For hard-pressed profs and agitated grads: videos and podcasts from the Social Media Collective, suitable for online classes

Many of our colleagues in academia have had to very quickly migrate their teaching online, in response to changes made by their universities in addressing the coronavirus. This can be so much work – our hats off to everyone who has done so gracefully and ingeniously. An online course can be a lot of hours to fill, a lot of Zoom meetings, so many unmuted mics. There’s nothing better than a video to provide that welcome relief of a guest lecture. But finding them can eat up a lot of prep time too: scrounging through so much available material online, skimming through long videos to see if they’re right for your course. 

And, many graduate students in our field are finding their research disrupted – unable to gather data, or unable to write with kids at home, or just thrown by the world. Sometimes it’s easier to just power through a book you meant to read – but that takes hours. Isn’t a good book talk almost as good, and so much faster? 

We thought we’d do a little of the scrounging and skimming for you. Below are some of the lectures, interviews, and podcasts from the researchers and the postdocs (past and present) from the Social Media Collective, that we thought could be most easily dropped into a new media syllabus. If one works, may it speed your prep time and more quickly get you to your bed or your binge watching. If one lines up with your work, we hope it provides an easily digestible task in these days of stress and distraction. 

– – – 

Nancy Baym, “New Media, New Work, and the New Call to Intimacy” (2018, Rutgers University, 78 min – Q&A starts at 60) — overview of Playing to the Crowd

 .

Nancy Baym, “Personal Connections in the Digital Age” (2016, Microsoft Research, 56 min – Q&A starts at 50) — overview of Personal Connections in the Digital Age

 .

Nancy Baym, “Connecting with Audiences: Musicians and Social Media” (2012, Summer Social Webshop, 53 min – Q&A starts at 50) — on research coding methods

 .

Mary Gray, “Ghost Work – Discussion with the Author” (2019, TechEquity Collaborative, 74 min – Q&A starts at 53) — overview of Ghost Work

 .

Mary Gray, “‘There are no gay people here’: Expanding the boundaries of queer youth visibility in the rural United States” (2012, UNC, 60 min) — overview of Out in the Country

Mary Gray, Communicators (2014, C-SPAN, 29 min) — on data ethics

 .

Tarleton Gillespie, “Custodians of the Internet” (2018, MIT, 16 min) — overview of Custodians of the Internet

 .

Tarleton Gillespie, “Custodians of the Internet” (2018, UVA, 69 min – Q&A starts at 53) — overview of Custodians of the Internet

 .

Tarleton Gillespie, “Content Moderation and the Politics of Social Media Platforms” (2020, Social Media and Politics Podcast, 57 min) — interview

 .

Elena Maris, “Tumblr’s Fandometrics and the metricization of online communities” (2019, Data Power, 14 min)

 .

Elena Maris, “Are porn site visits being tracked by Google and Facebook? (You already know the answer.)” (2019, NPR Marketplace, 7 min)

 .

= = =

Mike Ananny, “Networked Press Freedom: Creating Infrastructures For a Public Right to Hear” (2018, New Books Network, 42 min)

 .

Alice Marwick, “The ‘alt-right’ approach to disrupting the media” (2017, Guardian podcast, 16 min)

 .

Alice Marwick, “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online” (2017, University of Oslo, 27 min)

 .

Andres Monroy-Hernandez, “Collaborative News: From ‘Narcotweets’ to Journalism-as-a-Service” (2015, Personal Democracy Forum, 13 min)

 .

Andres Monroy-Hernandez, “Collaborative News: From ‘Narcotweets’ to Journalism-as-a-Service” (2014, Stanford, 49 min – Q&A starts at 38)

 .

Jessa Lingel, “At 25 Years, Understanding The Longevity Of Craigslist” (2020, NPR All Things Considered, 4 min)

 .

Jessa Lingel, “An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of Craigslist” (2020, Princeton University Press, 3 min)

 .

