Responsive media

personal media

It’s interesting to compare competing interpretations of the same ‘vision’ for our near-future everyday media experience. They more or less circle around a series of themes that have been a staple of science fiction for some time: media are in the everyday environment and they respond to us, to varying degrees personally.

On the one-hand some tech enthusiasts/developers present ideas such as “responsive media“, a vision put forward by a former head of ubiquitous computing at Xerox PARC, Bo Begole. On the other hand, sceptics have, for quite some time, presented us with dystopian and/or ‘critical’ reflections on the kinds of ethical and political(economic) ills such ideas might mete out upon us (more often than not from a broadly Marxian perspective), recently expressed in Adam Greenfield’s op-ed for the Graun (publicising his new book “Radical Technologies”).

It’s not like there aren’t plenty of start-ups, and bigger companies (Begole now works for Huawei), trying to more-or-less make the things that science fiction books and films (often derived in some way from Phillip K Dick’s oeuvre) present as insidious and nightmarish. Here I can unfairly pick upon two quick examples: the Channel 4 “world’s first personalised advert” (see the video above) and OfferMoments:

While it may be true that many new inventors are subconsciously inspired by the science fiction of their childhoods, this form of inspiration is hardly seen in the world of outdoor media. Not so for OfferMoments – a company offering facial recognition-powered, programmatically-sold billboard tech directly inspired by the 2002 thriller, Minority Report.

I’ve discussed this in probably too-prosaic terms as a ‘politics of anticipation’, but this, by Audrey Watters (originally about EdTech), seems pretty incisive to me:

if you repeat this fantasy, these predictions often enough, if you repeat it in front of powerful investors, university administrators, politicians, journalists, then the fantasy becomes factualized. (Not factual. Not true. But “truthy,” to borrow from Stephen Colbert’s notion of “truthiness.”) So you repeat the fantasy in order to direct and to control the future. Because this is key: the fantasy then becomes the basis for decision-making.

I have come to think this has produced a kind of orientation towards particular ideas and ideals around automation, which I’ve variously been discussing (in the brief moments in which I manage to do research) as an ‘algorithmic’ and more recently an ‘automativeimagination (in the manner in which we, geographers, talk about a ‘geographical imagination’).

AR Super Mario Bros

augmented reality

Via Prosthetic Knowledge.

An AR recreation of the first level of Super Mario Brothers played in first-person with the Microsoft Hololens headset by Abhishek Singh.

Super Mario Bros meets Augmented Reality in this crazy life sized first person experience! I recreated the iconic first level, dressed up as Mario and then played it in Central Park (NYC). Built in Unity3D for the Microsoft Hololens. This video was recorded entirely through the hololens with no post production.

Not quite the AR of William Gibson’s Spook Country, eh?

Jen Jack Gieseking on How to Set Up Your Own Website and Why It’s Worth It

Nice post by Jack Gieseking on why it’s worth setting up a website as an academic. I’d broadly echo many of the points here, albeit from a different standpoint – I’m less prolific and I guess I’m more in curatorial mode on this website at the moment… (I am actually writing again though, so that’s nice)

For Academics: How to Set Up Your Own Website and Why It’s Worth It

Dear Academic Friend,

Over the years, many of you have asked me how to build a website. About eleven years ago, a graduate school friend patiently sat next to me and taught me the ropes using pure HTML. It’s much easier now. If you want a little convincing as to why to do this or want to get firmly rooted on your politics in this, continue reading. If you are already determined to build your own website, click here to skip down. My mantra here: ideas are free; let’s share.

Really, people want to hear about what I do? Let’s begin with the obvious: what you do is important. Wildly important. You may think you are boring, dull, unclear, or talking to your navel, but someone, somewhere needs your work on the lesbian spaces, the history of the lute in 1689, Saharan slavery practices, a rare snail on the coast of the Bahamas, or the relationship of the human-animal of lab scientists studying jellyfish. They truly do. Let’s say you actually choose to believe me for a second and the grip of self-doubt can be put aside for even a few minutes. You know I’m going to encourage you to set up your own website. Now let’s deal with your concerns.

