||ABSTRACTS AND PAPERS
[Arranged alphabetically by author(s). In some cases, the corresponding author is listed first. Use the find function on your browser to search page. Abstract titles linked to full papers when available.]
The Cognitive Effects of Converging Private and Public Media in the Telenovela El Candidato during the 2000 Mexican Presidential Election, Ivan Abarca
This paper will focus on El Candidato, a Mexican telenovela that aired in parallel with a real presidential election of 2000 and blurred the lines of fiction and reality. This telenovela also very significantly reflected the blurring of public and private media that many believe served as the tipping point in the election. El Candidato became a mediator and “part” of the real presidential campaign as a narrator of reality. It appears that this telenovela had a political agenda yet it is hard to define where the public and private interests were because often El Candidato represented both, producing cognitive implications on its viewer-voters. El Candidato was a very real fiction – a subtle mixture of documentary and fiction that blurred the line between reality and manipulation. The story and narratives it presented contributed to challenging the political party ruling the country in reality, and it reinforced suspicions about media manipulation leading to distortion of historical and/or recent political facts. Put differently, it would be reasonable to conclude that El Candidato played a major civic role in Mexico’s 2000 election by inserting itself as an actor in the public debate and blurring the lines of public and private media?
Webcams as Emerging Cinematic Medium, Paula Albuquerque
I intend to present a paper based upon the third chapter of my current Ph.D. dissertation, which focuses on Webcams as Emerging Cinematic Medium. In doing so, I will start by approaching Baudry’s (classical) model of the cinematographic apparatus and separating it from the Webcams. Secondly, I will focus on highlighting their differences, departing from the technical specificities of the Webcams as medium: how the camera’s produce goes directly to the observer; why the screen has become the viewfinder of the camera; the ways in which the set is the city plateau (built for the camera but pretending to constitute the “reality” of the urban space); how the non-actors actually act the part (invisible roles played by people in urban spaces); how spectatorship has deeply changed; and, finally, the possibility that authorship might be equated with ownership. The text will be accompanied by images taken from my own work as artist – films made with footage from Webcams.
War on Instagram: Framing Conflict Photojournalism with Mobile Photography Apps, Meryl Alper
This paper examines recent acclaim for professional embedded photojournalists who visually document the experience of US soldiers in Afghanistan using popular mobile photo application Hipstamatic. These photos have stirred controversy among fellow journalists and cultural critics regarding the use of photo filters in Hipstamatic and similar app Instagram, their contribution to the de-professionalization of photojournalism, and the depiction of war as stylishly vintage. The debates about Hipstamatic and Instagram in war photography opens up a whole series of enduring questions about distinctions between photography and illustration, professional and amateur, and reporting and editorializing. Considering the shifting nature of digital photography, photojournalism, and specifically war photojournalism, I argue that the current discourse about the use of mobile apps overlooks another important ethical issue: non-soldiers mimicking the imagined hand of the modern smartphone-equipped US soldier.
Documentary Photography, Semiotic Objectification, and the Limits of Critical Reading, Lindsey Andrews
By the 1930s and ‘40s, documentary photography — and especially the photo-text, or image accompanied by testifying narrative — had become crucial a means for advancing political projects within the US, from New Deal reforms to black freedom struggles. The accompanying texts were often used to marshal affective responses to the photos, but they also had the added effect — when paired with the repeated conventions of mid-century documentary photographs — of suggesting that the photos themselves were semantic phenomena, capable of being read for coded ideological meaning. In this paper, I consider the political implications and limits — especially with regards to mid-century documentary depictions of race — of assumptions that photographs are best understood in terms of visual semantics. I turn to two racialized encounters with photo-texts—one by Ellison’s narrator within his magnum opus, Invisible Man, and the other with the newspaper photograph of Emmett Till by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida — in order to explore some political possibilities of the unmarshaled affects of photography. By taking up what Fred Moten calls the refusal of “semiotic objectification,” and valorizing “materiality that moves in excess of meaning,” I try to illuminate the critical and resistant possibilities inherent not in the private life made publicly legible, but in the aspects of photography that exceed both visibility and legibility.
Big Data and Privacy: An Online Ethnographic Survey of Issues, Practices and Influencers, Ricardo Amaral
As the Internet came to pervade every sphere of human life since the public inception of the World Wide Web in 1991, so did the efforts to harvest information by those with vested academic, economic and political interests. Facebook's use of its 'like' button, Google's cookies, Apple's use of GPS information and, more recently, the cases of the Maryland State Department of Corrections or the University of Carolina requiring access to applicants' Facebook profiles, are amongst some of the most important controversies illustrating the new challenges posed by digital media in general, and social media in particular. As a consequence, the concept of privacy has become a prime battleground for an increasingly complex set of legal frameworks, social norms, market pressures and idiosyncrasies of information architecture (Lessig 2004). The purpose of this paper is to examine the discourse regarding online privacy in response to key controversial events and the scope for subject agency as stated on various forums, blogs, and micro-media, since 2004, using state-of-the art mining tools developed by MIT (such as Crimson Hexagon) and standard industry software (such as Radian 6) and how this informs contemporary theories of cyberethics (Tavani 2011).
Facebook and Intimacy in the Facebook Italian Users, Giovanni Artieri, Manolo Farci, Fabio Giglietto, Luca Rossi
In Italy, social media have already reached 28 millions of users, 51.2% of the population, with an increase of the 5.1% over the last year. This paper investigates how the practices of friendship on Facebook offers new meanings to the notion of intimacy – overlapping the boundaries between family, love, colleagues or peer group – and reshape the distinction between private and public community (Lange 2007, boyd Ellison 2007, boyd 2008). The research project employs a mixed method that combines an integrated quali-quantitative analysis. The qualitative phase – the first at this scale in Italy – is based on more than 120 in-depth interviews made in the Italian national territory. The quantitative phase is based on an ad hoc developed software tool aimed at collecting social information from a SNS and storing them into a large social database. This approach enables researchers to merge a large amount of data extracted from the database with the qualitative hypothesis obtained from the interviews.
Sense of Participation, Luis Bohorquez, Caroline Nevejan, Frances Brazier
This paper explores the sense of participation of a spatially distributed individual -- in the intersections of physical and mediated networks. This sense is fundamental to an individuals’ experience as a participant in systems designed to this purpose including today’s social media and new media generations of infrastructures. Mediated networks facilitate migration of mind and feelings communicating information, knowledge and values through mediated interaction. Ongoing open-ended processes of simultaneous physical and mediated actions of an individual in everyday life pose new existential (identity) questions that suggest fundamental changes in the individual process of belonging (being-at-home) to self, others, and things in time, place and context. To explore the new sense of participation this paper introduces three concepts: trajectories, trade-offs, and individual distributed world to frame the sense of participation. The concept of trajectories depicts how existential physical migration and virtual migration trajectories conflate with each other. The concept of trade-offs expresses the relation between performance and significance of presence (participation) experience in the variety of merging on- and offline day-to-day interactions. The concept of an individual's distributed world delineates how being here and being there merge into one experience for an individual in day-to-day participation practices. Together these 3 concepts provide a conceptual framework with which to explore the sense of participation.
It May Be Public, But It’s Not a Performance: The Curious Case of Ringtones, Ben Aslinger
Ringtones drew attention from scholars interested in global and transnational flows, executives in the popular music, telecommunications, and technology industries, and audiophiles who debated the ethics of splicing songs into polyphonic and master ringtones. This paper examines the publicness of the ringtone by comparing and contrasting the notion of the ringtone as a potential public intrusion, distraction, or disruption with definitions of publicness as articulated in legal and industrial policies governing the public performance of popular music. While ringtones produced cultural anxieties about public noise and the publicness of musical genres such as rap and hip-hop, performance rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC worked to pressure carriers to extend public performance rights into new arenas. Drawing on scholarly writings from mobile media studies and popular music studies, materials from consumer rights advocacy groups, the music industry trade press, and court documents associated with the 2009 federal court ruling that the public ringtone did not constitute a public performance, I argue that media scholars need to be more attuned to how publicness is used in the languages of space, privacy, and legality.
Public, Private, Old, Young: Media Panics about Sexualization and Sexting, Feona Attwood
This paper focuses on current media panics around sexualization and sexting in order to examine the way that new forms of media engagement challenge notions of the public and private. The paper examines how debates about sexualization and sexting work to dramatize the changing nature of the public and private, how they represent anxieties about the shifting boundary between them, and how this is often presented as relating to different generations of media users. It considers the ways that media technologies figure in these debates and how their role is represented in the construction of private and public and in the shifting landscape of age appropriate behaviour and understandings of the life-course. It asks how we might use this kind of analysis to develop the study of representation, self-documentation, self-presentation and interpersonal communication in relation to the broader histories of media use and of generation and maturity.
Voluntary, Bottom-up IP Regimes in Piratical File-Sharing Communities, Bodó Balázs
A complex system of rules and governance mechanisms control the lives of piratical P2P file-sharing darknets and ensure the survival and the quality of the shared P2P resource pool. In some communities these rules include the voluntary protection of intellectual properties (IP). I show three different examples of voluntary, bottom-up IP regimes in piratical file-sharing communities. I demonstrate that though the emergence of such norms may sound counter-intuitive, they are in fact logical consequences in the development of the underground file-sharing scene. I then move to discuss whether or not such norms are harmonious with the default ethical vision of copyright. Here I show that current practices in the IP field are scattered in both the legal and the ethical dimensions, and stable (social, business) practices consolidate not according to their legality but according to whether they comply with the default ethical vision. Finally I suggest that voluntary IP regimes can be effective enforcement mechanisms that rights-holders should begin experiment with.
Private Bodies/Public Evidence, Fiona Barnett
In 2007, Robert ‘Willy’ Pickton, a pig farmer on the outskirts of Vancouver BC, was convicted in the murders of six women, and charged with the deaths of twenty more. These women were part of a group of almost 70 sex workers who were reported missing from the late 1970s until 2001. Pickton’s eventual arrest, and the grisly trial, was the catalyst for a grueling cultural confrontation with race, gender, sexuality and the public demands on private bodies. My project maps the public evidence of the missing women from the time of their disappearance to the end of the trial. Both a media ban and the gruesome details of the case made traditional reporting a fraught endeavor, and I argue that the public processed the ordeal primarily through visual media. I begin tracing the public visual representation of the women with their snapshots on the ‘missing person’ posters created by their families, and chart how these images change over the course of the investigation and trial. They were first transitioned into a police-developed poster with the women’s’ mug shots, and continued towards abstraction, into crime scene diagrams, media campaigns and forensic anthropologists sifting through dirt. This evolution of disfigurement culminated when it emerged that the pork from the farm may have been contaminated by the women’s corpses, and there was a huge outcry that the meat was endangering the health of the public food chain. Their bodies had to be sanitized in order to maintain the fantasy of the clean public sphere; this was accomplished by refiguring the image of their ‘dirty bodies’ into sterile genetic material. As images of their bodies were slowly replaced with scientific diagrams of DNA, their bodies were culturally imagined as ‘less contagious’ and more palatable for public consumption.
The Private and the Public: Identity and Politics in Virtual Space, Nathanael Bassett
When we think about identity, the medium through which we express, articulate and define that concept plays heavily into how it is understood. As society uses new mediums, that mediation becomes remediation, and consequently redefinition. As the public sphere becomes more "public," identity research has shifted focus to collective issues. This is due to concerns regarding group agency and politics, the means by which those definitions are created and maintained, and the freedom from physical proxemics due to new communications technologies. Those developments foreshadowed the mainstream embrace of new media and social networks. The condition of virtual identity and community is now experience by a large public, interacting and existing through digital media. But how does that change the way we shape the community, and how it shapes us? Issues of the individual and the collective provide challenges to internet users and scholars alike. This work explores those issues, namely the question of how we resolve the online public sphere (or spheres) with our personal identities, and how we collaboratively construct recursive publics.
Music Without Borders: Globalization and its Contents, Nancy Baym
The rhetoric of piracy focuses on how the internet has increased unauthorized downloading, and the growing rhetoric surrounding streaming sites such as Spotify tends to focus on the small payments to musicians. Although these are serious concerns, this paper argues that the picture is more complicated by considering this phenomenon from musicians' perspectives. Based on approximately 40 interviews with musicians from more than a dozen genres and seven countries, I show how these technologies have resulted in the internationalization of previously regional music audiences, bringing musicians indirect rewards both financial and personal. Musicians have found audiences in locations they never imagined they would, international booking has become significantly easier, and they have found revenue streams from international touring even when those populations have relied on unauthorized downloads to initially access the music. Furthermore, increased globalization has brought ephemeral rewards that increase the value of a career in music. These include travel, international friendship, and experience of the common language of music. Ultimately, I argue that these new global flows push us to reconsider piracy and streaming in social as well as economic terms, situating concerns about money within a broader understanding of what makes an artistic life worth living.
Redaction Aesthetics: On the Public Opacity of Private Data, Paul Benzon
Redaction is the process of blacking out, overwriting, deleting, or otherwise making invisible sensitive information within a private document in order to make it suitable for public dissemination. I argue that redacted documents occupy a strange, paradoxical middle-ground between the public and the private: within these uncomfortably hybrid texts, private records of the public government are made ready for public dissemination through concealment and covering. Conversely, at the same time that the marks of redaction effectively remove crucial information from the public record, they cannot help but add to that record through their own blank, mute testimony. In this paper, I offer a theory of the aesthetics of redaction through close consideration of two texts. I begin by discussing the 2005 National Security Agency brief “Redacting with Confidence,” which offers technical guidelines for obscuring sensitive information within digital files so that they can be circulated over computer networks. I read “Redacting with Confidence” alongside Jenny Holzer’s Redaction Paintings, a 2006 series that consists of often heavily redacted government documents from the War on Terror, reproduced and recolored to produce a complex contrast of bright colors and thick, dark blacks.
A Hack of One's Own: UX & Virtual Classroom Software, Kathi Inman Berens
Synchronicity is the sine qua non of the small seminar experience whether virtual, embodied or hybrid. This talk examines the "procedural rhetoric" (Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games) of the virtual classroom software (VCS) with which I've experimented in four semesters teaching seminars predominantly in VCS. I sought to discover whether there are unique properties of embodied and virtual learning. There are; but those properties are platform and setting specific, not inherent to human behavior. VCS is designed to accommodate remote learners. But some of my students want the social experience of being in the same room while using VCS. It's a use case the user experience (UX) designers would have had little cause to anticipate, and it occasions a reimagination of the software's purpose. What are students getting by being simultaneously face-to-face and communally virtual? How is it different than meeting f2f with each person online individually? The first half of my talk discusses VCS mods my students and I have made and why. The second half examines the neo-liberal dynamic in which VCS is deployed: university classroom and course management software is, among other things, a surveillance tool with discursive agendas.
Paradoxes of Private Information and Change: Possibilities with the Mobile in India and Nepal, Harshavardhan Bhat
When you buy a mobile SIM card in Nepal, you complete a form with your biometric details – it’s one of the few countries in the world that follows the practice of taking a finger print upon the purchase of a SIM. In India, the government takes the issue of identification of mobile users very seriously. Operators are obliged to execute a certain standard in demanding private information such as your identity and address. India has recently also undertaken a massive National Identification Project which will over the years document and establish identity numbers backed with biometric data for millions. The consequences of these processes are incredible and vast. This paper tracks some of the leading debates from the mobile revolution in Nepal and India to shed light on some of the shifting lines, fractures and rifts between the public and the private in the media realms considering the growing digitization of the masses. It also takes note of the information empowerment in progress of the very same masses it talks about.
Envy, a "Private Novel" by Elfriede Jelinek in the WWW. PPP - Private Public Partnership of the Author and her Readers in the Digital Medium, Hanno Biber and Evelyn Breiteneder
Elfriede Jelinek was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004 "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power". This power is visible and experienceable in a literary highly significant text which is locked up for the public by being made accessible for the public. In the case of “Envy” the author gives away her text by remaining in control of it. Nobody is allowed to copy the text without permission and everybody may download the text as they please. Writing a text and reading a text are private experiences, but the act of distribution is public and usually controlled by powerful institutions. On 3 March 2007 Elfriede Jelinek made the first chapter of her text available to the worldwide public on her website www.elfriedejelinek.com. The “private novel” addresses issues of the author’s personal experiences and attitudes, of a writer who, as a public figure, is very concerned with her privacy, thus reflecting the theme of the text also by means of the text’s publication method.
Quality as a Community Norm: On YouTube And Beyond, Elettra Bietti
User-based internet platforms are changing our understanding of “quality”: from a value shaped by experts in closed hierarchical spaces to one shaped by internet users and software developers in a more open, yet not more transparent, digital landscape. “Quality curation” on the internet is both more public, and more private than offline; both more malleable and less controllable by lay internet users. The potential for increased transparency is immense but not achieved. What is the best understanding of “quality” on the internet and what does it entail for the design of internet platforms? This paper answers this question through the study of quality accreditation in user-generated online video, by contrasting YouTube and Vimeo’s designs. It argues that “quality” is only meaningful in its public dimension, as a notion to be questioned in public through open, conscious debates. Quality is not what results from un-transparent collaborative filtering algorithms, or the algebraic sum of isolated users’ walled experiences. The paper explains why the distinction is important, explores a variety of ways through which quality is regulated online and suggests solutions for policy-makers and web designers to strike the right balance between quality curation and users’ private experiences when designing user-based platforms.
Media Technologies and the Development of Post-War Public Spheres of Production, Mats Bjorkin
Long before internet and social media, post-war Western corporations created a particular public / private sphere based on particular media technologies. Early 20th century management and industrial production methods in the Fordist tradition tried to develop strictly regulated and indisputable procedures for machines and humans alike. The background for this paper is how media technologies -- film, television, radio, journals, slide shows, sound slides, posters, exhibitions -- were incorporated in corporate social activities -- training programs, courses, lectures, seminars, meetings, individual coaching, orders. Where trade unions saw manipulative inhuman control by capitalist power, industry leaders and management consultants saw inefficient involvement by personal experience and entertainment. Based on a particular case study, this paper uses the flanellgraph, the conference room, and management role-play simulations. This set-up is fairly representative of what at the time was seen as the most modern way of developing shared knowledge of visions and strategies, new regulations, new methods, improved safety and efficiency. It is also where experiences of the public (democratic institutions and debates as well as news and entertainment media) and the private (family life, fantasies, emotions, non-professional competencies) interfered with corporate practices. This paper thus argues that uses of (potentially) interactive media technologies together with workers' personal experience of media created a kind of human-material resistance against dominating corporate uses of media forms such as films, printed media, and traditional foremen's orders.
Being Effie: The Hunger Games and War as a Form of Entertainment Media Consumption, Bridget M. Blodgett and Anastasia Salter
Suzanne Collins’s young adult novel, The Hunger Games, has become a transmedia production with a large online community of prosumer fans. The Hunger Games world echoes the "global village," as the spectacle of children in combat is broadcast throughout the fictional world for the consumption of an attentive audience. Even as we are invited to recoil at the avid viewers enjoying the spectacle of the games, we ourselves are not participants but watchers, the public reveling in the private anxiety and struggles of the Games’ participants. Participants place their private experiences in a public lens, turning their own gaze into a lens for shared media experience. Suzanne Collins’s novel works as a critique of this illusion, as the watchers within her novel, represented by Effie and the Capitol citizenry, safely share in the perceived thrill of danger. In the world of The Hunger Games, surveillance is televised in an illusion of democracy.
The Blurring of the Distinction between Public and Private in Social Campaigns on the Web,
The rapid growth of new media has encouraged companies, organisations and governments to become more and more present on the Web. Social campaigns are no exceptions to this trend, as they now tend to incorporate various Web platforms, which cause changes to their process of creation. Consequently, it is important to study these new social campaigns in order to better understand and maximize their impact in society. To do so, we studied three social campaigns’ Websites through critical content analysis and individual interviews and observations with young adults aged 18 to 25. We approached the analysis through persuasion theories and media influence theories. While studying these social campaigns, we noticed the involvement of private companies in social campaigns as sponsors or partners. The participation of private interests in public causes resonated quite strongly with our participants who helped us establish some of the guidelines needed for such a partnership to work and be well received by the public. We also noticed a growing link between social campaigns and social media: platforms on social media are used to encourage participation and increase an organisation’s visibility. This new method of participation also seems to come with constraints and limits imposed by users. Hence, we tried to understand, amongst other things, the conditions of personal engagement through such a public space as social media.
Big Data and the Ontology of Media Use – Theorizing the Digital Self in Database Economies, Göran Bolin
The techniques for aggregating data on media users in the age of pervasive and ubiquitous personal media (laptops, smartphones, but also credit cards / swipe cards and RFID), build on large aggregates of data analyzed by algorithms that transform data into commercial action. While the former built on sociological variables such as age, sex, ethnicity, education, and media preferences, the latter build on consumer choice, geographical position, Web movement, and pattern recognition (detection of non-representational, purely aleatory correlations). We need to ask what consequences this has for the ontology of the audience (as statistical aggregate) and the media user (as social subject). Based in qualitative research on media users (focus groups), this paper will discuss the implications of perpetual surveillance of the media user as a "digital consumer" in public as well as private spaces, and how the "digital self" produced by user movement in digital space gets increasingly separated from the social subject engaging in produsage through smartphones, tablet computers, kindles, and connected media use more generally. What are the changed perceptions of media users implicated by this increased knowledge change in data gathering for the media user him / herself? What consequences would this have for the perception of self as citizen and / or consumer? What are the consequences of geo-local surveillance for our thinking around public space? How do massive surveillance techniques impact on privacy concerns, as perceived by media users?
How Institutional Terms of Service Restrict Collaborative Newswork, Jan Lauren Boyles
Historically, media institutions owned the raw materials of journalistic labor. Within today’s news ecosystem, however, intellectual property claims are increasingly murky. Pressured by market forces to curate the audience’s work, professional news practitioners routinely meld user-generated text, photographs, audio and video into emergent genres of multimedia, bearing more multifaceted layers of copyright than ever before. Legally, terms of service agreements govern the digital artifacts produced from such pro-am collaboration. While these jargon-loaded, verbose statements act to fortify the legal protections of journalistic institutions, the agreements can also result in the usurpation of copyright protections from citizen journalists. This paper explores the specific terms of service provisions forwarded by America’s elite broadcast and print media outlets. The results illustrate that hegemonic news institutions are subsuming intellectual property rights acquired through the process of collaborative news production. In profiling this emergent interplay between professional and amateur journalists, the research will also forward best practices that may ameliorate such intellectual property battles, thereby vivifying the spirit of audience engagement as an essential part of modern newswork in the digital age.