Megan Finn, “We Are All Well: A Social History of Public Information Infrastructures After Disasters” (2019, University of Washington, 77 min – Q&A starts at 49)

 .

Megan Finn, “Documenting Aftermath: Information Infrastructures in the Wake of Disasters” (2019, New Books in Science, Technology, and Society, 54 min)

 .

Sarah Brayne, “Policing Digital Traces” (2017, AI Now 6 min)

 .

Sarah Brayne, “Police Surveillance in the Age of Big Data” (2018, Vera Institute, 7 min)

 .

Kevin Driscoll, “Re-Calling The Modem World: The Dial-Up History Of Social Media” (2015, MIT, 83 min)

 .

Kevin Driscoll, “Minitel: The Web before the Web” (2018, Computer History Museum, 86 min)

 .

Lana Swartz, “(How) is Venmo Social Media?” (2018, ICA, 14 min)

.

Lana Swartz, “Talking Blockchain” (2019, Filene Fill-in, 27 min)

.

Lana Swartz, “Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff” (2017, MIT, 19 min)

 .

Lana Swartz, “Cashless Society: Can We Get Rid of Cash? (2019, University of Virginia, 1 min)

 .

Dan Greene, “Not Bugs, But Features: Hopeful Institutions and Technologies of Inequality” (2017, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, 70 min – Q&A starts at 35)

 .

Dan Greene, “Organizing the Library and Its Contradictions” (2018, Metropolitan New York Library Council, 42 min – Q&A starts at 36)

 .

Dylan Mulvin, “Embedded Dangers: Revisiting the Y2K Problem and the Politics of Technological Repair” (2017, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, 56 min – Q&A starts at 28)

Solon Barocas, “Data Science in Finance: From Theory to Practice – The Intuitive Appeal of Explainable Machines” (2020, CFA Society, New York, 64 min)

.

Solon Barocas, “Teaching Ethics in Data Science” (2019, Good Code Podcast, 27 min)

Re-assembling the Assembly Line: Digital Labor Economies and Demands for an Ambient Workforce

Watch Mary Gray’s talk at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society where she discusses her findings from a two-year collaborative study on crowdwork –“the process of taking tasks that would normally be delegated to an employee and distributing them to a large pool of online workers, the ‘crowd,’ in the form of an open call.” In this talk she addresses ideas about the cultural meaning, political implications, and ethical demands of crowdwork.

Presentation; Between Platforms and Community: Moderators on Reddit

Presentation by intern Nathan Matias on the project he worked on during the summer at the SMC. He has continued to work on his research, so in case you have not read it here is a more updated post on his work:

Followup: 10 Factors Predicting Participation in the Reddit Blackout. Building Statistical Models of Online Behavior through Qualitative Research

Below is the presentation he did for MSR earlier this month:

(Part1)

(Part 2)

(Part 3)

(Part 4)

Co-creation and Algorithmic Self-Determination: A study of player feedback on game analytics in EVE Online

We are happy to share SMC’s intern Aleena Chia’s presentation of her summer project titled “Co-creation and Algorithmic Self-Determination: A study of player feedback on game analytics in EVE Online”.  

Aleena’s project summary and the videos of her presentation below:

Digital games are always already information systems designed to respond to players’ inputs with meaningful feedback (Salen and Zimmerman 2004). These feedback loops constitute a form of algorithmic surveillance that have been repurposed by online game companies to gather information about player behavior for consumer research (O’Donnell 2014). Research on player behavior gathered from game clients constitutes a branch of consumer research known as game analytics (Seif et al 2013).[1] In conjunction with established channels of customer feedback such as player forums, surveys, polls, and focus groups, game analytics informs companies’ adjustments and augmentations to their games (Kline et al 2005). EVE Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) that uses these research methods in a distinct configuration. The game’s developers assemble a democratically elected council of players tasked with the filtration of player interests from forums to inform their (1) agenda setting and (2) contextualization of game analytics in the planning and implementation of adjustments and augmentations.

