness tracker users. This paper argues while many users attempt to manage their PFI with privacy boundaries, they can also succumb to “information flow solipsism,” or being broadly unaware of how fitness tracker companies might collect and aggregate their PFI. Our mixed-methods approach involved a survey and semi-structured interviews. Most survey respondents had limited knowledge of companies’ data tracking and retention policies. Additionally, most interviewees expressed only minimal privacy concerns regarding PFI. While others recognized PFI may need boundaries to manage information flows, they did not find the information sensitive enough to require personal responsibility for the definition of such boundaries. Viewing these results through Communication Privacy Management theory, users’ conceptualizations of ownership, privacy rules, and turbulence regarding their PFI influence how they manage privacy boundaries. Inherent trust of fitness tracker companies also led users to assume privacy rules properly limit the flow of PFI. This combination suggests fitness tracker users are potentially in a state of information flow solipsism, a position of ignorance of how PFI flows across devices and platforms that creates unanticipated privacy risks.


Thursday October 11, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

11:00am EDT

Viral videos, the YouTube 'adpocalypse' and creative labour in social media
GLEAMING INEQUALITIES: THE ROLE OF TALENT INTERMEDIARIES IN THE UK VLOGGING INDUSTRY
Sophie Helen Bishop
In this paper I critically sketch the role of the digital talent agent, using a case study of the ‘vlogging industry’ in the UK. I define the ‘vlogging industry’ as the interlinked network of stakeholders invested in content production on YouTube including audiences, intermediaries, brands, YouTube itself and content creators. In this case study I particularly focus on a highly commercial and feminized YouTube genre of beauty vlogging.

Due the steady professionalization of influencer economies, accounts of vlog production as amateur or authentic have become complicated. In this paper I use analysis of interviews with digital talent management, and ethnography at vlogging events, to argue that widely connected, highly knowledgeable intermediaries, digital talent agents and management staff are involved from the early formation of some vloggers’ brands. Through myriad praxes, intermediaries shape their client’s content, and ensure their visibility and sponsorship suitability through the support of their channels. Ultimately I ask: who are the talent managers, who do they legitimize as talent, and what support do their clients receive? My findings demonstrate the pervasive influence of managers with significant links to so-called ‘traditional’ media, as they shape and support vloggers in the UK, influencing their content and with material consequences for those attributed visibility in the wider vlogging industry.

FROM YOUTUBE TO TV, AND BACK AGAIN: VIRAL VIDEO CHILD STARS AND MEDIA FLOWS IN THE ERA OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Tama Leaver, Crystal Abidin
While talk shows and reality TV are often considered launching pads for ordinary people seeking to become celebrities, we argue that when children are concerned, especially when those children have had viral success on YouTube or other platforms, their subsequent appearance(s) on television highlight far more complex media flows. At the very least, these flows are increasingly symbiotic, where television networks harness preexisting viral interest online to bolster ratings. However, the networks might also be considered parasitic, exploiting viral children for ratings in a fashion they and their carers may not have been prepared for. In tracing the trajectory of Sophia Grace and Rosie from viral success to The Ellen Show we highlight these complexities, whilst simultaneously raising concerns about the long-term impact of these trajectories on the children being made increasingly and inescapably visible across a range of networks and platforms.

“SOSHAL” MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES: RELATIONAL LABOUR IN A FRAGMENTED SOCIOCULTURAL ENVIRONMENT
Stephanie A Hill, Jeremy Shtern, Daphne Chan
This paper draws on a series of semi-structured interviews with Filipino influencers to investigate the social position of influencers and their relationship to their audiences. Social position of online producers versus their audience often includes disparities in race and family income and raises questions about opportunity in online production. This paper also interrogates the demands of audience, who are alternately portrayed as empowered and in control or as cultural dupes but whose relationships with content creators are complex, intimate, and contingent on implicit standards for behaviour. This categorization of audiences is in keeping with a long history of strained relations between editorial content, advertiser interests, and audience expectations. The power dynamics of those three groups are being renegotiate with the rise of a global social media entertainment industry. This paper maps specific relationships of power, agency, and culture in a specific non-Western content to gain useful insights into patterns within these industries. It argues that despite ambitions of many creators to reach global stardom, social media content production in the Philippines is restricted to a niche marked by deep social, economic, and cultural divisions between creators and audiences. We underline that the work of influence here (as elsewhere) is structured around the commodification of affective relationships between creator and audience. Creators achieve these relationships through a type of performed authenticity of language, culture and local identity markers that is proving difficult to sustain as blogging loses audience traction to more revealing video platforms for influencer content.

'ADPOCALYPSE' AFTERMATH: THE CHILLING EFFECTS OF ALGORITHMIC CHANGES ON YOUTUBE’S CONTENT
Sangeet Kumar
This paper analyzes the effects of the changes within YouTube’s features in the aftermath of the advertiser revolt (March-April 2017) against their commercials playing around controversial and sensitive content. The changes that were introduced after what has been called the “adpocalypse” included the ability for advertisers to avoid broad content categories such as “Tragedy and conflict”, “Sensitive social issues”, and “Sensational and shocking”. These changes saw wild swings in the revenue streams of content creators, especially those dealing with topics and issues that were political in nature and that may be remotely deemed to be sensitive. Through its analysis of the changes and its aftermath, this paper advances three claims about the emerging importance of digital platforms in shaping cultural ideas and norms. First, this episode shows the effects of the dominance of an advertiser-centered logic on YouTube that privileges profit over values such as plurality, dissent and critique on the platorm. Second, it points to the quandary of increasing dependence on algorithmic decision-making systems in sorting through and categorizing cultural data on a computational scale. While inevitable, this process risks erasing context and nuance while incentivizing and rewarding (through monetizing) cultural texts that reproduce broad hegemonic tropes instead of challenging them. Lastly, the paper claims that the “adpocalypse” controversy shows us the pitfalls of digital platforms increasingly playing the role of public utilities but remaining entirely out of the purview of democratic processes of public debate, deliberation and accountability.



Thursday October 11, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West

2:00pm EDT

Infrastructures: Theory and Comparative Historical Materialities
THE INTERNET AS A TRANSNATIONAL PROJECT: CONNECTING CENTRAL AMERICA THROUGH COMPUTER NETWORKS (1990-1996)
Ignacio Siles
This paper argues that transnational flows of knowledge, data, and technologies are not only an actual feature of the Internet, but rather a constitutive characteristic of its historical development. To make this case, it discusses how six countries in Central America--Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá--connected to and through computer networks and technologies such as UUCP, BITNET, and the Internet in the first half of the 1990s. Drawing on archival research and 75 interviews with protagonists of networking initiatives, this article argues that the establishment of these projects in Central America required forging a transnational network of collaborations, enabled by international organizations with presence in countries of the region.

By discussing these cases, this paper makes a twofold contribution. Empirically, it describes the early development of the Internet in an understudied region. Historical research has been devoted primarily to the most connected countries. As a result, we know little of how the Internet has been historically imagined, defined, and negotiated in less connected regions, such as Central America. Therefore, our understanding of the early development of computer networks in the global South is limited. Conceptually, this paper makes visible the importance of transnational processes in the development of the Internet. Scholars have studied the history of the Internet largely through national lenses.

This study reveals how the Internet was implemented in a part of the world largely absent in academic literature. It broadens our understanding of the early development of computer networks in the global South.

MASS MEDIA AND THE LEGITIMATION OF INTERNET CONTROL IN RUSSIA: THE CASE OF TELEGRAM
Mariëlle Wijermars
In today's hyperconnected world, states are confronted with the global challenge of responding to potentially disruptive online communications, such as terrorist propaganda and fake news. Formulating effective internet regulation to address these threats carries the risk of infringing upon media freedom and constitutional rights. In the case of Russia, ostensibly sound legitimations have been instrumentalised to bring about a dramatic decline in internet freedom.

Controlling public opinion may well be decisive for Russia's "success" in expanding its system of internet controls without arousing popular resistance. Scholarship thus far, however, has neglected to critically examine how the Russian government legitimates and cultivates popular support for restricting online freedom of speech. This paper aims to address this crucial aspect of internet censorship by studying how restrictions of internet freedom, freedom of expression and the right to information and privacy are framed in political and media discourses.

The paper presents a case study examining the legitimation of user data storage, surveillance and restriction of online anonymity, on the example of messaging application Telegram. To justify legal measures in these domains, policymakers have framed their proposals as anti-terrorist, or claimed the need to protect personal data from foreign states. Typically, anonymity and privacy are recast as secrecy indicating criminal (e.g., drug dealers) or morally derogatory intent (e.g., paedophilia). The paper analyses how frames are produced by policymakers; how they are translated and disseminated in state and (semi-)independent media; and how they resonate in online debates and social media.

HAROLD INNIS, ECONOMIC HISTORY, AND INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE
Liam Cole Young
This paper argues for the relevance and utility for contemporary internet researchers of Harold Adams Innis’s early-career economic histories of Canada. While Innis’s late works on the history of communication receive the bulk of scholarly attention, his research and writing from the 1920s and 30s on the fur trade, placer mining, and cod fisheries exhibit an infrastructural approach to understanding processes of communication, transportation, and logistics that resonates strongly with the recent ‘material’ turn across the humanities. These early works developed methods for tracing actants, relations, and processes that comprised the global networks of circulation and exchange upon which North American settlement and colonization arose. They therefore offer essential methodological and conceptual tools for understanding digital networks and infrastructure in similar terms. Innis’s early work furthermore helps ground internet research and analysis in longer historical trajectories. I develop the argument in two sections. The first introduces Innis in the context of the Canadian tradition. The second uses his approach to understand relations between energy extraction and internet infrastructure.

INSCRIBING SOCIAL JUSTICE IN INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURES : SOCIOTECHNICAL PROPOSALS FROM CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE CONTEXT OF INTERNET GOVERNANCE
Stephane Couture
This communication will present the framework and preliminary results of a research project aiming at documenting technological proposals emanating from a social justice perspective, and presented in the context of Internet Governance Forums and spaces. Internet Governance (IG) refers broadly to the ways in which the use and evolution of Internet infrastructures is or should be shaped and regulated. With the advent of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in 2003 and 2005, Internet governance has been the object of the annual Internet Governance Forum organized under the umbrella of the United Nations, as well as multiple regional and local “Internet Forums”. Much empirical research has was done to study the “multistakeholder” arrangements within Internet Governance deliberations and more specifically, the contribution of civil society. This research rather looks at the technological and infrastructural proposals made in these forums, for instance related to protocols, standards and hardware networks, and that are explicitly articulated with values such as social justice and human rights. The first phase of the research - which will be the subject of this communication – has involved participatory observation in two consecutive Internet Governance Forums. Some of these technological proposals will be presented and we will analyze how they are articulated with discourses of social justice.



Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

2:00pm EDT

Labour, Production and Consumption in Digital Culture Industries
ORGANIZING DRIVES: DIGITAL JOURNALISTS' MOTIVATIONS TO UNIONIZE
Nicole S. Cohen, Greig de Peuter
This presentation reports on an ongoing study of the wave of unionization in digital newsrooms in Canada and the United States. Since 2015, journalists at 24 online media outlets have organized unions. Taking a critical political-economic approach, our research reaffirms media labour’s capacity to fight back against capital’s efforts to wield internet technologies to intensify exploitation and weaken labour. Based on interviews with union staff and digital journalists leading the unionization campaigns in Canada, the US, and the UK, our presentation specifically addresses this research question: What motivates and enables primarily young digital journalists with limited experience in the labour movement to organize unions? Our presentation reveals five catalysts or conditions of possibility that generated and are sustaining the upsurge in digital media organizing. First, journalists see in unionization a strategy to mitigate difficult working conditions, including an intensive work regimen. Second, digital journalists are privileged workers in the sense that they are able to access unions. Third, the mostly young digital journalists who are the protagonists of the organizing have an openness to and confidence in collective action. Fourth, an impetus to organize is to diversify journalism and protect editorial integrity. Fifth, digital media workers are strategically positioned to take advantage of the vital force counter-publicity can play in disrupting the accumulation strategies of digital media firms. For internet studies, this study demonstrates that collective labour organizing is a key, yet understudied, entry point for engaging the contested materialities of the internet.

FIELD ANALYTICS: DIGITAL METHODS FOR STUDYING PRESTIGE AND POSITION-TAKING AMONG JOURNALISTIC STARTUPS
Michael Stevenson, Frank Harbers
This paper describes how to operationalize concepts from Bourdieu’s influential field theory using digital methods. Through a case study of journalistic organizations regarded as ‘innovative’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ we develop a set of research protocols for using empirical web research tools to determine how such actors are arranged within distinguishable yet interlocking hierarchies of market success and symbolic capital. In addition to some key findings about the politics of the ‘innovation’ label within journalism, our aim is to reflect on the feasibility of a ‘field analytics,’ or general set of digital methods for studying prestige and position-taking in diverse contexts of cultural production.

PARTNERING WITH THE PUBLIC: THE PURSUIT OF ‘AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT’ IN JOURNALISM
Jacob Nelson
Journalism professionals and researchers have recently argued that newsrooms adopt “audience engagement” as one of their chief pursuits. This term has many interpretations that stem from one underlying belief: journalists better serve their audiences when they explicitly focus on how their audiences interact with and respond to the news in the first place. Yet those who hope to make audience engagement normative must overcome news industry confusion surrounding how engagement itself should be defined and measured. Their efforts therefore present an opportunity to learn how journalism is changing, who within the field have the power to change it, and why they believe it should change. This study investigates two such efforts with ethnographic case studies of Hearken and City Bureau, organizations that aspire to make the audience a larger part of the news production process. An additional case study of The Chicago Tribune reveals how audience engagement advocates and legacy journalists differ in their assumptions about journalism and the public, and how they act on those differences. Drawing on Giddens’ structuration theory, this study illustrates what the future of journalism might look like should an audience-focused approach to news production become the norm, and exposes the obstacles that may prevent such a transformation from occurring.

SIGNING IN: DIVERSE AUDIENCE EXPERIENCES OF MEDIA INDUSTRY DATA PRACTICE
Helen Kennedy, Robin Steedman, Rhianne Jones
Signing In forms part of a broader programme of research which explores the relationship between data, diversity and inequality in the media and creative industries. The empirical research will be complete by the end of the summer. Signing In uses focus group and interview methods to explore attitudes to sign in and related data mining: eight focus groups each with six participants (n=48) will take place, for which we will purposively sample for diversity (eg in relation to ethnicity, age, gender, class, disability, education), given the focus of the project on diversity and inequality, and because the effects of data practices on marginal groups can be more severe than on other groups, yet their voices are rarely heard (Lingel and boyd 2013). In addition to the focus groups, we will carry out eight in-depth, ethnographic interviews, which incorporate ‘ethnographic elements into standard interviews’ (Mason and Davies 2009: 590), such as observation of non-verbal dimensions, like participants demonstrating sign in experiences on their devices. One participant from each of the eight focus groups will be selected for interview, based on their contributions to the focus groups. Through these methods and related analysis of empirical data, the research aims to make contributions in four key areas, outlined below.


Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

2:00pm EDT

Memologies
TRANSNATIONAL MEMES
Joseph Cameron Lindsey
As easily spreadable objects of digital culture, memes have a unique ability to spread quickly and widely across national borders. As memes evolve within the global media landscape they are often remixed, recombined, adapted, and translated even further for the particular cultural context in which they are deployed. Through this constant exchange, memes can take on so many layers of meaning and so many references that the original context becomes obscured or lost. Transnational memes, thus, become a signifier without a signified. This paper further considers transnational memes, their multi-nodal spread, their distinctly multinational content, and the effects this process of adaptation can have on cultures and communities. Through visual analysis of these memes, contextualizing them within various national cultures over time, and tracing how this context is slowly obscured, this paper argues that transnational memes can be used both to foster diversity and understanding as well as to disseminate false information or for more sinister purposes. Often, though, they can simply be ambivalent objects of culture amassing meanings, contexts, and signification as it is shared between people and places.

'EL NEGRO DE WHATSAPP' MEME AND HOW IT ENACTS RACISM
Ariadna Matamoros-Fernandez
“El Negro de Whatsapp” is a platform-specific meme particularly popular amongst Spanish and Latin-American Whatsapp users that involves the posting of a picture that looks legitimate in preview but when clicked on reveals a lurking image of a black man with disproportionate genitals. This Whatsapp meme is situated within broader ‘bait-and-switch’ internet pranks like rickrolling (Know your meme, Rickroll), which imply a post of something appearing to be one thing but which is really something else. This paper examines the racism enacted by the memetic appropriations of “El Negro de Whatsapp”. I argue that users’ appropriations of this meme – independently of their intent – and Whatsapp’s affordances enact “platformed racism” (Matamoros-Fernandez, 2017). Platformed racism is “a new form of racism derived from the culture of social media platforms ‒ their design, technical affordances, business models and policies ‒ and the specific cultures of use associated with them” (Matamoros-Fernandez, 2017, p. 930). I examine the uses of “El Negro de Whatsapp” in the specific context of Spain through an exploration of the appropriations of the meme that have circulated in Whatsapp groups I am a member of.

"THIS MEME IS WHAT WE CALL PROGRESS": HISTORY-AS-MEME, MEME-AS-HISTORY ON 4CHAN
Sean Rutherford McEwan
Memes “act as the locus of memory”, says Gabriella Coleman of the peculiar relationship 4chan has to its own history, made necessary by the ephemeral nature of large amounts of its content (2009). Rather than having an on-site permanent archive as such, its collective history and memory is sublated into and through the circulation and production of memes. Taking this as a prompt, this paper makes the case for the (re)production, circulation, and referencing of memes as embodiment of a particular historical ontology: a mode of being constructed in relationship to, and through, its own past. Memes, in other words, are a new way of thinking about, and experiencing (digital) history: they contribute to, and are part of, new “infra-structures of feeling” (Coleman 2017). With this in mind, I use Benjamin’s reading of Klee’s Angelus Novus as a framing device to start to think about how memes encourage and embody certain modes of being-in-the-world. I do so in specific reference to 4chan and its privileging of a certain subject position along lines raced, classed and gendered, although possibilities for other forms and spaces are considered. On 4chan, the New Man of neofascism remakes the world memetically, in his own image.

‘DEEP-FRIED’ AND DENATURALIZED: CRITIQUING MEMETIC META-ONTOLOGIES
Saskia Kowalchuk
In this paper, I have sought to introduce and outline the trend in Internet meme-making know as 'deep-frying' and explain its significance as a method of user critique within a naturalized medium. How do images that confuse and repel the casual viewer through profanity, enthusiastic emoji usage, over-saturation, repeated compression, bubbling/ warping, and excessive lens flaring effectively question the memetic paradigm? Firstly, by understanding memes as Hito Steryl's transgressive 'poor images' that circulate to produce communities of content creators and consumers that stand in opposition to the state-sponsored rich image making complex. Further, through the application of work by Rolande Barthes, Claude Shannon & Warren Weaver, Scott Contreras-Kotterbay & Łukasz Mirocha, and Rosa Menkman, I have produced a critical examination of the formal practices that elucidate this phenomenon, on the level of the linguistic & iconic message, noise level, and redundancy. Lastly, I propose an orientation of these works within a diverse corpus across various major social media as a networked art practice in keeping with the tenants of the New Aesthetic.



Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom West

2:00pm EDT

Politics, Power and Internet Policy
THE LIMITS OF THE LIMITS OF THE LAW: DMCA ANTI-CIRCUMVENTION EXCEPTIONS IN A CONFIGURABLE CULTURE
Aram Sinnreich, Patricia A Aufderheide, Joseph Graf
How useful are the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA's) exemptions to its decryption prohibition? The law bans all decryption of copy-protected content, even for legal uses, e.g. fair use. But a triennial exemption is sometimes granted if creative and scholarly communities can demonstrate loss of working capacity. This study explores to what degree members of communities that have won exemptions are aware of the DMCA ban, the exemptions, and whether they believe they can use the exemptions with confidence.

Although the DMCA is US law, results are relevant to wider international discussions about the effects of "tight" copyright in a transnational creative environment; about the function of exemptions in intellectual property law, as escape hatches for freedom of expression; and about the consequences of criminalizing decryption, typically included in "harmonization" discussions during multilateral treaty negotiations.

We conclude that the under-utilization of exemptions leads to self-censorship and unnecessary effort to change work. Education helps potential users employ the law, however. Their confidence levels might increase with further education. Nonetheless, this study suggests that creating high barriers and small and poorly-marked escape hatches poorly meets the needs of users whose requirements for unfettered, if limited, access to copyrighted material has already been well established.

IT’S UP TO US TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS: THE WORK OF NATIONAL DIGITAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES
Efrat Daskal
National civil society organizations advocate for computer and internet-related civil liberties in their respective countries. They confront governments and internet corporations in the political and judicial arenas, and at the same time, they reach out to the public in the mediated public sphere. In analyzing their work, most studies so far have focused on the organizations’ attempts to change their national ICT policy. This study, however, explores their public-related activities while asking: How do digital rights advocates get the public involved? and, What differentiates digital rights advocacy in non-Western countries?

To answer these questions, I analyzed the interaction between ten organizations from Europe, Asia, and South America and their correspondence publics, through their mediated public communication. This encompasses all pages and links addressing the public on each of their websites from 2012 onward.

The analysis reveals three clusters of public related activities: informing the public, encouraging the public to act, and using the public to improve their visibility. Characterization of these activities according to the sphere (private-public) and the nature of their activity (passive-active) reveals a quadrangular model of public involvement the organizations offer their respective constituencies. The analysis of the non-Western organizations’ activities reveals that they place greater emphasis on providing digital skills to the public but hardly use the public for political gain.

I conclude by discussing the current meaning of public involvement, the public’s role as a social actor in digital rights advocacy and the possibility of creating a global civil society movement for digital rights.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: DIGITAL RIGHTS ACTIVISM AND THE INTERNET FREEDOM AGENDA
Nathalie Marechal
“Internet freedom” and “digital rights” are two closely related concepts that both refer to the enjoyment of human rights online, specifically privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information. However, they are not exact synonyms: “internet freedom” has come to be associated with the U.S. government’s Internet Freedom agenda, while “digital rights” has been embraced by the transnational social movement for communication rights online. Though they share many ideological underpinnings, the two concepts co-exist somewhat uneasily: the digital rights movement is wary of “internet freedom” discourses that many activists see as advancing American empire and economic interests, while the goals and tactics of privacy activism in particular — such as the push for ubiquitous end-to-end encryption — are at odds with U.S. policy objectives beyond the Internet Freedom agenda itself. Moreover, the cultural gap between State Department “suits” and hoodie-wearing crypto-anarchists makes the idea of an alliance between these worlds seem completely incongruous. And yet, they are more closely aligned than appearances might suggest.

