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2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

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Session 1B [clear filter]
Saturday, July 29
 

11:00

Session 1B: Theories & Methods
Moderators
BH

Bernie Hogan

Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr Bernie Hogan is a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, a department at the University of Oxford. His work sits in between social theory and methodological advances using big data. Concerning theory, Bernie’s work focuses on the ‘exhibitional approach’ and third... Read More →

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:00 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

11:01

Free Pile Sort As A Method To Understand Gender Differences: An Ecological Model Of Social Media Use [WIP]
Authors: Jaigris Hodson, Brian Traynor and Gilbert Wilkes

Abstract: This pilot study looks at a novel methodology that helps to understand how people choose which social platform to use. Beginning with the assumption that affordances alone cannot explain differences in social media platform choice, we propose an ecological model to understand the differences between social media platform choice by gender. We propose that a free pile sort method offers an opportunity to understand influences at the micro, meso, and macro levels of the ecological model that may be subtle and difficult to gage across different social networks using other approaches. We show, in a pilot study, the ways this method reveals fine distinctions in the way male identified persons vs. female identified persons think about social media platforms which may help us explain trends in use.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

11:01

Rethinking Emotional Desensitization To Violence: Methodological And Theoretical Insights From Social Media Data [WIP]
Authors: Jianing Li, Devin Conathan and Ceri Hughes

Abstract: One path of gaining insights from Internet is to revisit traditional theories through novel methodology it fosters. The current study applies computerized linguistic analysis to study emotional desensitization towards violence through Twitter posts, which makes twofold contributions. First, the computational method overcomes the limitation of laboratory and cross-sectional survey approaches. Longitudinal effect of desensitization, which were unexamined or indirectly inferred by previous studies, could now be observed and analyzed directly without artificial inference. Second, the findings expand the previous unified conceptualization of emotional desensitization. People show significant decrease in disgust, sadness, and anger, yet notable increase in anxiety towards gun violence during 2012-2015, despite an overall decrease in the aggregation of above negative emotions. The results call for more careful conceptualization of emotional desensitization, and how methodological improvements supported by social media data can help deepen understanding of desensitization theory is discussed.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

11:01

The ‘Paradigm Clash’ In Digital Labor Literature: Reconciling Critical Theory And Interpretive Approach To Empirical Research [WIP]
Authors: Olga Rodak and Karolina Mikołajewska-Zając

Abstract: ‘Digital labor’ became an umbrella term for the stream of research dealing with ‘users’ participation in the digital culture.’ It critically frames social media participation within a wider political economy of the Internet, where it is captured and translated into value for platform providers and powerful organizations. Though accurately adding critical interpretation to the discussion on this phenomenon, ‘digital labor’ theory does not provide sufficient methodological guidelines for social research. This remark applies especially to the problem of inclusion of so called ‘micro-perspective’ in theory-development, that is, social actors’ experience and perception. After performing the pilot literature study, we found that this challenge is recognized by the majority of scholars conducting empirical research in the spirit of ‘digital labor,’ however, there is little consent of how it could be solved. We argue that this problem may be reframed as an intra-disciplinary ‘paradigm clash’ – the incommensurability of the critical and the interpretive tradition in social science. We collected insights from research papers and call for conceptualizations that will inform empirical researcher of how to involve ‘micro-perspective’ while building the ‘digital labor’ theory.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

11:01

Twitter Issue Response Hashtags As Affordances For Momentary Connectedness [FULL]
Authors: Chamil Rathnayake and Daniel Suthers

Abstract: Online activity is commonly conceptualized in social media studies using theoretical frameworks defined for offline contexts, such as public sphere, publics, and communities. Although this approach has its merits, especially in terms of providing theoretical foundations to describe new phenomena, this approach limits conceptualization of online activity to offline behavioral patterns. This paper responds to calls for conceptual departures by theorizing Twitter issue-response hashtags as instances of ‘momentary connectedness,’ topical structures of momentary connectivity that include original tweets, retweets, “quote tweets”, reply and mention clusters, sharing via direct messages, and acts of liking. Most of these forms of uptake in Twitter issue-response spaces involve imagined audiences, making it difficult to situate them in concrete conceptual categories, such as publics and communities. Further complicating the public-private distinction, tweets that are public can enter the private realm via the option of direct messaging. Momentary connectedness accepts the multifaceted nature of Twitter hashtag networks by seeing them as constructed through multiple forms of uptake and being situated in private and public domains, thus providing a more natively digital conceptualization that recognizes the permeability of online communication across boundaries. These concepts are illustrated with a case study.

Saturday July 29, 2017 11:01 - 12:30
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9