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Organic cyberwars

The respectable sounding Internet Research Agency (IRA) is a media organisation that was started by the Russian government in 2013, initially to exert influence over Ukrainian and Russian citizens. Some time before the 2016 US election the Russian IRA directed these operations to influence online political discussions in the US, with further influence in other … Continue reading

Just Google it: Netnography in practice

Millennials laugh at Trump’s claim this week that Google is biased — as it only turns up bad news about him (BBC). Some people still have difficulty mastering this basic life skill, to call up and interpret search engine results sensibly and knowingly. Netnographic researchers have the skills. They gather data, information and evidence from the … Continue reading

Elect a clown; expect a circus

… says the meme. I’ve been reading Julia Kristeva (1941-) lately, not least as she championed a revised understanding of semiotics in the turbulent 1960s, and is a major figure in the history of semiotics. She mentions C.S. Peirce favourably in a few places, though her philosophy emerges from the structuralism of de Saussure. Roland Barthes … Continue reading

AI and advertising

Most prominent web publishers such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Reddit and news sites, generate revenue by placing banner, side-bar and in-text adverts on their pages. The ads are tailored for your eyes, and may differ from what others see on the same pages. Programmatic advertising directs what ads you see on web pages and social … Continue reading

Network Nature

The blog medium invites disclosures about work in progress. So here’s the how the table of contents is shaping up for my new book: Coyne , Richard. Network Nature: Digital Technology and the Semiotics of Place. London: Bloomsbury.  The draft is due end of March, including 30 illustrations, and it is on track so far. Table of … Continue reading

Extreme tweeting for professionals

The presence of an unregenerate tweeter in the White House places social media in the spotlight. The current state of the White House reveals it as an extreme locus of power, division, anxiety, instability, temper, ignorance, deception, self-interest, and antipathy. Trump’s use of Twitter provides an excellent case study illustrating what people can do with social media, and what it can do to them. Why should any … Continue reading

Is post-truth politics a thing?

The term “post-truth politics” was coined by journalist David Roberts in an article in Grist in 2010. The use of the term is convenient shorthand to indicate disagreement with some current political circumstance. The term also comes into play as a way of accounting for the strange unregulated world of social media. The term also helps mainstream media outlets account for their declining role as gatekeepers to truth, … Continue reading

Pokémon Go versus Ingress

Everyone is talking about Pokemon Go. So I may as well join in. While on holiday last week in the town of Menton in the south of France I aimed my mobile phone camera at a cat in a laneway. Two young men glanced in my direction as they walked by, and I distinctly heard one of … Continue reading

Evaluating the flipped classroom

Here’s an evaluation to conclude my documentation of the flipped classroom experiment. There were four main sources of data for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the course and our application of the flipped classroom model: (1) reflections by the teaching staff, (2) attendance records taken in class using attendance software and engagement monitoring via the VLE (virtual … Continue reading

How to make a case out of a post

“A case presents an experience or situation that makes at least one point or teaches one lesson,” said Janet Kolodner in a book on automated case-based reasoning during the ascendancy of artificial intelligence in 1993 (554). Cases abound online in news reports and blogs ready to be mined by big data analytic algorithms. In the mean time here’s … Continue reading

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