ICS Special Issue for #AoIR2017

AoIR is grateful each year for the hard work of the editors of our special conference issue of Information, Communication & Society. For #AoIR2017 our editors were Koen Leurs, Assistant Professor in Gender & Postcolonial Studies, Utrecht University, and Alison Harvey, Lecturer in Media and Communication, University of Leicester.

For the last 10 years, Information, Communication & Society has published a special issue including some highlights from the annual Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) conference. This, the 11th special issue, continues in the tradition of sharing rigorous, interdisciplinary, critical research from the event. #AoIR2017 was themed on ‘Networked Publics’ and took place from 18 to 21 October in Estonia in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. The conference was hosted by the programme chair Andra Siibak, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tartu, and facilitated by the Institute of Social Studies and the Centre for the Information Society. Held at the Dorpat Convention Center in picturesque downtown Tartu, the conference drew together attendees from a broad range of national, disciplinary, and methodological backgrounds, and we present here a selection of papers reflecting this broadness and diversity of internet research. Three hundred and thirty-eight participants from 29 countries participated in #AoIR2017, and the programme included the presentation of 129 papers, alongside 18 pre-constituted panels, 4 fishbowl sessions, 10 roundtables, an experimental session, 9 pre-conference workshops and a doctoral colloquium. The pre-conferences focused on topics ranging from visual social media research to digital methods to academic freedom to sessions dedicated to the experiences of early career researchers. This special issue is pleased to share the emphasis on the diverging and contradictory consequences of the formation of networked publics. We have chosen to focus in particular on studies of publics that scrutinize how they may exacerbate injustices or work towards social justice.

The #AoIR2017 issue can be accessed here.

We are happy to welcome back Alison Harvey along with Cornelius Puschmann, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, to edit the #AoIR2018 ICS Special Issue.

All AoIR Members have access to our previous special issues by logging into their membership and looking under the Members tab.

4 Inches of Embarrassment: Humour, sex and risk on mobile devices

4 Inches of Embarrassment: Humour, sex and risk on mobile devices

Kylie Jarrett
National University of Ireland, Department of Media Studies, Maynooth, Ireland.
Email. kylie.jarrett@um.ie
Twitter. @kylzjarrett

Ben Light*
University of Salford, School of Health and Society, Salford, United Kingdom.
Email. b.light@salford.ac.uk
Twitter. @doggyb

Susanna Paasonen
University of Turku, Department of Media Studies, Turku, Finland.
Email. suspaa@utu.fi
Twitter. @susannapaasonen

Early in the 2000s, a link to a website ending in “nimp.org” was circulated via email. The link opened up to a blinking image alternating between a rainbow flag and gay pornography, accompanied by a three-second clip of a male voice amped up high in volume, shouting, “Hey everybody I’m looking at gay porno!” (For a partial, SFW YouTube excerpt, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN5k-8njOMM.) In addition to the potential social awkwardness that watching this media product at work might have caused, nimp.org routinely froze and crashed the user’s computer by opening up new pop-up windows with the same content much faster than these could be closed. The computer’s sound card could also keep on playing the file even when all windows had been successfully closed. Allegedly connected to the internet trolling organization “Gay Nigger Association of America”, the site’s routine became known as a “nimp”. The nimp relied on the embarrassment caused by loudly calling attention to pornography – and specifically that of the male homosexual kind –being consumed in spaces of work. In work environments of the early 2000s, these links would be opened on desktop computers and laptops in workspaces that readily shared the sight and sound of nimping with colleagues to achieve maximum embarrassment. Nimps are a good example of content we would describe today as NSFW, not safe for work.

The idea of something being NSFW is rooted in a sense that certain engaging online content is associated with potential loss and risk in an employment context. This has also bled into our personal lives as the idea of something being not safe for life (NSFL). Oftentimes, NSFW content is shared and experienced as humorous, partly because of its status as being out of place. There is thus both the potential of pain and pleasure for both the receiver and recipient: NSFW is a tag and label for content that both averts and engages. As nimping demonstrates, NSFW content has been circulated online for decades. In this short piece, though, we want to explore how the move from desktop computing to mobile devices, and from web cultures of the early 2000s to social media, has re-articulated elements of these practices.
Read more ›

Publishing Partnership with Internet Policy Review Continues

For #AoIR2018, the Association of Internet Researchers is pleased to again partner with Internet Policy Review on a special issue of the best internet policy-related papers from the conference. Internet Policy Review is an interdisciplinary open access journal focusing on internet norms, standards and regulation, with a specialisation on European discussions.

We first partnered with IPR for a special issue from the #AoIR2017 conference. An issue on Networked Publics that emerges from this partnership will launch in the first quarter of 2018, under the guest editorship of William H. Dutton. More details soon!

Researchers interested in having their #AoIR2018 proposal considered for the Internet Policy Review special issue on Transnational Materialities – to be published in March/April 2019 – are invited to add a note to that effect when submitting their final, accepted contribution. Additionally, the editors of the journal will extend invitations to the authors of a select number of accepted #AoIR2018 proposals on relevant topics around the time of the conference. Invited authors will be asked to submit a full-length journal article, developed from their conference paper to the journal editors.