Digital Discrimination and Social Networks Conference

academia,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

Think Tanks and Social Networks: Handling Your Social Media Presence

social networking — Danica @ 2:57 pm, November 20, 2013

Recently, I had a great opportunity and chance to participate in an excellent event – an interactive conference: Policy Research, Technology, and Advocacy Converge @ the HUB, November 7-8, 2013 in Prague, hosted by Think Tank Fund. The first day of the conference started with an inspiring keynote of Scott Carpenter from Google Ideas, after which the series of panels started. I was the guest on the panel where my colleagues, Marieke Van DijkMarek Tuszynski, and I discussed the strategic choices from the management perspective, that think tanks need to consider in deciding on how to integrate use of data intensive products and their communication to new audiences in their core work. The next day, I lead an interactive workshop where we discussed how think tanks can improve their use of social networks (Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Flickr, Soundcloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, Scribd, issuu, etc.) as a communication and collaboration tool for dissemination of information/data, and interaction with their audiences and other institutions. Check out the points made from the workshop, and slides you may find useful.

HANDLING YOUR MEDIA PRESENCE – THINK TANKS AND SOCIAL NETWORKS from Danica Radovanovic

Open Linked Data, Serendipity, and the Future of Web

Being a Semantic Web, Open Linked Data, Open Source enthusiast, and at some point the contributor to the AP for the FOAF and other metadata standards, recently I had an opportunity to talk with Kingsley Idehen on his current projects,  views on the use of the Web technologies, Open Linked Data,  WebID, serendipity, and certain aspects of the Internet that influence our everyday lives. The interview is published for Australian Science.

Kingsley Idehen is the Founder & CEO of OpenLink Software. He is a recognized technology enthusiast and expert in areas such as: Data Connectivity middleware, Linked Data, Data Integration, and Data Management.  He is also a founding member of DBpedia project via OpenLink Software. Kingsley’s  background is quite varied: he had planned to become a scientist in the genetic engineering realm but ended up being more fascinated by the power Information Technology and its potential to reshape mankind. From science, accounting, and programming, he followed his scientific instincts to architect OpenLinkVirtuoso, a powerful and innovative open source virtual database for SQL, XML, and Web services. The Virtuoso History page tells the whole story about Kingsley’s vision and accomplishments. You can follow him on Twitter and read his Google+ posts.

Would you explain to our readers a bit about the OpenLink Software, for those in the Web technology who may not be familiar with it? Can you give us a story about the inception, history, work and achievements of the OpenLink Software?

OpenLink Software develops, deploys, and supports bleeding edge technology covering the following realms:
1. Relational Database Connectivity Middleware — ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, OLE-DB, and XMLA Drivers/Providers
2. Disparate Data  Virtualization
3. Personal & Enterprise Collaboration
4. Relational Tables (RDBMS) and Relational Property Graph (Graph DB) based Database Management Systems
5. Federated Identity Management.

I founded OpenLink in 1992 with open database connectivity middleware supporting  all major RDBMS products as our focus. By 1998 we evolved our vision to include RDBMS virtualization, and by 2000 we decided that the Semantic Web technology stack provided all the critical standards that would enable us extend data virtualization to include other data sources and formats beyond the RDBMS.

OpenLink was initially associated with dispelling the performance myth that undermined the early promotion of the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) standard from Microsoft. In the Semantic Web and Linked Data realms our Virtuoso hybrid data server underlies critical parts of the Linked Open Data cloud (starting with DBpedia which lies at the core) as well as offering the largest publicly accessible Linked Data space on the planet, against which anything (human or machine) can perform ad-hoc queries that drive lookups while also aiding the emergence of other Linked Data Spaces on the LOD cloud.
Naturally, our technologies are used extensively across enterprises worldwide due to performance, scalability, and security that underlies every item in our product portfolio.

Is there any existing tools and methodologies developed by either you or your team in the OpenLink Software or others that you would like to mention? 

* High-Performance ODBC Drivers for all the major RDBMS databases
* ODBC Drivers for the World Wide Web — yes, the World Wide Web of Linked Data (or LOD cloud) is exploitable and accessible to any ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, or OLE-DB compliant application
* Virtuoso — high-performance and massively scalable hybrid DBMS (relational tables and property graphs).
* Linked Data Middleware — that transform output from a plethora of Web 2.0 and SOA services into structured Linked Data
* URIBurner — a public instance of the middleware mentioned above that enables anyone transform existing data into Linked Data
* OpenLink Data Spaces — platform for enterprise and personal data spaces that includes in-built Federated Identity and sophisticated Linked Data functionality
* DBpedia — Linked Open Data Cloud nexus that runs on Virtuoso (re. Linked Data Deployment and Data Management).

