2016 Best Student Paper Award

The Best Student Paper Award goes to Paula Kiel for her paper The emerging practices of the collective afterlife: multimodal analysis of websites for post-mortem digital interaction. The program committee was particularly impressed by the contribution’s strong theoretical grounding, the novelty of its object, and its overall relevance to the field of internet research.

The paper will be presented in Berlin at #AoIR2016 07 Oct 2016: 4:00pm-5:30m. Conference schedule information. 

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Travel Scholarship Recipient – Rossini

Each year, through the generous donations of AoIR conference attendees, we are able to fund several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their interests.

RossiniPatrícia Rossini

Who are you?

Patrícia Rossini (@patyrossini on twitter)

Where are you from?

Brazil. I’m currently based in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State.

What is your current area of study?

I am a PhD Candidate at the Communication Department of the Philosophy and Human Sciences School at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Broadly speaking, I am studying the interplay between political communication and technologies. My research focuses on online political talk, social networking sites, online campaigns, deliberation and political participation. Specifically, my dissertation aims at understanding how different discussion platforms such as social networking sites and news websites enable, constrain or shape the ways
people discuss political news online.

Describe the research you will present at AoIR 2016.

The paper that I will be presenting at AoIR 2016, ” Social Media, U.S. Presidential Campaigns, and Public Opinion Polls: Disentangling Effects,”  is the product of a collective effort around a broader research agenda about digital campaigns in the U.S. This paper, specifically, looks at the interplay between public opinion polls and candidate’s campaign strategies on social media platforms. We analyze Facebook and Twitter messages of the 17 Republican and 7 Democratic candidates in the 2016 Presidential Primaries. Because social media is an important site of communication for campaigns, we seek to understand the influence of a candidate’s standing in the polls and strategic communication online. Prior research suggests that polls influence strategic communication on TV ads and suggest that competitiveness is a key factor for negative advertising. As campaigns tend to mirror what they do online and offline, we predict that a candidate’s standing in the race will shape the ways he or she communicates with the public. [PS-07: Politics: Social Media, U.S. Presidential Campaigns, and Public Opinion Polls: Disentangling Effects 6 Oct, 11:00 – 12:30]

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2016 Berlin is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference?

#AoIR2016 will be my first AoIR conference. I have been following the event for quite a while and I am really looking forward to participate in Berlin. I wanted to attend to AoIR for two main reasons. First, I follow the work of several scholars who are regularly attending to the conference and it is, in my opinion, the best event of the field. Second, AoIR has a tradition of hosting workshops and activities targeted at young scholars and it represents an important venue not only to make professional relationships, but also to benefit from the knowledge of relevant scholars who are kind enough to mentor scholars who are beginning their careers in academia.

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Travel Scholarship Recipient – Cheong

Each year, through the generous donations of AoIR conference attendees, we are able to fund several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their interests.

Cheong-headshotNiki Cheong

Who are you?

I’m Niki Cheong (@nikicheong on Twitter), a PhD researcher at The University of Nottingham, UK.

Where are you from?

I am originally from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but currently based in Nottingham, UK.

What is your current area of study?

I am currently researching for a PhD in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.

Describe the research you will present at AoIR 2016.

At #AoIR2016, I will be participating in the Doctoral Colloquium. I am hoping to learn from the senior researchers and fellow participants, as well as to get some feedback on my current research.

Presently, I am about to begin the second year of my PhD programme, looking at social media communication in Malaysia’s political sphere. Specifically, I am looking at the possible practices of astroturfing involving political parties in Malaysia. I am working with data which includes emails and tweets, in an attempt to understand better how the Government and political parties in Malaysia use social media to propagate their messages and defend themselves from criticism.

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2016 Berlin is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference?

#AoIR2016 will be my first AoIR conference. I am excited to have been offered a spot at the Doctoral Colloquium and am looking forward to enriching my knowledge from the many panels and talks at the main conference, but also to hopefully meet the many researchers who are working in the same field as I am.

I have been following AoIR since I was reading for my BA Internet Studies at Curtin University in Australia in 2000, under the supervision of former AoIR president Professor Matthew Allen. As an undergraduate student back then, I was not able to attend any of the early conferences.

Returning to academia after a decade-career in journalism has now given me the opportunity to attend and participate in AoIR after all these years. It’s been a long time coming and I’m grateful for the Travel Scholarship that has made this trip possible!

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Travel Scholarship Recipient – Chan

Each year, through the generous donations of AoIR conference attendees, we are able to fund several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their interests.

ChanheadshotChung-hong Chan

Who are you?

Chung-hong Chan (@chainsawriot on github and twitter)

Where are you from?