Personal Performance Machines: Listening Interventions in the Public Soundscape, Alex Braidwood
Urban soundscapes contain a great deal of unwanted sound resulting from the people who make up these communities along with the services, functions and infrastructure that make living in these places possible. The pervasive use of headphones and personal stereos by users of these spaces demonstrates a desire of many individuals to maintain control over a personal listening experience within the city. This paper presents a series of design projects that build on this desire while leaving behind the tendency for masking, blocking and canceling unwanted sounds. The projects are critical investigations of the urban soundscape that utilize different features of infrastructure and densely populated communities to create unique, wearable audio performance machines. The designed object and the resulting experience form an inquiry that investigates aspects of communication, participation, orientation, ecology and expression within these sonically dense spaces. Instead of covering up or blocking out noise, these listening interventions provide a different way of engaging with the audio elements of the built environment by creating unique, expressive personal experiences directly from the public urban soundscape
Programmed Publics: Algorithms and Networked Culture, Taina Bucher
The connectivity and network culture of social media platforms have shifted our conceptions about the nature of public and private. In a media environment that increasingly cultivates calculated real-time messaging, personalization and probabilistic targeting, the question is how we may think about the fate of a public culture today? Addressing such questions as what community means in a personalized world, and how algorithms shape the conditions for public communication, this presentation thinks through the implications algorithms have on our understanding of public, publicity and publicness. If public traditionally signifies collectivities characterized by shared sociality and shared identity, how can we make sense of new "programmed publics" that are characterized not so much by sameness, but rather by personalized worldviews and flows of information
From Networks of Affiliation to Ad Hoc Publics: Mapping the Australian Twittersphere, Jean Burgess and Axel Bruns
This paper maps networks of affiliation and interest in the Australian Twittersphere and explores their structural relationships to a range of issues-based ad hoc publics (Bruns, Burgess 2011). Using custom network crawling technology, we have conducted a snowball crawl of Twitter accounts operated by Australian users to identify more than one million users and their follower / followee relationships, and have mapped their interconnections. In itself, the map provides an overview of the major clusters of densely interlinked users, largely cenetred on shared topics of interest (from politics through parenting to arts and sport) and/or socio-demographic factors (geographic origins, age groups). Our map of the Twittersphere is the first of its kind for the Australian part of the global Twitter network, and also provides a first independent and scholarly estimation of the size of the total Australian Twitter population. In combination with our investigation of participation patterns in specific thematic hashtags, the map also enables us to examine which areas of the underlying follower / followee network are activated in the discussion of specific current topics – allowing new insights into the extent to which particular topics and issues are of interest to specialized niches or to the Australian public more broadly. Finally, we investigate the circulation of links to the articles published by a number of major Australian news organizations across the network.
Pirate Politics in European Social Movements, Patrick Burkart
The Swedish Pirate Party broke through from an incipient social movement of male software programmers and file-sharing geeks to formal political representation quickly, with a "free culture" message that is in conflict with the European Union's legal system. The coincidence of The Pirate Bay's takedown and the surge of youthful membership in the Pirate Party demonstrates that participation in music and media sharing contains a political ideology with a mobilizing force. Protecting the legal basis of openness and free speech online is a moral and political project for the Pirates. The German Greens seem a likely historical precedent for the movement. I explore the idea that the Pirates and Greens are filial movements sharing a similar moral consciousness and an explicit ecological project based on moral and economic notions of a public domain. Drawing from Habermas (1984, 1987), I argue that pirate politics is uniquely centered on expanding "communicative rationality," taken here to mean shared, intersubjective, noninstrumental forms of sociality.
Social Network Sites, Virtual States, and Corporate Responsibility, Thorsten Busch
In terms of their institutional design and the regulatory role they play on their respective online territories, social network sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Twiter, and today's big online gaming platforms (Steam, PlayStation Network, XBox Live Arcade, etc.) have become virtual states (Busch 2013), nations (Baym 2011), or “sovereigns of cyberspace” (MacKinnon 2012). SNSs today effectively control their online turf the way a state would govern its territory, taking on the role of legislative body, executive branch, and judiciary at the same time. However, one crucial difference, at least from a legal and ethical perspective, is that Web 2.0 companies are privately owned and therefore lack democratic legitimacy (Busch 2011; Lastowka 2010; MacKinnon 2012; York 2010). This paper will examine the regulatory role of SNSs from a corporate responsibility perspective. Business ethicists have discussed the political role of multi-national corporations extensively, but thus far have largely ignored digital environments. Therefore, this paper will use the aforementioned body of literature in order to explore the regulatory role of SNSs, using "platforms" (Gillespie 2010) such as Facebook and online gaming networks as case studies.
How Do Italian University Students See and Use Facebook: Is it Private, Public, or Both?
Nicola Cavalli, Paolo Ferri, Arianna Mainardi, Andrea Mangiatordi, Marina Micheli, Andrea Pozzali and Francesca Scenini
In this paper, we present the result of a research we performed during the academic year 2011-2012 on a sample of 2433 undergraduate students of the University of Milan-Bicocca. The research was based on a questionnaire and specifically focused on the overall media diet of university students, the relationship between old and new media, and the attitude towards the so-called social web. Particular attention was given to Facebook, given its increasing popularity among university students, and its being a salient example of a "networked public" (boyd, 2007), where the traditional boundaries between private and public space needs to be reexamined. As Shirky (2010) noted, media used to be divided into public media and private media, but now this distinction does not makes sense anymore. By looking at how the students in our sample tend to use Facebook, and how they manage their privacy settings, we can clearly see this overlapping between the private and the public sphere. Even if there is a certain awareness of the privacy issues on Facebook, this sites seems to be used primarilyt for private purposes.
Mobile Media Dependency: Private Consumption in Public Spaces, Yi-Fan Chen
Mobile media users develop strong attachments to their devices and feel anxiety when they are without their devices. It is important to understand the dependency between mobile media users and their devices. This paper utilized Melvin DeFleur and Sandra Ball-Rokeach's (1976) media dependency theory to understand why mobile media users developed dependencies on their devices in public spaces. Based on DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach's (1989) typology of the individual mass media dependency relations, this paper further examines how mobile media users depend on their devices in the public and its implications for future studies. Results include that mobile media users depended on their devices to build their self-identities and group identities. They also used the devices to block unwanted interactions and coordinate with their family members and friends in the public.
Experimental Writing as Private Media, Natalia Cecire
Deductive reasoning compels assent through logic and internal consistency. Relying on no appeals to testimony or witness, it raises no crisis around the delimitation of private and public spaces or who belongs in them, at least not in principle. Experimental modes of knowledge-production, in contrast, require the witnessing of more or less controlled events in time and space – experiments – and relative consensus as to their import. As Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer argued in their landmark study Leviathan and the Air-Pump, experimental knowledge therefore depends crucially on questions of public and private, mediation, and representation. This talk will examine recent "experimental writing." In particular, I will suggest that experimental writing brings with it the same crisis of public and private inherent in experimental knowledge-production, and I'll argue that this crisis helps to explain the contradictions between experimentalism's claims to clarity, simplicity, and direct access to language, on the one hand, and the charges of obscurity, difficulty, and elitism that are regularly leveled at it, on the other. Reading poems by Lisa Robertson, I'll suggest that experimental writing functions as a kind of "private media" that seeks to multiply witnesses, yet does so in ways that propagate internally and obscurely -- always, in cultivating too few or the wrong witnesses, risking the status of abomination of knowledge.
Out of the Public Eye?: The Interaction Between Public and Private Persona and its implications for the interaction between Employees and Social Media Policies, Keidra Chaney and Raizel Liebler
Our presentation follows from our previous work focusing on:
- the implications of social media employee policy on those directly related to the promotion of social media for their employers and,
- imposed limitations on the use of social media by athletes on both the professional and amateur level
This presentation will focus on those that are not “public figures,” in either the legal sense or in public perception, but instead on those employees whose private lives are generally viewed as private. The online lives of these employees -- and potential employees -- are often considered by employees to be under the purview of the employment relationship. The ability for past or present behavior outside of the workplace to impact employment has always been possible. However, the present state of social media has allowed for a degree of transparency and reach of message that we’ve never before seen. Recent examples of social media activities affecting employment have included:
- teachers being fired or suspended for fully legal activities shared on social media
- the firing a controversial moderator on Reddit after he was publicly outed for his online activities
Similarly, the virulent hate speech on Twitter to the re-election of Barack Obama have at least caused schools to be notified about social media activity of students - and there is a high likelihood that similar actions will be taken to inform employers. (See Tracie Egan Morrissey, Racist Teens Forced to Answer for Tweets …, Jezebel.com, November 9, 2012) This presentation will discuss issues involving intellectual property, privacy, and the bounds of employment within personal and professional social media use.
Shared Knowledge Creation: Talking Back to Online Content, Paolo Ciccarese, Kurt Fendt, Sands Fish, Jamie Folsom, Dan Whaley
People have been annotating for as long as they’ve been reading, and when they share books, whether in print, or on screen, their notes move from the private sphere to the public and back again. Collaborative note-taking is newly relevant in the age of the networked text, and issues of privacy, ownership and access to texts and to the notes people make on them have never been more complex, or more important. This session will explore annotation in the scholarly, business and publishing realms, discuss those issues and examine the academic, cultural and ethical dimensions of taking notes on cultural artifacts, as individuals and in groups. We will discuss the confluence of several current projects, tools and trends, including but not limited to:
- h, a web annotation tool from the Hypothes.is project
- Domeo, an annotation tool for medical journals from Massachusetts General Hospital
- Open Annotation, a standards effort at the W3C
- Annotation Studio, for humanities teaching and research, from MIT
Attention will be paid to how these projects have become aware of one another, of their shared and divergent goals, and how and where they have identified opportunities to establish standards, to ensure interoperability and to collaborate. We will share some of the tools, samples of work done with them, and a survey of both formal and anecdotal data gathered that shed light on their impact, potential and limitations, as well as the methodologies that are evolving to take advantage of this new breed of tools.
Snark Sites and Blog Bites: Public / Private Consumption, Gendered Authorship, and Metadiscursive Play, Anne Ciecko
This presentation will address gendered authorship and participatory readership in websites (and related forums) that critique female bloggers engaging in sub genres of fashion / personal style, food / healthy living, “mommy,” DIY / crafting,
and hybrid self‐promotional lifestyle platforms. Employing rhetorical and textual
analysis informed by media and cultural theory, I will examine a cross-section of
examples, themes, and approaches in blog posts, respondent counterposts on
deconstructive and / or reblogging sites, and transmedia blogger rebuttals. I will closely examine the ways this discursive system invokes and constructs
largely female-coded authorship, ethics, social responsibility, and community
formation. To this end, I will discuss genealogical links with and breaks from
corporatized media gossip, and explore what’s at stake in the politics and
practices what Gajjala and Oh (2012) call "Cyberfeminism 2.0" amongst the
current generation of bloggers and counterbloggers. Finally, I hope to offer an
analysis of the subcultural textual pleasures of argot, humor, anti-branding, and
dialogue about limits of public and private online / offline behaviors and
responsible media use.
Managing Online Identity, Peter Clarke
Our online identity is often made up of diverse personas, sometimes anonymous. Our Facebook profile differs from our LinkedIn biography and our contributions to blogs or current affairs threads. This permits a space for unique creativity and a diverse means of individuals expressing themselves. Fragmented identities enable individuals to explore interests privately, and interact with media, without having that knowledge presented to the public. This freedom is being challenged by attempts to strengthen the link between individuals' online and offline personas, for example Facebook's policy regarding user names, the pressure to create one online identity as a universal means of accessing sites and a push to a limited range of passwords reduces users' freedom. The outcome may be a single federated ID or Government issued electronic ID card. This reduction of diversity exists with the increasing growth of government and corporations sifting big data to reduce anonymity further. This impacts on the diversity of opinion in the online sphere. This paper will explore the growth of online identity monitoring and clean-up services, such as Reputation.com, and services designed to protect online privacy and permit individuals to have greater control of their image online.
The Dragnet: Early Police Radio as a Mobile Communication Prototype, Mary Morley Cohen
In this presentation, I will share research on the history of early police radio, which reveals a long-standing struggle between public and private communication and which provides important insight into the origins of today’s mobile media devices and culture. When the first police radio system was developed in 1921, it utilized standard car radios installed in squad cars and broadcast police alerts over commercial stations. This allowed the general public to listen in on and get involved with police activity and conflated entertainment with surveillance. Later, when police radio utilized dedicated, private radio bands and two-way communication systems, police commanders expanded their surveillance activities to the officers themselves. Two-way radio allowed departments to collect data on response time, measure police efficiency, and impose new work standards. In my presentation, I will draw connections between this history and today’s mobile media culture to show that the legacy of early police radio is very much with us today.
Beyond Coordinates: How Tags, Tweets, and "Sharing" Ensure Findability, Heidi Ray Cooley
Our mobile devices, if not always "on" and in-hand, are quite nearly so. Not only do we continuously announce our location, but also we stream various data about routine practices, tendencies, and random moments of engagement. These streams are evidence of a mode of expressivity particular to the mobile present. They are better regarded as indices (Charles Sanders Peirce) of an impulse to self-record than as self reflection. Our devices locate us geographically. Our texts, tags, and image-sharing practices make us trackable in myriad ways by numerous others. The potential to "find" persons and information traces in geographic and abstract conceptual space alters the status and meaning of "public" and "private." Rather than conceptualize the private individual as being apart from the public sphere, even as she might choose to join in, I suggest that we think about individual persons as neurophysiological beings inclined to update continuously their status.
Three Rails Live (a combinatory video), Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg
"Three Rails Live" is a combinatory video narrative designed for installation. The collaborative data-base driven video project concerns memory, mortality, alienation, and regret. The filmmaker and authors wrote recursively, exchanging texts in response to images and images in response to texts, evolving themes such as "Landscape and Fate,” "Death by Snake,” "Toxic", "Flight,” and "Flood." Spoken word narrative and image are then assembled and juxtaposed by the system into segmented stories such as "Empty Glass," "Between Stations" and "Passing Cars.” These reconfiguring fragments are interrupted by "perverbs,” in which proverb fragments combine oddly familiar but corrupted phrases such as, "where there's smoke, there's mirrors" or "nothing ventured makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Running continuously, the system never generates the same narrative in the same order twice, but nevertheless produces a coherent holistic story of a man's late search for meaning among the detritus of his life and environment. The project offers an innovative approach to narrative storytelling while addressing several of the conference themes, such as those of "anxieties of the private in film, television, literature,” and "the spatial turn in media,” both in content and form. A sample on vimeo (recorded of the screen - as it has not fixed form) is at: http://vimeo.com/56775939.
Unknown Territories (interactive documentary project; format: installation), Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg
Unknown Territories combines linear and interactive cinema and visual research on scrolling and panoramic Web environments. In Unknown Territories, users create paths among mythic and actual landscapes of the desert west. The project crosses history -- beginning with how John Wesley Powell pictured the arid West for an expanding nation, contrasting this with Edward Abbey's books depicting an environmental vision gone wrong, and arriving at perspectives upon desert conditions of our time, with special attention given to relationships between science, use and artistic imagination. In looking at relationships between digital interface and spatial practices the project asks, how do interactive formats expand ways to understand how places are imagined, encountered, represented and re-imagined? The original interactive approach offers viewers something unique in cinema: choice-making. A virtual environment draws viewers into a film editor's process of weaving materials together. The materials are organized in modules on topics such as discovery and native land use, water use, the uranium boom, and the marketing of nature. The modules combine to make longer works -- short documentaries aligned on maps in installation form and feature works for cinema and DVD. Developed in segments over a 5 year period, the project centrally explores the theme of "the spatial turn in media.” Segments of this large project have been reviewed and featured in journals such as Electronic Book review, Reconstructions, Electronic Literature Collection and Arid as well as in the books, Switching Codes (Chicago) and Advances in Visual Research Methods (Sage). The project URL is: http://unknownterritories.org.
Surveillance, Identity and Public Spaces, Carlotta Cossutta and Arianna Mainardi
For Hannah Arendt, the public space is the space in which may lead to the identity, the "who" of a human being through action. The public space is, in the words of Arendt, a table that puts us in communication with each other. In this space, the action -- unpredictable, free and creative -- can emerge revealing ourselves to those around us, to his eyes and ours. The public space described by Arendt, therefore, is characterized as an area of freedom, which is essential for the construction of identity. How changes this public space with the introduction of surveillance techniques increasingly pervasive? It manages to keep its possibility or something changes? Our discourse aims to examine the relationship between public space (both physical and digital) and surveillance: if it is true that public space is a stage on which to reveal the identity, it is also true that our "performance" is strongly influenced by the normalizing look that lie behind each camera. At the same time, however, the surveillance provides us with a new stage, in which its strong normalizing tendency can produce new and unexpected forms of resistance, new and different actions. Our goal is to investigate, through a gender perspective, the various forms of surveillance – from cameras to tracking systems -- and the way in which they intervene in the relationship between identity and public space.
When Page Views Rule Everything Around Me: The Tension Between Public Tools, Private Media, And Who Pays The Price, Tressie McMillan Cottom
Rapidly changing social forces challenge the centralized bureaucratic nature of "old" media. Consequently, many organizations are adopting new media tools that can be diametrically opposed to the functioning of its organizational structure. These tensions drive media organizations to court attention that would transform the lived realities of marginalized groups into page views. For example, in 2012 The Chronicle of Higher Education hired a conservative writer with a history of combative punditry. When her racialized attacks on black graduate students generated a backlash, The Chronicle responded that the content was "just a blog" and therefore beyond the scope of media and academic dictates. That response essentializes the complex dance organizations enact as they try to adopt public tools while rationalizing away the risk of those tools. I analyze examples of media organizations failing to understand the risks of the "page views rule everything around me" ethos, with particular attention to the organizational challenges and social structures. I argue that in adopting new media tools designed for public, decentralized knowledge production, private media organizations also adopt tensions between the tools and the purposes for which media organizations would use them.
Kim Dotcom's Mega: Political Activism or Self-Promotion?, Virginia Crisp
There are a range of activist and political groups whose major concern is defending online privacy and Internet freedom. An instructive example within this movement is Kim Dotcom, the erstwhile head of defunct sharing site Megaupload, who presents his own interests as aligned with these organizations in a bid to promote both himself and his company. The MPAA claims that Dotcom is a thief who has profited directly from piracy, a charge he contests by claiming that through the raid of his house in January 2012 and the seizure of the Megaupload servers, his privacy has been invaded and his assets -- and those of his subscribers -- stolen. In January 2013, with a high profile theatrical event that included a re-enactment of the raid on his New Zealand mansion, Dotcom launched the successor to Megaupload, Mega. Mega, a cloud sharing platform, has one defining difference to Megaupload because through their User Controlled Encryption (UCE) system no one at Mega (or their audaciously titled parent company, The Privacy Company) can see or access the files that are hosted within their system. This is presented as a tactic to protect the consumer's privacy but it has the associated benefit of distancing Dotcom and his partners from the responsibility for exactly what is hosted on their servers. This paper makes the argument that through the company name, the launch event, the company website, Dotcom's personal website and his personal twitter feed, Dotcom repeatedly references privacy and freedom of speech so as to align his personal concerns with those of a wider political movement. It argues that this is merely a rhetorical strategy that legitimizes his actions, protects him from further legislation and encourages consumers that simply signing up to Mega is a form of political activism.
AddressKnown: Geo-location Based Stories, Place and Public / Private Memories, Giuliana Cucinelli
This presentation will introduce AddressKnown.ca, a research creation project dedicated to collecting personal memories based on common locations within Montreal's Park Extension neighborhood. The interactive website (which we are calling a location-based web documentary) includes portraits on Park Extension citizens who are actively involved with the community at various levels. The purpose of this presentation is to draw from the documentary to provide insight on the relationship between citizens, community affordances, GPS information, and public / private memories. Another important aspect of this project is to provide context to GPS information and location, to give a greater sense of place and placeness (Relph, 1976). With an overabundance of GPS information and maps circulating on spaces such as Google Maps and Open Maps, too often users ignore the cultural fabric of the community and its relationship to the populated areas (Massey, 2005). AddressKnown brings together locations, people and stories to emphasize the importance of active citizens in a community.
User-Reviews of History Films: Private Criticism in the Public Sphere, Eileen Culloty
The paper examines how the informal and private character of online film reviewing both supplements and disrupts mass media representations of political history. The normative theory of a public sphere is based on the idea of private citizens coming together as a public. Within this sphere, the critic has traditionally been cast as an arbiter of good taste who educates and informs the public about the value of art and entertainment. Public commentators and historians similarly occupy an expert role by conferring legitimacy or otherwise on film representations. In recent years, however, the popularity of user-review websites, such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), has challenged the authority of such elite perspectives. Surveying IMDb reviews of recent historical films, the paper relates how user-reviewing can deepen and disrupt media representations of political history by opening them up to cross-cultural accounts of personal experience and memory. This raises further questions about whose opinions are reflected online and how largely anonymous claims about personal experience are assessed by online readers.
How to Gain Knowledge when Data Are Shared? Open Government Data from a Media Pedagogical Perspective, Valentin Dander
Big data has become one of the dominant codes of describing society. Public services are sharing Open Government Data (OGD) as public goods. Academic interest so far focused on political, technical and organizational issues. In contrary, educational research has been widely neglecting OGD. I argue that contemporary media pedagogy needs to consider this development in research and practice, engaging in the crucial question how data can turn into knowledge. In this talk, potentials of OGD use in terms of learning, subject transformation – i.e. education (Bildung) in a structural understanding – will be introduced and illustrated in order to draw consequences on a conceptual level, discussing possible objectives for media pedagogy like data and media literacy, numeracy and picturacy (Kress 2004). As empirical basis for those considerations preliminary data from a study on numeral and multimodal use of OGD in informal settings will be presented. Participant observations and focused interviews with Austrian juveniles allow to critically analyze knowledge transfers and their effects on subjectivity within a dispositive analysis approach (Jäger & Maier 2009).
The Privatization of the Private on Reality TV, June Deery
Reality TV clearly capitalizes on the frisson that comes with turning more of the private into the public and it does so by maintaining and transgressing previous distinctions rather than simply eradicating them. To understand this process, my paper begins by examining the current meanings and etymological origins of "private" and "public," particularly their link to accessibility and personal property. This leads to an examination of the commercial forces at work in the privatization of private life on reality television, privatization referring to commercialization within a neoliberal market economy. The result, I demonstrate, is that "private" comes to indicate the commercial as well as the intimate and "public" becomes the publicized rather than civic. The bulk of this paper looks at the professionalization of personal relationships (replacing family and friends with paid consultants), the depoliticization of the public realm (the erasure of wider sociopolitical contexts), and the commodification of all kinds of intimate emotional labor, including class tourism (displaying the private lives of rednecks, gypsies, etc.). It concludes by considering multiplatformicity as a further complication of the private and the public in contemporary media.
Online and Offline Boundaries in a Corporate Community, Jeroen de Vos
Communication technologies offer on the one hand many opportunities to always stay connected; but on the other hand they are an equally important instrument in regulating, organizing and shutting off social connections. What role do communication technologies have in the creation of social proximity within a corporate community? To answer this question, the article is based on qualitative research within a group of young tech-savvy people, who are working together in a corporation called SETUP. The goal of this fieldwork was to gain in-depth insights in the way young tech-savvy people relate to newly offered opportunities to structure their online and offline social environment. They, each in their own way, struggle with defining social boundaries between "them" and "the other," between a "colleague" and a "friend" or between "us" and "them." Communication technologies are additional tools to ensure these ever existing privacy boundaries are maintained in new ways beyond borders of online and offline.