Some useful links and downloads: ODBC Drivers for the World Wide WebVirtuoso Commercial EditionVirtuoso Open Source Edition,  Linked Data MiddlewareURIBurnerOpenLink Data Spaces, and DBpedia.

Do you collaborate with similar organisations/institutions worldwide in the field of the Open Linked Data? Would you tell us more about your involvement within the DBpedia project?

Yes, as demonstrated by DBpedia (Frei University and University of Leipzig), Sindice (DERI), and Bio2RDF(Carleton University and others).

Virtuoso is the Linked Data Publishing and Database Management system behind DBpedia. Net effect of Virtuoso is you have a massive collection of Linked Data derived from Wikipedia that’s available to the entire public. This instance enables you browser through pages that describe entities while also delivering ad-hoc query functionality via a Web Service that supports the SPARQL query language, results serialization formats, and HTTP based wire protocol.

In addition to providing the live instance, we also provide quality assurance, support and maintenance. Publishing and maintaining DBpedia is a challenge, and we even offer packages that enable others instantiate personal or service specific instances via Amazon EC2 AMIs (virtual machines).

DBpedia is basically germination of the seed planted by the Linked Data meme published by TimBL circa. 2005. In turn, DBpedia (more…)

summer updates and the best ways to contact me

I have few announcements, and the ways on how you can contact/find me this summer:

-         Science Online 2013 last call for program suggestions. If you want to participate in ScienceOnline 2013, the 7th annual international meeting on Science and the Web next January, NC, USA, add your program suggestion at #scio13 wiki. If you like my proposal within the education track and want to join me to conduct the session together: Digital Divide in Education and Science: Bridging the Existing Gaps (scroll down to find) – please add your name/contact on the wiki page before July 1st 2012. I’d be glad to meet those of you interested in digital divides that go beyond pure technological issues/affordances and discuss it with a wider audience.

-          Australian Science contributions. If you’d like to contribute and join an international, multidisciplinary, wonderful group of science and tech bloggers, researchers, scholars, and write for Australian Science, you can contact me on my editor’s email: danica@australianscience.com.au.  Also, please read my note we published earlier this year, it will give you better idea and help you see if you fit.

-          Mentoring and replying to students’ emails and enquiries.  I am sorry that I can’t mentor and help students world wide on certain issues in academia, as a research or reference guide as I used to do so far, voluntarily, whenever I had time. The next few months will be brutal and I have to say ‘no’.  Also, you are welcome to quote from my blog or my publications and research whenever you like. Please, just cite it properly (you can use Google Scholar Citations) so that your professors or reviewers don’t think you’re plagiarizing.

-         Speaking/workshop/training gigs during the summer: I have to say ‘no’ since I am engaged with the project which is now my highest priority. You can contact my speaking/conference/events agent for the future events starting from October 2012, by using the contact form.

I am practicing saying ‘no’ for the sake of being free for future engagements this Fall. I hope you understand. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be hermiting all the time, though I often will. I am open for scheduled meet-ups, conversations, brainstorming sessions, chats (see below how to contact me). I’ll be writing mostly in my hideaway, out and about, in the green areas, or just going for a weekend escapades around Europe when I need a breather.

Of course, there are situations where you can always contact me: a) want to share something interesting that requires my attention from the Fall 2012, or some life/cultural/artistic/literature/book you read/ info or event that can distract me in a good way from the project, b) you want to blog and contribute for Australian science, and c) for conferences, workshops, events enquiries – send your email on my contact form on the web site.

I may also blog randomly when inspired. I may also randomly scribble on Google plus, and post on Tumblr. When I create there’s usually the silence but if you see my Last.fm overwhelmed with various tunes – it also denotes that I may be working or dancing around.

The best ways to find and contact me.

Here is the communication protocol I created. Before you read it you’ll notice that messengers, g-chat, etc. are missing. Have in mind that I avoid IM/text messaging, especially, in the next couple of months due to work overload, and preserving my wrists from RSI. I rather use voice/email for non/formal communication. OK, here are the best ways to contact and find me (the URL of the protocol can be found here as well):

Email. If you want to share information, make a specific request, converse and meditate on some topic – email is the best way on the internet to contact me. Both professional and personal. I like to receive and read e-motion in my mailbox. I may not reply right away depending on the overload-ness for that day/week, but certainly you’ll get the reply. And vice versa – if I happen to check my email, I may respond right away.

