Travel Scholarship Recipient #AoIR2018 – André Mintz

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.

Who are you?
I am André, a doctoral candidate at the graduate program in Communication of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and a CAPES foundation scholarship holder. I graduated from this same institution back in 2010 and have been working across the fields of digital media and media art ever since. I have previously worked with audiovisual production, particularly in experimental formats. I have also taught digital art and programming at a vocational school, managed a hack lab, and produced immersive videos for a planetarium. I hold a masters in Communication from the same institution to which I am currently affiliated, and I also took a masters in Media Art Cultures with a grant from the Erasmus Mundus joint program formed by Danube University Krems (Austria), Aalborg University (Denmark), and Lodz University (Poland).

Where are you from?
I am from Belo Horizonte, which is one of the largest metropolitan centers of southeast Brazil. Less known than other parts of the country, it grew as one of the main mining regions in the 18th century – an activity which, unfortunately, continues to be a rather significant share of the region’s economy. The university and program I am currently affiliated with is one of the main of its kind in the country, having grown and diversified in recent years. There, I am part of the Intermedia Connections Research Group, which gathers a strong group of researchers working on internet and digital media.

What is your current area of study?
Currently, I am devoted to the topic of the digital image in connective media environments. My research has a methodological orientation, with an interest in devising a digital methods approach for studying the dynamics of images’ online circulation and association but, also, the epistemic implications of applying such approaches – machine learning in particular – to our understanding of what images are and their role in contemporary communication. I believe these are becoming crucial questions as computer vision technology for image analysis become mainstream and start to alter also how image are made and put into circulation. In short, my topic is the datafication and the algorithmic treatment of the visual within online culture. Therefore, I would situate myself within the broader field of digital methods and STS, but in an intersection with the fields of aesthetics and visual culture.

Describe the research you will present at #AoIR2018.
At the conference, I will be presenting a research I have conducted with my supervisor, Carlos d’Andréa, which is titled “Studying ‘live’ cross-platform circulation of images with a computer vision API: an experiment based on a sports media event”. The study applies an experimental methodology for tracking the live circulation of images shared during the Final Draw Ceremony of FIFA World Cup 2018. We used a commercial API provided by Google which operates as a reverse image search tool for the web, with which we tracked visuals shared on Twitter. The study showed some potentials for this approach in describing different circulation dynamics across online platforms and also across geographical settings. However, the results also suggested many questions as to the inherent limits of the approach, particularly due to some opacity regarding the tool’s functioning. Besides this paper, I will also attend the doctoral colloquium, in which I will present aspects of my dissertation research.

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2018 Montréal is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
This is my first time presenting at AoIR. It seems that it is a rather automatic choice for those of us researching online topics, so there was not really that much thought put into it. It is clearly one of the main places to attend at some point in one’s research track. I expect the days in Montreal to be quite busy and having a really hard time choosing which activities to attend during the conference, and I am very much grateful for the support given by AoIR as I would likely not be able to go without its support.

Travel Scholarship Recipient #AoIR2018 – Iyad Dajani

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.

 

Who are you?
@iyadDoudi my twitter name

Iyad Dajani is a Ph.D. student at the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies in Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, in his final stages. his doctoral research deals with Internet Communication Technology (ICT) for Reconciliation; A Phronetic Netnography in Applied Content Analysis – his case study is Palestine. his research explores the role of social digital networks on promoting a democratic culture in Palestine and studies its implications on achieving a Palestinian-Israeli just peace and sustainable reconciliation.

He has a B.Scs. in computer science from Al-Quds University and a Master Degree in regional Studies – American Studies and a Web Master Developer certificate from HackerU University in Tel-Aviv. He will submit his dissertation in August-2018.

Where are you from?
Jerusalem, now living in Jena and working at the Jena Centre for Reconciliation Studies as a Scholar in Internet research Methodologies.

What is your current area of study?
Applied Ethics in Big Data.

Describe the research you will present at #AoIR2018 (e.g., title, key findings, contribution to the discipline, etc.)
Title: The phenomenology of Internet Communication Technologies systems for social change towards social transformation process

Interdisciplinary research, The use Internet communication technology for social change towards a social transformation process in the middle of conflicts. The research describes how ICT can develop change within society for a better understanding of the enemy, and the role ICT can play to develop a change in policies to affect change in political decisions. Also the research would describe Internet Research Methodologies as in qualitative and quantitative approaches for social network analysis.

I would present the theoretical framework that I have developed for social change using ICT. I call it the phenomenology of ICT in Phronetic Social Science. But I’m working now on publishing my book and there is a whole chapter about it.

