Affect and Social Media Symposium#2 Programme

Affect and Social Media Symposium#2 Programme

23rd March 2016 at the University of East London, Docklands Campus

Register here: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Events/2016/3/Affect-and-Social-Media-Symposium-2

9.50am in EBG: 06

Introduction to Social Media and Affect (Tony Sampson)

10.00-11.30 in EBG: 06

Panel 1: Digital Emotion – Chair: Helen Powell

  1. Darren Ellis (University of East London) Experiencing social networks
  2. Anne Vermeulen & Heidi Vandebosch (University of Antwerp) The social sharing of happiness, sadness, pride and shame on social media platforms
  3. Lewis Goodings (University of East London) Trigger warnings: anticipating reactions in a social media site
  4. Mary-Jane Budd, Johanna Winters, and Pauline Bizimana (University of East London) Does autistic trait affect emoticon use in messaging on Whatsapp?
  5. Ian Tucker (University of East London) Digital emotion? Simondon, affectivity and individuation

Followed by 15mins discussion

10min break – tea/coffee in EBG: 06

11.40-12.55pm in EBG: 06

Panel 2: Social Media, Affect and the New Materialisms – Chair: Ash Sharma

  1. Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths) Social Media, Infra-Structures of Feeling and the Present
  2. Emma Renold (Cardiff University) & Jessica Ringrose (UCL, Institute of Education) Sexual Selfies and Relfies: mapping the affective phallic force relations in teen girls’ digital sexuality assemblages
  3. Alyssa D. Niccolini (Columbia University, New York) Keep Calm and Carry On: Biofeedback and Affective Pedagogies with Spire
  4. Jessica Ringrose (UCL institute of Education); Jessalynn Keller (University of East Anglia) and Kaitlynn Mendes (University of Leicester) Networked Affect, Rape Culture and Teen Twitter Feminist Activism in and around School

Followed by 15mins discussion

Lunch: 12.55-1.30pm (please note that lunch is not provided. There are several places to eat and drink within a minute or two from the conference rooms)

Split panel sessions

1.30-2.45 in EBG: 06

Panel 3a: Anxiety and Social Media

Chair Darren Ellis

1.     Greg Singh (University of Stirling) ‘Purposively Embedding “Meaningful Impact” in Community-Driven Data Research’

2.     Zara Dinnen (University of Birmingham) Becoming user in popular culture

3.     John Fellenor & Phillip Brooker (University of Bath) You have to say something but you can’t say anything: Twitter and the inability to articulate the abject

4.     Sophie Helen Bishop (University of East London) YouTuberAnxiety: Anxiety as Emotional Labour and Masquerade in Beauty Vlogs

 

Followed by 15mins discussion

1.30-2.45 in WB: 201

Panel 3b: Various Affects and Social Media: Panic, Bodies, Consumers and Learners

Chair Evgenia Theodotou

1.     Jamie Hakim and Alison Winch (University of East Anglia) Chemsex: an anatomy of a sex panic

2.     Aura Lounasmaa (University of East London) Bodies of women, bodies of sluts: Moroccan women against sexual harassment

3.     Kathy-Ann Fletcher (University of East London) Drivers and consequences of using social media for consumer identity creation

4.     Eleni Seralidou (University of Piraeus, Greece) Building confidence by learning through the internet?

 

Followed by 15mins discussion

10min break (tea and coffee in EBG.06)

2.55-3.55 in EBG: 06

Panel 4: Affective Circuits and Geographies

Chair Paul Gormley

  1. Misha Kavka (University of Auckland) Affective Screens: Selfies and Social Connectivity
  2. Anna Fairchild (University of East London) Decoding Dissonance: Tracing the Geographies of memory in the Digital Era
  3. John Wild (Queen Mary) The Manvers Main Complex :: Digital Drift
  4. Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd (University of East London and the drawing shed) Desiring a Plurality of Community: “acting upon, and being acted upon, I do not act alone.”

Followed by 15mins discussion

4.10-5.55 in EBG: 06

Panel 5: Affective Contagions

Chair: Tony Sampson

  1. Robert Payne (American University of Paris) “Je suis Charlie”, or the viral construction of affective citizenship
  2. Yiğit Soncul (WSA, Southampton) The Mask of Ebola: Fear, Contagion, and Immunity
  3. Stephen Jukes (Bournemouth University) The newsroom is no longer a safe zone – assessing the affective impact of graphic user generated images on journalists working with social media
  4. Morgane Kimmich (London South Bank University) Emotions, social media communication and TV debates
  5. Stanislav Moiseev (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia) Affective Contagion: A Mechanism of Online Mass Behavior
  6. Robert Wright (University of Wolverhampton) Is Social Media becoming Walden Three?

Followed by 15mins discussion

6.00-8pm Sensorium in the Container

Drinks and nibbles provided

Sensorium featuring

CODED GEOMETRY

Marie Brenneis

Mikey B Georgeson

Sally Labern

Dean Todd

 

Event organizers

Tony Sampson, Evgenia Theodotou, Maria Bozin and Dean Todd

 

Abstracts and Biogs

Panel 1: Digital Emotion

Darren Ellis

School of Social Sciences
University of East London

Experiencing Social Networks

As social network site (SNS) use continues to exponentially increase, it is imperative that more comprehensive understandings are achieved of its affective impacts upon users. Presently, there are major shortcomings in research concerned with affect (emotion related activity) and SNS use. It either focuses on language use, most particularly quantitative forms of sentiment analysis (eg Pang and Lee, 2008) or the psychophysiologcal activity of the user (eg Maurizio, et al, 2011); as yet there are no published accounts of research that attempt to analyse these activities in conjunction with each-other. This paper discusses a project that goes beyond both traditions by allying a particular, non-invasive and reliable psychophysiological analysis with a qualitative analysis of emotion-language which is able to access constructions of subjectivity.