I am from Hong Kong, so I usually introduce myself as “Hong Kong’s Hong”. I am a fourth year PhD student at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre, the University of Hong Kong (@JMSCHKU). So, I also like to introduce myself as “Hong Kong U’s Hong”.

What is your current area of study?

My PhD research is mainly focus on the political consequences of Cyberbalkanization. I am also interested in studying Internet Censorship in China.

Describe the research you will present at AoIR 2016.

I will present a study entitled “Can Online Rumour Be A Social Good In An Authoritarian State? A Case Study Of Rumour On Sina Weibo After The 2015 Tianjin Blasts”, which is a collaborative study between Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and HKU. We study the use of Sina Weibo (a Chinese domestic equivalent of Twitter) for the discussion of rumours about the 2015 Tianjin blasts and how the authority in China attempted to manage those rumours using content moderation strategies. Using a data driven study design, we found that the authority manage topic of rumours differently and there are three broad strategies: 1) “let it be”; 2) rumour rebuttals and 3) rumour rebuttals plus content censorship. With time series analysis, we found no evidence on these management strategy can consistently curb the public discussion of rumours and instead stimulate more general discussion about them. This study fills the research gap on how the social media are used during crisis in authoritarian regime and study the effectiveness of content moderation strategies such as rumour rebuttals and censorship in term of curbing public discussion about rumours. [PA-13: Lies Researching Misleading Information Within Hybrid Media Ecologies. Where We are and Where We are Going 7 Oct 9:00 – 10:30]

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2016 Berlin is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference?

This is my first AoIR conference. From what I know, AoIR is the best Internet Studies conference.

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Announcing: AoIR Conference Coordinator

MHALEYAs AoIR continues to grow, we realized a dedicated AoIR Conference Coordinator would help immensely with conference organization and management. AoIR is very happy to announce the hiring of Dr. Michael Haley to fill this role for the #AoIR2017 Tartu Conference.

Michael Haley (Ph.D., Alliant University, 1979) was recently Executive Director of the International Communication Association. As Executive Director of ICA, his primary foci was on increasing the visibility and international scope of the organization, increasing participation of the organization with related organizations and governmental agencies, increasing granting and funding opportunities for the membership of the International Communication Association, and advancing technology within the association. He has also served as Executive Director of both the California Psychological Association and the California Psychological Association Foundation. Michael has a twenty five year history of involvement in public policy debates and initiatives at both national and international levels. He has taught in university settings at is co-author of public policy research articles. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and is a Certified Association Executive.

We look forward to working with Michael toward a seamless 2017 event.

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2016 Best Dissertation Award

The Best Dissertation Award for 2016 goes to Dr. Eden Litt for her dissertation, “The Imagined Audience: How People Think About Their Audience and Privacy on Social Network Sites.” She filed it June 2015 at Northwestern University, under the direction of Prof. Eszter Hargittai.

Dr. Litt investigates the imagined audiences to whom social media users share their latest updates – whom do they imagine as the audience? What shapes these imagined audiences? Do these imaginings fluctuate each time they post? And do these imaginings relate to other factors, such as what people reveal or conceal?  Her research design was creative and ambitious, and she managed to draw from a diverse sample of participants and a range of social network sites to make her claims. Litt’s rigorous study supports important findings, which ultimately sketch an agenda for future research in Internet studies focused on better understanding the intentions and assumptions of social media users in their day-to-day online practices. A readable and well-organized manuscript, Litt’s dissertation is a shining example of excellence in the field today.

The committee also offers an honorable mention to Dr. Anne Helmond. Her dissertation was titled “The Web as Platform: Data Flows in Social Media,” and she filed it September 2015 at the University of Amsterdam, under the direction of Prof. Richard Rogers. Dr. Helmond’s dissertation is notable and stands to make a significant long-term impact in the field.

AoIR is grateful for the hard work by this year’s Best Dissertation Award committee: Daren Brabham (chair), Taina Bucher, Mathias Klang, Anders Larsson, and Sun Sun Lim.

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Travel Scholarship Recipient Interview – Calhoun

Each year, through the generous donations of AoIR conference attendees, we are able to fund several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their interests. This is the first in a series of posts that feature travel scholarship recipients.

 

Calhoun-headshotKendra Calhoun

Who are you?

Kendra Calhoun, a third year Ph.D. student in linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then lived in Columbia, South Carolina for four years while completing my undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina. I currently live in Santa Barbara, California.

What is your current area of study?

My graduate research is in the area of sociocultural linguistics and examines the intersections of language and race in social media context. I’m particularly interested in humor and forms of social activism across online platforms. My current research projects focus on the content produced by African American youth and young adults on the platforms Vine and Tumblr.

Describe the research you will present at AoIR 2016.

