2:00pm - 2:20pm
Seduction Engineering: The Shared Histories Of Pickup Artists And Hackers
University of Utah, United States of America
Drawing on archival research and critical genealogical methods, this paper explores the overlapping histories of two Internet cultures: the pickup artist (PUA) industry and hacker cultures. I focus on how PUAs share common traits with a specific subset of computer hackers, “social engineers,” who rely on interpersonal persuasion and con artistry to gain access to information. PUAs and social engineers have historical overlaps, particularly due to the LA-based hacker Lewis De Payne and his Usenet group, alt.seduction.fast.
But their connection goes deeper than that history: they both share a desire for control, either of women or of machines, conceptualizing both as rationalized objects that can be manipulated. Indeed, the linkages between seduction and engineering are found in the deepest roots of the English language, in the overlap between gin (an engineered trap or trick) and gen (male procreative drive). The connections between PUAs and social engineers remains to this day in online forums dedicated to teaching men how to reduce other people into manipulable objects.
These genealogical roots affect the subjectivities that emerge in contemporary PUA and hacker Internet communities. These hypermasculinized subjectivities are designed for a lack of trust: the ideal PUA avoids deep relationships with women in order to maintain a "playboy lifestyle," and the social engineer undermines trust by taking advantage of social norms.
2:20pm - 2:40pm
#MeToo and Intersectionalism: “Radical community healing” or “voyeuristic trauma porn?”
Monash University, Australia
In October 2017, millions of people reflected on their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment, publicly sharing their testimonials in an expression of global vulnerability using the hashtag #MeToo. Many of the tweets portrayed the angst and distress individuals experienced in their decision to participate, indicating the psychological costs of engaging with #MeToo. Further, some tweets expressed frustration at the re-appropriated nature of the campaign and the collective feeling of an “intersectional betrayal” by white women and feminists who dominated the mainstream media reporting of the movement. This research foregrounds the intersectional concerns that result from the scale and reach of the millions of testimonials suspended online that constitute the #MeToo movement. It highlights how the many stories that have circulated the online sphere obscure the absence and recognition of marginalised women and those who are already more vulnerable in regards to experiencing sexual assault. The paper adopts an intersectional framework, as conceptualised by Crenshaw (1991), to further an understanding of how race, class, and gender collide and how subordination can be reproduced within feminist protests. Drawing on a large data set of tweets, this research combines content, discourse and social network analysis to examine the narratives related to participation. The paper highlights the experiences and reflections of users who self-identified as queer, disabled, or a person of colour within their tweets. A social network analysis is also used to visualise a snapshot of the affective publics that arose at the beginning and to illustrate how systems of oppression converge.
2:40pm - 3:00pm
Designing Effective Online Advertisements for a Prevention Campaign: Mistrust and Other Barriers
Massey University, New Zealand
This paper reports on the preliminary findings of a research project that is investigating the potential for online advertisements to reduce the incidence of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) consumption on the internet. First time or novice offenders often use search engines to look for CSAM, which presents an opportunity to use display advertisements (for a 24-hour sexual harm helpline) on search results for early intervention. This approach—currently being piloted in New Zealand—aims to decrease the number of potential/novice offenders accessing CSAM, and increase the number seeking help and self-referring for treatment. However, achieving these outcomes crucially depends upon the use of effective images and advertisements, and yet limited research has been undertaken on the characteristics of effective media-based interventions in this context. These outcomes also crucially depend on a two-way relationship of trust: on the one hand, the advertiser’s trust in primary prevention as a strategy, in the potential of online advertising to encourage behavioral change, and in the users’ likelihood of users self-referring contacting the helpline; and on the other hand, the users’ trust—or overcoming of mistrust—in both display advertising targeted at them and in the advertisers themselves (when engagement with both may involve overcoming fears about privacy, surveillance, prosecution, or stigmatization). This paper discusses the pivotal role of trust in informing the development of CSAM prevention display advertisements, arguing that facilitating this two-way relationship of trust is core to the success of a prevention campaign and must be embedded into its design.
3:00pm - 3:20pm
Joke Globally, Laugh Locally? A Cross Linguistic Analysis of User-Generated Satire
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
This study features a first systematic analysis of the intersection between political, apolitical, global, and local dimensions of digital satire. By following the social media reactions to Donald Trumps’ election in five languages, we uncover how tensions in local/global and political/apolitical satirical humor are manifested in contemporary digital landscapes. The corpus included the most shared humorous messages in Arabic, Chinese, English, German, and Spanish (n=330) found on Twitter and Sina Weibo during November 2016. Using mixed qualitative methods, we outline shared themes as well as the specific humoristic mechanisms of each language. Our findings indicate that global themes are apolitical, while local samples engaged politics in varied ways, ranging from global facing humor (Chinese), through intertwined global and local facing (Spanish and Arabic), to using the global to face the local (German). We conclude by suggesting three ideal types of local satire for confronting global events: inbound, which draws on global references as a way to discuss local politics, creating comparisons and contrasts; Transitional, which involves a multifaceted view and political involvement in a wider sense, touching on power relations and symbolic positions of a local identity in the global arena; and outbound, which is marked by an external view, deriving enjoyment from references to global and familiar figures and events rather than direct involvement in political issues. Nevertheless, this categorization problematizes the distinction between political and apolitical satire, as seemingly non-substantive humor may have deeper political meanings when it is part of user-generated discourse.