Social and Behavioural Dynamics of Attention workshop

The VOSON Lab hosted the research workshop "Social and Behavioural Dynamics of attention", aimed at bringing together academics, ECRs and PhD candidates from diverse disciplines to present their research utilising Computational Social Science methods and online data.

In Session 1: "Ratings, recommendations, radicalisation", Dr Jenny Davis (School of Sociology, RSSS, ANU) presented on the social effects of ratings in Reddit; Robert Fleet (PhD candidate, Centre for Digital Humanities Research, RSHA, ANU) explored patterns and behaviours of organised violence in virtual worlds; and A/Professor Colin Klein (School of Philosophy, RSSS, ANU) presented a paper on YouTube recommender system and its potential to derive users to videos with conspiratory content.

Session 2 "Dynamics within an issue space" covered discussion networks in Manosphere communities on Reddit (Simon Copland, ANU PhD candidate), matters of concern emerging in hyperlink networks (A/Professor Mathieu O’Neil, School of Arts & Communication, University of Canberra); and the rise of political discussion on the climate strike sphere on Twitter (Yuanyuan Shang, ANU PhD candidate).

In session 3 "Politics and Public opinions", Rob Ackland analysed the deliberative potential of online discussion, through the analysis of threaded conversations networks in Reddit;  A/Professor Michael Jensen from the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, presented a view on the Chinese media WeChat, and how the communication of news can become an issue of identity politics and national security. PD Dr Florian Muhle (Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, currently visiting the VOSON Lab) finalised the session discussing the problems of using Twitter data to represent public opinion.

Session 4 covered more methodological aspects with Dr Ignacio Ojea Quintana (School of Philosophy, RSSS, ANU) presenting research into online integration or segregation, utilising agent modelling simulations. The workshop closed with Dr Mahin Raissi (School of Sociology, RSSS, ANU), who presented insights on the processes that are driving Twitter conversations during the USA 1st Presidential debate (2016), represented as a network of `reply' activities, between bots and humans.

The workshop took place on February 14, 2020, and it was organised and hosted by the VOSON Lab.

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