URLs of wisdom (2nd August)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Social Network Analysis


Algorithms and user behaviour:

  • The problem with OKCupid is the problem with the social web “So this is the problem I see not just with Facebook and OKCupid’s experiments, but with most of the arguments about them. They’re all too quick to accept that users of these sites are readers who’ve agreed to let these sites show them things. They don’t recognize or respect that the users are also the ones who’ve made almost everything that those sites show. They only treat you as a customer, never a client.”


  • What privacy settings tell you about the profound difference between Google and Apple – a look at changes to how smartphones by the two companies are changing how they handle your data “… both Apple and Google are making big changes to the nuts and bolts of how permissions work, and they’re moving in opposite directions: While Apple is making it harder for apps to get access to your data, Google is making it easier.”

Other news

  • War reporting in the age of social media“Bearing witness is the oldest and perhaps most valuable tool in the journalist’s arsenal, but it becomes something different delivered in the crucible of real time, without pause for reflection.”
  • Beyond the quantified self – the reflexive monitoring self  “Self-tracking is not simply about quantified (or quantifiable) information. Many self-trackers record non-quantifiable data as part of their practice, including journaling accounts of their daily activities, emotional states and relationships, collecting audio data or visual images and producing visualisations that centre on their aesthetic or explanatory properties rather than their representation of numbers…the information that self-trackers collect on themselves is not simply about self-knowledge but also about presentations and narratives of selfhood – or what might also be glossed as performing selfhood.”
  • On the importance of forgetting – second half of this raises some interesting points “the personal information of private individuals that’s stored and made searchable on big dominant platforms like search engines and social networks should be required to have an expiry date, or made intentionally and exponentially more difficult to locate as time goes on.”


  • Why haven’t social networks for scientists really worked so far? Cameron Neylon reconsiders the reasons after reading danah boyd’s “It’s complicated”. “My view has been that “Facebooks for Science” fail because researchers have no desire to be social as researchers in the same way the do as people – but that they socialize through research objects. What Boyd’s book leads me to wonder is whether in fact the issue is more that the existing tools do little to help researchers negotiate the “networked publics” of research.”
  • The OKFestival community summit – round-up of some of the topics discussed at the community summit, relevant to anyone managing a global, online community.

Web/Social media developments

Academia online


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