I’m halfway through a two-week Summer Doctoral Programme at the Oxford Internet Institute. With 4 to 5 seminars/lectures each day on research findings, methods instruction, and project proposals, it has been equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. Oxford University has such a rich intellectual history and the people at the OII are shaping how researchers and policy makers worldwide are helping us all understand life our increasingly digital milieu.
Track the goings-on with OII SDP on Twitter
As a semi-thesis at Fuller I wrote a paper on Secular Religion in the Showtime series Dexter. After a revision, I incorporated Charles Taylor’s concept of the Immanent Frame, and it was recently published in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.
It’s possible we binged Dexter harder and faster than any other show, ever. Man it was so good… especially the first four season.
In one of my first journal articles, which can be found here, I explored the difference (in terms of self-reported loneliness) on CREATING social media (commenting, adding a new post, replying to someone, etc.) and CONSUMING social media (reading, browsing, scrolling, liking). I found no difference between the two, because BOTH were associated with decreased loneliness. This is congruent with other part of this study that found an increase in affinity for (and use of) social media was also associated with less loneliness.
Again, there are causality questions: are social media MAKING people less lonely, or are less lonely people just more likely to use social media more often, perhaps since they have more social connections? This is part of what I’ll be investigating with my dissertation, which draws heavily upon Media Multiplexity Theory (like this article). Perhaps, as the above image indicates, there are relevant differences in the specific platforms or devices people use for creating and consuming?
That’s the gist of the research Brandon Reich and I did.
In terms of loneliness, Instagram and Snapchat (image-based platforms) offer more social presence than Twitter and Yik Yak (text-based platforms). So Instagram and Snapchat decrease loneliness and increase happiness and satisfaction with life.
For those of us that are visually-inclined, here are some data (full article is here, or email me):
Below are density visualizations of responses participants gave when asked why they used image platforms versus text platforms. What differences can you spot between the two?
My wonderful advisor and I wrote a handbook on how to use MTurk.
It was fun to write and I’m still learning stuff each week on how to more efficiently do research on Amazon’s powerful crowdsourcing platform. You can get it on Amazon.
A study I ran with my advisor (recently published here) looks at some of the uses and gratifications people seek out with certain kinds of binge-watching.
Some of the results confirmed what we already suspected, but some of the findings were fascinating in terms of people’s choice of access. There are so many platforms or venues for downloading television shows, and people (because the survey was anonymous) gave us great details about the variety of “illegal” means used to watch shows. The general ethos seems to be that I MIGHT buy an album or season of something if I love it, but when experimenting or testing out new music or shows, most people feel little need to pay for it.
We celebrated Caroline Jack’s first birthday this past weekend, and I think she liked the cupcakes.On a side note, I think Vicky has a possible career as a party planner if she ever has any free time…
My friend Sean goes on an annual fishing trip to where the Deschutes meets the Columbia every year. This year his usual buddies couldn’t make it, and he invited me. Even though I’m not really into fishing, I figured I had to go, since
a) I live in Oregon now, and salmon are like hoppy beer and coffee: plentiful and delicious in the northwest.
b) He provided EVERYTHING I would need… waders, tent, fishing rod, lures, lessons, and patience.
c) it would mean 2 days of camping with Sean, and he has a epicurean talent unlike anyone I’ve ever known. He cooked steak sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and spaghetti for us all without a campfire. When I camp, I eat cliff bars and crusty PB & Js. When I camp with Sean, I eat better than I do at most restaurants.
so I went, and now we’ll have Chinook for dinner sometime soon!