Based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, I argue that the relationship between the bottom-up transnational movement for digital rights and the U.S. government’s top-down Internet Freedom agenda is a dialectical one, wherein bureaucrats and activists co-construct policies and programs in service of common goals.

LEGITIMATING INTERNET.ORG THROUGH DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE
Andrea Alarcon
This paper examines Mark Zuckerberg’s socio-technical optimistic imaginary of a connectivity of the entire world, focusing on Facebook’s Internet.org initiative. His vision of a connected world can be described as what Jasanoff and Kim (2015) call “sociotechnical imaginary,” which are not limited to nations, or heads of states, but can be conjured by corporations, social movements, and professional societies. The paper examines 50 short promotional videos, first-person narrated by individuals in their target countries. The themes found in the videos map to development discourse: female empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and natural disaster relief. This paper argues that by merging Internet.org with connectivity, and connectivity with progress, Facebook utilizes the promotional aesthetic and narrative devices usually used by the development sector to position its initiative as a crucial step toward poverty alleviation and economic development
 


Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Nathalie Marechal

Nathalie Marechal

PhD 2018, University of Southern California
avatar for Aram Sinnreich

Aram Sinnreich

Professor and Chair, Communication Studies, American University, United States of America
I'm interested in the way culture, technology, and law interact and conflict with one another. Especially subjects like music, data ethics, digital culture, and political resistance.


Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West

2:00pm EDT

Transnational Practices of/in Digital Networks
ONLINE SPERM BANKS, QUEER KINSHIP AND RACIAL LIMITATIONS
Rikke Andreassen
This paper explores the transnational materialities that occur in the wake of the increased online availability and commercialization of donor sperm. Over the past decade, an increasing number of lesbian couples and single women have created families through the assistance of donor sperm. At the same time, online shopping and social media sites have become widespread and commonly used. While these developments have appeared simultaneously, they are seldom explored together; this paper illustrates the intersections of online media and new kinship, and shows how they must be analyzed as interlinked in order for us to understand contemporary formations of kinship and race.

A large number of women conceived via sperm from the world’s largest sperm bank ‘Cryos International’. The paper argues that the online commercial market of sperm can be seen as a double-edged sword, which on one hand enables women to reproduce without men and results in new forms of kinships. On the other hand, the same market – and especially the media affordances of online shopping – re-inscribes ideas of race as a fixed and hierarchical category. The paper situates itself within the scholarly intersection of social media, queer kinship studies and critical race and whiteness studies. Through analysis of Facebook groups, connecting parents of donor-conceived children, in-depth interviews and analysis of Cryos International’s website, the paper examines the racial constructions, especially whiteness, in online sperm shopping and new kinship making, and shows how the media affordances may lead to an understanding of racial categories as ‘fixed’, ‘material’ and ‘objective’.

XCONFESSIONS: A CASE STUDY OF DIGITAL CROWDSOURCING AND TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITY-BUILDING IN FEMINIST PORNOGRAPHY
Emma Maguire
Erika Lust is an erotic filmmaker and the creator of the XConfessions website and series of films. The XConfessions website encourages users to submit "confessions," which, in this context, means their sexual fantasies and experiences. Users comment on each other's confessions and, in a transmedia twist, Lust chooses the best ones and makes them into short erotic films. Through sharing and commenting on each other's fantasies and experiences in a message board forum, an international community of "Lusties" (users of and contributors to the site) has developed around the life narrative mode of confession. Furthermore, Lust articulates her project as an ethical and feminist one, aimed at creating erotica that foregrounds female desire and is made by and for women.

This paper explores XConfessions as a site for transnational materiality at which to examine contemporary intersections of gender, sexuality and technology, as well as one that reflects shifting political and creative economies of streaming media.

I ask what kinds of sexual subjectivities are brought into being in the space of XConfessions via its community norms and its specific media platform. By analysing the affordances and content of XConfessions.com, I investigate how the digital community model is employed to coax particular (sexual, digital) performances of selfhood using the confessional mode, and to crowdsource creative labour. What social, technological and textual relations structure these networked self-presentations? And what can this site tell us about the way intimacy, sexualities, and identities are mediated via digital interfaces and networks?

GOVERNMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: THE MAKING—AND MARGINALIZING—OF A TRANSNATIONAL USER CLASS
Amy Johnson
The official government user occupies a curious place on social media platforms. Often driven by a mandate to “be where the public is” and maximize emergency communication channels, the government user operates with different priorities, different legal and bureaucratic requirements, and different voicing challenges than the general or advertising user. While national governments may see social media presences of government agencies from around the world as reflecting an international political system, from the perspective of platforms, such accounts are part of a transnational government user class.

Drawing on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accommodations for government users across languages, listserv archives of US government social media managers, and scholarship on global shutdowns and censorship, this paper examines 1) how the government user class compares with other platform user classes; 2) who qualifies as a government user; and 3) how treatment of government users differs within this transnational category. It argues that the platform system both shapes and marginalizes the government user class, with consequences that extend beyond digital channels.

HAYA THIS!: ANALYZING THE TRANSNATIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVIST STRATEGIES OF THE NATIONAL D.VA ASSOCIATION
Susan Noh
This paper explores the possibility of a transnational fan activist movement sustained through online activity, looking at a case study of the National D.Va Association as an example of one entity that is currently aspiring to gain a global following through their media coverage of local initiatives. This group primarily exercises influence in South Korea as a small, but vocal advocate for the equal treatment of women and gender-queer gamers in Korea’s gaming scene. When the national Women’s March occurred in Washington, DC, in January 21, 2017, this inspired sister protest marches around the world. The National D.Va Association’s flag, which bears the mascot of Overwatch’s heroine, D.Va, was caught on camera in the Korean Women’s March and through exposure from Twitter and a variety of popular culture news sites, this group caught the attention of fans and viewers abroad. Taking advantage of the attention they were getting, the National D.Va Association began using their social media in a more intentional manner that would spread their message beyond South Korea’s borders.

Fascinated by the possibility and implications of engaging fan activism across national borders, I analyze the efficacy of the social media strategies that this group employs in order to engage with an international audience and observe the ways in which this group positions itself intentionally and actively with Western discourses of feminism.


Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

4:00pm EDT

Algorithms and Identity
UNDERNEATH THE FILTER BUBBLE: THE ROLE OF WEAK TIES AND NETWORK CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN CROSS-CUTTING NEWS EXPOSURE TO NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
SeongJae Jay Min, Donghee Yvette Wohn
While the idea of the filter bubble, in which people are sheltered from challenging and disagreeable information, is a valid concern for democracy, it requires much theoretical sophistication and empirical support. This paper explores the extent and scope of filter bubble effects, employing the concept of “cross-cutting exposure,” or exposure to disagreeable viewpoints, on social media. Survey analysis of 271 Facebook users suggests they do get exposed to cross-cutting information frequently, and that cross-cutting information was more likely to come from weak ties, or acquaintances and strangers in their network, as opposed to strong ties of friends and families. Furthermore, those who have ethnically and religiously more diverse networks were more likely to be exposed to cross-cutting information. Taken together, it is argued that the current concern for filter bubble is rather exaggerated and that one’s network characteristics, such as network compositions and cultural diversity, can influence the degree of the filter bubble.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ALGORITHMIC SELECTION FOR EVERYDAY LIFE: RESULTS FROM A QUALITATIVE, USER-CENTERED APPROACH
Michael Latzer, Noemi Festic, Benjamin Gerwoll-Ronca, Kevin Witzenberger
In societies characterized by growing datafication, algorithmic selection (AS) applications have become deeply embedded in everyday life. Via automated assignment of relevance to selected pieces of information, AS applications are shaping the way people acquire information, perceive the world and ultimately behave. AS applications have thereby become a constitutive part of individuals’ (mediated) construction of reality. On a societal level, they thus shape the formation of social order. The multidisciplinary discourse on opportunities, social risks, ethical challenges and governance of algorithms has so far been predominantly theoretical. Empirical evidence that facilitates a validation of these results remains largely absent. To determine the significance of algorithmic selection for everyday life, an empirical investigation from a user-centered perspective is crucial. By collecting data at the individual level, this article pursues the following questions: How (extensively) are AS applications used in everyday life? How aware are people of AS operating in the services they use? What subjective relative importance, opportunities and risks do they associate with them?

This article presents qualitative results of semi-structured interviews, which are part of a larger innovative mixed-method project. The qualitative results will be used to design a representative nationwide online survey combined with a tracking of online activities. The project investigates the awareness and use of AS and attitudes towards them in four domains of everyday life: social & political orientation, recreation, commercial transactions and socializing. It thereby provides the empirical basis for evidence-based public policy deliberations regarding the social impact of AS and related governance measures.

“IT’S MAGIC” – EXPLORING PROGRAMMER’S AND USER’S NARRATIVES ON ALGORITHMS
Martina Skrubbeltrang Mahnke
This reserach engages into algorithms as communicative contructs. Drawing on the qualitative analysis of 20 interviews with users and programmers, it aims at shedding light on how user's and programmers talk about and make sense of algorithms. Conceptual starting point are the lenses of narratives and counter-narratives. Narratives are the primary stories be told and counter-narratives are stories that challenge these primary narratives and tell alternative stories. The analysis shows that three distinct stories are being told: (1) The magic narrative, (2) the critical narrative and (3) the imperative narrative. The magic narrative is mostly employed by programmers in order to address the complexity of their algorithms. The critical narrative is primarily employed by users, who feel manipulted by algorithms and the imperative narrative relates to the story that algorithms have become inevitable in the digial realm. In conclusion, it can be stated that algorithms as communicative constructs tend to develop a life of their own, disconnected from the actual technical operation mode and related social, cultural and political implications.

PSYCHO-DIGITAL PROPAGANDA: THE TARGETING OF AFFECT AND IDENTITY POLITICS IN COMPUTATIONAL PROPAGANDA
Megan Boler, Elizabeth Davis
How do we best understand the digital production of subjectivity taking place through contemporary practices of “psycho-digital propaganda”--the networked logics of advertising combined with micro-targeting of emotions? In contemporary social media logic, emotion is targeted by a nexus of corporate, military, and propaganda logics. The paper addresses the urgent need for a robust theorization of this “networked subject,” moving beyond liberal conceptions that fail to account for the affects and emotions that constitute contemporary political actors. We explore the manipulation of emotions and affect in psychometric profiling practices used by social media advertising strategies and computational propaganda: specifically, how existing identity politics of race and gender are exploited and incited by these "platform politics". This interdisciplinary research builds on the authors' 2017 SSHRC-funded Knowledge Synthesis Grant (which reviewed social movement theory, media studies, and affect theory to locate promising directions for understanding contemporary mediated subjectivity), in dialogue with cutting-edge academic research and investigative reporting related to psychometric profiling, computational propaganda, and algorithmic governance to inform a critical theorization of subjectivity. We contrast Spinoza's invocation of the necessity for understanding our passions with second-wave feminist practices of "consciousness-raising," to outline a conceptualization of a networked subject prepared for the kind of critical media literacy required in our era of computational propaganda and psychometric profiling.

ME, MYSELF AND THE ALGORITHM: HOW TWITTER USERS TALK ABOUT THE “ALGORITHM” TO PERFORM THEMSELVES
Willian Fernandes Araujo, João Carlos Magalhães
This article presents the results of an exploratory research on how ordinary people talk about algorithms publicly, and in so doing perform aspects of their identities. To do this, we look at messages posted on Twitter in 2017 containing the terms 'Facebook algorithm'. From a qualitative content analysis, we identify three basic types of " discursive algorithmic characters", that is to say, the subjective positions in which the person decides to act when talking about “the algorithm". They are: the critical subjects, the represented subjects, and the agent subjects. We contribute with the current literature by showing how ordinary people construct discursive identities in relation to the “algorithm”. In the end, we raise three hypotheses to be further investigated: algorithmic identities may be consciously co-constructed, algorithms are consumable cultural products, and algorithms structure new types of audiences. Our approach aims to demonstre that studies on “algorithmic identities” should take seriously ordinary users, and stop assuming them as inert victims of a new and supposedly unfathomable kind of power. While multiply limited, their autonomy has not simply vanished.


Thursday October 11, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond East

4:00pm EDT

Assemblages of the Socio-Technical I
THE POLITICS OF USER-GENERATED RATING SYSTEMS: UBER’S RATING SYSTEM AS A BOUNDARY OBJECT
Ngai Keung Chan
User-generated rating systems are a ubiquitous mechanism for prodding users to perform “data labor” to monitor and evaluate other users’ performance in platform economies. Much of the research has shown that how these systems can exercise control over workers through the automated algorithmic labor management. For rating systems to operate, it requires social coordination between human and non-human actors to legitimize these systems. Drawing on the concept of boundary object, this study uses Uber’s rating system as a case study to examine the practical politics of user-generated rating systems. In particular, it aims to critically assess (1) who can participate in constructing Uber’s rating system as a boundary object; (2) how the rating system creates standardized and residual categories, and for what purposes, and (3) how different actors ascribe multiple meanings to the rating system. Using a loosely defined standard of quantifying drivers’ performance, Uber’s rating system provides fertile ground for the Federal Trade Commission, Uber, and drivers to coordinate their information and work needs without sharing a consensus on their identities and practices. The rating system serves both as a means to build trust among drivers and riders in an anonymous market and as a rhetorical justification for Uber to decide who can continue working on the platform. Therefore, this article argues that the rating syst
em becomes a socio-technical mechanism of governance that constructs drivers as “calculative publics” in the platform economy.

FROM FOOTBALL FIELDS TO DATA FIELDS: RFID AND THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE AND PERCEPTION
Justin Grandinetti, Charles Ecenbarget
The 2017 partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) promises novel forms of cutting-edge real-time statistical analysis by utilizing both radio frequency identification (RFID) chips and Amazon’s cloud-based machine learning and data-analytics tools. This use of RFID is heralded for its possibilities: for broadcasters, now capable of providing more thorough analysis; for fans, who can experience the game on a deeper analytical level using the NFL’s Next Gen Stats; and for coaches, who can capitalize on data-driven pattern recognition to gain a statistical edge over their competitors in real-time. The synthesis of RFID and cloud computing data-analytic infrastructure via the NFL/AWS partnership also raises new questions about the use of mobile technologies, the normalization of tracking and big data through entertainment, and the desire for data-driven ways of overcoming the limitations of human perception.

We apply this case study to examine the related issues of RFID and big data analytics as material mobile media implicated in the production of space and new data-driven perception and cognition. Additionally, the promotion of RFID via the NFL’s popularity functions as part of discursive strategies that normalize RFID infrastructures of tracking and surveillance. In adding to literature on RFID as mobile technology, we expand upon recent scholarship focused on RFID and the production of space, big data and cognition, and discursive positionings. Consequently, we position the novel developments and implications of RFID technology as part of material infrastructures with pervasive impacts on the construction of space, perception, and cognition.

ENACTING FETAL ULTRASOUND ONLINE
Priya Kumar, Sarita Schoenebeck, Jessica Vitak
The blurry, grayscale, wedge-shaped ultrasound image is largely undecipherable as a medical object but instantly recognizable as a social and cultural marker of pregnancy. When shared online, the image becomes one way that expectant parents enact their emerging identities. But how does sharing this image within networked publics such as social network sites or online communities enact the fetus? We explore this question through a qualitative analysis of ultrasound images shared on the online community BabyCenter.

Sonographers use the ultrasound image to document fetal life and check for abnormalities; pregnant women perceive the image as a depiction of their baby and a way of connecting to it. Ultrasound is thus what anthropologist Janelle Taylor calls a “hybrid practice” that serves diagnostic and entertainment purposes. It produces the fetus as a patient while also showing the fetus as a baby for the pregnant woman to see. Prior work has observed that this practice of “showing the fetus” also emerges in keepsake ultrasound business, which are commercial, non-medical sites. This study, which analyzes a sample of posts from the largest ultrasound-focused message board on BabyCenter, examines what type of ultrasound images are shared online and how users make sense of them. It offers a window into how expectant parents negotiate the fetus in a social setting online, extending research on ultrasound into networked publics. The findings inform scholarly understanding of the enactment of parenthood online as well as the construction of future children online.

STUDYING 'LIVE' CROSS-PLATFORM CIRCULATION OF IMAGES WITH A COMPUTER VISION API: AN EXPERIMENT BASED ON A SPORTS MEDIA EVENT
Carlos Frederico de Brito d'Andréa, André Goes Mintz
Considering the importance of cross-platform circulation of web contents for digital methods-oriented research, in this study we aim to expand the types of digital objects used as ‘traffic tags’ by focusing on static images as traces of online associations. We pursue this goal through a methodological experiment with Google Cloud Vision API, a computing framework for visual content analysis. Its Web Detection module pairs typical computer vision operations with Google’s search mechanism, partly performing as a more specialized batch reverse image search engine. This feature thus allows to potentially retrieve images’ spread across the web. We discuss the implications of this non-verbal methodological approach by tracking the 'live' cross-platform circulation of images shared on Twitter in the context of 2018 FIFA World Cup Final Draw ceremony, held on December 2017. Following a novel methodological protocol, we ran several iterations of Vision API processing, thus generating a time series of URLs pointing to pages in which images matching the ones being processed were found. The study analyses in depth the circulation of four popular images about the broadcasted media event, observing their ‘live’ spreading dynamics as well as the computer vision API performance. Among the findings, we point out the adoption of images as 'traffic tags' for cross-platform analysis as a promising approach to study web circulation beyond language barriers and mainstream platforms. Also, we find relevant data to discuss the specificities of the API’s algorithms and its opacity as inherent issues of the digital methods approach.


Thursday October 11, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

4:00pm EDT

Platform Governance and Moderation
TOWARDS FAIRNESS, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND TRANSPARENCY IN PLATFORM GOVERNANCE
Robert Gorwa
Drawing inspiration from recent work on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT) in machine learning, this paper explores a similar research agenda for fairness, accountability, and transparency in platform governance. The paper seeks to make two contributions: (a) provide the initial provocation for what could be termed FAT-platform studies, and to (b) build on the extant platform governance literature (e.g Gillespie 2010, 2015, 2017; Denardis & Hackl, 2015) with an empirical, qualitative case study of Facebook policy practices.

A NEW INSTITUTION ON THE BLOCK: AIRBNB AS COMMUNITY PLATFORM AND POLICY ENTREPRENEUR
Niels van Doorn
This paper argues that “sharing economy” platforms should be understood as new institutional forms that are transforming relations between market, state, and civil society actors. Focusing on Airbnb, in particular its Airbnb Citizen initiative and its recently introduced Policy Tool Chest, it examines the strategic conflation of the platform company and its user base, as Airbnb advances its public policy goals in cities around the globe. While Airbnb has been known to evade regulation, the company has increasingly sought to become a trusted partner in urban policy making. Assuming the more pro-active and agenda-setting role of the urban policy entrepreneur (Pollman and Barry 2017), Airbnb aims to co-shape the terms of current and future policy debates pertaining not just to home sharing/short-term rental but also to the very fabric of city life. It seeks to achieve this by mobilizing its user base, which it frames as a community of entrepreneurial middle-class citizens looking to supplement their income in a post-recession climate of economic insecurity and opportunity.

The paper demonstrates how Airbnb exploits the ambiguity of its exceptional status as a new hybrid actor in neoliberal urban governance networks: where it becomes a partner in policy making, market and civil society actors/interests converge. It is argued that we are witnessing an emerging mode of “platform urbanism” that introduces a new conundrum to public regulatory institutions: when “sharing economy” platforms collapse the public/private distinction, who benefits from (a lack of) regulation and whose wellbeing are we trying to protect?

HATRED OF/AND DEMOCRACY: THE POLITICAL CONTRADICTIONS OF REDDIT’S MODERATION STRUCTURE
Trevor Garrison Smith
This paper seeks to interpret Reddit moderation as a problem of political theory, rather than as a debate between the merits of human moderation and algorithmic moderation. Analyzing Reddit’s moderation structure shows that both the human moderation and the algorithmic moderation reinforce a form of anti-politics which leaves users feeling like they have no input and thus no interest in the well-being of the subreddits in which they participate. Online governance structures are largely top down and authoritarian in nature, despite often being couched in democratic rhetoric, reflecting what Jacques Rancière describes as a hatred of democracy. By looking at the example of how r/Canada came to be widely disparaged on Reddit as a bastion of hate, I make the argument that the key to rooting out online hate is not through more human moderation or by giving algorithms more control, but by creating a democratic culture of buy-in through which users are empowered with responsibility for the quality of content in a discussion space.

TOWARDS A COMMON LANGUAGE AND SHARED UNDERSTANDING: A VOCABULARY FOR ONLINE MODERATION
Sarah Myers West, Kat Lo, Claudia Lo, Rochelle LaPlante, Sarah T. Roberts
Online moderation comes in many different forms, but the discourse surrounding it currently lacks precision in terminology. This paper argues that it is therefore crucial to develop a clear vocabulary to define the different elements of moderation that reflects the variety of contexts and approaches employed by platforms of different types and levels of scale.

Drawing on our experiences as researchers and moderators, we propose a precise vocabulary for moderation to engender dialog about like concepts across domains and applications: how industry develops best practices; how regulators craft legal regimes to influence moderation; and how we as a public understand and debate this area. We distinguish commercial content moderation from community moderation and identify unique elements to each. Commercial content moderation is best distinguished by the distance created between involved parties, while community moderation features a much closer relationship between those involved. We also elaborate on the technical affordances, labor conditions, timescale and scope of work, and recruitment and training practices for these types of moderation.

This vocabulary is still emergent, but we believe that precision in terms is a valuable objective. Continued conflation over different types of moderation is hugely detrimental when the next step is to invoke solutions. Our aim is to facilitate interdisciplinary communication so that journalists, regulators, researchers and practitioners can come together and participate in critical analysis and intervention.


Thursday October 11, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7

4:00pm EDT

Twitch and Gaming
GAME DEVELOPMENT STUDENTS, FAN-PRODUCERS, AND THE UNIMAGINED AUDIENCES OF VIDEOGAME EPHEMERA
Brendan Keogh
Drawing from interviews with students of undergraduate videogame development programs in Australia, this paper considers how amateur videogame developers navigate the greatly altered environment of videogame development and distribution. The videogames that amateur developers have always produced informally at the margins of game culture are increasingly likely to be picked up and distributed beyond their initially intended audience by fan-producers on Youtube and Twitch.tv, and this produces unique challenges for amateur and aspirational developers.

Students spoken to for this paper expressed both excitement when their game received unexpected popularity, but also an anxiety or frustration about how their game would be discussed and framed. Often, players would critique the game as if it was a commercial product, not the work of a student with limited resources. Further, the experience of amplified exposure was experienced unevenly across the genders of students spoken to for this study, with non-male students more likely to encounter negative receptions of their game.

