Internet memes and networked individualism: A perfect couple?

Memes are conceptual troublemakers. While academics have been debating over their theoretical usefulness ever since Richard Dawkins coined the term back in 1976, internet users speak of memes daily, as uncontested givens. Recently, I’ve been thinking of ways to bridge the yawning gap between academic and popular discourses on memes. I agree with some of …

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Can an algorithm be wrong? Twitter Trends, the specter of censorship, and our faith in the algorithms around us

The interesting question is not whether Twitter is censoring its Trends list. The interesting question is, what do we think the Trends list is, what it represents and how it works, that we can presume to hold it accountable when we think it is "wrong?" What are these algorithms, and what do we want them to be? …

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Why the Occupy Movements Do Not Lack Leadership

Despite the (not undeserved) hype about the role of social media in various occupy movement, I first heard about Occupy Wall Street  from a traditional face-to-face encounter with my roommate.  Bryce gave me the basics (Adbusters-instigated, Twitter-facilitated protest in Zoccotti Square) and suggested we check it out.  If I'm honest, my first encounter with the …

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Using Off-the-shelf Software for basic Twitter Analysis

Mary Gray, Mike Ananny and I are writing a paper on queer youth and "Glee" for the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting (yes, I have the greatest job in the world). This is a multi-methodological study by design, because traditional television viewing practices have become so complex. Besides traditional audience ethnography like interviews and participant …

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