Social Knowledge Creation/Social Media Communities
The rise of social media has encouraged a unique coming together of transnational, national, and local communication and social knowledge creation. The polyvocal and democratic undertones of social media present a formidable opportunity for engagement between various groups of people and movements. Although the full depth of social media’s influence on creating knowledge and culture necessarily remains not fully clear at this time, many scholars speculate on, encourage, study, and employ social media. Concerns in this area range from introducing scholarly social knowledge creation tools to analyzing the inner workings of social knowledge production in current popular networks like Facebook and Wikipedia.
Below is a list of resources that address crowdsourcing. Some of the publications focus on the theory of, ethics of, and tools used to facilitate crowdsourced research initiatives. Others rely on specific case studies and researcher experience to explore, critique, and offer new perspectives on the practical implementation of crowdsourcing. These resources will be added to an annotated bibliography on social knowledge creation. This list will be updated with brief annotations as work progresses.
- Carletti, Laura, Derek McAuley, Dominic Price, Gabriella Giannachi, and Steve Benford. 2013. “Digital Humanities and Crowdsourcing: An Exploration.” Museums and the Web 2013 Conference, http://mw2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/digital-humanities-and-crowdsourcing-an-exploration-4/
- Causer, Tim and Melissa Terras. 2014. “Crowdsourcing Bentham: Beyond the Traditional Boundaries of Academic History.” International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 8, no. 1 (n.d.): 46-64, doi: 10.3366/ijhac.2014.0119
- Causer, Tim, Justin Tonra, and Valerie Wallace. 2012. “Transcription maximized; expense minimized? Crowdsourcing and editing The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 27, no. 2 (March 28, 2012): 119-137, doi: 10.1093/llc/fqs004
- Causer, Tim and Valerie Wallace. 2012. “Building A Volunteer Community: Results and Findings from Transcribe Bentham.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 6, no. 2 (n.d.): n.p., http://digitalhumanities.org:8081/dhq/vol/6/2/000125/000125.html
- Franklin, Michael, Donald Kossman, Tim Kraska, Sukrit Ramesh, and Reynold Xin. 2011. “CrowdDB: Answering Queries with Crowdsourcing.” Proceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data. (June 11, 2012): 61-72. https://amplab.cs.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CrowdDB-Answering-Queries-with-Crowdsourcing.pdf
- Gosh, Aprila, Kale Satyen, and Preston McAfee. 2011. “Who Will Moderate the Moderators? Crowdsourcing Abuse Detection in User-Generated Content.” EC’11 Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce (June 6, 2011): 167-176, http://vita.mcafee.cc/PDF/UGC2.pdf.
- Hoffman, Brian. "Crowdsourcing with Spotify in the Music Classroom," Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, vol 3. (2015) http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/hoffman.html
- Holley, Rose. 2010. “Crowdsourcing: How and Why Should Libraries Do It?.” D-Lib Magazine 16, no. 3/4 (March/April 2010): n.p., doi: 10.1045/march2010-holley
- Manzo, Christina, Geoff Kaufman, Sukdith Punjashitkul, and Mary Flanagan. 2015. ““By the People, For the People”: Assessing the Value of Crowdsourced, User-Generated Metadata.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 9, no. 1 (n.d.): n.p., http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/9/1/000204/000204.html
- McKinley, Donelle. 2012. “Practical management strategies for crowdsourcing in libraries, archives and museums.” Report for Victoria University of Wellington (October 2012): n.p., http://nonprofitcrowd.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/McKinley-2012-Crowdsourcing-management-strategies.pdf
- Moyle, Martin, Justin Tonra, and Valerie Wallace. 2011. “Manuscript Transcription by Crowdsourcing: Transcribe Bentham.” Liber Quarterly 20, no. 3/4 (March 2011): 347-356, http://liber.library.uu.nl/index.php/lq/article/view/7999/8329
- Ridge, Mia. 2013. “From Tagging to Theorizing: Deepening Engagement with Cultural Heritage through Crowdsourcing.” Curator 56, no. 4 (October 7, 2013): 435-450, doi: 10.1111/cura.12046
- Rockwell, Geoffrey. 2012. “Crowdsourcing the Humanities: Social Research and Collaboration.” In Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities, edited by Marilyn Deegan and Willard McCarty, 135-155. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing
- Ross, Stephen, Alex Christie, and Jentery Sayers. 2014. “Expert/Crowd-Sourcing for the Linked Modernisms Project.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5, no. 4 (December 16, 2014): n.p., http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/186/368.
