Great opportunity > Internship with the Social Media Collective (Microsoft)

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Via Nancy Baym:

Call for applications! 2018 summer internship, MSR Social Media Collective

APPLICATION DEADLINE: JANUARY 19, 2018

Microsoft Research New England (MSRNE) is looking for advanced PhD students to join the Social Media Collective (SMC) for its 12-week Internship program. The Social Media Collective (in New England, we are Nancy Baym, Tarleton Gillespie, and Mary Gray, with current postdocs Dan Greene and Dylan Mulvin) bring together empirical and critical perspectives to understand the political and cultural dynamics that underpin social media technologies. Learn more about us here.

MSRNE internships are 12-week paid stays in our lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During their stay, SMC interns are expected to devise and execute their own research project, distinct from the focus of their dissertation (see the project requirements below). The expected outcome is a draft of a publishable scholarly paper for an academic journal or conference of the intern’s choosing. Our goal is to help the intern advance their own career; interns are strongly encouraged to work towards a creative outcome that will help them on the academic job market.

The ideal candidate may be trained in any number of disciplines (including anthropology, communication, information studies, media studies, sociology, science and technology studies, or a related field), but should have a strong social scientific or humanistic methodological, analytical, and theoretical foundation, be interested in questions related to media or communication technologies and society or culture, and be interested in working in a highly interdisciplinary environment that includes computer scientists, mathematicians, and economists.

Primary mentors for this year will be Nancy Baym and Tarleton Gillespie, with additional guidance offered by other members of the SMC. We are looking for applicants working in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Personal relationships and digital media
  2. Audiences and the shifting landscapes of producer/consumer relations
  3. Affective, immaterial, and other frameworks for understanding digital labor
  4. How platforms, through their design and policies, shape public discourse
  5. The politics of algorithms, metrics, and big data for a computational culture
  6. The interactional dynamics, cultural understanding, or public impact of AI chatbots or intelligent agents

Interns are also expected to give short presentations on their project, contribute to the SMC blog, attend the weekly lab colloquia, and contribute to the life of the community through weekly lunches with fellow PhD interns and the broader lab community. There are also natural opportunities for collaboration with SMC researchers and visitors, and with others currently working at MSRNE, including computer scientists, economists, and mathematicians. PhD interns are expected to be on-site for the duration of their internship.

Applicants must have advanced to candidacy in their PhD program by the time they start their internship. (Unfortunately, there are no opportunities for Master’s students or early PhD students at this time). Applicants from historically marginalized communities, underrepresented in higher education, and students from universities outside of the United States are encouraged to apply.

PEOPLE AT MSRNE SOCIAL MEDIA COLLECTIVE

The Social Media Collective is comprised of full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. interns, and research assistants. Current projects in New England include:

  • How does the use of social media affect relationships between artists and audiences in creative industries, and what does that tell us about the future of work? (Nancy Baym)
  • How are social media platforms, through their algorithmic design and user policies, taking up the role of custodians of public discourse? (Tarleton Gillespie)
  • What are the cultural, political, and economic implications of crowdsourcing as a new form of semi-automated, globally-distributed digital labor? (Mary L. Gray)
  • How do public institutions like schools and libraries prepare workers for the information economy, and how are they changed in the process? (Dan Greene)
  • How are media standards made, and what do their histories tell us about the kinds of things we can represent? (Dylan Mulvin)

SMC PhD interns may also have the opportunity to connect with our sister Social Media Collective members in New York City. Related projects in New York City include:

  • What are the politics, ethics, and policy implications of artificial intelligence and data science? (Kate Crawford, MSR-NYC)
  • What are the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development? (danah boyd, Data & Society Research Institute)

For more information about the Social Media Collective, and a list of past interns, visit the About page of our blog. For a complete list of all permanent researchers and current postdocs based at the New England lab, see: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/labs/newengland/people/bios.aspx

Read more.

Reblog> Digital Neuroland

Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters with a brain scanner on his head

Via Tony Sampson. Freely available digital publication, follow the link

Digital Neuroland by Rizosfera

Very pleased to be part of this great series…

cover

Contents

Introduction by Rizosfera
Digital Neuroland. An interview with Tony D. Sampson  by Rizosfera
Contagion Theory Beyond the Microbe
‘Tarde as Media Theorist’: an interview with Tony D. Sampson by Jussi Parikka
Crowd, Power and Post-democracy in 21st Century by Obsolete Capitalism
Crowds vs publics, Ukraine vs Russia, the Gaza crisis, the contagion theory and netica – a dialogue with Tony D. Sampson by Rares Iordache

Reblog> Addiction, excess and artists: strategies of resistance

Via Tony Sampson. Looks like a great event from Furtherfield >>

Addiction, excess and artists: strategies of resistance

Are We All Addicts Now? Symposium and Book Launch.

