The thorough saturation of performance metrics in publishing is well known. We get listicles, slideshows, information gap headlines, outrage, and sensationalism in our feeds to bait our clicks. Being paid by the click creates an infosphere where the content becomes coincidental to its circulation, and we all know and recognize this trend for what it is.

But what does it mean when the value of an academic career is reduced to a short letter-number combination? The H-index is a popular metric that grants numeric value to a scholar’s work (your score is 7 if you have 7 papers that have 7 or more citations, an h-10 means you have 10 papers with 10 or more citations, and so on). There is a lot wrong with the H-index from a measurement standpoint–it has trouble accounting for multiple versus single authorship, it only tallies publications and citations from traditional academic venues, and it only collects data from documents written in English. Yet even if we “fixed” the measure to attenuate bias, combined the measure with additional indicators of influence, and/or expanded the instrument to capture greater complexity, a larger philosophical issue remains: The metrification of scholarly pursuit.

Last week, alterations to Google Scholar coincided with sharp commentary on metrification. We were especially taken with two pieces on the LSE Impact blog addressing academic metrification in general and its particular manifestation on the ResearchGate repository. All of this comes at a time when scientists are also warning of dangerous levels of secrecy that make practitioners choose between the moral courage to blow the whistle on an industry and lucrative intellectual property contracts. For all the talk of collaborative and interdisciplinary work, scholars have never played it so close to the vest. The ubiquitous score-keeping in the day-to-day life and career path of the academic researcher is thoroughly felt but this increasingly gamified scholarship is a topic not spoken about too loudly.  

Academic score-keeping is an old practice but the increasingly seamless relationship between publication, data collection, and subsequent ranking establishes perverse incentives for everyone involved in the production of knowledge. The consequences of metrification extend beyond academic practitioners to include The University as a social institution, and to knowledge production and dissemination in general.

Tying an academic career trajectory to one’s capacity to generate impressive quantitative scores profoundly shapes what it means to be a scholar and engage in scholarship. It incentivizes things like obligatory and unnecessary conference presentations that add lines to a CV; multi-authored journal articles in which people boost publication numbers regardless of meaningful contributions to the text; “salami publishing” in which authors write articles about simple ideas using thin data instead of slowly constructing a robust piece of work; and the use of strategic citation practices and adherence to “buzzwords” to maximize visibility.

As the amount of applicants continues to swell for each tenure-track job, and as the structure of the academy moves ever closer to a corporate model, we risk trading careful research for a lab rat race. A publishing record that once bestowed a full professorship thirty years ago may be a marginal case for a mid-career tenure case file today. Departments continue to admit graduate students not because their assessment of the field demands additional practitioners, but because a dip in a graduate enrollments may catch the eye of a dean looking to merge and consolidate departments.

Some of our readers are “academics” (current, aspiring, and former), and some not. But all of our readers are curious and thoughtful and likely invested in practices of knowledge production. We hope to start a conversation about metrification in light of technological and social shifts. We’re asking for your help:

To what degree is academic life run by measures and scores and metrics?

Are the measures accurately describing and promoting good work? Or, as we fear in this post, is work being made to fit and maximize the measures?

Can you think of measures and scores we haven’t listed here? Or specific ways research is changed to make the numbers look good (like choosing a research topic, the terms you use when writing, the people you cite, where you publish, and so on)?

Do measurements need to be improved or removed?

Please participate in the comments! This is a topic we at Cyborgology have cared about for a long time and have not seen many robust discussions elsewhere.

Headline image via: Source

This year was, by all accounts, a tumultuous one. The last 12 months did, however, produce some amazing work, and we’d like to share some of our favorite texts of 2016. Below are the media that made a lasting impression on us.