- Saklofske, Jon. 2012. “Fluid Layering: Reimagining Digital Literary Archives Through Dynamic, User-generated Content.” Scholarly and Research Communication 3, no. 4 (May 10, 2013): n.p., http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/70/181.
- Walsh, Brandon, Claire Maiers, Gwen Nelly, Jeremy Boggs, and Praxis Program Team. 2014. “Crowdsourcing individual interpretations: Between microtasking and multitasking.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 29, no. 3 (July 8, 2014): 379-386, doi: 10.1093/llc/fqu030
The following resources may be useful for exploring potential crowd sourcing projects:
- Crowd Consortium, "Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing Across the Disciplines," Full Report, May 6-8, 2015, University of Maryland. Available at http://www.crowdconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/crowdconP.pdf
- Crowd-Sourcing Scoping Study by Stuart Dunn and Mark Hedges, Centre for e-Research, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. Available at http://crowds.cerch.kcl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Crowdsourcing-connected-communities.pdf
- Mia Ridge's blog: http://www.miaridge.com/category/crowdsourcing/
- Mia Ridge, Crowdsourcing our Cultural Heritage, Ashgate, 2014
Social Media and Scholarly Engagement
While social media has been a prominent part of digital environments for a decade, only in recent years have scholars begun to value the contributions that social media can make to their work. In particular, scholars — especially those in the digital humanities — are embracing the opportunities for collaboration that social media provides. Such scholarly engagement takes many forms, including digital networking through Facebook and Twitter, digital ___ through Academia.edu and personal websites, research dissemination through ResearchGate and Academia.edu, and collaboration through GitHub, WordPress, and YouTube. Although many scholars are still hesitant to participate in scholarly communities online, numerous articles note that participation in online communities increases the quality, capability, and recognition of scholarly endeavors.
Julie Flanders, in her work, “The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship,” notes that “[d]igital scholarship proceeds through collaborations and hybridizations that challenge our notions of the discipline” (Flanders par. 19). These collaborations take many forms — with members of different disciplines, institutions, and/or communities — but are typically undertaken in-person or through text-heavy mediums such as email or Google Drive. More recently, however, these collaborations are occurring in social media forums. Although these environments present a set of challenges to scholars (in terms of character or word count as well as post limitations), Flanders believes that this unease is crucial to the development of more robust digital humanities scholarship. She argues that the field of digital humanities is intended to have “a kind of productive unease that […] registers for the humanities scholar as a sense of friction between familiar mental habits and the affordances of the tool, but it is ideally a provocative friction, an irritation that prompts further thought and engagement” (Flanders par. 12). Engagements that produce such friction force scholars to ask, “Why does this make me uncomfortable?” “Are there issues with how I’m representing or sharing information? If so, how do I address them?” and “How can I more effectively engage in scholarship through this medium?”
Hart, Ridley, Taher, Sas, and Dix allude to “scholarly friction” in regards to Facebook. They note “that Facebook performs poorly with regards to traditional usability guidelines […] It has particular problems with consistency and standards, error prevention and recognition rather than recall” (Hart, Ridley, Taher 2). In other words, Facebook does not adhere to traditional models of online engagement and, as such, it challenges users’ perceptions about what makes a good online forum. In doing so, Facebook causes unease because it questions scholarly methods of authorship, access, and communication.
As social media platforms become more prevalent, “there is a growing movement in humanities knowledge-building communities to expand the scope of community membership beyond academics, and into the interested and engaged general public, to those practicing what has come to be termed citizen scholarship” (Siemens, Timney, Leitch, et al. 450). Numerous platforms engage with this model, but one method of doing so is through Twitter. Through Twitter chats — one hour online discussions open to both scholars and citizen scholars — it is possible to meet collaborative partners, launch new projects, and engage in meaningful discussions with a diverse group of participants.