By exploring this new dynamic between student videogame developers and fan-producers, this paper points towards the importance of accounting for a broader range of videogame development practices beyond simply the creation of commercial products. The work of amateur and aspirational videogame developers, just like tweets and blog posts and videos, both perform and mediate online identity, and requires considerable and ongoing labour from individual videogame creators to navigate.

WHY DID WE THINK WE WANTED TO BECOME AFFILIATES? RESEARCHING PLAY BY SELF-STREAMING ON TWITCH
Mia Consalvo, Marc Lajeunesse, Andrei Zanescu
This project uses auto-ethnography to understand acts of live streaming gameplay. Three individuals researchers set up a Twitch channel, configured broadcasting software, selected games, promoted their channel, and live streamed themselves for a period of 3 months. Sessions were recorded, and field notes written following sessions.

Rather than gameplay, streaming itself became our central focus, encompassing extensive “behind the scenes” work: channel set up, bot integration, monitoring analytics, and installing and managing technical equipment. Game playing took a significant amount of time, but was re-conceptualized not simply for ludic enjoyment, but also to attract and interact with potential viewers.

Successful streaming is shaped by technical expertise and access, as viewer expectations and the quality of the product as mediated through multiple technological pathways force streamers to conform to community norms. Even as beginning streamers we willingly put in long hours of embodied, affective labor, cultivating personas to build followings that could (hopefully) translate directly to increased viewership. Finally, we witnessed the increasing gamification of Twitch. Offered immediate access to “stream analytics,” we all participated and began strategizing how to “earn more badges” despite our transient status.

This group auto-ethnography demonstrates the strong pull of technical components such as the Twitch platform to engage in such activities, as well as the growing community norms surrounding streaming that can seem impossible to resist. Our experiences also demonstrate the value of engaging in self-streaming as a practice to better understand it.

THE STRUCTURAL ROLE OF USER CLASS IN CHAT INTERACTIONS ON TWITCH
Tiernan Joseph Cahill
Twitch.tv has become an important platform for video streaming, especially of games, with more than 100 million monthly users. The structure of content on the platform, which merges live video feeds with chat rooms for user feedback, problematizes existing theoretical frameworks for understanding the roles and hierarchies of different types of users. Combined with efforts to monetize user engagement for the benefit of both platform owners and user-generators of content, there is a need for greater understanding of the new interaction paradigm introduced by the platform.

The present study introduces a framework for systematic, quantitative analysis of user interactions in the chat rooms associated with Twitch channels, as well as a preliminary data set. Social network analysis techniques are used to analyse the centrality and homophily of different classes of users, and the theoretical significance of these observations is briefly discussed.

THE SOCIO-TECHNICAL ENTANGLEMENTS OF LIVE STREAMING ON TWITCH.TV
Mark Richard Johnson, Jamie Woodcock
The website and platform Twitch.tv is the overwhelming market leader in the live broadcast (“streaming”) of user-created videos over the internet, known primarily for the streaming of video game play. In both 2016 and 2017 over two million people regularly broadcast on the platform, resulting in over a million years of video content in total viewed by over one hundred million people (Twitch, 2017). The deep newness of this phenomenon, alongside the many elements that constitute it, make it an important site for studying digital labour, co-production, and gaming culture. In this paper we focus on three elements of the conference theme: the shifting political and creative economies of streaming media, in our case Twitch; social media, platforms, podcasts, and actors in online networks; and the materialities of data, in our case a million years of video content. Specifically, we consider the entangling of the technical and social dimensions of the Twitch phenomenon: how these elements shape the labour of Twitch streamers, audience engagement with the platform, and Twitch’s wider position in contemporary media production. To do so we draw upon semi-structured interviews with over one hundred professional streamers on the Twitch platform, lasting between ten minutes and one hour, alongside at least one hour of ethnographic observation from over two hundred Twitch channels and ethnographic work from almost a dozen gaming events in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and Poland in the past two years.

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Mia Consalvo

Mia Consalvo

Concordia University
I research game studies and design at Concordia University in Montreal. Currently I'm finishing a book about Japan and it's role in the videogame industry and videogame culture. I'm also studying social games, and have been developing a game called Eksa: Isle of the Wisekind on Facebook... Read More →


Thursday October 11, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West
 
Friday, October 12
 

9:00am EDT

Epistemologies / Ontologies / Methodologies
ETHNOGRAPHY OF SCANNING: ARCHIVAL DIGITIZATION AT THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL
Sharon Ringel, Rivka Ribak
Over the last couple of decades, libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions have gradually begun to scan historical materials and convert them into digital objects. Scanning—this crucial yet mundane and overlooked human-computer interaction—shapes the ways in which archival sources will be preserved for future access. Following a tradition of studies that sought to open scientific black boxes (Bijker, Hughes, & Pinch, 2012; Winner, 1993), this ethnography of the National Library of Israel (NLI) suggests that contrary to the technical view of conversion, archival digitization is an ongoing, unresolved human endeavor in which on-the-ground decisions and practices actively shape the contours of future knowledges.

To capture this transition from the traditional-physical archive into the digital one, we conducted participant observation between 2013-2016 at the Digitization Center of the NLI and other archives digitized by the NLI. We sought to learn about the practicalities of converting analogue archival materials into digital formats by watching the interaction between humans and scanning machines. Analyzing the field notes, we find that digitization is mediated through human action. The cameras and the scanners, at the same time, are elements in a meta-discourse about digitization, signifying the NLI's expertise and performing accuracy. So, the seemingly technical, universal conversion of analogue to digital formats is in fact a manual, labor-intensive, performative enterprise conducted within local communities of practice that develop on-the-job standards.

MEDIATED DEATH AND DIGITAL MARTYRDOM: ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR VISUAL SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCHERS
Kelly Marie Lewis
The digital mediation of visual content depicting death and martyrdom as a trope of resistance and contestation is increasingly employed within social media platforms by transnational activist cultures and popular social movements. I refer to this phenomenon as ‘digital martyrdom’. The emergence of digital martyrdom, and its memetic circulation within visual social media platforms, points to the materialisation of a new, affective and ritualised protest dynamic. Through which posthumous visuals become diffused, reappropriated and politicised within global publics. This raises new ethical implications and moral dilemmas for digital and visual social media researchers, and requires more reflexive and critical thought beyond established ethical considerations. Necessarily, this paper raises ethical questions and provocations for digital and visual social media researchers in relation to the design, collection, presentation and publishing of academic work in the context of death and posthumous imagery online. The questions presented in this paper have emerged out of a systematic study of this phenomenon, with a particular focus on case studies drawn from the Middle East, the United States and Europe. This paper argues that digital and visual social media research in this field merits specific ethical considerations and amplified scholarly deliberation. This is of particular importance for visual social media research that extends beyond a Western context and considers the cross-cultural, transnational dimensions of digital activism.

APPLIED MEDIA STUDIES AS EPISTEMIC INFRASTRUCTURE
James W. Malazita
Recent turns toward materiality have influenced scholarship and pedagogy in Media Studies, Science & Technology Studies (STS), and Communication Studies. Often, these turns manifest in calls for “hands-on” humanities and social sciences practices that, as Kirsten Ostherr describes, “can be ‘applied’ to solving ‘real-world’ problems, while also establishing feedback loops that bring new lines of inquiry back to more theoretical research.” Like related scholarly movements in the digital humanities, Applied Media Studies engagements are often cast in the contexts of incorporating maker spaces, critical software labs, and hackathons into media pedagogy. However, if Applied Media Studies are to truly operate not as an “interdisciplinary bridge,” but rather as a force to resolve and heal the divides between computational/technical practices and interpretive/critical scholarship, we must begin to take seriously the kinds of epistemic-infrastructural contexts STEM disciplines are embedded in, as well as the understand the ideological histories that have shaped those contexts.

HARD HABITS TO BREAK: BREAKING UP WITH COLONIAL RESEARCH ATTACHMENTS IN DIGITAL RESEARCH & PUBLICATION... OR, GETTING OVER COMPULSORY DISPOSSESSIVE NORMATIVITY
Jasmine Rault, T.L. Cowan
This paper considers the colonial research methods that have marked and sustained academic scholarship as an affective orientation and attachment to the rewards of discovery, extraction, possession and hygiene. In our research and experience in the fields of transgender, feminist and queer (digital and analog) media and techno-culture, performance, art, activism and theory, we've come to recognise that our attachments to colonial research methods are more than rational and seem remarkably impervious to rational critique or undoing. We want to speak to an infrastructure - naming it for the moment, compulsory dispossessive normativity (borrowing from Adrienne Rich, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Lisa Duggan) - of emotional and more-than-rational scholarly apparati of feeling that compel and reward intimate intellectual occupations. In particular, here we discuss the ways that the augmented scale of digital technocultural affordances, as they impact scholarly research and publication, make particularly apparent the imperial and colonial logics that continue to shape Western epistemologies, authorship and communications.


Moderators
GL

Guillaume Latzko-Toth

Associate Professor of Communication and Digital Media, Laval University

Speakers

Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7

9:00am EDT

Gaming and Fandom
"EVERY WORD YOU JUST SAID IS WRONG": ONLINE RAGE AND INCLUSIVITY IN DISNEY FRANCHISE FANDOM
Anastasia Salter, Bridget Blodgett
The months leading up to the release of Disney franchise films The Last Jedi (December 2017) and Black Panther (February 2018) were marked by speculation, concern, and fervor in equal measures from the established fan communities of Star Wars and Marvel. Both franchises have been associated with toxic geek masculinity, a performed, communal hypermasculinity marked by exclusionary practices and rhetoric (Salter & Blodgett, 2017). By centering either non-white or non-male characters as leads in roles traditionally dominated by cisgender white men, both films became centers for toxic discourse and targeted campaigns aimed at disrupting their commercial success. In this paper, we will situate these case studies as emblematic of the changing discourse of geek fandom spaces, and its intersections with white supremacy and misogyny.

NOT SUFFERING FOOLS GLADLY: CRAFTING PROSOCIAL COMMUNITY IN ONLINE MULTIPLAYER MINECRAFT
Kenzie Ann Burniston Woodbridge
Over 700 million people worldwide are socializing and spending time, sometimes significant amounts, in online multiplayer games, and these social spaces can be important sites of community. Unfortunately, levels of civility, aggression, and mutual helping can vary significantly between game spaces. Given their ubiquity and importance in so many people’s lives, it is critical to understand how a prosocial community can be created and maintained over time in these spaces for those who want them. This research uses virtual ethnography and interpretive phenomenological analysis to examine how moderation and community development strategies, game design elements, and player behaviours are experienced and can be influenced by players in prosocially-oriented online multiplayer Minecraft servers. It is clear that it is the prosocial orientation of players and the commitment, social skill, and integrity of server moderators that is most key to creating and maintaining a prosocial gaming environment and that although game design can support prosociality, game design factors appear to be much less important overall. Attracting the right players—and refusing entry to the wrong ones—is the most important concern.

FAILURE OF LOVE? FAN REACTIONS TO AMAZON’S PUBLICATION PLATFORM, KINDLE WORLDS
Kalia Vogelman-Natan
This paper investigates fan communities’ response to a corporal attempt to monetize fan fiction, focusing on Amazon’s $2 platform and the feverish debate it incurred. A grounded analysis of discussions on FanFiction.net revealed six major argumentative themes, which relate to three fundamental tensions underlying fan communities in the digital age: fan/producer, gift/commercial, and fair use/copyright. Across all categories, fans’ evaluation of the platform was informed by the consideration of whether $2 constitutes an ‘extension’ of fan culture. An integrative analysis of the six categories reveals an overarching tension between the individual and community that lies at the heart of the discussion: fans would rather be exploited (even if by other fans) as a community than be individually exploited by a corporation.

MOVING ACROSS LANDS: FANDOM AND ONLINE COMMUNITY MIGRATION
Casey Fiesler, Brianna Dym
Fandom (consisting of communities of media fans and fan creators) is an example of a longstanding technology-agnostic community that has existed since long before online platforms. Mass migrations across platforms have also occurred frequently over the years—e.g., from email lists to Livejournal to Tumblr. As part of a larger project, we interviewed fan creators who have been part of this community for decades and have experienced these migrations. These interviews revealed patterns of reasons for platform shifts—including issues related to design, policy, values, and community—as well as the consequences for themselves and their communities. Our findings provide

insights into not just the dynamics of fandom specifically, but also into success and failure factors for online communities, and the relationship between community and platform.


Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

9:00am EDT

Infrastructures II: Im/Materialities
TAOBAO, NIKE, AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT: HOW U.S.-MADE RULES SHAPE INTERNET REGULATION IN CHINA
Natasha Tusikov
Much online regulation uses the language of voluntary, industry compliance, thus raising the question of the retreat of the state. However, by examining the online regulation of intellectual property rights, this paper argues that the state plays a central role in directing specific regulatory outcomes. The U.S. government, acting on behalf of prominent rights holders, including Nike, has coerced the China-based Taobao marketplace to adopt non-legally binding agreements to curb the online sale of counterfeit goods. The goal is to pressure Taobao (part of the massive Alibaba Group conglomerate) to exceed its legal responsibilities voluntarily. Advocates describe this as a "beyond-compliance" regulatory strategy (European Commission, 2013, pp. 5-6). This paper explores how, and more importantly, why the U.S. government exports rules drafted by U.S. rights holders to shape the operation of Chinese marketplaces. More broadly, the paper considers the role of U.S. commercial and security interests in shaping both regulation of Internet services and Internet governance. Using the regulation of intellectual property as a case study, the paper explores the U.S. government's enrollment of Internet intermediaries - both U.S.-based companies like Google and PayPal and China-based firms - to institute standards that privilege western legal, economic, and political preferences. Drawing from the regulatory theory literature, the paper argues that intermediaries' work as regulators is a form of enforced hybrid regulation. The paper offers original research from interviews with policymakers and industry representatives, and textual analysis of documents from the U.S. government and Alibaba Group relating to the informal enforcement agreement.

PATHWAYS TO FRAGMENTATION: USER FLOWS AND WEB DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURES
Harsh Taneja, Angela Xiao Wu
This study analyzes how web audiences flow across online digital features. We construct a directed network of user flows based on sequential user clickstreams for all popular websites (n=1761), using traffic data obtained from a panel of a million web users in the United States. We analyze these data to identify constellations of websites that are frequently browsed together in temporal sequences, both by similar user groups in different browsing sessions as well as by disparate users. Our analyses thus render visible previously hidden online collectives and generate insight into the varied roles that curatorial infrastructures may play in shaping audience fragmentation on the web.

EXCHANGE RELATIONS ON THE DARK WEB
Jonathan Vincent Pace
This paper examines exchange relations on Silk Road, an anonymous online black market located in a concealed portion of the internet, the dark web. The federal court case of Ross William Ulbricht, Silk Road's architect and executive operator, constitutes the core of my source material. In United States v. Ulbricht, the prosecution presented as evidence Ulbricht's private correspondences and weekly business logs, in which he detailed major site-related activities. These offer a unique look into the otherwise hidden operations of Silk Road. I have also made use of Ulbricht's online statements, including his comments on the Silk Road discussion forums. In interpreting these materials, I have used what can best be described as critical discourse analysis to interrogate the operative assumptions within these texts, as well as the social and institutional contexts of their production. I argue that Silk Road represented an aggressively capitalist mode of exchange, marked by an absence of state regulation, a lack of status codes, an ineffective reputation system, and a resulting deluge of blackmail, scam, coercion, and monopoly. Contrary to its founder's vision of a libertarian utopia, the digital in free market in contraband was plagued with fraudulent economic practices, underwritten by a market logic that exploited the site's unique infrastructure. The salient principle of economic relationality on Silk Road was not cooperation and freedom but deception and intimidation.

WRITING IN THE CLOUDS: ON THE INCREASING IMMATERIALITY OF 21ST CENTURY COMPOSITION
John Logie
In 1996, Christina Haas's book Writing Technology: Studies in the Materiality of Literacy was a long-overdue investigation of how materiality — in the form of both writing tools and writing spaces — matters for composers of written texts. Haas's work addressed the practical implications of increasing use of digital tools on writing processes. My project is founded in a determination that our current circumstance is one in which the increasing immateriality of literacy is transforming what it means to write with digital technology.

For what we can now understand as a brief window of time ) computers were not necessarily attached to anything more than the power grid.

But from at least the 1990s forward, computers have been built with connectivity to the Internet as a foundational design element. As a practical consequence of this connectivity, 21st Century writers are now (virtually) far closer to others — and others’ texts — than at any point in human history.

This project is about the differences that make a difference as composers migrate towards internetworked digital composing spaces. Often, the preferences and practices of print composition will remain stubbornly in place as composers adopt new technologies (still writing on their QWERTY keyboards). But every now and again, we will experience moments of possibility, of perceived weightlessness as the potential of internetworked digital composing tools makes truly new practices and patterns of composition possible.

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Natasha Tusikov

Natasha Tusikov

Assistant Professor, York University
Intermediary liability/regulation Private ordering/voluntary regulation Trademark/copyright regulation Internet of Things


Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

9:00am EDT

Intermedia/tions
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.

Moderators
Speakers
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 EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

11:00am EDT

Agents, Actants and AI
WHO’S WHO IN SMART REPLY? HOW INSTITUTIONS FRAME THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMANS AND AI IN IMPERSONAL INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
Nathaniel Poor, Roei Davidson
Google, Facebook, and Linkedin have recently integrated artificial intelligence-driven recommendation systems into their widely used communication services. These systems suggest replies to users which they can send when communicating with others. For example, Google provides “Smart Reply” in its Gmail mobile applications. Senders can click on a smart reply, modify it if they wish, or send it as is, as if they typed it themselves, and receivers may be none the wiser. Such technologies recast the first part of Lasswell’s (1948) model of communication, $2 , making interpersonal communication impersonal. A similar feature is also embedded in Facebook’s Messenger application as well as in LinkedIn.

For this work, we use Critical Discourse Analysis to examine how the institutional creators and their surrounding intermediaries (PR professionals and technology journalists) discuss Smart Reply and similar technologies, not only looking for what people mention but what is absent. To aid in considering how these technologies are framed we draw on work that considers the relationship between humans and computers, and on recent science fiction. While institutional and journalistic discourses focus on what is present, these approaches allow us to consider socially-relevant absences related to the consequences such recommendation technologies might have for human autonomy, well-being and deliberation.

HEY ALEXA, WHO ARE YOU?! THE CULTURAL BIOGRAPHY OF ARTIFICIAL AGENTS
Bart Simon, Ceyda Yolgörmez
This paper considers the agency question in the practical engagement of consumer artificial agents like Alexa, Siri, Google Home and others. Drawing on literature in the cultural studies of robotics and artificial intelligence, STS and interactionist sociology we argue that the agency and attendant human-likeness of increasingly sophisticated artificial agents is less of an existential question and more a matter of practical attribution by human interlocutors. Our guiding question then is, how do artificial agents’ interlocutors assess and attribute agency and what are the conditions for differential attributions?

LOOK WHO’S TALKING: USING HUMAN CODING TO ESTABLISH A MACHINE LEARNING APPROACH TO TWITTER EDUCATION CHATS
K. Bret Staudt Willet, Brooks D. Willet
Twitter has become a hub for many different types of educational conversations, denoted by hashtags and organized by a variety of affinities. Researchers have described these educational conversations on Twitter as sites for teacher professional development. Here, we studied #Edchat—one of the oldest and busiest Twitter educational hashtags—to examine the content of contributions for evidence of professional purposes. We collected tweets containing the text “#edchat” from October 1, 2017 to June 5, 2018, resulting in a dataset of 1,228,506 unique tweets from 196,263 different contributors. Through initial human-coded content analysis, we sorted a stratified random sample of 1,000 tweets into four inductive categories: tweets demonstrating evidence of different professional purposes related to (a) self, (b) others, (c) mutual engagement, and (d) everything else. We found 65% of the tweets in our #Edchat sample demonstrated purposes related to others, 25% demonstrated purposes related to self, and 4% of tweets demonstrated purposes related to mutual engagement. Our initial method was too time intensive—it would be untenable to collect tweets from 339 known Twitter education hashtags and conduct human-coded content analysis of each. Therefore, we are developing a scalable machine-learning model—a multiclass logistic regression classifier using an input matrix of features such as tweet types, keywords, sentiment, word count, hashtags, hyperlinks, and tweet metadata. The anticipated product of this research—a successful, generalizable machine learning model—would help educators and researchers quickly evaluate Twitter educational hashtags to determine where they might want to engage.

WHEN YOU CAN TRUST NOBODY, TRUST THE SMART MACHINE
Sun-ha Hong
The diffusion of smart machines for tracking individual bodies and homes raise new questions about what counts as self-knowledge, how human sense experience should be interpreted, and how data is to be trusted (or not). Self-tracking practices intersect the contemporary faith in the objectivity of data with the turn towards what has been called ‘i-pistemology’: a revalorisation of personal and experience-based truth in opposition to top-down and expert authority. What does it mean to ‘know myself’, insofar as this knowing is performed through machines that operate beyond the limits of the human senses? What does it mean to turn to personalised and individuated forms of datafication amidst a wider crisis of consensus, expertise, and shared horizons of reality?

This analysis draws on a larger research project into datafication and knowledge, conducted between 2014 and 2017. It included analysis of news media coverage on self-tracking technologies; of self-tracking products and prototypes, including the promotional discourse and the design of individual devices; and interviews and participation observations of the Quantified Self community. The presentation will explore how these technologies connect the faith in data-driven objectivity with a contrarian and individualistic form of ‘personalised’ knowledge, remixing wider themes of trust, expertise and verification.


Friday October 12, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

11:00am EDT

Cultures of Production
MARGINS AT THE CENTER: ALTERNATIVE DIGITAL ECONOMIES IN SHENZHEN, CHINA
Jack Linchuan Qiu, Julie Yujie Chen
Shenzhen, China, has become known as “the Silicon Valley of Hardware” due to its ascendance in the global digital economy in recent decades. It allows us to raise a key question about the material and spatial order of today’s digital world: Does technological innovation always occur first in the core regions of the world system, and then spread to more peripheral regions like China? This paper develops the conceptual idea of “margins at the center” in which the three types of marginality -- the edges of geography, the fringes of history, the vectors of the renounced -- intertwine. It then uses fieldwork data, interviews and primary documents to tackle the above question by examining shanzhai mobile phone manufacturing and drivers’ use of, and struggle against, ride-hailing platforms in Shenzhen, seen through different vantage points of labor, capital, and the state. In all, Shenzhen is a prism for us to see possibilities of digital economies in the Global South. The acts of innovation and struggle in Shenzhen depict complex reactions to new types of Western imperialism now taking form in and through the digital economy. We argue that cores and margins may shift or even reverse in the realm of digital innovation. We conclude by reflecting on why certain “margins” turn out to play a “central” role in contemporary digital transformations; under what conditions; and what are the global implications of alternative digital economies in Shenzhen, for marginality to generate impact beyond the margins, even upon the supposed core.

