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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:

This paper presents a comparative case study of improvised social media use in response to an emergency situation. The study focuses on a severe blizzard on the island of Bornholm, Denmark, which left hundreds snowbound for more than a week. Within a period of 10 days, two public Facebook groups showed a burst of intense activity. Combining content analysis of these online interactions and interviews with group members and authorities on Bornholm, the study demonstrates how divergent perspectives on the blizzard were collectively articulated in these two groups. While the members of one group self-organized to support each other in response to feeling overlooked by public authorities, the other group saw the snowstorm as an exciting spectacle. While the widely used notion of altruistic communities explain some of the activity in the groups, the concept does not capture how emergent groups construct emergencies in diverging ways. The analysis demonstrates how an entanglement of social and physical contexts influenced user adaptation of the Facebook platform. These dynamics must be recognized and understood better in order to design information technology that aids emergent groups in future emergencies.  

Lastly, there has been a change of scene: I have finished my MSc in Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and am now a PhD Fellow. More will follow in the near future about my second MSc thesis and my new workplace. Exciting times!


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