Citizen scholars also participate in more robust online scholarship, such as the “social edition” that Siemens, Timney, Leitch, Koolen, and Garnett define as a digital edition created online by a team of scholars and citizen scholars who complete five primary tasks: “(1) collaborative annotation, (2) user-derived content, (3) folksonomy tagging, (4) community bibliography, and (5) shared text analysis” (Siemens, Timney, Leitch, et al. 451). As such, the social edition calls upon users with a wide-ranging digital and content-based expertise to create as comprehensive a resource as possible.
Social editions also resist traditional means of scholarly production by “shifting power from a single editor, who shapes the reading of any given text, to a group of readers comprising a community whose interpretations themselves form a new method of making meaning out of the material” (Siemens, Timney, Leitch, et al. 453). In doing so, this model “privileges a new kind of traditional scholarly discourse network that eschews traditional, institutionally reinforced, hierarchical structures and relies, instead, upon those that are community-generated” (Siemens, Timney, Leitch, et al. 453).
Social media, therefore, is beneficial to scholars in numerous ways. Not only does it connect academics to collaborators and community partners, it also generates a sense of healthy tension and discussion about digital scholarship. Since this tension lies at the root of the digital humanities, it serves as a useful source of discussion and research. Furthermore, scholarly use of social media also promotes significant growth by challenging conventional modes of scholarship: it promotes collaboration, rejects notions of textual fixedness, and critiques single-author expertise. In doing so, social media radically alters scholarly production by providing a more open, holistic, and fluid model for academic work.
Social Media & Online Communities in Social Action and Public Humanities Pedagogy
In her 2014 Polaris Music Prize acceptance speech for the album Animism (2014), Tanya Tagaq spoke of the sustainable and reciprocal relationship between indigenous communities and the nonhuman environment. She critiqued veganism as a byproduct of colonial structures and advocated for the consumption and use of seal products as a sustainable resource central to indigenous life, using performance to advocate for indigenous heritage in the face of PETA’s protests and aggressive, offensive social media attacks. Leading up to her Polaris appearance, Tagaq received unprecedented social media backlash for her participation in the “#sealfie” social media movement, a political campaign of contemporary Inuit political expression opposing Western colonial understandings of animal rights that do not accommodate the cultural practices of northern indigenous communities. Open-access digital platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, as Kathleen Rodgers and Willow Scobie explain, were used “to bring together images, texts, as well as facilitate dialogue across northern communities and beyond their borders, [and] Inuit were able to engage with and dispel myths, outdated claims, and point to the ongoing relevance of seal hunting” (Rodgers and Scobie 2015: 71). The #sealfie movement – a play on words combining the media act of taking a “selfie” with the Inuit response to the Western anti-sealing stance that was exhibited through remarks made by PETA towards Inuit protesters fighting to restore indigenous lifeways and Ellen DeGeneres’ public support for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – also provided a cultural voice often silenced by the mainstream media an opportunity for self-authorship as afforded by social media. Social media becomes a collective space of exchange to share, experience, comment on, and juxtapose opinions, texts, images, and other parapolitical materials that speak to a specific social activist issue or initiative. It provides opportunities for citizen scholars to contribute local knowledge to the knowledge system of a social cause. In this case, Twitter, supplemented by Facebook and Instagram, served as a productive accessible open-source tool to reach and connect other Inuit peoples and indigenous supporters with similar political views in urban environments across Canada and internationally and isolated regions of the North, allowing a dispersed political body to come together in the digital space of social media.
Social media and online communities can also serve as useful tools of collaborative knowledge formation, dialogue, and exchange. As pedagogues, it is important to instruct students in media training and through writing workshops that develop the different forms of writing for professional/academic web-based publication. Mark Clague explores the ways technology can be effectively used to teach music history in ways that enhance the efficacy of learning and aid in the creation of a learning community in the classroom that also extends beyond that physical space into a digital online environment of learning and sharing knowledge. It is important to establish the ultimate goal of using social media and other forms of online communities in teaching and knowledge formation. Are scholars using online formats to preserve in-class time for face-to-face experiential learning and discussion? Are scholars using and creating online materials in the classroom to actively create resources through our classes that can be used by the broader community who may not have access to the information housed within institutions of higher learning? These are just two productive ways technology can be integrated into the undergraduate classroom to collaboratively contribute to the creation and dissemination of information.