TRANSNATIONAL MATERIALITIES: LOCAL DEVELOPERS IN THE GLOBAL WORLD OF PRACTICE
Rivka Ribak
In his work on the politics of algorithms, Tarleton Gillespie reminds us that such seemingly technical infrastructures are translations of social ideas and practices into computer language. Gillespie urges the study of algorithms to attend to "the people involved at every point: people debating the models, cleaning the training data, designing the algorithms, tuning the parameters, deciding on which algorithms to depend on in which context" (2016:22). This research heeds his call, seeking to trace the ways in which social ideas about cyber security and privacy are shaped before they are inscribed in code. Specifically, it draws on in-depth interviews, conducted with Israeli developers in the winter of 2017-18, in order to disentangle the flow of ideas about cyber security and privacy in local and cross-cultural encounters, and to shed light on the ways in which these social ideas are negotiated and then written as software for apps and related products. The research addresses three questions:

How do Israeli developers conceptualize information privacy and data security?

How are local concepts of privacy and security re-shaped in the encounter between Israeli workers and other workers – from the US, Europe, and Asia?

How are these cross-cultural encounters stabilized and inscribed in code?

TRAINING THE "NEW COLLAR" WORKFORCE: THE DISCOURSE AND PRACTICE OF LEARNING TO CODE IN THE UNITED STATES
Kate Miltner
Over the past five years, a sociocultural discourse around "learning to code" has gained remarkable traction in the United States. This discourse positions computer programming as central to the economic health of the nation in a 'new' global economy and essential for individual access to the most desirable labor markets, particularly for marginalized groups such as women and people of color. It also asserts that mass technological skills training is necessary to address a "skills gap" that has left 500,000 well-paid technology jobs unfilled in the U.S (Swartz, 2017). In connection to this discourse, hundreds of coding bootcamps and coding schools have launched around the United States, churning out tens of thousands of graduates annually. Tech leaders insist that these workers are desperately needed to fill the thousands of "new collar" jobs that are being created within the technology sector.

This work-in-progress paper examines the implications of this discourse and its manifestation in social practice, doing so in two interrelated ways. First, it articulates and interrogates the American "learn to code" discourse, especially as it pertains to "new collar" jobs and workers. Second, it offers early stage analysis from ethnographic fieldwork taking place at a two-year, "full stack" coding program in San Francisco. By examining the continuities and disjunctures between the ideals of the "learn to code" discourse and how it manifests within coding schools, this paper offers a unique perspective on how longstanding power dynamics are reproduced in the material and social arrangements of technological production.

PUBLIC SPEECH: LISTENING TO WOMEN IN THE VIDEOGAME INDUSTRY
Suzanne de Castell, Karen Skardzius
Since the 1990s, conversations about the dearth of women working in the video game industry have centered on three topics: 1) ways to draw more women into the field, 2) the experiences of women working in the industry, and 3) the experiences of those who once worked in the industry but left (Cassell & Jenkins, 1998; Hepler, 2017; Kafai, Heeter, Denner & Sun, 2008). While there has been considerable research on the conditions and occupational identities of video game developers, less scholarly attention has been devoted to women in games work, the barriers/obstacles and challenges/opportunities they face, or how they talk about their experiences. Our study looked to see who among the group of women who work in the games industry has already invested her time and energy to tell a public story, whether that is in a blog posting, a book chapter, a televised talk, a radio interview, or other public media, thereby building the foundations of the study by focusing on that sub-group.

This paper offers a feminist methodological approach that demonstrates how discourse focused on affect can be re-read as intimately related to silences about power, and how the rhetorical constraints that public speech imposes upon what can be said about “women in games” aids us in understanding what might remain unspoken, and why.


Friday October 12, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West

11:00am EDT

Materialities / Spatialities / Temporalities
MEMORY OF THE FUTURE? DIGITAL ARCHIVES IN PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA
Tobias Eberwein, Corinna Gerard-Wenzel
Archives by public service media (PSM) are often regarded as an ideal instrument for creating a collective 'cultural memory', which is essential in the individualized, differentiated and polarized societies of today. Technological innovations and digitization open up new possibilities in this regard, as data can be stored and made accessible more easily. In their daily work, however, PSM archives encounter various obstacles. How do PSM across Europe deal with the digitization of audiovisual archives and what exactly are the problems and challenges that accompany this process? To answer this question, the authors conducted problem-centered interviews with journalists, members of audience relations departments, legal departments, archivists and archive managers in selected European countries (Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). In addition, selected examples of the publicly accessible archived content were analyzed and evaluated. The paper highlights tensions between personal rights and collective interests in the process of creating cultural memory: One of the main transformations in archiving that digitization has brought about is the way in which the material is publicly accessed and the proportion of the material that is publicly accessible. However, digitization has also caused significant risks, particularly with regard to the legal and ethical challenges it causes. The paper concludes with proposals for media policy.

ONLINE TEMPORALITIES, PLACES, NEWS AND MATERIALITIES
Henrik Bødker, Niels Brügger
This paper focuses on how news websites constitute interrelated temporalities at the intersections between technological affordances, differently situated events and the specific location or anchoring of the news websites. The broader aim of this paper is thus to get a more detailed understanding of how news sites grounded in differently sized places such as small town, bigger cities, or regions negotiate the temporal affordances of the internet with differently constituted temporalities (e.g. social and embodied times). The study thus aims to add to the broader discussions of how the internet is localized in various and complex ways.

At the national level, news websites in several countries frame events within national boundaries (as shown by Curran et al. 2013) and thus arguably adhere to what Sassen (2000) calls the temporality of the nation. By looking at sites located in, respectively, a regional centre, a local centre and a smaller town, we aim to understand how the digital constitution of temporalities happens within locations with different relations to the regional, national and global.

Such an analysis will help constitute a more nuanced view in opposition to more broadly conceived notions of internet time or network time. “Network time […] is not total or monolithic” says Hassan (2014: 9); and people engage with the internet from “within ‘social time,’ that is, specifically located cultural negotiations between body time, natural time, wider cultural time regimes, and, linked to that, technological temporalities” (Bodker, 2017, 56).

GEOGRAPHIES OF CULTURE: THE CASE FOR CRITICAL CULTURAL MAPPING
Danielle Jeanine Deveau
Of the many aspects of our daily lives that are mapped, our cultural spaces, activities, and events are pinned and displayed in mapped interfaces. We rely on maps to organize our experiences of urban spaces - planning a night out for food, drinks, and cultural consumption through proximate activity. Large cultural events, such as music festivals, are not only scheduled, but carefully mapped - directing attendees to various stage and performance locations, beer gardens, merchandise booths, port-a-potties, and food trucks. For an urban centre with a strong cultural scene to be guaranteed attraction, it must be mapped.

Integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies, this research considers the role of cultural mapping both as an analytic tool and a public facing application. Furthermore, it considers the complex ways in which spatial representations interact in problematic ways with lived experience and cultural practices. In particular, I consider various stages of and approaches to cultural mapping undertaken in the Waterloo Region (Ontario, Canada). This case study illustrates well the constraints and shortcomings of mapping as a planning and information dissemination tool, the limitations of big data approaches to urban economic development, and the challenges of incorporating multiple-stakeholders into data curation and visualization projects. In short, this research seeks to reconcile the constraints of “big data” planning approaches with the complex, sometimes intangible, and often messy processes of building and visualizing vibrant and liveable communities and cities.

AFTER IDENTITY: GEOLOCATION AND THE POLITICS OF PROXY
Benjamin Parrish Haber
In this paper, I explore the discourses and diagramatics of the growing industry that uses location as both a social proxy and as an alternative form of subjectification to more traditional social techniques based in mining archival material. I’m interested in the affective distance between geolocation information that feels more abstractly related to the self and more ostensibly “personal” information like preference and demographic information. I suggest the uneven nature of public concern around privacy and digital culture reflects the extent to which we have been primed to alternately personalize or minimize our interpellation by data, so that cumulative location information collected by Alphabet through their Google Maps application is less likely to inspire anxious concern around privacy than more obviously “social” media.

I focus in particular on a number of companies who, in a variety of ways, are mobilizing location information to offer “personalized” advertising experiences beyond the collection of more traditional markers of social identification. These include: Placed, acquired by Snap, Inc. in 2017, which calls itself the “leader in location-driven insights and ad intelligence”; PlaceIQ, which promises to turn “location data into location intelligence”; and Foursquare Location Intelligence, part of the enterprise wing of the pioneering location based social network. This critical cultural theory centered project uses content and textual analysis of publicly available documents and schematics to frame the political stakes of the increasingly central place of location to the digital advertising business.



Friday October 12, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

11:00am EDT

Properties of Regulation and Governance
SOFTWARE PRESERVATION AND THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL MEMORY: FACING COPYRIGHT CHALLENGES
Patricia A Aufderheide, Brandon Butler, Krista Cox, Peter Jaszi
Software preservation is essential for social memory in a digital age, but presents a daunting challenge for a host of reasons, including legal ones. Much software is proprietary, protected among other ways by copyright and often walled with encryption that requires an exemption to break, for copyright exemption reasons. This paper, grounded in a literature review and long-form interviews with 41 veteran software preservation professionals, maps the copyright challenges that U.S. software preservation professionals face in accomplishing their mission of preservation, how they currently face them, and how they might face them if there were consensus around use of copyright exemptions. It focuses on the challenges of preserving software on installation media that can be forensically imaged, not on the emerging algorithmic challenge. The study documents constraint on creative problem-solving because of internalized copyright expectations. It finds that preservationists today pay a high price for unnecessary copyright conservatism, including failure to properly identify and catalog and to provide suitable access to researchers, the loss of funding, and inability to build capacity to handle the algorithmic challenge. U.S. exemptions provide solutions that may be relevant and helpful in other copyright regimes as well. But preservationists will need to build field consensus about their proper use.

BEYOND ‘ZERO SUM’: BALANCING NETWORK NEUTRALITY AND DIGITAL INCLUSION IN THE REGULATION OF ZERO RATING IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH
Guy Thurston Hoskins
Network neutrality in the global North was the epicentre of Internet policy debates over the last decade (Bauer and Obar, 2014). Recently, however, the locus of attention has shifted to the global South where ‘zero rating’ mobile apps – exempting content and services from data charges – has proved contentious. There are shrill arguments on either side. Those who oppose the practice contend that zero rating constitutes a “pernicious” threat to network neutrality (Crawford, 2015), while proponents defend zero rating (ZR) as an Internet on-ramp for billions (Katz and Callorda, 2015 p41). Prevailing voices have thus reduced zero rating to a zero sum game.

To address this reductive binary, this paper will examine the interplay of competing concerns around ZR and identify the circumstances in which they might be reconciled. I contend that through a contextual and pragmatic approach, we can move beyond absolutist judgements and better realize the social goods sought both by advocates of net neutrality and digital inclusion.

This article analyses the forms of zero rating offered in four wireless markets – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and South Africa - across three dimensions: political-economic; developmental and legislative. I then identify the factors that exacerbate or mitigate ZR’s impacts on net neutrality and access. I contend that we can then identify particular sets of circumstances in which ZR services could be sanctioned as a limited and short-term means to foment digital inclusion, and others when ZR services constitute an intolerable infringement upon network neutrality, local innovation and freedom of expression.

BLOCKCHAIN, RECORDS, AND EVIDENCE: AN EXPLORATION OF SMART CONTRACTS AND THE APPLICABILITY OF THIRD PARTY OVERSIGHT IN US, UK, AND EU REGULATORY SYSTEMS
Kristin Cornelius Way
Smart contracts are computer programs that self-execute the simple instructions necessary to carry out a transaction. Currently, this technology is most often used to manipulate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum that are implemented by means of a public blockchain. Supporters believe ideally this automation has the potential to remove the need for third party oversight entirely such as that currently provided by financial, legal, regulatory, professional practice, and enforcement. Yet, conflating all of these institutions and their current roles as a singular target of disruption is a mistake as the motivations and mechanisms of each type of institution varies. This project considers blockchain technology, and smart contracts in particular, as they relate to two types of third party functions. The first ‘third party’ function considered is how legal discourse provides (or fails to provide) the proper oversight for digitized contracts and how smart contracts, rather than replace it, might only serve to exacerbate some of its failures. The second study looks at the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity and the creation of standards and regulations by corresponding institutions that force companies to produce records that stand as evidence in these investigations. The analysis draws on previous interpretations of digitized contracts and a series of interviews with two IRS Special Agents who investigate blockchain-related crime.

INTANGIBLE MATERIALITIES: SPECTRUM POLICY AND THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Gregory Taylor
Intangible Materialities ties to the AOIR 2018 theme of Transnational Materialities by exploring the global trends in spectrum policy that form a foundational part of contemporary internet infrastructure. This paper explores current best practices in national spectrum policy for bringing internet access to underserved regions. It uses the case studies of Canada, India and Mexico but also discusses global trends. These countries are chosen as each presents unique economic and social challenges, as well as offering unique policy initiatives.

Among the key questions:

1) What have been the overall effects of 20 years of liberalization on national wireless service for underserved regions?

2) Is there an example of a viable economic model to provide wireless broadband service in remote regions and bridge the digital divide?

3) What is the role of federal and local government in supporting the development of rural wireless access?

This paper posits that we are currently in a juncture where market-based orthodoxy of the last twenty years is being challenged by inventive new policy initiatives. In Intangible Materialities I analyze the role of creative spectrum policy in bringing internet access to regions often underserved by liberalized wireless markets.


Friday October 12, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

2:00pm EDT

Digital Indigeneities
“MOBILE AMBIVALENCE AT STANDING ROCK: SURVEILLANCE, ANTAGONISM, AND MOBILITY AT THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE PROTESTS
Tyler Wayne DeAtley
The protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline were marked by ambivalence, both in the blurring of protest spaces and in the interactions in digital spaces surrounding the protest. The Facebook check-in meme that began circulating on Halloween 2016 was a key site for the ambivalence of the protests. The meme prompted sympathizers to sign-in into standing rock through the locational Facebook check-in feature to jam police surveillance. The meme capitalized on the hybridized nature of the protests space(s) in an attempt to create safety for the physical protesters. However, the meme amplified attention paid to the protests leading to trolls wandering into the digital spaces of the protest. Protesters and trolls engaged in mutual surveillance, doxxing, and other antagonisms. I argue that the Facebook check meme constitutes a useful site of digital activism that is effective through its use of the messiness of hybrid spaces and tactical engagement, and one that also exemplifies the potential of tactical media in hybrid space to oppose power structures of surveillance. With that though the discourse and actions surrounding the protest highlight the ambivalence of digital political activism coming from multiple collations. The focus on the intersections of ambivalence, hybridized space, and tactical engagement provides a fruitful lens not present in the literature of digital political protest.

DIGITAL SURVIVANCE: EXPLORING VISUAL AND DIGITAL INDIGENOUS EPISTEMOLOGIES IN THE #NODAPL MOVEMENT
Lynn Schofield Clark, Angel Hinzo
Building on Anishinaabe cultural theorist George Vizenor’s (1994) use of the term “survivance” as a portmanteau that combines “survival” and “resistance” in its characterization of indigenous storytelling traditions, this paper explores digital survivance in the context of indigenous responses to the Dakota Access Pipeline and other U.S. corporate and government projects. Digital survivance is thus described here as the digital and visual practices of indigenous peoples and their allies as they have drawn upon and advanced indigenous epistemologies and storytelling traditions within the contexts and constraints of social media. With its focus on visual and intertextual content, the paper builds upon prior work on indigenous political and civic discourse, bringing this into conversation with work on digital visual analysis (Highfield and Leaver 2015; Raynauld, Richet & Morris 2018).

The paper explores the following research questions: (1) How have indigenous persons and their allies used various social media platforms to share digital visual materials about #NoDAPL? (2) How were native epistemologies and rhetorics communicated through the visual materials that were shared? And (3) How can this case study shed light on the characteristics of digital survivance in ways that are both continuous with past traditions of storytelling and mindful of the ways that visual content circulates in social media today? The paper discusses digital survivance through the prism of the indigenous sacred figure of “the trickster,” a contested trope in indigenous literary nationalism.

VIRTUAL BODIES AND INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE
Fidele Vlavo
In December 1997, forty-five indigenous people were murdered by a group of paramilitaries. Most of the victims belonged to the community of Las Abejas who supported the Zapatista's uprising of 1994. Following news of the massacre, several Europe-based activists announced their intention to stage radical digital actions against the Mexican authorities. One group in particular, Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), responded by organising the first performances of what is now termed electronic civil disobedience. Within a year, EDT launched its SWARM Project (Stop the War in Mexico), a virtual sit-in of the official website of the then Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo.

In this paper, I interpret what is commonly seen as digital activism, as radical and poetic performances of resistance. Using the case of the SWARM project, I examine the practice of digital protest as electronic performances that provide temporary spaces for public and collective grievance. The discussion suggests a radical interpretation of digital activism as performative and theatrical. In particular, I propose a reading of SWARM as recombinant theatre, that is a performance that unifies the space of everyday life, traditional theatre, and virtual space. These practices can be seen through the lens creative actions that make use of social and technological networks to allow the formation of collective and global virtual memory as well as legitimate spaces for dissent.

SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICES DEVELOPING THE PICTURE OF A SOCIAL PROBLEM
Mylynn Felt
The strategic use of social media by social media organizations relies on an expertise of social media practices and media practices in general. The current field of social, mass, alternative and general media ubiquity offers increased communicative potential for civic actors and particularly for those seeking to subvert mainstream gatekeeping. How collective actors make claims, mobilize constituents, and develop collective identity rests on activist media practices, which are constantly adapting to new environments of complex media. Utilizing a practice lens, this research examines a Facebook community page designed to bring awareness to murdered and missing indigenous women and men in Canada. Analysis reveals that from 2012-2017 page administrators developed daily posting practices of posting media links to frame the injustice of a social problem rather than earlier practices of posting personal opinions or individual photos. By sharing links rather than making personal claims, organizers define the boundaries of the problem in a manner that invokes awareness and support while inhibiting debate.


Moderators
avatar for Cindy Tekobbe

Cindy Tekobbe

Assistant Professor, University of Alabama

Speakers

Friday October 12, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

2:00pm EDT

Ontologies of "Manipulation"
VISUAL SOCIAL MEDIA, FAKERY AND AI: AN EXPERIMENT AT THE INTERSECTION OF COMPUTER ART AND SOCIAL SCIENCE, USING DEEP LEARNING TO GENERATE AND IDENTIFY 'FAKE IMAGERY'
Fabrizio Poltronieri, Max Hänska
Visual social media is attracting ever greater attention, particularly as visuality intersects with artificial intelligence (AI). Recently concerns have arisen that artificially generated visuals could supercharge mis- and disinformation online. Sitting at the intersection of artistic practice and social scientific research, this experimental paper explores questions around computer generated visual artefacts, aesthetics, fakery, and wider socio-political concerns about the inexorable rise of visual online communication. Using deep learning techniques, the paper experiments with 'fake' visual content. We use Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) to generate artificial images (e.g. selfies), and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) to try to distinguish real from fake. Furthermore, we use our CNN to scan 6 million images collected from public Twitter posts to try to determine the proportion of fake images.

The collaboration between artistic practice and social scientific research has proved invaluable in exploring the role of intelligent systems in shaping visual communication. It shows us that autonomous systems are able to generate photo-realistic fake images, but much less capable of determining which images are fake and with are real without systematic human guidance.

ONLINE MANIPULATION
Daniel Susser, Beate Roessler, Helen Nissenbaum
Privacy and surveillance scholars increasingly worry that data collectors can use the information they gather about our preferences, interests, incomes, and so on to manipulate us. Yet what it means, exactly, to manipulate someone, and how we might systematically identify cases of manipulation needs to be more thoroughly explored in light of the unprecedented capacities that information technologies and digital media enable. In this paper, we develop a definition of manipulation to address these enhanced capacities, investigate ways information technology can be used to facilitate manipulative practices, and describe the harms—to individuals and to social institutions—that flow from engaging in such practices. Specifically, we argue that manipulation undermines autonomy, both directly and indirectly. But since we value autonomy differently in different social contexts, we must carefully distinguish between the contexts in which manipulative practices operate.

FAKE OR REAL? HOW VIEWERS EVALUATE IMAGE CREDIBILITY ONLINE
Cuihua Shen, Mona Kasra, Grace Benefield, Wenjing Pan, Yining Zhou, James F. O'Brien
Due to the scope and speed of information dissemination across social media websites, visual misinformation is capable of manipulating crowds, propagating hysteria, confusion, distress, panic, violence, and escalating chaotic mass behavior at a fast pace and on a large scale. Yet we know distressingly little about how online viewers assess digital images and make judgments and decisions about their authenticity. This paper details a large-scale online experiment of image credibility on Amazon Mechanical Turk that probes how people react to, respond, and evaluate the credibility of images that accompany online stories in internet-enabled communication channels (social networking sites, blogs, email). We ran a series of six between-subjects experiments, each of which randomly assigned participants to one of 28 news-source mockups featuring a forged image, and asked participants to evaluate its credibility based on various features. The results were consistent across all six images tested, showing that that internet skills, photography and digital imaging experiences, social media use, and pro-issue attitude are significant predictors of credibility evaluation of online images. Our study is among the first to test the social and cognitive heuristics of information credibility and evaluation in the context of image authenticity online.



Friday October 12, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7

2:00pm EDT

The Work of Identity on Social Media Platforms
AFTER THE FINAL ROSE: ASSESSING ‘BACHELORETTE’ SELF-LOVE AND PUBLIC IDENTITY FORMATION ON INSTAGRAM
Evie Psarras, Nicole Nesmith
Our work aims to bridge the gap in research concerning reality television series, The Bachelor, by analyzing contestants on the newer, visually oriented social media platform of Instagram. In a general sense Instagram affords former contestants the opportunity to extend, maintain, and/or re-shape their identity apart from the show. Our research is based on visual analysis of select women who have starred in the Bachelor offshoot, the Bachelorette, and builds on Dubrofsky’s (2011) important earlier research addressing the concept of "postfeminist nirvana" on the Bachelor franchise. Using Goffman’s (1959) dramaturgical perspective and Marwick’s (2015) collection methods, we conducted a visual analysis of six former Bachelorette’s Instagram accounts. We analyzed these women’s posts via the following categories: 1) family/relationships 2) work-life 3) insta-labor 4) promotions and 5) self-love. Our critical analysis revealed a new layer to the definition of the concept of postfeminist nirvana. We found that these varied posts work to compose a gestalt image of the women’s online persona that is grounded in the postfeminist ideal put forth by Dubrofsky (2011). Our findings build on this concept in two important ways: 1) we look at the women on a newer, visually-oriented platform and 2) we found that the more recent Bachelorette contestants’ online personas have evolved from the original Bachelorette contestants. This research will add to the larger field of communication because it analyzes this reality series using a new approach that is focused on TV contestant’s online personas on a newer, visually-oriented, digitally mediated platform.

