[Air-L] CFP - Compromised Data? New paradigms for social media theory and methods

ganaele langlois ganalanglois at gmail.com
Fri Jun 14 11:27:52 PDT 2013

*Call for papers – research colloquium*

*Compromised Data?*

*New paradigms in social media theory and methods*

* *

*October 28, 29, 2013 - Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada*

*Organizers: Greg Elmer (Ryerson University), Ganaele Langlois (U. of
Ontario **Institute of Technology), & Joanna Redden (Ryerson University)*

*Proposals for papers (750-1000 words) are due August 1**st**, 2013.
Decisions **will be communicated by August 15. Partial funding for travel
and hotel **expenses will be available for this event. Please direct
questions and proposals **to Greg Elmer, Bell Globemedia Research Chair and
Director, Infoscape Centre **for the Study of Social Media, Ryerson
University <**gelmer at ryerson.ca**>.*

*Confirmed speakers*: Jean Burgess (Queensland University of Technology),
Axel Bruns (Queensland University of Technology), Daniel Paré (U. of
Ottawa), Mary Francoli (Carleton U.), Anatoliy Gruzd (Dalhousie U.)

There has been a data rush in the past decade – one brought about by the
ubiquity of online communication, social media in particular (Facebook,
Twitter, Youtube, etc.), and by the adoption within the Social Science and
Humanities of analytical software-based tools. Such practices, tools, and
data sets seemingly promise a new digital enlightenment, where social
roles, patterns of communication, political and economic debates and
controversies are thrown open to the public, researchers, and users. Yet,
scholarly and public research into social media is notoriously difficult
because of the proprietary nature of most social media platforms and the
consequent difficulty of extracting data from these platforms. Furthermore,
data mining and analysis raise crucial issues concerning about the ethics
of social media research. Finally, the digital research paradigm itself is
not without limitations: can all aspects of life, including emotions and
affective ties be translated into data without losing something essential
about the fluidity of social life and the complexity of communication?

This colloquium focuses on the critical juncture between the birth of new
research paradigms, methods and tools, and the increasingly complex
politics of social media as contested global platforms, data repositories,
and sources of rich revenue streams. Key to this juncture is the question
of data, from the nature of data itself to its privatization and
monetization; from the accessibility of data to understanding how it can
both represent and betray social phenomena.

This colloquium seeks position papers that interrogate the theoretical and
methodological challenges presented by the availability, formatting, and
ownership of socially mediated data-objects, meta-data, and so-called “big”
data. The aim of the colloquium is to develop new paradigms for critical
social media research that seek to understand how social media data impact
our understanding of the broader social, political and economic
implications of social media platforms and their users/communities.

The colloquium will focus on four areas of research: the politics of social
media interfaces, tracking media objects, big data pitfalls, and
transformative practices within social media. Examples of possible topics
follow below.

1. *The politics of the interface between social media and users*

- social media accounts

- data-mining, data-collecting, user labour and work

- governance and regulation of users and data: legal, political and

- history of social media interfaces and functions

- APIs and programmable data

2. *Tracking and mapping media objects, stories, debates, and controversies*

- Tracking stories through data-objects

- cross-platform analysis and methods

- new paradigms of social network analysis

3. *Rethinking Big Data in social media research*

-administrative and critical perspectives

- the limits of sentiment and other automated analyses

-human/machine produced (meta)data

- live or real-time research with big data

- small, thick, or streamed data

4. *Transformative platforms, collaborative agendas, and new data-publics*

- the promise and sustainability of activist platforms

- governance, transparency and accountability

- the potential of open-data projects

- radical publicities, hacks and events

- Academic and public social media research vs. research for surveillance
or commercial purposes

* *

*Funding for this event is made available by the Social Science and
Humanities **Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).*

Ganaele Langlois
Assistant Professor
Communication Program
Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Associate Director
Infoscape Centre for the Study of Social Media

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