Street Style: An Ethnography of Fashion Blogging

Crystal Abidin: The hallmark of a good piece of ethnographic writing is that it should be rich enough to enchant scholars for tens of years and accessible enough to captivate non-specialist readers after ten minutes of casual browsing. Brent Luvaas’ take on the global rise of amateur fashion blogging lends a critical perspective to a practice and ethic that has transcended multiple hierarchies through its networked capillaries. Having evolved from small amateur hobbyists to front-row media moguls at high-end fashion runways, Luvaas tracks how such street style models and photographers become critical tastemakers and gatekeepers, and how they have become dispersed but important stakeholders in glocal fashion circuits. His book mirrors the rhythm of an anthropologist’s foray into a new field site, as he takes reader through the process of situating fashion milieus that vary across whimsical alleys and laneways; identifying illusive street fashionistas who desire at once to convey a distinctive style while modeling after the aesthetic of successful predecessors; and developing his own style radar as his auto-ethnography compels him to practice and document as a street photographer. Alongside his rich theoretical insight regarding taste regimes and presentation of the self are intimate recounts of his methodological process as Luvaas presents the embodied tensions of an ethnographer who finds themselves in a field of thin solidarities, straddling between obscure fashion streets and prominent fashion blogs, between the amateur and the professional, between the flaneur and the exhibitionist. More crucially, Street Style is the first in-depth ethnography to take seriously the apparent frivolity of fashion blogging, by being generous to the voices of diverse peoples for whom amateur fashion is aspiration, inspiration, passion, and struggle all at once.


Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas that Shape the World

David A. Banks: If you had asked me last year, whether the world needed another book surveying the history and philosophy of urban design I would have said no. Peter Hall’s definitive Cities of Tomorrow (now on its 4th edition published in 2014), has been my go-to source for the history and geography of urban form all around the world. My Introduction to Urban Geography class did not read Hall’s masterwork though because I assigned Wade Graham’s Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas that Shape the World. Wade does a masterful job of not only drawing connections between ideas but offering the reader small biographic glimpses into the actual people who defined the way cities look and behave. Wade describes the Japanese Metabolists Kiyonori Kikutake and Kisho Kurokawa making a splash at the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM): “They were young—Kurokawa a mere 26—and confident, dressed in skinny suits and ties, with cigarettes hanging from their lips … [they discussed] Marxist theories, scientific parallels, and their own ideas [for] radical urban alternatives.” Each chapter revolves around an idea expressed in a single word—castles, corals, and habitats—and the way Wade introduces each major player in that idea carries the reader forward, swept up in the kind of excitement that comes with world-changing conversation.


The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms

Jenny L. Davis: My recommended “read” for this year is not a book nor did it come out this year. Instead, it’s a documentary that, though first released in 2015, came to Netflix in April 2016. No apologies. Rules were made to be broken. The documentary is called “The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms.”  It’s a lovely and simple film of profound importance. Guided by mathematics professor Marcus Du Sautoy, viewers are treated to a brief history of the algorithm, a survey of its meanings and functions, and concrete examples of how algorithms operate in the contemporary (social)media environment. Recent years have seen conversations about data and algorithms loom large in both academic and public discourse, animated through echo-chambers, black boxes, emotional contagion, and curatorial processes. Yet it is far from clear that those who engage in such conversations entirely understand the inner-workings of the phenomenon about which they speak. By answering “what is an algorithm, and how does it work?” the film infuses data centered discourse with a much needed knowledge base. Even if you already know what an algorithm is, this film teaches you how to talk about it in a way that anyone can understand. In its delicate balance of accessibility and complexity, “The Secret Rules of Modern Living” is a keen example of public scholarship at its best.


The Selfishness of Others

Nathan Jurgenson: The discourse around the internet making us stupid and lonely and fake is maybe being done in bad faith. And that meme might be most pronounced in discussions about narcissism. While not centrally about the internet, The Selfishness of Others takes on exactly the ulterior motives behind the need to diagnose others as narcissistic. One takeaway from this book is the utterly dismal state of social psychological psychometric research. Kristin Dombek describes the contradictory uses of narcissism (is it being full of self or empty of self?) and looks at why the concept is appealed to so often. She argues that seeing others as narcissists is often about being insecure in one’s own condition of having a self. In this way, narcissism might be the condition, in others, of being entangled and dependent; to be dependent on someone is often for that person to display what our culture describes as narcissistic. Importantly, Dombek describes past theoretical appeals to narcissism as understanding social structure: In 1979 Christopher Lasch looked to the economy to explain a shallow performance of self esteem and in that same year Arlie Hochschild described an affective capitalism demanding a gendered performance of emotion and care. Meanwhile, modern narratives about narcissism look away from structure and instead blame the individuals themselves as flawed, defective, and less fully human. This is a familiar story for those who read those psychological concerns about the internet (for example, from researchers like Sherry Turkle). From Dombek’s analysis, one might conclude that it’s of no coincidence that the young people decried as shallow, fake, and narcissistic are also the ones being asked to pay more debt with fewer available jobs.


