News and Updates – June 2012

Welcome to a new semi-regular feature where I update what various SMC members have been up to lately (think of this like the class notes in your alumni magazine, without the weddings and with less babies).

Kate Crawford joined SMC as a Principal Researcher in February. She has a number of new papers out:

  • danah boyd and Kate Crawford (2012) “Critical Questions for Big Data”, Information, Communication & Society, 15:5, pp 662 – 679.
    Revised version of the Big Data article Kate & danah wrote at MSR last year and delivered at the OII conference. This is a must-read for those of you working with big datasets.
    [Free access]
  • Kate Crawford (2012) “Four ways of Listening to an iPhone: From Sound and Network Listening to Biometric Data and Geolocative Tracking”, in Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication and the iPhone, edited by Larissa Hjorth, Ingrid Richardson and Jean Burgess. London and New York: Routledge, pp 213 – 239.
    While we don’t have a download available, ABC national radio in Australia recently broadcast a special feature story & interview on Kate’s essay. You can hear it here.
  • Kath Albury and Kate Crawford (2012) “Sexting, Consent and Young People’s Ethics: Beyond ‘Megan’s Story'”, Continuum, 26: 3, pp 463 – 473.
    Kate says: “Article on sexting and consent that we first wrote in 2010 – a giant relief to see it finally appear in print!”
    [paywall access]


Continuing the big data theme, Helen Nissenbaum has a new article as well as a new pamphlet out co-written with Kazys Varnelis that sounds awesome and is FREE!

  • Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis, Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects, Situated Technologies Book Series. [Free PDF download]

    In Situated Technologies Pamphlets 9, Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis initiate a redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and networked, geo-spatial environments. Digital technologies permeate our lives and make the walls of the built environment increasingly porous, no longer the hard boundary they once were when it comes to decisions about privacy. Data profiling, aggregation, analysis, and sharing are broad and hidden, making it harder than ever to constrain the flow of data about us. Cautioning that suffocating surveillance could lead to paralyzed dullness, Nissenbaum and Varnelis do not ask us to retreat from digital media but advance interventions like protest, policy changes, and re-design as possible counter-strategies.

  • H. Nissenbaum, “From Preemption to Circumvention: If Technology Regulates Why Do We Need Regulation (and Vice Versa)?” Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 26:3
    “My attention will mostly be drawn to the role of law and regulation in circumstances where regulation by technology seems already to be in place, or, put another way, where regulation is already encoded in architecture.”
    [Free PDF]

danah boyd has a ton of talks coming up, published the Big Data paper with Kate, and has this upcoming paper:

  • Ybarra, Michele, danah boyd, Josephine Korchmaros, and Jay Koby Oppenheim. (In press; Available online) “Defining and Measuring Cyberbullying Within the Larger Context of Bullying Victimization,” Journal of Adolescent Health.
    [paywall access]

    Measures of bullying among English-speaking individuals in the United States should include the word “bully” when possible. The definition may be a useful tool for researchers, but results suggest that it does not necessarily yield a more rigorous measure of bullying victimization. Directly measuring aspects of bullying (i.e., differential power, repetition, over time) reduces misclassification. To prevent double counting across domains, we suggest the following distinctions: mode (e.g., online, in-person), type (e.g., verbal, relational), and environment (e.g., school, home). We conceptualize cyberbullying as bullying communicated through the online mode.

Our friend and frequent visitor Tarleton Gillespie of Cornell has a full-length piece about the Twitter Trends argument he developed here on SMC and at Culture Digitally:

  • Gillespie, Tarleton. “Can an Algorithm Be Wrong?” Limn (v2, 2012). [free access]

You should really check out the new issue of Limn, a academic-ish art-ish journal. This issue is on Clouds and Crowds and features great work from a variety of social media scholars including Biella Coleman (McGill) on Anonymous and Lilly Irani (UC Irvine) on Mechanical Turk.

My fellow outgoing postdoc Mike Ananny published a piece with Dan Kreiss (UNC) called “Journalism For and By the Public: Creating a Free Press” for the National Communication Association’s “Communication Currents” site. Mike also appeared at the Berkman Center, where he gave a lunchtime talk called A Public Right to Hear and Press Freedom in an Age of Networked Journalism. Full video is up on the Berkman site.

Nancy Baym is joining us soon (we’re very excited). She also has a new article out (we’re so productive!):

  • Jeff Hall & Nancy Baym (2012) Calling and Texting (too much): Mobile maintenance expectations, (over)dependence, entrapment, and friendship satisfaction. New Media & Society, 14(2), 316-331.
    [paywall link]
  • This article uses dialectical theory to examine how mobile phone use in close friendships affects relational expectations, the experiences of dependence, overdependence, and entrapment, and how those experiences affect relational satisfaction. Results suggest that increased mobile phone use for the purpose of relational maintenance has contradictory consequences for close friendships. Using mobile phones in close relationships increased expectations of relationship maintenance through mobile phones. Increased mobile maintenance expectations positively predicted dependence, which increased satisfaction, and positively predicted overdependence, which decreased satisfaction. Additionally, entrapment, the guilt and pressure to respond to mobile phone contact, uniquely predicted dissatisfaction. The results are interpreted in relation to the interdependent dialectical tensions of friendship, media entrapment, and the logic of perpetual contact.

Nancy also did a Berkman Center podcast in April, where she interviewed three musicians- Kristin Hersh, Zöe Keating, and Erin McKeown- about using community supported agriculture as a metaphor for rethinking music. [free access]

Finally, I (Alice Marwick) have a piece in Surveillance and Society about to drop (tell all your friends!) and wrote a essay for the Daily Beast with danah about teen social media use (spoiler: it’s not that weird).

Check the Events page for upcoming talks, and the new Video page for multimedia from past events.