Friday, 03 April 2020, 11am-5pm in London, UK  Register online here: https://www.srhe.ac.uk/events/details.asp?eid=456 There is widespread agreement that universities are undergoing a profound transformation but much less agreement on what these changes mean and how we should characterise them. The Digital University Network has stressed the role of new technologies in transforming practice within the university. […]

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of Digital Anthropology, Digital Geography and Digital Sociology as distinctive subdisciplines. However there has been relatively little dialogue between them, least of all with regards to common challenges they respond to and common concerns they share. We feel this absence matters for the subdisciplines themselves but also for […]

A provisional reflection on where I’ve got to six years after my PhD and where it is I want to go with my research over the next six years There are a wide range of topics I have worked on in the last decade: online communities, social movements, digital scholarship, realist social theory, the transformation […]

The philosopher Daniel Little has long been my favourite theory blogger. I was so pleased to read this thoughtful reflection on the scholarly purposes of social media which included a generous endorsement of Social Media for Academics: The appearance of a second edition of Mark Carrigan’s Social Media for Academics is therefore timely. Both young academics — […]

Do you edit an academic journal? Would you like it to have a higher profile and greater impact? Do you need advice on navigating the changing landscape of scholarly publishing? I can help you develop a cost effective and powerful strategy customised to your journal, with a particular expertise in community building and digital engagement. […]

This passage from Tim Wu’s The Master Switch pg 225 offers a useful account for making sense of the rise of a figure like Lawrence Fox. When the ‘arms race of exposure’ is more intense than ever because social media means a great many of us have entered into it, new strategies become necessary to […]

I’ve resisted blogging about the Labour leadership election in spite of the fact I’m both obsessing about it and deeply conflicted about who to support. To my surprise I’m taking Lisa Nandy very seriously and this is in large part because she seems to be the only candidate to have thought deeply about the profound […]

There’s an interesting parallel between Durkheim’s conception of social regulation and what Archer calls ‘bounding variety’ and Cybernetics describes as ‘attenuating variety’. As Durkheim writes on pg 300 in a discussion of marriage and divorce, “One cannot avoid looking outside the place where one is when one no longer feels the ground to be solid […]

From Tim Wu’s Attention Merchants pg 202: Among the sources of such comfort would be AOL’s infamous chat rooms. Chat rooms had actually been invented by CompuServe in the 1980s (under that ’70s handle “CB simulator”), but AOL allowed the creation of “private rooms,” which anyone could open, hosting up to twenty-three total strangers. By […]

This extract from Tim Wu’s Attention Merchants pg 192-193 makes clear how the immersive character of video games has been treated as addictive from the outset. It raises the question of where the former characteristic ends and the latter begins: In both markets Space Invaders was a sudden and unexpected success—nothing quite like it had […]

I saw an exhibition at the Scott Polar Museum yesterday which made a passing referencing to ‘wikibombing’ as a practice. In this case there was a concerted project to produce wikipedia entries for female explorers and scientists who were absent from the site. I’m recording it here because it’s a useful phrase I hadn’t heard […]

I’ve written before about the ontological assumptions inherent in the framing of the attention economy. To consider the issue in economic terms tends to imply the fungibility, commensurability and valorisation of attention. There’s much of value here but it easily overlap is the quality of attention, described usefully by Tim Wu on pg 125 of […]

From Suicide pg 163: Reflection only develops when it becomes necessary for it to develop; that is to say, if a certain number of unconsidered ideas and feelings which, until then, had sufficed to govern behaviour, have become ineffectual. At such times, reflection intervenes to fill the void that has been created–but which has not […]

This looks brilliant. If only I could have seen it earlier! Thematic issue in Digital Capitalism   Coordinators: Aitor Jiménez (University of Auckland) & César Rendueles (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) Vol 17 (2) June-December 2020 Teknokultura: Magazine of Digital Culture and Social Movements (Complutense University of Madrid) (https://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/TEKN), indexed in Emerging Sources Citation Index, calls for […]

From Richard Seymour’s wonderful Patreon blog: It was in this context that what Evans calls “communal listening”, in which the Führer’s speeches were broadcast to workplaces and schools each week, worked. They were, yes, propaganda. But they were also a form of entertainment, organising a grotesquely celebrified relationship between leader and followers. They were glamorous, […]

The popular character of this diagnosis, summarised by Tim Wu on pg 6 of his Attention Merchants, poses the question of how we should treat it as common sense, in the Durkheimian tradition of skepticism about received wisdom. How widespread is this? To what extent does it misrepresent the nature of the problem? To what […]

There’s a fascinating connection between this account on Suicide pg 46-47 and what Bourdieu describes as hysteresis and Archer as contextual incongruity: Because of the extreme sensitivity of his nervous system, his ideas and feelings are always in a situation of unstable balance. Because the faintest impressions have an abnormal effect on him, his mental […]