I have wonderful news to share! You may have noticed that just last week my colleague, Bernie, posted the exciting news we just received from New Media & Society editors, that our paper has been accepted. The paper, which I collaborated on with my esteemed colleagues; Bernie Hogan, from Oxford Internet Institute, and Danijela Lalic, from Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, will be published in New Media & Society which is the #1 communication journal, as ranked by Google Scholar. We are honored and thrilled to be selected for inclusion in this extremely reputable and wide reaching publication. In the paper, we explored and presented an empirical evidence demonstrating different types of digital divides, with a focus on tensions surrounding digital literacy and collaboration, present in the higher education community in Serbia. An electronic version of the publication will be available soon. Keep an eye out for it, and let us know what you think!
An update [July 7, 2015] You can access and read the NM&S article following this link.
As an internet researcher and social media consultant, I ask some of the guests to tell me and my readers more about themselves, their current projects, and their views on topics including internet technology, the use of the Web in science and education, and certain aspects of the digital technologies that influence our everyday lives and work. Earlier this month I had a conversation with Marcus Foth, the interview is published for Australian Science.
Marcus Foth is an Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, as well as the Principal Research Fellow at the School of Design, Queensland University of Technology. He has authored and co-authored over 90 articles published in journals, edited books, and conference proceedings, as well as the Urban Informatics web site. You can follow him on Twitter.
Would you, please, tell our readers a little bit more about yourself? Where do you come from, both geographically and philosophically? What is your scientific background, and your professional scope?
Certainly. I was born and grew up in the Northern part of Germany, in a town called Lübeck, at the coast of the Baltic Sea, about an hour from Hamburg. After high school I moved what appears to be as far away diagonally as possible within Germany in order to commence a computer science degree at the University of Furtwangen in the Black Forest that offered a – at the time – unique specialisation: Medieninformatik which combined technology applications and media studies. This was in 1997. The internet was just starting to become commercially successful, and many current students were still working on kiosk installations and multimedia CD-ROMs which were the latest fad at the time.
The World Wide Web 2012 conference has started, and I have presented earlier his morning after the keynote talk: Greg Ver Steeg – Information Theoretic Tools for Social Media. I talked about small talk, phatic communication and its functions, and online communication dynamics. How tweets and mundane Facebook updates about weather, food, what you’re doing, where are you doing, and how – are actually healthy for the online communities, human relationships, and sustaining social network systems. I provided plenty of interesting examples (see some of the slides), and had nice and inspiring questions from the audience.
You can read the paper in CEUR online database; I would be happy to read your thoughts and comments here. Check out the paper (pdf), it is available for downloading and reading as part of CEUR Vol-838.
Find my slides uploaded on a SlideShare.
Brief information for those coming to WWW2012 – you can check the programme. On Monday I will be presenting at ”Making Sense of Microposts”#MSM2012 workshop. For others – please take a look at the article I wrote for the Scientific American on better understanding the phatic element of communication as applied to online discourse and networked connectivity.
Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big
Social media and micro-blogging have been fascinating to me ever since I first encountered them. In the last 3-4 years there has been an enormous growth in social network sites and in the numbers of people using them, especially on the two most popular services, Facebook and Twitter.
That fascination grew to become a doctoral research focus that has explored the different forms of communication dynamics being formed online. I was, in particular, curious why people post trivial, mundane updates and messages to each other – a behavior I have come to term “phatic posts”. It’s not just young people, but also professionals from different walks of life as well as internet researchers, including myself.
