SM&Society Day 2: Identity, Professions, Institutes and Culture

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Finola Kerrigan and Kathryn Waite opened this session with a talk on a rather different research strategy involving filmic methods in exploring online identity. Essentially a competition was launched in which participants were to produce a short film illustrating their online behaviours, but also explaining their rationale, choices and techniques to the research team. This could then be used as a reflective device for those conducting research using similar methods.

Marc Miguel-Ribé’s explanation of the differences which arise in different Wikipedias as a result of cultural differences was fascinating. Although aware that there are different language versions of Wikipedia, I’d never really considered the implications of different authorship on the knowledge that’s constructed. The knowledge regarding a particular phenomenon that’s assembled on one Wikipedia might express a completely different view from that on another. This is not only because the authors on the two pages will be different, but because they’re also likely to be from different cultures with different worldviews. This certainly hit home for me in terms of the way that’ll reflect on the ‘knowledge’ that emerges from participants in my own studies.

In the final presentation of the session, I was introduced to the concept of the ‘greedy organisation’ by Kim van Zoest and Sietske de Ruijter and the additional factors police officers are obliged to consider have when using social media. Their employers impose certain expectations, both explicitly and implicitly. This took me back to my life as an employee, where signing my contract of employment included agreeing to never conduct myself on online in a way which might embarrass my employing organisation. As Kim and Sietske pointed out, social media and digital connectivity means organisations are increasingly reaching into our personal spaces.

Although each paper was interesting in its own right, I’m not sure how well they sat together; but then it can’t be easy for conference organisers to gather all the submitted papers into coherent themes.

 

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