Critical and Ethical Studies of Digital and Social Media Minitrack

The minitrack focuses on two themes: a) studies that critically interrogate the role of DSM in supporting existing power structures or realigning power for underrepresented or social marginalized groups, and b) studies that raise awareness or illustrate the ethical issues associated with doing research on DSM. Examples of the first theme would include the perpetuation of gender-based hostility and bullying found in a range of online environments; the values embedded in the algorithms in platform content management; the political economies and labor conditions of paid and unpaid user-generated content creation; representations and practices of gaming communities and virtual worlds; and individual and collective challenges to established societal institutions (e.g., the Snowden case). Examples of the second theme include the ethical pitfalls involved in studying the flow of misinformation during crisis events (e.g., the Boston Marathon bombing); the challenges and opportunities of studying proprietary DSM data generated in industry settings; and the inferences researchers might make when combining data from multiple DSM platforms (e.g., Twitter with tweet metadata, Facebook, Foursquare).

The minitrack seeks both conceptual and empirical approaches to the theme. Conceptual papers would address foundational theories of critical studies of media or ethical conduct in periods of rapid changeā€”e.g., new metaphors for thinking about information exchange in communities and societies. Empirical papers would draw on studies of social media data that illustrate the critical or ethical dimensions of the use of such data.

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Tarleton Gillespie (Primary Contact)
Cornell University and Microsoft Research

Mary Gray
Indiana University and Microsoft Research

Robert Mason
University of Washington

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