I used to tweet from the airplane before taking off, or being alone at the airport at 5am checking into Twitter to see if anyone’s awake in “my time zone’’, or logging in to my Flickr account to see if someone commented on my latest photography. I was not the only one engaging in such behavior; au contraire, many internet researchers and geeky people I know would demonstrate similar patterns of
I’m very pleased to say that my paper for The World Wide Web 2012 #WWW12 conference got accepted. It is on the phatic aspects of communication in an online sphere. Phatic communication expressions – a concept developed by the anthropologyst Malinowski and expanded on by the linguist Jakobson – denote brief, non dialogue and non-informational discussion or communication exchanges that can also be in the form of different types of signals. However, in the paper I am arguing that the stuff you think is pointless and does not have a practical information value – your posts on Facebook and Twitter, the likes, the pokes and the tweets about food, weather, the mundane brief status updates – all turn out to have a vital role and social value that even merits a new phrase – “phatic-posts” – which the paper coins. These phatic posts deliver values of staying up-to-date with a micro and macro world of events and news, flirting, chat and public expressions of everyday life and emotions among the participants. The paper explains multiple effects of phatic posts: social, validation, conflict-avoidance, and others. I won’t reveal everything now.
The paper will be published in the ACM SIG proceedings, and if you are curious this Wordle has a summary of
Jean Cocteau once said that the art is science made clear, but what he didn’t indicate is that the science is creating different forms of art including the art of connecting people and communicating science. Bora Zivkovic is a unique, energetic, technologically-savvy, and multidisciplinary scientist, connector, and blogger. I met Bora twice: during the Science Online 2009 and Science Online 2010 conference in Raleigh NC, USA, and on many other occasions online, and he would always motivate me with incredible energy and passion for science and people. I would say that Bora is the real science connector, not only communicating and articulating science in its many forms but also connecting people, networks, and the scientific communities world wide.
Born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Bora’s studies of veterinary medicine were interrupted by the 1990s war in the Balkans, when he arrived in the USA. He went to graduate school at North Carolina State University where he studied how bird brains measure time of day (circadian rhythms) and time of year (photoperiodism). He started A Blog Around the Clock in 2004 as a prolific science blogger. He was the online Community Manager for the open access journal PLoS ONE. He is now the editor of Scientific American’s blog network, organizes the annual ScienceOnline conference, and is the editor of The Open Laboratory, an annual collection of the best writing from science blogs.
He even interviewed me once, as a host of a series of interviews with various scientists, bloggers, educators, and journalists; and now is my turn to ask Bora questions I always wanted to ask him. I had an opportunity to interview him and here are the questions and perceptive, knowledgeable, and fun responses.
Recently the Science Online 2012, #scio12 has finished, and impressions are still spreading online among scientists, bloggers, journalists by sharing blog posts, videos, tweets. How do you feel after this year’s conference? Do you think that some things and social dynamics during this conference have changed comparing to previous conferences? I’ve seen familiar names tweeting online, people I met in person in 2009 and 2010. What has changed in the conference dynamics since then?
We were very aware that growing a meeting by 50% can change the dynamics. We spent the entire year discussing strategies for ensuring that the intimate atmosphere of the meeting does not vanish. I wrote quite a lot about this in my long blog post after the event, especially about the need to make sure that so many new people feel welcome and instantly included into the community – including all the fun parts of the event. We completely changed the daily schedule in order to foster more informal interractions, we (really, Karyn Traphagen) designed the Cafe Room with this in mind, and we put quite a lot of effort in our communications on the blogs (including my post which was recommended to all to read beforehand), emails and social media, to prepare everybody for the unconference format and for the unique blend of serious discussions and crazy fun of ScienceOnline. For the most part, judging from what people are saying on their blogs and in our feedback forms, we were successful.
I wrote an article at the Scientific American blog highlighting digital divides – or digital inequalities, if you prefer – from other perspective, pointing out that these digital divides go far beyond pure infrastructure issues and need to become a key focus of engagement for profit and nonprofit organizations as they continue their missions to develop programs for social and digital inclusion.
Everyone’s talking about internet access: from European media to US media, stressing connectivity issues that merely compounding existing social inequalities as “new digital divides”, as if they are something new in the networked society. They are not.
According to the available measures, the selected indicators (such as gender, income, occupation, online experience, internet penetration, type of internet connection, etc.) are significantly related to the levels of (one’s country) per capita GDP, literacies, education, level of democratization, etc. Being as one of the contributors for the forthcoming Routledge book on Digital Divide, I have presented some of the findings from my research, where I used the combined methodology: from web desktop analysis to online surveys and qualitative semi-structured interviews (N-125).