First Monday 2021-02-01T16:21:10-06:00 Edward J. Valauskas Open Journal Systems <p><em>First Monday</em> is one of the first openly accessible, peer–reviewed journals solely devoted to resarch about the Internet. <em>First Monday</em> has published 2,018 papers in 297 issues,&nbsp;written by 2,906 different authors over the past 24 years. No subscription fees, no submission fees, no advertisements, no fundraisers, no walls.</p> Archiving affect and activism: Hashtag feminism and structures of feeling in Women's March tweets 2021-02-01T09:40:17-06:00 Kristi McDuffie Melissa Ames <p>On 21 January 2017, over three million women participated in the Women’s March throughout the U.S., one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. This article investigates the digital component of this historic protest as a powerful moment of hashtag feminism, one that exemplifies the vital role of affect in contributing to social change. Through qualitative analysis of 2,600 #WhyIMarch tweets from the day of the March, we identify the rhetorical strategies that best leverage affect to further the social justice goals of the March — dedications, personal narratives, the use of first-person, and the use of humor — and describe the affective outcomes of these strategies, including motivational affect, vicarious affect, and collective affect. Using Raymond Williams’ concept of “structures of feeling,” we argue that these rhetorical strategies and their affective outcomes create a digital archive of affect that captures the cultural climate surrounding the Women’s March and mediates the way this cultural moment is affectively remembered. This study reveals that affect is vital for effective hashtag feminism</p> 2021-01-03T14:55:28-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Communities of making: Exploring parallels between fandom and open source 2021-02-01T09:40:14-06:00 Rachel Winter Anastasia Salter Mel Stanfill <p>Studies of social media frequently focus on the most popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and fail to consider more unconventional platforms and communities that nevertheless fit the criteria of social media. A comparison of fan communities emphasizing different content structures (Archive of Our Own, DeviantArt, and to open source community platform GitHub can provide insight into the practices of communities of making, regardless of even substantial differences in purposes and affordances, while expanding the traditional definition of social media. Study of both fan and open source communities revealed commonalities across platforms, such as non-market practices with deep market ties; gift economies that run on status; and a lack of inclusivity. We argue that the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, labor, and value on social media platforms can be illuminated by putting these platforms and their communities into conversation.</p> 2021-01-05T16:25:56-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Rename and resist settler colonialism: Land acknowledgments and Twitter’s toponymic politics 2021-02-01T16:21:10-06:00 Carrie Karsgaard Maggie MacDonald Michael Hockenhull <p>Connected with various resurgent and decolonizing projects, Canada has seen a surge of renaming and Indigenous land acknowledgement, which draw attention to Indigenous territories that have been overwritten through colonial naming practices. While renaming practices and land acknowledgments are contested for having merely representational effects, they may also be linked with decolonizing efforts. Our paper explores subversive (re)naming practices afforded by the free-form location identifying function on Twitter’s user profiles. It then draws a connection to issue-alignment in relation to the contested Trans Mountain pipeline as a means of considering to what extent toponymic selection is linked with actual issue alignment within the colonial context of resource extraction in Canada. We apply a mixed methods approach, based in digital methods that work with Twitter’s user profile location category. We extend our analysis through a qualitative reading of key subsets of the Twitter data, using a grounded theory approach to identify prevalent themes. In keeping with the anti-colonial nature of the tweets, we resist colonial categorization of the data and instead share an “un-typology” of Twitter toponyms, which we then connect to various expressions of anti-pipeline positioning. These mixed methods help us explore the entanglement of <em>representational</em> toponymic significance, <em>infrastructural</em>, in relation to the platform and the colonial nature of geolocational regimes online, and <em>grounded</em>, in relation to issue expression regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline.</p> 2021-01-08T07:21:32-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Characterizing QAnon: Analysis of YouTube comments presents new conclusions about a popular conservative conspiracy 2021-02-01T09:24:19-06:00 Daniel Taninecz Miller <p>QAnon has become an important phenomenon in American politics due to both its relative popularity as well as its adoption/endorsement by political elites. However, this conspiracy theory/social movement has received sparse investigation in the social sciences. This gap is particularly noticeable in regards to the QAnon movement’s overall beliefs and perceptions of global affairs. This piece addresses these research gaps by using repeatable inductive computational social science methods to analyze a sample of comments from YouTube, a platform popular with QAnon followers. This investigation affirms previous observations regarding QAnon’s narratives connecting the U.S. government (particularly prominent Democrats) and alleged sexual violence against children, anti-semitism/fundamentalist Christian theology, and pro-Trump sentiments, and also reaveals several novel conclusions regarding QAnon. These novel observations include: [1] that the QAnon community sustains substantial discussion of international affairs, largely revolving around China, Russia and Israel (in order of prominence); [2] that discussion of China in QAnon comments received more “likes” than other international topics; and [3] that a nexus of conjectures tying former presidential candidate, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Chinese party-state dominate these China-centric comments. Aside from these novel conclusions regarding QAnon, this paper also seeks to make a contribution to repeatable social science analysis of YouTube comments more generally.</p> 2021-01-11T19:28:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Understanding factors and barriers to alternative media development in emerging economies: Learning from the Check Global project 2021-02-01T09:24:16-06:00 Jerome Turner Dima Saber <p>Check Global is a journalism and digital literacy development project (2019–2021) supporting countries and regions affected by conflict or state controls. In such contexts, expectations are set high for alternative journalism to accurately counter mainstream media narratives, controlled as they often are by the state; this article presents factors to be taken into consideration as a starting point for better understanding the challenges involved in developing journalism, <em>e.g.</em>, through funded training initiatives. The article draws on interviews with prominent alternative and independent media outlets (some of them Check Global partners) from India, Latin America, Egypt and Lebanon, who therefore have operational experience of these issues. By viewing digital and social media through an anti-determinist lens, we challenge assumptions — especially prevalent following the 2011 Arab uprisings — that ‘open access’ and social media platforms can easily provide solutions to media plurality concerns. We explore factors such as the role of technology in alternative media, but also the main barriers faced by alternative media projects and outlets. This article therefore opens up a more honest discussion about the nature of alternative media projects in such contexts, and the ways in which digital literacy projects such as Check Global could support them.</p> 2021-01-13T15:31:45-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday QAnon and the information dark age 2021-02-01T09:24:14-06:00 Matthew Hannah <p>We are entering a dark age for information literacy, an age predicated on a strange reversal of accepted wisdom. Whereas early Internet advocates predicted a utopian age of information access and literacy, the twenty-first century has witnessed a paradoxical technological expansion of communications technologies and, at the same, the growth and spread of bizarre, vast, complex conspiracies. Although many argue that belief in conspiracies is the mark of a “crippled epistemology” (Sunstein and Vermeule, 2009), I argue that this particular fusion of information access and ignorance is emblematic of what Chun (2015) has described as the combination of individual content creation within a mass medium. It is our incredible access to information, when combined with anonymized mass communications platforms, which has exacerbated networked conspiratorial thinking and given rise to the most complex example of this problematic: QAnon. In this article, I analyze QAnon through the lens of a theoretical frame I call the information dark age, and I argue that QAnon represents a new paranoid permutation, which takes advantage of information technology to spread its shadow across the Internet. The power of the QAnon conspiracy is its protean nature, its ability to grow quickly through crowd-sourced contributions to the overarching theory. Perhaps even more disturbing is that QAnon has weaponized this network in an effort to derail the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Trump and spread misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a dramatic evolution in our current media infrastructure, we are facing the increasing spread and worsening effect of this information dark age.</p> 2021-01-15T20:18:43-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Counter-fun, scholarly legitimacy, and environmental engagement – or why academics should code games 2021-02-01T09:24:11-06:00 Marina Khan Liam Magee Andrea Pollio Juan Francisco Salazar <p>Acknowledged as urgent and complex, the communication of environmental science is at once an outcome and a subject of academic research. In this article, we detail the results of workshops with young residents of five “Antarctic gateway cities” (Hobart, Christchurch, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, and Cape Town) who helped design and evaluate an online game that sought to communicate complex intersections of climate policy and science. We focus here on secondary effects of the workshops and game. On the one hand, outputs such as digital games respond to renewed desires for and from researchers to reach beyond scholarly sanctuaries