Network Aesthetics

Marley-Vincent Lindsey: We live in the age of network; while a diverse array of networks exist, the prescriptive power of terming something “a network,” produces in the mind a natural image that moves between social networks, networking, and networks of letters or Twitter feeds. The term has become stable enough that academics and journalists can both write about “the network,” without critically evaluating whether or not “the network” is the end of the story. Patrick Jagoda’s Network Aesthetics is best understood as a method of pushing against the naturalization of “the network.” The discussion is timely, as many people in the wake of Trump have already turned on the network’s propensity to keep us socially or factually isolated. But in Jagoda’s hands, such arguments still homogenize the experience of the network. Instead, Jagoda suggests that we need to separate the network from discourses that imply it as a totalizing, controlling, sovereign force, and instead begin interrogating it as a space of contingency. His heterogeneous examples move us from the novel in the 1990s to Alternate Reality Games, which immerse players in a transmedia narrative, moving between text, phones, web, and physicality. Each discussion forces the reader to confront just how insufficient “the network” is as an endpoint of analysis. In the wake of the Digital Humanities, and what Lara Putnam has recently coined the Digital Turn, many individuals within humanistic disciplines have found themselves increasingly on the defensive about the nature of their work. DH has offered an answer through methodological correctives that typically quantify, and subsequently produce networks of meaning through their efforts.


Orphan Black

Gabi Schaffzin: I was lucky enough to sit in on a panel at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts‘ annual conference in Atlanta this past November which featured five papers about the BBC America sci-fi series, Orphan Black, as well as a talk by Cosima Herter, the science historian and consultant for the show. The series, which first premiered in March 2013, famously stars Tatiana Maslany as each member of a constantly expanding and shrinking group of clones—all products of a science experiment. Maslany, who finally won an Emmy for her multi-faceted (literally) performance, seamlessly transitions from one character to the next, often causing the viewer to forget she is a one-woman clone army. But while she and her supporting cast are superb (do yourself a favor and look up videos of Jordan Gavaris as clone Sarah’s brother, Felix), one of the best features of the show is the science. Herter has worked closely with her friend and show creator Graem Manson to make sure there is historical, political, economic, and scientific basis for almost everything that happens in each episode. As a result, the papers I heard at SLSA were diverse and in-depth: the phrases “molecules as slaves” and “grey market investments”, Christine Rosen’s Preaching Eugenics, and the GynePunk collective (the “cyborg witches of DIY gynecology”) were all mentioned. This show is about eugenics and consent and misogyny and so much more, all packed into an addictive serial format (with, sure, the occasional superfluous plot line). So as my “2016 favorite”, I’m begging you to binge on seasons 1–4 so you’re ready for the final season (I know!) next year.



Britney Summit-Gil: Part of my research in media studies is playing with the idea of what a “text” is. As a unit of analysis, I think text is useful because it can be small and discrete like a television show or massive and messy like… well, me_irl. I generally think of a text as some cultural object that is bounded in a way that makes it internally coherent, and I expand or shrink that definition as needed for a given project. But me_irl pushes the limits of even this wishy-washy definition. To call it internally coherent is probably folly. But it is highly intertextual, weaving together a complex discourse that requires a great deal of familiarity with past posts, current events and pop culture, and the nature of the audience itself. It’s what Barthes would call a writerly text in which the burden of meaning-making is placed on the reader. It upsets linear narrative and clear-cut description, favoring vague referentiality and inside jokes so convoluted that going a day or two without checking me_irl will leave you completely out of the loop. This fast-paced, chaotic, unpredictable circulation of discourse has led to massive upheavals in the community, which continue to resonate today. For such a silly subreddit, it takes a lot of work to understand what’s going on a lot of the time, which is part of the joy, or jouissance as Barthes called it, of me_irl. I think it has been particularly important to me in the past few months of the campaign and subsequent election as an oasis of humor that is at times purely playful and others quite gloomy. Each day, once I catch up with the continually-unfolding trash fire that is news and politics, I slip over to me_irl and catch up on the latest controversy over a user’s broken promise to get the script from Bee Movie printed on their ass. There is no jouissance in piecing together contemporary politics, so I get my fix by puzzling through layers of references in an effort to understand some meme that doesn’t make sense. Yet. I mean me too thanks