My AoIR presentation is titled “Six seconds to talk back: The emergence of racial comedy as a sociopolitical discourse genre on Vine” and it analyzes how King Bach, a young African American man, has created a genre of Vine videos that uses racial comedy as a form of sociopolitical commentary. I specifically examine how King Bach’s comedy draws on the traditions of African American stand-up comedians such as Richard Pryor, but constitutes its own genre as a result of the affordances of the Vine platform. A six-second time limit, special effect capabilities, and collaborative content creation —to name just a few — allow King Bach to address issues like racial profiling, wealth disparity, and colorism in the African American community in unique ways that still feel familiar to an African American audience (or anyone familiar with African American stand-up). His genre of Vine racial comedy is a new, often subtler form of youth and young adults using social media to “talk back” to and challenge dominant ideologies and (mis)representations of African Americans in mainstream media. [Session details: PS-20: Inequalitaties, Friday, 7 Oct, 2:00 – 3:30]

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2016 Berlin is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference?

This will be my first time presenting at AoIR, and prior to submitting to this conference I had presented at various social sciences conferences where the internet aspect of my research was sort of secondary. I didn’t know about AoIR until I started searching for conferences where I could talk more in depth about the social media aspect of my research. After learning more about the association and seeing the wide range of research that was presented at past conferences, AoIR 2016 seemed like the perfect opportunity to present my research from a different theoretical perspective and get to learn from other interdisciplinary scholars in the field of internet research.

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Call for Conference Hosts for October of 2018, 2019, and 2020

The Executive Committee of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) is seeking statements of interest for serving as Program Chair and Conference Host for the annual meeting of the Association in October of 2018, 2019, and 2020. The AoIR conference draws an international group of researchers and practitioners to present and discuss work at the cutting edge in understanding the social and cultural aspects of the internet and related technologies.

We seek expressions of interest from individuals, organisations, or consortia to serve as Conference Host and Program Chair for a future AoIR conference. The Conference Host is an individual, group or organisation who serves as a liaison to AoIR, assisting in the identification of conference spaces, hotels, catering and reception options, local sponsorships, and ways to feature the local intellectual community and culture. The Program Chair is an individual who helps to develop the conference theme and to identify keynote and plenary speakers, oversees the submissions and review process of papers, panels, workshops, and preconferences, and schedules the conference sessions. Conference Host and Program Chair may be the same person, or the Program Chair may be a member of the group or organisation that acts as Conference Host.

Dedicated AoIR staff will lead much of the conference planning, including negotiating contracts with hotels, meeting venues, catering, and the like, and handling the administrative details of the conference, such as registration, reception and meal planning, A/V and wifi, and book vendor displays. The role of the Conference Host is to advise on this process and provide crucial local knowledge and connections.

Individuals, organizations, or consortia who may be interested in serving as Program Chair and Conference Host should contact President Jenny Stromer-Galley at prez (at) aoir.org by October 1st with a brief letter of interest. The letter should include the following:

  1. who makes up your group and who the proposed Program Chair would be.
  2. your connection to internet research and to AoIR.
  3. a description of any prior experiences you have had with organizing or hosting a conference and the role you played in this.
  4. initial thoughts on venue options and why those would be good recommended spaces for holding the conference. AoIR has in the past held the annual conference at a variety of venue spaces, including universities, conference centers, and hotels.
  5. whether or not you’ll be attending AoIR2016 in Berlin and are interested in meeting to discuss hosting a future AoIR conference.
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2016 Nancy Baym Book Award

The Nancy Baym Book Award for 2016 is presented to Whitney Phillips for This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture (MIT Press) (2015). The committee, which included Nancy Baym, Tama Leaver, and Stephanie Schulte, found Whitney’s historical perspective on trolling useful and important when put in the contemporary context of Fox News and Gamergate. The book delves deeply into the phenomenon of Internet trolls and trolling, arguing that there is not just an individual problem but a larger culture problem that gives rise to trolling. The committee found Phillips’ book to be the right balance between accessibility and scholarly depth – suitable for both academic and mainstream reading.

Dr. Whitney Phillips, Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and Writing at Mercer University, holds a PhD in English with a Folklore structured emphasis (digital culture focus) from the University of Oregon, and an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from Emerson College.

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#AoIR2016 Reception at the Ballhaus Berlin

AoIR2016_Ballhaus
Dear AoIR Community, it’s time for a dance. This year’s reception event will take you from debates of the digital age way back to the analog charm of the Golden Twenties. Once all over Berlin, the flair of Swing and Charleston parties is preserved in this 19th-century two-story Berlin ballroom. Choose between champagne and absinthe: This place sets the perfect atmosphere for cool drinks and hot talks reminiscing a world prior the internet – so don’t miss out on a place still hosting original dial-operated telephones connecting each of the tables in the venue. Friday, 7 October, doors open 6.30 pm.

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