Donald Trump has now been permanently suspended from Twitter and indefinitely banned from Facebook and Instagram, among other platforms, leading to a cacophony of public comments on free speech, digitally facilitated fascism, and the roles and responsibilities of social media companies in democratic governance. Many scholars in my field appear to be particularly frustrated, as they have been studying and voicing caution about these implications for years.
Well, perhaps not to that extent, but I have written a few papers around these subjects myself, and I thought I’d highlight one in particular, in a sort of here-is-my-SoundCloud way. In 2017, my colleague Alison and I identified four directions of travel with regard to to free speech in the digital era.
Weaponisation of beliefs, opinions, and “alternative facts”
Content sharing as a speech act
Privatisation of censorship
Deliberate ambiguity, voluntary invisibility, and self-censorship as a strategic repertoire
At one point during the lockdown, I subtitled a Korean superhero animation film in English. Not my usual gig, but I had to do it. Yes, the director is someone I know personally and admire, but the real-real reason was that my namesake features as a complex villain in it. Could be my alter ego. 😈
A team of colleagues have just released a report that shares the findings and policy recommendations from their six-year-long project “Re/presenting Islam on Campus“. I wasn’t part of the original team, but I became quite closely involved in the project over the last two years and, in the end, named in several places of the research outputs.
The report has attracted a lot of media attention and heated debate within the span of a week alone. Too much to archive here, so I am just gonna list some of the pieces written by the team.
Here is a quick guide I have been asked to write for colleagues at my university who suddenly have to find a way to conduct their fieldwork remotely. Some details are quite specific to SOAS, but I hope the overall idea is applicable more broadly.
I have had a piece of good news, but have been having an irreconcilable inner conflict about sharing it, online or otherwise. Initially I thought the reluctance had all to do with my Confucian upbringing, but after having been mulling over, my conclusion is that it has in fact more to do with my line of work.
I am aware that there are different schools on whether we can choose (certain) identities. Not sure if being a PhD student is an identity one is allowed to choose, especially after a decade since receipt of the award, but I certainly symphasise a lot with what PhD students are going through in the current HE environment. I have spent more than a decade surrounded by PhD students, first as a student myself and later as someone who walks alongside. As an apparent consequence of that, it sometimes feels like I haven’t really graduated emotionally. Not yet ‘ascended’, to borrow words from one of the former students.
Then where is my dilemma? I have been ‘archiving‘ my thoughts and experiences on this blog for more than a decade and I am intending to carry on. Well, I guess sharing it here should be okay as it has a minuscule readership. 🙂
I created a Twitter account in 2007, but have always been a half-hearted user. The reason has been quite simply the restriction on message length. However, in the age of TLDR, being able to summarise research findings in one or two tweets seems to be an increasingly useful skill. So, here we go, my attempts.
# […] The thesis was that the Internet is as much a ‘metaphor’ as a technology, and successful e-campaigns have been those tapping into the former discursively (rather than the latter logistically). (9 March 2019)
# […] News articles that attracted a large amount of reactions from readers and articles that drew *divisive* reactions were two distinct groups [in our new Quality & Quantity piece]. (23 April 2019)
There is so much to process here, but in the meantime, I have listened to the full 26 minutes of recording – despite the inevitable cringe that comes from listening to one’s own voice!!! – and realised two errors I made that I would like to iron out.
I should have said passers-by, not passer-bys. (15:52)