Data Laundering: Visibility and the Politics of Being Counted, Kevin Driscoll
Conflicts regarding privacy and publicity in online spaces tend to focus on individual actors and artifacts -- the appearance or disappearance of an embarrassing photo from Google Image Search, for example -- but the increasing use of social media data to produce quantitative reports, charts, and graphs invites us to think about privacy and publicity at a broader scale. Summary statistics rarely identify individual users but the traces of micro-scale interactions are aggregated and combined into mass-scale representations such as crime maps and sentiment meters that are purchased and reproduced by news media as objective reflections of lived experience. The 2012 U.S. general election offers a unique case for thinking about privacy and publicity in the aggregation of mass-scale social media data. In the months leading up to election day, news reports on the use of Twitter by candidates, campaigns, and critics were often accompanied by bar charts, pie graphs, timelines, and infographics purported to make visible the everyday ebb and flow of political talk. On one hand, such abundant coverage of a service used by only 16% of adult internet users in the U.S. reminds us of the large volume of talk on message boards, listservs, and text messages that remains private by virtue of its relative obscurity. On the other, the semi-automated visualization of political talk performs a kind of "laundering" function on data that is, by all accounts, extremely difficult to interpret algorithmically. By reverse engineering these uses of trace data, we can better understand the contours of publicity and visibility, privacy and invisibility in semi-public online spaces.
Public Culture, Private Infrastructure: Alternative Histories of the Internet, Kevin Driscoll
Popular cultures flourish online amid sites and services that use a standard set of communication protocols — specifically, HTTP and TCP/IP — to interconnect. The triumph of this particular architecture is that it makes the dynamic process of routing packets through intermediary networks and gateways feel like a simple, direct connection. In spite of its many practical advantages, however, this arrangement obscures changes to the internet's material substrata that may actually be disagreeable to its users — such as the quiet transition from regional dial-up services to nationwide broadband providers in the early-2000s. Although popular culture provides much of the internet's value, everyday users have little say in the development of its infrastructure. To consider how infrastructures and users might be positioned differently, this paper examines two early North American computer networks in use during the 1980s. The first is ARPANET, the standard metonym for a nascent internet, and the second is FidoNet, a transnational network of dial-up bulletin-board systems run out of the homes of hobbyist volunteers. While the ARPANET family of computer networks was built and maintained with public funds, during the 1980s it remained effectively private to all but a very few researchers and students affiliated with elite institutions. FidoNet, in contrast, was made up of thousands of privately owned and operated systems that were accessible to anyone with a personal computer and a modem. The tensions between public and private, ownership and accessibility in ARPANET and FidoNet offer alternative imaginaries of the everyday user's relationship to internet infrastructure.
“Are You Ready to Join?”: Free Culture and the Dynamics of Permissibility in Private Music BitTorrent Trackers, Blake Durham
The regulation of membership and access in private BitTorrent trackers, often justified as a necessary precaution against detection by regulatory and industry enforcement agencies, is symptomatic of the complex and hierarchical social configurations of file-sharing communities. While the evolution of the BitTorrent model has been implicitly informed by the ‘free culture’ movement, which proclaims that the exclusive power of copyright holders to limit the circulation and modification of intellectual property inevitably constrains creative expression, this paper will draw on ethnographic research on a private music BitTorrent tracker in arguing that its interview process and share ratio system contribute to the institution of free culture’s negation, a ‘permission culture’: access to the community and the shared music files is only granted after the demonstration of advanced technical knowledge, adequate understanding of the community’s conventions, and a commitment to active participation through an extensive interview with a senior member of the community. Furthermore, the strict and immutable policing of the share ratio -- except during designated “freeleach” occasions, or through the gifting of unmetered download tokens by site administrators -- engenders a structure of distribution whereby the power to grant or limit access to files is held by the tracker’s administrators. In light of recent work on the economies of piracy, these file-sharing communities are demonstrated to represent not an inversion of capitalistic culture industries but the creation of alternative but equally hierarchized inequalities of access.
The Allegory of the Bunker (History as Television), Staffan Ericson
This paper focuses on television as a site of collective memory and historical representation, through an analysis of the opening sequence of Cold War, the CNN documentary series in 24 episodes (1998). Each episode starts from the location of a deserted bunker, with the camera's eye situated in the depths of a dark tunnel / cave. At the other end, silhouettes are opening a door, peeking in with flashlights. The underground walls are all screens, covered with moving images: authentic scenes from Cold War history, chronologically organized, projected over one another. In twenty seconds, the scanning camera eye moves from the depths of the dark / past to the blinding light of the door / present, which serves as the backdrop to the series title: Cold War. This "allegory of the bunker" (c.f. Plato's "allegory of the cave") may serve, it is suggested, as a space-time configuration of television as a mnemotechnical system. The starting point of the paper is the apparently paradoxical status of television: a medium insisting on presentness and simultaneity, while also, and increasingly, serving as a provider of cultural memory. More specifically, the paper will discuss the chronicle's specific ways of editing past, present and future by mixing "still" and "automatic" time (a distinction first proposed by Richard Dienst). The narrativizing of Cold War-history (the television chronicle) and the spatialization of anticipated events (the bunker) are both found to be constructed in the tense of a future anterior ("what will have happened"). Today, it is suggested, this allegory may serve as the "after-image" of two recently lost objects, history and television, but also as an indicator of a recent increase the dominant media logic's orientation towards the future, a shift that Richard Grusin has termed "pre-mediation.”
Video Surveillance: Design and Control of Public Space in Mexico City, Dolly Espinola
Video surveillance represents a privileged instrument in the development of security policies and the creation of scenarios of power legitimacy, social order and the efficiency of government’s action. The use of video surveillance systems faces problems derived from the design criteria for the processing of information that is recorded, and those that arise from the social impact on the redefinition of the boundaries between the public and the private spaces and the fundamental rights of citizens. This paper presents some elements that help to understand how the use of video surveillance in the context of violence prevailing in Mexico, is placed within the framework of the development of the economic policy, that since the 90’s, has been privileged in Mexico’s neoliberal model. In this context, policies that support surveillance technology can be understood as a strategy that under the discourse of technological efficiency conceals the inability of the government to guarantee the conditions of security to which citizens are entitled. In Mexico City there are more than 15,000 video surveillance cameras. For the government of the city the technology deployment is considered a strategic response to the rise of criminality and for the last six years it has been a priority of security policies.
Digital Öffentlichkeit, Dan Faltesek
In Louis Brandies' famous quote "Sunlight is the best disinfectant" there is a nested theory of the public sphere: exposure of relevant facts to dialectical judgment is perhaps the best technique for achieving the public good. It is this idea, that exposure and debate might produce better decisions at work in what has come to be known as the public sphere. Much of what has come to characterize criticism of big data and surveillance relies on a conception of privacy that is at odds with a concept of publicity in public culture, which is problematic. This is particularly true when privacy, ownership, and control are elided into a single form of self-control. In this paper, I argue that in the way that interpersonal communication research has displaced privacy with self-disclosure (the groundbreaking work of Sandra Petronio). Media studies should dispense with privacy as a central concern and turn toward disclosure toward publicity (and thus rhetoric) as the grounding point for theory and criticism. Re-reading public sphere theory as being concerned with the procession of
disclosures, debates, and networks that characterize social media offers important insights into how publics and counter-publics form, and their potential for using social media as a publicity mechanism.
Participation and Public Data: Brazilian Open Data Apps as Cultural Manifestations, Marcelo Fontoura
The increasing flow of data and information on the Networked Society (CASTELLS, 2001), together with new behaviors in the audiences – active and connected –, leads us to the emergence of dynamic, interdisciplinary, convergent and worth-exploring media phenomenon. This paper analyzes digital apps, developed by citizens through public databases, in a scene of interrelation between public and private information. We focus on understanding, through studying three Brazillian examples, how those manifestations happen in this connected context, but also in a developing country. Based on the assumptions of Williams (2005), stating that there is not any technology not related to a historical process, and of Morley (2007) and Winocur (2009), which argument about the rituality and symbolism related to technology, we develop a study about technologic appropriations. These are citizen media, in an intersection with computing, but in democracy-related practices. Firstly, we associate, by a historical reconstruction, the increase in the flow of information in society – also concerning the circulation of data about government – with the development of the means of communication, so we can understand the historical precedents of the current stage of openness and circulation of information. Next, we describe and categorize the different variations of this phenomenon, to better address its implications, since it is a multifaceted manifestation, with different uses of public data. This is a bottom-up object and an example of a cultural appropriation of technology and public data, in a connected environment.
Listening and Empathizing: Advocating for New Management Logics in Marketing and Corporate Communications, Sam Ford
Among the managerial logics employed by corporate employees charged with creating media texts and communicating directly with external audiences, the actual communication experience of those audience members is rarely a primary focus. Instead, the "audience" is often discussed as an abstraction, a statistic, a target, a recipient, or even as a nuisance to be avoided, silenced, or otherwise dealt with as efficiently as possible. For instance, soap opera writer Tom Casiello (2011, p. 275) writes that, despite an obsession with focus group results and ratings, "there wasn't a lot of focus on The Audience" as actual human beings, among soap opera writers. Within internal discussions across corporate America, companies represent current or potential customers through spreadsheets, impressions, conversions, and other easily intelligible terms. This inclination to favor audiences as statistics rather than people is even more pervasive outside creative industries, where corporate leaders often rise from financial divisions of the business and business performance is primarily discussed in numbers rather than words. Mark Deuze (2010) writes, "The problem of contemporary media work, as felt and experienced by its practitioners, is management." In my own consulting work, employees have regularly voiced frustration with coordinating external communications efforts across the organization, because of the divergent range of logics by which each department is governed and because of how distanced from the actual end audience most employees become. My work explores these internal tensions and challenges as companies seek to create new practices for managing external communications in response to the rise in communication on digital platforms, where more forms of corporate communications are becoming mediated and where customers and other external audiences are more frequently using media channels to communicate about companies.
An Open Source Project for Politics: Visions of Democracy in American Pirate Parties, Martin Fredriksson
Since the first pirate party was formed in Sweden in 2006, similar parties have spread across the world. This presentation draws on a study of the culture and ideology of copyright resistance that involves a series of interviews with representatives of pirate parties in USA and Canada. The study looks into what ideas, ideals and aspirations motivate active pirate party members in North America and how this relates to traditional values of a modern, democratic society such as freedom of speech, respect for private property and the public access to culture and information. This presentation discusses if and how pirate politics challenges the established distinctions between the private and the public that the political and economic order enforces. Does a movement that relies so much on global networking and celebrates the principles of swarm intelligence and open source collaboration as the future of democracy also convey a new relationship between public and private? How would, in that case, such a public sphere be defined and situated: who would be excluded and how would it relate to old conceptions of citizenship and interact with existing political institutions?
Sonographic Youth: Fetal Ultrasounds, Photo Albums, and National Affiliation, Erica Fretwell
By bouncing sound waves off a fetus that a transducer translates into an electronic image, ultrasound technology renders a barely discernable, ghostly object. Over the past twenty years feminist critics have addressed a variety of issues surrounding the sonogram: its influence on the politics of reproduction, its ability to police the female body, and its pervasiveness in popular American culture. However, their focus on gender and reproduction elides the logics of racial difference that are tethered just as tightly to the sonogram. This paper seeks to inhabit the liminal space where sonographic logic bleeds into photographic logic, where fetuses take on the aura of babies, where innocence and invisibility become imbricated. The sonogram is a graphic rendering of a fetal body that the technology itself renders non-corporeal, invisible, or transparent. As a result, the fetal sonogram embodies the intersections among technology’s alleged value-neutral innocence, visual epistemologies that understand race to be located on the skin’s surface, and notions of citizenship that extend beyond the merely legal. Drawing from Laura Wexler’s work on the “innocent eye” of nineteenth-century sentimentality, this paper asks, how does the sonogram’s figuration as a not yet written and “un-coded” sentimental object blind us to the racial politics that it underscores? Parsing the relationships among family albums, notions of technological innocence, and what Nicholas Mirzoeff calls “seeing racially,” this paper begins a conversation about the kind of social engagements, cultural transformations, and “imagined communities” that the fetal sonogram enables. In short, I seek to theorize the relationship between visuality and citizenship at the turn of the millennium by examining the cultural logic that reads fetal sonograms as family photographs, transparent flesh as white skin, and developing bodies as unborn American citizens.
Personal Media vs. Social Media, Albert Frigo
This paper argues that the rise of social media has in fact obscured the spontaneous and experimental instances of personal media typical of the Web 1.0 era, instances that were preceded by much individuals-oriented research such as that on wearable and affective computing. These instances have, to a great extent, meant an avant-garde-like pioneering of the potential of personal media which social media has limited to an "integrative" and "standardized" template to which all users has to comply to. This research illustrates a comparative analysis of the Web 1.0 user crafted personal media (also definable as artistic or experimental life-logging) and the imposed one of social media. The comparison has come to the conclusion that, while social media has indeed a broader yet arguable networking possibility (do users really become more friendly with their friends on a social media site?), the former is a far more open ended game which might get the users to be more engaged with oneself. In addition this paper takes the side of researchers such as Lev Manovich, pointing the fact that social media is yet again just another form of mass media.
Street Scenes: Surveillance, Immigration, and the Algerian War in Paris, Dawn Fulton
The division between public and private remains a key tenet of French republicanism. As the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the last two decades makes clear, this division can buttress a national self-definition based on racial, ethnic, and religious exclusion, designating cultural difference as practice that must be confined to the private sphere. The narratives of immigrants from former colonies in West Africa, North Africa, and the Caribbean thus offer particularly illuminating readings of contemporary public space in the French nation. This paper will take a few examples of such readings from recent literary texts, television, and film in order to delve into the ways in which public space, colonial history, and surveillance intersect in the encounters of immigrants – legal and illegal – with the city of Paris. I will begin by looking briefly at works by Cameroonian writer Jean-Roger Essomba, French-Algerian filmmaker Dominique Cabrera, and “beur” writer and singer Mounsi to consider the materiality of public space in these encounters before focusing in more detail on Austrian director Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Caché (Hidden). As critics have noted, Haneke’s film dramatizes the anxiety of surveillance in the contemporary moment while at the same time presenting that anxiety as inseparable from a shameful past and collective history. This paper argues that Caché’s juxtaposition of past and present moments of confrontation prompts us to reflect also on key shifts in the contours of public space as it is inhabited and mediated by the city’s racial others, with particular attention to new forms of political action and self-surveillance.
When the Private Sphere Is Hiding from the Public Sphere: Israel's' Days of Remembrance and the Sport Viewing Experience, Yair Galily and Ilan Tamir
On May 13th, 2012 Israeli sports fans were deprived of one of the season's most important soccer tournaments, after the scheduling of both legs of UEFA Champion's League semi-final matches overlapped with national days of remembrance. A week before, Israel's sports channels refused to play the first leg of semi-final matches since one of the games coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day. And, again, a week later, Israeli sports fans were confounded with the same issue, with Memorial Day coinciding with the soccer tournament's second leg of semi-final games. It is well known that sports spectatorship is a transformative experience through which fans escape their humdrum lives, just as religious experiences help the faithful to transcend their everyday existence. In an era where alternative channels (TV, Internet etc.) are easy to find, we used in-depth interviews with sports fans to learn more about the dilemma of both public and private media expressions and watching and enjoying soccer matches while the Israeli nation is in agony. Findings reveal a whole different viewing experience whereas instead of group watching, cheering and eating together rituals, on a regular match day, an unaccompanied, quiet and even embarrassing experience was marked.
Electronic Portfolios: Public or Private Documents?, Sean Galvin
The world of electronic portfolios (ePs) has expanded exponentially with the rise of social media. Whereas colleges and universities once produced cookie cutter templates with limited content and size for their entire population, today’s ePs have taken on myriad forms and vastly expanded potential for content and size. Where once ePs were the stuff of nerds they now compete with Google Sites and LinkedIn as a must-have for the college student. And, where ePs were the exclusive provenance of undergraduate students they are now regularly used in middle and high schools as well as graduate schools of education. LaGuardia Community College has been at the forefront of American eP design and implementation, serving as a founding member of the Inter / National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research (2003) and later, establishing a national ePortfolio research project with participation from 22 national eP leader campuses to establish best national practices in ePortfolio (2010). Questions of ownership and transferability of portfolios as well as the primacy of assessment over learning have often been discussed on campuses and in the eP literature. Additionally, in the age of multimedia self-authoring the lines between the “professional” model for ePs and the influence of the myriad forms of digital self-portraits found in social networking sites must be considered. In the background of these discussions is whether an ePortfolio should be a public or a private document. In this paper I will discuss the ongoing debate from the perspective of how LaGuardia’s position has matured and solidified over the twelve years it has become an important part of the culture of our College as well as some thoughts on the future of ePortfolios.
Palpable Privacy: Telephony and Sensory Regulations in Public, Paul Gansky
This paper surveys transformations in public telephone privacy between 1880 and 1905 in the U.S., Britain, and France. A plethora of sensory, environmental, and ergonomic factors coalesced to cast public telephony as personal and confidential. Concomitant to architecturally shaping the booth as a space apart, I survey this era’s delineation of caller conduct. Manufacturers and public health organizations outlined hygienic mandates for users to uphold -- from cleaning pay phones to refraining from touching booth surfaces to avoiding smoking in booths. They integrated media privacy into a fomenting middle-class paradigm of tactile self-restraint. I subsequently consider the implications of forgetting this historical discourse, especially as personal mobile media replace the seeming “democracy” of phone booths, and their material construction and protocols of surveillance are elided.
What Can Twitter Teach us about Social Protests?: Analyzing the Chilean Student Movement’s Network Evolution through Social Media Use, Cristobal García, P. Gloor, J. Ledezma, P. Chaveaux
Using social media data—specially Twitter—of the Chilean student movement, we study their social network evolution over time to analyze how leaders and participants self-organize and spread information. Based on a few key events of the student movement’s time line, we visualize the student network trajectory and analyze their structural and semantic properties. We describe the Chilean networked student movement as it has been unfolding during the selected months of 2011-12. We explore the network topology, emerging leaders, influencers and connectors by analyzing diachronic new media use and content in Twitter. In addition, we tracked the events of the student movement and built a timeline of relevant situations and mobilizations. Therefore, in this paper we: i) describe the basic network topology of the 2011-12 Chilean massive student movement; ii) explore how the 180 key central nodes of the movement are connected, self-organize and spread information. In sum, the aim of the paper is to try to correlate the topological structure of the network vis-à-vis the timeline of events in order to understand its dynamics. We contend that this social media enabled massive movement is yet another manifestation of the network era, which leverages agents' socio-technical networks, and thus accelerates how agents coordinate, mobilize resources and enact collective intelligence.
Professionalizing Police Media Work: Surveillance Video & the Forensic Sensibility, Kelly Gates
As a result of the widespread diffusion of CCTV security systems, recorded surveillance video has become a prolific source of evidence in criminal investigations. Elsewhere I have argued that the evidentiary status of surveillance video is the result of an intentional process of production, one that involves the repurposing of technologies borrowed from creative media production. In this paper, I examine the effort to establish the scientific and legal credibility of forensic video analysis. I argue that the scientific and legal status of forensic video analysis depends fundamentally on the professionalization of its practitioners. Professionalization aims to invest those who work with recorded surveillance video with a "forensic sensibility" -- a set of technical skills and a way of seeing, thinking, and speaking professionally that articulates the practices and products of video analysis in terms of forensics science and the legal norms governing the use of photographic and motion picture evidence. This "forensic sensibility" draws on a long history of investigative norms and procedures, but also includes a somewhat more recent focus on instilling in forensic specialist a form of computational thinking. The emerging field of forensic video analysis is one site where an epistemic virtue of "computational objectivity" is taking shape: the belief that neutral scientific image analysis can be achieved by translating certain forms of professional trained judgment into computational processes. By "computational objectivity" I do not mean the complete automation of all forms of trained judgment. In practice, computational objectivity also involves investing trained professionals with computational thinking, or computational vision. Becoming a forensic video analyst entails learning how to look at images with a computational eye. It is by acquiring computational vision, applying and communicating that interpretive perspective, that forensic video analysts establish their own professional credibility and the status of their field as a legitimate science, which ostensibly, when applied correctly and with professional integrity, reveals the truth about objects, people, and events depicted in recorded surveillance video.
Casual Transmissions: Taking Mapping Practices Personal, Alex Gekker
Transmission of personal locative information has become a cornerstone in contemporary media practices. Manovich (2006) identifies modern media assistive capabilities' reliance on surveillance as a major characteristics of ICT society. Users willingly provide their location in exchange for driving directions, social status and purchase perks, traffic information, or merely by utilizing the technology, as in every usage of a spatially-triangulated mobile phone. I argue that users' willingness to disclose their location can be best understood by looking at the casual-playful practices surrounding the digital map, which mediate and remediate such location. The "casual" framework calls into attention such elements as the maps' interfaces, affordance, ease of access, and seamless integration into habitual practices. Users 'play' with their environment through the map, and maps' interfaces perform a role in transforming players' personal information (location) into a game actor. Transmitting one's location thus becomes part of a growing set of playful practice when engaging with the socio-technic, one based on convenience and intrinsic rewards (Deterding et al. 2011) rather than discretion. Building on Juul's (2010) analysis of casual games as massively popular modes of engagement with digital technologies, and Stebbins' (1997) exploration of casual leisure I follow the notion of the map as a digital playground (Lammes 2011). By treating digital mapping as performartive and emerging (Kitchin and Dodge 2007; Del Casino and Hanna 2006), I examine the user-map-location triad as a network of shifting actors, where location is disclosed by chance as much as by intention.
Private and Public Media as Factor for Making History, Rahilya Geybullayeva
History is the way researchers, politicians, diplomats, and peoples, interpret facts and transmit, distribute their vision of past to others, shaping history as a science. Following are considered the sources of history: chronicles, written by monks and kept in monasteries (analog in the Eastern Medieval version are poems about the glory of the rulers at the battles, written by poets, usually by the order of the reigning monarch); archive documents, including archives documents of schools, factories etc. on staff, facilities, locations, etc.; in contempory period media, (newspapers, e-sources both professional media and amateur web, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, so on); archeologocal research; travelogues; protocols; pictured documents (from stone writings, paintings, to photos); maps; as secondary sources personal accounts, diaries (djunk in the Eastern Medieval version); textbooks, encyclopedia as result of academician work. The list can be continued depending on development of technology, disseminating information and respectively forming concepts of history. History includes facts, which are changeable depending on context of interpretation. So, various countries have textbooks (public media) on history with different statements and renditions. We will focus on the role of various types of media, both private and public, in interpretation of historical past from inside and outside, coming through how mass is public media, such as local textbooks; and how contemporary private media influence on public opinion and shape collective memory. How the document can become private (if gets stamped "Top secret" in the archives or simply is "unnoticed") and change interpretation of historical event, or as imagination or sympathies of one author, reflected in artistic or scientific text, film, being public, can replace history – a fait accompli. Thereupon, whether the public media such as works of art, diaries, travelogues, represent private opinion? How does individual memory, being public, create historical stereotypes and influence historical concepts? How technologies as tool for distribution of information and propaganda influence into creation of documentary?
