Digital Discrimination and Social Networks Conference

academia,events,internet,social networking — Tags: , , — Danica @ 9:55 pm, March 31, 2014

I recently had a chance to attend and participate at the ICUD International Conference: Digital Discrimination and Social Networks, that took place takes on March 13 and 14, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The ICUD Project aims to Creatively Unveil hidden forms of Discrimination on the Internet, especially on social network sites such as Facebook, and provide practical tools to combat discrimination online. This project is co-funded by the European Union’s DG Justice: Fundamental Right and Citizenship programme.

It was a wonderful opportunity and space for interaction, discussion, learning and exchange of ideas and experiences: for social workers, academics, researchers, educators, Internet experts, NGOs, activists, and anyone interested in the issues surrounding discrimination on the Internet.

Complex topics like teen usage of Internet tools and social networks, racial discrimination, digital divides, network strategy against discrimination, hate speech, online gaming communities, LGBT issues, presence and representations of women online, youth and identity were discussed during the two-day conference.

Here is the abstract of my talk about the digital divide as a form of hidden discrimination:

Digital inequalities such as digital divides are a big issue in the information society, potentially influencing engagement in political, social, and educational life. They create marginalized, excluded groups who do not have access to the Internet, to information, or maybe to the necessary skills for using these devices (computers, mobile technology) and social applications. At some point, these people will not be able to engage fully in social, economic or political life.

Opening up the access to knowledge and its deployment in everyday work and education is crucial for producing the results and fostering the competences of the members of one’s society. Access to information is the key to an individual’s position in society. We are all participating on a daily basis in a networked world and we are the creators and the producers of the content online, all together in the same hyper-connected world where the issues and patterns of inclusion and exclusion need to be observed and addressed.

In this talk, digital inequalities on the internet will be explored from socio-technological and educational perspectives. There will be some interesting data and indications that beside the unequal access to the internet and computers, there is a social divide in regards of internet use, the lack of 21st century literacies, the knowledge gap, and communication and collaboration issues between two status groups: youngsters (students) and educators (professors) in higher education environment in the Balkan region. The importance of collaborative and participatory possibilities for bridging the digital divide will be discussed as they indicate a hidden form of discrimination.

The possibilities of internet usage and social media in the learning environment as a tool for collaboration and participation that encourages and fosters communication processes and decreases the widening gap will be discussed. There are communication and collaboration issues detected among professors and students. Main findings has revealed the three main factors of the digital divide, and there will be offered the possible recommendations about solutions which might lesson these divides.

The author will provide, beside web analysis and observations from the research, also qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with respondents from academic community on their internet usage, contributing input to determine the role and importance of the collaborative and participatory possibilities of social media and new literacies for bridging the digital gap.

Digital divides are not just about technology: the digital divide as a form of hidden discrimination from Danica Radovanovic

Making sense out of data: coding, creating, contributing

Ok,  here’s what I’ve been doing in the previous couple of weeks (among other things).  I cannot reveal it completely right now, just a little sneak-peak (see the snapshot). Beside e-resources and data I’ve been collecting, processing, and analysing, I’ve created a huge analogue map made out of more than 60 printed spreadsheets all over the office wall, and added some colour and cross-thematic coding. Now my creativity, the scientific story-telling, and writing is what I am challenging myself with in the next couple of weeks.

Many of you searched in the box up here on the site how to overcome digital divides, and what are digital divides present in social media now so I know there is also a lot of interest in those topics. Some of my work on this will be published early in December.  The book chapter I’ve contributed to the Routledge Advances in Sociology series will be published in May 2013.  The link to the forthcoming book is http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415525442/

Highlights from The World Wide Web 2012 conference

events,GlobalVoices,internet,media,technology,World wide — Tags: , — Danica @ 10:51 pm, May 3, 2012

Please check the summary of posts, articles, and media release after the World Wide Web 2012 conference (#WWW2012).