#DEPRESSED: PROBLEMATIC VISIBILITIES AND IDENTITY WORK ON INSTAGRAM
Anthony McCosker, Ysabel Gerrard
Social media platforms make important decisions about what counts as ‘problematic’ content and how it should be recognized. This paper examines the conditions surrounding engagement with #depression on Instagram, and user practices of (in)visibility as they confront and circumvent platform restrictions. We use a tailored content analysis method to analyse a data set of 200 Instagram users who tag posts with #depression, and an additional 1,200 posts by those users, as a way of also examining non-tagged posts.We uncovered a range of communicative strategies involving ‘#depressed’ including: the prevalence of pseudonymity practices, alongside identified, but circumscribed engagement with #depression, and tag bombing practices ('tags for likes') and proxy tags. We situate these findings within broader and ongoing debates around hashtags and networked visibilities, social media content moderation, and the currently fraught relationship between Instagram and its users’ mental health. And we argue that these practices implicitly navigate Instagram's moderation and framing of #depression and other mental health tags as problematic, offering a rich space for engagement with the materiality of mental health and emotion.

SNAPSHOTS, STORIES, AND SELFIES: UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL MEDIA PHOTO-SHARING PRACTICES
Jacquelyn Burkell, Chandell Enid Gosse
Photographs are among the most commonly shared content on social media sites, with users posting millions of photos a day to a wide variety of platforms. In tandem with the growing and shifting landscape of social media, styles of photography, modes of interaction, and photo-sharing practices have changed dramatically over the past decade. These changes have implications for what photographs reveal about us as social media users. Even with activating security settings or limiting access to one’s profile, these photos are visible to a wide variety of people and very often reveal a great deal of information about a person’s life. To date, scholarly literature about the privacy implications of photo-sharing practices is underdeveloped. With this gap in literature in mind, our research asks: What types of photographs are social media users comfortable sharing? And what factors contribute to their level of comfort? To address these questions our project employs a two-prong approach. First, we used two complementary methods, concept mapping and q-methodology, with 70 participants to identify the different types of photographs that they are comfortable or uncomfortable sharing as well as the differences among individual participants. Secondly, beginning March 2018, we will conduct semi structured interviews to contextualize these varying levels of comfort by investigating, among other things, the conditions under which people decide to share photographs, the role of specific platforms in those decisions, and whether people share different types of photographs with different audiences. This research is expected to be complete by Summer 2018.

SNAP, SCROLL, REPEAT: VISUAL SELF-IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT AMONG YOUTH
Michelle Gorea
According to dominant theorizations of contemporary society, many people’s daily practices now occur within, and reproduce, a social world where media are the fundamental reference and resource for the development of the self (Couldry and Hepp 2017:15). Although previous research has revealed the mutual shaping of technologies, interaction, and identity in the broader contexts of economic and social change related to ‘millennials’, we know little about the precise ways in which these practices occur and how the self is being differently constructed over time. Using a multi-method qualitative approach, this work in progress paper explores three key questions:

1) What happens when visuality becomes a part of youth’s everyday practices of interaction?

2) What roles are images playing in routine interaction among youth?

3) How and in what ways does the maintenance of a visually ‘mediated presence’ in social media shape youths’ views of the self?

This paper elaborates on findings within three categories that illustrate youth’s visual practices and how they are differently understood over time: (1) images of the self in the moment; (2) images of the self over time; and (3) images of the self under surveillance.

The preliminary findings of this research suggest that although youth’s technological practices may not all be new, there are significant aspects of visuality that alters some of the key factors shaping young people’s use and understandings of new media technologies.


Friday October 12, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond East

2:00pm EDT

Transnational Materialities of Informational Capital(ism)
PLATFORM POWER & PUBLIC VALUE
Thomas Poell, José Van Dijck, David Nieborg
This paper offers an analytical framework to critically examine the power relations that structure the online platform ecosystem. Following a relational understanding of power, it focuses on the connections between the five leading platform corporations - Alphabet-Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft (GAFAM) - and the many other digital properties (i.e. platforms, websites, and apps) that populate the online ecosystem. Exploring these connections, we notice that a growing number of digital properties are integrated with, and increasingly dependent on the infrastructural services offered by the GAFAM platforms. These services include: advertising networks, login services, cloud hosting, app stores, payment systems, data analytics, video hosting, geospatial and navigation services, search functionalities, and operating systems. Such infrastructural services allow a wide variety of companies to make their products and services available online, attract and target users, analyze their activities, and generate revenue. It is through the ubiquitous integration and consistent use of these infrastructural services that platform power emerges and is consolidated. To demonstrate how such power relations can be analyzed, the paper highlights two key infrastructural services: app stores and ad networks. For each service it discusses two levels of analysis that can be pursued to gain insight in the workings of platform power. Ultimately a systematically analysis of the key infrastructural services will need to be developed to arrive at a refined taxonomy of platform power relations. Such taxonomy is essential to establish guidelines for governing the platform ecosystem in correspondence with key public values.

CAN DATA BE DECOLONIZED? DATA RELATIONS AND THE EMERGING SOCIAL ORDER OF CAPITALISM
Ulises Mejias, Nick Couldry
This presentation will argue that the 'material turn' in internet research must include an analysis of how contemporary practices of data extraction and processing replicate colonial modes of exploitation. Using a macrosociology of capitalism as our research method, we present the concept of 'data colonialism' as a tool to analyze emerging forms of political control and economic dispossession. Regardless of how evocative metaphors like "data is the new oil" might be, we argue that data colonialism can in fact be empirically defined and studied. To this effect, our analysis engages the disciplines of critical political economy, sociology of media, and postcolonial science and technology studies to trace continuities from colonialism’s historic appropriation of territories and material resources to the datafication of everyday life today. We argue that while the modes, intensities, scales and contexts of dispossession have changed, the underlying function remains the same: to acquire resources from which economic value can be extracted. Just as historic colonialism paved the way for industrial capitalism, this phase of colonialism prepares the way for a new economic order. In this context, we analyze the ideologies and rationalities through which data relations—social relations conducted and organized via data processes—contribute to the capitalization of human life. Our findings hold important implications for how we study the internet, and how we may advocate for the decolonization of internet research in the future.

WHO PUT THE 'SOCIAL' IN MOBILE AND SOCIAL PAYMENT PLATFORMS? RE-READING SIMMEL AND COLLEAGUES IN LIGHT OF THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION
Martin Johannes Riedl
This research considers the Cambrian explosion (Nelms, Maurer, Swartz, & Mainwaring, 2017) of mobile and social payment technologies from a perspective that integrates classical theorizing on money and payments (Mauss, 2002; Simmel, 2005) and more recent work (Bandelj, Wherry, & Zelizer, 2017; Dodd, 2014; Maurer, 2015; Zelizer, 2017), as well as research coming out of the $2 and $2 at the $2 at Amsterdam. The paper negotiates mobile and social payment apps and the social realities that they stand upon and applies theoretical viewpoints from these key authors to the emerging technologies, based on a contemporary investigation of what 'social' entails in social payment spaces. The empirical core of this work-in-progress employs the walkthrough method (Light et al., 2016), and compares select mobile and social payment platforms. Furthermore, researchers content-analyze app store screenshots, as well as app descriptions and user comments. Preliminary analysis maps these apps on a continuum of sociality/publicness, with Venmo and its social feed on the liberal side of the spectrum, apps that integrate into messenger services in the middle (e.g. Apple Pay Cash, Square Cash, Google Pay), and apps borne out of banking (Zelle) on the conservative side. Criteria for analysis follow conceptual categories from the literature, such as visibility, objectivity, freedom from everything personal, gifting, earmarking capacities, and other features.

APP IMPERIALISM: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE CANADIAN APP STORE
David Nieborg, Chris Young, Daniel Joseph
In this paper, we introduce the notion of app imperialism by exploring the political economy of the Canadian iOS App Store. Building on Dal Yong Jin's concept of "platform imperialism", we argue that US companies dominate global app stores through the systematic acquisition of capital resources. App imperialism marks the outsized economic footprint and influence of US companies in national app stores. Using a longitudinal financial dataset, we qualitatively coded the top-50 of revenue-generating game apps in April 2015 and 2016. Distinguishing between value creation (generating revenue) and value capture (appropriating profit) allowed us to determine the plight of Canadian app developers. While the Canadian App Store exhibits a large degree of source diversity, featuring a high number of active app developers, we found the ability of Canadian developers to both create and capture value negligible. US owned developers, publishers, parent-organizations, and intellectual properties, on the other hand, were overrepresented. These initial findings suggest that any potential growth in the Canadian app economy will be increasingly captured by US-owned companies. These results question the effectiveness of Canadian cultural policy frameworks, which have been particularly proactive in supporting Canada-based game studios. While our initial analysis offers just a temporal and regional snapshot of the App Store's political economy, it gestures towards broader critical material issues related to platform capitalism and app diversity.

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for José van Dijck

José van Dijck

Professorin für Medienwissenschaften, Universität Utrecht
José van Dijck ist Professorin für Medienwissenschaften an der Universität Utrecht. Ihr Forschungsschwerpunkt liegt auf der digitalen Gesellschaft, wobei sie sich mit Medientheorien, Medien- und Kommunikationstechnologien, Sozialen Medien und der digitalen Kultur beschäftigt... Read More →
avatar for David Nieborg

David Nieborg

Asst. Professor, University of Toronto


Friday October 12, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

4:00pm EDT

Assemblages of the Socio-Technical II
“I LIKE THAT IT'S MY CHOICE A COUPLE DIFFERENT TIMES": GENDER, EMPOWERMENT, AND AFFORDANCES ON BUMBLE DATING
Urszula Pruchniewska
The mobile dating app Bumble has been publicly lauded as the "feminist Tinder," because only women are allowed to start the conversation - and they must do it within 24 hours of matching with someone or the match disappears forever. The reasoning behind this feature is to empower women in the dating situation. Using 14 in-depth interviews alongside a walk-through mapping of the app's features and functionalities, this article interrogates this "feminist dating" discourse by focusing on the materiality of the platform. The analysis shows that online dating is a series of choices for women, choices that simultaneously 1) try to lead towards a love match and 2) steer away from harassment and abuse, so that Bumble fulfills a double-edged function, of being simultaneously a “matchmaker” and a “protector” platform. Because harassment on online dating is much more common for women, female users engage with Bumble with a “harm prevention” mindset throughout their use of the app, using all the affordances of Bumble (not just the ones designated as such by the app’s designers) to steer away from possibly difficult or harmful situations. The proclivity towards prevention of harm/reduction of risk adds tremendous amounts of additional, invisible labor to women’s navigation of Bumble – and to women’s uses of online dating in general. Because of the gendered laborious and highly individualistic way that women feel compelled to use the platform, the notion of Bumble as a feminist dating app can be troubled.

CONFIGURING THE TRANS VOICE: GENDER, RACE, AND CLASS IN MOBILE VOICE TRAINING APPLICATIONS FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE
Alex Ahmed, Anna Lauren Hoffmann
Mobile voice training applications for transgender people exist at an intersection between software design, visual culture, and trans embodiment as mediated by medical and clinical institutions. From the text and images used to the way voices and results are arranged and framed, their design configure and construct the ideal feminine or masculine “trans voice.” In the following, we pair Critical Discourse Analysis with the walkthrough method for studying software applications to examine the configurations of gender, race, and class that underwrite ideals of “voice” in trans voice training apps. Initial findings show that his ideal “voice” appears to hew to closely to hegemonic conceptions of race and binary gender, undermining the applications’ therapeutic or liberating potential.

A HAUNTOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF DIGITAL MEMORIALIZATION OF THE DEAD
Carrie O'Connell
Facebook now allows pages of the deceased to remain active, controlled by immediate family members of a deceased person, as a sort of memorialization or “electronic wake,” (Stokes, 2011). The overall goal of the author is to examine the evolution of the materiality of memorialization and investigate how our human connection with death has changed as our media tools have become untethered from tangible artefact. To explore the links between media, human relationships, and the spectral plane, and how those links might be revelatory in an age of digital media, a hauntological examination of these questions will be endeavored.

The basic premise of hauntology, a clever merge of haunting and ontology derived by Jacques Derrida (1993), is that an idea, once tangibly realized and made real in the cultural zeitgeist, is never truly extinguished. Derrida’s hauntology derives from the ontological quest to articulate the nature of being, yet with the added perspective that everything that exists might not have ever lived, and nothing which is past ever really quite dies. This is no more so true than in our heavily mediated age in which written documents, photographs, film, and the Internet are able to capture, record, store—and, as will be discussed—even replicate beingness in physical form. In an age where simulacra parade as true being, and cultural memory of events as accepted historical provenance, perhaps a new perspective on the relationship between being and death is timely.

FROM HERE TO QUEER: TRANSNATIONAL CONNECTIVITY, DIGITAL MEDIA AND QUEER ORIENTATION
Matilda Tyra Kristina Tudor
This paper provides a phenomenological perspective on transnational connectivity through digital media among queer men within contemporary Russia. Drawing on an understanding of queer orientation (Ahmed, 2006), as an embodied achievement produced through repeated turnings, I ask how transnational connectivity orient queer men in time and space. This question further takes on significance in a situation where queer Russian citizens are currently being excluded from politics of national belonging (Edenborg, 2016).

The paper draws on findings from my ongoing PhD project, based on ethnographic work in Saint Petersburg during 2013 – 2015. Within the dissertation I look at how queer dispositioned individuals in openly homophobic environments live and move their bodies in space, taking into account norm-critical phenomenology of bodily comportment (Ahmed, 2006; Fanon, 2007 [1952] Marion Young, 1980). Adding the lens of media phenomenology (Moores, 2012; Morely, 2000), I want to grasp how digital media is taken up and experienced within queer individuals projecting of themselves towards their worlds.

As informants reach out to queer others near and far, it thus becomes interesting to see what orientations emerge on a geographical scale, and where they themselves imagine a queer home? The paper concludes that transnational queer connectivity through digital media may produced “queerscapes”; as in “transnational ‘enabling networks’ for elaborating queer understandings of space, gender and sexuality” (Hacker, 2007:79), which did not appear in reach within their immediate surroundings. But on the other hand, this is for some also connected with intense feelings of displacements.


Friday October 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

4:00pm EDT

Frameworks, framing and reframing: Shifts and discourses in journalism and (social) media
HOW IS SOCIAL MEDIA GATEKEEPING DIFFERENT? A MULTI-PLATFORM COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE NEW YORK TIMES
Philip M Napoli, David Duquette, Petra Ronald, Peter Andringa, Deborah L. Dwyer
News audiences are increasingly fragmented across different media platforms. Consequently, individual news organizations simultaneously disseminate their content across different media. Each of these media has different user bases, interface characteristics, and distribution systems. Given these substantial differences, the dynamics of the gatekeeping process – and the news values that guide this process – vary across different media technologies/platforms.

As audience attention migrates from older to newer platforms (such as social media), it is increasingly important that we understand how the nature of the news that is disseminated – and thus consumed – may be different from the news disseminated through more traditional means. The ramifications of these differences can be profound if the news disseminated on the newer platforms is, for example, more or less substantive, more or less diverse, or more or less plentiful than the news disseminated on older technologies/platforms.

This study addresses these issues through a comparative gatekeeping analysis of the New York Times. For this study, a month’s worth of New York Times front page, home page, and Facebook page story output are comparatively analyzed across dimensions such as story quantity, story duplication, hard versus soft news, and content diversity. The primary goal is to determine if or how the nature of the news that is prioritized for news consumers differs between the social media context and older contexts such as the print front page and the web home page.

THE RISE AND FALL OF HASHTAG TRENDING TOPICS IN POLITICAL ISSUES. BETWEEN THE LEADING ROLE OF THE MEDIA, FRAMES, CAMPAIGNS AND NEUTRAL TOPICS
Oscar Coromina, Emili Prado, Andreu Casero-Ripollès
Twitter's trending topic is one of its algorithmic mechanisms that provides real-time information on the most discussed topics in a particular geographic area. As well as reporting the most commented facts of the moment, it also directs user attention to these same events and helps to set the public agenda. This article seeks to understand how Trending Topics are formed, their ability to build audiences and also how they are falling into disuse. Our goal is to trace the origin, volume of activity, evolution and life cycle of the Trending Topics linked to political events.

The methodological design is based on the capture and analysis of tweets tagged with the Trending Topics related to a political event - the referendum on the independence of Catalonia held on October 1, 2017 - that was able to generate several Trending Topics on a local, national and global scale. Specifically, our tracking protocol identified 90 different hashtags that enabled extraction of more than 6 million tweets for a period of 20 days. These hashtags were classified into 4 categories according to their main functions: topics, frames, campaigns and media. By analyzing the dynamics of publication and the properties of the captured tweets we have deepened our understanding of how they play a key role in the flow of information on Twitter and also in an increasingly hybrid media ecosystem.

RENAMING AND REFRAMING: EXPLORING THE SHIFT FROM "BLACK PRESS" TO "BLACK MEDIA" IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Miya Williams
The black press has traditionally been categorized as an advocacy press, but the transition from print to digital media has necessitated a reconceptualization of how the nearly 200-year-old medium is defined. Given that the term black press conjures historical conceptualizations of black-owned newspapers and magazines, black media may best describe digital outlets that target a black audience. Since the majority of black press publications also have a digital presence, the term black media broadens and contemporizes understandings of a medium that ultimately seeks to be more inclusive than exclusive.

The redefinition of the black press has both limitations and affordances. Using the word media instead of press inherently lessens the emphasis on traditional journalism practices and simultaneously allows for a greater variety of outlets. The diversity of content allows for more voices to be heard; yet, black audiences can become fragmented. This then calls into question whether the absence of a centralized black voice advances or hinders the interests of the African-American community. Similarly, as legacy print publications no longer monopolize credible content produced for and by African Americans, definitions of legitimacy are now in flux.

This paper puts journalism, digital technology, and race into conversation with each other to provide insight into how black communal discourse in the US endures and evolves. Given that most scholarship only examines the black press historically, I push research forward by evaluating the 21st century black press in order to determine the sustainability of a historic and influential institution in the African-American community.

DISCOURSE ARCHITECTURES OF GERMAN NEWS WEBSITES
Christian Strippel, Sünje Paasch-Colberg
This paper provides a differentiated operationalization of and detailed insights in the technical discourse architectures of 175 German news websites. On the basis of the ranking "Digital Outlets" of the $2 (IVW) we conducted a standardized content analysis to investigate, how the technical discourse architectures are organized and which characteristics are the most popular. The individual components of these technical discourse architectures – such as registration, comment sorting, anonymization, comment evaluation and the reporting of problematic comments – are important instruments to civilize user discussions in comment sections. They are the technically manifested part of the regulations and policies for public user comments on news websites. As current challenges in comment sections like hate speech – as well as the (technical) solutions developed so far – are quite similar in many countries, and we therefore deal with transnational phenomena, we need to have a closer look onto such technical frameworks. This paper addresses this challenge. First results show that the comment sections on German news websites are (still) quite inclusive and that the technical possibilities that could help to better deal with offensive and other problematic comments are not fully used so far.


Friday October 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

4:00pm EDT

Social Media Practices of "Addiction", survival and well-being
FUNCTIONING DIGITALLY: HOW DIGITAL OVERUSE AND COPING SKILLS AFFECT SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING
Moritz Büchi, Noemi Festic, Michael Latzer
The digitization of communication creates new challenges for individuals’ functioning in society. To take advantage of the Internet, users need to manage the overabundance of digital information and communication. This study conceptualizes and tests subjective well-being as an outcome of Internet-use-related variables.

Digital inequality research has revealed social differences in Internet access and use (DiMaggio et al., 2004) but neglected consequences thereof (Van Deursen & Helsper, 2015). Such frameworks entail the assumption that skilled Internet use can be advantageous. However, potential negative effects of information and communication abundance such as Internet overuse have also been identified.

Perceiving digital overuse is an emerging social issue sensitive to existing social inequalities. Digital communication abundance does not necessarily degrade well-being. We propose that specific digital coping skills, which enable Internet users to manage negative side-effects of digital participation, enable beneficial Internet use. Further, social digital pressure reflects the perceived societal expectation to be able to manage everyday challenges of digital media and concerns the practical relevance of digital overabundance to one’s everyday life.

Drawing on nationally representative survey data from Switzerland, results from a multivariate regression model show that perceived digital overuse reduces well-being while digital coping skills increase well-being. The positive contribution of digital coping skills to well-being is particularly high for those in high-pressure social environments.

This study reveals that differences in dealing with digital overabundance have real offline consequences and stresses the importance of a new set of skills that are necessary to cope with the challenges of digital age.

OF DOG KENNELS, HARD DRIVES, AND GLOBAL CONTAMINATIONS: TOWARD A CONSTITUTIONAL LOGIC OF BIG DATA
Zane Griffin Talley Cooper
Data centers have become sites of romantic speculation, and a bevy of critical scholarship (Carruth, 2014; Hogan, 2015; Holt & Vondreau, 2015; Burrington, 2014) has begun to render new and valuable maps of the cloud's "materialities, geographies, and logics" (Mattern, 2016). However, we need a stronger analytic that allows for more meaningful differentiation between what big data does (its operational logic) and what it is (its constitutional logic). To attend to the diffuse materialities at play in the accretion of big data stuff, I argue we start thinking virally, seeing the constitutional logics of big data as contaminating forces that are themselves contaminated by external ecologies, creating thick webs of contingency. Contamination, in this sense, is not infection, but rather a building, a working, and an operating across difference - a collaboration in the service of "precarious survival" (Tsing, 2015). Through this frame, I unravel the interlaced histories of the 3.5" Winchester hard disk drive (which stubbornly remains one of the fundamental building blocks of big data architecture), and the neodymium-iron-boron magnet (one of the hard disk drive's central components). Using political economic and transnational historical methods to analyze hard disk drive manufacturing through the lens of rare earth mining and permanent magnet manufacturing, I trace labyrinthine resource flows and entangled socio-material assemblages through Africa, the United States, China -even through a little dog kennel in Valparaiso, Indiana - in an effort to chart a topography of the preconditions and residual effects that big data must negotiate in order to operate.

