Approaches to Internet Research (& My Paper)

This is the session where I will also present my paper, Public Transformations: Adult Learners Who  Use Social Media to Express and Understand Their Identities as Developing Researchers.

Alas, the room was just changed, and I fear many people do not know it was changed as not everybody looks on the notification board or follow Twitter. That is ok, we will go with the flow.

As my paper is not about liveblogging, and I need to get into the frame for this presentation, I will not liveblog my own session, sign off, and focus on my research at hand.

Constructing Narratives of Self and Community in the Age of the Internet

Glad I was able to make the first session this morning; thankfully today began at 9:00 instead of the 8:30 yesterday.

This morning’s session is about digital storytelling, something I have never been able to get my mind around as a research methodology / process / strategy.

Much of this work started and was supported from the California-based Center for Digital Storytelling. It was intended to give a voice to the author by the use of computer tools. It is a method and a movement and can be understood as a distinct media genre.

The identity of the narrator is present in the story, and this was individualistic but prescriptive, being used to represent the self. It has developed into something that is moving to institutional use. It originally helped to create communities through capturing the lives of individuals. This moving from the development from narrativing selves  to narrating community signaled a shift from individual to the institutional to capture life by telling stories.

Mediatized stories and narratives of media ambivalence as identity markers are both concepts discussed by presenters.

One of the classic works in this area is Story Circle, which is about digital storytelling throughout the world.

With changes in Web 2.0, digital storytelling continues to change dramatically.

Interesting affordances for self-representation comparing digital storytelling and Facebook. #ir11

Ahh, now onto community identity construction through apologetics; religious use and how constructed narratives are established to form and support communities.

The last presenter is not using slides. Seems fitting for a presentation on stroytelling, though it is rather heavy theory and I am struggling to keep up as I do not have a widde background in this. Would have been nice to have a visual agenda of the argument at least, and I am right now lost.

Nice discussion about this storytelling.

I asked a question — have you studied any communities or use of digital storytelling to control populations, rather than just continue to promote community or continue emphasizing mainstream religions or communities, rather than something that may not be as widely accepted (such as a cult or terrorist cell). Alas, only based on “good community.”

IR11 Pre-Conference: Academic Career Development Workshop

I did something I have not done in some time at a conference; I took notes by hand during the wonderful “Academic Career Development Workshop for Research Students and Early Career Academics” pre-conference session. I did not want to hear tap tap tap, nor did I want to have the possibility of multitasking, so I used a new notebook I bought during a recent holiday in Paris. The notebook is thick, solid leather with a great pad of unlined paper (though I often prefer graph paper with the boxes), though this is fine, thick paper that was a strange pleasure to write on. Reminds me, I owe somebody a physical letter . . .

The pre-conference sesion was organized by Marcus Foth, who could not attend at the last minute, and Jaz Hee-jeong Choi (who did a wonderful job facilitating the entire session). The 15 or so of us spent the entire day discussing our work, our interests, our questions, our concerns, and our best practices to help one another. An international bunch, I felt quite comfortable with them all after the first round of introductions when it became apparent that my concerns and worries and struggles were often shared by others.

There were other learners who are also considering academe as a second career. Teaching internationally means that the same terms are used, though often in very different ways. Funding is a persistent problem. The importance of building and fostering a network. Even the value of presenting at conferences and then expanding to publish. All valuable for us to know.

Overall, I got what I came for, in that I feel a little more informed and expect that my challenges are similar enough to other early career researcher that my confidence was bolstered. Kudos.

The Internet Omnopticon: Mutual Surveillance in Social Media

Jacob Linaa Jensen (who I spoke with last for the first time in the conference) began with a background of this topic.

Seems norms of privacy are not uniform, based 0n age and values and norms and such. Some people feel more confortable sharing everything, while others are more concerned about various things.

Jesper Taekke is now speaking about problems for the social constructino of personal identity. He tried to study Facebook from a community vs. a network perspective. Social identity.

Charles Ess is now speaking about new ethical challenges. Fascinating content that is just too rich for those who are uninitiated. Lots more things for me to learn; what a useful experience to attend a conference session (again) and leave with more tantalizing questions than answers!!

Another presentation that is now focusing on Real ID and the World of Warcraft. Seems there is an interest in anonymity within the WoW community.

Lars Holmgaard Christensen is now speaking about Facebook, especially about dataveillance. Interesting table on the Self-Assertive I, the Social We, and the Self-transcendent Other. I really need to know more about surveillance studies.

Facebook is an Omnopticon — a mutual surveillance. Manuel Castells talked about the thing that everyone can watch now.

Now, questions and comments.

Power, Gender, and Collective Action

The first of these papers that is being presented is entitled “When Technology Matters.” Their research question is “Why go public with the private?” Nice slides — black background with white text that just jumps out at us.

The first part is about a woman who blogged without people initially knowing her, but then people recognizing her and her struggles with that. The next paper was about bloggers who starve themselves or otherwise hurt themselves. Finally, another person who blogs about her body. Fascinating experiences of people who speak public about issues that others can easily miss.

Hmm, what is important to me may not be important to you? Talk about a jolt to worldview!

The role of technology in the private / public. Where is control? Whose control? How does ethics work with this? I am getting more and more confused with how to handle this research if using other people’s blogs. Thus far, my research is leading me to direct interaction with bloggers; phew.

Ahh, a presentation on female gamers by Malin Sveningsson. Gender and sexuality with female gamers. There certainly seems to be a a theme here at the confernce around gamers / online games. Think I want to know a little more about this area (sounds familiar?)

Interesting theme that female gamers bring a friendly touch to the game. Yes, Fatal attraction with knives and guns and such like fatal attraction. Hmm, homosociality (cf. Sedgwick, 1985).  Same-sex gaming environments can be liberating or constraining. I wonder what future areas of research exist in this area?

Hmm, how do gender differences disrupt online gamer expectations / experiences?

Girls being made invisible on the Internet, with a reference to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Not quite sure what population of girls that is being studied, as girls in general may be a little general for research. Their focus is on the individual lived lives researchers.

I like hearing about the everyday activism, and it is seen in this research and images that were provided in the blog here.

Rong Wang will present her paper via Skype from Singapore. This is exactly the sort of presentation style that we will only see more of. Hmm, new experiences = new research opportunities.

The theory of social capital, social ties, and collective action are all considered. Nice use of social network analysis (SNA). Makes me wonder what methodologies are most common in Internet Research?