Mary-Jane Budd, Johanna Winters and Pauline Bizimana

University of East London, Psychology

Does autistic trait affect emoticon use in messaging on Whatsapp?

With advancing technology, instant messaging has gained popularity and become part of our daily routine. Alongside the textual content of a message is the increase usage of Emoticons, a depiction of facial expressions using keyboard characters or small images. Emoticons are used to enhance textual messages to convey to the reader the mood and feelings of the messenger.

In human interactions, expressing emotions are an important aspect of communication. Some people, especially those with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) find this expression of emotion difficult.

The current study investigates whether autistic trait affects emoticon use in messaging on the social media platform ‘Whatsapp’.

Lewis Goodings

Psychology UEL

Trigger warnings: anticipating reactions in a social media site

Elefriends members often choose to avoid discussing their experiences as they realise that speaking about certain issues could trigger harmful reactions in other members of the community. Commonly referred to as ‘trigger warnings’, some posts carry a message warning other users about the sensitive content in the upcoming message; with the intention of keeping the other users from unnecessary distress. This paper will explore this process and look at the way users mediate potential distress for others in the online site Elefriends (a social media site where users can speak openly about mental health distress). Following Brown and Reavey (2015), this work will highlight the way that difficult moments in the past are affectively organised in relation to their impact on the present.

Anne Vermeulen & Heidi Vandebosch

University of Antwerp

The social sharing of happiness, sadness, pride and shame on social media platforms

One emotion regulation strategy is socially sharing emotions (SSE) with others by giving a description of the emotional event and the experienced emotions in a socially shared language (Rimé, 2009). To date, only a few studies looked at SSE on social media. These studies mostly focused on only one platform, and not specifically on adolescents, who go through a potentially stressful period (Wilson & Wilson, 2014). This study draws on a survey-study with 1265 adolescents aged 12-18 and shows which events make them happy, sad, pride or ashamed and to what extent and with whom they share these feelings on different social media platforms.

 

Ian Tucker

Reader in Psychology

University of East London

Digital emotion? Simondon, affectivity and individuation

This paper explores the potential utility of framing emotion and digital activity as two strands of individuation (as opposed to distinct ontological entities). The concept of individuation is taken from the work of Gilbert Simondon, and facilitates a non-deterministic reading of the relational/s between bodies and technologies. Core to individuation is affectivity, which does not define an individual emotional reaction to external stimuli but denotes a mode of being (as an individual) in relation to collectivity. This troubles understandings of how we distinguish between the individual and collective, with affectivity central to what Simondon defines as psychic individuation. The concepts of affectivity and individuation speak directly to the reality of living in concert with a seemingly ever increasing amount of digital media. We leave a continual informational trace, which can then ‘feed-forward’ (Hansen, 2015) into future patterns of collective activity. This informational activity has led some to define an ‘online self’ or ‘data double’ (Lyon, 2006). This paper concludes by suggesting the concept of individuation as of greater value as it reconfigures thinking about the processes at work in body-technology relations, as it directs us “to know the individual through individuation rather than individuation through the individual” (Toscano, 2006: 136).

Dr Darren Ellis is Senior Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies in the School of Social Sciences at the University of East London. Darren’s research has been concerned with looking at and theorising affect in various contexts such as through experiences of surveillance, reasonable suspicion and self-disclosure activities. Darren obtained a PhD in Psychology at Loughborough University. He is the co-author of ‘Social Psychology of Emotion’ (Sage, 2015).

Dr Mary-Jane Budd is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of East London. Her research interests are related to language processing and communication in typically and atypically developing children and adults. Mary0Jane completed a PhD at Essex in 2011 with a thesis investigating speech errors in children using a computational model of speech production. She carried out further work investigating the neural correlates of speech production using EEG during a 3 year post-doctoral research role. Her research has resulted in a number of peer-reviewed publications in high quality journals and she recently become involved in a number of projects involving social media and language and look forward to furthering this research in the future.

Dr Lewis Goodings is a Lecturer in Psychology at University of East London. Lewis’ research is interested in the intersections between bodies and technology in the use of social media. His current work is focussing on the affective practices of care – or what it means to care – in a social media site for people who experience mental distress. He is always looking to explore the broader social dynamics of technology, discourse and organisation.

Anne Vermeulen is PhD student at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Her research focusses on adolescents’ use of online and offline communication modes for sharing emotions with others.

Heidi Vandebosch is professor at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Her research focuses on adolescents’ use of new media, and on cyberbullying more in particular.

Dr Ian Tucker is Reader in Social Psychology at the University of East London. He has a long standing interest in the social psychological aspects of emotion and affect, which has theoretically informed empirical work in the areas of mental distress, social media and surveillance. He has conducted research for the Mental Health Foundation and the EPSRC Communities and Culture Network+, and is currently working on a project exploring the impact of social media on psychological support in mental health communities. Ian has published numerous articles in the areas of mental health, social media, space and place and surveillance.