Are we all addicts now?Date: Tuesday 7th November, 6.30 – 9pm

Venue: Central St Martins, University of the Arts London, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA

Tickets for the event are now available so please feel free to share this info.

http://www.furtherfield.org/programmes/event/are-we-all-addicts-now-symposium-and-book-launch

Here’s the blurb for the panel I’ll be talking on

Addiction, excess and artists: strategies of resistance

Techniques such as neuro-marketing are used online to keep users on device, driving endless circulation and drawing profits from every click. While many artists have celebrated overstimulation and digital excess, others incorporate strategies of resistance into their practice. In a hyper digital world, what are the possibilities for defying techniques such as neuro-marketing, nudging and gamification and what role can artists play in these acts of resistance? 

Reader in Digital Culture Tony D. Sampson explores neuro-marketing and digital addiction 

Artists Katriona Beales and Fiona MacDonald : Feral Practice discuss strategies of resistance from the AWAAN exhibition

Artist and writer Emily Rosamond on reputation addiction and how to resist it 

Ellen Ullman’s Life in Code

Interesting account of author of Close to the Machine Ellen Ullman’s most recent book Life in Code, which sounds fantastic and very much worth a read (just like Close to the Machine), and something of its context. From the NYT:

LIFE IN CODE

A Personal History of Technology

By Ellen Ullman

Illustrated. 306 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

As milestone years go, 1997 was a pretty good one. The computers may have been mostly beige and balky, but certain developments were destined to pay off down the road. Steve Jobs returned to a floundering Apple after years of corporate exile, IBM’s Deep Blue computer finally nailed the world-champion chess master Garry Kasparov with a checkmate, and a couple of Stanford students registered the domain name for a new website called google.com. Nineteen ninety-seven also happened to be the year that the software engineer Ellen Ullman published “Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents,” her first book about working as a programmer in a massively male-dominated field.

That slender volume became a classic of 20th-century digital culture literature and was critically praised for its sharp look at the industry, presented in a literary voice that ignored the biz-whiz braggadocio of the early dot-com era. The book had obvious appeal to technically inclined women — desktop-support people like myself then, computer-science majors, admirers of Donna J. Haraway’s feminist cyborg manifesto, those finding work in the newish world of website building — and served as a reminder that someone had already been through it all and took notes for the future.

Then Ullman retired as a programmer, logging out to go write two intense character-driven thriller novels and the occasional nonfiction essay. The digital economy bounced back after the Epic Fail of 2000 and two decades later, those techno-seeds planted back in 1997 have bloomed. Just look at all those smartphones, constantly buzzing with news alerts and calendar notifications as we tell the virtual assistant to find us Google Maps directions to the new rice-bowl place. What would Ullman think of all this? We can now find out, as she’s written a new book, “Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology,” which manages to feel like both a prequel and a sequel to her first book.

Read the rest on the NYT website.

Thinking in public – Baskin on Wurgaft

Bernard Henri Levi hit with a custard pie

From an interesting review of Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft’s “Thinking in Public, Straus, Levinas, Arendt” by Jon Baskin. Found via Anne Galloway.

Arendt, Wurgaft suggests, may remain important today less for her writing on totalitarianism than for her warnings about the rise of the “technocrats” – a new breed of “intellectuals” who pictured political life as involving the accomplishment of pre-established tasks, rather than as an ongoing argument involving perennial questions about what we value, and why.

The technocrats, undoubtedly, are still with us. At one point in his article, Wurgaft cites a widely praised review of Daniel Drezner’s recent book, The Ideas Industry, by the intellectual historian David Sessions. Drezner’s book, says Sessions, shows how today’s would-be public intellectuals are being drowned out by the rise of “thought leaders.” Thought leaders are glorified technicians and TED Talk evangelists, like Sheryl Sandberg, Thomas Friedman, and Parag Khanna, who nevertheless are treated by large audiences as emissaries from the world of ideas. Such figures would seem to fulfill Arendt’s prophecy about the danger of a culture coming to revere elite technocratic authority.

