Tag: social media


Bij Radio Swammerdam met presentator Lieven Heeremans. Foto: Karin van Es.

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 Politics of Real-time: A Device Perspective on Social Media Platforms and Search Engines

My co-authored article, with colleagues Esther Weltevrede and Carolin Gerlitz, has been published in Theory, Culture & Society Abstract This paper inquires in the politics of real-time in online media. It suggests that real-time cannot be accounted for as a universal temporal frame in which events happen, but explores the making of real-time from a device perspective focusing on the temporalities of platforms. Based on an empirical study exploring the pace at which various online media produce new content, we trace the different rhythms, patterns or tempos created by the interplay of devices, users’ web activities and issues. What emerges are distinct forms of ‘realtimeness’ which are not external from but specific to devices organized through socio-technical arrangements and practices of use. Realtimeness thus unflattens more general accounts of the real-time web and research, and draws attention to the agencies built into specific platform temporalities and the political economies of making real-time. The full article is available online at Theory, Culture & Society and available for download as pdf.  

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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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Notes from #MIT8: ‘Social Media Platforms between Private, Public and Commercial Space’ – Curation by Algorithm

On Friday, May 3rd I attended the ‘Social Media Platforms between Private, Public and Commercial Space’ panel where Tarleton Gillespie talked about Curation by Algorithm. Based on his chapter ‘The Relevance of Algorithms’ [pdf] in the forthcoming book Media Technologies Gillespie posed a few questions: 1. What do these algorithms do? Algorithms are part of the broader ‘content moderation’ picture where devices, search engines and algorithms help us sift through an enormous amount of content, for example by implementing recommendation algorithms. They also help present a carefully managed experience for first users by constructing a welcoming environment filled with (introduction) content or by guiding users to navigate them through the interface. 2. How are these algorithms understood? Algorithms are often discussed in terms of filtering or censoring content, as put forward in The Filter Bubble, but to what extent do algorithms act on or are entangled in practices of censorship by other means? Gillespie shows the example of Apple’s voice search Siri which couldn’t find any abortion clinics when searching for them. While Apple quickly responded that this was a ‘glitch’ and not an intentional omission it caused a ‘Siri is pro-life’ controversy. However, what actually happened is that Siri is a voice interface on top of search engines and […]

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Dataflows en de politieke economie van sociale media platformen

Transcript van mijn lezing tijdens de studiemiddag voor alumni van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen over sociale media. Universiteit van Amsterdam, 5 april 2013. 1. Introductie Dank voor de uitnodiging. Mijn naam is Anne Helmond en ik ben docent-promovendus bij Mediastudies bij Nieuwe Media en Digitale Cultuur. Hier doe ik onderzoek binnen de onderzoeksgroep het Digital Methods Initiative naar het web als platform en hoe we onze onderzoeksmethoden moeten aanpassen om het web als een ecologie te bestuderen. 2. Mediatie van processen door software Vandaag zal ik het hebben over de onderliggende infrastructuren van het sociale web en hoe hiermee de economische relaties van het huidige sociale media landschap worden georganiseerd. Deze korte lezing gaat in op hoe sociale media platformen relaties en activiteiten structureren aan zowel de voorkant als de achterkant van hun platformen. Om te begrijpen hoe de relaties tussen platformen en gebruikers worden georganiseerd, moeten we kijken naar de rol van zowel menselijke actoren als niet-menselijke actoren die processen mediëren, zoals de technische infrastructuur. Het uitgangspunt hierbij is het platform-specifieke karakter van sociale media platformen waar we een assemblage zien van software, databases, interfaces, content, activiteiten, gebruikers en externe webmasters die samen het platform vormen. Dit zal worden geïllustreerd […]

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