16th Oct

Research in Progress Presentations and Research Updates

4:30pm in G22, Jubilee Building.

20 Minute Research Paper: Ryan Burns – Digital Community as Data Sharing: Science lab management apps

This paper examines how individuals and communities are configured by the digital space of science laboratory management apps.  Addressing a range of Android, iOS and web-based apps including LabGuruQuartzy and Colwiz, I examine various ways in which the concept of community is constructed in both the marketing and daily lab use of these products. 
These products promise to digitise and automate laboratory data recording methods so that each lab member can instantly access and instantly understand any other lab member’s results.  The claim is that instant access to each other’s results will (1) minimise time ‘wasted’ sharing results with other lab members and (2) improve collaboration.  In other words, they claim to improve collaboration by reducing communication. 
In this paper, I ask how the tension generated by these two opposing promises affects the idea of digital community.  I argue that automated data collection effectively removes individuals from the digital lab community – leaving a ‘community of data’.  I ask how this affects lab members’ relationships with each other and with their data.  
20 Minute Research Paper: Tanya Kant – ‘All your stories, all your apps, the perfect way to express who you are’: Facebook apps and the commodification of personal profiles
Since the introduction of Timeline, Facebook’s newest user profile page format, Facebook Inc. has rhetorically presented its Open Graph Apps as a ‘new way to express who you are’ (Facebook, 2011). According to Facebook Inc., the platform’s ‘ecosystem’ of apps can help users to articulate a plethora of cultural tastes and interests, whether they be cooking, running, travelling or consuming films and music – the list, according to Mark Zuckerberg, will one day be endless. Through these apps, Facebook apparently seeks to empower every user with increased freedom of self-expression, thus facilitating ‘the whole story of your life’ through your personal profile (Facebook, 2012).
My paper proposes that, in order to generate revenue, Facebook Inc. seeks to frame virtual consumption through Open Graph Apps as the key component of user self-expression. Facebook’s many ‘lifestyle’ apps, which are intended to create ubiquitous connection between commerce and users, offer users’ innocuous, commodified and standardised frameworks of personal profiling. Furthermore, unlike Facebook Inc.’s previous methods of value extraction from personal profiles (namely data-mining), these apps do not extract value from existing forms of user generated content. Instead Open Graph Apps seek to redirect users’ modes of self-expression to suit the logic of commerce, meaning that extracting value from Facebook users’ is no longer simply a matter of harvesting personal profiles for data, but actively cultivating profiles to maximise users’ value as ‘prosumers’.
10 Minute Research Update: Nicola Streeten

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