What is the social in social media?

WHAT IS THE SOCIAL IN SOCIAL MEDIA? (Lovink, 2012, E-Flux)

“[…] These algorithmic calculations run in the background and measure every single click, touch of the keyboard, and use of a keyword. For Baudrillard, this “positive absorption into the transparency of the computer” is even worse than alienation. The public has become a database full of users. The “evil genius of the social” has no other way to express itself than to go back to the streets and squares, guided and witnessed by the multitude of viewpoints that tweeting smartphones and recording digital cameras produce. In the same way that Baudrillard questioned the outcome of opinion polls as a subtle revenge of the common people on the political/media system, we should question the objective truth of the so-called Big Data originating from Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Most of the traffic on social media originates from millions of computers talking to each other”

 

Uncoding the digital

UNCODING THE DIGITAL (Savat, 2013)

“In my view, the mechanisms and instruments that Foucault identified as critical to the functioning of the disciplinary machine have not ceased to exist or broken down. In fact, the modes of observation by which discipline as a mode of power functions now operate more forcefully than ever, whether this be through the use of social media like Facebook, GPS location via mobile phone, radio frequency identification (RFID), or the collection of consumer data in our day-to-day activities” 

 

More parts than elements

MORE PARTS THAN ELEMENTS. HOW DATABASES MULTIPLY (Mackenzie, 2010)

“Databases can be understood as the pre-eminent contemporary doing, organising, configuring and performing thing-and-people multiples in sets. Participation, belonging, inclusion and membership: many of the relations that make up the material social life of people and things can be formally apprehended in terms of set-like multiples rendered as datasets. Mid-twentieth century database design derived different ways of gathering, sorting, ordering, and searching data from mathematical set theory. The dominant database architecture, the relational database management system (RDMS), can be seen as a specific technological enactment of the mathematics of set theory. More recent developments such as grids, clouds and other data intensive architectures apprehend ever greater quantities of data” 

 

 

Life in code and software

LIFE IN CODE AND SOFTWARE. MEDIATED LIFE IN A COMPLEX COMPUTATIONAL ECOLOGY (edited by David Berry, 2012)

 

“This book explores the relationship between living, code and software. Technologies of code and software increasingly make up an important part of our urban environment. Indeed, their reach stretches to even quite remote areas of the world. Life in Code and Software introduces and explores the way in which code and software are becoming the conditions of possibility for human living, crucially forming a computational ecology, made up of disparate software ecologies, that we inhabit”. 

 

CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA

CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR BIG DATA (boyd & crawford, 2012)

“The era of Big Data has begun. Computer scientists, physicists, economists, mathematicians political scientists, bio-informaticists, sociologists, and other scholars are clamoring for access to the massive quantities of information produced by and about people, things, and their interactions. Diverse groups argue about the potential benefits and costs of analyzing genetic sequences, social media interactions, health records, phone logs, government records, and other digital traces left by people. Significant questions emerge. Will large-scale search data help us create better tools, services, and public goods? Or will it usher in a new wave of privacy incursions and invasive marketing? Will data analytics help us understand online communities and political movements? Or will it be used to track protesters and suppress speech?”

Critical questions for big data