The New War Correspondents: The Rise of Civic Media Curation in Urban Warfare

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In this paper we examine the information sharing practices of people living in cities amid armed conflict. We describe the volume and frequency of microblogging activity on Twitter from four cities …

In this paper we examine the information sharing practices of people living in cities amid armed conflict. We describe the volume and frequency of microblogging activity on Twitter from four cities afflicted by the Mexican Drug War, showing how citizens use social media to alert one another and to comment on the violence that plagues their commu-nities. We then investigate the emergence of civic media “curators,” individuals who act as “war correspondents” by aggregating and disseminating information to large num-bers of people on social media. We conclude by outlining the implications of our observations for the design of civic media systems in wartime.

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  • I’m __fr
  • I’m going to give you the context. CURATORS…. Characterize the nature of the phenomenon and then INTERVIEWSWe then investigate the emergence of civic media “curators,” individuals who act as “war correspondents” by aggregating and disseminating information to large num-bers of people on social media. We conclude by outlining the implications of our observations for the design of civic media systems in wartime. STUDY we examine the information sharing practices of people living in URBAN WARFARE. We describe the VOLUME and FREQ on SOC MEDIAfrom four cities afflicted by the Mexican Drug War, showing how citizens use social media to alert one another and to comment on the violence that plagues their commu-nities.
  • People debated on the role of social media as a platform for civic engagement during moments of crisis, acute events. Different latitudes. Different everyday acute events.
  • Numbers are contested. Some context. Mexican Drug War. Started by President Calderon in 2006. [add image source]
  • Shootings, grenade attacks and even car bombs. In some Mexican cities violence, crises are part of everyday life
  • Quite a bit of work on the field of Crisis Informatics. Typically when crises emerge, governments and the media are there to inform us. In the US the government has developed the role of Public Information Officers (PIOs) which has been documented by Palen and others.
  • MSM
  • Caveat #1: hard to find ground truth.
  • In parallel to that, we have seen a dramatic increase in the adoption of Internet technologies in the past years.
  • example
  • Caveat #2: Twitter is part of an information ecosystem. What we observe there is part of the story.
  • Picked because of the high level of violence, use of Twitter, and personal familiarity.City of Boston: 617,594 GreaterBoston area: 4,522,858
  • Selected one hashtag.16 months.If we assume that each account represents a unique person, our data suggests that 1.48% of people living in the cities analyzed posted some-thing on Twitter about the Mexican Drug War. Especially interesting in light of Twitter’s own estimate that 40% of their active users sign in to “just” “listen”
  • Balacera = shooting , detonaciones = blasts, Garza = Street name, Eviten = avoid
  • Interaction > Dissemination 16 months – Seattle with mentions (50.7%) were more common than retweets (15.7%).
  • The
  • Who?
  • Followers: Captured at the moment of the last tweet.Curators: Act as operators. Mostly (selfrepoted) females.
  • Fictitious names, photos. Contacted several of them. 4 replied. I present here some of the highlights of my conversation with 2.
  • Angela: Triangulation. ContactsDistributed geographically. Trust: “I can’t recommend anyone after what happened with [name of curator]. I can’t vouch for anybody, because I don’t know who is behind that account.” Claudia:“Not all my followers send me information but I am very thankful to those who take the time to do it
  • “I can’t recommend anyone” and that “after what happened with @AnonCurator3, I can’t vouch for anybody, because I don’t know who is behind that account. They are anonymous
  • Formalization of citizen curators. The case of this NGO called CIC.
  • Beginning of this research, primarily descriiptive Anecdotal evidence to Suggest

