I am a HASTAC scholar class 2013 and for that purpose I was asked to write a short introduction of my PhD project and research interests. I decided to post the same thing here if some of you find it interesting. To be honest it mainly remixes the points and texts I’ve written here before but it also re-focuses my PhD abstract a bit. So here it goes:
I am a PhD Candidate in Media Studies, University of Turku, Finland. The tentative title of my dissertation is Disconnect.me – Re-configuring Users of Social Media and it is scheduled to be complete in 2013. The dissertation researches the means and methods how users are embedded in social media and network culture through interfaces, algorithms, protocols and non-human actors. Adopting disconnection as a method these themes will be dicussed from angles that challenge and contradict the taken for granted ideas of ubiquitous internet and media life. Through case studies the dissertation approaches topics such as digital suicide, Facebook memorial accounts and trolling. Affectivity of mediated environments is discussed in the context of augmented reality and Facebook’s frictionless sharing. One of the key themes of the dissertation is to explore how value is produced for users and from users. Thus concepts such as user profiles, user participation and user experience are understood and configured in the context of digital economy.
The dissertation is supervised by Jukka Sihvonen and Jussi Parikka and it will be edited from a collection of published journal articles which use case based approaches. The first article of this project is titled “Digital Suicide and the Biopolitics of Leaving Facebook” and it was published in the issue 20 of Transformations Journal. I have a book chapter coming out in an edited collection called Networked Affect (MIT Press) next year titled as “Happy Accidents – Facebook and the Value of Affect.” In addition I have two articles in review process and the last one of my PhD articles focusing on trolling is currently in the making. It will hopefully find its place in the next spring.
Evidently, I am interested in social media. My take on the subject is critical and I find myself often interested in analyzing the dark side of social media and trying to point out how things considered as anomalies might reveal interesting things about our mundane experiences and activities with and in social media. Theoretically my thinking is inspired by writings of Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault and the stuff that follows their train of thought. Recently I have found Gabriel Tarde’s work interesting in relation to digital economy.