Sessions’s article, though, is not just about the superficiality and corruption of thought leaders – a seductively soft target for his New Republic readership. Sessions also hazards a positive description of what makes someone a real or authentic intellectual, and it is in these passages that his article is truly, if unwittingly, revealing. Whereas the thought leaders are guilty of flattering the whims of the superrich, Sessions claims, a group he approvingly calls the “new intellectuals on the left” have demonstrated their independence by being “willing to expose the prattle of thought leaders, to attack the rhetorical smoke screens of the liberal center, and to defend working-class voters.” Later, crediting a cluster of leftist-associated magazines (including this one) with the revival of American intellectual life, Sessions leaves little doubt as to what he considers qualifies someone to be a genuine public intellectual. To be a genuine public intellectual is to agitate for the working class, and against the “liberal center” or the superrich (also, apparently, to reflexively conflate those two terms). To be a genuine public intellectual is to have the “courage,” as he calls it, to speak truth to power.
[…]
What does it mean, then, to be an “intellectual on the left”? Although I confess the phrase strikes me as somewhat mysterious, it is not impossible to imagine a definition: an intellectual on the left, having arrived at certainty about the correct direction for society, helps formulate and disseminate arguments for moving society in that direction. But if we accept this definition as meaningful, we are compelled to agree with Strauss and Arendt that the figure of the public intellectual represents a debasement of thinking, rather than a model for it. There are plenty of reasons to commit as citizens to political parties or movements – and there may even be reasons to consider that commitment as partly the product of philosophical reasoning. But someone who speaks as a representative of a fixed ideology or group has subjugated the philosopher within themselves to the partisan.

Read the whole article here.

Reblog> CFP: Alternative urbanisms

My colleagues Clive Barnett and Jon Cinnamon have a great CFP out, take a look:

Alternative Urbanisms: Call for papers

Do please circulate the Call for Papers below for a session at the Annual Meeting of the AAG next April, in New Orlean, on the theme of Alternative Urbanisms to anyone who might be interested:

Call for Papers

Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers,

New Orleans, 10th-14th April, 2018.

ALTERNATIVE URBANISMS

Organizers: Clive Barnett and Jon Cinnamon (University of Exeter)

Cities are increasingly characterized as important sites of political, economic, cultural and environmental transformation, yet the proliferating attention to ‘the urban’ from policymakers threatens a narrowing of the boundaries of urban imaginaries around certain favored models. This session thus seeks to bring together papers that address one or more aspects of a growing contemporary concern with developing ‘alternative urbanisms’ in theory, policy and practice (e.g. Derickson 2015, Buckley and Strauss 2016, Parnell and Robinson 2012). We conceive of ‘alternative urbanisms’ along three dimensions. Firstly, alternative urbanisms might describe a focus on counter-hegemonic forms of urban living and practice that are alternative in relation to mainstream models and trends. Secondly, it can refer to a focus on how urban spaces are configured as experimental fields for the development of new practices in response to imperatives to restructure and reconfigure economic, social and technological infrastructures. Thirdly, alternative urbanisms might refer to a concern to broaden the scope of intellectual reference points through which urban practices can be conceptualised and investigated methodologically. Across these dimensions, it is agreed that more effort is needed to extend the canon of contemporary urban studies, urban and regional science, planning, and human geography to include insights from the humanities, natural sciences, or engineering, and also to draw on empirical and theoretical resources from beyond the Global North.

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers that push up against the boundaries of urban thought, policy and practice – papers that aim to critique the urban mainstream as well identify new possibilities for understanding and acting on urban challenges. The following is a sample of questions germane to this session, although we welcome papers on all topics that fit the broad scope.

â–ª What marginalized or emerging theoretical and methodological traditions demand the attention of urban scholars?

â–ª Why do ‘mainstream’ urban ideas and policies not take root in certain jurisdictions? What localisms prevent the successful uptake of mainstream, globally circulating urbanisms?

â–ª What epistemological or political work can alternative urbanisms do?

â–ª What are the temporalities and spatialities of alternative urban thought and practice, and how is this reflected in or distinct from local and global political, economic or cultural hegemonies?

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words by 13th October to: Clive Barnett (c.barnett@exeter.ac.uk) and Jon Cinnamon (j.cinnamon@exeter.ac.uk).

References

Barnett, C. and Bridge, G. (2016) The situations of urban inquiry: thinking problematically about the city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 40, 1186-1204.

Buckley, M. & Strauss, K. (2016) With, against and beyond Lefebvre: Planetary urbanization and epistemic plurality. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34, 617-636.

Derickson, K. D. (2015) Urban geography I: Locating urban theory in the ‘urban age’. Progress in Human Geography, 39, 647-657.

Parnell, S. & Robinson, J. (2012) (Re)theorizing Cities from the Global South: Looking Beyond Neoliberalism. Urban Geography, 33, 593-617.

Museum of Contemporary Commodities – Exhibition Rd, Kensington 24-27 Aug.

Next week, in advance of the RGS-IBG annual conference, the Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) will join the other museums in South Kensington on Exhibition Rd. MoCC is the brainchild of artist-activist-researcher Paula Crutchlow and promises to build on the provocative and inspiring work undertaken as part of the project over the last three years. I strongly encourage anyone in London next week to pop into the Royal Geographical Society to take a look.