BETWEEN ICONIC POWER AND REPERTOIRE POWER: EXPLORING THE ONLINE SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF A FAKE HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPH
stefano brilli, manolo farci
The aim of the paper is to understand the online spreading of iconic photographs and how different actors in the media ecosystem compete in constructing the alleged truthfulness of these pictures. The case study chosen is the online circulation of the famous photo taken during the Second World War in a small village of Dane (Slovenia). Although this photograph portrays an execution of five Slovene civilians by an Italian military platoon, it has been frequently employed as a powerful icon of the Foibe Massacres ((a series of mass executions of Italians carried out between 1943 and 1945, perpetrated mainly by Yugoslav Partisans). Through a combination of icon analysis, digital methods and content analysis, the research demonstrates how different frames and social uses participate in spreading of the same image. Our findings show that the circulation of the Dane photograph is caused by two constitutive factors. On one hand, the photograph emerges as an icon that evokes shared, often visceral collective feelings and increases public deliberation. On the other hand, however, the photograph periodically circulates within local newspaper not because of its iconic charge, but thanks to its enhanced searchability. In this case, the image of Dane becomes an image-repertoire, whose iconicity is not defined by its pictorial aesthetics or by the cumulative meaning that it acquired, but by the chance to be easily indexable by search engines like Google.

THE TRUTH ABOUT TECH? CHALLENGING THE NOTION OF ‘ADDICTION’ IN THE CURRENT DEBATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Anne Mette Thorhauge, Stine Liv Johansen
In Denmark we currently experience a heated debate about children and young people’s use of social media. This use is often framed as ‘pathological’ with reference to ‘addiction’ as a key characteristic. This concept often comes with a range of perspectives imported from medicine and neurophysiology such as the idea that the notifications we receive from smartphones and social media spawn little ‘dopamine kicks’ that entices us to return to those media again and again, aligning in this way the use of social media with the abuse of substances such as heroine and cocaine. We find this problematic because there is little empirical evidence that excessive use of social media is actually conditioned by the release of dopamine in the brain. Moreover, the ‘addiction’ discourse tends to frame the use of social media in highly normative ways and to reduce potentially problematic use patterns in this way to the ‘moral failing’ of parents and of individuals. For this reason we will challenge the concept of addiction and introduce some alternative explanatory frameworks for understanding excessive use. To begin with, we will zoom in on the argument about dopamine-release as an explanation of excessive use. Following from this we will introduce two alternative explanatory frameworks offering different perspectives on excessive and potentially problematic use of social media: Microsociology and the philosophy of technology. Finally, we will discuss why definitions actually matter when dealing with this issue.

Moderators
avatar for Anatoliy Gruzd

Anatoliy Gruzd

Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship, Director of Research at the Social Media Lab (http://SocialMediaLab.ca/), Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University

Speakers

Friday October 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 4

4:00pm EDT

Social Mediations of the Political I
EXAMINING INTERPERSONAL AND ELITE INCIVILITY IN ONLINE POLITICAL TALK
Patricia Rossini
Scholarship on online political talk has been shifting attention from dedicated political platforms - such as e-deliberation platforms, political forums, and discussion boards - to more informal spaces, such as social media (Graham, Jackson, & Wright, 2015). While few would question that the internet may facilitate political talk, scholars have been concerned with the presence of uncivil discourse online (Coe, Kenski, & Rains, 2014; Rowe, 2015). However, most studies have focused on the volume of incivility, suggesting that it may undermine the democratic benefits of online political talk. Departing from the premise that incivility is a rhetorical device and may be used in distinct ways – and not necessarily to offend others in a discussion –, this study makes a distinct contribution by analyzing the conditions and characteristics of two specific targets of incivility - other participants in a discussion and political elites. I analyze comments on a sample of 157 news stories shared on a Brazilian Facebook news page and on their original sources using systematic content analysis. This study investigates three main research questions. First, are there differences between targets of incivility per platform? Second, what are the discursive features associated with interpersonal incivility? Third, what are the features associated with elite incivility? Understanding these differences in how different actors are targeted by uncivil discourse is crucial to better interpret the role of incivility in political talk, rather than dismiss it as incompatible with democratically relevant political talk.

CHALLENGING CONTROLLED INTERACTIVITY? AN ANALYSIS OF COMMENTS ON CANDIDATES' FACEBOOK PAGES IN THE 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PRIMARIES
Patricia Rossini, Feifei Zhang, Jennifer Stromer-Galley
Political campaigns in the U.S. have been routinely using social media as a part of their communication strategies. While this topic has motivated a robust body of literature on digital campaigns, this scholarship is largely focused on analyzing the how candidates use these platforms for strategic communication. Less attention has been given to the ways the public take advantage of digital platforms in order to engage, show support or attack candidates. However, while campaigns may try to avoid direct forms of contact with voters, social media platforms undoubtedly expose candidates and surrogates to criticism, as well as provide its users with several ways of demonstrating support or dissatisfaction with politicians. In this paper, we use supervised machine learning methods to analyze over 9 million comments on candidates' Facebook pages during the 2016 Presidential Election Primaries, focusing on demonstrations of public attacks and support. Our analysis includes 11 Republican and 4 Democratic candidates with active campaigns between January and June 14, 2016. The primaries are largely unexplored by studies on digital campaigns. However, this is a particularly interesting period for examining public comments, as there are several candidates competing for public attention and it is possible to observe differences within parties. This paper contributes to the current literature on digital campaigns by unveiling the dynamics of public commenting on candidates' Facebook page and demonstrates how the public's commenting behavior is affected not only by different dimensions of political campaigns but also by a candidate's party and gender.

SENSATIONALISM VERSUS SUBSTANCE. MEDIA COVERAGE OF IMMIGRATION CRISES IN ITALY ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS”
David Coppini
This project investigates media coverage of immigration crises and resettlement of refugees in Italy in a number of selected Italian media outlets over the past year. In particular, the goal of the project is to conduct a content analysis of the immigration crises in the Italian context. The data from this content analysis can be useful to understand what frames journalists use to talk about immigration crises and how the Italian public is informed on this important issue. Building on previous research, this study analyzes mass media coverage in selected digital publications, both in video format and written format. This analysis sheds light on the themes used by Italian digital media in their representation of immigration crises and refugee resettlement in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018.

HOW CLIMATE SCIENTISTS USE SOCIAL MEDIA: COLLUSION AND COLLISION OF PERSONAL, PROFESSIONAL AND EPISTEMIC CONTEXTS
Warren Pearce
The 'acute controversy' of Climategate has provided an impetus for climate scientists to more publicly explain their practices through social media (Hulme, 2013). However, this online environment has provided new communicative challenges. Social media platform architecture facilitates both intentional collusion or unintentional collision of contexts (Davis & Jurgenson, 2014). This has provided special challenges for climate scientists, whose increasing use of social media has given rise to disagreements regarding the social contexts of climate science, and the extent to which these should be colluded or kept apart.

In short, the entrance of climate scientists into social media provides rich potential for investigating the shifting social contexts of both climate scientists and climate science, and understanding the role of social media platforms in communicating issues on the boundary of science and politics. This paper presents findings from 30 conversational interviews undertaken with climate scientists about their social media usage, using experimental ‘over shoulder’ methods allowing the collection of onscreen data as the participant perceives it and interacts with it .

The paper highlights three contexts which inform climate scientists' social media communications. personal (e.g. values), professional (e.g. employers' policy) and epistemic (e.g. the relative value attached to knowledge validation through traditional journal peer review and post-publication peer review online). Findings contribute to three theoretical areas: i) the qualitative, social contexts for climate scientists’ contributions to public debates on social media; ii) the dynamic roles of social media platforms in public climate debates, iii) the contribution of ‘thick’ data to digital society research.


Moderators
Speakers

Friday October 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7

4:00pm EDT

YouTube, young people, and children
THE AMBIVALENCE OF PEPPA PIG: YOUTUBE CHILDREN'S CONTENT, MEMETIC CONTROVERSIES, AND PLATFORM LITERACY
Jean Burgess
In the popular imagination, YouTube has always been connected to persistent social anxieties young people and digital media. There has been a recent increase in adult anxieties about children inadvertently being exposed to inappropriate content, not only through the platform's regular recommended videos or search algorithms, but even through the YouTube Kids app - manifesting in public controversies about kids' content on YouTube. Drawing on textual analysis of videos captured via a range of keywords searches of the YouTube platform as well as related ancillary materials, this paper teases out a number of dimensions to one such controversy, grounded in the media coverage of 'fake Peppa Pig' videos in mid to late 2017. It finds that while the controversy has opened up public debates around data ethics, content regulation and platform cultures considerably, there remain several key limitations to the public debate which can be productively opened up further by scholars, journalists, and the public.

RESPONDING TO ‘SOMETHING IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET’: A YOUTUBE KIDS APPLICATION WALKTHROUGH
Jarrod William Walczer
The YouTube Kids mobile application has been hotly contested by content creators, industry executives, and policy makers in the global children’s media industry as well as by parents and guardians of small children. This paper explains an application walkthrough of YouTube Kids in response to concerns about dubious satires of popular children’s content slipping through YouTube’s platform filters. These debates have resurfaced in popular culture following the publication of ‘Something is wrong on the Internet’ (Bridle, 2017). Bridle details how content creators are creating graphic and violent satires of mainstream children’s brands, like Peppa Pig, and generating advertising revenue from their views, despite the fact that they may be unsettling for viewers. These videos are often placed alongside the non-satirized versions in the ‘Suggested Videos’ sidebar. With little ability to distinguish between content via video thumbnails alone, children are at risk of being exposed to their favorite characters committing unsavory acts. To examine this, I have conducted application walkthroughs of the YouTube Kids application using Burgess, Light, and Duguay’s (2016) method. The method has allowed me to interrogate the socio-cultural and economics implications of YouTube Kids’ application registry and entry, its everyday uses, and the discontinuation or suspension of its use by taking rigorous scientific notation and screenshots and analyzing them within the application’s spatiotemporal contexts. I illustrate the application’s potential patterns of use, the platform’s affordances, and the lack of capabilities for interactivity, paying particular attention to the search engine function, running multiple example queries to interrogate Bridle’s concerns.

"LIKE, COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE" EXAMINING THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL YOUTUBERS IN YOUNG PEOPLE'S HEALTH BEHAVIOURS AND IDENTITIES IN THE UK
Jane Harris
In the United Kingdom, there are over 150 individual YouTubers with >1 million subscribers. A significant proportion of their audience are aged between 13-18 years. The content they produce is often: commercially sponsored, unregulated and both purposefully and accidentally touches on a whole range of health topics including: mental health, alcohol, sexual health, body image, healthy eating and physical activity. YouTubers could represent a particularly relatable source of health information for young people as a magnified version of young people’s own searchable and replicable online socially networked lives.

The aim of the research is to explore the role that professional YouTubers play in young people health behaviours and identities in the UK.

The study was a four stage, sequential mixed methods design. The first stage, a school based questionnaire (n=931, 13-18 years) quantified young people’s YouTuber engagement and provided a sampling frame for the later qualitative stages. An online analysis of 7 UK YouTubers examined the health content they produced. Focus groups (n=7, 85 participants) with 13-18 year olds explored the impact this content had on young people’s health behaviours and interviews with professional YouTubers (

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Jean Burgess

Jean Burgess

Professor and Director, Digital Media Research Centre, QUT


Friday October 12, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West
 
Saturday, October 13
 

9:00am EDT

Materialities of Digital Labour
CONNECTING THE DOTS FOR DIGITAL LABOR ACTIVISM: EVERYDAY TACTICS OF PLATFORM WORKERS
Yujie Chen
Through the examples of ride-hailing and food-delivery platforms in China, the paper offers an analysis on how on-demand service apps intersect with the existing social structural conditions and technological apparatus in becoming the new sites for labor management and activism. I examine qualitative data from interviews with workers and activists, participant observations, and media contents generated by and circulated among workers in both private groups and public-facing social media Accounts and online forums. The paper foregrounds workers’ voices and the wide range of their non-compliance, refusal, and sabotage behaviors. The paper argues that for platform workers, the repertoire of labor struggles and tactics of everyday resistance intertwine with the process of “learning to labor” (Willis, 1981) on the digital platforms which decontextualize the work process from its local social and cultural settings. The decontextualized work process and the absence of occupational trainings exploit and aggravate the long-standing lack of institutional social support for Chinese platform laborers. These leave them to learn to work by practice and trial-and-error. Nonetheless, workers’ constant challenge, contestation, and combat against the platform-defined labor process help redraw the scope of labor struggles in the platform society. The conclusion connects the dots from Chinese platform workers’ everyday resistance forms to wider landscape of digital labor activism and reflects on the potentials and hurdles for the local ‘single sparks’ to become a transnational ‘prairie fire’ of platform workers’ collective and connective actions.

WHAT CAN "WHY I LEFT BUZZFEED" VLOGS TEACH US ABOUT INVISIBLE LABOUR?
Kelly Bergstrom
In this paper I explore the growing trend of posting videos to YouTube to explain the reasons for why an individual has quit their job, detailing a collection of 10 vlogs posted by 11 former BuzzFeed employees to explain their reasons for leaving the company. I argue that the vlogs made by ex-employees are a deliberate attempt to expose the invisible labour that is prevalent in the post-Internet media industry. By posting “Why I Left” vlogs, former employees reclaim their authorship of creative productions previously uploaded without individual attributions and instead credited to the faceless corporate monolith of “BuzzFeed”. Furthermore, these vlogs act as a means to subvert notoriety earned by being a (now former) public face of BuzzFeed to attract hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers to announce their personal pivot and rebranding as content producers now working independently from the company that had launched them into Internet fame.

While perhaps not intentional, these vlogs ultimately act as a warning about the uneven playing field between employer and employee. Each year BuzzFeed posts record profits, and yet these vlogs illuminate how employees are actively prevented from being able to grow a personal brand beyond BuzzFeed, stifling future career prospects and additional sources of income. Ultimately this leaves BuzzFeed employees with the option to quit or to stagnate in place, or what Gaby Dunn (2015) stated are ultimately the two options for a BuzzFeed viral video star: “Get Rich, or Die Vlogging.’”

LABOR SPECIALIZATION IN PODCASTING: PRODUSERS, PRO-AMS, AND PROFESSIONALISM
John Sullivan
Podcasting is currently undergoing a rapid process of formalization, thanks to the investments of legacy media firms in the ecosystem. Key to podcast formalization is the development of professionalism among amateur podcasters. This paper explores discourses of professionalism in podcasting by closely analyzing the discourse about podcast labor found in two popular, long-running weekly podcasts, School of Podcasting, hosted by Dave Jackson (launched in 2005) and The Audacity to Podcast hosted by Daniel J. Lewis (launched in 2010). In these podcasts, Lewis and Jackson dispense advice about how to manage and structure a weekly podcast, how to select the right equipment, how to create dynamic and radio-quality content, and, increasingly, how to monetize podcasts by working with advertisers and networks. These hosts actively construct a particular view of podcasting as an emergent, commercially viable industry that can serve as a full-time occupation for entrepreneurial amateurs. Underlying this discourse is a powerful and seductive message of meritocracy: that amateur podcasters can successfully compete with established industry players thanks to the absence of industry gatekeepers. These podcasts operate simultaneously as a kind of “skills guild” - reminiscent of earlier artisan guilds – offering technical and aesthetic training for solo podcasters and urging the development of a professional ethos surrounding the medium.

MAKING MATTERS WORK: GENDERED LABOR IN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION CULTURE
Samantha Shorey
Technology design is both scientific and cultural work. It is informed by scientific fields—engineering, computer science—and it produces the objects that shape almost every aspect of our daily lives. Since the early 2000s, “making” has emerged as a new and possibly radical method of technology design that engages both hobbyists and technology professionals in creative activity outside of corporate hierarchies. Making is a distinctly material practice. It integrates the digital world of computer programming with the physical world of solder, saws, and thread. The proposed paper looks to the tools, materials, and skills of making—and asks what they can tell us about the uncertain place of women in contemporary technology design. It is informed by two years of ethnographic field research at a university makerspace in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. I argue that the desire to define making as $2 of innovation—rather than a varied set of activities such as invention, creation, craft, modification, and repair—threatens to recreate gender disparity in making communities.


Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Samantha Shorey

Samantha Shorey

PhD Student, University of Washington
I'm a design ethnographer. Let's talk about: making/makerspace, women in STEM (presently and in the past!), craft, history of technology, space travel.
JS

John Sullivan

Professor of Media and Communication, Muhlenberg College
I do research on online cultural labor, specifically podcasting.


Saturday October 13, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West

9:00am EDT

Materialities of Networks in Formation
SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS, EDUCATIONAL ECOSYSTEMS, AND GENDER EQUITY IN KENYAN REFUGEE CAMPS
Negin Dahya, Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Dacia Douhaibi, Olivier Arvisais
This paper addresses how mobile phones and social networks are being used to support gender equity in education among refugee teachers in Kenyan refugee camps. Our study focuses on how refugee teachers are using instant messaging to transform educational practices in the highly restrictive, under-resourced, and deeply patriarchal conditions of Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. This work developed from previous studies identifying the crucial role mobile phones and social networks have in the educational landscape of refugees in this region.

In our current study, we ask pertinent questions with a focus on refugee teachers in-practice professional development opportunities, and how they impact gender equity in education more broadly. In our approach, we consider power dynamics in the material world that also influence participation and access to online worlds for female refugee teachers. Additionally, we interrogate how the built environment and gendered architecture of place applies, ranging from how teachers and students connect across geographies within and outside of refugee camps, to dis/embodied practices of teacher professional development across peer networks.

In 2016, our research team collected 203 surveys with refugee teachers in Kakuma and Dadaab, conducted five focus group discussions with refugee teachers and community educators in Kakuma, and completed 14 semi-structured interviews with instructors, Faculty, and administrators directing professional development programs for refugee teachers from Kenya and Canada. The focus of our discussion will be on the educational ecosystem and unique opportunities to support girls’ education.

#BRUSSELSLOCKDOWN – ABOUT KITTENS, NETWORKS AND MOTIVATIONS
Minna Soltani Jensen, Christina Neumayer, Luca Rossi
This presentation explores the motivations of users for sharing and creating Internet memes in a crises situation. For this purpose, we investigate the kitten memes in #brusselslockdown on Twitter, following the security lockdown of Brussels in November 2015 due to information about potential terrorist attacks. Based on a social network analysis, we identified three user groups who shared or produced memes in #brusselslockdown on Twitter: Content producers, content sharers, and conversationalists. The #brusselslockdown Twitter network contains 31,661 nodes and 37,758 edges. Starting from the Twitter network we identified three ranking parameters reflecting different types of participation: the quantity of content produced (content producer); the quantity of retweets received (content sharer); the clustering coefficient of the node (conversationalist). Based on results of interviews with users from these three groups, we argue that the motivations for sharing and creating memes range from personal involvement in the crises situation and acts of resistance to creative self-realization. The actions and practices in #Brusselslockdown emerging from these motivations varied - from producing noise in form of retweeting (also supported by the strategic use of bots) to push the terrorists out of Twitter and (symbolically) the city of Brussels; to sharing funny kitten images as a way of dealing with the crises situation; and producing memes as an expression of creative potential. Combined, these practices, activities and motivations resulted into a phenomenon that appropriated an expression of popular internet culture to resist, to show solidarity but also to deal with the crises situation in humorous and playful way.

THE LONG TAIL OF THE OCCUPATION: TRACING COMMUNITY AND RHETORICAL ENDURANCE IN ONLINE SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
Laura Strait, Patrick Jones
In October, 2011, hundreds of thousands of people in 951 cities in 82 countries around the world participated in the Occupy movement. Since that time, Occupy has persisted as a network of actors opposing social and economic inequality, fascism, and global capitalism. Occupy was part of Revolution 2.0 and was organized, mobilized, and framed on social media and other digital platforms where its slogans became memes viewed around the globe. Seven years after the initial protests, the resilience of Occupy counters assumptions that political communities born on social media platforms cannot endure once protests have died down. How then does Occupy maintain its brand identity and political resonance today?

In this paper, we study the multiplicity of voices who continue to invoke Occupy rhetoric through a close reading of two websites designed to glue this disparate community together, Occupy.com and its affiliated site Occupy Commons. Occupy.com acts as Occupy’s chief media outlet, while Occupy Commons serves as a community forum where activists can create groups, coordinate events, and participate in discussion. In this paper, we ask two primary research questions: 1) How do these website help constitute a community? And 2) How does this community remember Occupy? Using a methodology developed to analyze both the rhetorical content and functionality of websites, we read each website as an archived virtual community. This paper has important implications for how we think about political community in an era where digital tactics are a primary feature of activist politics.

SOCIAL EXPERIENCES IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS: A STUDY INTO AN EMERGING SOCIO-TECHNOLOGICAL PHENOMENON
Katerina Diamantaki, Charitos Dimitrios, Rizopoulos Haris, Penny Papageorgopoulou
The proposed study aims to contribute to the growing research field of online social virtual worlds through an analysis of a variety of hosted multi-user public virtual experiences taking place in Sansar, a new avatar-based virtual world platform made by Second Life creator Linden Lab, and launched in “creator beta” to the general public on July 31, 2017. Capitalizing on the new wave of enthusiasm for virtual reality, Sansar is currently been marketed as a “next-generation virtual world” (Johnson, 2017), a kind of “Wordpress for Social VR” promising to “democratize VR development” by allowing users to create their own immersive experiences inside their own virtual reality scenes (Summers, 2016). In line with socio-technological and constructivist approaches, the focus of analysis has been on the social processes by which a technological space of simulated representations is constructed, while at the same time co-examining the technical and design elements of the virtual environments that allow content production, user activity and social interaction to materialize in the immersive virtual space. The findings of the study highlight how subjectivities, practices, activities, relations, objects and technologies combine and synergize in the process of constructing a novel environment of technologically-mediated sociality, defined by the socialization of virtual technologies.


Saturday October 13, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7

9:00am EDT

Materializing Activism, Publics and Counterpublics
ANNE GOES ROGUE FOR ABORTION RIGHTS! EXPLORING DISCURSIVE MATERIALIZATION ACROSS AND BEYOND ONLINE PLATFORMS
David Myles
This presentation examines the social media campaign #SupportIslandWomen that was undertaken by reproductive rights activists in Prince Edward Island (PEI). The initiative gained popularity in 2016 due to both the off- and online circulation of posters throughout PEI landmarks depicting the Green Gables-like image of a young girl (“rogue Anne”) wearing red braids and a bandana. These posters showcased specific hashtags that encouraged debates on various online platforms. For this study, we underline how human actors invoked the symbolic ‘figure’ of rogue Anne to give weight to their own arguments by speaking or acting in her name. By ‘figure’, we mean any symbolic entity that is materialized through interaction and that possesses agency, or the ability to make a significant difference in interaction. Hence, our study examines the processes through which rogue Anne was made present in interaction, the role of digital (online) and physical (offline) affordances in the materialization of this figure, and the differentiated effects that these invocations generated. To do so, we build our dataset by performing non-participant observation on social media platforms and by exploring Canadian blogs and newspapers. Drawing from organizational discourse theory, our results show that invoking the figure of rogue Anne allowed for pro-choice collectives to assert their authority in abortion debates by labelling the fictional character as a modern feminist icon. They also underline the importance of studying the intervention of symbolic figures, their effects, and their materialization within political initiatives that incorporate and go beyond the practice of ‘hashtagging’.

