DMI conference wrap up: Following the medium

The notion of following is anthropological or ethnographic. Bruno Latour: “Follow the actors.” Now we follow all sorts of things: object, medium, money. Why follow the medium? It has to do with a particular research practice: a new medium offers new spaces and objects and new opportunities arise. For example studying the commentspace as a subspace of the blogosphere. If we were to remediate the commentspace it is potentially some kind of lively, productive area for organizing voices and mobilizing citizens. A new space for organizing or issue making. One could stay in that mode no matter which new space arises, however, Richard Rogers rather looks at the specificity of the objects of that space and asks how the devices handle them and see if we can learn, repurpose and make findings. Political scientists/students embrace the commentspace as the new hope. However, the commentspace is being ignored by devices by the implementation of the nofollow tag. The commentsphere is a messy space for engines. Engines and humans ignore it but the users are subjected to the engine regime of nofollow. What to do? Digital methods are a new recipe for new spaces: look at digital objects, how do the devices handle them? Analyze, learn and repurpose.

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