iadis e-Society Conference #1

Hello from Avila where the iadis e-society conference is taking place. Keynote speaker this year is Z. Papacharissi (Prof. and head of Department of Communication, University of Illinois-Chicago); panels are on e-society, e-learning, e-government, but also information systems and management. There are some other conferences dealing with an “e” or mobile component taking place in the same Hotel (e.g. on mobile learning, but I didn’t overrun :)).

The introduction focused on the increase of the “e”-component in society and the skill levels of users. Due to the increasing importance of e-skills, the Digital Divide might become even bigger. The digital gap is one of the subtopics of the conference.

A networked self: sociality, publicity and privacy on social networking sites (Dr. Zizi Papacharissi)

The internet as social space

A lot of last year’s research examined the internet as media and it’s social relevance, or the expression of identity with view to the anonymity online places encouraged. But now, of the key questions seems to be whether this media is producing more or less social people. Maybe we cannot answer this, but we can focus on identities and the shape of sociability taking place in new platforms.

More or less social media?

The term suggests that new media is more social, but all media has social properties (and thus, all media are social). Nevertheless, kinds of social behaviours are encouraged by different forms of media. Another interesting field of study is the question of social affordances of online spaces, the architecture of social places and potentialities of unique spaces. Why do we use different sets of behaviours on different platforms and what does this mean to the content? The following studies are looking at these topics.

Facebook use and social capital

This study looked at virtual worlds, interpersonal communication, attitudes towards communication etc. The results showed a different kind of sociability. The social couch potato is not active, but also not inactive. A user was very socially motivated as long as he or she could do so from the comfort of his/her own living room and environment (from a passive state of being). We usually think of sociability of a very active pursuit. Here we are looking at a user between a state of active and passive, but coming from a socially motivated place. Results also showed big flexibility, mobility and social multitasking. Not too surprisingly, those who were very mobile tended to use FB to sustain weak ties. Users also recognized the privacy risk that came with FB usage and showed a reflexive understanding of privacy depending on the respective context.

Look at us: visual rhetoric of FB photo galleries

This study looked of home-made photographs and their elements on young people’s FB accounts. There were almost no negative pictures, people putting forward their best. Behaviours examined were overt and exhibitionist articulations of play and affection, playfulness and extreme exxpressiveness, a lot of physical contact and a strong focus on the self (narcissism). Pictures were centered, close-distanced with limited background, self-shot and posed. What was not found? Parents, small children, landscapes, animals, older people, overt sexual behaviour.

Overally, we are dealing with a very visual form of self-presentation and a demonstration of group cohesiveness (independence from familiy). There was also identity play and experimentation; very significantly, photos were used to demonstrate group cohersion.

Architecture of SNSs

This study examined three social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook and Asmallworld (follwoing a discourse analysis looking for patterns). Four different themes were identified, e.g. the combination of public and private. Seemingly open networks foster self-presentation publicly private and privately public. Other themes emerged were intricate performances of taste and class and tight and loose structures (social situations affording restrictions or opportunities). FB is a very loose environment, compared to other networkds (like Asmallworld) that are very restricted and reward useres by providing invitation priviliges.

A networked self

Some of the expressions on SNs might be identity oriented, but not all of them. But has identity not always been a performance (see Judith Butler and her performativity theory)? What draws people to SNs is the drama and performances. The sense of self cultivated through SNs is reflexive and liquid; sociability networked; and the challenge for social sience researchers is the remediation of theory.


Why do people post only positive pictures of themselves? Haven’t people not always done that? What are the negative consequences of engaging in social interaction on SNs? Is there any difference to other forms of social interaction? Especially differences of age groups, gender and cultures have to be taken into account. E.g. women tended to post celebrity pictures that on occasion were very sexually and graphic. Contents are polysemic, and “social stenography” (Danah Boyd) referes to reflexive content restrictions and hiding on the net. People are managing aspects of performance fluidity. We do manage these performances anyway. However, we now have to find a way to do that online.

Track e-society and Digital Divide

Revitalization Plan of Knowledge Sharing through Social Network Service (Hyunsik Seo, Junseok Oh, Yang Shin Cha, Soo Kyung Park, Bong Gyou Lee)

The purpose of this study is to discover relationships between important factors that promote knowledge sharing among SNS users. Social capital as defined through Coleman (1990) has social network at it’s core. The more communication trough SNSs, the more social activities of users 🙂 The study suggests that better social learning and information can take place in networks. Social capital cannot significantly affect knowledge sharing, but has a effect based on the possibility of SNS as a channel. The bridging network is more helpful for knowledge sharing than the bonding network.

