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Sometimes I Just Want to Eat Eggplants, Tacos and Peaches: A re-calibration of ethical social media use

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A public presentation that explores the contentious issues surrounding social media communication, and the importance of not regulating too tightly. Instead, we should be thinking about how a better cultural understanding can improve social media communication.

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Sometimes I Just Want to Eat Eggplants, Tacos and Peaches: A re-calibration of ethical social media use

  1. 1. The University of Sydney Page 1 Sometimes I Just Want to Eat Eggplants, Tacos and Peaches: A re- calibration of ethical social media use Dr Jonathon Hutchinson Department of Media and Communication University of Waitako, New Zealand 23 November, 2016
  2. 2. The University of Sydney Page 2 “The only thing worse then an uninformed society, is a misinformed society”– Matt Masur, November 15, 2016, Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-could-replace-president-trump-with-little_us_5829f25fe4b02b1f5257a6b7
  3. 3. The University of Sydney Page 3 https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/613caf77-33f8-44c0- 9267-1ec92f01dd4e
  4. 4. The University of Sydney Page 4 In response to a story about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addressing the United States Congress: “Sounds just like an American politician — speaking out of two sides of his mouth. Must be why the Repugnicans invited him to address Congress — they all speak the same language.”
  5. 5. The University of Sydney Page 5 In response to a story about Hillary Clinton's aide Huma Abedin separating from her husband, Anthony Weiner, following repeated sex scandals: “This seems like one of those articles that shouldn’t have a comment button due to the topic … the dissolution of a marriage. Beyond that, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.”
  6. 6. The University of Sydney Page 6 In response to an article that quotes the United States House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, criticizing her Republican counterparts for agreeing to pay for the legal defense of a federal ban on gay marriage: “This is so much political correctness. The family, men plus women = children is the basis of society. Scientific facts are not altered by political correctness and neither is the law and design of man by God. Two men can create a relationship, but not a child. This is not marriage. This is sodomy. Check out Sodom & Gomorrrah if you would like God’s opinion about it. A lie is not the truth. Stop it Obama.”
  7. 7. The University of Sydney Page 7 In response to a story about why Syria’s civil war only seems to get worse: “The arab spring was anything but non-violent. What were you reading that gave you that impression? What was happening and continues to happen is a replay of the french revolution. This problem will not end unless a significant portion of the middle east is sterilized and even then you would still have to sterilize Iran and possibly Saudi Arabia.”
  8. 8. The University of Sydney Page 8 In response to a story about Chinese women who hire “mistress dispellers” to break up their husbands’ affairs: “Women and their monogamy obsession. Why are they so insecure and try to fight biology?”
  9. 9. The University of Sydney Page 9 Now more then ever we need to be critical of social media practice – the call for Ethical Social Media But this is not necessarily easy, and takes a particular type of expertise to make it happen.
  10. 10. The University of Sydney Page 10 The Social Media ‘Battlefield’…
  11. 11. The University of Sydney Page 11 Social Media Environment – A complex field of commercial, government and individuals – Regulation is not an easy task – Activity is malleable: does not align in any one given form – The role of intermediaries is crucial to navigate future engagement – There is a shifting cultural/regulatory approach towards everyday social media use
  12. 12. The University of Sydney Page 12 Everyday Social Media: The cultural and social norms of social media
  13. 13. The University of Sydney Page 13 Everyday Social Media – Users participate in social media for a variety of reasons, e.g. maintaining relationships with family & friends – Social media is for information – Social media provides locative support – There are cultural norms that have emerged through social media, for example dance memes (dad dabs) – Hashtags are of particular interest here as a signal to noise isolator – Hashtags also suggest ‘social visibility’
  14. 14. The University of Sydney Page 14 Social Visibility – Digital influencers are skilled at using social visibility for commercial purposes, i.e. Zoella – Lobbyists may use social visibility for political purposes, i.e. American ‘alt- right’ – Socialists may use social visibility to mobilize participation, i.e. #blacklivesmatter
  15. 15. The University of Sydney Page 15 Social Media Languages – ROFLs, LOL, Ha Ha, IMO, TBH, etc. – Hashtags: #dadjoke, #usedforthepunchline, #connectswiththelargerconversation – Sometimes, there’s emojis: eggplants, tacos, etc – The common thing here, is we loose tone, facial expression, body gestures – This introduces complexity into the message > sender > receiver communication process – Much of the language activity is to promote social visibility
  16. 16. The University of Sydney Page 16 Existing Regulation Models
  17. 17. The University of Sydney Page 17 Social Media (internet) Regulation - Rationale 1. Increased access to high-speed broadband internet 2. Digitisation of media products and services 3. Convergence of media platforms and services 4. Globalisation of media platforms, content and services 5. Acceleration of Innovation 6. Rise of user-created content 7. Greater media user empowerment 8. Blurring of public/private and age based distinctions (Flew, 2012)
  18. 18. The University of Sydney Page 18 Social Media (Internet) Regulation - Global 1. Internet Society (ISOC) 2. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) 3. Regional Internet Registries incl. Public Internet Registry (.org) 4. UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) >> Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 5. Internet Engineering and Research Groups: (oversee tech standards and research via Request for Comments) 6. Dynamic coalitions