and engage with real-world issues and communities in ways that question barriers of expertise and institutional entitlement. On the other, such dissolutions expose gaps in competency that can unnerve both researchers and participants, interrogating the expediency of collaborative game design and evaluation, and posing questions about the broader role and scope of “non-traditional” research outputs. Elaborating on Pérez Latorre’s notion of “counter-fun”, we chart our efforts to engage youth audiences in Antarctic cities through workshops, social media and anonymous statistics derived from gameplay. We conclude that game design and evaluation, as methods that bind and orient researchers and participants toward common objects of interest, can yield surprising channels of speculation and dialogue that align neither with conventional research nor the planned engagement of non-traditional outputs.</p> 2021-01-17T20:49:44-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Gavin McInnes’s hate machine 2021-02-01T09:24:08-06:00 Robert Tynes <p>At first, the Proud Boys were a seemingly innocuous white boys club that sprouted from the banter and riffs of online talk show host, Gavin McInnes. But the far right group grew into a nation-wide white supremacist organization. The group came about, thanks to McInnes and his <em>The Gavin McInnes Show</em> (<em>TGMS</em>). The Proud Boys and Gavin McInnes are a prime case study of the problem of free speech and the Internet. Here we see hate speech hiding behind the protective cloak of free speech. The conundrum becomes: How do we deal with fascist politics in the democratic space of the internet? The study conducts a frame analysis of over 32 hours of <em>TGMS</em>, utilizing Stanley’s (2018) rubric of fascist politics. By analyzing McInnes’s online discourse — his hate machine — we obtain a deeper understanding of how fascist politics gently slides into the mainstream and becomes a threat to peaceful political action.</p> 2021-01-20T06:11:42-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday The great jump cut (r)evolution: A case for studying the evolution of vlogging production techniques 2021-02-01T09:24:05-06:00 John McMullan <p>Traditionally, the term ‘jump cut’ has described film or video edits that jump forward in time and detract from a sense of continuity. In the early days of online video platforms, such as YouTube, video bloggers employed jump cuts while editing their direct-address monologues to allow them to string together the best parts of the performance. It could even be said now that jump cutting a monologue is one of the inherent conventions of vlogging. This paper argues that vlogging culture has not only adopted the jump cut as core to its productions, but also adapted and evolved it for specific vlog use. The vlogging space is rich in moving image innovation and instances of this, such as the vlogging jump cut, need to be identified, analysed, and discussed — just as occurred for cinema and television during their past periods of emergence.</p> 2021-01-21T15:13:18-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday Should I stay or should I go? Managing Brazilian WhatsApp groups 2021-02-01T09:24:01-06:00 Ana Cristina Bicharra Garcia Adriana Vivacqua <p>Instant messaging (IM) technology enables individuals to connect and maintain relationships with friends, family and colleagues, keeping participants updated on subjects of interest. It has rapidly become widespread in many countries and even been used for political activism. IM enables rapid, informal interaction between participants, but can generate message overload and notification fatigue, which leads to the adoption of different strategies to handle this problem. In this paper we report on an empirical study focused on the management of IM groups: reasons for joining or leaving, and the strategies adopted to manage the information flow. We distributed a survey that was answered by 442 WhatsApp users in Brazil. Answers help us understand the ways in which participants cope with message overload.</p> 2021-01-24T16:14:21-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday When the machine hails you, do you turn? Media orientations and the constitution of digital space 2021-02-01T09:23:56-06:00 Nelanthi Hewa <p>Machines have gone by many names, both in and outside of media theories. They have been called tools, prosthetics, auxiliary organs, and more. This paper explores what happens when we think of media as orientating devices. Sara Ahmed (2006) attends to the way orientations — sexual orientations, but also orientations as ways of being in the world more generally — come to be, and come to be felt on the body. Though Ahmed does not speak of media specifically, her queer phenomenology offers new ways of thinking about media. Media can be thought of as devices that orient, and that turn the body in one direction and away from another. Indeed, a media phenomenology is particularly useful in grounding both the body in media and the media’s felt effects on the body. As scholars increasingly stress, the language used to describe media often obfuscates their materiality, with words like ”virtual“ or even ”Web” concealing the material realities of digital networks. Beyond the materiality of media themselves, however, a phenomenology of media attends to the relationship between media and the bodies that turn to — and are turned — by them.</p> 2021-01-26T20:37:43-06:00 Copyright (c) 2021 First Monday