A Study of Satyajit Ray's Charulata / The Lonely Wife (1964) and Ghare Baire / The Home and The World, Ananya Ghoshal
Satyajit Ray 's was the first realist involvement in the form of filmmaking in India. Ray's desire was to create a style of cinema with an idiom essentially Indian, but that which would inherit diverse influences like Jean Renoir and Vittorio De Sica, Pierre Bonnard, Mozart and Henri Cartier-Bresson. His uncanny filmic portraits of modernity in Bengal showcase the synthesis and contradictions of the impact of British Raj in India ; the effects of colonialism, anti colonial struggles and the emergence of the Indian condition as a new hybrid post-colonial entity. Ray's life, as an artist, was profoundly marked by Rabindranath Tagore's concern over the slow but deep formation of a nationalist discourse in the country and its ensuing restrictive inferences in the social and personal lives of men and women. He adapted two texts of Tagore, dealing with these issues- Nastanirh (English: The Broken Nest,1901) and Ghare Baire (English : At home [and] outside ,1916) into Charulata / The Lonely Wife (1964) & Ghare Baire / The Home and The World (1984). His cinematic renditions accentuate his desire for a more liberal vision of societal organisations while he examines the social, moral, intellectual and sexual function of his characters, specially his women - Charu and Bimala, in sheltered aristocratic homes as they negotiate with modernity's rapidly changing nature. Ray's mission is to discover the uniqueness in their voices pitted against the socially-constructed conflicting domains of being at home (ghare) or outside (baire), of their inner and the outer lives. My paper aims to address the anxiety rooted in this private/public debate.
How Video Advertising Affects Consumer Willingness To Pay for Privacy in Smart Metering, Dipayan Ghosh, Dawn Schrader, Stephen Wicker, Jubo Yan, Tony Leong, and William Schulze
Smart meters have recently caused division among electricity consumers and utility companies. Advocates of smart metering expound their technological functionalities that can help lower electricity production costs and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. However, smart meters collect sensitive information about the power consumption habits of consumers, and critics therefore argue that smart metering exposes consumer privacy. Do the benefits of smart metering outweigh the loss of privacy? Moreover, how would consumers respond to a privacy-aware smart meter, which can provide the functionalities of a standard smart meter, but also protect consumer privacy? Can media be used to shift consumer preferences on smart metering? In this paper, we investigate consumer willingness to adopt smart metering. Two videos were developed –Video A describes the privacy risks of smart metering, and Video B describes the benefits afforded by smart metering. Subsequently, a sample of 300 American homeowners was divided into four groups. The first group watched Video A, the second watched Video B, the third watched both, and the fourth watched neither. Finally, a survey was administered to all 300 participants to examine their willingness to adopt standard smart metering and privacy-aware smart metering. Two key insights were derived from the survey results. Firstly, participants were willing to pay $14 per month to protect the privacy of their power consumption information. Secondly, neither video was found to significantly increase this value of privacy. Finally, these insights are used to develop policy recommendations in the introduction of smart metering.
Curation by Algorithm, Tarleton Gillespie
Social media and content-sharing platforms must regularly make decisions about what can be said and done on their sites, extending centuries-old debates about the proper boundaries of public expression into the digital era. But, in addition, the particular ways in which these sites enforce these choices have their own consequences. While some providers depend on editorially managing content, or lean on their user community to govern for them, some are beginning to employ algorithmic means of managing their archive, so offending content can be procedurally and automatically removed, or kept from some users and not others. Curation by algorithm raises new questions about what judgments are being made, whose values are being inscribed into the technical infrastructure, and what a dependence on these tools might mean for the contours of public discourse and users' participation in it.
Playful Civic Habits: Designing a Game around a Mobile 311 Reporting Tool in Boston to Cultivate Civic Learning, Eric Gordon and Jesse Baldwin-Philippi
Mobile reporting apps such as NYC311, SeeClickFix, and Boston’s Citizens
Connect allow citizens to quickly and easily report neighborhood problems such as potholes, graffiti, or damaged signs. In an effort to expand the types of participatory action citizens take and encourage deeper forms of engagement, we’ve created StreetCred, a game-based civic badging (application programming interface) API. Players are prompted to take specific actions using already-existing tools such as Citizens Connect, and are rewarded with badges, which contribute to larger campaigns and real-life rewards. Actions, badges, and campaigns all contribute to a social reputation system that allows players to see their participation within the context of other engaged citizens. The significance of this intervention is two-fold. First, StreetCred orders discrete transactions into legible accomplishments with clear objectives. Second, through location-based interactions, StreetCred makes players aware of how their actions contribute to overall participation at a local, community, and city level. This paper analyzes the extent to which civic habits forged in a mobile-reporting tool can be transformed into civic learning through game mechanics. Specifically, we analyze change in the type and amount of actions taken, whether citizens exhibit more reflective approaches to participation that involve more attention to a community or city’s civic landscape, to other citizens, and their own role in civic life.
What We Should Do Before the Social Bots Take Over: Online Privacy Protection and the Political Economy of Our Near Future, Erhardt Graeff
Direct interactions between humans and bots generally conjure up images from science fiction of Terminator robots or artificial intelligence gone rogue, like 2001's HAL or The Matrix. In reality, AI is still far from much of that sophistication, yet we are already faced with the ethical and legal ramifications of bots in our everyday lives. Drones are being used for collecting military intelligence and bombing runs. U.S. states have passed laws to address self-driving cars on public roads. And nearer the subject of this paper, the legality of search engine bots has been openly questioned on grounds of intellectual property protection and trespassing. Bots inspire fear because they represent the loss of control. These fears are in some ways justified, particularly on grounds of privacy invasion. Online privacy protection is already a fraught space, comprising varied and strong positions, and existing laws and regulations that are antiquated many times over by the rapid growth and innovation of the internet in recent decades. The emergence of social bots, as means of entertainment, research, and commercial activity, poses an additional complication to online privacy protection by way of information asymmetry and failures to provide informed consent. In the U.S., the lack of an explicit right to privacy and the federal government's predilection for laissez faire corporate regulation expose users to a risk of privacy invasion and unfair treatment when they provide personal data to websites and online services, especially those in the form of social bots. This paper argues for legislation that defines a general right to privacy for all U.S. citizens, addressing issues of both access and control of personal information and serving as the foundation for auditable industry design standards that inherently value and honor users' rights to privacy.
Frederick Wiseman's Institutions, Jeffrey Gutierrez
One thing the distinguishes Frederick Wiseman from other documentarians is his insistence on capturing reality, long extended moments uninterrupted by an editorial cut, no camera tricks, no illusionary lighting. He uses what he's given. Wiseman documents institutions, mostly American-based, but now extending to European countries. Documentaries often invade private spaces: digging up one's past, pursuing a line of questioning until the bottom is reach. One critic suggests that Wiseman's documentaries invade the privacy of the viewer and that we enter into a contract with Wiseman on his own terms. Wiseman shows us reality, but he allows the viewer to react, to judge. Wiseman's films enter into spaces that are often unfamiliar: a mental institution, a burlesque show, behind-the-scenes of a zoo. He opened closed doors to the rest of the world. Yet, his art can be challenged with the use of cell phones, Youtube. These private spaces are able to be more easily invaded and almost instantly placed on the Internet for the world to view. This paper considers the barrier between public and private in Wiseman's films and the ability to capture reality on the Internet.
Cookie Walls in the Public Marketplace of Ideas – How the Dutch Media Made Access to News Conditional upon the Permission of Being Tracked, Natali Helberger
In response to a Dutch law about online tracking and user privacy (one of the strictest in Europe) the websites of many major Dutch newspapers as well as the public broadcaster were among the first to hide behind so called "cookie walls." Cookie walls make users’ access to a website conditional upon the acceptance of cookies. The situation unleashed heated discussions among disgruntled citizens, politicians and academics, and culminated into questions to the minister from the Dutch parliament. On a more fundamental level the case made painfully clear how much the tracking of readers and viewers online is already a day-to-day practice. Tracking occurs for functional purposes, to know which contents viewers have seen how often, as well as for the personalization of advertising and even content. After a concise description of the Dutch case, this article will examine the potential impact of targeting and profiling for the relationship of the media with its audience, and possible implications for freedom of expression, media diversity and the privacy of news users. A particular focus of the analysis will be on online tracking in the light of the special mission of public service media.
Academics, Ethics, and Private Fan Activities in Public Spaces, Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse
As the editors of the academic fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), we have had to confront issues related to the ethical treatment of fans as the subject of research. Fans' expectations of privacy for publicly disseminated texts may fundamentally differ from standard academic treatment, and different readings of this fraught public/private divide have been the source of misunderstandings between fans and the scholars who work with fan communities and fan-created artworks. Most online fans who share creative works online protect their privacy via pseudonyms, and there is an ethos within many fan communities that assumes that shared online spaces are at least partially protected. Fan understanding of openly accessible spaces as layered public and private, combined with a strong internal ethos of protecting fannish spaces, presents specific ethical issues for researchers. We propose to discuss the issues of citing, naming, and referencing fans (who often write under pseudonyms) and their writings by outlining the common practices of fan communities and academics, and then proposing a middle-of-the-road practical means of reconciling these two points of view, so that both fan privacy and academic standards and rigor may be maintained. This discussion will analyze issues related to the debate, including ever changing expectations of privacy and the different conceptions of privacy within and between different social networking sites. We will address the particular negotiations necessary to remain a participating member within a subculture while simultaneously researching and academically writing about these communities.
Exploring the Boundaries of a Website: Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies, Anne Helmond
In this paper I aim to contribute the emerging field of web historiography in two ways: First, by exploring the boundaries of a website and reconceptualizing the website as an ecology, and second, by proposing a new method to reconstruct historical website ecologies using Internet Archive data. Websites are increasingly shaped by dynamically generated, third-party content and functionality such as videos, images, widgets and social buttons. Third-party plugins can initiate data exchanges between platforms and websites and may come with trackers that create connections with platforms and central ad servers to exchange data flows. This networked nature of the website puts forward methodological challenges, as these dynamically generated objects may not be included in the website's archived snapshot in the Internet Archive. Traces of these objects may still be present in the archived source code, however. Thus, while the website itself is often considered the main unit to be archived, it is not only the single website, but also the traces of the larger web ecology the website is embedded in that are being archived. This ecology does not only consist of other websites, which may be made visible through the
practice of mapping outlinks, but also of widgets, plugins and trackers from third-party sources. Unveiling parts of this larger web ecology is undertaken in a case study using archived snapshots of the New York Times between 1996 and 2011 from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, showing the traces of trackers such as web bugs, beacons, analytics and ads.
Seashell Sound, Stefan Helmreich
What sounds reside in spiral seashells? For generations, people who live by the sea have held that, when pressed to the ear, seashells resound with something like the roar of the ocean. Scientists have argued that what one hears is rather the resonant noise in one's surroundings, concentrated by the chamber of the shell. But a different claim has seized a popular imagination: that one hears the sounds of one's own blood. Whence the popularity of this dubious factoid, this fashioning of the shell as a private medium? This paper suggests that changing ratios of ocean, air, and blood in seashell sound accountings unroll from Romantic enthrallment toward a double-edged modernity that uses the language of science to disenchant at one moment and then re-enchant at another. I put an ear to popular science and poetry, following a history that has, first, shells singing, speaking, sighing, and echoing distant oceanic and communal pasts, and next, shells reflecting back the personal and present moment, and, then, as we approach today, delivering sounds imagined deep inside, rather than outside, human bodies. At stake are changing models of the relation between hearing, the world, and the self, with the avowedly mystical and communal gradually replaced by the secular, scientific, and individual—though, with the arrival of the blood-in-the-ears interpretation, infused anew with an element of the mythical.
Reconfiguring Journalism, Alfred Hermida
Social media platforms have evolved from spaces for personal exchanges to environments for real-time news and information, influencing how media organisations respond to breaking news, how journalists go about their reporting and whose voices are heard. The media logic of emerging communications technologies, where knowledge, expertise and authority are networked and distributed, chafe with existing, hierarchical models of journalism. This presentation will discuss how social media are reconfiguring definitions of journalism and professional constructs of the journalist, as media professionals negotiate a hybrid news ecosystem that blurs the line between the public, the private and the corporate.
Television Reality, Published in Private, Matthias Herz
“There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother.” Following the premise of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, it seems reasonable that love can be found in front of thousands of cameras. The Bachelor, for example, shows us how it works: here, the most intimate aspects of romantic relationships are disclosed on television. But it isn’t only love that is an essential topic for the recipient: work, weight, education and even everyday life – Reality TV has it all. And Reality Television does what it’s supposed to do: create a television reality. The project focuses on modes of portrayal, narrative strategies, character developments and dominant structures of Reality TV formats examining the filmic construction of reality and the semantic occupation of the concept of privacy via methods of media semiotics. In addition, there will be a context-sensitive analysis of the specific modes in which self-disclosure and intimacy are portrayed. The central paradigm is thus the subject of privacy. Depending on the genre, privacy is being staged from various points of view and receives specific evaluations. Moreover, it appears to be a promising approach to analyze cinematic cognitive invariants that might serve as models for the construction of social reality for the viewer.
Private Lives and Public Emergencies: An Asian Case Study, Matthew Hibberd
With the development of the 24-hour global news cycle and social media, effective communications are widely seen as one crucial feature of crisis management. And yet environmental crises pose additional challenges to communicating. As Gordon and Berry, 2006, argue "Environmental problems have characteristics that make them particularly hard to solve." The unpredictable and severe nature of environmental crises bring additional challenges for leaders and their communication strategies. This paper will therefore examine the concept of environmental crisis management and the particular challenges such crises pose to leaders and communicators in the rapidly developing city of Danang, Central region, Vietnam, which has been struck by repeated extreme weather events in the past decade. I will examine especially whether social media have a role in helping to deal with extreme weather crises. How and in what ways have social media - ie like facebook or twitter or Vietnam versions - played a part in strategies to inform citizens of risks or imminent danger? The research will involve collecting primary and secondary data from local political and civic leaders in Danang, Vietnam. The paper will be linked to key themes of the workshop, especially in evaluating what opportunities there are for tapping user behavior for educational and societal endeavors. How can the benefits of such opportunities be distributed equitably to all citizens? How could social media allow private users to help emergency organisations and civic leaders in times of natural disasters?
Does an Archive of Flavors Make Sense?, Eric Hinsdale
Librarians and archivists are used to collecting things, creating concentrated public resources out of things that were in the past private and scattered. With advances in technology, collections are no longer limited to physical objects. The idea of archiving flavors, however, presents challenges that are above and beyond what archivists have faced so far. Flavors are not physical things, nor can they be digitized like much of the content being archived today. In this presentation I will discuss several possibilities of what “an archive of flavors” might look like. Examples will include: a cookbook; vials of chemical compounds; a restaurant; and a laboratory. I will discuss each possibility and explain the advantages and shortcomings of each potential approach. The discussion will include an extended case study of the attempt to recreate the menu of a famous Catalonian restaurant, elBulli, at a restaurant in Chicago in 2012, a project that might come as close to being “an archive of flavors” as is possible. I will draw on my experience as a librarian and technologist, as well as my work in a culinary school. I will conduct interviews with professional chefs and archivists to get their opinion on whether “an archive of flavors” even makes sense.
The Paradox Between Public Action and Private Control on Facebook and Google, Jaigris Hodson
Google and Facebook have become synonymous with social media and the participatory web. Selling the attention spans of internet users to advertisers using content almost entirely created by the labor of others, makes these organizations leaders in a media environment that is beginning to redefine the relationship between consumers (or prosumers), technology, and the modern digital organization (Drache 2007, Lessig 2008, Rainie and Wellman 2012, Castells 2010, Shirky 2010). This paper examines Google and Facebook blogs between 2006 and 2011. When taken together, the discourses from the Google and Facebook blogs illustrate a paradox which may be characteristic of many online participatory organizations; that is, there are indeed more opportunities for public participation in these organizations, but private corporate concerns mean that the large degree of citizen participation has not necessarily created the level playing field for which some scholars once hoped.
Varying Degrees of "Publicness" and the Evolution of New Structures: An Analytical Concept and a Case Study of Shared (New) Media Production, Birgit Huber
Shared production of (new) media is blurring boundaries between public and private. Freelancers get in contact often on a project basis, instead of sharing a face-to-face workplace they are working from home, from own single offices or from rooms which they are sharing with other freelancers, by the help of shared document tools and the internet. These spaces of production are at the same time showrooms for own products, spaces of (commercialized) self-representation, spaces of increasing the value of peripheral urban quarters and peripheral regions, and are used for leisure time activities, too. Such forms of working and living fundamentally destabilize an imagination of private and public as dichotomy. The proposed lecture is adding to the conference topic in two ways. Firstly in terms of empirical results based on a multi-local long-term ethnography, and secondly in terms of conception which is fruitful for other fields of research as well, especially to research private consumption in public places as well as creative commons and the new public sphere. On the one hand shared actions of opening and restricting accessibility to spaces and of redefining public and private are analysed, which are done by freelance media producers. On the other hand an action-theoretical sociology of space (Martina Löw) is introduced into media studies, which regards space as a relational ordering of living entities and social goods. It comes into being on the basis of two processes, spacing and synthesis. Spacing means erection, building, or positioning. It is positioning in relation to other positionings. In the case of mobile goods or of people, spacing means both the moment of positioning and movement to the next positioning. Second, the constitution of space also requires synthesis, that is to say, goods and people are connected to form spaces through processes of perception, ideation, or recall. By the help of this concept it is possible to analyse varying degrees of "publicness" and their ongoing changes as well as the evolution of new structures of public and private, of hiding and revealing.
Education for All Revisited: On Concepts of Sharing in the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement, Theo Hug
The relation of private and public issues and its relevance for educational processes has been discussed repeatedly and in various ways. However, the role of media and media dynamics has been widely underestimated in this context. Only recently after the digital turn the focus of the debates has changed. In the past few years manifold initiatives aiming at opening up education on various levels using digital communications technologies and Creative Commons licenses as well as massive open online courses (moocs) have been developed. Today, Open Educational Resources (OER) is widely used as an umbrella term for free content creation initiatives, OER Commons (http://www.oercommons.org/), Open Courseware (OCW), OER repositories, OCW search facilities, University OCW initiatives, and related activities. Among others, collections of shared resources such as Connxions (http://cnx.org), WikiEducator (http://wikieducator.org) or Curriki (www.curriki.org) have an ever-increasing number of visitors and contributors to the site. On the one hand, old motives of education for all are being taken up again in respective debates and practices. On the other hand, notions of sharing play a crucial role in open content and open education strategies. The paper starts (1) with an outline of selected understandings of sharing in educational contexts, followed (2) by a discussion of their relevance for OER developments by way of contrastification and relationing conceptual dimensions. Finally (3), the contribution aims at a sketch of different forms of sharing as related to medial forms.
Go and Stop them, But Don’t Tell Anyone that an Algorithm Said To)!: Monitoring Public Life in Germany, Stephan G. Humer, Thomas Petzold
This paper draws from a federally funded study on intelligent, real-time mass analysis of public life in Germany. It examines how large-scale monitoring data and learning algorithms are currently used in local police procedures – ranging from classic public place surveillance for the prevention of violence to smart face and gesture detection for manhunt purposes – in a country where privacy is a notorious public issue when it comes to digital technologies (e.g. Google Street View debate). Monitoring public life has been a topic of intensive discussion for quite some time. Driven by large-scale availability of new technologies and an increase of hardware networking, software possibilities are adding to legal and public monitoring discussions. Learning algorithms, for example, are used to operate smart cameras that (help) identify people, gestures and movements in public places. This paper provides insight into current developments and challenges of using algorithm-enabled monitoring technologies in public places around Germany. It argues that retreating to privacy impact assessments for the use of intelligent monitoring technologies in public life not only falls short of understanding the crucial relations between people and technology. Moreover, it fails to minimize blind spots in socio-technical developments which would help people to deal with new technology and new media phenomena. Thus, the paper discusses how the use of technology, policy and shared public culture can be combined to develop possible solutions for monitoring public life while at the same time limiting the downsides of algorithm- and large-scale data networking-enabled monitoring technologies.
Reasonable Expectations of Private Media: The Supreme Court on Mediated Communication and the Fourth Amendment, Yohei Igarashi
What are "public" or "private" media in the court of final appeal? This paper approaches the question of public/ private media from the perspective of Supreme Court decisions on Fourth Amendment cases. Rulings on such cases – e.g., Ex parte Jackson (1878), Olmstead v. U.S. (1928), Katz v. U.S. (1967), Smith v. Maryland (1979), and U.S. v. Jones (2012) – have far-reaching
implications beyond the admissibility of evidence obtained by warranted or unwarranted search, seizure, and surveillance (e.g., via wiretap, pen registers, GPS). They explore the very nature of privacy or publicity in everyday mediated interactions and the degree to which they are protected by the Constitution. With a focus on the challenges that digital media and electronically-stored
information pose to conceptions of privacy in this context, this paper surveys key principles and precedents that have emerged from Fourth Amendment cases: the trespassory framework, the "reasonable expectation of privacy" test of Katz v. U.S., and the problem of the letter-based "envelope" vs. "content" distinction in digital communications. While Fourth Amendment cases
have much to tell us about evolving notions of public and private media, I conclude my paper by noting the absence, in the legal discourse, of pertinent theories of mediated communication; the question of whether a mediated communication is oriented toward a specific someone or to anyone
– and the broadcast potential, in digital media, of converting seemingly "private" point-to-point communications into disseminable public information – can usefully inflect Fourth Amendment doctrine.
The 'Mothership' Goes Up the Amazon: What Does "Transmedia" Mean for Brazil?, Henry Jenkins
The term, "transmedia," means simply "across media" and implies some kind of structured or systematic relationship between multiple media platforms and practices. Transmedia storytelling has been defined as representing "a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story." Transmedia combines multimodality with radical intertextuality: the term has evolved through ongoing conversations between academics, journalists, media makers, policy creators, and fans, around the world. As the transmedia impulse was absorbed into the existing Hollywood industry, what people have called the "west coast" or "mothership" model has defined this approach primarily in terms of mechanisms for engagement which merge aspects of promotion and storytelling in ways where content dispersed across other media platforms helps to drive audiences towards the core text -- the "mothership" -- most often a feature film or television series. Transmedia Producer Brian Clark contrasts this "mothership" approach with an "East Coast" model for transmedia strongly impacted by its ties to games, publishing, music, advertising, and independent media, again suggesting the localization of the content based on the structures and resources of dominant media industries. Yet, we could take this interest in "localization" a few steps further, focusing on the differences in how "transmedia" works in a commercial industry like Hollywood as opposed to in the context of "public service" media systems, such as those in Canada, England, or the European Union, where the production of transmedia is often shaped by government funding and cultural policy, and the goals are often directed towards education, enrichment, and social awareness. Most recently, the term has reached Brazil and other countries in Latin America. Using the entries from a recent transmedia competition, this paper will examine the ways that transmedia production reflects Brazil's "hybrid" media economy, noted for public-private partnerships, and the ways transmedia has been deployed to bridge between the country's diverse cultural traditions. Taken as a whole, this paper will explore how the concept of "transmedia" has diversified as it has spread across different national contexts.