 

 

Panel 2: Social media, affect and the new materialisms

Rebecca Coleman, Senior Lecturer, Sociology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London

Social Media, Infra-Structures of Feeling and the Present

In ‘Structures of Feeling’ (1977), Raymond Williams understands culture and society as processually structured, and argues for a mode of analysis capable of attending to the ‘active’, ‘flexible’ ‘temporal present’ (1977: 128) rather than ‘fixed forms’ (129). While Williams focused primarily on literary texts as producing a particular structure of feeling, in this paper I consider whether and how social media constitutes an infra-structure, where practices such as linking, tagging and checking are key, and through which affects such as compulsion, frustration, anxiety and joy are materialised. I concentrate especially on how these affects create a ‘temporal present’ where bodies, technologies and the socio-cultural are entangled and experienced in terms of ‘aliveness’ (Back and Puwar 2012, Lury and Wakeford 2012, Williams 1977), and ‘always-on-ness’ (Clough 2000).

Emma Renold (Cardiff University) & Jessica Ringrose (University of London, Institute of Education)

Sexual Selfies and Relfies: mapping the affective phallic force relations in teen girls’ digital sexuality assemblages

Inspired by posthuman feminist theory (Braidotti, 2006; 2013) this paper explores young people’s entanglement with the affective bio-technological landscape of phallic image creation and exchange in young networked peer cultures. We suggest that we are seeing new formations of sexual objectification when the affective relations of the more-than-human is foregrounded and the blurry ontological divide between human (flesh) and machine (digital) are enlivened through a queer and feminist materialist analysis. Drawing upon multi-modal qualitative data generated with teen boys and girls living in urban inner London and semi-rural Wales we map how the digital affordances of Facebook ‘tagging’ operate as a form of coercive phallic touch in ways that shore up and transgress normative territories of dis/embodied gender, sexuality and age. We conclude by arguing that we need creative approaches that can open up spaces for a posthuman accounting of the affective and material intra-actions through which phallic power relations shift and fold in on themselves.

Alyssa D. Niccolini, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

Keep Calm and Carry On: Biofeedback and Affective Pedagogies with Spire

This paper explores the wearable technology Spire, a wellness technology that tracks users’ breathing and heart rate patterns, sending, “Smart Notification to Reduce Tension and Increase Calm.” These vibratory alerts are described in reviews as “tickles” and touches, invoking a posthuman (Braidotti, 2013) bodily intimacy between human and machine. In addition, the device is frequently given sentience and animacy (Chen, 2012). I argue that as technologies guide us to “keep calm and carry on” we are being implicated within new modes of affective pedagogies that are (re)regulating the social. I fuse authethnographic data with an array of socially mediated technologies including user reviews on Amazon, the Spire Facebook page and blogosphere accounts of users’ experiments with Spire to explore how wearable technologies are retraining the sensorium and internal rhythms of the body affectively rewiring notions of inside/outside, self/other, human/machine.

Jessica Ringrose, Emilie Lawrence, and Hanna Retallack, UCL Institute of Education

Networked Affect, Rape Culture and Teen Twitter Feminist Activism in and around School

In this paper we consider the current rise of fourth wave social media feminisms as pedagogical platforms for challenging everyday sexism and rape culture, exploring the complex dynamics through which teen girls are taking up, negotiating and performing on and offline feminism in and around school. We explore social media sites as spaces of potential activism (Hands, 2011) and of conflict and hostility expressed, for instance, through trolling and e-bile (Jane, 2014, Shaw, 2014, Rightler-McDaniels & Hendrikson, 2014). Drawing on theories of networked affect (Hills et al., 2015) we show how teen aged girls navigate a Twitter feminist community within and outside of school. We focus on experiences of challenging rape culture and experiences of trolling and online harassment, which involve both known and unknown audiences.  We consider the tactics teen feminist employ to stay ‘safe’ online, including blocking, muting, deactivating and time away from internet.  We also, however, document the ways teen feminists use social media like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr to directly challenge rape culture including online trolling, exploring the affective affordances of tweeting and posting including uses of hashtags, emojis, memes, images and more.

Dr Rebecca Coleman is Senior Lecturer, Sociology Department, Goldsmiths, where she researches and teaches on visual and sensory sociology, bodies, affect, temporality (especially presents and futures), and feminist, cultural and social theory. Her publications include The Becoming of Bodies: Girls, Images, Experience (2009, Manchester University Press), Transforming Images: Screens, Affect, Futures (2012, Routledge), and, edited with Jessica Ringrose, Deleuze and Research Methodologies (2013, Edinburgh University Press). She is currently working on projects on interdisciplinary approaches for engaging and attending to futures and presents.

Jessica Ringrose is Professor of Sociology of Gender and Education, at the UCL Institute of Education. Her current research is on digital feminist activism and young people’s sexual and gender cultures and uses of social media.  Recent books and reports include: A Qualitative Study of Children, Young People and ‘Sexting’ (2012, London: NSPCC, with Gill, Livingstone and Harvey); Post-Feminist Education?: Girls and the sexual politics of schooling (Routledge, 2013); Deleuze and Research Methodologies (EUP, 2013 edited with Rebecca Coleman); and Children, Sexuality, and Sexualisation (Palgrave, 2015, edited with Emma Renold and Danielle Egan).