THE NEWEST FACE OF INFOWAR: WEAPONIZED COMMUNICATION IN IRANIAN, ONLINE, PUBLIC SPHERES
Simindokht Kargar, Adrian Rauchfleisch
Cyber abuse and online harassment are increasingly applied as a form of information control to curb free speech and exert power in cyberspace. In recent years, states have appeared to be particularly invested in weaponizing information against dissidents and activists in an attempt at dominating social and political discourses. These practices are often exercised in tandem with other forms of intrusion campaigns, e.g., state-sponsored hacking of emails, surveillance of communication and devices, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on opposition websites. Coordinated harassment of dissidents on social media appears as the most recent form of strategic communication, where particular messages are crafted by state-affiliated actors to manipulate public opinion. The scope of such targeted abuse varies by case while evidence is typically scarce and has not been comprehensively substantiated with data. These extrajurisdictional practices turn harassment into a relatively low-cost weapon for targeting the opposition and limiting freedom of speech through intimidation, and pursuing a “silencing” strategy. This goes without saying that such practices are pursued via the same mediums that are designed to give voice to the voiceless. The proposed study addresses the circumstances under which these coordinated efforts are likely to emerge and the ultimate goals that they pursue. In addition, the study seeks to shed light on the latest practices of the Iranian regime to extend its ideological arms in cyberspace by crafting and disseminating propaganda against its opposition through international platforms.

PARTICIPATORY MEDIA SYSTEMS ANALYSIS: A NEW MEDIA STUDIES FRAMEWORK
William Joseph Moner
Participatory media has become a growing area of research in recent years, particularly as people have gained access to powerful cameras and robust network connections. Web-based productions such as Life in a Day (Macdonald, 2011) and One Day on Earth (Ruddick & Litman, 2012) asked people around the world to capture footage of their quotidian lives on the same calendar day, upload that footage to a social media platform — YouTube and Vimeo, respectively — and allow directors and producers to craft a film from the contributions.

This paper takes up two questions germane to the process of participatory media. First, how might we understand the role of the company or organization at the center of the project in handling the volume and types of media submitted? Second, how might we scrutinize the technological platform as a contested site of control in the construction of participatory documentaries?

This paper reports findings that both elucidate and critique the influence of major multinational organizations acting in funding and supervisory roles for the two global media projects mentioned above, and notes the lack of powerful arrangements that compromised the success of the third.

The paper also proposes a new framework for analysis called $2 , drawing from Mosco’s (2009) political economy of communication and his concepts of commodification, spatialization, and structuration to understand the control mechanisms at work through the entirety of a participatory media production.

PLAYING A DANGEROUS GAME: ANTI-VIOLENCE NON-PROFITS NAVIGATE SOCIAL MEDIA LOGICS
Rena Bivens
Pressured into social media spaces, anti-violence non-profits find themselves with little time, energy, and understanding of how the software that creates these spaces is curating their networks and feeds. What's more, the spaces that have emerged accommodate and reinforce oppressive dynamics, some of which reflect the very problems these non-profits have been trying to alleviate (e.g. sexism, racism, transphobia, harassment, stalking, doxxing, etc.). Indeed, social media, like Facebook and Twitter, were never designed for non-profits.

Scholars of non-profit communication have questioned whether non-profits who use social media are repurposing the traditional, one-way broadcast model of information dissemination or moving towards dialogic communication – the ideal, two-way symmetrical model of public relations (Grunig and Hunt 1984). However, the possibilities for dialogic communication and reaching the ‘unconverted’ are limited by programming practices.

This paper offers an empirically grounded theoretical analysis of the complex and dynamic ways in which social media design and use interrelate in order to contextualize the role of social media in ending gender-based violence. Ultimately, my preliminary findings indicate that social media companies have played a role in shifting the social change work conducted by anti-violence non-profits towards a ‘broadcast impulse’ (Gregg 2008).

Creating lasting change through efforts to end gender-based violence remains challenging. With this study, I am to better understand some of these obstacles and offer insights for non-profits about the implications that using social media may have on their broader efforts to achieve social change, both on and offline.


Saturday October 13, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

9:00am EDT

Social Media/tions of the Political II
NASTY WOMEN, SILLY GIRLS: FAME, DIGITAL FEMINISMS, AND HILLARY CLINTON'S 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
Caitlin Lawson
In February 2016, Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright angered many younger feminists when they criticized them for voting for Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. This article examines the online discourse around Steinem and Albright’s comments in order to better understand the intersections of feminism, social media, and political choice. I take three sets of platforms – the platform of feminist activism, the Clinton campaign’s political platform, and the digital media platforms on which this incident was debated – as my focus, exploring how feminism, politics, celebrity, and digital spaces mutually shape one another. Through a multiplatform discourse analysis of these controversies, I show that Steinem’s comments highlighted generational conflicts over notions of choice while exposing the complications that can arise through celebrity feminism. Further, Albright’s critique of young feminists as ahistorical clashed with critics who argued it was indeed Albright and Clinton’s political histories, coupled with their insufficiently intersectional feminism, that moved young feminists to disavow Clinton. Overall, this case study demonstrates a shift to what I call "platform feminism." Platform feminism, tied to the third wave with its concerns of intersectionality and inclusivity, diverges from its predecessor through its digital expression, its encouragement of social and political activism both digital and non-digital, and its vigorous debate over the ideals and boundaries of feminism. This “platform feminism” repudiates the “establishment,” non-intersectionality of previous iterations of feminism, and Clinton, Steinem, and Albright’s prominence within these iterations moved many critics to reject Clinton as a Presidential candidate.

MALAYSIAN YOUTH, DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE AND CITIZENSHIP: AN EXPLORATION OF NETWORKED ENGAGEMENT AND ONLINE SENTIMENT IN THE 2018 MALAYSIAN ELECTION.
Amelia Faith Johns
This paper extends upon findings from a pilot study in an ongoing project, the Malaysian Digital Citizenship Project (2016-2018). The pilot study was conducted with 21 Malaysian-Chinese youth participants, and 6 digital citizenship policymakers in Kuala Lumpur between August and December 2016. The findings from the pilot study (presented at AOIR 2017) showcased the influence that state surveillance and online censorship was having on youth citizen voice and participation online, demonstrating the withdrawal of young people from politically engaged networked publics (on Facebook and Twitter), and the rechanneling of political communications and sociality toward ‘backstage’ communications (WhatsApp, Telegram). This paper will present the findings of a new phase of the project (fieldwork to be conducted between May 2018 and July 2018) which uses a mixed methods approach, including sentiment analysis of Malaysian Twitter data in the lead up to the Malaysian general election. The data will be narrowed down by relevant hashtags i.e. #bersih, #malaysia, #malaysiaku, #politics and age identifiers to capture youth sentiments. The aim of this phase of research will be to broadly examine a cross-section of Malaysian youth feelings and perceptions around questions of political agency, rights, representation, surveillance, censorship, fears and hopes regarding the present and future political directions of Malaysia. The findings will be triangulated with follow up interviews and social media ethnography with participants from the pilot study.

EXAMINING THE ROLE AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF EMERGING SOCIAL NEWS OUTLETS AND THEIR ADVOCACY JOURNALISM IN THE 2017 AUSTRALIAN SAME-SEX MARRIAGE POSTAL SURVEY
Edward Flipo Hurcombe
This paper examines emerging news forms and journalistic practices within Australia that are native to social media. It argues that these shared forms and practices constitute a new genre of ‘social news’. Social news embodies specific kinds of platform vernaculars and pop-cultural sensibilities, and challenges journalistic norms of ‘objectivity’ and ‘balance’ by consistently adopting an overtly positioned perspective. Three Australian-based outlets are studied through this conceptual lens: BuzzFeedOz News, Junkee Media, and Pedestrian.tv. Using digital tools alongside manual methods, this paper investigates the role and significance of these outlets on Twitter and Facebook during the August-November 2017 same-sex marriage postal survey. The survey was commissioned by the incumbent conservative Liberal-National Australian government to gauge nationwide support for same-sex marriage. During the survey, social news outlets played an advocacy and activist role. These outlets refrained from publishing provocative ‘No’ op-eds, and Junkee Media and Pedestrian.tv actively encouraged readers to enrol and vote ‘Yes’. Preliminary findings indicate that social news outlets were moderately-to-highly visible on Twitter during the postal survey period. On Facebook, advocacy posts received low-to-moderate levels of engagement. These findings indicate a shifting but not yet transformed Australian news ecology. In addition, social news’ eschewing of ‘balance’ indicates a challenge from emerging outlets to traditional journalistic norms in Australia. Significantly, in this case the challenge comes from outlets that intelligently critique the value in publishing both sides. Overall, this research highlights that disruptions from social media platforms and cultures can be sources of positive potential for news and journalistic practice.

MAPPING ITALIAN NEWS MEDIA POLITICAL COVERAGE IN THE LEAD-UP OF 2018 GENERAL ELECTION
Fabio Giglietto, Francesca Carabini, Laura Iannelli, Giada Marino, Luca Rossi, Stefano Usai, Augusto Valeriani
Following the Brexit referendum and the elections in United States, France, Germany and UK, Italy goes to vote on March 4 2018. Concerns over the potential impact of problematic information on the Italian political campaign were raised multiple times during the months preceding the election. In response to these concerns, we designed a project aimed at creating a comprehensive map of the political news coverage created by the Italian traditional, digital and alternative newsmedia in the lead up of 2018 general election.

Employing a set of innovative tools and methodologies that adapt and extend the state-of-the-art developed by previous election studies, the project analyzes the engagement originated by political news stories on Facebook and Twitter, characterizes the political leaning of related media sources and measures its degree of audience polarization.

This paper describes the methodology employed to collect the data and presents the first results of a study that measure and describe the social media engagement originated around partisan media sources.

Following a review of existing methods used to characterize the political leaning of Twitter users in a multi-party context, we opted to design our measure building upon the Media Partisanship Attention Scores developed by Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman for their study on media landscape during the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Results clearly point out that the overall amount of social media engagement originated around some partisan media sources rivals those originated around the neutral category that includes major Italian news outlets.


Saturday October 13, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

11:00am EDT

Configurations of Affect, Privacy and Community
BEYOND CANON: READING VIDEO GAME QUEERNESS IN COMMUNITY
Adrienne Shaw, Christopher Persaud
Queer media scholars have long identified that queerness of media texts is not soley comprised of explicit and obvious representation. Queer authorship, reception practices, and uses of media texts offer possibilities for representation that reflect the fluidity and instability of non-normative gender and sexual identities and practices (Doty, 1993; Benshoff and Griffin, 2006). Yet when it comes to assessing queer representation in digital games, the focus has largely been on explicit forms of representation, even when addressing audience or industry perspectives on this representation. Despite a growing body of work applying queer theory to game studies (Ruberg and Shaw, 2017; Chess, 2016; Youngblood, 2013), however, there is no work that has yet reconsidered the analysis of game content in light of queer media scholarship. Specifically, this paper discusses a model for making sense of queer game content in a way that encompasses the text, authorship, and audience reception, while accounting for the instability of and tensions around defining queer representation in this medium. Drawing on an ongoing archival project documenting LGBTQ content in games (1985-present), we will discuss the process we have developed to address and attempt to reconcile game content, producer commentary, and fan debates around the gender and sexuality of digital game characters in assessing whether a game has LGBTQ content. In concluding, we will discuss the ethical obligations of drawing on fan labor in this type of research.

SPREADING THE WORD: TRACING THE AFFECTIVE ECOLOGY OF DIGITAL ORAL STORIES
Anjuli Joshi Brekke
This project explores the potential of creating, sharing and listening to oral stories online to open affectively charged spaces for listening across difference. In a world in which we are increasingly able to tailor the technologies that surround us to echo back our own voices and worldviews, we seem less willing to slow down and listen deeply to the voices of those whose presence risk placing our tidy worlds into turmoil. This project explores the affective political potential of both the processes of production and dissemination of the multiplatform oral history project StoryCorps. Drawing together recent work on affect from rhetorical studies, cultural studies and new media studies, this project uses textual analysis to analyze how the various StoryCorps platforms (NPR segments, the podcast, the StoryCorps me app) generate affective archives that invite different forms of interactivity from listeners. This paper explores the affective power of mediated voice to bring minoritized experiences and calls for equity to the ears of broader publics. It is significant because it highlights the boundaries and possibilities of digital storytelling as a way to connect with others across difference. The boundaries remind us of the persistence of structures of marginality that limit the seemingly democratic practices of storytelling in a digital age; the possibilities gesture to the power of minoritized voices to disrupt entrenched narratives. The significance of these stories rests in their claim to be at once particular and generalizable, and the digital format enables their travel in new ways and to new audiences.

CIRCULATING DIGITAL SERVICES THROUGH THE GLOBAL OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY: SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN THE CLOUD
Christian Simon Ritter
This paper examines how professional practices of software developers forge global assemblages in the oil and gas industry by shedding light on the implementation of cloud technologies within a Norwegian-based digital service company. Delivering digital solutions to oil and gas extracting corporations, this company primarily develops proprietary software providing engineers with business intelligence dashboards that assist in managing the assets involved in the extraction of resources. This extended case study seeks to gain a better understanding of the materialities emerging in cloud environments by illuminating transnational divisions of labor within global assemblages. Committed to a holistic contextualization, this mixed-method investigation is primarily based on ethnographic fieldwork, including participation in industry events and a three-month secondment in a small-scale digital service company. Drawing from a materialistic approach to internet technologies, the study provides a comprehensive account of the digital service company since its founding in 2001. Based on evidence from industry events and a long-term immersion in the working lives of software developers, I suggest that the implementation of cloud technologies in the oil and gas industry prompted new digital divisions of labor and replaced the physical travel of professionals with a remote control system facilitating an enhanced circulation of data. The findings of this investigation imply that cloud computing continues to restructure the global economy and accelerates the migration of data through internet technologies.

THEFT, WAR, OR MERE MISCHIEF? ANTI-HACKING LAWS IN THE U.S. AND CANADA
Yuan Stevens, Ryan Ellis
Anti-hacking laws in both the U.S. and Canada are now over 30 years old, with the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act enacted in 1986 (CFAA) and amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code concerning computer-assisted crime in 1985. Despite significant attention to anti-hacking laws in the U.S., further research is needed to better understand how Canadian policymakers have sought to regulate computer hacking particularly in comparison to the US.

This paper seeks to track the continual divergence, rooted in history, between Canadian anti-hacking laws and that of its American counterparts, which has led to far less litigation in Canada against alleged computer-assisted crime. Using comparative historical and legal analyses, it examines the contexts in which the American and Canadian governments implemented their initial anti-hacking laws and the evolution of how courts in each country have broadly come to interpret these laws in intervening years. This examination is augmented by discourse analysis of each laws’ legislative documents, with a focus on the impact that American and Canadian notions of property rights had on these laws. More specifically, this paper accomplishes two things: it focuses on the distinct underlying values and metaphors that sit at the foundation of initial U.S. and Canada responses to computer hacking, and examines the divergent trajectory of these legal approaches across decades.

Moderators
avatar for Anna Jobin

Anna Jobin

Researcher, ETH Zurich

Speakers

Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

11:00am EDT

Digital Activism and Politics
THE KNOWLEDGE OF PROTEST: AN ASSESSMENT OF TOPICAL SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE IN CONTENTIOUS POLITICS
Dan Mercea
This article leverages social media and survey data to probe the scope and depth of political knowledge possessed by participants in the Romanian 2017 #rezist protests. For several months, demonstrators gathered in town squares around the country to oppose a project law intended to water down penalties for corruption in high office. Against the backdrop of well-founded scepticism regarding exposure to and engagement with political knowledge on social media, we scrutinize the social media usage of protestors with an interest in the formulation and circulation of political knowledge. We find evidence of applied political knowledge as a prominent component of public activist communication on Facebook. An examination of the network structure further revealed bottlenecks in the circulation and brokerage of knowledge, a result that helps qualify the aforementioned scepticism.

FROM AD HOC ISSUE PUBLICS TO DISCOURSE COMMUNITIES: A YEAR OF PUBLIC DEBATE ON TWITTER
Ehsan Dehghan
This paper presents an empirical investigation of the concept of ad hoc issue publics, through a mixed-methods analysis of a year of debate over a contentious topic in the Australian public sphere. Following two controversial racial discrimination cases in 2016, a number of Australian conservative politicians called for amendments to a specific section of the Racial Discrimination Act (Section 18C), which they claimed restricted freedom of speech. Similar proposals had been put forward and shelved in 2013. The issue was discussed widely on Twitter and other social media platforms. Eventually, the Australian Senate voted down changes to section 18C. Using a range of network analyses, examining the various network structures created by Twitter’s affordances, this study identifies the publics and communities involved in the debate. The discourses of these communities are then qualitatively analysed. The findings show that different—and sometimes antagonistic—discourse communities are involved in the debate, and while all of these use the same hashtags and keywords, they have contrasting discursive positions. This paper argues that in this case, the publics created as a result of the affordances of Twitter cannot be regarded as ad hoc issue publics, since the discourse communities involved were formed as a result of a priori ideological affinities. Broadly, the findings of this study help in the theorisation of online publics and communities, particularly the necessary elements involved in the formation of ad hoc issue publics and/or online discourse communities.

PURSUANCE AND THE PRACTICE OF DE-INSTITUTIONALIZED DEMOCRACY
Robert Tynes, Claire Peters
The internet offers the possibility of forming de-institutionalized, organizational structures that engage in the democratic process in ways that go far beyond volunteering, protesting, or voting. The digital space enables people to collaborate and communicate with one another more effectively, even if they have never met in real life (Shirky 2009). Formations such as Telecomix and Project PM show that this capability can be harnessed in the service of meaningful collective political and social actions. Journalist and activist Barrett Brown's latest venture, $2 , hopes to further that potential. Pursuance looks to empower political actors via "process democracy" (Brown 2018), offering participants a platform in which they can organize, build, and act on social justice endeavors. Pursuance is important because it provides a means for individuals to rapidly and effectively assemble, disassemble, and reassemble into mission-driven teams. This lessens the need for stable institutions to direct civic or political activism, thus reducing the problems that often follow, e.g. the Iron Law of Oligarchy (Michels 2015). We explore the potential of Brown's endeavor, asking: How can Pursuance most effectively further the practice of deinstitutionalized democracy? What can be learned from past groups that have engaged in the kind of activity Pursuance aims to facilitate?

DIGITALISATION AND DEMOCRATIC CHANGE: IN SEARCH OF A BIRD'S EYE PERSPECTIVE
Jeanette Hofmann
The relationship between digitalization and democracy is a topic of growing public and academic interest. However, what seems striking about the emerging literature on this topic is its tendency to reify either the concept of democracy and or that of digital technologies or both. Most of the nuanced observations to be found in works addressing either the evolution of democracy or that of the Internet seem to vanish once the relationship of the two phenomena are explored. This article addresses the problem of how to avoid the traps of technical determinism that pave the path towards a better understanding of the relationship between digitalization and democracy. Its assumption is that we need to establish a viewpoint that allows telling a story of the evolution of digital technologies in concert with other long-term social and political changes.

The viewpoint suggested combines two lines of theories: a philosophy of technology's approach to the co-evolution of technical systems and societies, and social theories on late modernity, which help to situate the evolution of digitalisation as part of long-term structural changes of modern societies. From this perspective, the Internet emerges as a space of possibility for experimenting with the new political, cultural and economic freedoms gained by the weakening of the institutional apparatus once characteristic of organised modernity. Digital technologies provide a material form for articulating old ideas of democratic organisation in new ways. Civic technologies such as cloud and blockchain-based citizenship models serve as a case for demonstrating the fruitfulness of this approach.

Moderators
Speakers
avatar for Ehsan Dehghan

Ehsan Dehghan

PhD Candidate, Queensland University of Technology


Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Ballroom East

11:00am EDT

Joining up, joining in - the vagaries of Facebook
FACEBOOK AND THE BORED
Tero Jukka Karppi
Experimenting with emotions is becoming a part of what Facebook does. In 2013 the social media company actively experimented with emotions trying to prove that emotional states are contagious and spread through News Feed content. In 2017, Facebook Inc.’s patent for boredom detector was accepted. In this paper, I explore the cultural politics of boredom detector patent in conjuncture with Facebook’s “emotional contagion study”. I look into how Facebook is incorporating emotions as part of both their platform’s functions and business logic. I trace how boredom is being de-centered from the experiencing human individual into platform-specific processes that affects masses of users.

“PEOPLE WHO DEFEND THEIR HOMELAND”: MOTIVATIONS FOR JOINING AND BEING ACTIVE IN AN ANTI-IMMIGRATION GROUP ON FACEBOOK
Andra Siibak, Anu Masso
The paper will present the findings of a small-scale qualitative study carried out with the active members of the biggest public Estonian-language based anti-immigration Facebook group “Estonians against refugee quotas”. Semi-structured individual interviews (N=12) with active members of the group were carried out in spring 2016 with an aim to find out their reasons and motivation behind joining an anti-immigration community in Facebook. Furthermore, our intention was also to study what kind of role the members of the group apply to social media and their Facebook group in particular, in Estonian public debates about the refugee crises. We were able to differentiate between both institutional/regional-, national/institutional-, individual- and interactional level drivers behind joining the Facebook community.

THE LURKER PARADOX ON SNS: A STUDY OF ACTIVE AND PASSIVE AUDIENCES ON FACEBOOK
Cecilia Sumita Louis
This study examines distinctions between active and passive audiences on Facebook, America’s most popular social network site (SNS). The study also explores whether lurking behavior differs between undergraduates and graduate students, and their technological affordances and social capital bonding from the use of this social network.

In an exploratory study, the researcher applies uses and gratifications for new media, MAIN or technological affordances and credibility heuristics scale and social capital scale to analyze responses to an online survey of 2000 undergraduate and graduate students at a large college campus in the northwest. Preliminary data reveals that Facebook is still the dominant social media network of choice followed by Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn. Findings present a clear indication of lurking or passive audience behavior on Facebook with the majority or 75% of the sample surveyed reporting they rarely update (55%) or never update (22%) their own status on Facebook. However, more than 31% report logging into their Facebook accounts up to 4 times a day, 23% log in more than 4 times a day, and 17% log in once a day, thereby indicating a clear lurker paradox. This exploratory study provide some clear direction that passive audiences are a reality for social network sites and future research is necessary to study this significant audiences on SNS.