Imagined Connections: Mock Amazon Reviews & the Public Sphere, Amy Johnson
Banana slicers. Ballpoint pens. Wolf T-shirts. Tuscan milk. Binders. Toy TSA sets. All of these products are popular subjects for mock reviews on Amazon. This paper contends that while making us laugh and groan, mock reviews also challenge traditional constructions of the public sphere, for they re-imagine it with regard to discourse, participants, and venue. The traditional Habermasian public sphere is founded in the quantifying processes of capitalism and the nationalizing influence of newspapers. Shaped by specific conceptions of fact, dichotomy, and audience, it enables the formulation of public opinion through critical-rational debate. Mock reviews eschew the quantification of information and instead contribute broader social commentary through creative voicing and linguistic play. Such reviews are written not by culturally validated critics, but by everyday individuals who also write serious reviews of products they have purchased. Reviews are published -- and responded to -- in a corporate, commercial domain. Mock reviews are thus emblematic of larger online trends, such as the erosion of public and private as discrete categories, the performance of important social work through creativity, and social relations grounded not in transaction but in participation. I ask, how do the discourse features of mock reviews interact with the social and technological affordances of the Amazon review platform to shape public opinion? Drawing on a corpus of reviews and responses, I analyze the construction, themes, and networks of mock reviews. Further, I explore how, in stark contrast to the standardized — and standardizing — factual lists of newspaper articles, mock reviews represent a genre that relies on individualization, subjectivity, and shared knowledge.
Finding the Keys to Nerdfighteria: Why Fans Aren’t Really Public or Private, Joshua Johnson
My paper is an interrogation of the fannish citizen and her power, publicity, and place in our increasingly mediated and connected world. While some media scholars have championed the increased visibility and publicity of fandom as intrinsically tied to an expansion of fannish influence in corporate media production and distribution, I suggest that it is actually fandom’s permanently liminal position as a counterpublic that cultivates the political and public potential in these audience groups. I first consider the social aspects of the fannish counterpublic through an exploration of fan activists (the Harry Potter Alliance and the Nerdfighters) and fan producers (fan vidders and fan fiction writers); this investigation leads logically into a consideration of copyright law, which includes a discussion of the recent DMCA exemptions and fair use rulings. By highlighting fandom’s role in defining the increasingly blurry line between public and private, I hope to provoke a dynamic and productive discussion among media scholars and conference attendees.
Mediated Memory and Genetic Ancestry in Lebanon, Brian C. Johnsrud
The more we rely on cultural media platforms (e.g. Wikipedia, online history forums) to recall and engage the past, the more “culturally” mediated our memory becomes. My ethnographic work on the popular reception of National Geographic’s Genographic genetic ancestry studies expands notions of the public / private archive and the affordances new media provide as cultural tools to accept, negotiate, or contest identity politics. After a year of participant observation in Genographic labs in Lebanon, I conducted 30 in-depth interviews with Lebanese individuals who received genetic ancestry results that marked them as descendants of “Phoenicians,” “Arabs,” or “Crusaders.” In these interviews, I focused on participants’ reception and interpretation of their digital or print genetic results and the various digital and online media they employed to interpret, negotiate, or creatively remediate their newfound relationship with the past. My findings reorient cultural memory studies and our notion of the public or private “archive” towards a closer attention to audience reception and socially mediated engagement.
Privacy Experiments in Public and Artistic Space, Raivo Kelomees
This presentation focuses on a comparison of two phenomena: an artistic project which is dedicated to privacy questions, and the Public Transport Card system in Tallinn. Important issues have changed the borders of privacy, and these issues are analyzed and presented by artwork and the situation encountered in the public sphere. The first objects of discussion are Timo Toots's projects “Hall of fame” (2009) and “Memopol” (2011). In these installations, art and technology are presented to the audience in an inaccessible way, and the projects form a generalization of the contemporary moment, which is characterized by a situation in which citizens are watched by digital technology, the pleasure and curse of our time. I examine these projects and focus attention on “Memopol” which utilizes an Estonian Identity Card, a chipped picture ID, although the work can function with a passport as well. The Public Transport Card in Tallinn is a new contact-free ticket, which must be used to validate travel on public transport. It was intended simply to replace paper tickets, but has led to conspiracy theories, in which this system is seen as a form of surveillance of citizens or a political trick to win more votes. The researcher's interest is to examine two different types of interaction, one of which is playful and the other applied and practical.
From Scroll to Screen in the News: The Public and Private Imaginaries of the Spanish-Cuban-American War, Kelley Kreitz
Cuba's war with Spain in the 1890s, including the U.S. intervention of 1898, attracted the attention of U.S. newspapers, as well as early film companies. The resulting news of the Spanish-Cuban-American War in print and on film provides a historical perspective on the role that media change plays in shaping the public and private imaginaries. This paper considers stories of the Spanish-Cuban-American War in the popular daily newspapers the New York World and the New York Journal, in addition to actualities produced by the Edison and
Biograph companies. I argue that the cooperation between the Journal and filmmakers from Edison and Biograph brought conventions of print-based news into the production of film-based actualities about the war. This, in turn, influenced the ways in which Spanish-Cuban-American War actualities helped to construct a new idea of a viewing public that contrasted with newspaper readers who could consume their news in private spaces. Considering the convergence of print and film in the mediation of the Spanish-Cuban-American War provides an opportunity to reanimate a pivotal moment in the history of media change. It sheds new light on the ways in which the convergence of new and old media technologies in our current era is redrawing the lines between public and private.
Dialogue Between Public and Private Lives: Adolescents' Identities and New Media, Pilar Lacasa and Sara Cortés
The goal of this presentation is to analyze the dialogue between the private and public lives of a group of teenagers in the process of building their identities when they participate in social networks through mobile devices or computers. An ethnographic methodological approach is adopted, from which we approach the everyday lives of young people. The data come from an innovative educational experience designed from the video game The Sims 3 during school year 2010-2011. The analysis focuses on the oral conversations, written texts and audiovisual machinima productions that the adolescents produced and published in virtual contexts to which diverse audiences have access. The results and discussion allow us to reflect on the dialogue between public / private worlds and real/virtual identities and the underlying interactions between actors, authors and interpreters of texts in the context of the particular culture in which they are immersed. We especially analyze how permanent identities may shift associated with certain practices and activities in virtual and real worlds, not really differentiated.
Playful Cartography: Putting Ourselves on the Map, Sybille Lammes
Digital mapping has developed over the last thirty years to become a pervasive and global technology with powerful relational implications and has reshaped our understanding and approach of the world around us. A highly urgent question is, indeed, how particular assemblages of digital mapping fundamentally change our conception of public and private relations. Digital maps -- and other forms for data-visualization -- such as the ones used in Facebook or Foursquare, in a wide array of online and mobile applications, allow users to leave traces on the map, tag locations, to find and follow movements, and to trace and connect to others. If we can speak of a shift from "Who am I?" to "Where am I" and "Where am I going" in our public profile, we may critically ask how much control we as users actually have over what traces we leave on the map for others to see. Moreover, we will have to critically consider the significance of these cartographic principles to our profiles, as well as the relationship between individual practices and relationship to public domain. This paper will look at how playing with interfaces is a central and never neutral activity in creating such cartographical identities.
The Age of Ilinx: Aesthetics of Movement, Virtual Kino Eye, and Perceptions of Public and Private Space in Digital Cinema, Virtual Worlds and Video Games, Lori Landay
Ilinx is one of game theorist Roger Callois’s four categories, for games "based on the pursuit of vertigo and which consist of an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind. Vertigo, the perception of motion while the body is still, is increasingly triggered by the rapid and sweeping movement of the synthetic camera, or virtual kino eye, of CGI filmmaking, modeled on the fly-throughs possible in video games and virtual worlds. This presentation examines examples of how the virtual kino eye plunges into public and private spaces. Examples include Fight Club (1999), The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Crank (2006), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), and The Amazing Spiderman (2012). By comparing video game representations of public and private space with their film counterparts, and speculating on spectatorship in virtual environments, the paper ponders relationships between different kinds of spectatorship of public and private space in film, virtual worlds, and video games.
Blood, Ketchup and Pussy Riot: The Performance of Public Protest, Al Larsen
In 2012, Russian group Pussy Riot made waves with a series of videos ostensibly documenting their guerilla concerts in public spaces in Moscow. While many commentators have taken the videos of Pussy Riot as straightforward documentation of interventions in public space, there is a significant amount of dissimulation in these productions: multiple events are stitched together and, despite the punk soundtrack, drums and amplifiers are missing from the shots. What have been called guerilla concerts look suspiciously like video shoots using Moscow as a set. Heeding the call that “We are all Pussy Riot,” supporters of the group created their own videos in response to the arrest and trial. The constructed nature of Pussy Riot’s original clips was not lost on them: the aim of these productions appears to have been to manufacture images of public space interventions without engaging a live public. The artist Paul McCarthy, speaking of his own work, has noted that, “there is a big difference between ketchup and blood.” This paper takes this difference to be between an acknowledgment that an image is constructed for the camera and the actual performance of risk, and uses this distinction to discuss the ways that public protest and its fictionalized representation are intertwined in the current networked media environment.
The Features of Contemporary Twitter-based Political Movement in South Korea: Roles of Celebrity, Labor Division in Attention Economy, and Performance, Hunju Lee
The social network site Twitter has drastically transformed the topography of the political movement in South Korea. The micro-blogging device, based on its peculiar system of message production and circulation, has contributed to create the new styles of collective actions to change Korean people’s political life. My paper addresses the distinctive features of the current political movements in South Korea that could achieve their goals utilizing the social media of Twitter. For this, my study focuses on two cases including the “Hope Bus Movement” in 2011 and the Voter Participation Campaign for 2012 Korean presidential election. My paper explores three major questions in terms of the variations of the contemporary Twitter-involved political movements in South Korea. The first question is about what roles have been played by the specific group called celebrities in relation to the “attention economy” to control the mechanism of message production and distribution on twitters. The first inquiry is connected to the problem of power as the Twitter-based collective political actions are operated through the particular type of labor division between the celebrity users and the ordinary followers. Finally, my paper responds to the question of how the celebrity culture produced through the social media platform of Twitter, which depends on the special methods of publicizing self, practicing celebrity, displaying intimacy with celebrities, and being a part of the public, influences on the transformed political activism through Korean twitters.
Tweets in the Limelight: Contested Publicness around the Use of Twitter in South Korea, Yenn Lee
What is happening on Twitter has been significantly reported in South Korean mass media. In the course of year 2012 alone, 49,257 news articles contained the word "Twitter" and 1,696 out of them were headlined with the word. Based on an analysis of those 1,696 articles, the present study discusses what kind of tweets have been picked up by the mass media in the country and what kind of culture-specific discourses have been constructed and promoted around them. This discussion is carried out through the theoretical framework of "newsworthiness," first put forward by Galtung and Ruge (1965) and subsequently revisited by many other media scholars such as Harcup and O'Neill (2001). By examining in what process an individual tweet becomes "news," with a focus on three most high-profile cases (i.e. a celebrity authoress' rants, alleged bullying within a girl group, and leak of a teenage girl singer's dating photo), this study aims to shed light on the specific media context where global social networking services such as Twitter are placed and intersect with local mass media.
Unmediated Voices, Mediated Platforms: Social Media as Primary Sources in Historical Research, Amalia S. Levi
Historical or social science research in transnational and diasporic settings exemplifies the shifting nature of the public and private. Populations in flux use intensely social media in order to stay in touch with family back at home, claim their identity in their adopted land, or lobby for current issues that they encounter. Scholars researching these populations have traditionally had to work with dispersed material, some digitized, others not -- and now with fleeting digital objects, such as Tweets or Facebook postings, that will eventually become the cultural heritage of the future. Abounding, albeit ephemeral, such forms of communication are not widely recognized as primary sources in historical research. In my presentation, I will discuss present and future work regarding:
- the importance of social media output not only as “dumps,” but also as individual “digital objects” in a scholar’s research;
- the imperative for memory institutions (libraries, museums, archives) to include this material in their collections, adapting it to underlying ontologies; and
- the crucial role of individual scholars and scholarly communities of practice in the adoption, curation, and contextualization of these new forms of primary sources that will enhance sense-making.
Tailoring Trade Secrecy: The Moral Imperative of Industry-Specific Application of Doctrine, David S. Levine and Frank Pasquale
We predict that, in coming years, there will be a growing conflict between the needs of regulators and / or public ombudsmen for information in the fields of finance, energy, and media, and the business strategies of firms that want to keep their methods secretive. So far, and with very few exceptions, business has won a series of notable victories over the public right to know, and has even deflected dedicated, confidential internal review bodies (like the Office of Financial Research in Treasury) from obtaining critical data. As such cases are litigated in the future, judges need to take care to either build flexibilities into trade secrecy law as an intellectual property doctrine, or to treat disclosures as merely potential torts, which must be judged as such based on the totality of the circumstances, including the relationship between the parties and the likelihood of harm flowing from the use of the trade secret by the acquirer. Thus, our paper reassess information flows between corporate entities, the government, public and media.
Who Killed our eDonkey? P2P, Piracy, and Public Sphere in Information-Age China, Jinying Li
In December 2009, a dramatic anti-piracy campaign was launched in China. Countless p2p (peer-to-peer) portals were shut down and many file-sharing networks were removed from the Internet. Such an effort to suppress online file-sharing, more importantly, coincided with the Chinese government’s increasing attempt to tighten its control over information circulation on digital platforms. The coincidence between piracy regulation and the Internet censorship highlights a rather hidden but significant function of media piracy in China—its role as an alternative, underground channel for cultural circulation and consumption that can evade the state control and censorship. This essay intends to trace the development of such an alternative, pirate space of information circulation, which was created through the online file-sharing practices in contemporary China. With the wide spread of computer technologies, China’s rampant scene of media piracy, which used to saturate urban streets with DVD vendors and video stores, is now quietly moving to cyberspace, transforming an industry-led, commercial piracy culture into a series of user-generated, p2p file-sharing communities. Among these communities, a flourishing cinephile / filmmaker circle was quickly established around the collective production, circulation, and consumption of a wide array of independent films that cannot be legitimately released in China due to tight censorship. By closely examining the development of such a piracy-nurtured film culture on p2p networks, what I’m trying to investigate is the possible emergence of an alternative public sphere in a changing social map of China that is undergoing dramatic transformations in the information age.
Casual Playbor: How Farmville (2009) Converges Production, Consumption, and Play, Jason Lipshin
This paper provides a critical close reading of the free-to-play (f2p), browser-based game Farmville (2009); focusing, in particular, on the game’s representation and simulation of labor. Inspired by recent work from Alex Galloway, Wendy Chun, Tizianna Terranova, and Julian Kucklich, the paper argues that Farmville’s seemingly benign farming simulation allegorizes and embodies web 2.0 spaces which blur the distinction between labor and play. Contextualizing the game within the twentieth century shift from Fordist to Post-Fordist economies, the paper traces the various ways that Farmville seeks to expropriate value from everyday leisure activities online, exploiting its users as unwitting and unwaged laborers for advertisers. Taking into account multiple “layers” of the text, from user experience to visual representation, through game mechanic and code, the paper ultimately interrogates the way that various disjunctions between surface and depth in the game conspire to create what Chun has called “software as ideology.”
Mobile Phone Rumor as Public Resistance, Jun Liu and Hui Zhao
This paper examines the characteristics and nature of mobile phone rumor as a form of public resistance in contemporary China. By focusing on four concrete case studies with 30+ in-depth interviews, this study observes that mobile phone rumor has evolved into a special form of public resistance — rumor dissemination — at the grassroots level. The low-cost and user-friendly mobile device decreases the resistance threshold, creating an unprecedented opportunity for people, especially those without complicated communication skills, to initiate, facilitate, or participate in rumor dissemination. The mutual visibility of mobile communication greatly increases both credibility of information and sense of security for participation in rumor spreading. Additionally, the rapid and wide diffusion of rumor via mobile communication allows for the accumulation of resistant force in a very short time. Last but not least, China’s mobile phone users struggle to evade authorities’ censorship and rumor surveillance through coded language, acronyms, and neologisms. As a new kind of contentious politics, the proliferation of mobile phone rumors demonstrates public opposition with the help of private media — the mobile phone — to government censorship and control over communications, and most important, the protest against the misuse of the accusation of “rumor” by authorities to stifle any different voices and suppress mundane communication.
Networked Publics and Geolocative Media: Exploring the Sociocultural Meaning of GPS Traces, Andres Lombana-Bermudez
Thanks to the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Internet, digital mapping, and mobile communications and computing, personal geo-locative data is increasingly shared, analyzed, and published on the World Wide Web. A variety of web platforms and software applications have started to provide geo-locative services that allow users to share, manage, annotate, and visualize the tracks they record as they move in space. In this paper, I explore how the circulation, creation, and storage of GPS traces (GPX files in particular) is becoming important for the formation of certain kinds of networked publics. What are the social and cultural meanings associated with the public display of personal GPS traces? How does the publishing of GPS traces change networked publics' relationships to place? How do users negotiate the privacy risks related to the public sharing of personal geo-locative records? Through the comparison of two online platforms and communities (OpenStreetMap and Wikiloc) I describe the main characteristics of emerging geo-related networked publics, explain their locative media practices, and reflect about the social and cultural meanings of GPS traces.
The Emerging Role of Flavor as a Medium for Education and Research, Chris Loss
Flavor is one of the most multi-modal perceptions that humans experience,
engaging all of our senses when we are eating, and it conveys an extensive amount of information. In the culinary profession, flavor is our livelihood and a medium for expressing ideas. Over the years chefs have been preserving flavor and handing down techniques and recipes, models for flavor creation, with fidelity through an apprenticeship model. In this way, kitchens have become museums for ideas, forged out of necessity and preference over the years. These techniques reflect the "science of the everyday" and can be leveraged for educational purposes in a broad scope of disciplines. Flavor also provides a rich point of inquiry for cross-disciplinary research. In this talk, I will review the literature on flavor perception and describe the opportunities for unique educational strategies in the areas of chemistry, biology, nutrition, and physics that flavor presents. I will describe how we introduce students at the Culinary Institute of America to science early in their program, using flavor perception as a pedagogical tool. New curriculum in Culinary Science that incorporates flavor will be described. The importance of bringing chefs and scientists together to better understand "flavor" will also be discussed.
Collective Memory, Storytelling and the Afterlife of the Family Album on Social Media, Richard L. MacDonald
This paper looks at the practice of opening up the personal family album to the collective gaze of the open, public Facebook group, and considers the acts of interpretation, evaluation, storytelling and memory that translation from one context of display to another elicits. Studies of analogue family photographs have frequently highlighted the importance of the exhibition event, in which memory is transmitted across generations within the domestic sphere through oral performance: the act of telling and retelling prompted by the album (Chalfen, 1987; Langford, 2001; Rose, 2012). By contrast recent work on personal digital photography and photo-sharing platforms have proposed that the once intimate link between photography and memory is coming undone: the tag supplants the story and the individual photograph is subsumed within the constant present of the data stream, dramatically diminishing the mnemonic function of the photograph (Rubinstein & Sluis, 2008; van Dijck, 2007; 2011). The case discussed here, however, suggests a more complex negotiation between the affordances of a quasi-public platform and the needs of users, who collectively retain a desire for the photographic image to remain a privileged memory object.
Engendering Familial Citizens: Serial-Viewing among Middle-Class Families in Urban India, Mahalakshmi Mahadevan
This paper explores a popular brand of Indian television fiction that centralizes the traditional Hindu joint family and places women at the center of the family as nurturer and custodian of traditional values. Through an ethnographic study of serial-viewing among women in middle-class families in two Indian cities carried out between 2007 and 2009, I explore ways in which women and families in urban India engage with this moment of feminization of television. My paper argues that the manner in which differentially located women engage with narratives of idealized family and womanhood suggests certain specific gendered ways in which television mediates women’s discursive access to and performance within both family and civic space. In conclusion, I suggest that the feminisation of television in India helps extend the ideal of a familial womanhood on to the civic space, limiting women’s access to alternative, oppositional forms of civic belonging and citizenship.
ICANN, 1998-2009: The Emergence of a Global Identity Industry, Steven Malcic
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the primary governing body of the domain name system (DNS), endowed with the power to decide who is visible and audible online. While officially a non-profit corporation, it manages the distribution of Internet Protocol addresses and has global authority over domain name retailers who sell these digital identifiers as a form of intellectual property. This industry blurs the line between personal identity and intellectual property through enforcing privately authorized access to a public sphere. I look at ICANN from its formation in 1998 until 2009, when the US Department of Commerce released the corporation from its official supervision. Through a critical analysis of Internet architecture, infrastructure, and protocol, I argue that during this time, ICANN assembled a global apparatus for the management of digital identity, which is itself an infrastructure for an emerging global identity industry. This material and commercial topography restricts Internet users’ development of digital identities within controlled horizons. We must view the DNS as a complex cultural construction, and evaluate it in relation to the influence ICANN policy has on the public sphere within which internet users shape personal identities.
Electronic Medical Records Systems, Integrated Charting, and the Vertical Integration of Medical Labor and Billing in the US, Daniel McGee
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems have offered the promise of more efficient and effective medical care through expansion of access to records, reduction of redundant tests and treatment, and more efficient coordination and surveillance of medical care in real time settings in hospitals and clinics. While some research supports the contribution of electronic medical records to improving the quality of medical care, these systems are still controversial among physicians and nurses because of their high cost and the amount of work required to input medical information and maintain these systems. This paper examines additional structural problems imposed by EMR systems by viewing them in their political and economic context of use as systems of vertically integrating hospital affiliated physician networks and as billing platforms required to create value symbolically by assigning complex billing codes to texts, converting medical charts into medical bills. The cost and complexity of EMR systems and their proprietary nature as privately sold commodities places physicians increasingly in dependency relations with hospital companies, which can afford to purchase these systems and use them to leverage physicians into accepting the business terms of increasingly vertically integrated, hospital-owned professional labor networks.
The User Paradox, Laura McGrane
Hybrid media forms, Katherine Hayles reminds us, can teach responsible and creative "hyper-reading," a mode of analysis that encourages engagement with students in that important "zone of proximal development." When we employ digital technologies in the undergraduate classroom, however, something less rhetorically sophisticated can happen as well. The more "user-friendly" the tools we choose, the less visible the structures, assumptions, and filters that undergird them. The subtler the interface, the more limited our undergraduates' understanding of what is at stake in the use of a specific type of digital technology. Those who make these tools, even scholars working in our midst, often intentionally design the software to turn the student into a mere user -- make it easy; don't make them think. For the purposes of this panel I designate this conundrum the user paradox -- perhaps even more aptly, the "user-friendly" paradox. The very technologies that we use to teach innovative forms of reading and analysis risk dumbing down our analytical sensitivities if we forgo interrogation of form, content, authorship, and information-filtering. This paper will explore the "user-friendly" paradigm with particular emphasis on the undergraduate's position in relation to granting agencies, app producers, and online software.