Transcript

  • 1. The New War Correspondents: The Rise of Civic Media Curation in Urban Warfare Andrés Monroy-Hernández (@andresmh) danah boyd, Emre Kiciman, Munmun De Choudhury, Scott Counts Microsoft Research© Gael Gonzalez/Reuters CSCW - February, 27 2013
  • 2. Outline1. Context: Mexican Drug War2. Information War3. Tweeting the War4. Citizen News Curators5. Summary
  • 3. Role of social media in acute events: floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, shootings, political uprisings, etc - Al Ani et al (2012) - Bruns et al (2012) - Cheong et al (2010) - Lotan (2011) - Starbird et al (2010, 2011) - Palen and Vieweg (2008)© Associated Press
  • 4. Mexican Drug War 1 > 60,000 deaths 2 > 230,000 displaced 3 Calderón Administration 3 1 Semanario Zeta, Dec 12, 2011, 2 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2011,©Nadav Neuhaus 3 Diego Valle with Official Numbers from PGR, SINAIS, INEGO.
  • 5. Mexican Drug WarCrises as everyday life El Mañana
  • 6. Outline1. Context2. Information War3. Tweeting the War4. Citizen News Curators5. Summary
  • 7. Typical Crisis Response EPI2oh on Flickr
  • 8. “Fearing for their livesand the safety of theirfamilies, journalists areadhering to a near-complete newsblackout, under strictorders of drug smugglingorganizations and theirenforcers, who dictate viadaily telephonecalls, emails and newsreleases what can andcannot be printed oraired.”
  • 9. “The news blackoutextends to governmentofficials. In NuevoLaredo, the mayormysteriously disappearsfor days and refuses todiscuss drug violence.The military general whopresides over the soldierspatrolling the city doesnot hold newsconferences, issuestatements or answerquestions from themedia.”
  • 10. Internet Users1 17% (yr. 2000)  34% (yr. 2010) 34 million users Social Media1 61% of Internet users Twitter2 20% of SM users 5th largest country 1 Asociación Mexicana de Internet, 2011 2 Oxford Internet Institute, 2012(cc) Lecates on Flickr
  • 11. Weakened Increased Institutions Violence Social Media AdoptionBased on photo by Eneas on Flickr
  • 12. Outline1. Context2. Information War3. Tweeting the War4. Citizen News Curators5. Summary
  • 13. InformationEcosystem
  • 14. Monterrey Reynosa Population: 4,000,000 Population: 600,000AmateurArtGuy on Flickr d∂wn on Flickr Saltillo Veracruz Population: 800,000 Population: 700,000Sachavi on Flickr Eduardo Pavon on Flickr
  • 15. Volume Aug 2010  Nov 2011 609,744 tweets City Hashtag Tweets Users1. Monterrey #mtyfollow 211,278 27,1702. Reynosa #reynosafolllow 155,786 9,043 3. Saltillo #saltillo 153,879 16,3474. Veracruz #verfollow 87,801 12,522
  • 16. Content
  • 17. ContentFrequency Types of Words Spanish zona, san, sur, altura, 1 places garza, col., av. #balacera, balacera, 2 shootings balazos, detonaciones 3 report reportan 4 people gente, alguien
  • 18. Types of messages City Mentions Retweets #mtyfollow 20.5% 40.1%#reynosafollow 24.8% 15.9% #saltillo 19.9% 29.9% #verfollow 22.5% 35.3%Disseminating > Interacting
  • 19. Frequency #reynosafollow Daily median: 249& spread #mtyfollow Daily median: 340 #saltillo Daily median: 219 #verfollow Daily median: 494
  • 20. Outline1. Mexican Drug War2. Information War3. Tweeting the War4. Citizen News Curators5. Conclusions
  • 21. #mtyfollow #reynosafollowWho istweeting? #saltillo #verfollow
  • 22. CuratorsAverage citizens
  • 23. Interviews “Angela” “Claudia”Followers: 25K Followers: 30K Tweets: 35K Tweets: 60KHours/day: 15 Hours/day: “many”Age: early 20‟s Age: ? Photo: mr. toaster on Flickr Photo:CarbonNYC on Flickr (in Spanish)
  • 24. How did you get started with Twitter? “Angela” “Claudia” “It was through a “…by chance. I heard friend. She said: on the radio about how„you have to go to celebrities would Twitter! it‟s so interact with their fans.” cool!‟” (Joined in (Joined in mid 2009) late 2009) Photo: mr. toaster on Flickr Photo:CarbonNYC on Flickr
  • 25. How would you describe your role? “Angela” “Claudia”“I‟m a journalist … “My role on Twitter is It is as if I was a that of yet another war citizen. [People] tellcorrespondent, on me that I‟m like theirsocial networks, of „angel,‟ for looking the war we are after them” living in Mexico.” Photo: mr. toaster on Flickr Photo:CarbonNYC on Flickr
  • 26. Motivations “Angela” “Claudia”“I consider this as “…tweeting is an a community altruistic service, even community though people service.”might laugh about it.” Photo: mr. toaster on Flickr Photo:CarbonNYC on Flickr
  • 27. What are your sources? “Angela” “Claudia”“Not all the information “Most of the comes from Twitter. information is from los There‟s a lot of people tuiteros, my followers. who know what I do. In other cases, it‟s theThey have my number reporters on TV, localand they call me… they news...” are 100% citizens.” Photo: mr. toaster on Flickr Photo:CarbonNYC on Flickr
  • 28. Outline1. Context2. Information War3. Tweeting the War4. Citizen News Curators5. Summary
  • 29. Summary• Violence, weak institutions, social media adoption  civic engagement.• Citizens form alert networks.• Information ecosystem.• Emergence curators ("war correspondents“).• Rich opportunities: surfacing latent hyperlocal communities (CHI ‟13).