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Showing posts from 2013

New short piece in themed issue of XRDS on privacy

When giving a presentation at a conference, it is often very hard to determine whether anyone is really listening. Lots of tired faces in the room, not least when it's Saturday afternoon and the city of Paris is waiting outside the conference center, as was the case when I presented my paper at the Web Science 2013 conference earlier this year.

Sometimes, however, it turns out afterwards that in fact some people had been listening. One person who was still awake at that last session in Paris in May was my fellow PhD student Richard Gomer, who later reached out to me about publishing a short and more popular version of my argument in XRDS - Crossroads. For the uninitiated (as I was), this is the official ACM Magazine for students.

The Fall 2013 issue has the theme "The Complexities of Privacy and Anonymity". Richard, who was one of the editors of this issue, thought it would be fun to have a less technical, more social theory-oriented take on the theme, and I liked the ch…

A look back at the Digital Methods Summer School 2013

Back home in Copenhagen, I am currently slowly but surely recovering from two intense weeks of summer school in Amsterdam. I took part in the annual Digital Methods Summer School, hosted by the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. This year's theme -  "You are not the API I used to know: On the challenges of studying social media data" - was particularly relevant to my phd project, so I left Copenhagen full of excitement.

The DMSS proved to be unique in many ways. First of all, 'learning by doing' was taken seriously. We spent less time attending lectures than working on our own self-organised digital methods projects. (At the same time, the lectures were excellent, not least the ones by Bernard Rieder and Noortje Marres - see their slides here).

Second, the project work with considerably success bridged huge gaps in terms of the participants' previous experience with digital methods. Students and researchers with close to no knowledge o…

New paper: "From networked publics to issue publics: Reconsidering the public/private distinction in web science"

I've just come back from the First Nordic STS Conference in Trondheim - no doubt the first out of many - and tomorrow it's off again, to WebScience '13 in Paris.

At WebScience, I'm presenting a full research paper entitled "From networked publics to issue publics: Reconsidering the public/private distinction in web science". Since the proceedings apparently have yet to be released, I've decided to post my own pre-print version here so people might browse my paper before the conference, which starts later this week. I'm presenting in the very last session, at 4 pm on Saturday afternoon.

Download my paper from

The paper is to a large extent a follow-up on my paper from the NordiCHI '12 conference in Copenhagen last fall, where I presented a case study of how two Facebook groups were used to collectively make sense of a severe snowstorm situation that hit the Danish island of Bornholm during Christmas 2010. In the WebScience paper, I ask…

New year, new job, new workplace

As of 1st January 2013, I am a PhD Research Fellow in the Techno-Anthropology (TANT) unit at Aalborg University, Copenhagen. This is a very exciting place to be, not least because the TANT unit contributes with teaching in the relatively new BSc and MSc programmes in Techno-Anthropology. The teaching includes a course in Mapping Controversies - the same course, which back in 2010 got me interested in the meeting points between STS, ANT and digital methods. This coming February, I will contribute to introducing new students to controversy mapping.

In general terms, my PhD project is about 'social media and technological democracy'. When I have defined in more precise terms what my project will focus on, I will post an update here. My main question is how digital technologies such as Facebook or Google Maps mediate people's engagements in various publics. To answer this, I plan to do a case study of how digital tools were used during the controversy over road pricing in Cope…

First publication! (on the use of Facebook groups in a snowstorm)

Last time I updated this blog back in May 2012, I reported that I was going to present my MSc Sociology thesis work at three conferences. This all went well. However, I also went to a fourth conference, namely NordiCHI '12 in Copenhagen. This resulted in a full paper that is also my first peer-reviewed publication, now available from the ACM Digital Library. The paper is based on my earlier thesis work at the Oxford Internet Institute in 2011.

For those of you who do not have access, I have the right to share a copy of the paper for personal use. You can access the paper here through my profile or through SSRN.

The paper is called "Crystallizations in the blizzard: contrasting informal emergency collaboration in Facebook groups". It is aimed at an Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) audience rather than an STS or Sociology audience, so it might be more or less useful depending on who you are. 

Here's the abstract: