A year has passed since moving to Copenhagen, a new semester has just started, and I’m finally getting settled into my new apartment (after 5 temporary homes in one year). Although this semester is already swamped with teaching (Communication theory, Philosophy of Science and Master thesis seminars), I’ve had some time to do some writing during the spring (in between moving houses of course). Back in April I also organized a seminar on ‘Critical perspectives on social media research and methods‘ with a great lineup of speakers. Another spring highlight was the great conference on Social Media and the Transformation of Public Space organized by José van Dijck and Thomas Poell in Amsterdam, where I co-organized a panel and participated in another.
Since my last update here, I’ve published 3 essays and written som others that are still in the pipline (hopefully more on this soon). In June my article on Horse e_books, the infamous Twitter bot, was published as part of a special issue on Persona in M/C Journals. The two other essays are in Norwegian (sorry, no translations), and part of two different books.
The first book chapter is on the relationship between algorithms and freedom. It’s part a book that examines different perspectives on freedom on the occasion of Norway’s 200 year anniversary, which came out in May. In the chapter I challenge the idea that algorithms dimish freedom by filtering content on the Web, a view that is quite common these days. Instead, I argue that blaming the algorithm prevents us from perhaps taking some of the responsibility for our own actions on the Web. In a world increasingly mediated by machine learning algorithm, the concept of freedom needs to be revisited. Algorithms are not static things, where one person or compnay behind determines what content users get to see. Users are already actively taking part in their own world-making. The implications of this mutual entanglement for an understanding of freedom is what I explore in this chapter.
The second book chaper is part of a book examining the role of surveillance after the Norwegian terror attacks in 2011. The book Fra terror til overvåking is edited by some of my former colleagues at the University of Oslo (Liv Hausken, Sara Rundgren and Trine Haagensen). The book has many interesting contributions and perspectives, including a chapter by the Director for itelligence analysis at the Norwegian Police Security Service. My chapter entiteled ‘The unruly web: surveillance in contemporary media culture’ discusses the role of surveillance in and through social media, with reference made to the Boston Marathon Bombings among other things.