Call for Papers

Theorizing the Web 2017

April 7–8 in New York City

At the Museum of the Moving Image, in Astoria, Queens

The submission deadline is January 22, 2017 (11:59 p.m. EST)

Started in 2011, Theorizing the Web is an annual event for critical, conceptual conversations about technology and society. Theorizing the Web begins with the assumption that to talk about technology is also to discuss the self and the social world. Debate around digital social technologies too often fails to apply the many relevant literatures of social thought. We do not think “theorizing” is solely the domain of academia, and we value clear and compelling arguments that avoid jargon. Here are some photos from last year’s event if you want to see the vibe of it all.

Theorizing the Web is a home for thinking about technology by people who may not think of themselves primarily as “tech” thinkers. Activists, journalists, technologists, writers, artists, and people who don’t identify as any of the above are all encouraged to submit. We especially invite submissions that engage with issues of social justice, power, inequality, and vulnerability from a diverse range of perspectives.

Submissions on any topic are welcome. Some general topical suggestions include the intersections between technology and identity, privacy, sexuality, the body, power, politics, surveillance, racism, sexism, ableism, harassment, space, code, design, knowledge, images, memes, attention, work, fiction, gaming, globalization, capitalism, and protest.

Submissions should be 300 to 500 words (only the first 500 words will be reviewed). The TtW Selection Committee will blindly review submissions and make decisions in early to mid-February. Space is limited, and our acceptance rate is typically 20-35%. The presentations themselves will be 12-minute talks in a panel setting. You will be speaking to a general audience who may not share your area of expertise.

Before submitting, please read our FAQ section on submissions.

Submit your proposal here:

Registration for Theorizing the Web remains pay-what-you-can, and we ask that you donate whatever amount you deem fair or can afford (minimum $1). Register here:

Stay tuned to for announcements about invited panels, and email us at if you would like to help out with our all-volunteer event in any way. We’re @TtW_conf on Twitter, and the conference hashtag is #TtW17.




Just a quick note to commemorate the 6th birthday of Cyborgology. We’ve gone from a small band of grad students to a slightly larger band of grad students (and faculty) who live all around the world.  We’ve covered everything from the (probably) last presidential election to the resurgence of memes as a cultural object worthy of careful dissection and analysis (admit it—people were barely talking about those things for like a year or something).

We are proud to announce several new contributors to the blog, all of whom have been writing all month without a proper introduction:

And of course Britney Summit-Gil has been keeping track of the election and most recently wrote about all the tech around controlling people through controlling menstruation. Click on everyone’s names to get a list of everything they’ve written for the blog and be sure to check out the editors and authors page to read more about them. We are also looking forward to a few new regular by lines in the near future including Maya Indira Ganesh and Gabriele de Seta.

Your editors have been very busy as well! Jenny has taken a job at Australian National University and David earned his PhD last summer and is doing a bunch of different academic odd jobs. Co-Founder Nathan Jurgenson is crushing it with his new publication, Real Life Mag and PJ Patella-Rey is in the final stretch of dissertating.

Image source

Cyborgology Logo

For nearly six years Cyborgology has been dedicated to producing thoughtful essays and commentary about society’s relationship to technology. Writers enjoy significant freedom to write essays and stories of varying length, style, and topic. We are now looking for several new contributors to join Cyborgology.

What we are looking for: People willing to write about society, culture, and technology in an accessible but smart way. Contributions can take many forms and we are flexible about writing frequency. Scrolling through the last few months of Cyborgology is the best way to get an idea of the style and frequency of pieces we want to see. We are especially interested in writers from under-represented or marginalized subject positions. You do not need to be affiliated with any institution of higher learning but you do have to be comfortable writing about and through theoretical concepts. Of course writing schedules are very flexible and we are open to whatever work arrangement you can put together. The best way to know what kind of work we want is to read the site and check out our submission guidelines for guest posts.

The benefits of writing for Cyborgology: For better or worse, Cyborgology is a volunteer effort. None of us get paid and we do not anticipate that changing anytime soon. Writing for Cyborgology has, however, been known to open up new opportunities of a monetary nature. We are also proud to have a dedicated, smart audience that likes to share and discuss our ideas. Work on Cyborgology has also been linked to and shared by large media organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Pacific Standard, and many more. All writing on Cyborgology is covered under a Creative Commons attribution license and authors retain full control over their work. We are also a member of an awesome community of blogs and publications under The Society Pages umbrella.

