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MSR New England Social Media Research

Speaker  Amelia Abreu, Andres Monroy Hernandez, and Omar Wasow

Host  danah boyd

Duration  00:57:09

Date recorded  7 September 2010

Each speaker will give a 12 minute presentation of their work and then there will be an open discussion.

#1: Amelia Abreu, University of Washington
"Tag!: How games and memes create social infrastructure online"

This paper examines "tag" games played on YouTube. We employ case study methodology to track and compare games across several user communities, analyzing content and discourse in structure, representation of identity, use of the system, and genre development. Examining individual and group dynamics in play, we extract models for their transmission and formation. Framing tag games as contemporary folklore, we examine how video sharing technology has become subject of folklore as well as an a vehicle for it. As the research suggests, games studied exhibit not only play in sharing and showing details, but in organizing and structuring ideas and identities, thus revealing a complex informal information infrastructure. In conclusion, we consider how this infrastructural model compares to formal systems of indexing.

#2: Andres Monroy-Hernandez, MIT Media Lab
"Copyrights and copycats: understanding young people's remixing practices"

Digital technologies have made it easier for people, youth in particular, to copy and reuse other people's songs, pictures, code and other forms of digital creations. Through the analysis of remixing, or content reuse, we present a more nuanced view of how technology mediates young people's understandings of intellectual property. We interviewed participants of an online community of young remixers and analyzed log data to unpack the role of attribution, communication and effort, in participant's evaluations of different remixing scenarios.

#3: Omar Wasow, Harvard University
"Burned: Can too much 'sunlight' be harmful?"

In the last century, "transparency" and "open government" initiatives have attempted to increase incentives for ethical and legal behavior by pushing for policies that track and disclose the actions of powerful individuals and institutions. As improvements in information technology have dramatically lowered the cost of capturing, publishing and disseminating data, the breadth of activities and individuals subject to public scrutiny has also increased. The potential limitations of transparency and open government, however, are not well understood. We consider several models of the effects of transparency on behavior and, contrary to positive conceptions of transparency, identify contexts in which additional transparency may produce worse outcomes. We evaluate our model on the case of publishing individual conviction histories online.

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