University of Exeter Contagion Workshop on social media, reality mining and new species of contagion


Workshop 2: Social media, reality mining and new species of contagion

A Research and Knowledge Transfer research event
Date 14 May 2013
Time 10:45 to 16:00
Place Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies

The Contagion project is hosting three workshops, organised through the Society, Technology and Culture Theme of the HASS Strategy. In the last decades there have been heightened attempts to theorise, model and manage the risks of social, financial and biological contagion (Peckham 2013). While the metaphor is widely used, the rules for defining contagions are no longer clear. If contagion emerged as a concern with intimate sexual contact in the 16th Century, and was translated into fear of urban crowds in the 19th Century, and to unease with globalisation in the 20th Century, the 21st Century is coming to terms with the changing coordinates of those contacts, new proximities and distances, new kinds of mediation, aggregation and link-breaking, new vocabularies for affective politics, and a concern with the movement of movement itself (Thrift 2011). As a result, there’s a need to develop resources for understanding how contemporary contagions work and a need to critically evaluate the limits and consequences of analogizing biological, financial and communication processes under the rubric of contagion. In Workshop 2 we will explore the questions: How are social media and ubiquitous computing changing the coordinates and spaces of contagion? What methods can be used to mine reality and to understand the new responses of social networks to information?


11.30   Arrival, coffee and tea

11.45   From virality to neuroculture

Dr Tony D. Sampson (Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London)

12.15   An empirical approach for modelling dynamic contact networks

Dr Eiko Yoneki (Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge)

13.00   Lunch

14.00   The pharmacology of attentive media

Dr Sam Kinsley (Geography, University of Exeter) 

14.30   Social media, community-based organisations, and attention work

Dr Matthew Wilson (Geography, University of Kentucky)

15.00   Introducing the DOLLY project: spatialising social media

Dr Matthew Zook (Geography, University of Kentucky)

15.30   Discussion

16.30   Close of workshop

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) and The Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media (due 2020 with Polity Press). Tony is the organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK (see archive on this blog). As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Tony has been project lead on a number of funded projects that bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach. These activities have included large conferences, symposia and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres, co-organized with community groups and local authorities. Tony occasionally blogs at: Full academic profile:
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