Public, but Not too Public: Political Campaigns, Relationship Marketing, and Social Media, Fiona A.E. McQuarrie, Leighann Neilson
Social media’s easy access and speed of information transmittal have transformed how American election campaigns are conducted. We examine the impact of social media-based relationship marketing in a political context by analyzing the 2012 Connecticut Senate campaign of Linda McMahon. McMahon's campaign is a particularly appropriate site for this analysis, because of McMahon's association with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE): a company which has large amounts of favorable and unfavorable information about it online. Thus, the campaign attempted to present a positive personal image of McMahon while downplaying or recasting the business experience that was her major source of credibility. Our analysis examines how the McMahon campaign used social media to create a relationship between McMahon and potential voters while controlling negative information about McMahon and the WWE.
Teaching Students Flavor Perception, Francisco J. Migoya
Tasting food is a skill that we often take for granted. It is something we often do without thinking too much about unless it is something exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. We tend to eat our meals while we do something else, such as have a conversation, check our emails or focus on other things that are around us and not in front of us. As a professor at the CIA, I realized that we need to teach our students how to taste food and how to understand flavors better. There are physical acts that can “turn the volume up” on flavors, but one of the simplest things we can do is actually think about what we are tasting. Is it seasoned well? Is this mousse creamy or is it on the stiff side? In this presentation I will show how I teach my students how to taste food (the physiological act), the role of taste, flavor and texture, the types of flavors we have at our disposal and general guidelines for menu composition and flavor pairings, with excerpts and images from my book, The Elements of Dessert (2012).
'Everything is Breaking': The Psychogeography of Live News Space, Then and Now, Erika Mijlin
This talk descriptively explores the connection between the live broadcast news ethos, and the contemporary private/public hybrid experience of new media, by drawing on the archaeology of the screen, posited by Lev Manovich, and the spatial orientation and agency proposed by psychogeography. The concept of 'live-ness' in visual media emerges from the now archaic inception of broadcast news, and yet television anticipated new media in its ability to articulate the screen (or screens) as a direct portal between private and public space. In the television context, live-ness represents, specifically, the capacity to join disparate geographies across the broadcast surface – the viewer space and the public-space share a single stream of time, and television acts as the proverbial “window to the world,” through which the viewer passes between private and public spheres. Television as the dominant pipeline of content now begins to fade, but what the new media landscape inherits from it is live-ness - the live broadcast, the live feed, the webcam, real-time updates, etc. – and to be live is to be public. In the context of new media, then, these “live” places describe an ever-increasing series of edges – places where the news breaks and is forever potentially breaking. In new media, the portal to the public sphere, once opened temporarily by television, is now permanently available, and the threshold between public and private becomes ever more permeable, across a variety of screens. Being forever “live,” the new media user is poised in a moment of potentiality, sometimes drifting privately among these breaking edges, and then, like a television director hovering over a live switcher, “producing” her hybrid reality in public, becoming a node in a new psychogeography of the real.
All Ur Content Are Belong To Us: Publicness, Consent, and the Implications of Unwanted Spreadability, Kate Miltner
Building off of the concepts introduced by Whitney Phillips, this presentation will examine the dark side of spreadability: when content spreads for the wrong reasons. It's generally assumed that spreadability and virality are desirable and the ultimate end goal for online content: ad agencies, brands, and content creators invest a lot of time and money in getting their content to 'go viral'. But what happens when spreadability isn't a desirable thing? What happens when content that's posted was never meant to 'go viral', and ends up causing damage to the content creator and/or subject? This presentation will contest the assumption that spreadability and virality are inherently desirable when it comes to online content. In many cases of vigilante activity, the targets are considered to have "deserved" what they've gotten because of the publicness (i.e, on-the-internet-ness) of their actions. Through the examination of case studies such as Ghyslain Raza / Star Wars Kid (Solove, 2007), Amanda Todd (Bazelon, 2012), and the hijacking of the Mountain Dew naming campaign (Huffington Post, 2012), this paper will examine what happens when the imagined audience for a piece content is different from its actual audience. It will also investigate what we agree to when we post content in public, including expectations and normative assumptions around privacy and control, such as "information wants to be free" (Brand, 1987), and that "privacy is dead—get over it" (Rambam, 2008). Finally, this paper will examine the issue of consent in relation to content, particularly recent EU legislation on the 'Right To Be Forgotten', as well as the concept of explicit consent as proposed by Hasinoff (in review).
Sharing as Educational Knowledge Management, Petra Missomelius
The idea of sharing within digital networks in an educational context – whether it be online education platforms, blogs, technology-mediated channels of interaction or file-sharing – produces temporary communities of learners. Assuming that we are dealing here with joint value creation within public media instead of focused value appropriation, these developments accord with an understanding of knowledge as a constant interactive process involving mutual consent among the participants concerning the effect of the network. Therefore sharing in educational contexts also asks for individual incentives when crossing the line between private and public media. The talk focuses on the role of the individual member actively taking part with regard to defining ‚sharing' as an essential element of her/his own knowledge management.
Flashing Lights: Paparazzi Photography and Celebrity Overexposure, Brandeise Monk-Payton
An important aspect of the production and consumption of celebrity culture is the desire to access the remainder or residual quality of the star that is not usually within the public’s grasp. Therefore the allure of celebrity becomes predicated on an epistemological quandary. How do we come to know the star? Allan Sekula attests to the “higher truth of the stolen image” through the candid photograph. Particularly in contemporary celebrity culture, the harbinger of such photographs is the paparazzi. This paper theorizes the intersections between the informal practices of ‘street’ paparazzi (sometimes known in extreme cases as stalkerazzi) and celebrity overexposure. Overexposure is a concept that makes apparent how the flashing lights of the camera can be considered an imposition on the star, an excess of publicity that manifests itself as a crisis in celebrity (re)presentation. On February 16, 2007, a seemingly innocuous visit to the hair salon resulted in pop star Britney Spears’ complete shaving of her head apparently undeterred by the system of celebrity in place that regulates her image and brand. The paparazzi, visually complicating the divide between public and private acts, were present and recorded this instance of star defilement through the windows of the establishment, exposing crisis as a fundamental element of celebrity culture. This paper analyzes the paparazzi’s photographic documentation and the media's circulation of Britney’s spontaneous performance of the ruin of the star body, arguing that the images produced from this moment seem to paradoxically emphasize that it is precisely Spears’ literal removal of the traces of her celebrity that becomes the validation of her “truth” and status as an overexposed affective and affected laboring subject of stardom under the public eye and publicity’s glare.
Exploring the Circuit-of-Mobile-Device-Use Model, Ana Rita Morais
In Electric Dreams, Ted Friedman (2005) reflects on innovations in technology that gave rise to the Sony Walkman. Employing Raymond Williams’ (1974) notion of “mobile privatization” (26), using new media technology to transform the public sphere into a private space, Friedman concludes that, “the use of [personal mobile] technology [has the power] to insulate the individual from larger social groups, turning even public spaces into private experiences” (Friedman, 2005: 115). Akin to the rise of the Walkman, the current advent of the Smartphone highlights the privatizing potentials of new media technologies through technologically mediated experiences – an encounter that can only exist through the facilitation of a technological device. First introduced in Television: Technology and Cultural Form, Williams’ concept of mobile privatization is a practical way of scrutinizing a society that is “isolating and connecting, atomizing and cosmopolitan, or inward-dwelling but outward-looking” (Groening, 2008: 110). Through a series of qualitative interviews with Toronto mobile device users between the age of 18 and 34, this study uncovers a variety of explorations in examining the ways in which mobile device operators use their technologies; the primary places of use; how these technologies have negotiated place – primarily public spaces; and the dependability on the devices.
A Decentralized Domain Name System? User-Controlled Infrastructure as Alternative Internet Governance, Francesca Musiani
At the end of 2010, WikiLeaks makes thousands of secret US diplomatic cables public, losing a few days later its web hosting company and the wikileaks.org domain. Discussions about a "new competing root-server" able to rival the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) soon populate the Web – not for the first time in the Domain Name System (DNS)’s history. An alternative domain name registry is envisaged, a decentralized system relying on the cooperation of volunteer users would each run a portion of the DNS on their own computers, so that any domain that private-sector or institutional entities would try to make inaccessible may still be available on the alternative registry. A proposal that, instead of adding a number of DNS options to the ones already accepted by ICANN (like OpenNIC or NewNet had done before), would make the main DNS governance institution useless – in favor of a distributed, user infrastructure-based model relying heavily on trust between users, making part of their computing resources available to the system. This paper draws on perspectives in software studies, critical code studies and cyberinfrastructure studies, and on interviews with technical and political actors of DNS organization and management, to provide a contribution to the study of the “alternative Internet” (Atton, 2005) and its implications as an imaginaire (Flichy, 2007), an organizational principle and a socio-technical artifact.
The Algorithm as Institution: Toward a Theoretical Framework for Automated Media Production and Consumption, Philip Napoli
Media scholars have only recently begun to recognize and investigate the importance of algorithms to a wide range of processes related to the production and consumption of media content. Algorithms have become central to the search and recommendation systems that play an increasingly influential role in how audiences consume media (Anderson, 2006; Goldman, 2006). They are also playing an expanding role in the decision-making systems related to content production and distribution (see, e.g., Bakker, 2012; McKelvey, 2010), and advertising placement (Danaher, Lee & Laoucine, 2010); and are even being utilized to automatically generate certain types of content (Steiner, 2012).
There have been few efforts thus far, though, to connect these developments to potentially relevant bodies of existing theory and research. This paper seeks to address this gap by exploring the utility of the literature on media institutions (see, e.g., Cook, 2005; Moe & Syvertsen, 2007) as a potentially useful analytical framework for continued inquiry into the role of algorithms in the operation of media systems; and by offering some suggestions for ways in which a media institutions analytical frame can be extended into algorithmic contexts. The paper begins with an overview of the variety of media-related contexts in which algorithms are playing an increasingly influential role. Next, this paper reviews the theory and research on media institutions; and throughout this review identifies relevant points of connection (and disconnection) between this literature and the phenomena identified in the previous section. In forging these connections, this analysis considers the two inter-related conceptualizations of media institutions – institutions as a set of practices and institutions as formal organizations – both of which have a direct bearing on the evolving role and function of algorithms in contemporary media systems. This analysis will consider the algorithm as both an emergent political and cultural institution, mediating the flows of news and political communication (Anderson, 2012; Bucher, 2012; Mager, 2012), and dictating the dynamics of cultural production and consumption (e.g., Kendall, 2004).
+City: Data Visualization’s Troubling of the Digital Public / Private Spheres, Siobhan O’Flynn and Faisal Anwar
+City’s research and practice investigate the troubled grey zone of Twitter content which, though generated in the digital public realm, changes from public to private, depending on the context of use and the question and often, point of access. As a series of ongoing, interrelated projects, the design of our research inquiries and installations have had to work within Twitter’s changing API and +City’s hashtag archiving and analytical tools foreground the unstable status of digital content as both public and private. Hashtags, however, signal the tweeter’s deliberate intention to communicate with a network and community of individuals known / unknown, and, as such, hashtags affirm public engagement. +City’s data visualization tools function as interfaces letting us manipulate and analyze this hashtag data in real time and in archived data sets. Some of the questions we (and many others) are now asking are: Are there limits in new social art forms when content is pulled from the digital public realm, as Twitter users often list personal details (location, occupation, etc.) on their public pages and post profiles pics? What is / should be the borderline between the public and private digital spheres? What are the implications of data mining and the commercialization of digital content in the era of big data, given that public tweets have a brief and unreliable window of search and recovery?
Not So Blind Items: Anonymous Celebrity Gossip Exposed, Heike Ortner
Celebrity gossip is a special kind of gossip that already flourished in the “old media” (e.g., tabloids). “Blind gossip” is a relatively new form that is quickly gaining popularity. Blind items are usually published on news websites, blogs or social networking platforms. In this talk, the main traits of blind items and their impact on the notion of privacy and publicity are explored. The clash between the private and the public persona of celebrities is even more obvious in blind items than it is in traditional forms of celebrity gossip. The invasion of privacy constituted by blind gossip is especially deep: Even if the reported rumors are true, the anonymity of the blog entries threatens the integrity of uninvolved parties via arbitrary speculation. The community often treats pure assumptions like facts. The outcome is a strikingly alternative view on celebrity culture. The talk provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of blind items on the popular website Blind Gossip, a blog that aggregates texts from different sources.
Locast Platform: A System to Understand Geolocalized Information, Andre Pase, Eduardo Pellanda, Mágda Rodrigues da Cunha
Since the beginning of the connected cities (MITCHELL, 2003), it is difficult to understand the complexity relations between places and their intrinsic informations with a proper methodological point of view. Citizens fused information and urban spaces with their electronic devices, using technology to
perpetuate stories and data that could be lost without register. As many technologies converges – GPS, smartphones and wireless networks (RHEINGOLD, 2003) –, the possibilities to understand physical spaces interpolated with information were potentialized. Acting in this scenario, MIT´s Mobile Experience Lab MIT (MIT MEL) developed, on 2009, Locast platform to study this topic. Locast is mobile but Web software too, so users can capture video messages, photos or texts (called casts) and upload with the GPS data attached to be viewed in a map online. The different uses of this platform shows new ways to capture and visualize data and geopositions interpolations. In this text we will explore four uses of this system though four layers of data: a urban legends mapping, a tracking of routes and points important to local culture, a street-style fashion maps and a audiovisual map of productions held in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil. All this subjects don't have a clear connection between them, but studied together on the same system shows us a different
perceptive of places. More than this, they reveal how information that used to perish as private can be useful when become public again.
The Ark in the Archives, Chris Peterson
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark concludes with the Ark of the Covenant being nailed inside a box and stored somewhere in a vast, anonymous government warehouse, lost in plain sight, submerged amidst a flood of stuff. It exists - it is there - but it cannot be found, at least without recourse to finding devices such as indices and maps. So too does the Internet depend on its own indexical infrastructure, the search engines and social media sites through which information can be found. But, like their paper counterparts, these electronic organizational systems are vulnerable to certain methods and means of subversion. This paper compares the central roles of card catalogs and social media sites in making information findable amongst abundance. It also compares historical examples where they have been sabotaged or otherwise subverted. A close inspection of the sociotechnical systems which make information available and navigable reveals their unexpectedly contingent and
fraught position in connecting people to things. It concludes by opposing the liberal “outthereness” of Yochai Benkler’s resolution to the problem of heteronomy online in favor of a more grounded approach influenced by Bruno Latour and Julie Cohen.
The Privacy Parenthesis: Gutenberg, Homo Clausus and the Networked Self, Tom Pettitt, session handout
From a long-term perspective, the media-induced challenges to established notions of privacy, addressed by this conference, are part of a distinct historical pattern. There was a time when privacy was not yet a major concern; there will be a time when privacy is no longer a major concern. The period in between is not merely one phase in a series, but a (rhetorical) parenthesis – an interruption, on whose closing prior conditions are restored, if inevitably marked by what has occurred in the interim. So the current decline of core and adjunct elements of the privacy complex can be usefully juxtaposed with their emergence in the late-medieval and early-modern periods. The paper will also explore the relationships between this pattern of chronological development and the analogous and synchronous parenthetical trajectory in the history of media technology: the Privacy Parenthesis can usefully be perceived as auxiliary to the Gutenberg Parenthesis (despite the paradox that print is essentially a means of publication). Private man, Norbert Elias’s homo clausus, was ecologically “fittest” for a media environment, dominated by print and the book, whose salient quality was also enclosure. As we move into a digital media environment characterized both negatively by the decline of enclosure and positively by the growth of connection, homo clausus is ceding his place to a more fit, “networked self”, for whom privacy will be steadily less important and ultimately inconceivable. But students of deep media history will recognize this as a resuscitated homo conexus, the creature of a pre-Gutenberg media environment dominated by the connections and networks inherent in oral and scribal mediation.
Privatized Spaces and User Creativity, Amanda Phillips
This presentation examines how individual creativity functions inside of a corporately owned space. The binary distinction of public and private has captured the discourse for mediated life, but how can we begin to understand media production in spaces that are neither public nor private? This presentation works to understand how a third spatial demarcation, the privatized sphere operates when confronted with personal media production. The privatized sphere seeks to offer an inclusive, private experience for its visitors. Yet, these worlds are open to anyone willing and able to exchange value for access, thus allowing entry to a large community of patrons normally associated with public space. Privatized space is bounded, which is essential to keep bodies out, but also to keep them confined within the space. To examine this issue, I will look at media produced by visitors of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida that depicts exploration of backstage or off limit areas of the theme parks. At first glance The Walt Disney World Resort appears to be highly successful in controlling the experience of users of the park. Yet some visitors to the resort are transgressing the set boundaries of space and documenting their experiences. The resulting mediated products are then posted in spaces of digital sociality such as blogs, YouTube, and message boards. These violations of space demonstrate the significance of the changing dynamic between consumer and corporation as media texts emerge through individual cultural production and use in the digital world.
Just Because it Does Spread Doesn't Mean it Should: Online Vigilantism and the Problem of Public Shaming, Whitney Phillips
This presentation explores the recent trend of online shaming, focusing specifically on high-profile controversies surrounding Violentacrez (Chen 2012), ComfortablySmug (Steuf 2012), racist teens on Twitter (Morrisey 2012), Lindsey Stone (Zimmerman 2012) and Hunter Moore (Dodero 2012). In each of these cases, a specific target is accused of deviating from an established convention, an angry online crowd --"the hivemind" in internet parlance -- is mobilized, and the accused party is subjected to swift, and at times brutal, justice. Because these behaviors attempt to route around the existing chain of command (within mainstream media circles, the legal system, even onsite moderation policies), they are best understood as a broad kind of vigilantism. As such, they provide a striking example of the more ambiguous manifestations of media spreadability. In these cases, the spreadability of a given idea or behavior is an ethical liability, suggesting that the fact that something spreads doesn't and can't predict whether or not it should.
Public Privacy and the Development of Sonic Space, John Picker
As Jonathan Sterne and others recently have suggested, modern aurality begins with the stethoscope. The stethoscope represented, on the one hand, the rational conquest of previously undetected sound and led to the rise of the clinically skilled listener. On the other hand, such a development had a more problematic aspect, creating an environment in which newly amplified sound demanded attention and could become impossible to ignore. In this paper, I consider the ways that this condition of modernity created new kinds of hypersensitive hearers and demanded new kinds of sonic spaces in Britain and America. I review the latter half of the nineteenth century as a transitional moment in the pursuit of new kinds of spatial articulations within the city. The combination of industrialized urbanity and more sensitive listeners had obvious as well as more subtle implications for city spaces. How could the city accommodate these opposing forces? This paper analyzes several cases, ranging from Thomas Carlyle’s construction of his soundproof study on the top floor of his Chelsea home in the 1850s to the design of the telephone booth as it formally emerged between the 1890s and the 1920s. I suggest that such spaces, whether failed or successful, point to the appearance in this period of a kind of paradoxical if not contradictory urban locus, a place for what Hillel Schwartz and David Trotter separately have called "public privacy."
Corporatizing the Unconscious, David Pierson
This essay argues that Christopher Nolan's film Inception (2010) exemplifies social concerns and anxieties concerning the increasing role of neuroscience and neuromarketing in affecting the socially perceived "private" realm of human consciousness. Within western cultures, liberal concepts of free will and personal responsibility are predicated on the assumption of a liberated, individual mind. Inception, however, shows us how a team of skilled specialists infiltrate the unconscious mind of Fischer, the son of a dying corporate competitor, to implant the idea of disintegrating his father's company. In effect, the team cultivates Fischer's consciousness to perform labor that enables its client to enlarge his business empire. The film's conception of well-conceived ideas or memes as viral and transferable between minds corresponds to much of the applied research conducted in neuromarketing. A central social concern about neuromarketing is that it seeks to bypass a person's rational thought process to corporatize his or her unconscious behavior.
Heritage Archives and Social Media, Sheenagh Pietrobruno
The task of recording cultural memory is shifting from official institutions to everyday digital media environments including social media (Parikka 2012: 16) that enable the confluence of a diversity of participants and a range of ever-evolving heritage narratives. Heritage institutions as well as ordinary citizens are involved in the memory work conducted on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. UNESCO through its YouTube channel UNESCO TV, for instance, disseminates videos of the elements of intangible cultural that it safeguards under Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. At the same time, individuals witnessing performances of intangible heritage from around the world are recording them on their personal mobile devices and uploading them onto YouTube. fgThis paper argues that the manner in which YouTube safeguards heritage can challenge the authority of UNESCO-sanctioned heritage narratives because it enables YouTube to feature the work of an array of users. Yet this approach to safeguarding heritage compels YouTube to succumb to another authority. As an unofficial archive of heritage, YouTube is under the control of algorithms that Google designs and continuously upgrades to render YouTube a monetizing global platform for an American multinational corporation.
I Know What you Played Last Summer: On Forms of Tracking and Mapping of Private Experiences of Video, Thomas Plattner
The emergence of user tracking in the early days of the web has grown into a full frontal assault on all digital media consumption. Video games are being tracked on both sides of the private-public rift through online platforms like Steam, Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. These platforms offer achievements for the private experiences that playing a video game can offer. Publishers and developers use this data internally for marketing purposes as well as for streamlining the game experience. On the one hand, the exploration of the narratology strain uses a gamer‘s personal achievement data and different data visualisation techniques to develop his / her story to an extent that we add to the transmedia storytelling sensu Jenkins (2011) a new aspect of transpersonal storytelling. On the other hand, the investigation in the ludology strain examines cross-platform retail data and its visualisation for a bigger picture of the distribution of games across platforms as a first step.
The Personalization of Activism, Thomas Poell
This paper investigates how contemporary activists are increasingly using
commercial social media and personal networks for mobilization, coordination, and communication purposes. The question is how this transforms the character of alternative public communication, which traditionally has been carried by non-commercial publicly accessible media platforms, such as Indymedia and SchNEWS. How do the commercial mechanisms and the algorithmic steering typical of social platforms shape personal activist social media communication? And, to what extent do the ideas, information, and opinions that travel through personal online activist networks make their way into public communication, and vice versa how is public discourse received in personal activist networks? These questions will be addressed through two case studies: thedetailed analysis of the social media communication of the protestors of the 2010 Toronto G20 summit and the use of Twitter during the revolution in Tunisia in early 2011.
Reconfiguring Social Media Activism, Thomas Poell
Social media facilitate, albeit temporarily, mass activist self-representation, as well as the rapid mobilization of large groups of people. At the same time, however, the growing use of social technologies brings about a personalization of activism and of activist communication. This presentation discusses how the tension between processes of community formation and of individuation plays out in contemporary activism. It critically interrogates how the technological mechanisms of social platforms and contemporary activist practices mutually articulate each other in these processes.