Alyssa Niccolini is a doctoral candidate at Columbia’s Teachers College in New York.  Her work on affect, sexuality, gender and secondary US education has been published in a variety of journals and books. She has taught in NYC, South Africa and in Germany as well as feminist and gender theory at the university level.

Emilie Lawrence is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Jessica Ringrose and Caroline Pelletier. Her work is focused on the construction and performance of feminism online; using Twitter as a situational context, Emilie is currently exploring body positivity and the co-optation of feminist rhetoric in LYB narratives and discourse.

Jessalynn Keller is a Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. She is the author of Girls’ Feminist Blogging in a Postfeminist Age (Routledge 2015) and has published her research on mediated identities and digital cultures in Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Information Communication & Society, Celebrity Studies, Women’s Studies International Forum, and the Journal of Gender Studies (forthcoming), as well as in several edited anthologies. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013.

Kaitlynn Mendes, PhD, is a Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Kaitlynn is an expert on feminism, activism and gender issues in the media, and has published in journals such asFeminist Media Studies; Media, Culture and SocietyThe International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the Journal of Gender Studies. Kaitlynn is also the author/editor of four books, Feminism in the News: Representations of the Women’s Movement Since the 1960s (Palgrave, 2011); Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture (edited with Kumarini Silva, Palgrave, 2015), The Routledge Major Works Collection: Gender and Media (Routledge, forthcoming 2016), and SlutWalk: Feminism, Activism and Media (Palgrave, 2015), which was recently selected as Book of the Week for the Times Higher Education magazine. In addition to her academic research, Kaitlynn has appeared on programmes such as the BBC’s Woman’s Hour, numerous BBC Radio Leicester shows, and regularly writes op-eds for publications such as The Conversation and The Leicester Mercury.

 

 

Panel 3a Anxiety and Social Media

John Fellenor and Phillip Brooker

Department of psychology

The University of Bath

You have to say something but you can’t say anything: Twitter and the inability to articulate the abject

Frank (1995) characterises traumatic experiences in terms of ‘chaos narratives’ that sit behind speech but are incommunicable because there are no words available to tell them. This points to the impossibility of representing or sharing such experiences with others. From a Kleinian perspective Minsky (1998) claims that attempts to find words for traumatic experiences are split off and projected and are thus unavailable to description. Twitter increasingly plays a role in the life of many people in the West. As a social media platform, its affordances lend to its users the capability to observe and comment in real time on anything and everything and this includes traumatic events such as terrorist bombings, earthquakes and the death that they entail. However, the central contention of this paper is that in fact it is not possible to comment on the latter type of events and that, where Tweets do engage with these events, what is revealed is a breakdown in signification. I discuss what happens around this breakdown and how it is manifest on Twitter from a psychoanalytically informed psychosocial perspective. I then extend this analysis to think about Twitter in terms of a ‘psychotic state’, to suggest that the interactive capacity of Web 2.0 and social media points to a specific type of emergent subjectivity.

Sophie Helen Bishop

UEL PhD Excellence Scholarship

“#YouTuberAnxiety: Anxiety as Emotional Labour and Masquerade in Beauty Vlogs”

At the time of writing, Zoella and Tanya Burr are the only two female British Vloggers featured in the 500 most subscribed to YouTube Channels, with 9,574,186 and 3,333,872 subscribers respectively. Although the YouTubers are mutually concerned with beauty and lifestyle, they notably both host videos centering on their own anxiety disorder, a theme shared with many other Beauty Vloggers. I propose discussing personal mental health is a gender specific form of emotional labour undertaken by female beauty and lifestyle Vloggers (Hochschild, 2003). Furthermore, I propose anxiety is a ‘masquerade’ specifically deployed by female Vloggers, to offset their participation in the online male public sphere (Riviere,1929).

Zara Dinnen
Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature
School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies
University of Birmingham

Becoming user in popular culture

In this presentation I consider how the category of user is expressed and felt as an affective condition in popular culture. Focusing on mainstream Hollywood films which feature software as total surveillance system (Blackhat, Furious 7, Unfriended) I will investigate how the spectacle engages audience-as-user. Watching these films is an anxiety-inducing experience; the anxiety is overcome through genre fantasies which rescue the individual user from total capitulation.  With reference to work on screen media and affect (White, Hollis, Paasonen) I will consider how an anxiety of the condition of spectator is affectively mobilised as an anxious everyday experience of using digital media.

Greg Singh

University of Stirling

Following R. D. Laing’s overview of the existential equilibrium of separateness and relatedness in everyday pathology, I argue that social media is a ‘false-self system’. That is, social media platforms, although pregnant with affirmative possibilities for political transgression, action and subversion, tend also to exacerbate the otherwise ‘normal’ pathological split between an ‘inner’ self and a generalized deadness of the embodied ‘false’ self. This pathology can amplify users’ anxiety and uncertainty in innovative technology.

 

My latest research project, “Life in Data”, is designed to engage this distrust through listening to what constituents have to say about datafied systems and how they feel about the ambiguous parasocial investments already made; either in personal everyday use, or in public relations and strategic communication practices. In short, this research seek to move beyond the instrumentally empirical and into the purposive realm of the ethical – yielding pathways to meaningful impact, rather than a superficial and instrumental change in behaviour.

