In his book,The Rise of the Fifth Estate, Greg Jericho revealed who makes up the Australian political blogosphere, and tackled head-on some of its key developments — the way that Australia’s journalists and federal politicians use social media and digital news, the motivations of bloggers and tweeters, the treatment of female participants, and the eruption of Twitter wars.
His talk looks at how journalists and readers collide in the social media sphere where the opposing forces of “new” and “old” media battle. He asks where and how do journalists fit in this world where “the centre cannot hold and mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”
Greg Jericho began blogging under the pseudonym, Grog’s Gamut, in 2008. After toiling away with an audience of family and indulgent friends he steadily built up a small readership of his posts on politics and the media. He came to prominence during the 2010 election when his criticism of the media coverage created much discussion among journalists in the press gallery and also was noticed by the Managing Director of the ABC, Mark Scott. This attention led to his identity being revealed in The Australian. Since August last year he has writer a weekly column for the ABC’s The Drum and his book, The Rise of the Fifth Estate was released in August by Scribe Publishers.
You can find Greg’s blog at: http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/
Presenting the findings of research into Australian feminist blogs, this talk combined social movement theory and new media studies to provide new ways of conceptualising online networked activism. Shaw discussed the centrality of political talk in these networks. She argued that feminist bloggers are engaged in acts of political creativity, or discursive activism.
Discursive activism is defined as active engagement with and intervention in mainstream discourses in order to create social change. In this talk, a number of questions and provocations were introduced about how online social movement activity should be conceptualised. This will raise questions about the appropriateness of public sphere theory, and explore the implications of the concept of discursive activism for research into online social movements.
This research formed part of the Finding the Australian Women’s Movement ARC Discovery Project. She has presented her research in multiple disciplinary contexts, including communication studies, gender studies, Internet studies, and political science. Her research interests include discursive politics, memetic politics, and online social movements.
Online advertising has considerable potential for social researchers to engage in targeted and specialised recruitment for research activities. This includes interview, survey and group-based activities.
This scholarly talk included representatives from the major online advertisers to talk with social researchers about what their products offer. The session included the opportunity for a Q&A and brainstorming about innovative solutions to current and future research problems.
Question and Answer session (not videotaped)
Q. How can Empowered know people on a panel are representative?
Empowered. Never can be completely sure, which is a problem with the survey methodology in general. Validate the composition of the panel through questions in the survey used. There is an element of trust, however. Also employ client feedback on the results and employ tests to validate the bona fides – e.g. methods to identify fraud (email confirmation, use of Facebook to identify a real person, speed of completion (skimmers who finish too quickly to gain the inducement only)). Every survey ID has a link with your profile information.
Q. Is there an ethical problem with an infrastructure project that involves buying large amounts of Twitter data?
Fiona Gill. From the ethical point of view the question is one of informed consent. Large data sets can be a problem (e.g. Health care), even qualitative data. Need to respect privacy and add value to the data .
Empowered. We are very transparent about where the data is going and how it is being shared.
Q. What about online qualitative research?
Empowered. Qualitiative is being done overseas (moderated forums and Skype), not so much in Australia. This loses some sensory interaction, however. Focus groups have potential where people are using Skype.
Q. Given ethical concerns about online research, how do we balance this with need to research the full range of human expereience?
Fiona Gill. The ethics regime is not inflexible. If your research is justifiable then it will get a fair hearing. But with online groups you often need to contact the moderator and get consent (or consent from all participants). Many have “no researchers” in their Terms of Service. Questions you need to ask: Who owns the website? Who owns the data?
Q. Do you need to put in an ethics application for organic generated research in small online forums?
Fiona Gill. It depends. Why not put in a variation, rather than a whole application.
Q. Is Skype identical to a phone interview? Is it an “enhanced interview”?
Fiona Gill. Consent matters. You need to check the law in the jurisdictions in which this may be taking place (recording of telephone calls).
Q. Can the Google tools give you insight into mobile web v. static web searching?
Roberto Boschiroli. Yes, you can target specific networks and mobile devices for advertising. There is different forms of search behaviours by people on the go – so you can see different types of search terms if people are mobile.
The Finklestein Inquiry into the news media is critical of the operations of Australian journalism and the media industry, its responsiveness to public complaints and the dominant reliance on industry self regulation.
In presenting the inquiry findings, a new statutory regulator was proposed that would cover news across all media. In doing so the Inquiry moves away from placing special emphasis on news producers as a professional class, and focused on the production of news content.
This expands the range of likely subjects of regulation to include those who consider themselves “entertainers”, the commentary, bloggers and other gatewatchers. This public discussion considers the politics behind this move, the implications and impacts of the proposals, and the likelihood of successful implementation of this bold regulatory regime.
This public forum was held on Monday 16 April, at the University of Sydney. The speakers were: