Dynamics of attention in Social Media

The VOSON Lab and the ANU School of Sociology have organised and hosted the first RSSS Data Sprint 2019; one of the activities associated with the visit by RSSS Visiting Fellow Dr Tommaso Venturini (Internet and Society Center, CNRS - National Center for Scientific Research, France).

Data Sprints are inspired by hackathons organised by the open source community, and are workshops in which participants from diverse backgrounds meet physically and collaborate intensively on a pre-determined subject and dataset.

The workshop is dedicated to openly explore "Dynamics of attention in Social Media", specifically:

  • The way in which platforms quantify the attention/engagement of their users and the different metrics introduced to this effect
  • The strategies that social media users put in place to maximize their score on these metrics (with a particular interest to 'negative' strategies such as the use of trolling and incivility).
  • The effect that the above metrics and strategies have on the attention cycles online (e.g. amplification, acceleration, concentration, fragmentation, etc.) 

Three Masterclasses covered the use of different tools (R Studio and R libraries- including tools developed by the VOSON Lab: voson SML and VOSON DashboardQuanteda for text analysis, and Gephi for network visualisation) followed by 2 days of actual data sprint, with groups working on datasets extracted from the social media site Reddit. 

The event was organised by Rob Ackland, Tommaso Venturini and Adrian Mackenzie.



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