As many of you already know, the third annual Theorizing the Web is fast approaching this March 1st and 2nd. We’ve moved the conference to New York City with help from CUNY’s Just Publics 365 initiative and we’ve also added a Friday event in addition to the main conference on Saturday. [Also, a reminder: the deadline to submit a 500 word abstract is January 6th!] On Friday, March 1st, the conference launches with a full slate of invited presentations at the CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery followed by an offsite social gathering.
The event will begin with an late afternoon plenary by Alice Marwick (@alicetiara), titled: “Wall Posts Can’t Protect You: Networked Privacy & Social Surveillance in Facebook.” You can get a hint of what Alice will be discussing by reading her recent paper in Surveillance and Society titled “The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life.” Here’s the abstract [updated 1.15.13]:
In the autumn of 2012, a popular Facebook meme involved a cut-and-paste “privacy notice” that served as a folk legal strategy, aimed at protecting people’s Facebook posts from being used by, well, Facebook. While this was quickly debunked, its popularity points to a larger issue, namely the futility of individual control over information dissemination, and thus the reliance on others to protect individual privacy on social network sites like Facebook, which I conceptualize as networked privacy. Online privacy is often framed either as a binary of public vs. private information, or of information that flows from a known and anticipated context to an unknown and unanticipated context. Neither frame takes into account the affordances of social technologies, which enable people to widely share information about someone without their consent, that preclude individual control over privacy. For many, control over social context and individual agency is required to feel that something is private. However, the power differentials inherent in human relationships mean that both control and agency are constantly violated, not only by changing technologies, but by differing levels of social status. These power differentials are also illuminated by the widespread practice of social surveillance, or the close examination of content created by others and views of one’s own content through other people’s eyes. Individuals strategically reveal, disclose and conceal personal information to create connections with others and tend social boundaries. Using examples from ethnographic studies of American social media use, I discuss how Facebook’s promotion of networked privacy and social surveillance contributes to the reinforcement of tightly striated social hierarchies.
Following a brief intermission for refreshments, will be our featured panel conversation, titled “Theorizing the Web Presents: Free Speech For Whom?” The panel brings together exciting speakers who each have a unique perspective on how digital technologies are making us reconsider the relationship between power and free speech. Here’s a description of the ideas the panel will be discussing among themselves and with the audience:
A free society requires free speech. But the story has always been more complicated than that. Power and social inequality always shape how speech is practiced. Technological change—most recently, the Web—has the capacity to disrupt and transform those speech practices, raising many questions: Who can speak? To whom? How? Where? Why? What such questions about free speech make clear is that the Web is not a new (virtual) frontier; instead, it is part of and consequential to this reality. From this perspective, Theorizing the Web asks, “Free Speech For Whom?” This panel discussion brings together thinkers of free speech and the Web, cutting at this broad issue in many ways. From bullying, trolling, and harassment to Anonymous and WikiLeaks; from drones, spying, and surveillance to protest and repression; from big data, hacking, and doxxing to mob vigilantism and anarchism, the necessities and limits of free speech, visibility, and transparency are a complex topic.
The panel will be moderated by Jessie Daniels (@JessieNYC) and will include:
More speakers may be announced soon. Seating for Friday’s events will be limited, so be sure to arrive early.
Registration is required and open to all. As always, it’s pay what you want.
We hope you are looking forward to #TtW13 as much as we are!