 

Dr John Fellenor is a Research Associate working at The University of Bath on the UNPICK project with Professor Julie Barnett to explore and understand the public perception of risk in relation to specific tree pathogens. His current focus is developing a social media analysis of risk perception and how to combine this with case studies and contextualised experiences of tree health by different stakeholder groups and publics. John’s PhD involved developing a novel psychosocial methodology with which to explore the experience of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and its relation to material objects, spaces and places. He is interested in developing ideas in the field of psychosocial studies, drawing on Actor Network Theory, complexity theory, emergence and metaphor analysis.

Phillip Brooker is a research associate at the University of Bath working in social media analytics, with a particular interest in the exploration of research methodologies to support the emerging field. His background is in sociology, drawing especially on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, science and technology studies, computer-supported cooperative work and human-computer interaction. Phillip has been previously contributed to the development of Chorus (www.chorusanalytics.co.uk); a Twitter data collection and visualisation suite. Phillip currently works on CuRAtOR (Challenging online feaR And OtheRing), an interdisciplinary project which focuses on how ‘cultures of fear’ are propagated through online ‘othering’.

Sophie Bishop is currently undertaking an ‘Excellence PhD’ Studentship in Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London. She is interested in the gender performativity of Beauty Vloggers, the cosmetic industry’s relationship with the ‘Vlogosphere’, and YouTube genre formation.

Dr Zara Dinnen is Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature at the University of Birmingham. Her research is in the areas of new media, digital and American culture studies. She has writing published or forthcoming in Journal of American Studies, Studies in Comics, European Journal of American Culture, Alluvium, New Formations and Computational Culture.

Dr Greg Singh, is Lecturer in Media and Communications, and is Programme Director for the BA in Digital Media, and the BA in Art and Design at the University of Stirling. He has published widely on a number of subjects including popular cinema, film theory and film-philosophy, depth psychology, and representations of technology in television drama. Greg is currently working on a book-length study for Routledge discussing psychosocial aspects of digital literacy and Web 2.0, and is involved in a number of small applied research projects on creative innovation with community partners. He holds a BA (Hons) in Film Studies with Media and Video Production (Bucks.), an MA in the History of Film and Visual Media (Lond.), and a PhD from the University of Reading.

 

Panel 3b: Various Affects and Social Media: Panic, Bodies, Consumers and Learners                         

Aura Lounasmaa: Graduate School/Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London

Bodies of women, bodies of sluts: Moroccan women against sexual harassment

This paper discusses a Moroccan activist group Womanchoufouch. The group was founded as a social media group in 2011 and was initially called SlutWalk Morocco. It aims to dispel myths about sexual harassment and its victims in Morocco and elsewhere, facilitate discussion about the issues and support feminist campaigns to introduce legislation to criminalise sexual harassment and improve other legislation regarding women’s equality. The aim of this paper is to show how social media provides a platform for discussing women’s bodies and embodied experiences in a social context where these are regarded a taboo, and how it simultaneously limits discourses on sexual politics due to technological constraints and the presence of hate speech.

Jamie Hakim and Alison Winch, Lecturers in Media Studies, University of East Anglia

Chemsex: an anatomy of a sex panic

In recent months a ‘sex panic’ (Irvine, 2008) has emerged across Britain’s media, health services and gay male community in relation to ‘chemsex’.

Within this discourse, chemsex is understood to be a sexual practice whereby men who have sex with men (MSM) use geo-locational hook-up apps to organise group sex parties where the recreational drugs GHB, mephadrone and crystal methamphetamine are consumed. It is also understood to be a locus of intense negative affectivity; a self-destructive behaviour rooted in internalized homophobia and linked to the recent rise of HIV transmission amongst men in the UK, and therefore posing a public health crisis.

This position paper outlines the beginning of a project that critiques both the techno- and homo-phobic elements of this discourse, as well as nuance this construction of chemsex by understanding it as an attempt for MSM to form affectively intense, if transient, collective bonds during an historical moment when neoliberalism attempts to make all forms of collectivity impossible (Gilbert, 2014).

Kathy-Ann Fletcher
PhD Student, UEL

Drivers and consequences of using social media for consumer identity creation

The social identity theory believes that a person’s self-esteem and sense of self is often guided by the groups to which they belong. By this we see that an individual’s society plays an integral role in the development of his or her identity.

Social media by its very nature is a social environment with the same ability to influence the development of identity among its engaged members. Social media is so pervasive that it affects every area of some of its user’s lives including, communication, consumption and expression. This is noticeable in the creation of identity as individuals group into tribes on social media based on beliefs, causes and even brands. These groups form “societies” or groups from which the consumer can craft and express their identity.

Identity is important driver of actions such as consumption choices. Therefore it is important to understand the root of identity and its consequences. The influences on identity evolves as society evolves absorbing or expanding to include friends, family, celebrities favorite brands and now even social media. It is essential to understand how technology is affecting the evolution of the development of identity as technology is inserted into every area of our life.

This presentation will discuss the drivers of using social media to create and express one’s sense of self and explore the consequences for the consumer and brands.

Eleni Seralidou

Informatics Teacher

Ph.D Candidate University of Piraeus

Building confidence by learning through the internet?