How to apply: As our past and present contributors can attest– writing for Cyborgology is a strange animal. Therefore, we’ve done our best to simulate writing for Cyborgology in the application process. We want three polished writing samples between 500-1000 words, at least two of which need to grapple with a current event between now (July 18, 2016) and the due date which is September 1, 2016. It is totally fine to send us something you’ve published elsewhere or turned in for an assignment.  We may also ask if we can run some of your submissions as guest posts before we make any final decisions. Writing samples should be saved as either .doc or .docx and sent as an attachment to david.adam.banks [at] In the email please indicate the best email address to reach you, a short three sentence bio, and any other accomplishments you think we should know about. A full cover letter is not necessary.


As I walk in, I glance at the sign that says “Local 1964 AFL-CIO” and smile at the greeter who stands by the front door. Walking down the aisle I peruse the household cleaners. All natural, $4; organic, $9; wood-safe, $3.Taken slightly aback by the cost, I pull out my phone and bring up the same products in the Amazon app: $1.50 difference. I pause to think about that $1.50 and spiral into an internal dialogue about capitalism and my place within it.  Not only do these chemicals eventually go down my drain back into a water source that I share with my neighbors, but the money I spent represents my values. $1.50 is less than the price of a small ice cream, and also, apparently, the margin necessary to pay the local grocery workers a living wage.  I pick up the product off the shelf— the $4 natural multi-surface cleaner—and continue down my list.

The presence and use of Amazon’s apps on my phone are part of a larger socioeconomic process. As gentrification runs rampant in my small city, the local use of Amazon and other delivery apps increases and local union grocery stores have closed one after another, resulting in many unemployed people. One of the many insidious aspects of late capitalism is its ability to force a competition between time-saving and wage-saving.  The convenience of technology necessitates further trust in and reliance on the rest of society. Or, as PJ Rey puts it: “There is no such thing as a lone cyborg.” What we often ignore, however, is how our choice of convenience simultaneously necessitates that our local community also become more reliant on large infrastructures and less self-sustaining. As Christian Fuchs explains in Labor in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet, the unemployed class is an inevitable byproduct of technological progress in a capitalist society that must be continuously deprived of wage labor and capital.

It is difficult to connect Amazon saving us $1.50 on surface cleaner to rising unemployment numbers. Throughout my life in capitalist cultures, capitalism has taught me, us, to think that saving $1.50 every time we shop is savvy. Bargain hunting has even been elevated to televised sport: Design on a Dime or Extreme Couponing come to mind. If we know anything about a commodity it is how much it costs and speculations on how much we can underpay are seen as responsible financial planning. What is not under consideration is which product does a better job of preserving people’s opportunities to work with dignity. I and everyone else have little information about which soap helps retain collective bargaining power or which brand of toilet paper supports union-busting political action committees. The social life of things prior to their arrival on shelves is purposefully obscured by a veil of individual consumerism.

Corporations like Amazon have reinforced this individualism by investing in technology that emphasizes the convenience for the individual consumer who shops online. Inherent to their designs is the hope that Amazon will make our purchases thoughtless and instant. The less time we spend making a decision, the fewer opportunities there are to second-guess the implications of our actions. Let me be clear, this convenience is what we love about Amazon. I forget things a lot, and when I do remember to buy something, it is seldom while I am at the store; the Amazon app and Free Prime Shipping have almost always had my back in those times. In the end, “Free Prime Shipping,” Amazon Pantry, and Dash Buttons cost something to someone, and we are all affected by the price we pay for the convenience of “free.”

If you are anything like me (graduate student, part-time jobs) you have probably felt like you have “benefited” from Amazon’s low (i.e. not profitable) prices at some point. I admit to buying books, board games, and other random items from Amazon pretty regularly. In moments of price comparison, Amazon beats my other options in its quest for my money more often than I would like to admit so publicly (but I know the data is out there somewhere). But do we really benefit from Amazon’s convenience? There are a couple of ways to look at this. One way is the old Econ 101 fairy tale of every individual maximizing utility and seeking out the lowest price for the best product. On the other hand, we can take a Marxist perspective and examine how the capitalist class is actually exploiting all of us—not just those laborers who are out of work when the grocery stores close—through its promotion of individual convenience.