On Murderous and Other Kinds of Rage: Mapping Participatory Culture in Digital India, Aswin Punathambekar
The past decade in India has been marked by a number of astonishing instances of popular participation intersecting with and reshaping a wider political field. The third season of Indian Idol, which saw fan mobilization for the two finalists influencing broader political movements in Northeast India, and the Pink Chaddi campaign designed to protest attacks on women pub-goers by a conservative, right-wing Hindu group, come to mind right away as two key cases that have attracted considerable attention. There has been significant academic commentary on such moments of political mobilization, with considerable attention devoted to the question: what constitutes meaningful participation? However, the discussion so far has been marked by a focus on the 'political' dimensions and the implications that such moments and zones of participation hold for our understanding of the tenets of normative political theory. Media and popular culture remain incidental to these analyses. In this paper, I attempt to redress this gap by examining two very distinct expressions of public sentiment (rage, in particular): one involving the issue of corruption and the nation-wide mobilization led by a politician, Anna Hazare; the other involving a film song (Why this kolaveri di / Why this murderous rage) that went on to become the most popular YouTube video of 2011. Tracing changing relations between the circulation of news/entertainment programming and mobile media, I argue that the link between participation and citizenship in contemporary India is to be found in the realm of ordinary, everyday media use.
Interface as Amanuensis, Jen Rajchel
The textual history of the bizarre medieval text, The Book of Margery Kempe, takes one on a palimpsestic journey through marginalia and editorial revisions. Through the conundrums of authority and editorial genealogy, it becomes apparent that there is a multiplicity of voices that have molded the identity of Margery Kempe from that of her own, to her amanuensis and to the critical voice of its first modern editor Hope Emily Allen. This paper will explore how these mediations of veiled hands provide a lens for exploring the impact of current social media interfaces (and the companies beyond them) such as Facebook and Twitter as they shape our understandings of a digital self. Like an amanuensis, strategic fields and the shared structural vocabulary of interfaces direct the creation of our online profiles and versions of the self. For example, chronology becomes seemingly teleological to identity performance as Facebook moves to a timeline interface. In an article covering the shift to Timeline Mashable editor, Pete Cashmore, praises this new feature as mind-reader of our pasts: "An algorithm that comes eerily close to emulating human memory; perhaps the first algorithm to spark such a deep emotional response." Through these multiple renderings of platforms (and platform updates) or what we might deem our digital amanuenses, we reconstruct our personae. With each configuration, we revise our notions of public and private by allowing negotiations to be mediated through interface. By looking across, between, and behind the platforms, we can better recognize the networked genealogy of our online identities and the blurred lines between privacy and publishing.
Like, Share, Comment: Facework and Facebook in Brazil, Raquel Recuero
With more than 60 million users, Brazilians are now the second largest population on Facebook. Because Facebook is now part of the everyday life of hundreds of thousand Brazilians, it is creating new challenges for people in the management of their discursive identities and faces among their different social circles. In this context, this paper focuses on how Brazilian are appropriating Facebook tools for face work (Goffman, 1967), to convey their roles in different social networks (such as family, friends, co-workers and etc.) (Goffman, 1974) and create and share social capital (Lin, 2001). We also discuss how users shape their discourses in order to adequate their identities to each online
group's expectations and how aggressive discourse and collapsed contexts (boyd, 2008; Davies, 2011) play a role in their choices. Through a qualitative approach we bring data from observation, 40 interviews and a survey with 500 people to point and discuss these strategies, we particularly focus on four Facebook tools: profile, comments, likes and shares. Our main findings focus on the different uses of each tool for face work, the creation of different profiles for different publics, the implications of collapsed context and aggressive discourses in user's choices of participation and the shift in privacy perceptions. We also discuss how the perception of different types of social capital play a key role in Facebook's appropriation and adoption in the country.
Network-Based Fictions in the Public / Private Spheres, (artist talk) Scott Rettberg
I have been writing fictions of various sorts for the specific medium of the networked computer since 1999. The talk I propose includes a presentation and mediation on several of those projects in the context of the public/private divide or rather the network reconfiguration of those of concepts which is the theme of the conference. Several of the works I have authored/ or coauthored have engaged with the ways that public and private identities, real and fictional identities, and authored or scripted narratives function differently in the network context than they did in prior paradigms. I briefly will explore works including the Unknown (1999 by W. Gillespie, F. Marquardt, S. Rettberg and D. Stratton), a hypertext novel in which four eponymous author characters took turns exploiting, distorting and hyperbolizing each other’s identities in a play with the celebritazation of American literary culture, Kind of Blue (2002 by S. Rettberg) an email novel that appropriated the characters of another email novel for different ends and harvested texts and characters from the news of the day on a Real-time basis, Implementation (2004 by N. Montfort, S. Rettberg), a novel about private lives in the dawn of the war on terror published in stickers on public surfaces around the world, and the Catastrophe Trilogy (2012 by R. Coover, S. Rettberg), a series of narrative films that mediate on contemporary public anxieties about climate change and natural disaster through recapitulations of historical Norwegian disasters set through present cross-cultural conversations.
"...Of Surveillance of the University of Surveillance of the...", Gilbert B. Rodman
Critical media scholars are amongst the most prominent -- and most vociferous -- critics of the rapidly expanding role that technological surveillance has come to play in the daily life of the average person. In particular, professional academics in this area have offered compelling arguments for the problematic ways that a broad range of cultural technologies -- e.g., facial recognition software, GPS devices, mobile phones, online social networks, passports, reality television, RFID chips, search engines, etc. -- have dramatically extended the power of corporate and governmental entities to monitor, gather, and distribute unprecedented amounts of information about ordinary citizens.
Without wanting to negate or undercut the valuable insights offered by such scholarship, this paper aims to turn that critical eye back on professional academics -- i.e., people like us -- to examine the ways that we routinely (and, perhaps, unavoidably) serve as active agents of invasive surveillance technologies, and not just its unwitting victims. While many of us recognize (and complain about) the various ways that we are the constant object of institutional surveillance with respect to our labor (are your class enrollments down this year? is your research productivity on the rise? can you provide documented verification of your participation in that conference? etc.), we are typically less likely to notice our own institutional roles as the (willing? eager?) perpetrators of comparable practices. In particular, this paper will look at the ways that:
● institutionalized pedagogy (even its most radical and/or critical variants) typically requires instructors to monitor the activities of their students -- and, increasingly, to do so around matters of social and mental health that have heretofore not been a routine part of ordinary teacher-student interactions
● common, ordinary research practices assume (and often even require) that scholars will actively take on Big Brother-like roles with respect to the people and communities at the core of their research projects
● the university as an institution aims to instill a sense of ordinariness around being monitored, so that our students (among other constituencies) come to accept and understand the "need" to live as a persistent focus of surveillance practices.
My Own Private Public Library, Julia Rone
The electronic library Chitanka.info was created in 2005, when a Bulgarian living in Germany decided to upload his own personal library on the Internet. Since then the library has grown in popularity with tens of volunteers digitizing books in Bulgarian and uploading them. There are no banners or ads on the website, all contributions are voluntary, and while there are indeed pirated books, there is also a significant percent of books which are already in the public domain. In June 2010 the Bulgarian Cyber Crime Unit closed down the site and confiscated all servers associated with it. In the present paper we would like to explore the public debate that followed the police action against Chitanka and led to the eventual restoration of the web site. Firstly, we analyze the different arguments whether a digitized personal collection of books can qualify as a public library. Secondly, we claim that the case of Chitanka can be understood better only in the context of the transition period in Bulgaria after 1989, during which a serious part of the cultural infrastructure was dismantled and fell in decay. Thus, Chitanka fills in a vacuum left by the absent State and caters for people in small villages, where there are no libraries, for Bulgarian emigrants abroad, and also for visually impaired people. While the process of digitizing books by appointed state libraries has been extremely slow, Chitanka proved to be a quicker, better, collaborative solution that came from the bottom-up. What is more, publishing houses in Bulgaria are still reluctant to offer e-books. In this context, the practice of sharing emerges as an alternative to both the public and the private sector in order to provide access to culture.
Sexting & the Pornographic Imagination, David Rosen
Sexting is the first original form of pornography to emerge in the 21st century. It involves mostly young people taking, sending and receiving explicit nude or semi-nude but nevertheless suggestive still images or video clips of themselves via smartphones or other mobile communication devices. An estimated 20 percent of American young people are involved in what one legal scholar dubbed "love messaging." The outing of a number of male politicians, most notably former Congressmen Anthony Weiner and Chris Lee, both shamed from office, suggests how sexting is spreading throughout society. My proposed presentation, "Sexting & the Pornographic Imagination," focuses on where the "digital public, digital private" cross, i.e., teen sexual representation. It will focus on four key issues involving sexting: (i) social and technological, i.e., wireless and Internet digital porn; (ii) legal and political, i.e., sexting as a crime; (iii) aesthetic, i.e., DIY teen porn; and (iv) psycho-moral, the "why," i.e., the meaning sexting has for the youths who do it and society in general.
Reassessing the Nuclear Public Sphere: Nuclear Counterpublics and Deabstracting the “Secret” Bomb through Nucliteracy, Dibyadyuti Roy
On the first page of the 1949 U.S. Government publication Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom, a visibly perplexed Dagwood Bumstead is affectionately kissed by his bemused wife Blondie, as he embarks on one of his many attempts to split the nucleus of an Uranium 235 atom with an axe. Arguably for the first time in popular culture, the nuclear phenomenon had broken out beyond the confines of the military-industrial complex into the public sphere. Arising from the above premise, this paper traces the development of the American nuclear public sphere through examining government and civilian documents, exploring how the cessation of above-ground nuclear bomb testing fundamentally altered nuclear discourses. Through analyzing of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr.Strangelove, I posit that as a representative post-nuclear apocalyptic text, it challenges governmental publicity through a dynamic nuclear literacy or Nucliteracy—forcing a re-acquaintance with the physical threats of the bomb and leading to the initiation of resistive nuclear counterpublics.
Public Telling: Narrative Gap in Replay Video Games, Jeff Rush
The call for this conference asks how “specific media challenge or reinforce certain notions of the public or the private and especially the ways in which specific ‘texts’ dramatize or imagine the public, the private and the boundary between them.” This paper will focus on how this is dramatized by a genre of video games that are sometimes called "replay games." Replay games (two noted examples are Cursor*10 and Braid) require players to engage previously recorded play as part of present-tense game play. This paper will draw on elements of both narrative theory and the philosophy of time, developed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur. By relating narrative distance to theories of time, it will demonstrate how this distance adds a public dimension to these games, which comes from juxtaposing the phenomenological present with a sense of the historical past.
HasBronies? The Gender and Sexuality of My Little Pony Fan Labor, Julie Russo
The media industry's emerging strategies to monetize an established reservoir of fan labor perfectly complement their late capitalist context. However, the subsumption of subjectivities and communities with relatively autonomous traditions under a corporate regime generates new antagonisms that demand delicate control. As a case study of such immaterial labor relations, I will discuss the season two premiere of the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (September 2011). While this is a Hub network program originally targeted at young girls, it is most notable as an ongoing internet meme and online fandom comprised of teens and adults (particularly males known as "Bronies"). The writers explicitly appeal to this coveted demographic by structuring the double episode around the nefarious plot of Discord to bring "disharmony and chaos" to Equestria – a scenario that fractures the story-world's narrative logic and evokes the anarchic and fecund ecosystem of fan production and viral video (including a reference to YouTube hit "chocolate rain"). What is at stake in this effort to incorporate the labor of an unintended audience into My Little Pony's market value, and what are its limits? Why can Bronies go public while female fans of all ages get little media attention? What components of the franchise can or should remain private property, and what dimensions of the often perverse adult fanbase demand privacy? If the Bronies' "magic" lies in their transgressions of appropriate gender, age, and desires, what are the implications of their work at the intersection of old and new media?
Digitally Disembodied: Social Surveillance and the Rise of Crowdsourced Morality, Wayne Erik Rysavy
This paper examines the socio-cultural shifts in practices of public expression and privacy with the rise of social media. By examining the histories of public and private, both as terms and as practices, I clarify how privacy remains a flexible concept complicated by newer practices of socialization found in social media. Proffering a world of interconnection through a never-ending stream of information, both personally supplied and digitally acquired, I argue that social media now change the way we communicate with one another by increasing our access to others and also saturating our lives with information to the point that it overlaps, transgresses, and ultimately challenges the nebulous, yet “spatially” demarcated, boundaries we, as a society, have long held between public and private life. Referencing three contemporary case studies, I juxtapose historic practices of public expression and publicity to argue that social media and mobile technologies disrupt the contextual integrity of information by stripping expressions of context, thereby disembodying the source, only to jeopardize individual autonomy as an individual becomes the subject of social surveillance online and/ or as her information becomes the subject of continuous monitoring, aggregation and analysis, and potential dissemination and publication without her knowledge or consent. As individuals easily share information across contexts and spaces, I also contend that new dilemmas in reputation and identity management ultimately emerge when personal information is shared beyond its immediate or original context and as personal expressions are monitored, constrained, subdued, and ultimately quelled by the same media founded on promoting expression.
After AfterEllen.com: Online Queer Media Communities as Critical Counterpublics, Maria San Filippo
This paper considers how interactive web-based communities act as counterpublics organized around queer screen media, using as its seminal case study AfterEllen.com. Founded in 2002 by Sarah Warn, AfterEllen became the premier community (online or otherwise) of queer women talking about queer women in popular media. By examining the technological, economic, and ideological tactics that nourish these digital communities of cinephiles and media activists, I aim to understand and promote its counterpublic potential for queer women and new media subcultures as well as its potential uses for teachers and students of gender and media studies. Of chief importance to my examination will be a consideration of how AfterEllen coverage transformed following the 2006 buyout by LGBTQ cable television channel Logo, whose parent company is Viacom. By sifting through AfterEllen's archival record, I track its changing representational politics as it shifted from independent to corporate ownership and the ensuing consequences for questions of privacy, publicity, and personal identity.
Gaming the Scholarly Edition: Opening the Private Arena of Academic Scholarly Editing to Public Apprenticeship via Digital Game Paradigms, Jon Saklofske, Sonja Sapach
This paper addresses the issue of public participation in scholarly editing practices via the INKE project “Gaming the Edition”, which involves modelling a game-paradigm based, collaborative, digital environment designed to move neophyte editors through a process of ‘leveling up’ or advancing editorial expertise. The application of a collaborative gaming paradigm to scholarly editing forces us to reexamine the public/private dichotomy. As a field traditionally confined to the private spaces of institutions and the exclusive environments of professional knowledge and expertise, scholarly editing theoretically resists opening up to public participation. This paper explores three key questions: First, what form can true ‘public’ participation take in an academic/scholarly practice which is conventionally associated with exclusive power structures, and which takes place in private arenas that are gated by strict financial and educational boundaries? Second, does the application of gaming paradigms to the practice of scholarly editing (for the purposes of crowd-sourcing specific types of editorial work and mentoring novice editorial apprentices) preserve or overcome traditional forms of control? Third, how can we encourage the development of a public editorial space in a digital environment focused primarily on skill development and intellectual property creation in a post-secondary context? In order to answer these questions, we will model a digital editing environment that makes use of game-based affordances. This model will function as a performative argument that addresses the above concerns and essentially argues against the divisive boundaries established through the intellectual and economic privatization of post-secondary education environments.
Kevin Mitnick, the New York Times, and the Media's Conception of the Hacker, Molly Sauter
Kevin Mitnick, often identified as the "Most Wanted Hacker in the US," was arrested in 1995 after a three-year FBI manhunt. His capture, trial, and imprisonment were exhaustively covered by the news media, particularly in the New York Times, where reporter John Markoff spearheaded the initial coverage and later published two books on Mitnick. In total, from 1994 to 2012, The New York Times published 47 articles that mention Kevin Mitnick. The New York Times coverage of Minick reflects the changing popular conception of hackers, as well as legitimatizing and concretizing those evolving images and stereotypes. In this paper I examine how, over the course of the Mitnick coverage, the term "hacker" shifts from an identifier of a particular technological subculture to a stand-in term for criminality. Using the tools of metaphor, frame, and content analysis, and building on the analytical work of George Lakoff, James Aho, Helen Nissenbaum, and Deborah Halbert, this paper aims to show how the conception of the "hacker" as reflected in the New York Times coverage of Kevin Mitnick from 1994 through 2012 merges semantically with the concept of "criminal" via certain textual choices, including repeated use of certain metaphors, characterizations, narrative arc, and other references. The paper further argues that the "hacker-criminal to ex-hacker-member-of-society" trajectory as reflected in the full New York Times corpus of Kevin Mitnick coverage portrays a socially idealized life cycle for the "hacker" figure, as the malignant "hacker" is transformed via the criminal justice system into a professionalized "security consultant."
The Art of Governance in Social Media: How Governmentality Shapes the Private/Public Spheres Online, Mirko Tobias Schaefer
One could argue that social media expanded the public sphere, which Habermas defined as 'a network for communicating information and points of view' (Habermas 1996). However, the concept of the public sphere has been righteously contested (e.g. Fraser 1992). Applying the concept to the world wide web has also been criticized (e.g. Dean 2003). While I argue that social
media constitute an extension of the traditional public sphere, I want to address the problem of platform governance. With reference to Foucault's notion of governmentality (2006), this paper investigates how governance is employed by platform providers to constitute a perception of legitimacy and how they further have put in place hybrid apparatus of control that has far reaching effects on user activities. Reviewing the platform embedded systems to control and channel user activities, this paper analyses to what extent the population of users is subject to the corporate platform provider's "art of governance." This aspect raises critical questions concerning the public sphere quality of social media and concerning the trend of public administrations to structurally embed such platforms into their own agenda of governance and citizen participation I conducted a comprehensive study of social media use of Dutch municipalities and a comparative analysis of social media policing practices and monitoring tools. Through frequent participation in expert to meetings Dutch government advisory boards I gained insight in the latest discussion on policy making for social media. Based on this research, this paper discusses the challenges for establishing a public sphere within state and corporate governmentality.
Transcending Space through Mobile Augmented Reality as a Field for Artistic Creation, Alejandro Schianchi
Location-based virtual interventions provide a new field for artistic creation through the use of augmented reality technology for mobile electronic devices. This field considers the possibility of transcending the physical and territorial boundaries of a real space as axes of a new kind of artistic work which re-conceptualizes urban, rural, public and private spaces in terms of virtual content, and vice versa. In addition, this new configuration of a hybrid space (real/virtual) allows for the questioning of spaces of art legitimation and positions of power, their history and access to them. In accounting for these new possibilities, a description will be provided of previous virtual reality experiences, fixed augmented reality, and the beginning of mobile augmented reality; those will be compared to the current situation of massive mobile devices and ubiquitous services. Taking into consideration the work of international artists and my personal experiences using this technology with aesthetic purposes, I will describe a very recent scenario of electronic arts.
Knowing Algorithms, Nick Seaver
Cultural life online is marked by the presence of massive databases — of news, music, movies, friends, and more. Paired with these databases are a variety of algorithmic filters designed to help users sift through them, highlighting items that may be relevant, pleasing, or noteworthy. However, given the proprietary secrecy surrounding the most influential algorithms, knowing precisely how they work is not a simple task. This paper examines some recent critical academic writing on algorithmic filtering to answer a simple question: How do we, as cultural critics or social scientists, "know" what algorithms do? I identify two troublesome tendencies in the critical study of algorithms: casual user experiments, which attempt to systematically engage with an algorithmic filter in order to deduce its properties, and a concern with "inclusion" — what kinds of data inform the work of filtering. These tendencies grant an unwarranted stability and autonomy to algorithmic systems, the defining features of which are not rigidity or obscurity, but rather constant flux, revision, and the ongoing negotiation of the terms by which they engage with data sources.
No Cameras Allowed in the Harem: How Politics Shape the Boundaries of the Representation of the Private Lives of Historical Figures, Tonguc Ibrahim Sezen and Digdem Sezen
It’s not uncommon for historical personalities to become symbols in time. As symbols they represent values of the present and thus are portrayed larger than life, wise and virtuous. For the followers of these values protecting these public images becomes an ideological struggle. In Turkish politics both Ottoman sultans and republican leaders have become such symbols. Seen secondary to their achievements their private lives are rarely discussed and sometimes are even protected by law. While historical adventure films and epics were not uncommon in Turkish film history only since late 1990’s producers started to create films and TV series based on the personal and private lives of these historical figures. While some were praised for adding depth to the characters most caused outrage in different levels of the society. The implicated homosexuality of Murad IV in “Istanbul under my Wings” (1995), Ataturk’s loneliness in his death bed in “Mustafa” (2008), and the love life of Suleiman the Magnificent in “The Magnificent Century” (2011) were criticized only for distorting the past but also for being politically linked to the current events. In this regard in this article we will discuss the protective attitude of both the Turkish state and the Turkish society towards the representations of private lives of historical figures in film and TV. How does the state influence the public image of a historical figure? How are historical figures linked to the contemporary politics? How and why their private lives did become taboos? We will try to answer these and other questions by comparatively analyzing Turkish films on historical figures produced after 1990 with the mainstream and official / semi-official portrayal of these characters and the reactions from the society.
Our Privacy Matters! Youth, Identity and Online Sociability, Giuliana Cucinelli and Leslie Shade
A Sexuality Without Orientation: "Coming Out" on the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, Sarah Sinwell
Social movements have long been defined through their participation within the public sphere. Marches, protests and rallies have been the hallmarks of visibility for a variety of social movements. However, with the advent of online social networking sites, the public sphere has shifted from a literal space within communities to a virtual world encouraging larger scale community involvement. Online platforms such as the Asexual Visibility Education Network transgress the boundaries of how social movements function, raise awareness, and create a public forum where the nature of public participation constantly shifts and is redefined. This paper addresses these questions by focusing on the ways in which online social movements push the boundaries of what we imagine as social movements and recreate new understandings of public visibility. Striving to create open and honest discussion about asexuality among sexual and asexual people alike, AVEN frames asexuality as a sexual orientation and encourages asexuals to "come out."
Can Examination of the Space at the Intersection of Personal Experiences and Professional Activities Reveal New Directions for Examining War Narratives?, Heather Soyka
This research paper explores the participation and record creating behaviors of military officers within a particular community of practice as they learn to navigate the new terrain of becoming commanders and leaders. Their participation in an unofficial social media forum and their participatory learning through collaborative work has produced a set of narratives that is complex, mediated, individual, and corporate. By focusing on a specific strand of records that constitute contributed experiences from individual officers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, traces of dissenting voices within (and outside) of the official communication channels emerge. These and other whispers eventually led to changes in official operational doctrine and strategy. By examining these narratives within the context of official and unofficial records transmission within a hierarchical environment, this paper will examine the interplay between individual and institutional voices in the military as well as the mediated space that exists between public and private.
Being Aware of One's Imagined Audience: Privacy Strategies of Estonian Teens, Andra Siibak and Egle Oolo
Previous studies (Siibak & Murumaa 2011; Jensen 2010) indicate that young people are not only often unaware of the omnopticon of social media, but many of the teens have not yet grasped the idea that our interactions on online platforms tend to be public-by-default and private-through-effort (boyd & Marwick 2011). Nevertheless, only a small number of studies so far (Oolo & Siibak, forthcoming 2013; Davis & James 2012; boyd & Marwick 2011; Siibak & Murumaa 2011) have aimed to gather knowledge about more complex strategies, e.g. social steganography, teens implement to protect their privacy.
