Locus Talks Mini-Symposium Program on Social Media & Social Media Analysis Announced – Attend on Dec 7, 3-5pm

December 7th, 2017
REAL Classroom, 3W Instruction Room, Main Library (3rd Floor)

Join us for a series of presentations and discussion around social media analysis as well as the study of social media as a rhetorical form! Anyone is welcome to attend – no registration required. Just drop in! (Also, there will be coffee.)

Analyzing Political Memes on Instagram: Insights, Challenges, and Possibilities

Julia DeCook, Information and Media

As a social media platform, Instagram is monumental in its influence of youth culture, identity, and perceptions of the world, with the application serving not only for youth to follow accounts that are aspirational (celebrities, etc.) but also for entertainment and identity building through meme accounts and other types of Instagram accounts. Instagram’s primary user base consists of people who are teenagers and young adults, and meme accounts that espouse white supremacist, hateful ideology and subsequently, identity, are incredibly prevalent. Searching hashtags reveals that these meme accounts are not just a vehicle for entertainment, but rather are serving as spaces for identity building and identity reinforcement to occur. Of primary interest is the hashtag and alt-right affiliate movement the “Proud Boys,” which is being sold to young men as a fraternity-like organization to celebrate “Western ideals,” and operate on an ideology that consists of both symbolic violence and physical violence. Exploration to their recruitment and world-building practices on Instagram will be necessary to understand the movement, and gain further insight into how memes are being used as vessels of indoctrination. However, ethical issues emerge in scraping Instagram data and studying social media data in general, particularly for analysis of political and social movements. This presentation will share preliminary findings, analysis, and ethical issues that emerged during the research process.

Pure Michigan on Instagram as Marketing Strategy

Suzanna Smentowksi, WRAC

Photos and Captions on Instagram, Snapchat,and wechat

Shiyi Zhou, College of Education

I think analyze how people post same thing differently on different social media platforms were interesting. A analysis point at certain phenomenon, event or problem, we analyze it or we analyze a phenomenon, event, problem already happened but we didn’t aware of it. A successful analysis should based on collecting enough research data, interviews from target audience and some academic professional articles as one of the resources to analyze the result. Also, it acquire us do careful analysis of the acquired materials, discovery of the essential characteristics, and basic rules. Most people focused on analyze audience 18 to 25, we lacked the voices people under 18 and over 25. Meanwhile, we likely focused on American voices but forget people not from U.S. In addition, we mostly did survey on students but didn’t do much on people who were non-students. In social media analysis, people’s critical mind likely to follow and chasing big social stream which can cause internet violence on people. In order to ameliorate them, we should posted more positive opinions and things on social media. Ethics of social media analysis might found people lack own thoughts but automatically pursue big stream, it taught us social stream not always correct. Moreover, American likely focus on own but didn’t really know about non-English language platforms. There are opportunities for people to communicate with international student and non-English people in the school. Anonymous survey were useful and effective that could gather information and thoughts from people.

Snapchat Study

Adam Weickersheimmer-Austad, Anthropology

Snapchat is used as a way to document ones life and the lives of those around them. It’s also a portal to observe the habits of friends and strangers. People have the propensity to share their daily activities for their digital tribe. Snapchat gives individuals the ability to be the narrator of their own life. In a two week study of the behaviors of Snapchatters, I started a study that I will continue for the duration of my undergraduate career. By using participant observation, I believe we can better understand the motives behind why people snap what they snap.

When Cows Tweet

Scout Calvert, MSU Libraries

The labor of new data production comes in the form of a promise of information technologies that facilitate bovine-human communication. In one project, cattle tweeting is made possible as an affordance of a milking robot, activated by RFID collars that identify the cow to the robot so that it can guide its laser-sighted milkers to the specific teats on the particular udders of the cow who wears the collar. Data about the milking session are stored and tweeted under the Twitter handles of the cows. Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) are devices that enable a cow to concentrate on making milk and farmers to attend to cattle in more direct, yet highly mediated ways. In another project, Dell Technologies offers to let cows tell farmers how they feel by text message. Dell promises to aid rural Indian farmers through technologies for dairies to report milk data back to smallholders by text message, bringing cows and farmers both into global high tech production. Tracing the assemblage of technologies, relationships, and meanings that make texting and tweeting cows possible, this presentation on work in progress considers cattle as Harawayan cyborgs. Cows laboring as data, milk, and gamete producers do so globally. This paper explores the lives of cows in high tech assemblages globally and asks what we can learn about bovine lives from their tweets.

Dark Patterns of Social Media Participation

Liza Potts, WIDE

In this talk, I discuss how social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, reddit, wikis, and others can be used by network actors in positive and negative ways for community building and knowledge production. First, I will point to research that showcases positive uses of social media by participants near and far during times of disaster. Then I will discuss negative uses of social media, illustrating methods that can trap unwilling targets and willing participants in an unending cycle of rhetorical invention through a mechanism of aggressive, hostile, mob-like activism. In both cases, everyday people and network actors worked to share information and spread knowledge. However, through the deployment of dark patterns, the ways in which participants are enrolled and knowledge is produced diverges dramatically across these two examples. These dark patterns–user experiences that can convince people to participate in ways they may not want, need, or intend–can create realities that become unstoppable if platform owners are unwilling to act. This higher level of abstraction makes this an important topic for researchers grappling with issues of methods, ethics, and scholarship in social media.