So how does Amazon not just exploit those whose jobs are threatened by the convenience market that Amazon provides, but exploit those of us who use the service, too? Well, for one, these two groups—those who use Amazon and those who Amazon puts out of work—are not mutually exclusive. Those in positions of economic precariousness may well rely on the discount goods and cheap/free delivery that Amazon provides—just like the local shopkeeper may have to patronize the Walmart that threatens hir livelihood.

Second, free and cheap delivery is not free or cheap, but paid for with the currency of personal data. Amazon does not just know what I buy, it knows what I want, how much of it I want, and when I think about purchasing what I want. Amazon knows my birthday and my relatives’ birthdays. And with Charmin’s dash button, Amazon can know an uncomfortable amount about a household’s bathroom habits. Economic value, Christian Fuchs notes, is produced by the commodification of users and audiences. Capital is (re)produced for Amazon through reviews, purchase history, and other personal information; they are not making a profit from the majority of their sales. Rather, they are trading short-term profits for the the long term advantage of being indispensable to our buying and spending habits. Therefore, Fuchs argues that even yuppie consumers are included in this exploited (non-capitalist) class. Amazon customers don’t just buy goods, but freely give the capitalist their data. Each purchase is therefore an act of uncompensated labor.

This relationship between conveniences, data, and wages are complex but getting out of the problem is fairly simple. “None of this is a problem” writes David A. Banks, “if we decouple work from individuals’ means of subsistence. If extended unemployment were not tantamount to a slowly unfurling death sentence, then the rise of robot deliveries would be very desirable save for those that gleam some sort of emotional reward for delivering the mail.”

How would we ever go about disconnecting the means of subsistence from the modes of production? If we are actually members of the multitude and Amazon actually profits from our mere potential as consumers, what can we really do but submit to the corporate overlords? According to Fuchs, exploitation of prosumers, “has the potential to be channeled into political demands, such as the demand for a wage for all unpaid knowledge workers, which is equivalent to the demand for the introduction of a universal basic income guarantee.” Fuchs argues that, united, we can reassert our collective economic power by resisting our own exploitation. Unlike Fuchs, I’m not ready to say that Twitter and Facebook need to start paying users for their content production. I believe this would probably entrench us all much more fully in our own oppression by transforming leisure time into paid participation in yet another market designed to further capitalist interests. Nevertheless, I agree with Fuchs that a Marxist outlook can help us to reflect on the fact that our online leisure and shopping activities are, in fact, forms of labor. When given the chance to think about concrete ways we as tech-users could leverage this labor in acts of resistance, the opportunities are vast.

As content creators, users of Facebook, Twitter, and even Amazon are uncompensated workers. Imagine one day, even one hour, where the internet goes silent and content is not produced. What if bloggers protested google ads for higher wages by striking?  With 700,000 weekly tweets, Scandal is certainly not paying everyone for their buzz on Twitter. If that’s not collective economic power, I don’t know what is. But even if we are not a member of a blogger’s union and don’t often find ourselves in hugely popular hashtag conversations on Twitter, we have plenty of moments when we can question the status quo.

Despite convenience and low cost being tantalizing and often, necessary for my own functioning in everyday life, the moments when I open the Amazon app are as much opportunities for reflection as they are for impulse purchases. The reality of a shared car, too long of a distance to walk home with laundry detergent, and limited time, let alone money, have all played a role in my Amazon Prime membership quickly “paying for itself.” But the person I really want to be is the thoughtful, neighborly cyborg who smiles to a greeter at a grocery store who can pay rent and feed his kids. I want to be a person who opens the Amazon app in moments of resistance—to see how much I am willing to sacrifice for my values—rather than temptation. If the price of becoming who I want to be is the price of a living wage, I will pay my $1.50 willingly.

Nora Devlin is too multifarious to describe herself in only two sentences. Tweet her @NoraAnneDevlin and read her occasional ramblings at


Hello Everyone,

We are excited to announce that co-editors David A. Banks and Jenny Davis will be guest editing a special issue of the open access journal Social Sciences on Social Media, Internet, and Society. The CFP is below and we hope to get lots of submissions from the extended Cyborgology family! CFP and submission instructions are below and here.


Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will focus on theoretically driven work that examines the mutually influential relationship between humans, platforms, devices, and code. Articles can be wholly theoretical or incorporate empirical data, broadly defined, that illustrates a theoretical argument and/or complicates existing theoretical debates. A partial list of suggested topics includes network formation and maintenance, race and racism, big data, small data, gender and sexism/cis-ism, intersectionalities, courtship and dating, sex and sexuality, algorithms and curation, privacy and publicity, digital dualism, augmented reality, popular discourses of new and social media, embodied technology, social media ecologies, prosumption/identity prosumption, political processes, and labor and exploitation. Articles published in this Special Issue will counter utopic and dystopic renderings of technological pervasiveness, and move beyond descriptive analyses. Instead, the issue will push theoretical advancements that illuminate the multifaceted relationship between humans and information communication technologies. To optimize interdisciplinarity and a broad reach, authors are encouraged to write clearly and avoid disciplinary jargon.

Dr. Jenny L. Davis, PhD
Mr. David A. Banks, Doctoral Candidate
Guest Editors


Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • Digital
  • Social Media
  • Internet and society
  • Code
  • Algorithms

Image source: robby-T


We’re doing a sixth annual Theorizing the Web event, April 15 and 16, 2016 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NYC. (3 boroughs in 3 years)

The Call for Papers is here. Please please share this with anyone you think would like to submit or attend.

Registration is, as always, pay what you want, min 1$. This year, you NEED to register before the event itself.

Read more about the event here. Most simply, TtW is a DIY event run by a small volunteer committee. The event is public, accessible, concerned with social power and inequality, and highlights thoughtful, critical ideas about technology and society. “Theory” doesn’t mean “academic”; we equally value ideas from artists and activists and practitioners and writers and so on. Here are some photos from past events.

We have invited panels and keynotes to announce shortly as well.

Thanks to the Museum of the Moving Image for hosting us this year. Thanks everyone for all the love these past 5 years and for helping us spread the word again <33


And since we are being hosted by the Museum of the Moving Image It Follows that we should make some movie posters:

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Cyborgology is 5! The blog is toddling around now, gnawing on stuff, and even says a few full sentences. Each year we do a little reflecting and look towards the future and this year we will throughout the week, be reposting and sharing our favorite essays and stories from the last year.

This past year we sought out more guest author contributions. and This resulted in some awesome posts, debates, and conversations.  . We are especially excited about the responses to our new themed calls. Our first, cameras and justice, interrogated the ways that surveillance, souveillance, and coveillance reflect and alter configurations and definitions of justice. We are currently taking submissions for our second call on small town internet.

Other highlights include excellent fiction pieces by Sunny Moraine and an impressive foray into fiction from co-editor David Banks. Cyborgology co-founder Nathan Jurgenson snuck in to push us (as a scholarly-ish community) to define the over-opined but under-theorized term “selfie.” Robin James dropped a few on point pop culture analyses, and co-editor Jenny Davis continued (over)thinking about affordances  

Social justice continued to be a central part of the blog this year, we hope in service to what has emerged as the key movement of our generation #BlackLivesMatter. Sometimes, this meant making the decision not to post for a few days in the wake of tragedy. Other times, it meant highlighting the important work of activists on the ground and challenging those who wished to minimize the struggle.    

This year we will continue to theorize, protest, and invite readers to contribute as guest authors. As always, we are open to what you want to see. Thanks for keeping us going.

An Internet Cafe in Cushing, Oklahoma
An Internet Cafe in Cushing, Oklahoma

We had so much fun and got so many good posts from our Cameras and Justice CFP that we’re doing it again. This time we are looking for submissions about what we are calling Small Town Internet. If the digital and the physical are enmeshed, then it stands to reason that the web someone experiences in rural Kentucky is different than the web in New York City.

As always, posts should be in the neighborhood (haha) of 1000 words and be clear and accessible to the informed reader. Please send us your essays, personal narratives, fiction, and summaries of original research about any of the following (and more):

  • Uber controversy without Uber,
  • trolls next door,
  • finding support and love from afar,
  • dial-up internet,
  • first on your block with a smartphone.

For submissions, questions, and proposals, email co-editors David Banks ( and Jenny Davis ( using the subject line “Small Town Internet.”

Remember that Cyborgology (for better or worse) is an all volunteer effort and we cannot pay for writing.