Have you presented at AoIR in the past?  If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2018 Montréal is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
No. This is my second time to attend the AOIR conference but I didn’t present anything at the first time, but would like to present if this is possible. I’m taking the preworkshop Internet Digital research methods , this is quite my field, I’m expert in social network analysis using Nvivo for windows. I want to develop a more understand of the term. I would also want to network with other scholars in my field. Internet Research Methodologies.

Travel Scholarship Recipient #AoIR2018 – Jane Harris

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.

Who are you?
Jane Harris @phi_janeharris

Where are you from?
I am a third year PhD student from the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom.

What is your current area of study?
My research background is in public health with a particular interest in the health needs of young people and seldom heard groups, digital health and qualitative and mixed methods research. I am currently researching the role that social media can play in health promotion particularly for young people. In particular, my PhD explores the role that professional YouTubers play in young people’s health behaviours and identities in the UK.

Describe the research you will present at #AoIR2018.
My presentation at AoIR 2018 is entitled “Like, Comment and Subscribe”: Exploring the Role Professional YouTubers play in young people’s health behaviours and identities in the UK.

In the United Kingdom, there are over 150 individual YouTubers with >1 million subscribers. A significant proportion of their audience are aged between 13-18 years. The content they produce is often: commercially sponsored, unregulated and both purposefully and accidentally touches on a whole range of health topics including: mental health, alcohol, sexual health, body image, healthy eating and physical activity. YouTubers successfully create illusions of intimacy for their audience; through both YouTube and other social media platforms they appear increasingly interactive and accessible to their audience. For young people, YouTubers represent a magnified version of their own searchable and replicable online socially networked lives with the same difficulties that come from feelings of surveillance and misinterpretation online. YouTubers could therefore be a particularly relatable source of health information for young people. More so than those of other adults offering them advice on their health and wellbeing.

However, there remain concerns about young people’s ability to critically analyse the quality and reliability of health information they encounter online. Inequalities in health information seeking exist across all age groups and are influenced by a number of factors including: experience, motivation, self-efficacy and autonomy of use. Research suggests that young people have complex and often thorough methods for evaluating online health information and that popularity and peer appraisal plays an important role with likes, comments and views all influencing how likely young people are to engage with a particular information source. This is reflected in an increased focus on digital media literacy on both UK national and international policy agendas.

My PhD research was a four stage mixed methods sequential design. The first stage, a school based questionnaire (n=931, 13-18 years) quantified young people’s engagement with professional YouTubers and provided a sampling frame for the later qualitative stages. An online analysis of 7 UK YouTubers examined the health content they produced. Focus groups (n=7, 85 participants) with 13-18 year olds explored the impact this content had on young people’s health behaviours and interviews with professional YouTubers ( <1 million subscribers, ongoing) explored their perceived role in health promotion.

YouTubers appeared to be a significant source of health information for the participating young people with 80% watching at least one UK YouTuber, 70% recalling YouTubers talking about at least one health topic and 47% having used YouTube to seek health advice. The survey also measured participants’ confidence in performing a number of social media literacy tasks, those who could recall YouTuber health content and had sought health advice on YouTube were at significantly increased odds of a high confidence score suggesting perceived confidence increases with exposure to YouTuber health content.

The way in which YouTubers communicate health information reveals three broad themes: 1) YouTubers share their health experiences with their audience 2) they give health advice and encourage their audience to do the same through the comments section and 3) they share certain social norms about health and wellbeing. This appears to align well with the theory of reasoned action/planned behaviour (Azjen, 1991). However, interviews with professional YouTubers suggest that numerous factors impact upon their decision to make health related content; both commercial and ethical. YouTubers are treading a fine line between health promotion and self-promotion. Interestingly, the young people participating in the focus groups were also aware of this tension and yet, despite demonstrating competence to critically analyse this content, they still stated a preference for YouTuber produced content when it was what they perceived to be “real and honest” experiences.

YouTuber produced health content appeared to be a recognized source of health information for young people in this study. Young people felt able to critique the accuracy and commercial influences on YouTuber content. However, this content still appears to be a relatable way of sharing health experiences, giving advice and communicating social norms. My research aims to use these insights to produce recommendations which will inform the design of YouTube based health promotion campaigns and interventions for young people.

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2018 Montréal is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
This is my first time presenting at AoIR. This will also be the first time I have presented my research to an international conference audience. The conference will therefore be a vital opportunity for me to gain critical feedback on my research from an audience of well-established and respected internet scholars. I am also looking forward to learning from the range of academic expertise and disciplines represented at the conference. Coming from the field of public health research, I will be able to learn from the latest research in disciplines such as media, communication and internet studies. By taking these insights back into my own field of public health, I hope I can use this knowledge to make recommendations which will ultimately lead to improvements in young people’s health and wellbeing.

This is also my first visit to Montreal and Canada, so I am looking forward to exploring everything the city has to offer!

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