However, Clague explains that “technology becomes instructionally interesting when it becomes technologically boring. YouTube, blogs, and streaming audio are technologically boring and ready for instructional harvest. Boring tech serves as a tool—something that potentially amplifies and extends human techniques, talents, and insights. Yet as a tool, technology should not be confused with human techniques, talents, and insights. In terms of the classroom, technology should not be confused with learning goals” (Clague 2011: 61). From this statement, it appears pedagogues tend to shy away from incorporating new technologies into the learning process until they are tested, proven effective, and used easily by instructors who do not view themselves as tech-savvy. There is a reluctance to use the classroom as an experimental space of learning because it may negatively impact student learning and outcomes if the experiment happens to “go wrong.”
In his Living❂Music project, Clague engaged his students through a musicological oral histories project that taught students about living music cultures through practice-based research. The project generated ethnographic materials and meaningful sociocultural analysis of vibrant music cultures and artist that the student researchers experienced first hand. Students conducted interviews, transcribed those interviews, and learned about best practices for representing research subjects in writing and in publicly accessible digital scholarship, publishing their findings online to create an open-source resource of oral musicological histories. Clague introduced students to the important of generating research for an audience outside the academy and that creating research to contribute to the collaborative knowledge space of web-based discourse in an “essential skill of twenty-first century literacy” (Clague 62: 2011). By engaging students through collaborative authorship of knowledge in an online community, the research students create in the classroom becomes real and socially relevant as it is disseminated to a vast public who can use these student-authored resources to learn and enrich one’s own work. As Clague concludes, “That the final result is made publicly available online deepens the learning process and taps into levels of student motivation beyond grades” (Clague 2011: 73-74). Digital pedagogical engagements are a productive space to teach students early on that what they learn and produce in the classroom is a form of social knowledge creation and a valuable addition to the information that circulates through open-access digital learning spaces.
In the music classroom, strides are taken to make the listening lists required for instruction accessible in a variety of formats for students. Several of the leading textbook manufacturers continue to sell CDs with their textbook and anthology packages and the online streaming services provided by these publishers are rudimentary and frequently crash due to heavy international use by students and instructors during key periods in the semester system. This is a traditional use of incorporating digital playlist technology into the modern classroom. In “Crowdsourcing with Spotify in the Music Classroom,” Brian D. Hoffman presents a case study from his own teaching where he attempts to accommodate new ubiquitous listening devices (e.g. iPhone, tablets) using non-traditional methods in the ways modes of listening and repertoire for listening evaluation can be better engaged outside the classroom. Hoffman suggests an alternative approach to using Spotify where the repertoire taught in the course, or highlighting a specific concept from the course is crowdsourced and students play an important role determining the music content learned and used in the course. The course becomes a collaborative environment among the instructor, students, and technology. Using the “collaborative playlist” feature in Spotify, students contribute tracks that adhere to a list of criteria provided by the instructor (e.g. a song in a specific key, the musical example uses a particular melodic feature, the example contains the listed chord progression). Students apply aural skills, music theory concepts and terms, and compare new examples to music instructed in the classroom to real world listening engagements.