Scientific American published the article “Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big” - where I’m discussing the paper I presented at #WWW2012 on ‘phatic’ communications online: on brief and apparently trivial or mundane updates posted on social media.
For Australian Science online, I published ”Global Web, Society and Knowledge at #WWW2012”, some of my thoughts on workshops, sessions, and presentations as Part I of the #WWW2012 highlights. Part II “Connected and Free: World Wide Web professionals at #WWW2012“ presents random notes and micro-opinion bits, focusing on people, attendants who have been actively participating in this web professionals meeting and their impressions of the conference. I’ve been tweeting before, during, and after the conference, you may check my Twitter stream and the hashtag #WWW2012.

This week Advocacy Global Voices Online published my article, reporting from France, on an inspiring keynote by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Tim Berners-Lee: Protect the Open Web! #WWW2012

On April 16-20, 2012 the 21st International World Wide Web Conference (#WWW2012) gathered around 2,500 internet and social science professionals, web and mobile technology creators, researchers and scholars, in Lyon, France to discuss matters of global concern for the Internet and the Web. The main themes were “Society and Knowledge” and “The Future Direction of the Web”.

The conference agenda covered both social and technological issues, as well as Internet and democracy, free access to services, freedom of expression, regulation and censorship, control and copyright. The #WWW2012 proceedings are available online, so the many interesting papers can be downloaded. Plenary keynotes videos are also available.

I was a program committee member for a Making Sense of Microposts (#MSM12) workshop. I also presented a research paper on “phatic communication” and why tweets and Facebook updates on weather, food, and mundane life are useful for online communities, human relationships and social networks (I have written about this subject herehere, and here).

“Imagine what you want the world to look like”

But perhaps the major highlight of #WWW2012 was an inspiring keynote on April 18 by Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), the inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). He shared insights on the current situation of the web, as well as future directions that could threaten the vitality of the Internet. Rallying the crowd, he said, “Democracy depends on an open internet. Go out in the streets and complain that your democracy is being threatened. (It’s) a duty, something you have to do.”

Tim Berners-Lee at WWW2012

Tim Berners-Lee gives keynote speech at WWW2012: photo by Danica Radovanovic

TBL touched on the most pressing issues of open data, open government, privacy and control, Net Neutrality, and future generations. (more…)

Small talk in the Digital Age: Making Sense of Phatic Posts

The World Wide Web 2012 conference has started, and I have presented earlier his morning after the keynote talk: Greg Ver Steeg - Information Theoretic Tools for Social Media. I talked about small talk, phatic communication and its functions, and online communication dynamics. How tweets and mundane Facebook updates about weather, food, what you’re doing, where are you doing, and how – are actually healthy for the online communities, human relationships, and sustaining social network systems. I provided plenty of interesting examples (see some of the slides), and had nice and inspiring questions from the audience.

You can read the paper in CEUR online database; I would be happy to read your thoughts and comments here. Check out the paper (pdf), it is available for downloading and reading as part of CEUR Vol-838.

Find my slides uploaded on a SlideShare.

Phatic Communication, or why the little things in social media really matter

I’m very pleased to say that my paper for The World Wide Web 2012 #WWW12 conference got accepted. It is on the phatic aspects of communication in an online sphere. Phatic communication expressions – a concept developed by the anthropologyst Malinowski and expanded on by the linguist Jakobson – denote brief, non dialogue and non-informational discussion or communication exchanges that can also be in the form of different types of signals.

However, in the paper I am arguing that the stuff you think is pointless and does not have a practical information value - your posts on Facebook and Twitter, the likes, the pokes and the tweets about food, weather, the mundane brief status updates – all turn out to have a vital role and social value  that even merits a new phrase – “phatic-posts”  - which the paper coins.

These phatic posts deliver values of staying up-to-date with a micro and macro world of events and news, flirting, chat and public expressions of everyday life and emotions among the participants. The paper explains multiple effects of phatic posts: social, validation, conflict-avoidance, and others. I won’t reveal everything now.