Twitter. If you can’t email me, sending a reply or a direct message on Twitter is the best online tool for quick and concise information online, usually non formal and professionally related. I also exchange direct messages with friends and colleagues on my private account.

SMS. If you can’t email me, and don’t use Twitter – you can sms me. I usually prefer to receive sms before calling, whether friends and family or colleagues.

Phone. I may be an old fashioned gal, but I still use and converse via phone. If you are a colleague or professional partner, you can check my availability via email or sms, and we can arrange an appointment. Friends and family can call me anytime especially if there’s an urgent request or you simply need to chat with me.

SKYPE. If you can’t call me: I use Skype for professional, academic, and consulting purposes, as well as for the communication with colleagues. I avoid to use IM on Skype for a small talk, instead I prefer voice/audio chat-conversation with friends and colleagues, and/or video call (if we have an appointment, and I’m not in my PJs). I like Skype since I maintain most of my professional and friends contacts there, beside an email and phone.

Face-to-Face communication. If you can’t Skype with me: I do love meetings, tweet-ups, rendez-vous, brainstorming, coffee/tea/lunch breaks, etc. – in person! Due to living at different places and countries or travel for business and pleasure; planning (more…)

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

academia,communication,internet,social networking — Tags: , — Danica @ 5:56 pm, April 16, 2012

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.

WWW2012 and Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big

academia,communication,internet,media,social networking,technology — Danica @ 10:16 am, April 14, 2012

Brief information for those coming to WWW2012 – you can check the programme. On Monday I will be presenting at ”Making Sense of Microposts”#MSM2012 workshop.  For others – please take a look at the article I wrote for the Scientific American on better understanding the phatic element of communication as applied to online discourse and networked connectivity.

Phatic Posts: Even the Small Talk Can Be Big  

Social media and micro-blogging have been fascinating to me ever since I first encountered them. In the last 3-4 years there has been an enormous growth in social network sites and in the numbers of people using them, especially on the two most popular services, Facebook and Twitter.

That fascination grew to become a doctoral research focus that has explored the different forms of communication dynamics being formed online. I was, in particular, curious why people post trivial, mundane updates and messages to each other – a behavior I have come to term “phatic posts”. It’s not just young people, but also professionals from different walks of life as well as internet researchers, including myself.

I used to tweet from the airplane before taking off, or being alone at the airport at 5am checking into Twitter to see if anyone’s awake in “my time zone’’, or logging in to my Flickr account to see if someone commented on my latest photography. I was not the only one engaging in such behavior; au contraire, many internet researchers and geeky people I know would demonstrate similar patterns of (more…)

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…)

Connectivity Doesn’t End the Digital Divide, Skills Do #social_media

I wrote an article at the Scientific American blog highlighting digital divides – or digital inequalities, if you prefer – from other perspective, pointing out that these digital divides go far beyond pure infrastructure issues and need to become a key focus of engagement for profit and nonprofit organizations as they continue their missions to develop programs for social and digital inclusion.

Everyone’s talking about internet access: from European media to US media, stressing connectivity issues that merely compounding existing social inequalities as “new digital divides”, as if they are something new in the networked society. They are not.

According to the available measures, the selected indicators (such as gender, income, occupation, online experience, internet penetration, type of internet connection, etc.) are significantly related to the levels of (one’s country) per capita GDP, literacies, education, level of democratization, etc.  Being as one of the contributors for the forthcoming Routledge book on Digital Divide, I have presented some of the findings from my research, where I used the combined methodology: from web desktop analysis to online surveys and qualitative semi-structured interviews (N-125).
(more…)

The Internet and Social inequality: social media and digital divide

This is a post on what I was working on in the last few weeks, writing a book chapter for the great edition on the Internet and digital inequalities in International perspective including International contributors, and submitting some other papers on social networks and communication dynamics online.

Since many of you asked me on Twitter, email, Skype what the book chapter is about – I wanted to share with you a piece of it (the book is supposed to be published next year). It is individual work that is the result of several years of experience, qualitative research (semi-structured interviews), observations, recent talking and writing on different kinds of digital and social divides, social media and communication practices present on the Internet, and recently measured by quantiative (online surveys) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews, web desktop analysis, observation, etc.) research of mine. In short my focus for this book was on Internet and social media in European perspective – Balkan countries. My manuscript is theoretically grounded on social theories developed by the classical sociologists like Max Weber, Giddens, Meyorwitz and I applied them to the issues of Internet inequality.  (more…)

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