Read the rest of this post on Jack’s website.

(Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work – Brooke Erin Duffy

Via Culture Digitally.

This looks like an interesting read by Brooke Erin Duffy. Although I know what Duffy calls here “aspirational work” is popular, I have been a bit surprised by how many of our students at Exeter actively do this kind of work – mostly fashion vlogging. I have had at least one dissertation on the topic for each of the last three years and many of the videos produced for my final year option module draw on these themes. Those I’ve spoken to are acutely aware of the nuances of the negotiations of different norms and values – ‘authenticity’ and getting paid don’t always sit well together it seems.

I hope I have the chance to check out this book so I can actually learn more about what I can only vaguely sketch (perhaps wrongly) at the moment, I hope some of those who read this will too…

Book Announcement: (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work

Fashion bloggers and Instagrammers seem to enjoy a coveted lifestyle–one replete with international jet-setting, designer-comped fetes, and countless other caption-worthy moments. Yet the attention lavished on these so-called “influencers” draws attention away from a much larger class of social media content creators: those aspiring to “make it” amid a precarious, hyper-competitive creative economy.

I tell their story in my new book (Not) Getting Paid to Do What You Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Work, and I’m grateful to my publisher Yale University Press for allowing me to share the first chapter with you.

The book focuses on female content creators and draws upon in-depth interviews with bloggers, vloggers, designers, and more. I learned that, often, these young women were motivated by the wider culture’s siren call to “get paid to do what you love.” But their experiences often fell short of the promise: only a few rise above the din to achieve major success. The rest are un(der)- paid, remunerated with deferred promises of “exposure” or “visibility”–even as they work long hours to satisfy brands and project authenticity to observant audiences.

A grueling balancing act is required, one that I explore through the lens of “aspirational labor.” As both a practice and a worker ideology, aspirational labor shifts content creators’ focus from the present to the future, dangling the prospect of a career where labor and leisure coexist.

Despite the book’s emphasis on gendered work, the concept of “aspirational labor” offers a framework for understanding, critiquing, and anticipating larger transformations in the social media economy. Indeed, the book closes by exploring the striking parallels between social media aspirants’ self-branding labor and the work so many of us undertake in contemporary academe.

CFP> “VIRAL/GLOBAL Popular Culture and Social Media: An International Perspective” 13th Sept 17 CAMRI

Via Tony Sampson.

“VIRAL/GLOBAL Popular Culture and Social Media: An International Perspective” The University of Westminster Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), Sept 13th 2017

Date:
13 September 2017
Time: 9:00am to 7:00pm
Location: 309 Regent Street Regent Campus, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2HW – View map

Gone-Viral-event-main-photo

Conference organised by the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI)

Keynote Panel

  • Nancy Baym 
  • Emily Keightley
  • Dave Morley (TBC)
  • Tony D Sampson
  • Paddy Scannell

This interdisciplinary conference aims to examine how and why everyday popular culture is produced and consumed on digital platforms. There is increasing interest in studying and discussing the linkages between popular cultural and social media, yet there exist important gaps when comparing such cultural phenomena and modes of consumption in a global, non-west-centric context. The conference addresses a significant gap in theoretical and empirical work on social media by focusing on the politics of digital cultures from below and in the context of everyday life. To use Raymond Williams’s phrase, we seek to rethink digital viral cultures as ‘a whole way of life’; how ‘ordinary’, everyday digital acts can amount to forms of ‘politicity’ that can redefine experience and what is possible.

The conference will examine how social media users engage with cultural products in digital platforms. We will also be assessing how the relationship between social media and popular cultural phenomena generate different meanings and experiences.

The conference engages with the following key questions:

  • How do online users in different global contexts engage with viral/popular cultures?
  • How can the comparative analysis of different global contexts help us contribute to theorising emergent viral cultures in the age of social media?
  • How do viral digital cultures redefine our experience of self and the world?

