Month: June 2024

Blog debut: Post-ICA visit to QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre

I’m inspired to start blogging again. I’ve been writing a lot to myself, and have also been craving new ways to re-invigorate my academic energy in the long aftermath of the pandemic.

So for my blog debut: A recap of my week as a visiting researcher at QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre.


Picture of name tag and QUT DMRC tote bag on desk. I visited June 25-28, following ICA 2024 in nearby Gold Coast. This means I got a desk and a campus ID, and was free to join in all of the DMRC activities for the week. It was both a busy and empty time to visit, as much of the lab was involved in post-conferences like the Post-API Conference and P³: Power, Propaganda, Polarisation, or preparing for IAMCR (which was not on my radar!).


After I settled in to my workspace Tuesday morning, I dropped into the afternoon sessions of the Post-API Conference, which showcased the latest computational data methods that researchers were employing in the “post-API” age. This was a nice progression from last year’s conference, where the conversation was still much more broad about how to move forward in the wake of most social media APIs being shut down. This was followed by local post-post-API post conference beers at Tippler’s Tap and some important ICA 2025 Denver planning… 🍻

Group of five people at a table with beers


Wednesday morning I attempted to attend some of the usual weekly meetings, but was invited to just join the P3 conference happening on campus, as that’s where a lot of the centre’s faculty were. The conference theme was only marginally related to my own research, but there’s always something interesting to learn. I watched some insightful presentations about movements on social media in Iran, Germany, and South Africa.

Lunch and afternoon coffee also allowed me to finally meet some researchers I have known only online for years now. Then — coming off now 7 days of being “on” at ICA/post-ICA — I was completely exhausted, and made my way straight to splurging on room service for dinner.


View of trees overlooking water I started Thursday with a much-needed run through Roma Street Parkland and then headed back to campus for another morning of P3. I sat in on two great talks on data donation and screen recording methods of data collection, and then a keynote by Dr. Annie Waldherr; one of those known-online-only-for-years researchers. Aside from learning about the important cutting edge PolarVis project, I also learned about the sillier and cultish Zachary’s Karate Club dataset.

View of presenter and presentation slide through the crowd

Post-lunch I met for a coffee (flat white) with another visiting researcher (long black), who normally resides in — of all places — neighboring New York.

I returned to my desk and got to connect with some researchers in the GenAI Lab and chat about how their GenAI work meets my algorithmic transparency research. I closed out the last of daylight (so short!) with a read of the centre’s latest publication.


View out of window through blindsSuddenly it was Friday, and already the last day of my visit. I arrived on campus first thing to join the weekly “Sit Down and Write” group. Oddly, I had nothing pressing to write (every manuscript I have is currently under review!), which pushed me to start drafting a theory piece I’ve been thinking about for years. Four Pomodoros later I had 3 single-spaced pages of ideas, questions, and outlines. I broke for a classic Aussie lunch of avo toast (some history claims it started here), and then felt inspired enough to get right back to theorizing. By sunset I had a theoretical model sketched out (surely in need of refinement), and three new study ideas for fall. What a productive way to end a short visit to a research center!

All in all, I had a great week here in Brisbane. Major thanks to Prof. Dan Angus for inviting me and to QUT for hosting me.

FOUR advisee / advisee-led papers accepted to AEJMC ’24

Very proud of the work of my doctoral advisees, co-advisees, and former advisees!

Top Paper

Rao, A. Weight-stigmatizing news images as visual misinformation: Investigating Facebook’s ‘related articles’ feature and comments as counter-information. Visual Communication Division.

Presentation

Pierre, L. & Oeldorf-Hirsch, A. Exploring how internet literacy and algorithmic awareness influence passive and active social media engagement behavior. Communication Technology Division.

Posters

Williams, B., Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., & Denes, A. Contrasting perceptions of online oversharing behaviors between digital natives and digital immigrants. Communication Technology Division.

Baumel, K. Social interactions on TikTok: Exploring the social interaction triangle in a queer social media context. Communication Technology Division.