Category: PhD


Over liveness, realtime en de politieke economie van sociale media platformen op Radio Swammerdam, AmsterdamFM

Deze ochtend was ik samen met Dr. Karin van Es (UU) te gast bij Radio Swammerdam, het wetenschapsprogramma van AmsterdamFM, om te praten over liveness, realtime, APIs en de politieke economie van sociale media platformen. Karin sprak over haar proefschrift ‘The Paradox of Liveness. From the Broadcast Media Era to the Social Media Era’ (vanaf 09:26 minuten) en ik sprak over mijn proefschrift ‘The web as platform: Data flows in social media’ (vanaf 31:35 minuten) en samen discussieerden we over het verschil tussen liveness en realtime (vanaf 44:45 minuten).                  Luister de uitzending terug op SoundCloud of beluister de podcast op iTunes.

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The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready

My article on ‘The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready‘ has been published in the first issue of the new (open access) journal Social Media + Society. Abstract In this article, I inquire into Facebook’s development as a platform by situating it within the transformation of social network sites into social media platforms. I explore this shift with a historical perspective on, what I refer to as, platformization, or the rise of the platform as the dominant infrastructural and economic model of the social web and its consequences. Platformization entails the extension of social media platforms into the rest of the web and their drive to make external web data “platform ready.” The specific technological architecture and ontological distinctiveness of platforms will be examined by taking their programmability into account. I position platformization as a form of platform critique that inquires into the dynamics of the decentralization of platform features and the recentralization of “platform ready” data as a way to examine the consequences of the programmability of social media platforms for the web. The full article is available online at Social Media + Society.

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The web as platform: Data flows in social media

On September 23, 2015 I will publicly defend my dissertation ‘The web as platform: Data flows in social media’ at the University of Amsterdam. Read the English summary/Nederlandse samenvatting or download the full dissertation as PDF (43Mb). Abstract This dissertation looks into the history of Web 2.0 as “the web as platform” (O’Reilly 2004) and traces the transition of social network sites into social media platforms to examine how social media has transformed the web. In order to understand this process from an infrastructural perspective, I develop the concept of “platformization”. This notion refers to the rise and consequences of the platform as the dominant infrastructural and economic model of the social web. Platformization, I argue, rests on a dual logic of social media platforms’ extension into the rest of the web and, simultaneously, their drive to make external web data “platform ready”. I draw on digital methods to study the effects of social media on the web’s infrastructure and formulate a platform critique by examining the platform-specific objects that have been introduced by social media platforms such as social buttons and short URLs. Doing so, the thesis offers a contribution the emerging fields of software studies and platform studies. […]

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Adding the bling: The role of social media data intermediaries

Last month, Twitter announced the acquisition of Gnip, one of the main sources for social media data—including Twitter data. In my research I am interested in the politics of platforms and data flows in the social web and in this blog post I would like to explore the role of data intermediaries—Gnip in particular—in regulating access to social media data. I will focus on how Gnip regulates the data flows for social media APIs and how it capitalizes on these data flows. By turning the licensing of API access into an profitable business model the role of these data intermediaries have specific implications for social media research. The history of Gnip Gnip launched on July 1st, 2008 as a platform offering access to data from various social media sources. It was founded by Jud Valeski and MyBlogLog founder Eric Marcoullier as “a free centralized callback server that notifies data consumers (such as Plaxo) in real-time when there is new data about their users on various data producing sites (such as Flickr and Digg)” (Feld 2008). Eric Marcoullier’s background in blog service MyBlogLog is of particular interest as Gnip has taken core ideas behind the technical infrastructure of the blogosphere and has repurposed them for the […]

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The Algorithmization of the Hyperlink

My article “The Algorithmization of the Hyperlink” has just been published in the third issue of Computational Culture: a journal of software studies. Abstract This study looks at the history of the hyperlink from a medium-specific perspective by analyzing the technical reconfiguration of the hyperlink by engines and platforms over time. Hyperlinks may be seen as having different roles belonging to specific periods, including the role of the hyperlink as a unit of navigation, a relationship marker, a reputation indicator and a currency of the web. The question here is how web devices have contributed to constituting these roles and how social media platforms have advanced the hyperlink from a navigational device into a data-rich analytical device. By following how hyperlinks have been handled by search engines and social media platforms, and in their turn have adapted to this treatment, this study traces the emergence of new link types and related linking practices. The focus is on the relations between hyperlinks, users, engines and platforms as mediated through software and in particular the process of the algorithmization of the hyperlink through short URLs by social media platforms. The important role these platforms play in the automation of hyperlinks through platform […]

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MIT8 Talk: Exploring the Boundaries of a Website. Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies

Slides and notes from my conference presentation “Exploring the Boundaries of a Website. Using the Internet Archive to Study Historical Web Ecologies” at MiT8: public media, private media. May 3-5, 2013 at MIT, Cambridge, MA. 1. I’m Anne, a PhD candidate and lecturer in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam. I am part of a research group called the Digital Methods Initiative which is dedicated to developing digital methods and tools to analyze and map web data. In this paper I want to, first, explore the boundaries of a website and propose to reconceptualize the website as an ecology, and second, to put the Internet Archive to new uses by proposing a new method to reconstruct historical web ecologies using Internet Archive data. 2. What are the boundaries of a website? Where does a website begin and end? With the shift towards the web as platform, or Web 2.0, the boundaries of a website become become difficult to establish and delineate. In the early days of the web, often referred to as Web 1.0 or the ‘Web-as-information- source’, websites were created by webmasters and were fairly self-contained units as most content was stored on the same server […]

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