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[ecrea] Call for Participation - Digital Methods Summer School 2013

Thu Apr 04 15:12:30 GMT 2013

Call for Participation - Digital Methods Summer School 2013

Digital Methods Summer School 2013: On the challenges of studying social
media data

New Media & Digital Culture, University of Amsterdam, 24 June - 5 July 2013

University of Amsterdam
Turfdraagsterpad 9
1012 XT Amsterdam

Deadline : 25 April 2013

You are not the API I used to know: On the challenges of studying social
media data

A set of #hashtagged tweets and @follow networks visualised to study crisis
response to a natural disaster. Facebook likes, shares, comments, and liked
comments tabulated over time for an activist page to study relationships
between content formats and engagement. LinkedIn profile completeness
percentages measured for a group of civil servants to study online
grooming. Social media data are employed increasingly for work in the arts
and social sciences, and are even becoming an expected research strategy
alongside the fieldwork, surveys and interviews when studying contemporary
states of affairs.

The 2013 Digital Methods Summer School would like to examine critically the
status of the findings, while at the same time reviewing and actively
employing the techniques. Is there increasingly a unified approach to the
study of social media data? Are there recipes and preferred tools (or
utensils)? Are we still allowed to hack the graph? The question of how to
study online data is increasingly a piece with how big data companies
provide them. More specifically, has polling APIs supplanted scraping as
the appropriate means of data collection? What are the effects of the
research ethics debate on social media research practice? There are also
the information graphics and data visualisations to consider. The preferred
outputs mark the return of the graph visualisation, if it ever went away.
What does the graph visualisation mean for the interpretation and
presentation of research findings? There is also the question of what is
actually being measured, apart from activity in social media. How to ground
the findings? In even more online data?

About "Digital Methods" as Concept

Digital methods is a term
<> employed
as a counter-point to virtual methods, which typically digitize existing
methods and port them onto the Web. Digital methods, contrariwise, seek to
learn from the methods built into the dominant devices online, and
repurpose them for social and cultural research. That is, the challenge is
to study both the info-web as well as the social web with the tools that
organize them. There is a general protocol to digital methods. At the
outset stock is taken of the natively digital objects that are available
(links, tags, threads, etc.) and how devices such as search engines make
use of them. Can the device techniques be repurposed, for example by
remixing the digital objects they take as inputs? Once findings are made
with online data, where to ground them? With more online data?

About the Summer School

The Digital Methods Summer School, founded in 2007 together with the
Digital Methods Initiative, is directed by Professor Richard Rogers, Chair
in New Media & Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. The Summer
School is one training opportunity provided by the Digital Methods
Initiative (DMI). DMI also has a Winter
which includes a mini-conference, where papers are presented and responded
to. Winter School papers are often the result of Summer School projects.
The Summer School is coordinated by two PhD candidates in New Media at the
University of Amsterdam, or affiliates. This year the coordinators are
Michael Stevenson and Simeona Petkova both of the University of Amsterdam.
The Summer School has a technical staff as well as a design staff. The
Summer School also relies on a technical infrastructure of some nine
servers hosting tools and storing data. Participants bring their laptops,
learn method, undertake research projects, make reports, tools and graphics
and write them up on the Digital Methods wiki. The Summer School concludes
with final presentations. Often there are guests from non-governmental or
other organizations who present their issues. For instance, Women on
Waves<> came
along during the 2010 and Fair Phone <> to the
2012 Summer School. Digital Methods people are currently interning at
Greenpeace International and the Global Reporting

Previous Digital Methods Summer Schools, 2007-2012,

What's it like? Digital Methods Summer School flickr stream

The Digital Methods Initiative was founded with a grant from the Mondriaan
Foundation, and the Summer School is supported by the Center for Creation,
Content and Technology (CCCT), University of Amsterdam, organized by the
Faculty of Science with sponsorship from Platform Beta.

Applications and fees

To apply for the Digital Methods Summer School 2013, please send a one-page
letter explaining how digital methods training would benefit your current
work, and also enclose a CV. Mark your application "DMI Training
Certificate Program," and send to info [at] The regular
deadline for applications for the Summer School is 25 April. Notices will
be sent on 26 April. Please address your application email to the Summer
School coordinators, info [at] Informal queries may be
sent to Simeona, simeona [at] or Natalia, natalia [at]

The Summer School costs EUR 295 per person. Accepted applicants will be
informed of the bank transfer details upon notice of acceptance to the
Summer School. The fee must be paid by 24 May 2013.

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