Social Reading

There is an interesting Twitter thread about the upcoming Trump / Putin summit in Helsinki. Leah McElrath has picked up one of Trump’s tweets and is using what appears to be a hybrid methodology to read it. I am still deciphering it in my head and unpicking the various parts but some of this is an initial reading of my own


Link to the entire head tweet of the thread here:
https://twitter.com/leahmcelrath/status/1018575142409179136

Starting with the language, a close reading identifies issues and potential cracks in the discourse, which is followed up by other commentators and also thrown into relief by her own links. The grammar also comes in for checking, not just at the tweet level, but also through the mediation of digital devices such as the keyboard or the inbuilt grammar options of Word.

The TrumpOrNotBot (Twitter, The Atlantic, GitHub) determines whether it is sent by Trump or not but does so through the metadata as well as the words. The use of a machine to read in the computational data is by no means new but I find it intriguing that both are being deployed to determine a meaning within the tweets.

Neither a pure human nor a pure machine approach might achieve the same result but working together, they work achieve a more in-depth reading. There is a certain amount of the social machine here as well as making me think of centaur chess. Thinking less computationally and more historically, I also wonder how this fits in with the history of reading, especially salons.


Data as Narrative in Museum objects

I went to the Narrative as Data < > Data as Narrative workshop at Sussex Humanities Laboratory run by Alex Butterworth. Not having attended a hack for a while I wasn’t sure what to expect. After some time, I got involved with a hack on some museum data ina group that included Lisa Gee and […]


Pre-prints, conference papers and culture

Having come back to Humanities (but a new person in digital) from a Computer Science background where there is a culture of the pre-prints though Arxiv. I have also come across a social science version of this but so far have not come across a digital humanities version. I do wonder then if this is […]


Pandas, historical dates and formatting error

Programming with dates and times are always fun. I had hoped that after some time working with them at JISCmail on a central service that I could be forgiven their gory details. Sadly some work with pandas bit me again in this area… I have been updating my Digital Humanities Summer School talk on Reproducibility […]


Thoughts on May’s border models

I’ve been thinking a little about Theresa May’s latest clarification of what her Government wants from Brexit and borders. I come at this merely as curious about some of the underlying models. A line in Dan Roberts’ analysis sums up part of what is bothering me: May’s convoluted proposals for avoiding a customs union would […]


Welcoming the Videocracy

I’m currently reading Videocracy (Allocca, 2018). As the Head of Culture and Trends, there is a clear bias but the breathlessness of the writing is intriguing. Has YouTube style become writing style? Allocca highlights some interesting videos and extrapolates these into trends and themes. Some are long lasting such as the power and use of […]


High Frequency Trading Fans

Ticketmaster, a large purveyor of tickets, appear to be attempting to suggest how a genuine fan might be constructed: Tickets: is this the system to finally beat the touts? Having taken the email address, they want other details to check if a purchaser is a Verified Fan via social media. I do wonder how long […]


Mental health as algorithm bias

The Guardian has a story on insurance companies refusing life insurance cover for those with mental illness. A concern is raised that: The suspicion is that insurers are cherry-picking customers to minimise risk and boost the bottom line. (Marsh, 2018) So are the algorithm’s health being shown by human health? It may or may not […]


A creaking social media

The Guardian ran a piece by Tim Burrows on Facebook’s Safety Check feature, Safety Check: is Facebook becoming fear’s administrator-in-chief? I do find the social media platform increasingly fascinating, especially as it comes under critique for its social and technical choices. There’s an increasing creakiness that is coming to the fore now. Ruminating on the […]


A day at DMRN

I presented a poster on Joshua Steele at the Digital Music Research Network (DMRN) workshop this week. More on the poster in another post but the day did provide a range of talks. Much enjoyed the keynote by Augusto Sardi about capturing and rendering spatial audio. It reflected on techniques from computer vision and the […]