Brown, Susan. 2015. “Tensions and Tenets of Socialized Scholarship.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. 30 (4). http://dsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/01/07/llc.fqu063
---. 2014. “The Changing Culture of Humanities Scholarship: Iteration, Recursion, and Versions in Scholarly Collaboration Environments.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 5(4). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/191/355
Keener, Alix. 2015. “The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities Quarterly. 9(2). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/9/2/000213/000213.html
Kretzschmar, William and William Potter. 2010. “Library Collaboration with Large Digital Humanities Projects.” Literary & Linguistic Computing. http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/4/439.short
Lai, Linda and W.M. To. 2015. “Content Analysis of Social Media: A Grounded Theory Approach.” Journal of Electronic Commerce Research: 16(2), 138-152. http://www.jecr.org/sites/default/files/16_2_p05.pdf
Maxwell, John. 2010. “The OMMM Project: Toward a Collaborative Editorial Workflow.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 1(1): 1-9. http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/5/221qq1
Nichols, Naomi and Stephen Gaetz. 2014. “Strategies for Sustaining Complex Partnerships.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 5(3). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/166/334
O’Halloran, Kieran. “Deconstructing Arguments via Digital Mining of Online Comments.” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. 30 (4). http://dsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/12/02/llc.fqu034
Saloot, Mohamad, Norisma Idris, AiTi Aw, and Dirk Thorleuchter. 2014. “Twitter Corpus Creation: The Case of a Malay Chat-style-text Corpus (MCC).” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities Advance Access. http://dsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/12/13/llc.fqu066
Siemens, Lynne. 2014. “Building and Sustaining Long-term Collaboration – Lessons at the Midway Mark.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 5(2). http://src-online.ca/src/index.php/src/article/view/153/305
---. 2014. “Research Collaboration as “Layers of Engagement”: INKE in Year Four.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 5(4). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/181/383
---. 2012. “Understanding Long-Term Collaboration: Reflections on Year 1 and Before.” Scholarly and Research Communication: 3(1). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/48/192
Siemens, L., R. Cunningham, W. Duff and C. Warwick. 2010. “A Tale of Two Cities: Implications of the Similarities and Differences in Collaborative Approaches within the Digital Libraries and Digital Humanities Communities.” Presented at: Digital Humanities 2010, Kings College London. http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/155114/
Stefanidis, Anthony, Amy Cotnoir, Arie Croitoru, Andrew Crooks, Mathew Rice, and Jacek Radzikowski. 2013. “Demarcating New Boudaries: Mapping Virtual Polycentric Communities Through Social Media Content.” Cartography and Geographic Information Science: 40(2), 116-129. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15230406.2013.776211
Exemplary Instances and Resources
- Clague, Mark. "Publishing Student Work on the Web: The Living❂Music Project and the Imperatives of the New Literacy," Journal of Music History Pedagogy, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 61–80.
- Flanders, Julia. "The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship." Digital Humanities Quarterly. 3.3 (2009): n.p. 25 August 2009. Web. 22 November 2015.
- Hart, J, Ridley, C, Taher, F, Sas, C & Dix, A 2008, "Exploring the facebook experience: a new approach to usability." Proceedings of the 5th Nordic Conference on Human-computer Interaction: Building Bridges. ACM Press, New York, 2008. 471-474.
- Hoffman, Brian. "Crowdsourcing with Spotify in the Music Classroom," Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, vol 3. (2015) http://flipcamp.org/engagingstudents3/essays/hoffman.html
- Rodgers, Kathleen, and Willow Scobie. "Sealfies, seals and celebs: expressions of Inuit resilience in the Twitter era." Interface: A Journal on Social Movements 7.1 (2015). http://www.interfacejournal.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Issue-7-1-Rodgers-and-Scobie.pdf
- Siemens, Ray, et al. "Toward modeling the social edition: An approach to understanding the electronic scholarly edition in the context of new and emerging social media." Literary and Linguistic Computing 27.4 (2012): 445-461. Web. 22 November 2015.
- Wu, Liangping. “The Web as Corpus: Theory and Practice. Maristella Gatto. “ Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. 30 (4). http://dsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/06/21/llc.fqv020
Social Media and the Politics of Collaboration, Labour, and Gender
Digital humanities and new media scholars increasingly embrace social media for collaboration and engagement by making use of social networking sites from Twitter to Academia.edu. At the same time, social media platforms have become tools for advancing social justice causes and disseminating vital information to audiences across diverse spaces. Despite these productive engagements, social media is fundamentally “intertwined with neoliberal capitalism and data surveillance” (Boyd 2). This creates challenges for conducting independent, critical research in a landscape dominated by corporations interested in turning the web into an increasingly closed market (Langlois 1). There is a need for projects that employ, interrogate, and critique the tools of social media. This section explores how studying social media brings up concerns about scholarly communication and collaboration, medium, labour, gender, and how research is practiced within online communities.