Keywords: Active audiences, passive audiences, Facebook, social network sites (SNS), lurkers, MAIN, technological affordances, social capital, weak ties.

CONNECTIVE AMBITION AND CREATIVE CAUTION AMONG HOMELESS USERS OF FACEBOOK
Will Marler
This work-in-progress considers how Chicago's homeless navigate privacy on social media. I refer to "connective ambition" to describe the co-mingling of personal goals with a perception of the power derived from accumulating ties on social networking sites. Preliminary interviews and participant observation with unstably housed Chicagoans suggests that with great ambition comes great risk for exposure to unwanted advances and digital crooks. These risks may be magnified for those lacking personal computers and sufficient computer literacy. At stake is our understanding of how activity on social media translates into social capital. The paper promises to inject new concern for those who stand to gain the most from social networking online.




Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond East

11:00am EDT

Performing Tech Cultures
THE EFFECTS OF INFORMATION PRODUCTION PROCESS ON EXPERIENCE AND EVALUATION
Yonit Rusho, Daphne R. Raban
Research to date on the value of information has mostly focused on the consumption side of information, namely, that consumers need to experience information in order to evaluate it. When it comes to digital media, users have multiple roles. In this context, materiality is applied to assess the role that technological components play in the interaction between user and digital media. The concurrent consumption and production of information raises questions as to the influence of information production on information value perception. To this end, we conceptualize the information production process.

The fundamental assumption in this research is that value perception changes as a result of production experience. Furthermore, this study examines the boundaries of value perception for producers of information.

309 participants took part in a set of experiments. Willingness-to-pay by consumers and willingness-to-accept payment by producers were measured before and after consumption/ production/ peer-production.

Results show that consumers’ and producers’ subjective value before their experience were equivalent; Change in value perception before and after consumption/production produced a statistically significant effect; Producers who evaluate the information after the experience, evaluated it higher than producers who evaluated the information before the experience; and value perception measured before the production by a single producer is lower than value perception by peer-producers. Hypotheses were accepted. If accepted, additional results will be presented at the conference.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS: TRADESHOWS AND THE MAKING OF THE INTERNET
Li Cornfeld
At the beginning of each new year, the transnational technology industry convenes in Las Vegas, Nevada for the world’s most massive tech tradeshow. Formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, the event recently rebranded as CES in order to better signal its inclusion of internet technologies, which are among the most important components of the show. Before any such technologies enter public circulation, their futures hinge in part on their debut on the tradeshow floor. There, startups seek investors to fund their projects, designers seek manufacturers to convert prototypes into products, and distributors look for products that will sell in markets across the globe. This paper looks to the tech tradeshow as a convention that concretizes multiple distributed networks involved in the industrial production of internet technologies. Far from natural or obvious collaborations, the cross-sector and transnational partnerships that drive the advancement of internet technologies emerge through social labor, exemplified by the industry rituals on display in Las Vegas during CES.

THE NETWORKED ZUCKERBERG: USING ACTOR-NETWORK THEORY TO UNDERSTAND THE ETHOS OF TECHNOLIBERALISM
Misti Hewatt Yang
On September 26, 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a keynote address to the 70th annual meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. In the speech, Zuckerberg equated access to the Internet with other human rights. Zuckerberg’s remarks provide an opportunity to examine how Silicon Valley leaders, the UN, and the Internet co-construct imperatives for action. In this paper, I employ actor-network theory (ANT) to trace the relationship between Zuckerberg, the UN, and the Internet. I suggest that because agency is networked and communal it is intimately connected to the ancient Greek conception of ethos. By approaching Zuckerberg’s speech as an articulation of agency, I illustrate a network that advances what I call a technoliberal ethos. In support of this argument, the paper provides a deep contextualization and close reading of Zuckerberg’s speech. The paper recognizes the agency of the Internet as an actant alongside the UN and Zuckerberg.

"TECH FOR GOOD”: SILICON VALLEY PHILANTHROPY AS INFRASTRUCTURE
Rachel Bergmann
Research within the “material turn” of Internet scholarship has sought to uncover the physical infrastructures behind Internet technology and its circulation; however, another layer of materiality exists within these networks. Although often hidden from view, philanthropic practice plays a major role in funding the scientific research, technological development, and political advocacy surrounding contemporary digital technology. In recent years, Silicon Valley tech companies have shown particular interest in funding philanthropic work on AI research, ICT4D, Internet policy, and political advocacy. Humanities researchers have contributed excellent work on tech culture and Silicon Valley ideology (Marwick 2013, Losse 2012, Barbrook & Cameron 1996); however, few Internet scholars have included the philanthropic practices of tech companies and founders in their analyses. Drawing on grey literature and the web presences of a few Silicon Valley philanthropies, I will discuss the material practices and politics of tech philanthropies. I examine the projects they choose to fund, the vocabulary and rhetoric used in their literature, and the underlying theories of change they promote. I argue that their approaches represent a kind of philanthrocapitalism mixed with what Barbrook & Cameron call the “Californian Ideology” and a strong belief that technology is a universal solution to complex global problems. The philanthropic practices of the San Francisco tech community constitute a vital element of Silicon Valley’s political existence in material, infrastructural ways.



Saturday October 13, 2018 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre

2:00pm EDT

Digital Governmentalities of the Everyday
DOING YOUR HOMEWORK: THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AS A FRIENDSHIP FILTER
Alecea Irene Standlee
Abstract: This article explores the emergence of technologically integrated relationship practices among college students in two U.S. universities. This work is situated within the significant body of social research and popular cultural discourse surrounding the consequences of technology and cultural integration among young adults. Analyzing interviews with 52 participants, I explore how they construct, establish and maintain cultural practices and social norms that shape peer interaction, social networks and interpersonal relationships in offline and online settings. This paper focuses specifically on the emergence of techno-social cultural norms that impact friendship and social network construction. Findings suggest the establishment and maintenance of friendships using social networks frequently includes the use of social media profiles as means to collect social and political attitude data on potential friends. Some participants report the use of such data as essential to the decision-making process utilized while establishing and maintaining offline friendships. Motivations for this practice include safety and security, social normativity and a desire for efficiency. Furthermore, participants articulate a social and politically homogeneous friendship network as a desirable outcome to data collection. These findings contribute to our ongoing understanding of the role of informational echo chambers within a technologically integrated social environment.

PLAYING WITH DATA AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Stefania Milan, Miren Gutierrez
The fundamental paradigm shift brought about by datafication alters how people enact their citizenship in their daily practices of participation. "Big data" has come to constitute a new terrain of engagement, which brings organized collective action, communicative practices and data infrastructure into a fruitful dialogue. While scholarship is progressively acknowledging the emergence of bottom-up data practices, to date no research has explored the influence of these practices on the activists themselves. Leveraging the disciplines of critical data studies and social movement studies, this article explores "proactive data activism", that is to say, grassroots connection with data that use, produce and appropriate data for social change, and examines its biographical, political, tactical and epistemological consequences. Approaching engagement with data as practice, this study focuses on the social contexts in which data are produced, consumed and circulated, and analyzes how tactics, skills and emotions evolve in interplay with data. Through content and co-occurrence analysis of semi-structured practitioner interviews (N=20), the paper shows how the employment of data and the data infrastructure in activism fundamentally transforms the way activists go about changing the world.

RECALIBRATING DAILY LIFE: SYNCHRONIZING, COORDINATING, AND SCHEDULING THROUGH SMARTPHONES
Martin Hand
This paper examines individual framings and experiences of temporal management via smartphone applications. It asks: to what extent and in what ways do configurations of smartphones and scheduling applications intervene in and restructure the temporality of practices and people’s experiences of time?

The paper draws upon in-depth semi-structured interview material with (a) professional urban and suburban householders (N=25), (b) individuals transitioning to retirement (N=20), and (c) university students (N=25) to examine how a range of temporal expectations are being perceived, articulated, and negotiated in practice. Interviews included talking through temporal data of many kinds on personal devices. The analytic questions guiding interviews were: where do identifiable expectations about temporal synchronization, coordination, duration, reciprocity, and productivity come from? What are the relations between institutionally defined temporal expectations and subjective experiences of temporal ordering? Does data produced through daily activities alter the temporal contours of those activities? Are social actors reorienting themselves in-time, in relation to mediatized temporal expectations?

In terms of findings, four modes of temporal management are identified and described in relation to demographic information. Following Sharma (2014), these are expressed here as ‘recalibrations’ – managing precariousness; synchronizing (to) the time of others; temporal self-disciplining; filling in future time - stressing the different ways in which temporal demands are perceived and experienced, leading to alternative efforts to coordinate and synchronize different elements of daily life through interconnected smartphone anchored applications.

REMOVING THE PHYSICAL BODY FROM INTERACTION - A PHENOMENOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION INTO LAYPEOPLE SHARING SELF-TRACKED EXERCISE DATA ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES WHEN THEY FEEL UNEASY EXERCISING WITH PEOPLE
Joeb Høfdinghoff Grønborg
Self-tracking applications (apps) like $2 , $2 and $2 have made it effortless for laypeople to measure their exercise activity and turn it into detailed data on running time, distance, average pace, calories burned etc. The users can share the exercise data with personal networks of users (often named $2 ) on the apps’ internal $2 (Ellison & boyd, 2013) or external social network sites such as $2 or $2 .

Few studies, however, have shed light on how people use self-tracking in their everyday lives (Lupton, 2016) – e.g. why people share exercise data on social network sites.

Some people feel uneasy by exercising with – or in the presence of – people. In this paper, I provide a thick description of people that bypass their struggle with social exercise by sharing exercise data on social network sites. I utilize the lived experience of two female newcomers to exercise, Amanda and Dorte, to illustrate this. Firstly, using the philosopher and medical doctor Drew Leder’s phenomenological investigations into embodiment, I analyze how the females’ bodies $2 (Leder, 1990) when they exercise near/with people. Secondly, I examine how their networks of friends function as a beneficial form of exercise sociality that encourages Amanda and Dorte’s exercise activity.

My empirical data originates from an exploratory, interview study of 12 Danish, recreational athletes’ experiences with exercise-related self-tracking apps.


Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond East

2:00pm EDT

Family, Youth and the Quotidian Practices of Social Media
WHEN THE TEACHER BECOMES THE STUDENT: YOUTH IMPACT ON PARENT TECHNOLOGY USE
Jodi Dworkin, Pooja Brar, Heather Hessel
We are only beginning to understand the ways in which young people are introducing technologies into the family system and the ways that is impacting family relationships. What seems clear is that the face-to-face relationship does not translate directly to the online context, and online communication is not completely replacing in-person family relationships. Despite the lack of existing research, it is reasonable to expect that family relationships impact how youth and parents use online media. Building on socialization theory, in the current study we considered the ways in which youth technology use impacts parent technology use in parent-child dyads from India and the U.S. (98 dyads; youth: 37% female; mean age=17.3; parents: 54.6% female; mean age=41.5). When considering frequency of six types of technology use in a series of linear regression analyses: 1) general use to look for information, news, and use online tools, 2) audio or video calls, 3) texting, instant messaging, discussion boards, or email, 4) sending or receiving audio or video, and photos, 5) create or maintain blogs, microblogs, or websites, and 6) social networking sites, child technology use accounted for 8.4% to 27.0% of the variance in parent use. Despite the small sample size, it is clear that child technology use is strongly associated with parent use, even when considering diverse ways of using technology. Future research should use longitudinal data to explore how children impact parents’ technology use over time – how that influence changes with age, sociohistorical time and place, and life transitions.

DIGITAL FAMILY INTIMACY: BRIDGING FAMILY BONDS ACROSS DISTANCES
Lina Eklund, Helga Sadowski
Based on qualitative interview material, in this paper we analyze how contemporary Swedish families negotiate family intimacy with the help of Internet and communication technologies (ICTs). For this purpose, we conducted home-based group and individual interviews with members from 6 Swedish families (n=28) from the age of 14 to 84.

In our analysis we identified four interrelated ‘distances’ which complicate traditional understandings of intimacy (such as intimacy necessarily depending on face-to-face interaction), namely spatial, temporal, generational, and emotional distances, and explore concrete strategies of how families attempt to overcome those.

For this purpose, we draw on the concept of remediation (Bolter and Grusin 1999) in order to demonstrate how here intimacy itself is remediated into digitals realms. Our results show that families actively find ways of translating or re-creating intimate family settings, situations, and interactions into digital contexts. Thus, our study highlights the importance of digital technology use for the sustenance of intimacy in modern Swedish families, and additionally shows how users actively shape their ICT use in order to build and sustain family bonds.

“TAKE IT DOWN!”: PARENTS’ AND PRE-TEEN’S VIEWS, EXPERIENCES AND PRACTICES WITH SHARING PERSONAL CONTENT ON FACEBOOK
Andra Siibak, Merike Lipu
Becoming a Facebook friend with your parent is one of the often used strategies parents use in order to mediate pre-teens’ social media use (Child and Petronio, 2011). Considering that various policy documents emphasize the role of parents and caregivers in protecting children’s privacy, personal data and online reputation we set out to explore how parents handle this task.

During summer 2017 semi-structured individual interviews were carried out with parents (n=15) and their 9-13 year old children (n=15) to study their experiences and reflections about their Facebook friendships. We especially focused on exploring their opinion and experiences with privacy and were interested in finding out if they had some unwritten rules or family regulations to guide their Facebook communication. Our interviews suggest that although parents are accustomed to using restrictive meditation and monitoring their children in Facebook; they seldom question or evaluate their own online behaviour in the light of the children’s rights and privacy. In fact, there is a big discrepancy in the attitudes of parents and pre-teens about if a parent should ask a permission to post about their child on social media. Furthermore, even when parents know that the child resents their sharenting practices, they still continue this practice despite the child’s wishes. The latter is also a reason why pre-teens in our sample were often frustrated by the posts their parents made, as they found many of their posts either “embarrassing” or simply “inappropriate”.


Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 5

2:00pm EDT

Social Mediations of the Political III
YOUTH POLITICAL SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN THE TRUMP ERA
Joel Penney
This study uses qualitative focus groups to investigate emergent patterns of youth political social media use in the context of the controversial leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump. The participants’ accounts suggest that the election of Trump was a transformative moment in their lives as young citizens, and that they have shifted their approaches to political social media in response. First, Trump’s mainstreaming of far-right ideologies that target ethnic and sexual minorities corresponds with many anti-Trump participants feeling that it is their ‘duty’ to counter these ideas on social media, suggesting the development of emergent ‘dutiful citizenship’ norms that prioritize discursive and persuasion-oriented forms of online activism. Additionally, some pro-Trump participants report feeling emboldened by Trump’s example to share controversial right-wing views more freely online. Second, the proliferation of online disinformation in the Trump era corresponds with many participants emphasizing the importance of sharing credible, accurate, and verified news articles with their peers in order to counteract the influence of ‘fake news.’ Third, Trump’s unprecedented embrace of social media to communicate directly with the public corresponds with participants approaching platforms like Twitter as spaces for citizen interaction with institutional power. However, in this case, ‘speaking back’ to Trump on Twitter resembles less a civic duty and more a playful mode of engagement in which youth define their political identities and communities in relation. Together, the data suggest a hybridization of ‘actualizing’ and ‘dutiful’ citizenship styles in young people’s online political activities at a time of perceived urgency and crisis.

LET DATA SPEAK? TRACING SUCCESS ENHANCERS OF DIGITAL INFOGRAPHICS IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS
Eedan R Amit-Danhi, Limor Shifman
While digital political infographics have become an integral part of contemporary electoral campaigners, we know very little about the features that boost the success of political infographics in terms of user engagement. This study is the first scholarly exploration addressing this question. Relying on literature on political campaigns, virality, and infographics, we analyzed a sample of all infographics posted by the four leading candidates in the 2016 US Presidential Election (N=253). A quantitative content analysis, which traced the association between two success factors (likes and shares) and infographic features generated three main findings: (1) infographics based on comparisons that mention data sources are more successful; (2) in contrast to previous findings in virality studies, infographics that include direct calls for digital action (as well as general calls for action in the post text) are liked and shared less; (3) cues that invoke emotions are not associated significantly with infographics in the general sample, yet anger and fear were found to augment success in the case of infographics posted by Donald Trump. Our findings led to the conceptualization of genre-specific success enhancers, pointing out that not all content types succeed or fail according to the same characteristics but rather that success is modified by the features unique to it as a communicative genre.

POLITICAL FANDOMS AND SUPERPARTICIPANTS IN POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS ON TWITTER
Gabriela Zago, Raquel Recuero, Felipe Soares
In this proposal, we discuss the role of superparticipants in political conversations on Twitter. Our hypothesis is that these highly active users show a clear political position and intentionally act to give visibility to some topics and to reduce the visibility of others, practices that are similar to those observed among fans in popular culture. In terms of methods, we use social network analysis metrics to identify the modularity of the network and users that receive more attention than others (higher indegree) or mention more other users (higher outdegree). We collected tweets related to the impeachment of the Brazilian ex-president Dilma Rousseff in 2016 in three critical dates of the process. By observing the users with higher outdegree in each network, we noticed some patterns and behaviors that can characterize those users as political fans. Our main finding is that the superparticipants with higher outdegree helped to shape the polarized networks by retweeting like-minded accounts, and thus are important and influence the study of polarized political networks on Twitter.

THE COMMERCIAL DISSOLUTION AND CHANGING POLITICS OF CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM: A CASE OF SINA WEIBO\
Lianrui Jia, Xiaofei Han
The key question this paper addresses is how Weibo platform evolves over the years in push-and-pull forces of commercialization, capitalization and political control? We will provide a historical and critical analysis of Weibo as a popular social media platform in China (2009-2017). Our analysis will unfold along three dimensions: firstly, we focus on the political economy of Weibo by investigating the changing ownership structure, business models, board of directors, market capitalization, and various government regulations and guidelines on Weibo (such as real name registration policy, intermediary liability, licensing requirement for audio visual streaming, etc.). In this way, we will make Weibo’s relations to state, other internet giants, foreign and domestic capitals explicit and showcase the intricate power relations between them. Such analysis will then foreground the second dimension of this paper, which focuses on user interfaces and infrastructures on Weibo. We examine the discursive aspects and digital objects on Weibo and compare how changes of user interface design reflect what the company proposed in the Prospectus and annual reports about its functionality and value for users, advertisers and developers. In analyzing infrastructures on Weibo, we employ digital historical research method to reconstruct a timeline of ongoing and former declared platform-industry partnerships and programs to showcase the dynamics between Weibo and industry partners and how Weibo diversifies its revenue streams from digital marketing.

Moderators
Speakers
GZ

Gabriela Zago

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul - Communication and Information


Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 6

2:00pm EDT

Temporalities
PLATFORMED TIME: PROMPTS, ALGORITHMS, AND TEMPORAL CONTESTATION ON DIGITAL MEDIA
Tim Highfield
This paper examines how time and the temporal are critical underpinnings for the presentation and experience of popular social media platforms. Understanding and transforming the temporal is key to the operation of such platforms: it showcases how platforms variously privilege the new and novel, the old and forgotten as catalysts for participation, while moves away from reverse-chronological displays of content to algorithmic ordering further demonstrate temporal disruption. Platforms also use temporal prompts to gain user attention and promote ongoing participation while dissuading inactivity, while time is prominently featured in the automated curation of users’ (digital) memories.

The paper argues that temporal strategies are forms of platform interventions which serve to render time as a site of contestation between digital media platforms and users. It focuses on temporal prompts and archive curation by popular platforms, cumulatively treated as 'platformed time' . The paper analyses archives of temporal notifications and content published by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat between 2016 and 2018, supplemented by coverage of additional temporal features on these and other apps and platforms. In doing so, it explores how these temporal aspects exemplify realisations of the power dynamics of digital media The examples studied underline the temporality promoted (and privileged) by digital media platforms through non-linear displays, temporally-framed notifications, reminders, and updates, and pushing new and whimsical topical features – and how this may be at odds with the temporalities experienced (or desired) by its users.

FEELING THE RHYTHMS OF CODE
Minna Saariketo
This presentation examines how the softwarization of everyday life is experienced. The point of embarkation is the observation that despite the proliferation computation in the everyday, people pay little attention to the conditions of software and its role in shaping their mundane time-spaces.

I will discuss results from a case study that used Henri Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis (1992/2004) to shed light on how the rhythms of code-based technology are experienced. The research design of the intervention was inspired by the idea of privacy mirrors (Ngueyn and Mynatt 2002). Research participants (n=13), who described their relation to their devices as intense, used tracking software (RescueTime, ManicTime, App Usage or RealizD) in their ICTs and kept media diaries. These were used as artefacts in the interviews to enable reflection on the role of ICTs in daily life.

The results from the rhythmanalysis show how the complex intertwinement of digital devices and applications in the everyday evokes manifold feelings. Simultaneously, technology is perceived as an aid in organizing and managing the daily life, but it also induces feelings of losing control, chaos, and burden. The results suggest that although people might take for granted the infrastructural conditions of technology, such as data mining, they still actively negotiate their relation to devices and applications vis-à-vis temporality. Outcomes from the intervention encourage developing further research designs that use the means of softwarization itself (e.g. tracking and digital traces) to enable critical reflection.

BUILDING UP THE CONTROL ANXIETY: THE TRANSFORMATION OF TIME’S CONSTRUCTION OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
Delia Dumitrica, Georgia Gaden Jones
Media coverage of digital technologies fulfills a double role: it contributes discursive repertoires (i.e. symbols, stock phrases, narratives, arguments, etc.) to the social imaginary of technology; and it makes technology meaningful by relating it to existing social concerns and dynamics. In this process, media coverage participates in the symbolic construction of ‘legitimate’ social hierarchies and norms for leading a ‘good life’. In this paper, we examine the portrayal of digital technologies in 75 covers of Time magazine (1950-2017). Digital technologies were defined here as hardware such as computers, peripherals or networks; and software. The covers were analyzed using a combination of thematic and discourse analysis. Four themes were identified across the covers: the ambivalence of the computer/human integration; the moral panics around children’s uptake of digital technologies; the question of trust in a digitized environment; and, the celebration of the techno-capitalist. In one way of another, these themes speak to the issue of control: over ourselves (and our children) and over our future (with the accompanying corollary: get ready, or be left behind). We conclude by arguing that this preoccupation with control speaks to wider anxieties associated with the reflexive awareness of uncertainty in modernity, and ask: what forms of control of the self and of the social body are legitimized by these symbolic constructions? And what allocation of power and social roles do they recommend?


Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Drummond Centre