This study investigates the council’s agenda setting and contextualization functions as a form of co-creation that draws players into processes of game development, as interlocutors in consumer research. This contrasts with forms of co-creation that emphasize consumers’ contributions to the production and circulation of media content and experiences (Banks 2013). By qualitatively analyzing meeting minutes between EVE Online’s player council and developers over seven years, this study suggests that co-creative consumer research draws from imaginaries of player governance caught between the twin desires of corporate efficiency and democratic efficacy. These desires are darned together through a quantitative public sphere (Peters 2001) that is enabled and eclipsed by game analytics. In other words, algorithmic techniques facilitate collective self-knowledge that players seek for co-creative deliberation; these same techniques also short circuit deliberation through claims of neutrality, immediacy, and efficiency.

The significance of this study lies in its analysis of a consumer public’s (Arvidsson 2013) ambivalent struggle for algorithmic self-determination – the determination by users through deliberative means of how their aggregated acts should be translated by algorithms into collective will. This is not primarily a struggle of consumers against corporations; nor of political principles against capitalist imperatives; nor of aggregated numbers against individual voices. It is a struggle within communicative democracy for efficiency and efficacy (Anderson 2011). It is also a struggle for communicative democracy within corporate enclosures. These struggles grind on productive contradictions that fuel the co-creative enterprise. However, while the founding vision of co-creation gestured towards a win-win state, this analysis concludes that algorithmic self-determination prioritizes efficacy over efficiency, process over product. These commitments are best served by media companies oriented towards user retention rather than recruitment, business sustainability rather than growth, and that are flexible enough to slow down their co-creative processes.

[1] Seif et al (2013) maintain that player behavior data is an important component of game analytics, which includes the statistical analysis, predictive modeling, optimization, and forecasting of all forms of data for decision making in game development. Other data include revenue, technical performance, and organizational process metrics.

(Video 1)

(Video 2)

(Video 3)

(Video 4)

Video: TL Taylor on Pro Gaming, Live Streaming & Spectatorship

 
Current and future visitor TL Taylor spoke last week at the Berkman Luncheon series on “Live Streaming, Computer Games, and the Future of Spectatorship.”

Computer gaming has long been a social activity, complete with forms of spectatorship. With the growth of live-streaming the boundaries of audience are shifting. Professional e-sports players and amateurs alike are broadcasting their play online and in turn growing communities. But interesting issues lurk around notions of audience (and revenue), IP and licensing, and the governance and management of these spaces. T.L. Taylor — Associate Professor in the Center for Computer Games Research and author of the newly released “Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming” (MIT Press, 2012) — presents some preliminary inquiries into this emerging intersection of “social media,” gaming, and broadcasting.

TL just accepted a job as Associate Professor at MIT’s Department of Comparative Media Studies. We’re all stoked to have her in the Boston area.

You’re the Manager but I’m the Mayor: Understanding Foursquare Check-ins in Claimed Venues

Get Microsoft Silverlight

This talk is by Germaine Halegoua, one of our fantastic interns this summer and a brand-new Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. She outlines her findings from her summer research project, about the location-based mobile service Foursquare.

The presentation includes preliminary findings and analysis from an ethnographic study of Foursquare users in the Boston area, focusing on their relationships with “friends” as well as “claimed venues” on Foursquare. This project aims to investigate how and why managers of Foursquare’s claimed venues and their patrons use location-based services; what relationships are forged between vendors and customers via Foursquare; how participants understand their own participation and the audiences for their actions; as well as attitudes about locational privacy and the meaning of location announcement over these networks. Some of these findings reflect information flows, practices of listening and responding, and relations of power that are relevant across other social network sites as well.

If you’re interested in LBS, this is a great introduction to some academic thinking on the topic.

Watch the full talk here.