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MARDI GRAS THROUGH INSTAGRAM STORIES: HOW EPHEMERAL MEDIA SHAPE EVERYDAY ENGAGEMENTS WITH IDENTITY POLITICS
Elija Cassidy, Ariadna Matamoros Fernandez, T.J. Thomson
A third of the world’s population is active on social media and a growing number is sharing ephemeral content on such platforms. Though originally pioneered by Snapchat, Instagram has come to dominate the ephemeral media market and, as of January 2019, boasts half a billion daily Instagram Stories users (Statista, 2019). Launched roughly 2.5 years ago, in August 2016, Instagram Stories offers people a novel way of communicating through sharing photos and videos that, by default, are only available for 24 hours and then disappear. This phenomenon presents unique challenges for researchers but also demands additional attention in order to understand contemporary forms of sociability and meaning-making. This study examines people’s everyday engagements with ephemeral media through an exploration of more than 400 Instagram stories created during the 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.
Through this empirical work, we aim to examine the place of ephemeral media in everyday communication and to start a public conversation around the Implications of “losing” ephemeral media and how this might impact archival practices for the study of historical events that get heavily mediated through digital media.
2:20pm - 2:40pm
CHALLENGING ALGORITHMIC PROFILING: DATA PROTECTION AND EMERGENT FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
Monique Mann1, Tobias Matzner2
1Queensland University of Technology, Australia; 2Paderborn University
With increased algorithmic complexity (i.e., machine learning), bias and discrimination will become more sophisticated, opaque and difficult to control for or contest. Harnessing algorithms and machine learning means that data gathered at a particular place and time over specific persons can be used to build group models that are applied in different contexts to different persons. Thus, privacy and data protection rights, with their focus on individuals (Coll, 2014), do not protect from the problems of algorithmic profiling. We explore the idea that anti-discrimination regulation may be more promising, but acknowledge its limitations. Second, in order to harness anti-discrimination regulation, we argue that it needs to confront the challenges of new subjectivities formed by algorithmic verdicts that use all kinds of abstracted data. We ask whether such data (e.g., travel history, banking, social media friends) can be used as a proxy for legally protected social identities like race, sexuality, gender, religion, etc. – or whether algorithms create new biases that cannot be reduced to these well-known ones. Our main contribution is questioning how we go about developing new concepts with regard to discrimination in the era of algorithmic profiling, and examining how we address these practices at social, political and regulatory levels.
2:40pm - 3:00pm
WHEN INTERNET RESEARCHERS AND FANS OF INTERNET BOYFRIENDS COLLIDE: A TALE OF TRUST, ANONYMITY, AND CONTEXT COLLAPSE
University of Wisconsin-Stout, United States of America
Before The Sun published fifteen “World Exclusive” photos of Tom Hiddleston kissing Taylor Swift on a rocky Rhode Island beach in June of 2016, the British actor was one of a select group of celebrities who held the title of “Internet Boyfriend,” someone considered “a paragon of enlightened masculinity” and “surrounded by an aura of authenticity” (Misra 2016).
Hiddleston’s fans, myself included, turned to social media to express our opinions of the highly publicized three-month relationship, with reactions ranging from confused to disappointed to vehemently ruthless. The more divisive posts led to “comment wars” about who gets to be called a “real” fan, with some quick to distinguish themselves from the “haters,” explaining that their critiques of his behavior did not make them “non-fans.”
This paper will explore what blogging is and can be today for fan communities on Tumblr, particularly during times when the focus of the blog, e.g. celebrity, television show, or movie, is making headlines. It will first examine survey data collected in June 2018 that demonstrates Hiddleston’s fans’ social media behaviors were indeed impacted as a result of his relationship with Swift. It will next reflect upon fan reactions to my presenting preliminary results of that data to the Fan Studies Network. Ultimately, it explores what happens to a fandom when it fractures--when trusted spaces are inundated with information one does not want to see--and attempts to articulate what academics who study fandoms do, particularly if those academics are also fans of their object of study.