We welcome papers from scholars that will engage critically with particular aspects of online popular cultures. Themes may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Analysing viral media texts: method and theory
  • Theorising virality: new/old concepts
  • Rethinking popular culture in the age of social media
  • Social media, politicity and the viral
  • The political economy of viral cultures
  • Memes, appropriation, collage, virality and trash aesthetics
  • Making/doing/being/consuming viral texts
  • Hybrid strategies of anti-politics in digital media
  • Viral news/Fake news
  • Non-mainstream music, protest, and political discussion
  • Capitalism and viral marketing

PROGRAMME AND REGISTRATION

This one-day conference, taking place on Wednesday, 13th of September 2017, will consist of a keynote panel and panel sessions. The fee for registration for all participants, including presenters, will be £40, with a concessionary rate of £15 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments and administration costs.

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS

The deadline for abstracts is Monday 10 July 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 17 July of 2017. Abstracts should be 250 words. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical note on the presenter. Please send all these items together in a single Word file, not as pdf, and entitle the file and message with ‘CAMRI 2017’ followed by your surname. The file should be sent by email to Events Coordinator Karen Foster at har-events@westminster.ac.uk

Original: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/call-for-papers-viral-global-popular-cultures-and-social-media-an-international-perspective

“The ideology of friendship” – new paper by Prof. Daniel Miller

This looks interesting – a paper building on the excellent Why We Post project… probably a good one for digital cultural geographers.

Here’s the title and abstract:

The ideology of friendship in the Facebook era

This article suggests that while anthropologists have developed a highly nuanced analysis of kinship and friendship under a more general comparative study of relationality, this emphasis upon practice needs to be complemented by an alternative focus on the use of these terms as ideology, where we find a more simplistic and dualistic usage. The rise of new social media and the verb friending highlights a more general shift from the idea of fictive kinship to that of fictive friendship, where it is the ideals represented by the supposed voluntarism and authenticity of friendship that has now come to dominate the way people view kin relations. Evidence is provided from ethnographies in the Philippines, Trinidad, and England that illustrate the prevalence of a practice where kin relations reposition themselves under the idiom of friendship with both negative and positive consequences. This incorporation of kinship within friendship can also bring back a sense of rule and obligation, which has led to a decline in the use of Facebook by the young.

Also, the paper quotes, in the introduction, a great scene from South Park that I use in teaching 🙂 See above.

Reblog> Job opening: 2-year postdoc position in philosophy and ethics of technology and design

Looks like an interesting opportunity…

From Peter-Paul Verbeek:

Technologies are increasingly designed to influence people’s behavior in directions that are seen as desirable, as approaches like ‘nudging’ and ‘persuasive technology’ show. At the same time, this development raises ethical concerns. The postdoc project ‘Designing Moral Mediation’ will develop both a philosophical and an ethical approach to behavior-influencing technologies.

The postdoc will become a member of the research team of the 5-year research project ‘Theorizing Technological Mediation’, which investigates human-technology relations in the domains of science, ethics, and religion. Within this context, the postdoc project focuses on ‘moral mediation’: the ways in which technologies mediate moral actions and decisions, and help to shape moral frameworks. We are looking for someone with expertise in philosophy of technology, human-technology relations, and /or ethics of technology.
More information: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organization/careers/vacancies/!/vacature/1049731

How and why is children’s digital data being harvested?

Nice post by Huw Davies, which is worth a quick read (its fairly short)…

We need to ask what would data capture and management look like if it is guided by a children’s framework such as this one developed here by Sonia Livingstone and endorsed by the Children’s Commissioner here. Perhaps only companies that complied with strong security and anonymisation procedures would be licenced to trade in UK? Given the financial drivers at work, an ideal solution would possibly make better regulation a commerical incentive. We will be exploring these and other similar questions that emerge over the coming months.