Picturing the Social Conference

 

This sounds like such a great event. Below the break is the details of a one-day conference on June 20th in Manchester with some really awesome people talking about image sharing and online visual culture. Thanks to the always awesome Mark Carrigan for the heads-up about this one! If you’re not following him I thoroughly recommend that you do!

As the internet becomes increasingly multi-modal, and as an increasingly diverse range of Social Media sites are becoming purposefully heterogeneous, understanding visual culture is so important.

What’s so great about this event, and what I love about Digital Sociology at the moment is it’s really broad in scope. So many fields with so many epistemological stances all want to try and understand the increasingly ubiquitous role of Social Media. We need this diverse input in the field, we need to throw open the doors and try and come at this from a range of perspectives.

I cannot make the day so I’m going to follow along online, but I thought I’d flag it up for all those up north interested in Visual Culture and wanting to look at it from a purposefully broad perspective. More of this sort of thing please!

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Curating identity online. Why do we insist that this is a unique feature of online social interaction?

I’ve been noticing a trend in the discussion of Social Media

In digital research there has been a move towards accepting that the internet is now a mundane and routine part of life, and as such an equal move away from distancing social media and the internet writ large from the rest of everyday life. Most researchers accept that the internet has quickly become routine. Rather than being a sparkly wonder for which we had to schedule time in our day to sit down and literally plug in, it has become accepted, ubiquitous, and demystified.

We have lifted the curtain and found that Oz is just some old white guy.

Research is now accepting that the internet is not a space to escape everyday life but a space in which we continue to project and live everyday life via new modes and new mediums.

However, researchers still seem to want to put some of the sparkle back into the internet; they still want to see it as something special and unique in some way. And in part this is true. The internet offers new possibilities, new ideas, new opportunities, new methods… BUT not everything that happens on the internet is unique and solely found online.

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#IStillFacebookBecause …

This week, a fascinating hashtag started up on Twitter asking users why they still used Facebook. According to Twitter (when I last checked) 40000 odd tweets had been sent by users asking them why they still used Facebook, and the replies were fascinating, funny, and provided a really interesting insight into what’s happening on and with Facebook.

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Facebook and the LGBTQ problem

The last week has seen some tremendous steps taken for the advancement of LGBTQ rights, a fact that was rightly celebrated by many. One of the main and most visible way people chose to celebrate was through a Facebook image filter, which overlaid your profile picture with a rainbow flag in support of LGBT rights. This was tremendously popular way of showing support for the LGBT community, as well as celebrating Pride week, and the Supreme Court decision.

Leaving aside the fact that Facebook are most likely recording your use of this feature, this case raises some issues with regards to Facebook’s general policies towards the LGBT community, and, importantly, highlights the importance of site design and modality upon how we perform identity, and how we act and interact. Continue reading

University of East Anglia doctoral conference 2015

If anyone is in Norwich next week, I will be taking part in a Doctoral Conference hosted by the University of East Anglia’s Education and Lifelong Learning department.

The full details of the conference are below the break. It will be held on the 28th of May, with two concurrent sessions running all day.  There are some great talks in both sessions, covering topics from humour, art, education in Libya, and geeks, to maths and chocolate, the analysis of Seljuk coins, and migrant workers in the Pearl River! Continue reading

Online/Offline – Why it’s not a clear cut dichotomy any more….

A while ago I wrote about how there’s been a breakdown in the public/private dichotomy. This time I want to discuss another dichotomy, the online/offline dichotomy. If anything, this dichotomy is more pervasive than the public/private divide, and potentially more damaging for digital sociology, as it affects the ontological approaches we take to the digital medium.

Today, I give my take the online/offline divide. It’s a much discussed topic; a topic that has, and is, changing, and a topic that it seems there’s much disagreement on. Should we view them as separate realms? Should we contextualize the internet? How much do the two realms influence each other? Are the even two realms, or are there less? Or more?

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Facebook isn’t dying, it’s stagnating

In the last year there’s been a rather large shift in the air in Social Media. Facebook is no longer the ‘too big to fail’ site that once it may have seemed, and instead it is facing new and diverse competition from a number of interesting companies creating varied and compelling social spaces for interaction.

The inevitable and increasing diversity of social media platforms has led to many academics and media sources predicting a mass exodus of youths away Facebook, and towards other, ‘cooler’ platforms like SnapChat or Instagram. UCL’s prolific and inspiring Daniel Miller, for example, wrote a fantastic piece at the beginning of last year predicting the mass exodus away from Facebook. Similarly, a large number of media outlets have written about teens leaving Facebook for other Social Networking Sites (See here, here, here, here… the list goes on…)

Having conducted research into the Social Networking habits of teenagers over the last year, I was keen to see if this was true. Were teenagers leaving Facebook? What was driving them away? Where were they going? What had changed?

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