2019-21 AoIR Executive Committee Election Results

We are excited to announce the results of our recent election for the AoIR Executive Committee. But first, some thank yous and some information about the election.

AoIR would like to thank our election monitors, Alex Halavais and Andra Siibak, who, in accordance with the terms of our Bylaws certified the results. And of course thank you to everyone who ran for office and everyone who voted.

The new Executive Committee will officially take office in October at the Association General Meeting. We hope you’ll join us in Brisbane to meet with them and provide your input regarding the future direction of the Association.

Here is your 2019-2021 Executive Committee:

• President (elected as Vice President in the 2017 Election): Lynn Schofield-Clark, University of Denver
• Vice President (becomes President in two years): Tama Leaver, Curtin University
• Immediate Past President (elected as Vice President in the 2015 Election): Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology
• Secretary: Katrin Tiidenberg, Tallinn University
• Treasurer: Kelly Quinn, University of Illinois at Chicago
• Graduate Student Representative: Zoe Glatt, London School of Economics
• Open Seats: 1) Crystal Abidin, National University of Singapore/Jönköping University; 2) Fabio Giglietto, Università di Urbino Carlo Bo; 3) Erika Pearson, Massey University

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the election. AoIR is excited about our future with such capable members leading the way!

AoIR Flashpoint Symposium Keynote Speakers

We are pleased to present the Keynote Speakers for AoIR’s Flashpoint Symposium.

Dr. Crystal Abidin

Dr Crystal Abidin is a digital anthropologist and ethnographer of vernacular internet cultures. She researches young people’s relationships with internet celebrity, self-curation, and vulnerability. Her books include Internet Celebrity: Understanding Fame Online (2018), Microcelebrity Around the Globe: Approaches to Cultures to Cultures of Internet Fame (2019, co-edited with Megan Lindsay Brown), and Instagram: Visual Social Media Cultures (forthcoming, with Tama Leaver and Tim Highfield). Other forthcoming books investigate Influencer cultures, the Blogshop industry, and Bodies in social media spaces. She is listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia (2018) and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (2016). Crystal is Senior Research Fellow/DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies at Curtin University, Affiliate Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre at Jönköping University, and Research Fellow with the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University. Reach her at wishcrys.com.

Public shaming, Vigilante trolling, and Genealogies of Transgression on the Singaporean Internet
Digital spaces have opened new frontiers of connectivity and dialogue between otherwise highly policed users in semi-authoritarian media regimes like Singapore. While alternative journalism news sites, political blogs, and digital estates belonging to opposition political parties have been subject to compulsory licensing schemes in recent years, there still remains a tiny terrain laced with ambiguity on which everyday citizens have been able to partake in antagonistic behaviour and productive transgressions online. Whether engaging in ambivalent expressions of dissidence or public shaming witch-hunts in the name of vigilante activism, and whether out of social consciousness/civic mindedness or contentious humour/subversive play, these internet vernaculars have managed to glide under the radar of state control. Drawing on research from various interconnected projects between 2011 and 2019, this talk provides a vernacular framework for thinking about internet social justice via networked transgressive behaviour. Considering a brief history of milestones in Singaporean internet culture – including crowd-sourced tabloid sites, citizen-journalesque discussion forums, online troll Facebook pages and groups, clickbaity Influencers, and the call-out culture of viral Twitter threads and hot takes – the talk explains the allure of public shaming culture in relation to the state and its citizens, national law, and internet mores. In forecasting ‘What’s Next’ for such under-the-radar studies, the talk will also contemplate on the personal, cultural, and institutional challenges of such research.


Dr. Rebekah Tromble

Dr. Tromble is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Her research focuses on online political discourse and its effects on political attitudes and behavior, digital research methods and ethics, and computational social science. She is the lead investigator on a multi-university project selected by Twitter to help the platform assess the “health of conversations” on the platform. She is also co-leading “The (Mis)Informed Citizen” project, funded in part by the Alan Turing Institute (ATI), which is developing computational tools to help analyze the quality of online news articles and, in turn, study what types of information people are exposed to online, as well as the impacts on people’s knowledge, attitudes, and political participation.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know: Navigating Platforms’ Proprietary Black Boxes in Internet Research

Just a few years ago it seemed that the possibilities for internet and social media research were boundless. Various platform APIs offered a treasure trove of data to explore. But in 2018, in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, that all came crashing down. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter began significantly restricting data access, including via the APIs. And suddenly, research was much more difficult if not impossible—to undertake.

Or at least that’s been the common refrain.

In this talk, I will argue that though certain means of data access have indeed changed since 2018, the basic relationship between researchers, the platforms, and platform data remains largely the same. The platforms and their APIs have always been proprietary black boxes, and even when researchers could mine these data spigots seemingly endlessly, we rarely knew what type or quality of data we were actually getting. Rather than viewing 2018 and Cambridge Analytica as a profound disjuncture and loss, I suggest that we need to take a more critical look at how the research community collected and analyzed data when it still seemed so plentiful, and use those reflections to inform our current approaches to working with internet and social media data going forward.