The presentation will give an overview of the perceptions the 13-16 year old Estonian teens (N=15) have about the imagined audience in networked publics. Based on the findings of semi-structured interviews with the young we also highlight the main privacy strategies Estonian teens implement in order to manage their extended audience. Our results challenge widespread assumptions that the young do not care about privacy and are not engaged in navigating privacy in social media. Although several of our interviewees confessed that they only kept the members of the "ideal audience" (Marwick & boyd 2010), i.e. close friends and schoolmates, in mind while publishing posts, others claimed implement strategic information sharing, self-censorship and social steganography when performing for one's imagined audience. The latter technique was practiced especially on the public sections of social media where with the help of inside jokes, keywords and citations from movies, games, songs, or poems or a secret message was compiled.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged": Lizzie Bennet, Vlogger, Louisa Stein
The online transmedia project The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) tells the story of Pride and Prejudice through the interfaces of digital culture. The series deploys a sense of vlogging verisimilitude, depicting Lizzie Bennet as just another experimenting vlogger; the series goes so far as having her attend the (real) Vidcon as her (fictional) self. LBD thus situates its fiction within various intersecting digital practices through which private self is made public, envisioning Elizabeth Bennet as a public figure of the vlogging age. While most web series' progress their narrative primarily through a series of online video episodes, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries advances its storyline on multiple YouTube accounts as well as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Not only Lizzie but also Lydia and Jane Bennet, Gigi Darcy, and William Darcy offer their perspectives through video blogs, tweets, and fashion blog postings. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries offers an evolving model of what storytelling may look like in a mediasphere where cultural participants use tools like Instagram, Polyvore, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest to collectively create a constant flow of digital storytelling based on public representation of self. By using these interfaces to tell its story, LBD blurs the line between Lizzie's fictional vlog production and the public culture of digital self-representation more broadly. In so doing, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries opens multiple avenues for viewers to turn co-authors and to enter into creative dialogue with the series.
Decoding Kabul: Using Mobile Technology to Decipher Urban Imagery and Protests in Kabul, Afghanistan, Mitchell Sutika-Sipus
Afghan society maintains a strict division between all things public and the private. The city of Kabul consists of walled compounds, narrow streets, and strict social conventions that regulate behavior. Youth traditionally have had little interaction between sexes, neighborhoods, or outside their immediate family. In the post-war economy, the influx of smart phones have changed the social landscape by creating private channels for discourse among youth and opportunities for online identity construction, yet this change is barely visible in public space. With limited opportunities for public expression, one can occasionally find graffiti and posted photographs in the city streets expressing political frustrations or personal messages. Such imagery is rare and often difficult to contextualize. Throughout decades of war the scrawled signs and writings of the city have hinted at a poetically seething underbelly of alternative thinking and protests, but these messages could never be sufficiently consolidated to illuminate much meaning. Even more challenging, it was difficult to relate the informal street text to its physical surroundings, as each piece of graffiti appeared as an isolated outburst in an otherwise austere landscape. In the research presented, mobile technologies are now used to document and consolidate the texts, graffiti, and expressions of individuality throughout urban Kabul. Using a mobile data collection system to consolidate and map the social and political imagery in the city, the border between public and private is redrawn. The informal imagery and literary messages once hidden in the corners and the shadows are now made explicit. By identifying assembling over 1000 geo-located data points of urban text and graffiti, we may now contextualize and decode the traditionally suppressed murmurings of Kabul, Afghanistan. Situating these messages in the context of more popular media messages in Afghanistan, the opportunity for a new discourse begins to emerge, in which the previously suppressed outbursts of personal expression participate and inform the public realm.
Subjectivities of Sharing in New Media, Wolfgang Sützl
In this paper, I focus on the question as to how the discourse of sharing in the new media constructs subjectivities, and what the meaning of such subjectivities of sharing is in the political realm. To achieve this, it seeks to define sharing both in relation to the concepts of 'exchange' (Baudrillard 1993) and the 'gift' (Derrida 1994, Mauss 1966, Miklautz 2010), suggesting that sharing as such appears at the outer boundaries of both of these concepts. Furthermore, the I examine sharing from anthropological and philosophical perspectives and ask how sharing has traditionally played a role in processes of subjectivation. From there, I try to understand how sharing both constructs and demands forms of subjectivity that work independently of the public/private distinction. In the last section, I examine how this is played out in new media, where sharing is often encouraged and suppressed at the same time in a doomed attempt to stabilize the private and public realms as the classical foundations of the political.
Transactional Data and its Discontents, Lana Swartz
Payment systems are expected to develop rapidly in the coming decade. New payment systems have become a primary means through which philanthropic and development organizations have sought to achieve "financial inclusion" for the world's poor and "unbanked." In wealthier countries, they have been touted as a means for start-ups to take advantage of micro-funding platforms and as a way for small businesses to survive in an increasingly "cashless" society. These applications aside, the vast majority of all transactions are conducted through private, third-party systems. But despite their ubiquity and importance, payment systems have received relatively little scholarly attention. This paper traces the historical and present uses of transactional data as a form of communicative labor. From their earliest days, charge card companies have sold users information to mailing lists. Later, transactional data was used estimate risk and assist in collections. Today, emerging payment systems situate themselves within an array of social media-- not financial-- services. Especially when paired with mobile and locative devices, this new approach makes possible what one industry observer called the "holy grail" of marketing: tracing a highly targeted advertising message to purchase in real space and time. Next, this paper investigates payment system experiments that have emerged in response to the privatization of transactional data, notably the anarcho-cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Bitcoin, an electronic cash system that uses decentralized networking to enable irreversible payments, can currently be used to buy alpaca socks, computer programming services, and-- most famously--drugs, through a website called the Silk Road, a "digital black market" accessible only through the anonymizing browsing service Tor. To Bitcoin enthusiasts, concerns about privacy and labor are allayed not through regulatory oversight or interpersonal trust but by a shared belief in Free Software development and trust in cryptographic protocols. Although Bitcoin is characterized by an idiosyncratic set of ideological and technological commitments, it demonstrates an attempt to build an alternative infrastructure of value transfer.
The Forgetting Machine, Sarah Sweeney
In this paper, I look at how private autobiographical memory has become externalized and public through the emergence of recording devices and social media. The explosion of social media in the twenty-first century has given these objects wider circulation, allowing them to travel beyond their immediate geographically bound network. This movement from an internal circle to a wider network has produced a phenomenon of pseudomemory in which it is possible to possess memories of people and events that one has never met or witnessed. Within this culture, forgetting becomes a radical act and functions as counterproductive to the infrastructure of memory preservation produced by archives, conservation and restoration experts, databases, and scrapbook artists. However, recent work in social psychology and memory science suggests that forgetting can be productive as a treatment for traumatic memory disorders. This paper looks at the tension between the act of forgetting and a culture saturated with persistent public memory objects. I address these concerns in The Forgetting Machine, a commission I am working on for Rhizome. The Forgetting Machine is an iPhone application that digitally destroys memory objects. A photograph taken with the app will change slightly each time it is refreshed or viewed, replacing the original with a degraded image. By synchronizing public and private memories through their simultaneous decay, it creates a possibility for forgetting in both the public and private spheres.
The Author as Producer of Public / Private Media: Revisiting Infrastructures of Cultural Production, Matthias Tarasiewicz
In his seminal essay on the author as producer, Walter Benjamin formulates a paradigm for critical production, namely to change the apparatus of production. Many examples of today's participatory culture show the successful implementation of user activities into interfaces and business models (Schäfer 2011). However, we found that these activities have a larger impact and affect infrastructures in general. This paper presents how technology development is deliberately used for providing alternative and possibly deviant infrastructures for knowledge dissemination, archiving and even monetary transactions on the example of the crypto currency Bitcoin. Referring to case studies of infrastructures for collaboration (hacker spaces, art labs etc.), information dissemination (e.g. our self developed software for small research networks), and financial transactions (Bitcoin) we discuss critically the potential of creative research for emancipatory technologies. This paper provides insights in key aspects of online cultural production and how the development of emancipatory technologies is intertwined with offline economics and policy making in the educational sector. In consequence this paper argues how scholarship and activism unfolds in hybrid spaces that oscillate between the corporate world, universities and underground networks.
Authorship and Authors on Twitter: What is an Author on Social Media?, Sergio Tavares
The old question was if Nietzche's laundry list could be part of his textual production. The new one may be if what Yoko Ono had for breakfast is part of her work in Twitter. In order to evaluate this matter, this article discusses what is an author in social media. It challenges the distinction between "average user" and "famous author," analyzing the content of Twitter accounts of
celebrities, known authors and average users. What rises is an identifiable pattern that distinguishes personal, publicity and traditionally authorial text. Furthermore, this division generates a possible way of distinguishing trivial from authorial text, considering space, publicity and the content. The work also debates if we, social media users, are all authors and, if so, what exactly are we authoring?
Playing at Work: Firewalls, Cubicles and Crafting Tables, Samuel Tobin
People play games at work, especially digital games, rather than asking "why" this paper starts with "how"? To do so the game Minecraft and its players are used as a focus to address how people manage to play while at work and in workplaces. In doing so this paper addresses issues of privacy and surveillance both of and in digital networks and by human bosses and co-workers, as well as personal misgivings surrounding such practices. In addition, we see how players redefine what public and private can mean at work as well as what play might mean and can entail. All of this comes out of player's own discussion of these practices and issues. This data is drawn from public online forums where hundreds of Minecraft players offer tips for circumventing technical, bureaucratic, social and ethical play constraints and share there feelings, experiences and successes. In these specific and detailed accounts of media practices constrained and engendered by the demands and expectation of workplaces we see the shifting nature of public and private, of work and leisure.
The Stigma of Print Revisited: On Early Modern Remix Culture, Whitney Anne Trettien
This paper examines the negotiation of public presentation and private speech through a set of historical documents: the Little Gidding Harmonies. Produced in the 1630s and 1640s at the Anglican community of Little Gidding, situated about thirty miles outside Cambridge in England, the Little Gidding Harmonies are a set of Gospel concordances made by cutting apart different printed editions and illustrations of the four Gospels, then pasting them back together into a cohesive linear narrative of Christ’s life. By positioning the Harmonies as the product of women’s scissors – that is, as the "handiwork" of women, like a well-wrought embroidery – the community negotiated the stigma of print through the privacy of domestic female labor, opening a path for the Little Gidding women to participate in print culture through a medium that was ideologically chaste, verbally silent and viewed primarily not by a male public, but within a domestic coterie of friends and family. While the political culture of seventeenth century England is crucially different from that of today, the ways in which earlier communities traversed the ideologically fraught public /private boundary of their own time – especially through their material engagement in what could anachronistically be described as a form of "early modern remix" – can shed light on these shifting terms today, as well as the many and varied ways in which collaborative, interactive engagement with them always has (and perhaps always will) open pathways of escape.
A Prequel to the Cuban Blogosphere: Civil Society between Modernization and Modernity, Soren Triff
In the case studied here, the emerging Cuban public sphere, some actors use digital web-based media to challenge Cold-War state-sanctioned behavior of the public, in public, related to freedom of expression and other human and civil rights issues. But this challenge seems to be happening more in the realm of modernization, providing new forms to traditional cultural contents, than modernity, bringing on more complex values, attitudes, and behaviors to solve current problems. This paper discusses the public sphere, the circumstances that opened the door of the web-based media for some Cubans actors and how their work produce an image of what the public sphere begins to look like--particularly through the posting of often compelling images. In this mediated space of opinion the topics of discussion are varied; many of them are presented as alternative perspectives to the official storyline. But these web images do not have necessarily an impact on its political legitimacy to the point of persuading government officials to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society actors. A lack of understanding of the functions and limitations of digital technologies and the public sphere results in modernization of the way independent actors and government alike send their messages but not yet in the modern practice of fruitful dialogue. The same misunderstanding brings to some a false sense of optimism. A painful reminder is the case of American activist Alan Gross jailed in Cuba serving a sentence of fifteen years, accused of distributing satellite phones and computer equipment to the Jewish community.
The Image Macro Election: Legibility, Shareability, Reproducibility, Chuck Tryon
If the 2008 election was, as Henry Jenkins has suggested, the "YouTube election," then 2012 has shaped up to be the "Image Macro Election," in which the sharing and production of image macros -- generic images with creative textual commentary -- became a dominant form of political expression. To explore this phenomenon, this paper argues that image macros function through several distinct traits. First, their meaning is instantly recognizable. Viewers who are familiar with the subject of the image will immediately be able to bring over those associations to make the captions -- and the political commentary -- legible. Second, they are easily shareable. Image macros can be shared on Facebook or Twitter in a single click, allowing users to pass along images they find humorous or politically appealing. Finally, they are rapidly reproducible, given that users can learn to make their own image macros with little skill beyond using a keyboard. Thus, political image macros help to deepen our ongoing renegotiation of political participation.
Reshaping Public Space in a Culture of Connectivity, Jose van Dijck
Online sociality is increasingly dominated by major social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube/Google, Twitter) that share operational principles such as algorithms based on popularity rankings and the exploitation of (meta)data for predictive and real time analytics. In the top 100 of most popular websites, there are only two nonprofit platforms, most notably Wikipedia (number 6 in the Alexa rankings). The dominance of corporately owned and commercially run platforms in the evolving ecosystem of connective media is quickly changing the meanings of "social," "public," "community," and "nonprofit". The question whether Wikipedia can procure its position as a nonprofit platform in this overwhelmingly corporate ecosystem is quite relevant when it comes to determining what is left of the participatory culture that was enthusiastically welcomed six or seven years ago. Government regulators and NGOs have rightly defended the interests of individuals' privacy against the pervasive power of social media and data industries. However, public space is much harder to defend as corporations like Google and others are gradually penetrating every inch of heretofore-public sectors: education, health care, public broadcasting, and so on. The penetration of online public space by corporate forces is even more urgent in Western-European societies, which traditionally have a much stronger public sphere than the United States. This lecture will address the question whether sustaining public and nonprofit space is possible in a culture of connectivity dominated by data corporations.
Layers: A Cartography of Time, Nanna Verhoeff
As a practice, interactive and performative cartography prompts questions about how the new "regime of navigation" (Verhoeff 2012) relates to and changes our (conception of) public and private spaces. In this paper I will break down the inherent temporality of the indexical (Peirce) nature of navigation in trace (past), deixis (present), and destination (future). This layered temporality is useful for the investigation of performative mapping practices. Specifically at stake are the blurring boundaries between individual agency and collaborative creativity in participatory public projects. I wish to develop an analytical approach to examine the shifting public roles in collaborative projects that entail cartographic as well as archeological principles. The logic of layers opens up possibilities to think of such performative practices in vertical rather than only horizontal terms. Like palimpsests they, indeed, address the complexity of time and place as the matrix of public/private identity. This layerdness asks for a different cartographic understanding, related to what I have elsewhere called 4D cartography – a cartography of time. In my analysis I will investigate some contemporary, locative (art) projects and mapping apps that experiment with new cartographic principles for spatiotemporal layerdness and fluidity, and critically engage with new demarcations between the public and the private in the construction of public space.
Location-awareness and the rise of the iPhone, Ginette Verstraete
The day before Apple released the new iPhone 3G in 2008, an immense marketing campaign announced its new online marketplace with hundreds (now thousands) of applications developed or approved by Apple, and with lots of services and entertainment written for its platform. My paper will analyze the early phase of the marketing campaign and focus on the dialectic of proximity and distance, private and public as ways of situating the individual consumer in an expansive Apple-dominated environment. In the context of these tensions I will argue that location-awareness -- the ability of iPhones to locate themselves and thus deliver mobile data services adapted to the surroundings of the mobile user -- was an increasingly important element in driving the supply and demand of iPhones forward. If in the very beginning of the campaign Apple was selling us personal devices soon after we were offered the space around us.
Media and the Construction of Public Life, Peter Walsh
For the entire history of civilization, prominent and ambitious human beings --emperors and saints, philosophers and poets, rich traders and rising politicians -- have deliberately used available media, from art and architecture to Facebook and Twitter, to construct coherent public lives from the raw materials of their private existence. Contrary to much conventional wisdom, however, progressive revolutions in media have made this process more and more difficult. In the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine of Hippo made multiple, hand transcribed copies of his letters and other manuscripts that ensured the perpetuation of his public life over seventeen centuries. But General David Petraeus even more carefully constructed public persona was undone by the accidental discovery of random emails to a mistress. Using selected examples, this paper will show how changes in media, from the invention of the codex to print to broadcast media to the internet had two effects: public images became superficially easier to construct by more individuals but much more difficult to shape into a broad-based and lasting public life and personal heritage. In the meantime, ancient distinctions between public and private life, legend and fact, normalcy and heresy, fame and celebrity have been progressively blurred and confused. It will conclude by suggesting an endpoint in the detached celebrity, who exists more as an object of media than as a independent human being, and whose celebrity itself becomes a commodity that can be traded but not secured.
Public Archaeologies and Private Digital Media: Comparing Pre-Adolescent Female Visual Culture Artifacts With Historic Hoards, Courtney Weida and Carlee Bradbury
What if today’s warriors were tween girls and their secret treasure included bejeweled cell phones, shimmering jewelry, and colorful accessories that complexly symbolized sexuality, sweetness, and violence, to be understood through various digital / social networking artifacts of their youth cultures? This paper presentation is the result of a collaborative arts research project to compare historic hoards with an imagined collection of objects and social media traces from present-day pre-adolescent girls. Modeling our work after treasures and documents of identity throughout history, we examined contemporary traces of teen cyberbullying in order to create speculative historical documents, installations and photographs, social networking "artifacts," and research-based wikis related to adolescent visual culture. This project suggests reconceptualizations of treasure, the acts of hoarding and archiving, and visual cultures of girlhood.
Auto-biography: On the Immanent Commodification of Personal Information, Kenneth C. Werbin
In the last years, a series of automated self-representational social media sites have emerged that shed light on the information ethics associated with participation in Web 2.0. Sites like Zoominfo.com, Pipl.com, 123People.com and Yasni.com not only continually mine and aggregate personal information and biographic data from the (deep) web and beyond to automatically represent the lives of people, but they also engage algorithmic networking logics to represent connections between them; capturing not only who people are, but whom they are connected to. Indeed, these processes of ‘auto-biography’ are ‘secret’ ones that for the most part escape the user’s attention. This article explores how these sites of auto-biography reveal the complexities of the political economy of Web 2.0, as well as implicate an ethics of exposure concerning how these processes at once participate in the erosion of privacy, and at the same time, in the reinforcement of commodification and surveillance regimes.
Shitstorms – The Dark Side of Sharing, Andreas Wiesinger
The digital revolution and the culture of sharing have substantially changed the inherent logics and practices of the media. A significant aspect is found in the forms of viral distribution or spread of contents, as observed in social networks and online communities. The ability to transmit messages and content to a potentially unlimited number of recipients was first put to use by businesses and the advertising industry in the form of viral marketing. In the meantime various forms of viral distribution have also been employed in subversive media practices. Thus we can observe seemingly spontaneous storms of outrage expressed by social networks or blogging communities, marked by massive and amassed criticism, complaint and outrage. This form of digital mobbing or mob formation, now referred to as shitstorm, can be aimed at individuals as well as businesses or products. The causes of, and motives for such shitstorms are as varied as their characteristics and media realizations. My contribution attempts to characterize the media phenomenon 'shitstorm' using recent examples and focuses on the practice of sharing negative and subversive personal messages in the digital public sphere. The contribution aims at a typology of different forms of shitstorms and tries a classification of this new media phenomenon.
FDR and the Hidden Work of Disability, Mark Willis
During World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled safely and securely throughout the nation in a private railroad car called The Magellan. It was built in 1940 to the specifications of the Secret Service with bullet-proof armor plating and an elevator at one end to accommodate the President’s wheelchair. The lift eliminated the need to build temporary wooden wheelchair ramps wherever FDR went, which had become a widely-recognized harbinger of the President’s whereabouts. According to biographer Hugh Gregory Gallagher, the apparent sleight-of-hand was “FDR’s Splendid Deception.” It can also be understood as something less exceptional, something each of us does in countless private and public ways -- what sociologist Erving Goffman called “the presentation of self in everyday life.” After paralysis transformed his political career, FDR necessarily engaged in what I will call the work of disability -- the daily process of solving problems, making adaptations and negotiating accommodations to gain equal access and full participation in social life. It is creative work, a significant if unheralded form of cultural production. Throughout FDR’s presidency, much of this work remained hidden from public view. Much of it, like the wooden wheelchair ramps, was dismantled after his death in 1945. As a result, what experience in the work of disability was lost to public knowledge? What can be recovered and regained?
edX Case Studies, Maryam Yoon
Based on two months of participant observation research on the edX community, both in discussion rooms and in meetups in the Boston area, this paper focuses on themes of digital literacy, the creation of authority, celebrity, and pedagogical participation, a term I am using to signal ways students of an edX class see themselves as partially learners and partially teachers. Rather than passive recipients, or what Jonathan Zittrain characterizes as the "pedagogical pedant," edX students instead see themselves as pedagogical participants who actively aid in the construction of an edX course, consistent with the ideal learning environment that they envision the edX course to be. For these users, the edX course is simultaneously a symbol of an aspirational dream, one that may be out of reach, and an arena of open and constant cooperative criticism.
Living Under a Magnifying Glass: Mediated Public and Teen Privacy in Social Networks, Yaguang Zhu
Teens are among the most avid users of social network sites with 95% of all teens (aged 12-17) now online and 80% of those online teens using social networking sites (SNSs) (Lenhart et al., 2011). This article starts from the “privacy paradox” (the discrepancy between stated privacy concerns and the disclosure of private information) of teens, which has not been fully explained. Then, drawing on evidence from a nationally representative dataset from the Pew Internet & American Life study, interviews, critical analysis of the extant research literature surrounding SNSs, and theoretical insights from internet and society, the current research explores teens’ practices of navigating mediated publics and protecting privacy when applied to SNSs. This article reviews recent findings related to privacy and teens’ social networking practices in order to suggest avenues for future research and evidence-based policy. This article also highlights the need for parents, educators, policymakers, and social networking sites to widen the scope of what is considered privacy, how teens perceive and manage privacy, and thus what needs to be protected.
Gangnam Style, Azonto and the Cosmopolitan Remix, Ethan Zuckerman
Internet memes -- humorous, remixable, amateur content designed for spread online -- have attracted attention as an rapidly expanding space for political, personal and corporate expression. While the characteristic of a meme is that it is designed to be spread by the internet public, the cultural rootedness of memes place constraints on the ability of a particular expression to transcend the boundaries of a specific culture: the features of Kenyan internet superhero Makmende that made him spreadable within his home culture may have made him incomprehensible outside the Kenyan internet. The creation and release of memes into an internet that crosses cultural, national and linguistic borders raises questions about how meme authors and remixers concieve of their audience. As the daily newspaper invites us to imagine a body politic in Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, does the dissemination of memes encourage us to imagine communities that share fundamental characteristics despite cultural differences? How does that imagined community correspond to the reality of communities that remix and spread content? Dance video parodies offer a rich space to explore these questions, as they spread across cultural borders in ways that both celebrate local internet culture and assert participation in a global phenomenon. Parody remixes of PSY's Gangnam Style video suggest features of dance videos that allow remix across cultural lines. These same features invite corporate cooption of the memes, which may ultimately check their organic spread.