I’m very privileged to be on Paula’s PhD committee. This is fantastic work – even if you cannot make it to Exhibition Rd, please do look at the MoCC website.

Museum of Contemporary Commodities: valuing what we buy today as the heritage of tomorrow

Museum of Contemporary Commodities at the Royal Geographical Society, London.The Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) is an art-geography research and exhibition project investigating the deep links between data, trade, place and values that shape our everyday lives. This lively set of digital activities will be hosted in the Pavilion at RGS-IBG. Staffed by our friendly MoCC Invigilators, you will be able to browse the most valued exhibits, take our quiz, add something to the museum yourself and consult with the updated Mikayla 3.0 – our networked talking doll guide to all things MoCC. Two research and conversation events will also contribute to our continuing public conversations around the deep connections between data, trade, place and values.

All the events are free to attend. All are welcome. Please join us to re-value contemporary commodity culture one thing at time!

Exhibition open: Thursday 24 August-Sunday 27 August 2017, 10.00am-4.00pm

Additional events on Friday 25 August:

Data walkshop with data activist Alison Powell, LSE: 10.00am-12.30pm
Building on MoCC walkshops in Finsbury Park and Exeter, Alison will be investigating data mediations in the direct vicinity of the RGS-IBG through a process of rapid group ethnography. No experience necessary. Please book here.

Our Future Heritage: curating contemporary commodity cultures: 2.00pm-4.00pm
A public conversation event hosted in the Museum of Contemporary Commodities shop-gallery space at the RGS-IBG. With contributions from: MoCC co-founders Paula Crutchlow and Ian Cook, Senior Curator V&A Corrinna Gardner, Cultural Geographer Merle Patchett, Music Sociologist Lee Marshall, and researcher, publisher and curator D-M Withers. Please book here.

MoCC was co-founded by artist-researcher Paula Crutchlow from Blind Ditch and Geographer Ian Cook from followthethings.com and University of Exeter. The project is being developed in partnership with Furtherfieldand a growing number of artists, academics, technologists and members of the public.

Our early prototypes and events have been kindly supported by All Change Arts, Islington Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot Women’s Group, Islington Council, Exeter City Council, Art Week Exeter, Exeter Scrapstore, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter CVS, St Sidwells Community Centre, Exeter Library, Art Week Exeter. With many thanks to the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) for their support with this 2017 exhibition. MoCC is funded by Arts Council England, University of Exeter and the Economic and Social Science Research Council.

To find out more, please visit http://www.moccguide.net/ or follow MoCC on Twitter at @moccofficial and on Instagram at @moccguidemikayla

Reblog> Three new OHP books from: Brian Massumi; Steven Connor; and Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski

open access spelled out with books

Via Gary Hall. All of the books are available for free download. Follow links below.

We are pleased to announce the release this month of two new titles in Open Humanities Press’ Immediations series:***

Brian Massumi’s The Principle of Unrest explores the contemporary implications of an activist philosophy, pivoting on the issue of movement. Movement is understood not simply in spatial terms but as qualitative transformation: becoming, emergence, event.

Available for free download at:

http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/the-principle-of-unrest/

 

***

Nocturnal Fabulations/Fabulations nocturnes by Érik Bordeleau, Toni Pape, Ronald Rose-Antoinette and Adam Szymanski with an Introduction by Erin Manning.

This collective, bi-lingual project is animated by a shared curiosity in the pragmatics of fabulation and its speculative gesture of bringing forth a people to come. In an encounter with Apichatpong’s cinematic dreamscape, the concepts of ecology, vitality and opacity emerge to articulate an ethos of fabulation that deframes experience, recomposes subjectivity and unfixes time.Available for free download at:

English: http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/nocturnal-fabulations/

French: http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/fabulations-nocturnes/

***

We are also pleased to announce the latest book in the Technographies series:

Steven Connor’s Dream Machines

Dream Machines is a history of imaginary machines and the ways in which machines come to be imagined. It considers seven different kinds of speculative, projected or impossible machines: machines for teleportation, dream-production, sexual pleasure and medical treatment and cure, along with ‘influencing machines’, invisibility machines and perpetual motion machines.

“This is an engaging and imaginative exploration of various forms of writing, thinking, and fantasizing about dream machines, an endlessly fertile topic probed here from just about every possible angle “¦ a major intervention into current understandings of technology, literature, and identity.”

Matthew Rubery – Queen Mary University of London

“”¦ a deeply original contribution to the history and philosophy of technology and the cultural history of the imagination “¦”Laura Salisbury – University of Exeter

Available for free download at:

http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/titles/dream-machines/

With our best wishes,

Sigi, David, Gary

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.