URLs of wisdom (9th November)

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


  • The power of social media to inform – and mislead – a look at some of the controversy about a tool called Truthy that “analyses and models the diffusion of information on Twitter” “In 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Menczer, the director of IU’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, a 4-year, $920,000 grant to study how so-called memes—ideas, issues, and events—are spread across the Internet. In addition to exploring what the structure and diffusion of tweets say about how a society functions, the researchers have also looked at ways to tell whether messages are coming from real people or from computer programs, called bots.”

Academia online 

Academic studies of academics online

  • Academics and their social networks – new paper by Katy Jordan looking at academic use of ResearchGate, Mendeley and Zotero. “Senior academics on average have a larger number of connections and occupy a more central position in the network, while junior academics are less well connected and more peripheral in the network…Members of the professor category also showed the lowest frequency of use of the Academia.edu Web site, which was also found to be a significant factor in several of the items showing differences according to seniority. This is also a potentially interesting finding as it underlines the discrepancy between network structure and active use; professors tend to occupy privileged positions in the network despite rarely actively participating.”



  • What do we mean when we talk about “science of science communication?” – Dan Kahan describes what building bridges between journalists and scholars of communication might look like….“After that–or better still over the course of the process, at the various stages at which there are observations to share–you will go to the professional conference & describe what you have been up to. And everyone will talk about what can be learned.  Professional judgment will continue to evolve in the way that it always has –in response to members’ reflective engagement with their shared experiences–but now with the benefit of this additional input on a disputed issue that had been resisting resolution with the information that was previously at hand.”
  • The report from the OpenKnowledge Festival that I helped to organise this summer is now online – including case studies of successful projects and collaborations that happened at the festival.

Digital marketing

  • ImpactStory do a nice job of sharing the key metrics for their site, blog and Twitter account each month – helpful for benchmarking your own activities. Here’s September/October’s summary.


  • Digital Sociology – new book by Deborah Lupton – out now. “New digital technologies have had a profound influence on everyday life, social relations, government, commerce, the economy and the production and dissemination of knowledge. People’s movements in space, their purchasing habits and their online communication with others are now monitored in detail by digital technologies. We are increasingly becoming digital data subjects, whether we like it or not, and whether we choose this or not….This book introduces a range of interesting social, cultural and political dimensions of digital society and discusses some of the important debates occurring in research and scholarship on these aspects. “

Just for fun

Social media is a huge culprit for the verbisation of nouns!


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