In her article, “The Productive Unease of 21st century Digital Scholarship,” Julie Flanders discusses the “productive unease” of work in the digital humanities, clustered around issues of medium, scholarly communication, and representation. For the humanities scholar doing digital work, this unease manifests as “mental friction” between mental habits and the tool’s affordances (Flanders par. 12). She argues that unease and friction prompt further thought and reflection which helps to define humanities computing. Through the example of now-dated anxiety around the unreliability of digital texts, she shows how productive unease about medium has helped shaped digital humanities scholarship towards a critical awareness of its significance. She discusses the institutional structures of scholarly communication, which are in tension with an impulse in the digital humanities towards interdisciplinarity and collaboration, and explains how “projects, practices, and practitioners typically emerge out of working relationships which by their nature raise questions about the politics of work” (par. 18). Some of these questions about the politics of labour and collaboration in digital research are picked up in more recent work by scholars, such as Moya Baily and Jacquelyn Arcy, who employ feminist approaches to create critical friction when studying social media. Flanders concludes by considering how digital scholarship is uneasy about the significance of representation. Here, she suggests that social software, like YouTube and Flickr, might also address the problem of representing the macrocosm without losing sight of the microcosm “and the informational strands that connect one to the other” (par. 26). Given the ubiquity and pervasiveness of contemporary social media platforms, there is a pressing need to apply the productive unease of humanities scholarship to the analysis of and engagement with social media tools.
In “#transform(ing)DH Writing and Research: An Autoethnography of Digital Humanities and Feminist Ethics” (2015), Bailey asks different questions about representation and medium than Flanders, instead referring to representation in terms of elevating the voices and identities of marginalized communities, like trans women of colour. New problems also emerge around issues of scholarly reliability and communication. They are framed instead in terms of the scholar’s relationship to the people they do research with and for, as co-collaborators in the production of knowledge, rather than the subjects of study. Describing in detail her experience collaborating with a group of trans women of colour online, Bailey argues that digital scholarship requires an interrogation of the hierarchy imposed between people within academia and the individuals who inform their research. Bailey highlights the often uncredited emotional and uncompensated labour of trans women of colour who create digital media, calling attention to the fact that many of the women she worked with had experience with their posts being used by scholars and journalists without their consent. She stresses the importance of ongoing consent, which is a form of collaboration, and suggests that digital humanists need to go beyond citation, which may be harmful to members of vulnerable communities. Instead, in accordance with #TwitterEthics Manifesto (2014), academics should ask for consent from each user and explain the context and usage of their tweets. In digital humanities work, which is often privileged as being a hybrid and innovative space, there is an opportunity to focus on the ways that digital tools like social media can help investigate issues relating to marginalized identities.
In “Emotion Work: Considering Gender in Digital Labor” (2016), Arcy, like Bailey, is interested in the politics of labour on social media. This article departs from a focus on the digital humanities to look at social media sites from the perspective of feminist media studies. Specifically, Arcy is interested in gendered dimensions of immaterial digital labour. Immaterial digital labour refers to the production of value in online interactions (365)– for example, by writing and sharing a tweet, you contribute to Twitter’s brand value and supply the corporation with valuable data which can be sold and used for marketing. Looking at the tradition of women’s work, Arcy highlights how the expectation that women be experts in managing emotions is amplified online (366). She argues that the emotional labour women perform on digital platforms when they engage and generate content adds value to brands; this unpaid, unvalued labour is directly linked to the traditional sexual division of labour and shifts in late capitalism towards immaterial labour. Arcy performs an analysis of “liking” on Twitter and Facebook to demonstrate the affective and gendered dimensions of social media use: “while the microact of ‘liking’ is an incremental gift, its exchange depends upon users’ ability to manage and distribute emotions” (367). “Liking” creates affective bonds and networks of users but also creates positive association towards the platforms which deliver the likes. A key distinction between “liking” and non-digital emotional labour is how the “terms of emotional exchange are set by social media corporations” (367). Ultimately, for Arcy, the study of the interface design and affordances of social media platforms can elicit new inquiry about the value and exchange of emotional labour.