  19. 19. The University of Sydney Page 19 Social Media Regulation - Platform – Combination of global, local, and self regulation – Self regulation model – Also global, which means it is multi regional – Facebook become purposely vague on their approach to global regulation – What might be useful in one region, is problematic in another – The result is a complex process that can be exhaustive for users and non-conclusive for other stakeholders
  20. 20. The University of Sydney Page 20 Social Media Regulation - Local – Typically called ‘Terms of Service’, ‘End User Agreement’, or ‘Terms and Conditions’ – A fluid group of conditions that are designed to accommodate multiple stakeholders, cultures, uses and languages – Requires a specific expertise and sets(s) of knowledge to identify, understand and interpret – This is typically the role of cultural intermediaries
  21. 21. The University of Sydney Page 21 Harmful Digital Communication Act The 10 principles say that a digital communication should not: 1. disclose sensitive personal facts about a person; 2. be threatening, intimidating, or menacing; 3. be grossly offensive; 4. be indecent or obscene; 5. be used to harass a person; 6. make a false allegation; 7. breach confidences; 8. incite or encourage anyone to send a deliberately harmful message; 9. incite or encourage a person to commit suicide; and 10. denigrate a person’s colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
  22. 22. The University of Sydney Page 22 So we have Everyday Social Media Use + Regulation. How does this translate into, or possibly equal, ethical social media?
  23. 23. The University of Sydney Page 23 Cultural Intermediation
  24. 24. The University of Sydney Page 24 Cultural Intermediaries – Bourdieu (1984) coins the phrase to describe those who are located between differing social classes – One example might be to translate high brow art to the masses, or decode the significance of popular culture – Typically, cultural intermediaries are those that exchange knowledge and expertise ‘in the middle’ of stakeholder groups – These agents become increasingly important social and regulatory roles within everyday social media use
  25. 25. The University of Sydney Page 25 Cultural Intermediaries 1. Change Agents 2. Digital Influencers 3. Community Managers
  26. 26. The University of Sydney Page 26 Change Agents Change agents, e.g. opinion leaders, peer educators, community facilitators, counsellors, outreach workers etc., can assist in building and strengthening these influence relationships and can also shape behavioural norms (Kempe, Kleinberg, & Tardos, 2003). Many programs make use of change agents – e.g. peer educators, counsellors, opinion leaders and community health workers – to disseminate messages within target communities. (Goodwin, 2015).
  27. 27. The University of Sydney Page 27 Change Agents
  28. 28. The University of Sydney Page 28 Digital Influencers “Influencers — everyday, ordinary Internet users who accumulate a relatively large following on blogs and social media through the textual and visual narration of their personal lives and lifestyles, engage with their following in “digital” and “physical” spaces, and monetize their following by integrating “advertorials” into their blogs or social media posts and making physical paid-guest appearances at events” (Abidin, 2016). Jennifer Lam , Bamboo Garden:
  29. 29. The University of Sydney Page 29 Digital Influencers
  30. 30. The University of Sydney Page 30 Community Managers – Supportive individuals who promote safe and productive environments – Encourage conversation – Promote creativity – Often act as translators between stakeholders: institutional, platform and users
  31. 31. The University of Sydney Page 31 Hutchinson, 2016. Cultural Intermediaries: “are the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool culture in today's marketplace” (Smith-Maguire, 2014). “are specific in how they source emerging creativity, and make this type of cultural production accessible for larger audiences. They enable consumers and producers of cultural texts to engage in a two-way dialogue: producers are exposed to fringe, and highly creative, practices by non-professional creative practitioners, while contributors are published to larger audiences” (Hutchinson, 2016).
  32. 32. The University of Sydney Page 32 Cultural Intermediaries Engaging Cultural and Regulatory Specificities
  33. 33. The University of Sydney Page 33 Community Manager Code of Ethics
  34. 34. The University of Sydney Page 34 Basically, we need experts in the field – Regardless of your discipline and/or profession, we need social media experts to navigate these environments – They need to be experts in social media languages, cultures, norms and regulations (at all levels) – This is the reason we need cultural intermediaries to operate in the ethical social media space
  35. 35. The University of Sydney Page 35 Emerging Experiments in this Space – What if institutions started training staff in this role? – What if those institutions were public service? – Can they embody a social advocacy, digital influencer space? – Would this solve some of the issues around online hate speech an online vilification? – This is the principle behind the Digital First Personality (DFP)
  36. 36. The University of Sydney Page 36 But are humans the way of the future?
  37. 37. The University of Sydney Page 37 But then, bots… https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/17/this-researcher-programmed-bots-to-fight-racism-on-twitter-it-worked/
  38. 38. The University of Sydney Page 38 This tends to indicate that future will not be human cultural intermediaries, but ‘artificial’ cultural intermediaries built on artificial intelligence
  39. 39. The University of Sydney Page 39 Further work – Sometimes social media is just about eggplants, tacos or peaches, and that doesn’t necessarily have to mean food – and that’s OK – We need more work on understanding cultural norms and languages in this space – In the first instance, this is important work for cultural intermediaries – We need to begin understanding how artificial intelligence can do a better job for us
  40. 40. The University of Sydney Page 40 Dr Jonathon Hutchinson Department of Media and Communication jonathon.hutchinson@sydney.edu.au @dhutchman

Editor's Notes

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