The paper will be published in the ACM SIG proceedings, and if you are curious this Wordle has a summary of (more…)

Conference ‘The Future of Democracy in the Balkans’ and my talk on Digital Divide

I have just returned from OSF/Chevening conference where I’ve talked on the higher education panel, as the University of Oxford Alumni, the only Internet scholar, and information management specialist, on bridging the digital divide in the super connected world.
Slides of my presentation are on my SlideShare and the podcast is at my account on SoundCloud with all descriptions, credits, and tags. The recorded talk covers three major concerns in Internet and social media and higher education, all applicable in other areas: literacies, knowledge gap, and notworking/not collaboration. Interaction, thoughts, and comments of the audience are not included. I talked pretty fast, since I wanted to give more space for discussion, thoughts, sharing. I hope you will understand what I was talking about.

Call for Papers: Making Sense of Microposts

I would like to inform you that Call for papers for the workshop Making Sense of Microposts (MSM) at the Extended Semantic Web conference 2011 is announced. The workshop is interdiscipinary and gathers academics and professionals from the Semantic Web technologies and Social/Web Science studies. Also, have in mind that we will have a best paper award. (I’m on the Steering committee.)

Information about the topics of interest, submissions, and important dates could be found on the MSM web page.

“Making Sense of Microposts” (MSM), will cover the topics of: information extraction and leveraging of semantics from Microposts; making use of Microposts’ semantics; and social studies related to Microposts that could help build appealing new systems based on this type of data. The workshop has two main points of difference from existing Social Semantic Web workshops which partially treat Microposts: (a) the interdisciplinary nature and interest to bring together the Social Sciences and Semantic Web research; (b) the focus on Microposts’ usage in making appealing tools for Web users and showing how the Semantic Web makes a difference in those applications. One of the main goals of MSM is to bring together the researchers from various disciplines treating the question of Microposts from different angles. We are particularly interested in submissions describing theories from the Social Sciences related to the creation and potential usage of Microposts that could inspire the creation of data structures, ontologies and finally interfaces that make advanced use of Microposts. We also envisage submissions that describe the application of Semantic Web technologies, either in enabling the inference of new facts, or the gleaning and enriching of knowledge from collections of such data.

Ten years of Wikipedia – my personal greeting

It has been (already!) ten years since the Wikipedia started its activities as self-organized encyclopedia, global phenomenon gathering many volunteers world wide to collaborate in and contribute to this information and knowledge entity. As Social web researcher and an Internet Scholar I believe in the power of knowledge and collaborative ideas, actions as well as in free and open source information and knowledge, online communities and their power to make a difference. I’ve been writing (my Master thesis), bloggingparticipating, and contributing to this project, and for me Wikipedia is an excellent example of transparent, collaborative, and participatory information and knowledge movement and growing online community.

Working for over a decade in a related area, I perceive Wikipedia as an upgrowing phenomenon, a sustaining global change, where participation and interaction between contributors and users are very important. All of these present the future of the next generation of Web so Wikipedia has a bright future. With some concerns.

Being someone who’s involved indirectly and directly in Wikipedia and Wikimedia activities I want to emphasize three important points (not the only issues that Wikipedia has to embrace) in the years to come, as Wikipedia evolves globally sharing free information. First, it is increasingly important to have strong local chapters which are accessible to everyone. Achieving the balance is hard, but I believe that through the participation it is possible. All of you are showing every day that the focus on motivation and the mixture of the “ideology and fun” will deliver the strongest results. Beside further chapters formation, I’m also looking forward to seeing more lead initiatives in the higher education: engaging schools, universities and libraries, and social technology implemented in Wikimedia projects, which will increase the quality and the credibility of the content. And third equally important point is: I hope the focus, in the adolescence years of Wikipedia, will be on activities and projects in the developing countries, emerging, third world countries, where the access to the open and free information many times is not available. Also, I hope that the sharp divide between global West and global South and other developing ares in the world will slowly diminish.

With good hopes and good spirit, lots of good cheer, I wish everyone who is contributing to Wikipedia to stay creative, motivated, positive and inspired. I’m looking forward to collaborating with you in the upcoming years, I’m wishing you a happy birthday Wikipedia!