Many times students transfer in class experience from activities outside of school settings and often they try to use their prior knowledge to solve problems they encounter during lessons. The activities referred are related to the use of new technologies and social networks (chat, facebook, etc.) outside the school environment and informal learning that derives from them leads to greater commitment and dedication and gives important incentives as it involves the person in interest in everyday life situations.

The above lead to the creation of a new culture and therefore to a new learning process. With new technologies the possibility of creating without specific limits is offered only by following individual preferences and likes. This is a very big motivation for learning (Chen and Jang 2010) which essentially covers the need of the user’s autonomy, increases its degree of involvement and improves the level of its skills. (Ryan and Deci, 2000)

But which activities monopolize the interest of students? These activities strengthen their confidence towards new technologies? They believe that their participation in social networking pages and their avocation with the internet enhances their knowledge and skills?

In this paper we investigate aspects related to the influence of new technologies in students between ages 15 to 17. More specifically, 223 students from public schools located in Piraeus Greece submitted their views through a questionnaire. The results are analyzed statistically and an overview of the concerns raised in the above questions is provided.

Dr Aura Lounasmaa did her PhD in the Global Women’s Studies Centre in the National University of Ireland, Galway on Moroccan women’s NGOs’ campaign activities and discursive practices in 2008-2013. She has lived and worked in Morocco and conducted interviews with 24 organisations across the country. Aura currently teaches research methods in the Graduate School and the School of Social Sciences in University of East London.

Dr Jamie Hakim is a Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of East Anglia and a Teaching Fellow in Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College, London. He is currently working with Dr. Alison Winch on a project called ‘Digital Masculinities in the Age of Austerity’.

Dr Alison Winch is a Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of East Anglia. She has published journal articles on female sociality and branding in film, television and online, as well as a monograph Girlfriends and Postfeminist Sisterhood (Palgrave 2013).

Kathy-Ann Fletcher is a second year PhD student at the University of East London. Her research interests include branding, social media and identity. She returned to the academic environment in 2014 after a seven year sojourn into the world of marketing practice. She completed her Msc in International Marketing Management at UEL and her undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies.

Seralidou Eleni worked since 2003 as an informatics teacher in several private and public schools in Athens and Piraeus. During the last year she is working in the Regional Secondary Education Committee of Piraeus, which is deciding upon teacher and educational issues. Additionally, she is a Ph.D. candidate and a member of the Network Research Lab of the University of Piraeus.

 

 

Panel 4: Circuits and Geographies of Affect

Misha Kavka

University of Auckland

Affective Screens: Selfies and Social Connectivity

This paper is part of a larger project on ‘affective screens’ which asks, simply, why should our mediated interactions with the social world feel real? Framed by a Deleuzian approach to affect theory, I argue for a concept of affective mattering, in both senses of materiality and impact, to counter the tendency toward dematerialisation in Deleuze and Guattari’s theorization of affect as well as desubjectification in Massumi’s subsequent approach. What goes missing in their desubjectivised account of pure sensation is the affectively material body, which I insist is individuated not only by its own matter but also by the affective relations which cause other bodies to matter to it. Social media both virtualizes and makes visible these connected bodies, while it in no way diminishes the affective mattering of such connections; if anything, the addictive pull of social media circulation suggests an increase in affective mattering whenever something – even a cat video – is posted and shared. How, then, do we locate materiality in these virtualized circuits of feeling? I will argue that mattering is focused on and through the ‘affective screen’ as an intensifier of feeling, and will explore this argument through the role of image in social media, specifically the selfie as a platform which launches the virtual body into materially real affective circuits.

Anna Fairchild

2nd Year Professional Doctorate in Fine Art Practice, UEL

Decoding Dissonance: Tracing the Geographies of Memory in the Digital Era

Through a physically intuitive, process-led interaction with two and three-dimensional materials responding to existing surfaces, the research explores the accessing of liminal spaces to trace changing shifts and twitches in how our interaction with technology is establishing a new haptic, perceptual memory.

Using a methodology based on a ‘half awake’ interaction with materials and surfaces alongside concepts of depositing, twitching, enfolding and re-mapping, the work explores the amnesic spaces between an event and its transactive memory deposit. Double drawing and a series of liquid to solid material cast overspills, explore traces of re-examined, non-repeating forms and drawings.

John Wild

PhD student on the Media and Arts Technology doctoral training program based in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department of Queen Mary University of London.

The Manvers Main Complex :: Digital Drift

Can psychogeography be extended as a strategy of emotional engagement with Google Maps? This presentation takes a digital drift through Google Streetview’s representation of Manvers, a former mining complex located in the South Yorkshire Coalfield, a key spark in the 1984-85 Miners strike and more recently the site of a regeneration project that has created a mass post-industrial landscape. The presentation will contrasts the role Google maps plays in constructing a territory with the affective and non-representational experience of using it as a site for a digital drift.

Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd

University of East London and the drawing shed

Desiring a plurality of Community: “acting upon, and being acted upon, I do not act alone”

The drawing shed has used both twitter and instagram in works exploring ‘public’ issues and senses of responsibility in relation to eg. homelessness  (instagram, UCL #Wildscreens #basic7). Artists Labern&Lloyd create a ‘score’ with a small group who lead an invitation / a provocation for a public dialogue (twitter), exploring ideas:  #StrangerNeighbour or #civil_uncivil as a live art writing intervention – creating communities of imagination (Multitude: A. Negri/Hardt and Together: R.Sennet)

Labern&Lloyd will share parts of the #StrangerNeighbour and #civil_uncivil performances, with feedback on the affect experienced by participants and the unique clash between the rational brain and the ‘felt resistance’ to acts of incivility located in this social media space. Curiously, an ‘underfelt’ connection – the affect – is located in the criss-crossing of exchange.

Misha Kavka is Associate Professor of Media, Film and Television at the University of Auckland.  She is the author of Reality Television, Affect and Intimacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Reality TV (Edinburgh U,P 2012), and the co-editor of Gothic New Zealand (Otago UP, 2006) and of Feminist Consequences:  Theory for the New Century (Columbia UP, 2001). She has published widely on affect in relation to film, television and media technologies.

Anna Fairchild is a second year Professional Doctorate student in Fine Art at UEL.
After completing a BA in Fine Art Sculpture, her practice was initially established whilst living and working in Istanbul, Turkey during the early 1990s within a period of great political change in Turkey. This, coupled with a dramatic change in the space and culture she was working in, had a permanent impact on ideas exploring geography and memory. Research Blog: http://decodingdissonance.tumblr.com

John Wild is a PhD student within the Media and Arts Technology Programme at Queen Mary University of London. He is researching the varied practices of psychogeography and the potential of developing a digitally expand psychogeography as a method of imagining, presenting, performing, critiquing and contesting the convergence of physical space and digital technology.

Sally Labern is a professional doctorate student (4th Year) ADI Uel exploring the relationship between the individual imagination, how it manifests in collaboration and translates / is acted upon by and into co-authored work, and feeds back again into the individual imagination. Labern seeks to reconfigure public and private spaces and objects that hold social positions, and distort/reposition/remake them to explore how an intervention can make the object’s usual position discordant with its new ‘value’. Labern sets out to unsettle, and subtlety rupture / contest known meanings, to uncover the ‘other’ – by which she means the ideas that sit outside the mainstream: dominant received ideas of the mythical norm and those of the imagination. She chooses to uncover the liminal space that can harbour distinct differences to be explored under the public gaze.

Bobby Lloyd is a visual artist whose enquiry explores places, landscapes and communities in the throes of disruption/contestation, in order to engage with new/other/imagined possibilities across art media, including photography, found objects, film, text and installation. Lloyd is also an HCPC registered art therapist, clinical supervisor and lecturer. Her work has taken her to countries of political conflict and social upheaval over two decades; she currently strategically leads on an art therapy project in the refugee camps in northern France through Art Refuge UK, with Medecins du Monde and Medecins sans Frontieres.

 

 

Panel 5: Affective Contagions

 

Robert Payne

Associate Professor MA Program Director Department of Global Communications  American University of Paris

“Je suis Charlie”, or the viral construction of affective citizenship

When versions of the slogan “Je suis Charlie” circulated on social media in the hours and days after the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, what else spread with them? For what ideas about gender and ethnicity – and for what feelings about citizenship – was the slogan a vector? This paper builds on a theoretical understanding that the autonomous, rational subject may not be the most appropriate frame through which to examine the contagious forces of imitation that made Charlie go viral. My discussion of the Charlie movement as a kind of affective contagion brings together two strands of thought: one exploring the role of affect in the ordinary habitus of digitally mediated acts of sharing; the second tracing the norms of gender, sexuality and ethnicity embedded within the construction of Charlie as an identifiable universal subject position. I will examine how the French republican framing of universal citizenship is buttressed on social media by expressions of affective citizenship, and ask how circulation of this content might be harnessed for political and commercial strategies of control.

 

Morgane Kimmich

PhD student at London South Bank University, School of Arts & Creative Industries

Emotions, social media communication and TV debates

Abstract: This paper investigates the role of emotion in social media communications in the 2010 British and 2012 American televised leader debates. More specifically, this paper looks at how Twitter users reacted to the emotions used by politicians during the debates and by journalists covering the debates.

Content and discourse analyses have been applied to tweets collected from one day before the first debates through to one day after the end of each debate period.

This study concludes that emotions travelled between debates, newspapers and Twitter forming an “emotional chain” in which politicians, journalists and Twitter users displayed different emotions.

 

Robert Wright

PhD student at the University of Wolverhampton

Title: Is Social Media becoming Walden Three?

In this paper I wish to address the fundamental issues raised by Kramer et al’s study into emotional contagion through the prism of B.F. Skinner’s utopian novel Walden Two and his ideas regarding Behaviorism and Operant Conditioning.

I wish to demonstrate the potentially potent power of emotional manipulation that can take place on social media with it having become a McLuhan-style extension of ourselves, serving the purpose for many of an emotional support system. I describe social media as becoming Walden Three as, like its imaginary predecessor, it can often be viewed utopianly along with also being a perfect environment for behavioral tinkering. More importantly however, how it differs is in where we see (or don’t see) this power to manipulate the environment to reside.

