December 9 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm AEDTFree
A local showcase of some of papers that were presented at the 2022 AOIR conference in Dublin.
In November a number of ADM+S researchers presented papers at the Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR) conference in Dublin. At this event we will hear from five of those researchers from UQ and QUT, followed by an open discussion.
PhD Candidate Kiah Hawker (UQ) — Gender play and augmented reality beauty filter selfies on TikTok
The integration of Augmented Reality (AR) filters and lenses within social media platforms has shifted the way everyday users perform the ‘self’. AR produces 3D computer-generated simulations, which overlay and enhance real-world environments. A filter or lens (used interchangeably) overlays digital animations and artifacts on an image, typically a selfie of a user. The first filters were developed by the social media platform Snapchat in 2015 (Hawker and Carah 2019). Since their original development, these filters have consistently aligned with and reinforced heteronormative western beauty standards. Beauty filters are now the most popular and common form of AR on social media. The functionality of these filters has continued to expand – from clearing a user’s skin and adding make-up, to completely transforming the appearance of a user by shifting facial structuring and changing the look of core features like the nose, eyes and lips. Elias and Gill (2018) describe the ways these filters and other beauty apps, enforce a strong surveillant gaze upon the female body. This paper builds upon their argument, along with scholarship on selfie-taking practices, to examine how beauty filters reinforce gendered beauty standards, for both feminine, masculine and non-binary presenting users.
A/Prof Nicholas Carah and PhD Candidate Maria Gemma Brown (UQ) — #cottagecore, #futurecore, #sadcore: Using critical simulation to explore the interplay between machine vision and vernacular Instagram aesthetics
This paper uses a novel combination of computational and qualitative methods called ‘critical simulation’ to explore the interplay between everyday image-making practices and the algorithmic architecture of Instagram. The paper aims to understand the capacity of machine vision systems to recognise and reproduce the diverse vernacular aesthetics and affects associated with particular scenes on Instagram – in this case, drawing on a case study of Instagram’s ‘-cores’ hashtags. We used our purpose-built machine vision system to undertake unsupervised clusterings of a sample of the 359,150 images associated with a curated set of 60 ‘-cores’ hashtags, which we collected following a period of immersive qualitative investigation of the -cores phenomenon on the platform itself during 2021. We assess the extent to which the system’s clusters align with the different -cores hashtags under which the images were originally posted, and then undertake a close cultural analysis of the clusters, reading them through the lens of our existing knowledge of the -core hashtags. This enables us to speculate on how the platforms’ machine vision logics might play a role in shaping Instagram’s platform aesthetics, and on internet culture more broadly.
PhD Candidate Dominique Carlon (QUT) — Dadbot and what he reveals about Reddit’s everyday platform culture
_u/dadbot_3000_ is one of many from a collective of DadBots that claim to bring ‘dad jokes’ and bad puns to Reddit. In practice, DadBots are better known for simply commenting ‘Hi, I’m Dad’ and together they have fostered a well-known presence and identity on the Reddit platform. The presence of bots such as _u/dadbot_3000_ demonstrate how online communities engage with semi-autonomous entities in a creative, ‘playful’ (Massanari, 2016) and sometime humorous way. Bots are frequently examined as problematic on account of their potential to distort social interaction, spread misinformation, and disrupt political process (Dubois & McKelvey, 2019; Albadi, et al., 2019; Shao et al., 2018). However bots such as _u/dadbot_3000_ can also be entertaining, engage in humour or contribute to the cultural landscape where they operate. This paper will present a cultural biography of _u/dadbot_3000_, examining its interactions with other bots and human users. A time series of events will highlight patterns across the bot’s lifespan, depicting controversies, connections, and how attitudes and interactions with the bot evolve over time. By tracing the life stories of _u/dadbot_3000_, this research will add insight into how bots, and people’s perception of them reflect, and contribute to the culture and architecture of online platform environments.
PhD Candidate Ashwin Nagappa (QUT) — Locating DTube in web history: narratives from emerging decentralized social media platform and communities of practice
This paper locates DTube, a blockchain based social media (BSM) platform in a historical context and explores the significance of this minor platform (Nicoll, 2019) in subverting a platformatized web. It presents partial findings from the platform biography (Burgess and Baym, 2020) of DTube.