Ganaele Langlois argues in “What Are the Stakes in Doing Critical Research on Social Media Platforms?” (2015) that “the marginalization of critical research into social media platforms raises crucial issues about the capacity to develop democratic and truly participatory forms of knowledge creation” (1). She suggests that an alternative, transparent, public architecture should be built in collaboration between scholars, activists, artists, journalists, and the public to create new venues for the co-production of social knowledge (2). Still, working with and through social media has potential to create innovative and non-traditional approaches to knowledge production. It is essential that scholars working with social media interrogate and understand the mechanics, biases, and potential for harm of the tools they use. In addition to applying critical reflection to their tools, scholars must also reflect critically on their politics of collaboration, recognizing their position relative to the people who contribute to their scholarship, and particularly being mindful to call attention to, centre, and elevate marginalized voices. To this end, it is crucial to consider digital labour and its often gendered and racialized dimensions.
Exemplary Instances and Open Source Tools
- Ada: A journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology is an open-access peer reviewed journal created by the Fembot Collective featuring scholarship on gender, new media and technology: http://adanewmedia.org/
- @TheBlockBot is a service to automatically block tweets from Twitter users: http://www.theblockbot.com/
- Block Together is a web app for dealing with harassment and abuse on Twitter: https://blocktogether.org/
- The Crunk Feminist Collective is a community of scholar-activists sharing intellectual work on and offline: https://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/
- The Fembot Collective Toolkit is a series of anonymous submissions sharing advice and strategies for coping and resistance: http://fembot.adanewmedia.org/blog/2014/11/07/the-fembot-toolkit/
- HarassMap is a mobile and online volunteer-based initiative and non-profit that uses interactive mapping to counter sexual harassment in Egypt: https://harassmap.org/en
- “#TwitterEthics Manifesto” is an article written by Dorothy and Eunsong Kim that includes The #TwitterEthics Manifesto which was based on a collected open twitter conversation: https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/the-twitterethics-manifesto
- #TransformDH is “an academic guerrilla movement seeking to (re)define capital-letter Digital Humanities as a force for transformative scholarship by collecting, sharing, and highlighting projects that push at its boundaries and work for social justice, accessibility, and inclusion” (#transformDH Tumblr): http://transformdh.org/about-transform
- Arcy, Jacquelyn. "Emotion Work: Considering Gender in Digital Labor." Feminist Media Studies vol. 16, no. 2, 2016, pp. 365-368, doi: 10.1080/14680777.2016.1138609. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.
- Bailey, Moya. "#transform(ing) DH Writing and Research: An Autoethnography of Digital Humanities and Feminist Ethics." DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, 2015, www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/9/2/000209/000209.html. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.
- boyd, danah. "Social Media: A Phenomenon to be Analyzed." Social Media + Society, vol. 1, no. 1, Apr. 2015, pp. 1-2, doi: 10.1177/2056305115580148. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
- Flanders, Julie. “The Productive Unease of 21st-century Digital Scholarship.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 3, no. 3, 2009, www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/3/3/000055/000055.html. Accessed 9 Feb. 2018.
- Langlois, Ganaele. “What Are the Stakes in Doing Critical Research on Social Media Platforms?” Social Media + Society, vol. 1, no. 1, Apr. 2015, pp. 1-2, doi:10.1177/2056305115591178. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.
Web 2.0, Academia, and Collaborative Research Innovations
In the earlier years of Web 1.0, there was no overlap between the author and the reader of content, and no opportunity for the two to communicate or collaborate (Liu). As we moved through the period of Web 1.5 and into Web 2.0, the roles of authors and readers have become less separate than before, as social commuting now allows for an interactive and collaborative experience to unfold entirely via the Web. This section focuses on the collaborative abilities of academic knowledge production and dissemination that have resulted from the development of Web 2.0. By doing so, this section aims to situate research-based academic programs in the humanities within the larger realm of Web 2.0 capabilities, looking at how this digital age has shaped and will continue to shape how research is performed and shared collaboratively.