Conversations on the hashtag: Does conference twitter use promote professional discourse? (Vanessa P. Dennen)

Dennen promoted the conference hashtag #esoc11 🙂 that has not been used before. Thanks for that! 🙂

The problem context is: Conference twitter use grows, but what are people tweeting about and is discourse really promoted? Four 2009/2010 US-based academic conferences (AHA, ASA, APA, MLA) were analysed by using TwapperKeeper in order to identify overall trends and to examine interaction trends. Most of the retweets were happening during the conference. As for the categories of retweets, humor was first; second: provision of information or resources; third: announcements of meetings and locations. Most active tweeters were retweeted more. There are several twitter discourse patterns to be found: Mutual conversation (limited to bursts of 2-5 tweets, shallow), requests for interaction (starting with @reply, purposeful and directed) and many commenters (various responses to the same initial tweet, loose commentary). As for the non-attendees, they typically had an existing twitter network. Tweets generally provide a strong sense of the feel of a conference. Existing relationships are important for hashtag interaction. At this time interaction levels are low and conference tweeting is without clear norms at this time.

Cove 2.0: An experience of a virtual community for SMEs in Panama (Delva Batista, Victor Lopez, Maria R. Gulsado)

SME = Small and Medium Enterprises 🙂

Cove Panama as a collaboration platform was implemented via Open Source/SL (Joomla). In the evaluation of the platform it became clear that ICT access and literacy of SMEs was limited. There is a lack of culture of using ICTs and collaboration. In Panama about 28% of the population has access to the internet, but wireless internet state programmes have been established and SMEs culture is changing (indicating a shift in paradigm). Not technology, but collaboration is the main factor of change.

@eSprit – social software for building a social power fuel community (Claudia Steinberger)

This project from Klagenfurt seeks to support car drivers to fill up cars as cheap as possible 🙂 Fuel prices change frequently i Austria within only a few streets. There is almost no knowledge exchange about the current price situation. The goal is to collect and interchange price information online through a web (eSprit@Web) and mobile (eSprit@Mobile) solution. There are price comparision platforms on the net based on the “wisdom of the crowds” approach, but most of them are for products that are sold online, some products cannot be found and gas service stations change prices daily or even hourly (amongst other problems of existing platforms). The project eSprit provides a map where users can search for the cheapest gas price on a route. Users can add, edit and comment service stations, store stations, maps and routes as favorites and analyse trends of prize development. There is also a mobile interface (users can find service stations close to their GPS position), either anonymous or registered. Next steps of the projects are marketing (FB group: “Wir tanken so billig wie möglich”) and a cooperation with car driver clubs and gas stations.

Web access for all: standards, tools, legislation (Marina Buzzi, Rita Rossi, Sonia Sbrana)

There are different legal approaches to reduce the digital divide. European actions for eInclusion can be found in the European i2010 initiative on e-inclusion. Studies showed different figures of accessibility (from 18 to over 35 %).

eLearning track

The potential of ICT for creative learning and innovative teaching (Roina Chachia, Anusca Ferrari, Yves Punie)

This study was based on a survey amongst teachers who were asked about their view on creativity. Creativity as an inborn talent was not a predominant opinion. The vast majority of European teachers (85%) claim that technology has improved their teaching. More than half of European teachers (54%) disagree and strongly disagree that mobile phones could be important for learning. Students see mobile phones as a good medium for learning, but teachers are still sceptical. 47% agree that digital games are important for learning, but only 17% use them as resources in their teaching. 57% lament a lack of resources and 78% claim to need more technical support. Overally, teachers’ opinions on creativity in education are much stronger than their practices. More training is needed focusing on enabling teachers to equip young generations with new skills and to get familiar with new technologies.

Personal learning environment white-spaces (Jakub Stogr)

MUVE=Multi-User Virtual Envirionment. For definitions see Morningstar & Farmer 1990). These environments can be 2D or 3D.

VLE=Virtual Learning Environment.

PLE=Personal Learning Environment. This is not an application, it is comprised of all the different tools we use in our everyday life for learning (Attwell 2007). Everyone has a white space in his PLE. But what about teachers? They often lack control over the learning environments of their students. I am really sorry that I got lost in some German post-privacy discussion evolving on Twitter during this really interesting presentation, but will definitely have a look at the paper in the proceedings.

Literature and links

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