‘You’ve got to share. You’ve got to care’: Emotional and Creative Exchange in the My Little Pony Fandom

  Referring to themselves largely (but not uniformly) as Bronies, members of the Internet-enabled MLP (My Little Pony) fandom span multiple platforms and generate a prolific amount of artwork and an intense sense of community. The most prominent fan fiction website, FiMFiction.net, hosts over a billion words from over thirty thousand authors.[1] Reddit boasts over 50 separate subreddits (forums) dedicated to fostering community and content, from /r/MLPdrawingschool to /r/TheoryOfPony. I’ve spent the last month immersed in ethnographic study of online MLP communities, looking at ways that they share and care for one another. This blog looks briefly at some of […]

#Celebgate: Searching for Illicit Content During the 2014 Celebrity Photo Leaks

On August 31st, 2014, nearly 500 sensitive images captured from the mobile phones of various celebrities were released onto 4chan.com. With alarming alacrity, these stolen personal photographs made their way to slightly more mainstream content sites, including Reddit, Tumblr and Twitter. Internet users and media respondents have termed the phenomenon “Celebgate” or, more popularly and vulgarly, “The Fappening” (a portmanteau between happening and slang for masturbation). The leak raised numerous questions about privacy rights online, iCloud security, and the responsibilities of host sites. With the takedown of these photos as an exemplar, how do we search for information that makes […]

The Cyber Security of the State

On November 24 2014 unidentified hackers released troves of personal and business information from Sony Pictures, including personal emails, information about salaries and unreleased films. The hack and the subsequent threats made to Sony led to the temporary cancellation of the release of their film, The Interview. This ordeal had a serious financial impact on the company, not to mention the precedent it set in terms of censorship. President Obama went as far as to question Sony’s decision to withdraw the movie, stating that: “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the […]

Connected Life 2014: Poster and Visualisation Fair Presenters

Connected Life 2014, occurring on June 12th, is a day-long student-run conference dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging internet research. Bringing together participants and attendees from across the social sciences, Connected Life will foster collaborations within and beyond Oxford in pursuit of better understanding of the internet and its many effects. In addition to oral presentations, we’re hosting what is sure to be an intriguing and informative poster and visualisation fair, with contributions from: Gili Vidan and Frank Hangler Could You Afford Facebook Messenger in Cameroon? Anna Orlova Youth participation in Internet governance – a European perspective […]

Connected Life 2014: Remaining Presenters Announced

Connected Life 2014, occurring on June 12th, is a day-long student-run conference dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging internet research. Bringing together participants and attendees from across the social sciences, Connected Life will foster collaborations within and beyond Oxford in pursuit of better understanding of the internet and its many effects. Concluding our announcements about those giving presentations, we’re pleased to announce the last batch of presenters, who are presenting on topics ranging from activism to law to identity: Javier Solana University of Oxford The importance of law in embracing innovation Keywords: collaborative consumption, innovation, internet finance, […]

Announcing Connected Life Presenters in the Fields of Culture and Digital Divides

Connected Life 2014, occurring on June 12th, is a day-long student-run conference dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging internet research. Bringing together participants and attendees from across the social sciences, Connected Life will foster collaborations within and beyond Oxford in pursuit of better understanding of the internet and its many effects. Continuing our announcements from earlier in the week, we’re pleased to announce our presenters on Culture and Digital Divides: < Culture > Leo Mercer University of Oxford The Internet: how it affects art and poetry Keywords: Internet; Art; Poetry Chen-Ta Sung London School of Economics A […]

Announcing Connected Life 2014 Presenters in the fields of Education and Governance

Connected Life 2014, occurring on June 12th, is a day-long student-run conference dedicated to sparking exchange between disciplines and showcasing emerging internet research. Bringing together participants and attendees from across the social sciences, Connected Life will foster collaborations within and beyond Oxford in pursuit of better understanding of the internet and its many effects. We’re pleased to announce this year’s conference presenters in the fields of Education and Governance: < Education > James Robson University of Oxford, Department of Education Teachers’ peer-to-peer online engagement: a critical look at the structures embedded in online social space Keywords: social media; online social […]

Could You Afford Facebook Messenger in Cameroon? A Global Map of Mobile Broadband Prices

This post is by Frank Hangler and Gili Vidan, and is adapted from a post on Frank’s personal blog. For Open Data Hack Day in Oxford, we decided to play around with data from the International Broadband Pricing Study released last year by Google. We decided to look at mobile broadband prices around the world: in which countries can you obtain data on your mobile device for the least money, relative to your purchasing power in that country? The study collects information on consumer mobile plans sold by major carriers in each country, so we had to do some data aggregation […]

Imagining World War I… Under Bitcoin

2014 marks the centennial anniversary of World War I. The world was a different place a century ago, but in at least one respect, they are becoming similar– the gold standard of the early 20th century era is much like the new cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which is scarce by design and a good store of value. In the spirit of learning from the past, it is useful to consider what would have happened if the biggest monetary trend of 2014 had been in existence in 1914– would it have prevented inflation? Brought peace? Stopped the growing authoritarianism? Let’s begin with the […]