Recent scholarship, such as Oliveira and Morgado's "Digital Identity of Researchers 2.0" (2017), argues that this Web 2.0 (and beyond) "digital evolution" also requires academic researchers to evolve. Oliveira and Morgado argue that "social web tools" necessitate a different way for constructing and disseminating scholar's research. In relation to Oliveira and Morgado's necessary evolution, in "Creating Scholarly Tools and Resources in the Digital Ecosystem" (2007) Cohen argues that "[i]n a Web 2.0 environment, no application or repository should be an island; to live in this digital realm, applications and repositories must connect with each other, must be able to give to and take from other applications and repositories, and must be able to leverage the combined knowledge and actions of scholars from around the world." As the Web has developed into a collaborative and connective space, tools must find a way to fit within that framework to truly impact how research is performed digitally.
For example, in "How Computation Changes Research," Foster discusses collaborative tagging. Previously, in thinking of online academic journals, when an author would cite a piece of research in their article, the reader would have to navigate to that piece of information if they were interested. However, with collaborative tagging, there is a system in place to link associated "tags" to aid in navigating between connected pieces of information. Foster continues to point out that if users share their tags, and implement others' tags, a community of knowledge is built. While this is not implemented on a universal scale, many tools do currently implement this process.
Similarly, Cohen uses Zotero as an example of a research tool in his attempt to answer the question of "what should Web 2.0 mean for universities, libraries, and museums?" Zotero is an application that connects to a user's web browser of choice; as the user is performing their research, they can save items (screenshots, PDFs, webpages, etc.) to the application, while also pulling metadata for each item. Thus, all of the user's research is stored and indexed in the application. Cohen argues that Zotero's success is a result of "ensuring the tool connects with the digital ecosystem," meaning that the tool utilizes and manipulates the space that it was created out of; while Zotero works independently, the developers have also created an API so other users (third-party developers) can develop the tool further, and can connect the program to other programs. Cohen cites Vertov as a popular third-party-developed extension for Zotero, which was created to annotate video and audio. In this way, "collaboration" extends beyond tools that connect users to one another, by also including instances of researchers and developers coming together to develop tools that use Web 2.0 capabilities to make researching more effective.
Through a focus on Web 2.0 tools and capabilities, this section has looked at how our current digital framework has impacted academic collaboration, particularly research. By drawing on Liu's discussion of the evolution of the Web, and the recent scholarship of Daniel J. Cohen, Ian Foster, and Oliveira and Morgado, this section has aimed to show that Web 2.0 has greatly changed the nature of collaborative research; this change is not only seen through the ability for researchers with similar interests to share their ideas easily via the Web, but also for the ability for individuals in a variety of disciplines and positions to create tools that help bridge some sort of gap found within the way that research is being completed, such as with Zotero. See the below "Exemplary Instances and Open Source Tools" sub-section for more examples of how researchers are utilizing digital frameworks and creating innovative collaborative tools that have helped to shape this discussion.
Exemplary Instances and Open Source Tools
- Endnote is a reference application that syncs across multiple users' devices. Up to 100 users share a "library" that consists of references, documents, and files. Users can search the library, as well as track what changes have been made by other users.
- Google Drive:
- Google Drive is a synchronization system that stores a variety of different files that can be shared with other users and devices. Google Drive can be used in a web browser, or through downloadable applications. The system also encompasses Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.
- Zotero is an application that connects to a user's web browser of choice; as the user is performing their research, they can save items (screenshots, PDFs, webpages, etc.) to the application, while also pulling the metadata for each item. Thus, all of the user's research is stored and indexed in the application. Zotero allows for third-party developers to build on top of the application.
- Cohen, Daniel J. "Creating Scholarly Tools and Resources in the Digital Ecosystem: Building Connections in the Zotero Project." First Monday, vol. 13, no. 8, 2008.
- Foster, Ian. "How Computation Changes Research." Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts, edited by Thomas Bartscherer and Roderick Coover, The University of Chicago Press, 2011.
- Liu, Alan. "From Reading to Social Computing." Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology. MLA Commons, 2013.
- Oliveira, Nuno Ricardo, and Lina Morgado. "Digital Identity of Researchers 2.0: The Case of Their Personal Learning Network." Research 2.0 and the Impact of Digital Technologies on Scholarly Inquiry, edited by Antonella Esposito, IGI Global, 2017.