The final speaker in this ECREA 2016 session is the great Luca Rossi, whose focus is on the Blockupy Frankfurt protests, directed against the inauguration of the new European Central Bank building. These protests used social media as a central means of generating engagement and activity.
I'm afraid my blogging app decided to delete my notes on the next presentation at ECREA 2016, so we're moving on directly to the paper by Mireille Lalancette, whose interest is in the role of social media in Canadian politics. Québec experienced a major student strike during the first half of 2012, protesting against an increase in tuition fees but also linking with a number of other social issues.
The second morning at ECREA 2016 starts with Laura Pérez-Altable, whose focus is on the Arab Spring in Tunisia. She begins by pointing out the double articulation of social media as a material object as well as as symbolic and discursive; this also goes for the social networks that are encoded in social media environments.
The final presenters in this AoIR 2016 session are my colleagues Peta Mitchell and Felix Münch, who also focus on the Twitter reaction to David Bowie's death. Twitter as a platform can be useful for studying public responses to such events, but at the same time the focus on a hashtag only also limits the study to deliberately self-selecting tweets and users; a focus on 'Bowie' as a keyword provides a different perspective. This is also complicated by the one percent rate limit of the Twitter API, as 'Bowie' tweets spiked well above that limit.
The final speaker in this session at AoIR 2016 is my DMRC colleague Brenda Moon. She points out that hashtag studies on Twitter are subject to significant limitations because they capture only those tweets that have been explicitly marked with those hashtags, but may not also examine the broader conversation that might unfold around those hashtagged tweets without being itself hashtagged. There is a need here to move beyond quantitative and computational analysis of these datasets as well – so the challenge here is to identify reply chains and to examine them more qualitatively.
The final session at AoIR 2016 today starts with a presentation from Daniela van Geenen. She begins by noting that much Twitter research has focussed on specific events, incidents, and groups rather than on longer-term, everyday uses. Is it possible instead to identify local publics on Twitter, based for instance on geographic co-location? Are such publics connected with national networks?
Our Digital Methods pre-conference workshop at AoIR 2016, combining presenters from the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam and the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology starts with a presentation by Richard Rogers on the recent history of digital methods. He points out the gradual transition from a conceptualisation of the Internet and the Web as cyberspace or as a virtual space to an understanding of the Web as inherently linked with the 'real' world: online rather than offline becomes the baseline, and there is an increasing sense of online groundedness.
First, I visited Anders Larsson at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, where I outlined my thoughts on what I’ve started to call the second wave of citizen journalism, now taking place through social media. This essentially provides an overview of the key themes in Gatewatching Revisited – the update to my 2005 Gatewatching book which I’m currently writing:
The final speaker in this Social Media and Society session is Yuri Rykov, whose focus is on the Russian social network site V Kontakte. What is the structure of online communities on this site? Are they flat, inclusive, and egalitarian, or are they stratified and hierarchical, with clear leadership structures emerging, as a power law distribution would expect? What new light can network analytics shed on these questions?