2019-2021 AoIR Executive Committee Nominations

AoIR is now seeking your nominations for the new Executive Committee, to take office in October of this year and serve until October 2021.

Below, you will find: a) a timeframe for the election, b) a description of the AoIR governance system and of the elected positions, c) our nominations and elections processes, and d) some key questions for candidates.

A. Timeframe of the Election:
1. The call for nominations opens on 11 March 2019 and will remain open for fifteen (15) days.
2. Nominations for all positions close on 26 March 2019.
3. Candidates will be listed on aoir.org and further information will be made available on our membership system, where discussion fora will let you ask questions of the candidates.
4. Voting begins on 22 April 2019 at our online balloting site and will remain open for ten (10) days. (Details for accessing this site will be sent in a later message through our membership system.)
5. Voting ends on 1 May 2019, expiring at 12:00 noon, U.S. Eastern Time in the State of Delaware.

Election results will be announced on air-l. The new Executive Committee is formally introduced and assumes its duties during the AoIR conference in Brisbane, on 2-5 October 2019.

More information about our election processes can be found in the AoIR Bylaws:

Candidates should familiarize themselves with the duties laid out in the Bylaws. I also encourage persons interested in running for a specific position to contact me or any of the current office-holder(s) with any questions. Please also note that the position of Treasurer, in particular, requires a very specific skillset, which is outlined here. Prospective candidates for Treasurer should reflect carefully on whether they have these skills.

B. AoIR Governance and Description of Elected Positions:
The organizational structure of AoIR is simple. There are 5 officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Graduate Student representative). The 9-member Executive Committee consists of these officers, plus the Past President and 3 Open Seat representatives. Elected officials hold their positions for two years. After two years, the Vice President becomes President. Nominations are invited for Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Graduate Student representative, and 3 Open Seats. You may nominate yourself or someone else you think would do a good job. Details on the nomination procedure follow below.

Duties of the President: Article 4/Section 6 of AoIR’s bylaws.
Duties of the Vice President: Article 4/Section 7 of AoIR’s bylaws.
Duties of the Secretary: Article 4/Section 8 of AoIR’s bylaws.
Duties of the Treasurer: Article 4/Section 9 of AoIR’s bylaws.
Duties of the Graduate Student Representative: Article 4/Section 10 of AoIR’s bylaws.
Duties of Open Seat representatives: Represent the membership of AoIR, and contribute to decision-making.

Members of the Executive have their membership fees waived for the duration of their term, and pay a reduced conference registration fee.

C. Nominations and Elections Processes:
Only current members of AoIR can run for a position. They may be nominated by anyone, including themselves. If nominated for more than one position, a nominee must choose to run for one (and only one) position in this election. You may nominate yourself or others. If nominating someone else, confirm with that person that they are willing to run, and eligible to do so.

Self-Nominations: Email AoIR Association Coordinator Michelle at <ac at aoir dot org> and indicate the position for which you are nominating yourself. Please provide in your nomination email a short candidate statement addressing the questions below.

Nominating Others: Email AoIR Association Coordinator Michelle at <ac at aoir dot org> with the name of the person you want to nominate, the position for which you are nominating this person, contact information for the person, and an indication of whether you know if this person would accept this nomination. (If you don’t know, we’ll contact them and ask.)

All candidates for election will be required to provide answers to the questions listed below, have the answers posted to the AoIR election forum, and participate in an online candidate forum.

In addition, the Graduate Student candidates must confirm in their response that they comply with the by-laws: the Graduate Student Representative must be actively enrolled in a degree program at the time of nomination and election.

Further, because of the specific legal duties and skills requirements for the position of Treasurer, candidates for this position should demonstrate experience with budget management and familiarity with U.S. tax law. Treasurer candidates should provide a detailed statement on their ability to meet the requirements of that role, as outlined at https://aoir.org/aoirtreasurer/.

The voting system used by AoIR allows one vote per member for each of the elected positions listed above. Votes will be tallied using a balloting software. In the case of the four directly elected officers, the candidate with the highest number of votes shall be declared the winner; in the case of the Open Seats, the candidates with the highest, second-highest, and third-highest votes shall be declared the three winners of the Open Seats.

In the case of tied results for the officer positions, the winner shall be determined by the ballot counters, by drawing of lots, using a method that ensures each of the tying candidates has an equal chance of success and witnessed by at least 1 person independent of the association. In the case of tied results for the open seat positions, the drawing of lots shall be used only when there are more tied candidates than seats available.

D. Questions for Candidates (these questions must be answered in your nomination email):
1. What are your qualifications for this position (including prior experience and participation in AoIR)?
2. Please describe two or three short-term goals you would like to achieve through membership on the executive (including a rationale for each and how you would contribute to their achievement).
3. What is your long-term vision for AoIR?
4. What else should voters consider when deciding on whether or not to vote for you?

In answering the questions, please be concise and give information specific to the position for which you are nominating, to enable voters to assess your case for election to that position. Candidates for Treasurer should also address the further specific requirements for that position: https://aoir.org/aoirtreasurer/.