The problem with Walden Two was that it was clear to all that it was necessary for a technocratic elite to manage the system. In our Walden Three situation, this power appears on the surface as if it has been democratized to the people via the creation of a peer-run cybernetic panopticon known as social media, with likes and favorites becoming behavioral tools we can all use. However, like many ‘democratizing’ technologies, much of the power to a manipulate the environment still remains just as concentrated as it has ever within the hands of a technocratic elite, except in Walden Three we find it much harder to view or even accept this as being the case.

Stanislav Moiseev

Postgraduate student, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Research assistant, International laboratory for Applied Network Research

Affective Contagion: A Mechanism of Online Mass Behavior

According to the opinion of some scholars, classical crowd theories could be productive in understanding of affective relations in social media. This statement is appropriate in the broad sense; however, traditional conceptualizations should be adapted to the contemporary setting. The aim of my research is to construct postmodern conceptualization of mass behavior for studying online mass phenomena. Drawing upon literatures on modern and postmodern crowds, network society and critical digital studies, I consider affective contagion as a crucial mechanism of mass behavior, which could help to bridge the gap between theoretical and empirical levels of studying mass phenomena.

 

Stephen Jukes
Dean of the Faculty of Media & Communication
Bournemouth University

The newsroom is no longer a safe zone – assessing the affective impact of graphic user-generated images on journalists working with social media

Ever since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, user-generated images and video have dominated news media. Sometimes passers-by have captured graphic images of violence, from the London street killing of drummer Rigby to slaughter on the streets of Paris. At other times extremists have used social media to distribute their message using what have become labelled ‘perpetrator images.’ Much has been written about the blurring of lines between professional journalists and citizen journalists and the emotive impact of gruesome images on the consumers of news. But the affective impact of these images on the journalists handing them, in what used to be thought of as the safety of the newsroom, has gone largely unnoticed. This paper examines the first studies now emerging into the traumatic impact of graphic content on the newsroom and, through a series of interviews with those working on social media ‘hubs’, explores the lived experience of journalists sifting through a torrent of material each day. The paper also looks at measures now being introduced to mitigate the impact on journalists handling graphic material and to minimise any affective contagion into other areas of the news production environment.

 

Yiğit Soncul

PhD candidate and visiting lecturer at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

The Mask of Ebola: Fear, Contagion, and Immunity

It seems the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak has been contained as a biological phenomenon, yet its images—especially, the masked face of the medical specialist—permeated visual cultures globally. This paper aims to partially map the contagion of fear that materialise through contemporary networked media and circulation of images in such epidemic, through a media ecological approach. The mediation of the image of the mask as such will be assessed in relation to the borders of both the biological body, and the body politic that it unsettles.

 

Robert Payne is Associate Professor of Global Communications and Director of the MA in Global Communications at the American University of Paris. In his recent research, he is mainly interested in using gender and queer theory to examine every day digital media practices, including network circulation and the entrepreneurialism of intimate relationality. He is the author of The Promiscuity of Network Culture: Queer Theory and Digital Media, published by Routledge in December 2014.

Professor Stephen Jukes is Dean of Bournemouth University’s Faculty of Media & Communication, one of the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom with an international reputation for combining research and teaching practice. The Faculty is home to the National Centre for Computer Animation, which won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2012, and the UK’s only Centre for Excellence in Media Practice.  Before his work as an academic, Jukes was a foreign correspondent and editor at the international news agency Reuters. During a series of overseas postings he covered or oversaw coverage of stories ranging from the ousting of Margaret Thatcher to the fall of the Berlin Wall, two Gulf Wars and September 11. In his final position at Reuters, he was Global Head of News and executive editor for a series of books on the Middle East conflict. His academic research focuses on areas of objectivity and emotion in news. He chairs the Dart Centre for Journalism & Trauma in Europe and is a trustee of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Robert Wright is a PhD Student and Visiting Lecturer of Media Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Wolverhampton. He is interested in both the sociopolitical and cultural effects of cybernetics, big-data and social media in relation to magic, hauntology, and power.

Stanislav Moiseev received his undergraduate degree in sociology from the National Research Tomsk State University in 2012. He then received master’s degree in sociology from the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2014. His master’s thesis addressed the subject of crowdsourcing practices within applied social research settings. He is currently a graduate student in HSE’s Department of Sociology and works in the International Laboratory for Applied Network Research. During spring semester in 2015 he was a fellow at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. His postgraduate research project titled “The Nature and Mechanisms of Mass Behavior: from Classical Sociology to Contemporary Theoretical Models”.

Yiğit Soncul is a PhD candidate and visiting lecturer at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He holds an MA in Film and Screen Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. His PhD project, currently entitled ‘Contagious and Immunising Images: Mask, Medium, Body’, investigates cultural techniques of mask and masking in contemporary screen cultures through a media ecological approach. He is cofounder of Design and Media Ecologies Lab, a research platform that engages with materiality of digital design and media theory at Winchester School of Art. His work appeared in journals like Between andTheory, Culture & Society.

Morgane Kimmich is a PhD student at the School of Arts and Creative Industries at London South Bank University. Her doctoral research project focuses on the intersection of emotions, social media, politics and journalism. She is currently looking at how emotions were used in TV debates by politicians interacting in debates but also by newspaper journalists covering debates and by Twitter users following debates and reacting to their coverage.

 

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. A former musician, he studied computer technology and cultural theory before receiving a PhD in sociology from the University of Essex. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, due 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK, a co-founder of Club Critical Theory and Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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