TEDWomen: innovators, idea-generators, architects of change

The Asphalt Orchestra today have opened the TEDWomen, conference dedicated to women who are (re)shaping the future, sharing an amazing talks from the fields they have pioneered. Event is taking place in Washington, DC,  December 7-8, 2010, and I have been privileged to get the access, live tweet out,  right now there is a break in between the sessions.  You can find my tweets here (with #tedwomen), talks are changing very fast and the schedule is not necessarily strictly prompt. Follow the hashtag #TEDWomen for all other tweets on live talks. TedWomen started on Day One with hilarous Hans Rosling who talked about the usage of the earth energy and the environment in the Western and emerging counties using ingenious allegories, while  Hanna Rosin talked on the importance of education and gender equality, some stereoptyes in this context, and new female superheros.  Elizabeth Lindsey, ethnographer of the National Geographic Society, gave an amazing performance of chanting on stage, talking about navigation and information overload; while Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talked on balancing business and private life.

The next day women from the sessions “Composers”, “Harmony &Discord”, and “Crescendo”, got my attention with inspiring talks on various topics. MBI (molecular breast imaging) inventor Dr Deborah Rhodes, showed how gamma method is more punctual than mammography in breast cancer detection, stressing out that the manuscript on MBI was rejected by four scientific journals because “the conflict of interest”, and it is finally to be published in Journal of Radiology. Something to think about science, humanity, ethics, and scientific publishing.

Amber Case, digital philosopher and Cyborg Anthropologist, started her talk with “All of you are Cyborgs every time you look at computer screen”, emphasising that people don’t take time for mental (self)reflection anymore, and kids today live the instant button clicking culture. Cyber anthropology is interdisciplinary area so there’s a lot to say about the above mentioned topics. Kate Orff, environmentalist architect,  introduces the new invention, hero of the ecology and urbanism ‘the oyster” that improves ecosystems. Roboticist, Cynthia Breazeal, who founded personal robot at MIT, talked about robots (applications) in the communication technologies: screen, mobile, expressive, performing collaborative tasks, and social engagement.

Surprise speaker on stage was The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, talking about women issues world wide, introducing the new project with the deployment of technology: Mobile Justice initiative in the third world countries, e.g. Africa, where women can memo their testimonials or record the files on the mobile phones. Naomi Klein, author and activist, talked on the recent oil disaster, climate crisis and the environment, emphasising that the problem is our master narrative: “we are going to be saved”, but our secular religion is technology. Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate, had the punch line: taking the action to reclaim the meaning of peace.” I liked her creative idea that planting the trees may be the solution to peace and for the environment perseverance.

Iranian artist in exile Shirin Neshat shared her personal story and life challenges through identity, politics, religion, and talked about her debut film: Woman without Man, based on the banned novel by Shahrnush Parsipur who spent five years in prison. Joan Halifax, Zen Priest, addressed an issue of the compassion and its challenges, in a similar pathos as Donna Karan, fashion designer, who shared her story on birth and death transformations in the critical moments in her life.

The culmination of  TEDWomen conference was touching, wonderful story of  Eve Ensler, best known for her play Vagina Monologues, founder of V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls globally. Beside The Monologues, she talked about other women stories world wide, how she perceived her body, how she felt her body when she realised that she had a cancer, and how she is perceiving it now. This brave women finished her talk with “if you are divided from your body, then you are divided from the body of the world”, giving the recipe for the survival of women with issues and challenges: attention and resources are that everybody deserves.

Those were my personal notes (in short) and tweet highlights, for other information check out the full program and the bios of the speakers. It was an interesting conference and I’m looking forward to see in the future more inspiring, strong, creative, innovative women world wide who are reshaping the world and making the difference while, as the former  US Secretary of State mentioned, supporting each other. Maybe next time I’d come up with my innovative ideas to share them with you. Now I’m asking: what you can learn from these strong women who inspire, and other powwerful women in your surrounding?


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